The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Lucky Seventh, by Ralph Henry Barbour

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Lucky Seventh

Author: Ralph Henry Barbour

Illustrator: Norman P. Rockwell

Release Date: June 5, 2012 [EBook #39923]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Roger Frank and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This book was
produced from images made available by the HathiTrust
Digital Library.)


By Ralph Henry Barbour

The Brother of a Hero
Benton’s Venture
Around the End
The Junior Trophy
Change Signals!
Finkler’s Field
For Yardley
The New Boy at Hilltop
Winning His “Y”
Double Play
Forward Pass!
The Spirit of the School
Four Afloat
Weatherby’s Inning
The Half-Back
On Your Mark
Four in Camp
Four Afoot
For the Honor of the School
Captain of the Crew
Behind the Line
The Arrival of Jimpson


“There was a bump, a crash, the sound of splintering wood, and——






Copyright, 1915, by

Printed in the United States of America


I. Gordon Gets a Letter
II. Dick Consents
III. A Rich Man’s Son
IV. The Team Elects Its Captain
V. Dick Visits the Point
VI. Clearfield Plays the Point
VII. The Blue Runabout
VIII. Across the Gully
IX. Mr. Merrick Breaks a Plate
X. Gordon Bears a Message
XI. Fudge Scents a Secret
XII. A Reversed Decision
XIII. Jack Is Suspended
XIV. A Visit To the Invalid
XV. On the Rocks
XVI. Dick Scores a Defeat
XVII. Harold Makes a Promise
XVIII. The Live Wires—and Mr. Potter
XIX. Mr. Potter Gets Busy
XX. Mr. Brent to the Rescue
XXI. Mr. Brent Telephones
XXII. Gordon Brings Good News
XXIII. Mr. Brent Throws a Ball
XXIV. Dick Smiles
XXV. “The Lucky Seventh”


“There was a bump, a crash, the sound of splintering wood——
“‘Good-night,’ responded Gordon and Fudge”
“Dick took Louise to the game on Saturday”
“The Lucky Seventh had proved itself”


When Gordon Merrick neared the corner of Troutman Street he slowed down his bicycle and finally drew in at the curb, putting out a foot to hold himself in the saddle while he deliberated. So deep in thought was he that when the yellow watering cart trundled up, the driver half asleep under the blue and white umbrella, he never knew of it until the sprinkler had drenched him from foot to knee. The driver awoke at that moment and, looking back, saw Gordon.

“Hi, there!” he shouted. “Look out!”

Gordon, aroused from his thoughts by the unexpected bath, smiled.

“Why?” he asked. “Are you coming back?”

The joke was lost on the driver of the watering cart, however. He only scowled and settled back to slumber again. Gordon chuckled, and glanced ruefully at his drenched trouser-leg. Except for the looks of that no harm had been done, for it was a hot morning in early July and the feeling of the cool water against his leg had been decidedly pleasant. Evidently the incident had brought a decision in the weighty problem which had confronted him, for with no more hesitation he turned his wheel to the left and peddled on down E Street.

“I’ll talk to Dick about it,” he said to himself. “He always knows what to do.”

The Loverings lived in the third house from the corner, one of a half-dozen modest abodes occupying that side of the block. All the houses were painted white, although differing slightly in the simplicity of their architecture, and all were more or less hidden from view by hedges of lilac or arbor-vitæ. Old-fashioned white picket fences peeked out between the leaves of the hedges. The street itself was old-fashioned. Ten years before it had been in the desirable part of Clearfield, but since then the residential center had worked westward and the row of quiet, green-shuttered cottages was being closed in by such unsavory neighbors as livery stables and dye works and tenements.

Dick Lovering hailed Gordon from the vine-screened porch as the latter jumped from his bicycle and leaned it against the hitching-post in front of the little gate. “Hello, Gordie! Come on up.”

Dick was seated at the cool end of the porch, which stretched the width of the house. There was a table beside him which held a few flowers in a quaint old green vase and many books and magazines. Dick’s crutches stood against the wall within reach, for Dick, as he put it, was “very fond of his crutches and never went anywhere without them.” He was seventeen, a tall, nice-looking boy with dark hair and eyes and just the smallest suggestion of pallor on his lean cheeks. As Gordon came up the steps Dick laid down the magazine he had been reading and smiled his pleasant smile.

“Been in the pond?” he asked, viewing the other’s wet trousers.

“Watering cart soused me at the corner. How are you, Dickums?”

“Fine. Swell weather, isn’t it? You look warm, though.”

“So would you if you’d been riding all over town. Say, I got a letter from Bert Cable this morning and I want you to see what you think about it. I’ve got it here somewhere.”

“Where is Bert?” asked Dick as Gordon searched his pockets.

“Bridgeport, Connecticut. He’s working for his uncle in some sort of a factory over there. He told me he was going to get eight dollars a week. Here it is. You’d better read it.”

“You do it,” smiled Dick. “I’m lazy to-day.”

“Well, he says—Where is it?—Here we are. ‘I’m sending a letter that came the other day from Caspar Billings. He thinks we’re still playing ball and wants a game with us. I haven’t answered it. What I was thinking was why don’t you and Lansing and Fudge Shaw and some of the fellows get a team together and play the Point? You could have a lot of fun. Those fellows at the Point aren’t anything to be scared of. You could get up a team that would wallop them easy. Tom Haley would pitch for you and Lansing could catch and you could play first. Why don’t you? Anyway, you answer the letter. I’m awfully busy here and don’t have much time for writing letters. This is a swell town, lots going on all the time and plenty of baseball. Remember me to all the fellows and tell Harry Bryan when you see him that he’s got my glove and is to send it to me because I may need it. We’re getting up a team here at the factory. We’ve got a dandy pitcher and I guess they’ll put me at short. Don’t forget to write to Billings anyway. Yours truly, Bert.’”

Gordon looked inquiringly across at Dick. “What do you think?” he asked.

“Why, I dare say they will.”

“Dare say who will? Will what?”

“Put Bert at short,” chuckled Dick.

“Oh, you know what I mean! What do you think of the scheme?”

“Good, I’d say. I suppose,” with a humorous glance at his crutches, “you came around to see if I’d play third base for you.”

“Wish you could, Dickums. Gee, I don’t see how you can always be so cheerful about—about it! I couldn’t.”

“Well, it isn’t hard, Gordie, when you’ve had seventeen years’ practice. Of course, if I’d been able to get around like other fellows and then—then had this happen I guess it would be different. Anyhow, a chap might as well be cheerful as anything else. After all, I don’t miss much fun. I can’t play games or run or skate or—or do a lot of things I’d like to, but I can watch the rest of you and I can make believe that if I could—well, play third base, say, I’d do it better than the next chap. The beauty of it is that you can’t prove I wouldn’t!”

“I’ll bet you would, Dickums! Why, you know more baseball and more football than most of the fellows who play.”

“Why not?” laughed Dick. “They don’t have as much time to study it as I do. They have to get out and play. I can watch and learn. But never mind about me. What’s this Billings chap say?”

“Oh!” Gordon pulled another sheet of paper from the envelope and read its contents. “‘Mr. Bert Cable, Captain Clearfield High School Baseball Club, Dear Sir: A lot of us fellows at the Point are getting up a ball team and we want games. Will you play us? We’ll play on our own field or on yours, just as you say. Any date after July 10th will suit us, Wednesdays or Saturdays preferred. Our fellows will average about the same as your team, I guess. Please let me hear from you, and if there are any other teams around Clearfield we could play with I wish you’d let me know and send managers’ addresses. Very truly, Caspar Billings, Captain, Rutter’s Point Baseball Association.’”

“Caspar Billings,” mused Dick. “Which one of the Silk Stocking Brigade is he, Gordon?”

Gordon smiled. “I don’t remember him particularly. He’s a sort of chum of Morris Brent, though.”

“That all you can say for him?” asked Dick. “I suppose Morris will play with the Pointers?”

“I guess so. He won’t be much of a help, though. He plays ball like—like a turtle!”

“Morris says,” replied Dick with his slow smile, “that he can play a lot better than most of you fellows and that if Bert and Tom Haley and some of the others weren’t down on him he’d have made the team last spring.”

“Guff! He can’t catch a ball. He’s not a bad sort, Morris, if his dad does own the town, but he’s no Ty Cobb! Well, what do you think about getting up a team, Dickums?”

“Why not? You’ve got plenty of fellows. Most of the school team are still around, aren’t they?”

“All except Bert and Warner Jones and Joe Browne.”

“Where’s Warner?”

“I don’t know. Gone away with his folks somewhere for the summer. Wish my folks would do that.”

“Well, get out your pencil, Gordie, and let’s make up the team. Haley, pitch, and Lanny, catcher——

“I’ll play first and Harry Bryan second——

“How about Will Scott?”

“Third. Then for shortstop——

“Jack Tappen?”

“N-no, he’d better play in the outfield. I’ll put him down for right. I guess Pete Robey’s the chap for short. That leaves us Way for left field and I guess Fudge will do for center. He can’t hit much, but he can pull down a fly.”

“There you are, then. What will you call the nine? You can’t be the High School team, I suppose.”

“N-no, we’ll have to find a name. The Clearfield—what, Dickums?”


“Sounds like a troupe of trained dogs,” laughed Gordon. “We might call ourselves the Purple Sox, only it’s sort of hard to say.”

“Shorten it,” suggested Dick. “Call yourselves the ‘Purps.’”

“That’s worse than the Rovers! Why not just the Clearfield Ball Club?”

“Why not? That’s settled. Now you want a manager——

“Got one.”

“You have? Who?”



“Surest thing you know. That’s partly why I came. To tell you. You see, I thought you’d want to know it.”

“Very thoughtful of you,” Dick laughed. “But will you tell me how I can manage a ball team, you idiot?”

“Why can’t you? All you have to do is to arrange games for us and look after the expenses and see that we behave ourselves. If they make me captain——

“Which they will, as it’s your scheme!”

“It’s really Bert’s. But if they do I’m going to tell the other fellows that they’ve got to do just as you say. You know more baseball than I do and you’re going to be the real thing.”


“No nonsense about it. That’s settled, then.”

“But, look here, I’d have to go to places with you and—and—well, you know, Gordie, I can’t afford to do that very often.”

“It won’t cost you anything. Your expenses will be paid by the club. Besides, we’ll only go over to the Point and places like that, I guess. Now I’m going to see Lanny and talk it over with him.”

“Well, all right. I’ll be manager if you really want me to. I’d like it. Only, if you change your mind, or the other fellows think——

“You know very well the other fellows will be tickled to death,” replied Gordon severely. “And it will be a good thing for you, too. Take you off this porch now and then. You don’t get enough sunshine and fresh air.”

“Considering that I’m outdoors all day and sleep with my head through the window,” laughed Dick, “that’s a bit of a joke. But have your own way, Gordie. You always were a masterful brute. Going?”

“Yep. I want to catch Lanny. I’ll come over again after dinner. Rah for the Clearfield Ball Club, Dickums! So long!”


“The only th-thing is,” said Fudge, “it’s going to co-cost a heap, isn’t it?”

Fudge, whose real name was William Shaw, was fifteen years of age, had sandy-red hair and blue eyes and was short of stature and round of body. His habitual expression was one of pleased surprise, due probably to the fact that his blue eyes were very blue and very big. When Fudge was the least bit excited he stammered, but the habit was too slight to be an affliction, and his friends sometimes got Fudge upset in order to enjoy his facial contortions when the word wouldn’t come promptly. It was Lansing White who, several years before in grammar school, had dubbed him Fudge. Lanny declared that “pshaw” and “fudge” meant the same thing and that “fudge” was more novel. At the present moment Fudge was seated in the apple tree which grew by the fence where the Shaws’ side-yard and the Merricks’ back-yard came together. It was a favorite retreat with Fudge, and he had built a shelf handy to the comfortable crotch he affected on which to place books and papers when, as was customary, he was studying his lessons there. To-day, however, as school was over for the summer, there were no books about and the shelf bore, instead, a tennis racket which Fudge had been mending when Gordon found him.

“I don’t see why,” replied Gordon, leaning his arms on the top of the fence. “We’ve all got our High School uniforms and we’ve all got bats and mitts and things. All we’d need to spend money on would be balls, I guess. Of course, when we went away every fellow would have to pay his transportation.”

“M-meaning carfare?” queried Fudge. “Say, it’s a peach of a scheme, Gordie! I wish I could bat better, though. Maybe I’ll get on to it, eh? I guess what I need is practice.” And Fudge, swinging an imaginary bat at an invisible ball, almost fell off the branch. “Who’s going to be captain?” he asked when he had recovered his equilibrium.

“We’ll vote, I suppose,” replied Gordon.

Fudge grinned. “Then it’ll be me. I’m awfully popular. Have you told Lanny yet?”

“Yes, and he says if you play center there’s got to be a rule that a hit to center field is good for only three bases.”

Fudge snorted indignantly. “If he ever hit a ball as far as the outfield he’d fall in a faint! When do we start?”

“I’ve got to see the other fellows yet. Harry is working in his father’s store and I don’t know whether his dad will let him play.”

“That’s so. We need him, too. He’s a peach of a baseman. Who’s going to play short?”

“I want Pete Robey to,” replied Gordon doubtfully. “Think he’d do, Fudge?”

“We-ell, Pete isn’t so much of a muchness. Why don’t you p-put him in center and let me play short?”

“Because a fellow has to have brains to play in the infield, Fudge, and——

Fudge tried to reach him with the racket, failed and, composing his features to an expression of grave interest, asked: “Won’t it be awfully hard to find anyone to play first?”

Gordon smiled. “Never you mind about first. Get your wheel and let’s go around and see some of the fellows. We can catch Harry at the store if we hurry. I want to see Tom, too. If he won’t go into it and pitch for us we might as well give it up.”

“Oh, Tom’ll pitch all right,” answered Fudge, dropping from the tree, racket in hand. “He’d rather pitch a baseball than eat. I’ll meet you out front in two minutes.”

He wormed his way through the currant bushes to the garden path and disappeared toward the house, while Gordon, dodging the clothes lines strung near the rear fence, went along the brick walk and gained the side porch by the simple expedient of vaulting the railing. The Merrick house was new—most of the residences on that end of Troutman Street were—and was mildly pretentious. Mr. Merrick was a lawyer and comfortably well-to-do. The family had lived in Clearfield for six generations and had given its name to one of the principal streets in the downtown business part of the city. I refer to Clearfield as a city, and it really was, but it was not a very large city. The latest census credited it with something over 17,000 inhabitants. Like many New England cities of its kind, it owed its growth and prosperity to factories of various sorts. Mill River, which entered the bay two miles distant, flowed along the edge of the town and provided water-power for a number of large manufacturing plants, knitting mills, a sewing machine factory, a silverware factory and several others.

The knitting mills were largely owned by Mr. Brent, the Honorable Jonathan Brent, as the Clearfield Reporter usually referred to him, and while Gordon had spoken of Mr. Brent “owning the town,” he had, of course, exaggerated, but still had not been very far wide of the mark. Mr. Brent was Clearfield’s richest and its leading citizen. Besides the knitting mills he controlled two banks and the street railway and lighting service and had a finger—usually two or three fingers—in many other enterprises. The Brent residence, standing imposingly in a whole block of land, was visible, further along Troutman Street, from the Merricks’ porch. In this, the more recently developed part of the town, the wide streets were lined with maples as yet too young to afford much shade, but a giant elm tree, which had been old long before Clearfield even thought of growing away from the river, stood just inside the Merricks’ front gate and effectively screened the house from the hot sunlight.

Gordon contented himself with putting his head inside the screen door and announcing in a loud voice: “Mother, I’m going downtown. Is there anything you want?” Mrs. Merrick’s voice floated down from upstairs in reply: “No, dear; but please try to be on time for dinner. You know your father dislikes——

But Gordon didn’t hear the rest of it. He didn’t need to. He knew what his father disliked. His father disliked having him late for his meals, disliked his going out in the evenings, disliked—oh, so many things! Gordon sighed as he mounted his wheel. Life was really extremely difficult at times!

He was a well-built, athletic youth of fifteen years, with a pleasant, clean-cut face, dark brown eyes and hair and a well-tanned skin. He looked very much alive and rather enthusiastic, just the sort of a boy, in short, to undertake and carry through successfully such an enterprise as the formation of the Clearfield Baseball Club.

Fudge was waiting for him around the corner, and they set off together in search of Tom Haley. Tom lived in what folks called the East End, which was that section of the town near the railroad largely inhabited by workers in the mills and factories. Tom’s father was a foreman in the sewing-machine works, and the family occupied a tiny story-and-a-half cottage so close to the railroad tracks that it shook whenever the trains passed. Fortunately they found Tom at home, very busily engaged repairing the front steps, surrounded by carpenter’s tools and three junior members of the Haley family. He rescued the chisel from Tille, aged four, deprived the baby of a handful of nails, told George, aged six, to stop sawing the chair leg, and greeted his visitors.

Tom was sixteen, big, broad-shouldered and raw-boned, with an angular face and high cheek-bones liberally speckled with freckles. At present he was minus coat and vest and wore a pair of blue overalls. “You kids get in the house now,” he instructed the suddenly silent trio of youngsters, “and tell your mother to keep you in there, too. You’ve bothered me enough. Shoo, the whole lot of you!”

They went, with many backward glances, and Tom cleared a space on the edge of the unrailed porch for Gordon and Fudge. “Say, it’s some warm, isn’t it? What you fellows up to to-day? Going to the pond?”

“No, we’re calling on you,” replied Fudge.

“Much obliged. What’s the game?”

“Baseball,” said Gordon. “We’re getting up a team to play the Rutter’s Point fellows and we want you to join, Tom.”

“I don’t mind, if there isn’t much practice. There’s a lot to be done around the house here this summer. We’re going to shingle next week, and after that we’ll paint. Who’s on the team?”

Gordon explained all about it, read Bert Cable’s letter and Caspar Billings’ and told Tom the line-up of the nine as he had planned it.

“Sounds all right,” said Tom. “When are you going to start?”

“Right away. If you’ll pitch for us we’ll be all right. I’ll answer Billings’ letter and tell him we’ll meet him a week from Wednesday. That’ll give us a whole week for practicing.”

“All right, I’m with you, only don’t expect me to practice much, Gordon. I’m pretty busy. I’ll come out a couple of times, though; say—let me see—say Friday and Monday. Going to use the school field?”

“Yes. I don’t suppose anyone will object?”

“Don’t see why they should. You’d better see Mr. Grayson, though.”

“I will. No, that will be up to Dick. He’s going to be manager.”

“Dick Lovering?” asked Tom, in surprise. “Well, I don’t see why not. He can get around all right. Have you asked him?”

“Yes, and he said he would. The only thing is, Tom, we’ll have to pay his expenses if we go away from home very far. I told him we would. It wouldn’t be much if we shared it. You see, Dick doesn’t have much money. I guess they’re pretty hard-up. His father only left them that house they’re in and a little insurance money, and of course Dick can’t do much to earn any.”

“He told me the other day,” said Fudge, “that he was trying to get work tutoring this summer over at the Point. He could do that finely if he could find anyone to toot. Hope he does. Dick’s a peach.”

“Then we’ll have first practice Wednesday, the rest of us, and we’ll look for you Friday, Tom. I’ve got to catch Harry before he goes home. Maybe his father won’t let him off. If he won’t we’ll be in a bad way for a second baseman.”

“If you hold practice late—say, half-past four—I guess Harry could get there,” said Tom. “And we wouldn’t play more than twice a week, I suppose. Who else are you going after besides the Pointers?”

“I don’t know. Maybe Lesterville. They’ve got a pretty good club over there. I guess we can find games enough, Tom.”

“I suppose the Springdale team has disbanded,” said Tom. “I’d like to get another whack at those fellows!”

“So would I,” Gordon agreed. “We never should have lost that last game, Tom. We all played like idiots, though. Six errors is going some!”

“It was an off-day with me, all right,” grumbled Tom. “I couldn’t put ’em over the plate to save my life in the last four innings.”

“We’ll lick them at football this fall,” asserted Fudge.

“Bound to,” agreed Tom, with a sly wink at Gordon. “Fudge is going to play, you know.”

“You bet I am!” exclaimed Fudge. “I’m going to p-p-play end. I’m g-g-going——

“So am I,” laughed Gordon. “Right now. Come along, Fudge, and we’ll hunt up Harry. I’m glad you’ll come in with us, Tom. By the way, I suppose we ought to have a sort of meeting to organize pretty soon. How would it do if you all came to my house to-morrow evening? We’ll have to choose a captain and—and talk things over.”

“Oh, you’ll be captain,” said Tom. “It’s your scheme. Besides, who else is there?”

“You, or Harry, or Will Scott, or——

“Shucks, they’re not made for it. It’ll be either you or Lansing, I guess. Anyway, I’ll be over to-morrow, if you say so, about eight. So long. I’ve got to get these boards down before dinner.”

They found Harry Bryan in his father’s grocery. He, too, was very busy, but he stopped putting up orders long enough to hear Gordon’s tale, and was instantly enthusiastic.

“I’ll have to ask my dad, though,” he said doubtfully. “He’s keeping me pretty close to business,” he added importantly.

“What do you do, Harry?” asked Fudge. “Put the sand in the sugar?”

Harry treated the insult with silent contempt. “I’ll ask him to-night, though,” he continued, “and let you know.”

“Telephone me, will you? We’ll have practice late in the afternoon, Harry. You wouldn’t have to get away until after four.”

“I know. I guess he will let me. He ought to.” Harry observed the yellow slips in his hand somberly. “I’ve been working pretty hard, I tell you.”

“I should think,” suggested the irrepressible Fudge, “that if you worked late to-night you could sand enough sugar to last the week out!”

“Say, they’re not going to let you play, are they, Fudge?”

“How could they do without me?”

“It’ll be a peach of a nine!” jeered Harry. He was only a year older than Fudge, but pretended to regard that youth with amused toleration, and so caused Fudge deep annoyance at times.

“Well, we’ve got eight good ones,” responded Fudge sweetly. “If we could only find a fellow to play second base, we’d be all right.”

“It’s a wonder they don’t put you there.”

“Oh, I was offered the position, bu-but I didn’t want it. I prefer the outfield. There’s more re-re-responsibility there.”

“You’re a wonder!” said Harry. “What would you do if a ball came your way? Hold your mouth open and try to swallow it?”

“You wa-wait and see! If I co-co-couldn’t catch a b-b-ball better th-th-than you——

“Calm yourself, Fudge! You’re off your trolley again! I’ll be around to-morrow night, Gordon. Now I’ll have to get busy. Watch Fudge as he goes out, will you? Last time he was in he got away with three or four pounds of prunes.”

“I took three of the old th-th-th-things,” said Fudge bitterly, “and they n-n-nearly killed me!”

They left Harry surrounded by baskets, frowning over the order slips in his hand, and made their way back to the sidewalk and their wheels. As it was almost noon, Gordon decided not to risk his father’s displeasure by seeing any more of the fellows before dinner, and he and Fudge pedaled home, Fudge still sputtering about those prunes.

At a little after four that afternoon Gordon was back at Dick’s to report success. All the members of the Clearfield Ball Club had agreed to play and to attend the organization meeting the next evening—all, that is, save Harry Bryan, who was to telephone later.

“Now, Dickums, if you’ll write to Billings and tell him——

“If I’ll write!”

Gordon laughed. “Of course; you’re the manager, aren’t you?”

“Humph! So I have to attend to the correspondence too, do I? It seems to me that you ought to write that letter. Bert sent it to you, and you’re captain, and——

“Well, that’s what I thought,” responded Gordon cheerfully, “until I got to thinking it over. Then I remembered that you were manager, and, of course, managers always attend to arranging contests; and there you are. Just tell him we’ll play his team on Wednesday the sixteenth, Dickums, at the Point.”

“All right. I might call on him and tell him about it, though, for I’m going over to the Point in the morning.”

“You are? What for?”

“To get a job, I hope. You know I got them to put up a notice in the hotel over there for me: ‘tutoring in French, Mathematics, and English; references; terms on request.’ This afternoon a Mrs. Townsend called me up by telephone, and she wants me to come over in the morning and see about coaching her son. He’s going to Rifle Point School in the Fall and is weak on English and Math. He’s thirteen, she says. She seemed to think the price was all right, but she wants me to have a look at the youngster first. Sounded as though she was afraid I wouldn’t like him. I’d coach a Bengal tiger if I got paid for it. I need the money, Gordie.”

“That’s fine! Then why not see Billings instead of writing to him? You could arrange the whole thing in five minutes. Do you know where he lives?”

“No, but they can tell me at the hotel, I guess. By the way, why do you want to play over there? Why not have them come over here?”

“Because I saw Mr. Grayson awhile ago and asked him if it would be all right if we used the school field, and he said it would as far as he was concerned, but that he’d just got notice from Mr. Brent that they are going to cut the field up pretty soon for building lots. I suppose we could use it until they begin to build on it, but I haven’t seen Mr. Brent yet, and I thought it would be safer to say we’d play them at the Point. They’ll probably want another game, and then, if it’s all right about the field, we could play them here.”

“But that will leave us without an athletic field!” exclaimed Dick, in dismay. “I thought we had a lease or something on it.”

“Mr. Grayson says not. Says Mr. Brent just agreed to let us use it as long as it wasn’t needed for anything else. Now he wants it put in the market for house lots. Rather tough, isn’t it? I guess we can find another field somewhere, though.”

“Not in town,” said Dick. “We’ll probably have to go across the river somewhere. There are plenty of fields over there, but they’re as rough as the dickens. What did Mr. Grayson say about that?”

“Nothing much. He seemed to think it was up to the Athletic Committee.”

“Perhaps it is, but he’s principal, and——

“Shucks, he wouldn’t care a lot if we didn’t have a field, I guess!”

“I don’t think that, Gordie. Grayson’s not very keen about our athletics, I know, but he’s been pretty decent, just the same. We’ll have to get busy right away and find a new place. The football fellows will want to start practice in something like two months. Does Way know about it?”

“I don’t know. I saw Grayson after I left Way. I don’t believe he does, for he didn’t say anything. He will have to get the committee together and have a meeting, I guess. Who’s on it now?”

“Aren’t you?”

“No, not this year. There’s Way, and Harry, and Bert——

“Well, Bert can’t come. I think Will Scott is on it, isn’t he?”

“Maybe; he probably is if Way belongs. Well, it’s up to Way. I thought I’d ask Mr. Brent if we could keep on using the field for a while; or have Morris ask him. I dare say he’d be more likely to say yes if Morris asks him. Come to think of it, Dickums, as you’re manager——

“No, you don’t! I wouldn’t beard old man Brent in his den for a hundred dollars! If I’ve got to do that, I’ll resign!”

“All right, then, I’ll do it!” laughed Gordon. “Or I’ll see Morris about it. I don’t see why he needs to cut up that field, though. Seems to me there are enough houses in this town already.”

“Wants the money, probably. Bet you Jonathan Brent would cut up the Garden of Eden for house lots if he had it!”

“You don’t seem to care a whole lot for Mr. Brent, Dickums.”

“I don’t,” responded Dick emphatically. “We wouldn’t be like we are now—as poor as church mice—if father hadn’t got mixed up with Mr. Brent in one of his real-estate schemes. I’m not saying that Mr. Brent was dishonest, Gordie, but he was too sharp for dad, and dad got let in for a pile of money.”

“I didn’t know that,” said Gordon. “You never told me, did you?”

“No. It was a long time ago, when I was just a kid. Dad moved here from Norwalk when I was three years old. He had quite a little money—thirteen or fourteen thousand dollars it was—and Mr. Brent got him to invest it in that South-west Division, as they called it. They got hold of a pile of land down the river toward the Point. You know; where the picnic grove is. They were going to sell it for factory sites and there was a railway coming through to connect with the Shore Line, and everything was fine—on paper. But the bottom fell out of the scheme; the factories didn’t come, and the railroad decided not to build; and the mortgages were foreclosed; and after it was all over Mr. Brent had the whole thing and dad had nothing! And it was all legal and above-board, too! And that’s why I’ve never had much use for Jonathan Brent; nor Morris, either, although Morris has never done anything to me.”

“You and he seem to be pretty good friends,” said Gordon.

“I know. He—— Well, he seems to like me pretty well, and you can’t be anything but decent to a fellow in that case, can you? I suppose if Jonathan Brent wasn’t his father I’d like him well enough. Well, I’ll stop in and see this Billings chap to-morrow. It’s less trouble than writing a letter, I guess. Wednesday the sixteenth, on their own grounds, at—what time?”

“Three o’clock, I suppose,” answered Gordon. “That will give us plenty of time to get over on the two-o’clock car and warm up a bit before the game. You might tell him about our field, and say that if they want a return game we’ll play it over here if we can get the use of the field. By the way, that grandstand at the field belongs to the school. We’ll have to move that if we get out. I wish Mr. Brent would be satisfied with all the money he’s got and not go and take our field away from us.”

“So do I. What we want to do, though, is to watch out and be sure he doesn’t swipe the grandstand too!”

“Well, you are rabid!” laughed Gordon. “Still, I don’t know that I blame you. I never knew that about your father, Dickums.”

“Well, don’t repeat it, please. It’s all done with now, and there’s no use talking about it. I don’t—very often. Only sometimes—— Well, I get sort of hot under the collar when I think of all the money Jonathan Brent has and how awfully hard we have to scrabble to get along. Good-bye, Mr. Captain.”

“Good-bye, Mr. Manager. I’m not captain, though.”

“You will be,” laughed Dick. “You always are, you know!”


Gordon had doubts of finding Morris Brent at home when, shortly after nine o’clock the next morning, he walked up the neat artificial-stone path to the front door of Brentwood. But the maid who responded to his ring assured him that Master Morris was in, and led the way to the gray-and-gold reception room. He decided to take no chances with the spindle-legged, silk-brocaded chairs, and took refuge in front of the mantel, from which place he viewed the gray satin wall panels and dainty luxuries of the apartment with surprise. He didn’t have to wait long, however, for he had only just reached the conclusion that the room was pretty but uncomfortable when footsteps sounded quickly in the hall and a boy a year older than he appeared in the doorway.

“Hello, Gordon! How are you? Say, what did they put you in here for? This room gives me the creeps, doesn’t it you? Come on out on the piazza.”

Gordon followed his host across the hall, through a warm-toned, luxurious but decidedly comfortable library and out of a French door onto a wide porch that was screened and curtained. There were many bright rugs and gayly cushioned easy-chairs here; and tables with blossoming plants and books and magazines on them. From the porch one looked across a carefully kept lawn to where a symmetrically clipped hedge bordered Louise Street. Mr. Brent owned not only the block on which his estate was located, but some eight or nine adjoining blocks besides, his property running from his back line across Troutman, Lafayette, Main, and Common Streets to the river, including, two blocks north, the plot of land which for many years the High School had used as an athletic field. Mr. Brent had laid out the section himself and had named the two cross streets after his son and daughter, Morris and Louise.

Morris was a good-looking youth, with a self-confident air and a somewhat dissatisfied expression. He was tall, carried himself well, dressed rather more expensively than his companions in high school, and was never quite able to forget or allow others to forget that he was Jonathan Brent’s son and heir. But, in spite of that, he was not unpopular, and if there was any snobbishness about him it was unconscious. In fact, there were one or two of his acquaintances in Clearfield to whom he went out of his way to ingratiate himself. Gordon was one and Dick was another. But Gordon had never cared to respond more than half-heartedly to Morris’ advances, while Dick’s attitude we already know.

Morris pulled forward the most comfortable chair for his guest, repeated that he was glad to see him, and for several minutes gave Gordon no chance to state his errand. When he did, however, Morris was as much surprised as Dick had been.

“Dad hasn’t mentioned it to me,” he said, with a frown. “That’s too bad, isn’t it? I don’t see why he needs to cut up that land just now. What’ll we do, Gordon, for a place to play?”

“Dick said he supposed we’d have to go across the river. That would make it pretty far from school, though. But I don’t know of any place in town, do you?”

Morris shook his head, and Gordon went on:

“What I wanted to see you about was to ask if you thought your father would have any objection to our using the field until they began to build on it. I don’t think they’ve done anything there yet. I thought maybe you wouldn’t mind asking your father, Morris.”

Morris hesitated a moment. “I’ll ask him,” he said, at last, “but he and I—well, we aren’t on very good terms just now. Honestly, I think it would be better if you asked him yourself, Gordon. I’m afraid he’d say no to me just to—to be nasty. You see, we had a sort of row about an automobile. He kind of promised last Christmas that he’d get me a runabout this Spring, and when I asked about it he put me off; and so I”—Morris grinned—“I went ahead and got Stacey to order one for me. It came yesterday, and I told dad and he got as mad as a hatter about it. Says I can’t have it now. I’m going to, though. I’ve got some money in the bank, and Stacey says he’ll wait for the rest of it. It’s only six hundred dollars, anyway.”

“Too bad!” murmured Gordon, not very enthusiastically. “Maybe he will change his mind, though.”

“Not he! He isn’t made that way. What are you going to do at the field? Play ball?”

Gordon told about the letter from Caspar Billings and the formation of the ball club. “I suppose,” he ended, “you’ll play with the Point fellows?”

Morris shrugged his shoulders. “I suppose so. I haven’t heard anything about it yet. Caspar’s a friend of mine, though. We don’t move out to the Point until the seventeenth this summer. Dad’s full of business and as grouchy as the dickens. Sis and I have been trying to get mother to spunk up and insist on moving right away, but she won’t. Who’s on your team, Gordon?”

Gordon told him. Morris criticised several of his selections and was infinitely amused at the idea of Fudge Shaw playing. Gordon had an uneasy feeling that Morris perhaps resented not being asked to join. But if Morris held any resentment, he didn’t show it.

“We ought to have some good games,” he said finally and approvingly. “I dare say Caspar will want me to play on his team. You know him, don’t you?”

Gordon was doubtful. “I think I remember him,” he said, “but I’m not sure. What does he look like?”

“Oh, rather a good-looking chap—big, dark hair, plays tennis a lot and is pretty good at it. He lives in a cottage near the hotel, the second in the row at the left. He’s a dandy chap, Billings. I don’t see, though, where he’s going to get enough fellows at the Point to make up a nine, unless there are more there this year than usual. Perhaps he’s got some fellows staying with him. He goes to St. George’s, you know, and last year he brought a couple of friends home with him for a while.”

“Dick went over to the Point this morning to see about coaching a boy who is going to Rifle Point in the Fall,” said Gordon. “He’s going to look up Billings and tell him we’ll play him a week from Saturday.”

“Could Dick do that? Coach, I mean.”

“I guess so. You know he’s about the smartest fellow in his class at school. He wants to earn some money, and there aren’t many things he can do. I hope he gets the job.”

“Yes. I like Dick. He’s terribly white, isn’t he? Gee, if I had a bum hip like his and had to live on crutches, I’d—I’d——” But words failed him. He shook his head. “He’s so awfully cheerful. Who is the kid he’s going to coach?”

“I’ve forgotten the name. He told me. Something like Prentiss, I think.”

Morris shook his head again. “Don’t know them. They must be new. When I get over there, Gordon, I’ll see if I can’t drum up some trade for Dick. I know about everyone there.” He paused, and then added morosely, with a wry smile: “It might be a mighty good scheme if I had him coach me a bit. I’ve got to take my college exams next year, and I know blamed well I won’t pass them.” He shrugged his shoulders. “Well, I’ve got another year yet. Do you have to go? Stay and play a couple of sets of tennis with me. You’ve never tried our court, have you?”

“I’d like to, but I want to get this business settled. I guess I’d better go and see your father about the field. I’d like to play, though, some time,” he added, as he saw Morris’ face fall. “It looks like a bully court.”

“It is. It’s a dandy. Fast as lightning. I haven’t played much myself this year, and I’m all out of trim. Sis and I had a couple of sets the other day, and she pretty nearly licked me.”

“I hope your sister is well,” murmured Gordon. “And Mrs. Brent.”

“Yes, thanks. Sis ought to be around somewhere. Wait till I see.”

He got up and passed into the library, and Gordon heard him calling his sister at the stairway. He came back in a moment. “She’s coming down,” he announced. “Don’t hurry off. Dad will be in his office all the morning, I guess. I hope you don’t mind my not wanting to ask him, Gordon. I would in a minute, only, as I say, we aren’t very chummy just now.”

At that moment Louise Brent came through the doorway, and Gordon, who had reseated himself after his first start to leave, arose again. She was tall, like her brother, but, unlike him, was light in coloring, with brown hair that just escaped being yellow and a very fair skin and blue eyes. She was not a beauty, but she was pretty in spite of irregular features, with a lot of animation and a smile that won friends at once. She was fifteen; but she looked older, Gordon thought as he took the hand she extended.

“I haven’t seen you for a long time, Gordon,” she said, as she seated herself on the edge of Morris’ chair. “Not since the school dance in January. And then you didn’t ask me for a single dance.”

Gordon smiled a trifle embarrassedly. “I—I don’t dance very well,” he said. “I thought it would be kinder to spare you.”

“You didn’t spare Grace Levering,” she laughed.

“Well, Grace——

“Is awfully nice. I know.”

“I didn’t mean that! I meant that—she’s only thirteen—and——

“Oh, I’m too old?” Louise opened her eyes very wide. “But I’m only fifteen, Gordon. How old are you? Or isn’t it polite to ask?”

“Fifteen, too,” he laughed. “I guess the reason I danced with Grace so much was because I thought she wasn’t old enough to be fussy about the way I did it. Kind of tough on her, though, wasn’t it?”

“Kind of tough on the rest of us, you mean,” responded Louise. “You’ll have to make it up this summer by coming to some of our parties at the Point. Will you?”

“Why—yes, if you want me to. But, really and truly, I’m a fierce dancer, Louise.”

“Is he?” She turned to her brother. Morris shook his head.

“Search me. I know he can bat a ball like sixty, though. I’ve been trying to get him to stay and play some tennis, but he won’t. You ask him, sis.”

“Won’t you?” she begged. “The court’s just crying to be played on. If you will, I’ll bring you out the biggest, coldest pitcher of lemonade, Gordon, you ever saw!”

“Thanks, but—some other time——

“That means never!” she sighed. “I don’t think you’re as nice as you used to be. Is he, Morris?”

“He’s so full of business these days. Say, sis, father’s going to cut up the athletic field for building lots. What do you think of that?”

“What for?” she demanded.

“Search me. It leaves the school in a hole, all right.”

“How horribly mean!” said Louise. “It was such a nice field, too! I don’t think he ought to do it, Morris, and I guess I’ll tell him so.”

“Go ahead!” laughed her brother. “It’ll make a lot of difference—I don’t think! Gordon came around to get me to ask dad to let the fellows use the field until he began to cut it up, but I told him that he’d better do the asking himself. If I asked he might give orders to build a dozen houses on it to-morrow!”

“I know.” Louise nodded. “I wish you’d give up the idea of that automobile, Morris. Mother doesn’t want you to have it, either.”

“Just because dad made such a fuss,” he grumbled. “She was all right before that. I’m going to have it, just the same.”

“I wish you wouldn’t,” she murmured. “Do you think he ought to drive an auto, Gordon? Don’t you think it’s too dangerous?”

“I don’t know,” answered Gordon. “I’ve never had much experience with automobiles. I suppose, though, that if one is careful——

“Morris won’t be,” mourned Louise. “He’ll have an accident, kill himself, break his arm or something.”

“Oh, piffle, sis! I can run an automobile as well as any chap. I’ve done it. When I get the car you’ll be tickled to death, and you’ll want to be riding in it every minute.”

Louise shook her head energetically. “No, I shan’t, Morris. I’d be scared to death. And I think it would be much better for you to wait another year or two. Papa won’t like it a bit if you take your money out of the bank and spend it on an automobile.”

“It’s my money, and I have a right to do as I please with it,” responded her brother. “Besides, if he’d kept his word——

“Oh, Morris, you shouldn’t say things like that! Papa never actually told you you could have it.”

“Well, he as much as told me,” muttered Morris. “Anyway, I’m going to have it. Stacey would think I was a pretty funny sort if I refused to take it after he’d got it for me.”

“Maybe he could sell it to someone else,” suggested Gordon. “’Most everyone is buying the things nowadays. Well, I’ll be going, I guess. Good-bye. Good-bye, Louise. I’ll come over some time and have that tennis, Morris, if you’ll let me know.”

“Come whenever you can, will you? I’m at home most of the time; or I shall be until I get my car.” And Morris grinned exasperatingly at his sister.

“Don’t forget that you’re to come to the Point some time and dance every dance with me,” Louise reminded, as she and Morris accompanied Gordon to the door. “That’s the only apology I’ll accept.”

“You’ll wish you hadn’t invited me after the first dance,” replied the visitor grimly. “But I’ll come if you want me to some time. Good-bye.”

On his wheel once more, and spinning down the shadow-dappled street, he thought, not without a little natural envy, how fine it must be to have as much money as the Brents. Morris had spoken of buying a six-hundred-dollar automobile in much the same way as Gordon might have announced his intention of purchasing a new suit of clothes! And yet, on reflection, Morris didn’t seem really happy and contented, and never had. He always appeared to have a quarrel with someone or something. Sometimes it was the teachers at High School, who were imposing on him; once it had been the baseball coach, Mr. Farrel, who, according to Morris, was keeping him off the team for spite, and now it was with his father. It would seem, then, that the possession of much wealth didn’t always bring contentment. There was Dick Levering, who was not only poor but a cripple as well, and who was absolutely the most cheerful and contented fellow of all Gordon’s acquaintances. It was a bit puzzling, Gordon thought, as he whirled into E Street and headed toward the business section of town.

Mr. Jonathan Brent’s office was in the Clearfield Trust Company’s Building, opposite the common. Gordon left his wheel against the curb and mounted the flight of marble stairs. A clerk took his name doubtfully and indicated a chair for him to sit in while he waited Mr. Brent’s pleasure. As it happened, although the mill president was a very busy man, Gordon didn’t have to wait long. Almost at once a buzzer sounded, the clerk disappeared, returned, and conducted Gordon through a door whose ground-glass pane was marked “Private.”

Mr. Brent’s office looked out across E Street into the elm-shaded greenery of the common. An electric fan made a soft and pleasant whirring from the top of the big desk which, until Gordon had crossed the room, hid Mr. Brent from view. A chair was set at the end of the desk and into this, not very confidently, Gordon lowered himself while Mr. Brent, without looking up, ran his eye over a letter in his hand.

Jonathan Brent was a small man, small and narrow, with a lean and wrinkled face, shrewd but not unkindly, and a pair of gimlet-like, blue-gray eyes. His face was clean-shaven and the grizzled brown hair had retreated until the top of his head was as bald and shining as the white-enameled newel-post at the foot of the Merricks’ stairway. His mouth was thin and set in a firm, straight line, a line that never altered as, presently, he laid down the paper in his hand and raised his gaze to Gordon’s.

“Well, what do you want, my boy?” he asked, in a quick but not unpleasant voice.

“I came to see you about the athletic field, Mr. Brent,” responded Gordon. “I heard yesterday that you intend to cut it up for building lots, sir.”

“Quite right. What of it?”

“Well, sir, you see we’ve been using it for baseball, and some of us are getting up a nine to play this summer, and I wondered if you’d let us use it until you got ready to—to build on it.”

“Oh! I see. What’s your name? Herrick?”

“Merrick, sir; Gordon Merrick.”

“Ellis Merrick’s boy?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I know your father. Are you in the High School?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Know my boy?”

“Yes, sir. I—I went to see him this morning. I thought maybe he would ask you for me, but—he——

Gordon floundered, and a tiny smile moved the corners of Mr. Brent’s straight lips.

“He didn’t care to, eh? Well, Merrick, you’re welcome to use the field as long as you don’t interfere with the engineers or workmen. I believe they’re going to survey there for the street in a week or so.”

“Thank you, Mr. Brent.”

“All right. I dare say you boys are going to miss that playground.”

“Yes, sir, we are. It—it’s been a fine place for us.”

“Yes. Sorry I can’t let you have the use of it longer, but I need the ground. I suppose you can find another field without much trouble.”

“I think so,” agreed Gordon doubtfully.

“You and Morris friends?”

“Yes, sir. That is, we—we know each other pretty well.”

“Only pretty well, eh? What’s the matter? Don’t you like him?”

“Why, yes, sir, but—but we don’t see each other much.”

“Doesn’t he like you?”

“I think so. He seems to.”

“Did he say anything to you about an automobile, Merrick?”

“Yes, sir, he mentioned it.” Gordon began to wish himself away.

“Ever drive one of the things?”

“No, sir.”

“Like to?”

“Yes, sir, I guess so. I think it would be fun to—to have one.”

“Why doesn’t your father get you one?”

“I don’t think he could afford it, and, besides——

“Yes? Besides?”

“I guess he wouldn’t think I was—was old enough to run it.”

“How old are you?”

“Fifteen, sir.”

“Morris is sixteen. Think your father would let you have one if you were a year older and he could afford it?”

Gordon shook his head. “I don’t believe so, Mr. Brent.”

“I don’t, either. Well, help yourself to the field, Merrick. Glad to have met you. Good day.”


There was a full attendance at the organization meeting which assembled in the Merricks’ front parlor that evening. Besides Gordon himself, Dick Lovering, Fudge Shaw, Harry Bryan, who had won his father’s consent, and Tom Haley, all of whom we have met, there was Lansing White, otherwise known as “Lanny,” Jack Tappen, Pete Robey, Will Scott, and Curtis Wayland. Curtis and Will were inseparable companions. Damon and Pythias would have been excellent, if hackneyed, nicknames for the pair. Dick had once remarked in his quiet way, when the two chums had appeared arm in arm on the ball field: “Where there’s a Will there’s a Way.” Thereafter Curtis was called Way, and Dick’s pun was handed over to an appreciative public in the “Caught-in-the-Corridor” column of The Purple, the High School monthly. Way and Will were both of an age, which was sixteen, both of the same height to a fraction of an inch, and, perhaps by reason of having been together ever since they were in kindergarten, were so much alike in general appearance, manners, and speech that they were always mistaken for brothers and not infrequently for twins. Way was a little heavier in build than Will, and had dark brown hair, whereas Will’s was light. For the rest they were much the same, with brown eyes, short noses, and round, freckled faces. Good, healthy, jolly, normal boys both.

Pete Robey was fifteen, a lank, dark-eyed fellow, rather diffident and quiet. Jack Tappen was only fourteen, but he was big for his years. He was not at all diffident. In fact, Jack had a pretty good opinion of himself. He was a clever ball player, and, for that matter, did many things about as well as the older fellows with whom he associated.

Lansing White, or Lanny, as he was always called, was fifteen. Every one who knew him would have assured you earnestly that Lansing White was destined for great things. Perhaps they were right. At all events, he had the fine faculty of making friends on the instant and holding them. There wasn’t a kinder-hearted fellow in school, nor one more thoughtful of others. If a ballot had been taken for the most popular student, Lanny would have won, hands-down, over many a fellow far more prominent in school affairs. He caught for the school nine, played a fine game at left halfback on the football team, and regularly won his five points in each of the sprints at the track meetings with Springdale High School.

In appearance he was rather striking by reason of his hair, which was as near the color of ripe flax as hair ever gets, and his eyes which were so dark a brown that they looked black. The contrast between light hair and dark eyes was rather startling. He was always a little too lean, his parents thought, but his leanness was quite healthy and was due, probably, to the fact that he was always in training for something.

The nine members of the Clearfield Ball Club sat around the parlor, occupying every available chair and couch, and discussed the project exhaustively and with enthusiasm. They all agreed that it was the bounden duty of someone to humble the pride of those Rutter’s Point chaps, to whom they had long been in the habit of referring as the Silk Stocking Brigade; and they didn’t see but what the duty could be performed by them as well as by any others. Jack Tappen thought they could attend to it a little better than any others, and so declared. That point agreed on, they discussed ways and means. Everyone there except Fudge and Pete Robey had a High School uniform which it would, they decided, be quite permissible to wear. Fudge declared that he would buy a uniform, and Pete was sure he could borrow one. Gordon’s announcement that Dick had been tendered and had accepted the position of manager met with acclaim, and Will and Way, in the same breath, demanded a speech. Dick declined to address the meeting, contenting himself with reminding the turbulent pair that as manager he had the power to fine them for misconduct. At which Will and Way, pretending to be much alarmed, subsided. It was agreed that every member was to pay his own car-fares when the team journeyed from home, and that the manager’s expenses were to be provided for by an assessment on each of one-ninth of the necessary amount. Dick claimed the floor, there to state that it would probably not be necessary for the others to provide his expenses, and that in any case he would pay his own way unless the team journeyed a long distance.

The name of the team was decided on—the Clearfield Baseball Club. Harry Bryan was in favor of something with more “snap” to it, something like the Clearfield Pirates or the Clearfield Giants, but he was defeated. Dick, who had taken the proceedings in hand, then announced that the election of a captain was in order, and Tom Haley, Fudge, and Jack Tappen nominated Gordon in unison. The others signified approval noisily. Gordon, however, insisted on being heard.

“You fellows don’t have to make me captain,” he protested, “just because I started the thing going. It wasn’t my idea, anyhow; it was Bert Cable’s. I’ll be captain if you really want me, but I think some of the rest of you would be better, and I nominate Tom.”

“Nominate all you like,” grunted Tom Haley. “I decline.”

“I nominate Lanny,” said Will Scott.

“Second the nomination!” piped up Way.

“Much obliged, fellows,” said Lanny, “but I’d rather not. Let’s make Gordon captain and not be scared out of it. All in favor make a lot of noise!”

There was a lot of noise, a very great deal of noise, and Dick laughingly declared Gordon elected. “Speech! Speech!” shouted the irrepressible Fudge, beating a tattoo on the hardwood floor with his heels.

“Shut up, Fudge! And stop denting the floor with those hob-nailed shoes of yours. I saw Mr. Brent this morning, and asked him if we could use the field as long as it wasn’t wanted for anything else, and he said we could. So I propose that if the Point plays us a return game we play on our own grounds. Now, about practice. You fellows know we’ve got to get together and have a good lot of real work before we run up against those Point fellows. So I say let’s have practice every afternoon next week at four-thirty. Maybe after next week every other day will do, but we don’t want to let those silk-sox chaps beat us, and so we’ve got to practice hard. Will all you fellows agree to come to practice every afternoon? That doesn’t mean Tom, because he’s got a lot of work to do, and, besides, we don’t need him so much. He will come as often as he can. But the rest of us ought to get out every day.”

“That’s right,” agreed Jack Tappen. “If we’re going into this thing, let’s go into it with both feet. There’s no reason I can see why we shouldn’t have as good a baseball team as there is in this part of the state. We all know the game pretty well——

“Oh, you right-fielder!” exclaimed Fudge.

——And most of us have played together this Spring. And with Gordon for captain we ought to just everlastingly wipe up the county!”

Loud applause greeted this enthusiastic statement, and Fudge began his tattoo again, but was cautioned by a well-aimed pillow which, narrowly avoiding a vase on a side table, eclipsed his joyous countenance for an instant.

“I guess,” said Lanny, “that we can all get out and practice; can’t we, fellows? In fact, Gordie, it might be a good plan to have it understood that any fellow not turning up, without a real, genuine excuse, is to pay a fine.”

“How much?” demanded Fudge anxiously.

“Half a dollar,” suggested Will.

“A quarter,” said Jack.

“A quarter’s enough, I guess,” said Dick. “How about it? Everyone agree?”

“Who’s going to decide whether the excuse is a good one?” inquired Fudge.

“Dick,” said Gordon.

Fudge sighed with relief. “All right. Dick’s a friend of mine.”

“Then Wednesday at four-thirty, fellows,” said Gordon, “and bring your bats. By the way, there’s one thing we’ve forgotten: We’ll have to buy balls. Suppose we all chip in a half to start with?”

That was agreed to, and the meeting was served with lemonade and cakes and adjourned, everyone departing save Dick, Lanny, and Fudge. These, with Gordon, went out to the porch and took possession of the front steps. There was a fine big moon riding in the sky, and, since Clearfield was economical and did not illuminate the streets in the residence districts when the moon was on duty, it had no competition. The leafy shadows of the big elm fell across the porch, blue-black, trembling as a tiny breeze moved the branches above. Dick leaned against a pillar and laid his crutches between his knees, and the others grouped about him. Perhaps the refreshments had worked a somnolent effect on them, or perhaps the great lopsided moon stared them into silence. At all events, nothing was said for a minute or two, even Fudge, usually an extremely chatty youth, having for once no observations to offer. It was Gordon who finally broke the stillness.

“Some moon,” he said dreamily.

“Great!” agreed Lanny. “You can see the man in it plainly to-night.”

“Supposing,” said Fudge thoughtfully, “supposing you were terribly big, miles and miles high, and you had a frightfully huge bat, couldn’t you get a d-d-dandy swipe at it!”

“You could make a home run, Fudge!” laughed Lanny. “Only you’d have to hit pretty quick. Why, if you were tall enough to reach the moon, it would be going past you faster than one of Tom’s straight ones, Fudge!”

“Quite a bit faster,” agreed Gordon. “Still, it would be ‘in the groove,’ and if you took a good swing and got your eye on it you could everlastingly bust up the game!”

“I think,” replied Fudge, who had literary yearnings, “I’ll write a story about a giant who did that.”

“Well, there are some pretty good hitters among the ‘Giants,’” commented Dick gravely. Fudge snorted.

“You know wh-wh-what I mean!” he said severely.

“Of course he does,” agreed Lanny. “Dick, you oughtn’t to poke fun at Fudge’s great thoughts. Fudge is a budding genius, Fudge is, and if you’re not careful you’ll discourage him. Remember his story about the fellow who won the mile race in two minutes and forty-one seconds, Dick? That was a peach of a——

“I didn’t!” declared Fudge passionately. “The p-p-printer made a mistake! I’ve told you that a th-th-th-thousand t-t-times! I wrote it——

“Don’t spoil it,” begged Dick. “It was a much better story the way The Purple printed it. Any fellow might run the mile in four-something, but to do it under three shows real ability, Fudge. Besides, what’s a minute or two in a story?”

“Aw, cu-cu-cut it out!” grumbled Fudge. “You f-f-fellows m-m-m-m——

“You’ll never do it, Fudge,” said Gordon sympathetically. “I’ve noticed that if you don’t make it the first two or three times you——

——M-make me tired!” concluded Fudge breathlessly but triumphantly.

“Snappy work!” approved Lanny. “If at first you don’t succeed——

“T-t-try, try again,” assisted Gordon. Fudge muttered something both unintelligible and uncomplimentary, and Gordon turned to Dick: “How did you get on with Mrs. Thingamabob at the Point, Dick?” he asked. “What’s the kid like?”

“All right. The name is Townsend. They’re at the hotel. The boy is thirteen and he’s—he’s a bit spoiled, I guess. There’s an older brother, too, a fellow about seventeen. He confided to me that I’d have a beast of a time with the youngster. His name—the brother’s—is Loring Townsend. Anybody know him?”

There was no response, and Dick continued:

“He seemed rather a nice chap, big brother did. As for the kid—his name is Harold, by the way——

“Fancy names, what?” said Gordon. “Loring and Harold.”

“No fancier than your own,” commented Fudge, still a trifle disgruntled. “Gordon! Gee, that’s a sweet name for a grown-up fellow!”

“Not as sweet as Fudge, though,” answered Gordon.

“That’s not my n-n-name!”

“There, you’re getting him excited again,” said Lanny soothingly. “Move out of the moonlight, Fudge. It’s affecting your disposition. What about the kid, Dick? Is he the one you’re going to tutor?”

“Yes; he’s entered for Rifle Point in the Autumn, and he’s way behind on two or three things. The worst of it is that he doesn’t seem very enthusiastic about catching up. I guess I’ll have my work cut out for me. The big brother told me that I was to take no nonsense from young Harold, and that he’d back me up, but—I don’t know. I guess Mrs. Townsend wouldn’t approve of harsh measures. She’s trying her best to spoil the kid, I’d say. I’m to go over five mornings a week, beginning Monday.”

“I’m glad I don’t have to do it,” commented Gordon. “I’ll bet the kid is a young terror, Dick.”

Dick smiled. “He is—something of the sort. But I guess he and I will get on all right after a while. And if he’s got it in him to learn, he will learn,” Dick added grimly. “That is, unless his mother——

“She’s bound to,” said Lanny. “They all do. Inside of a week she’ll be telling you that you’re working her darling too hard.”

“How do you know so much about it?” challenged Fudge. “Anyone would think you were a hundred years old!”

Lanny laughed. “I’ve kept my eyes open, Fudge, sweet child. Mothers are pretty fine institutions; no fellow should be without one; but they are most of them much too easy on us. And you know that as well as I do.”

“Mine isn’t,” murmured Fudge regretfully. “She’s worse than my father at making me do things!”

“Oh, well, you’re an exceptional case,” said Gordon gently. “When a fellow shows criminal tendencies like yours, Fudge——

“Yes, writing stories at your age! You ought to be ashamed!” Lanny spoke with deep severity. Fudge only chuckled.

“Some day,” he announced gleefully, “I’m going to write a story and put you fellows all into it. Then you’ll wish you hadn’t been so fresh. The only thing is”—and his voice fell disconsolately—“I don’t suppose, if I told what I know about you, I could get it published!”

“Deal gently with us, Fudge,” begged Dick humbly. “Remember, we used to be friends. I must be getting along, fellows. Coming over to-morrow, Gordie?”

“Yes, I’ll drop around in the morning. We’ve got to get busy and send out some challenges. Who can we get to play with us, Lanny, besides Lesterville and, maybe, Plymouth?”

“I don’t know. I think there are plenty of teams, though, if we can find them.”

“They have a team at Logan,” said Fudge, “but I guess they’re older than we are.”

“What do we care?” asked Gordon. “Logan’s a good way off, though, and I suppose it would cost like the dickens to get there.”

“Make them come over here,” suggested Lanny.

“‘Good-night,’ responded Gordon and Fudge”

“Yes, but then they’d want their expenses guaranteed.”

“Look here,” observed Dick, “why couldn’t we charge admission to some of the games after we got started? I dare say quite a lot of folks would pay a quarter to see a good game.”

“They might,” conceded Lanny. “We could try it, anyway. If we could get, say, a hundred admissions, we’d have twenty-five dollars, and then we could pay the expenses of any team around here. That’s a bully idea, Dick. As a manager you’re all to the good.”

“I thank you,” replied Dick, setting his crutches under his arms. “We’ll talk it over to-morrow. You come over, too, Lanny; and Fudge if he is not in the throes of literary composition.”

“I’ll walk around with you,” said Lanny. “It’s too bully a night to go to bed, anyway. Good-night, fellows.”

“Good-night,” responded Gordon and Fudge. “Good-night, Dick.”

They watched the two as long as they were in sight in the white radiance of the moon, and then:

“They’re two of the finest fellows in the world,” said Fudge warmly. “And wouldn’t Dick be a wonder if he was like the rest of us, Gordie?”

“Y—yes,” replied Gordon thoughtfully, “only—sometimes I think that maybe if Dick was like the rest of us, Fudge, he might not be the splendid chap he is.”

Fudge objected to that, but afterward, returning home by way of the back fence, he thought it over. “I suppose,” he told himself, as he paused on his porch for a final look at the moon, “what Gordie means is that tribulations ennoble our characters.” That struck him as a fine phrase, and he made a mental note of it. Still later, as he lay in bed with the moonlight illumining his room, he began to plan a perfectly corking story around the phrase, with Dick as the hero. Unfortunately, perhaps, for American literature, sleep claimed him before he had completed it.


On Wednesday the Clearfield Baseball Club reported for practice. There was a full attendance, with the exception of Tom Haley. Gordon confined the hour’s work to fielding, however, and Tom’s absence was not felt. Fudge had purchased a brand-new High School uniform and Pete Robey had been lucky enough to borrow one from a boy who had played on the team several years before. As the shirts and caps held only the letter “C,” there was nothing misrepresentative about the gray uniforms. Of course, the fact that the C was purple and that the stockings were of the same royal hue might lead one to mistake the team for the High School nine; but Gordon had consulted the principal, Mr. Grayson, in the matter, and Mr. Grayson had given it as his opinion that, so long as they did not pretend to be the High School team, there could be no harm in wearing their school uniforms.

Most of the fellows had not played since the final game with Springdale, nearly a month before, and were consequently rather out of practice. Muscles were stiff, and that first day’s work only produced soreness. But by Saturday the fellows were pegging the ball around with their old-time ginger and running and sliding with their accustomed agility. Tom pitched to the batters on Friday, and the result proved that batting practice was far from being a waste of time. Even Gordon, who had headed the batting list that Spring, found that his eye was bad and that he could connect with Tom’s easy offerings scarcely better than the tail-enders.

Fudge plunged into the business with heart and soul, determined to make himself not only a useful member of the outfield but a regular Ty Cobb or Home-Run Baker at the bat. I regret to have to state that for some time Fudge’s fielding was not at all spectacular and that he never—or at least never that summer—threatened to dispute Mr. Cobb’s supremacy with the stick. But they didn’t expect great things from Fudge; and as time went on he developed a very clever judgment in the matter of fly balls and even became able to throw with some accuracy to the infield.

Meanwhile, Dick had entered into correspondence with some half dozen baseball teams in not too distant towns, and already a game had been scheduled with Lesterville, who, to Dick’s surprise and satisfaction, offered to pay Clearfield’s expenses if it would visit Lesterville. Manager Lovering promptly agreed and the date of the contest was fixed for the second Saturday following the Rutter’s Point game. On Friday morning Dick and Caspar Billings again met and completed arrangements. Caspar, a boy of Dick’s own age, took a great liking to the Clearfield manager, and insisted on his staying to luncheon with him on that occasion, and it was on the Billings’ veranda, within a stone’s throw of the waves, that the two talked it all over.

Caspar was a fine-looking youth, rather large but well conditioned, with dark hair and eyes, a ready smile, and a jovial laugh. He lived in New York, but had been spending his summers at the Point for several years. Dick met Caspar’s mother and two older sisters at luncheon, but Mr. Billings was not present, and Dick gathered that he remained in New York save for an occasional week-end. When Caspar explained that Dick was tutoring Harold Townsend, Mrs. Billings shook her head pessimistically.

“I’m afraid,” she said, “you’ll find him rather difficult. He isn’t exactly what I’d call a nice-dispositioned boy.”

“Come, mother, don’t discourage Lovering at the start,” laughed Caspar. “We all know that the kid’s horribly spoiled, but then Lovering isn’t going to be a governess to him!”

“I don’t want to discourage him, dear, but I thought it only right he should know that—well, if he isn’t very successful, it won’t be altogether his fault. Mrs. Townsend is a dear woman, but I can’t admire the way she has brought up that boy.”

“His brother has already warned me,” replied Dick, with a smile. “I’m prepared for the worst. So far, Harold has behaved very well. He doesn’t like to study much, but he hasn’t—well, lain down in the shafts yet.”

“He will, though,” laughed Caspar. “And if you don’t keep a tight rein he will bust the shafts! That brother of his is a nice chap, though. By the way, he’s going to play first base for us, Lovering.”

“Who is your pitcher?” asked Dick.

“I—we aren’t quite sure. We expect it will be Mason, but he hasn’t come yet. If he doesn’t show up we’ll have to find some one else. You know Morris Brent, don’t you? He’s on the team, too. Then there’s Pink Northrop and Jim House and Gilbert Chase and Charlie Leary and—let’s see; oh, yes, Billy Houghton. And Mason, if he gets here in time. How many’s that? Never mind. I dare say I’ve forgotten one or two. I guess we’ll average a year or so older than you chaps, but you have been playing together, and I guess that will equalize things. That field over behind the hotel isn’t the best in the world, but it’s not bad in the infield.”

“What position do you play?” asked Dick, when they were back on the veranda.

“Third usually. I’m not particular. I’m not much of a player, but I get a lot of fun out of it. I’ve tried two years running for the team at school and haven’t made it yet.”

“What school do you go to?”

“St. George’s. We turn out some pretty fair ball teams there. I’m going to try again next Spring. It’s my last year, and if I don’t make it then I’m a goner.”

“I suppose you’re going to college, though?”

“No; my father doesn’t want me to. Says he needs me with him in the office. I don’t mind—very much. Of course, I’d like to go; ’most every fellow I know at school is going. Maybe father will change his mind before Spring. What about you, Lovering?”

“College?” Dick shook his head. “I’d like it mighty well, too, but it costs too much. Funny how fellows who can go don’t care about it. There’s Morris Brent. His father’s crazy to have him go to college. He tells Morris he can have his pick of them all. Morris doesn’t want to go a bit; and he won’t, I guess, if he doesn’t brace up.”

“Exams, you mean?”

Dick nodded. “Morris is always in trouble with his studies.”

“His father’s a bit of a Tartar, isn’t he?” asked Caspar. “I’ve only met him once or twice, but he seemed sort of cross-grained.”

“I don’t know. I know he and Morris are always at outs about one thing or another. Just now, I hear, it’s an automobile. Morris wants one, and his father says he can’t have it. Do you know him very well?”

“Not very. We’ve seen each other quite a little for several summers, but we aren’t awfully chummy. I don’t quite——” Caspar paused, with a puzzled frown. “If he’d forget that his father has a lot of money, he’d get on better with fellows here. I like his sister, though. She’s an awfully nice, jolly kid. And his mother’s mighty nice, too.”

“Yes, so I’ve heard. I don’t know them. Well, I must get along. We will be over here in time to begin the game at three on Saturday, Billings. I’ll talk to Gordon about the umpire, but I’m pretty sure the chap you speak of will be satisfactory to us. Thanks for being so kind. Will you say good-bye to your mother and sisters, please?”

“That’s all right,” replied Caspar warmly. “Hope you’ll come around often, Lovering. See you Wednesday, anyway.” He watched Dick’s deft manipulation of his crutches anxiously. Finally: “I say, it’s a long walk to the trolley. Let me take you over, won’t you? We have a sort of a horse and cart here, and it won’t take a minute to hitch up.”

“No, thanks; I like to walk,” replied Dick, with a smile. “Maybe you wouldn’t call it walking, though; perhaps I ought to say that I like to ‘crutch.’”

“Call it what you like,” responded Caspar heartily, “you certainly do it mighty well, Lovering!”

Dick reached the trolley station in ample time for the two-forty-five car back to Clearfield, and on the way his thoughts dwelt largely on Master Harold Townsend. Master Harold was a good deal of a problem. So far, as Dick had told Mrs. Billings, the boy had behaved very decently, but Dick knew quite well that it was principally because he was still in some awe of his tutor. That awe would soon wear off, for there wasn’t enough difference in the ages of the two to allow Dick to keep the upper hand very long. Then, as Dick realized, there’d be trouble. Unfortunately, he could not, he felt, count on the boy’s mother to back him up, for that lady was lamentably weak where her youngest son was concerned. Of course, Dick might keep on drawing his wages all summer and nothing would be said, but he didn’t intend to do that unless he was earning them. And it wasn’t going to be an easy matter to earn them as soon as Harold got over his present diffidence and the slight enthusiasm with which Dick had managed to imbue him. The money meant a good deal to Dick, and he hated to think of losing it, but one thing was certain: As soon as he failed to make progress with Harold he would quit. Perhaps he would find another pupil, he reflected more hopefully, although so far only Mrs. Townsend had replied to his application.

Just then, his gaze wandering along the flying landscape, he caught sight of a small blue runabout automobile trying desperately to keep pace with the trolley car. The road was a good three hundred yards away, and it was not possible to make out with any certainty the identity of the lone figure in the blue car, but Dick was pretty sure that the daring driver was Morris Brent. If so, he had, then, overruled his father in the matter, thought Dick. It wasn’t like Mr. Brent to change his mind, either. In any case, and whoever was driving the runabout, that light vehicle was plunging along the none too smooth road at a pace that brought Dick’s heart into his mouth more than once and attracted the concerned attention of all the occupants of the trolley car. Several times, as it seemed, the runabout narrowly avoided collision with the white fence which ran beside the dirt road, and Dick was heartily relieved when, presently, a team approached from the direction of Clearfield, and the driver of the automobile, recognizing the futility of trying to pass at his present reckless speed, slowed down and was lost to sight from the car.

Dick mentioned the incident to Gordon at practice that afternoon, but Gordon was unable to say whether Morris had bought the automobile he had spoken of. “He said he was going to, though, whether his father wanted him to or not. Said he had some money of his own and that Stacey, the agent on Oak Street, would wait for the rest. If his father finds it out, he will be hopping mad, I’ll bet.”

“It won’t take him long to find it out,” replied Dick dryly. “At least two dozen persons saw him to-day. Someone’s pretty sure to speak of it. The idiot was driving as though he wanted to break his silly neck!”

“That’s the way Morris would drive,” said Gordon. “By the way, there’s a meeting of the Athletic Committee called for next Saturday night in Assembly Hall to consider a new field. Will was telling me. He says he doesn’t see how we’re going to get a field without paying for it, and we haven’t any money to do that.”

“It’s tough luck,” replied Dick. “Have they any field in sight?”

“I don’t think so. Will said something about a piece of land on the way to the Point, near the picnic ground. Do you know what he means?”

“No; but I guess there’s plenty of land there. I don’t believe it’s very level. I suppose beggars mustn’t be choosers, however.”

“I think it’s mighty mean of Mr. Brent to take that field away from us!” said Gordon scowlingly.

“Did you tell him so the other day?” Dick asked innocently.

Gordon laughed. “No, I forgot to! Come on and let’s get these fellows started. Tom, will you pitch at the net for a while?”

“Shall I tell Billings it’s all right about the umpire, Gordie?”

“Yes; we don’t care who umps as long as he knows how. If they play us again, we’ll have the choice then. Now then, fellows, get your batting eyes! Don’t be too easy with us, Tom. Speed ’em over, old scout!”


Clearfield boarded the two-fifteen trolley car on Wednesday and set out for Rutter’s Point in high spirits. They had intended taking the two-o’clock car, but Harry Bryan and Fudge had failed to arrive at the starting point on time. Harry claimed business affairs as his reason for tardiness, but Fudge’s excuse was both vague and involved, and Gordon informed him that the next time he failed to be on time he would be left behind. Fudge smiled dreamily.

The team in their gray uniforms with purple stockings presented a very natty appearance. To be sure, some of the stockings were pretty well faded and several of the suits were somewhat stained, but on the whole the players passed muster very well. They took possession of the first two seats on the car and had a very happy and fairly noisy time of it. Dick and Gordon got their heads together over the batting order and rearranged it for the third time. When it was finally fixed to their liking it was as follows: Bryan, 2b; Scott, 3b; Merrick, 1b; Wayland, l. f.; Tappen, r. f.; Robey, ss.; White, c.; Shaw, c. f.; Haley, p.

“We’ll try it that way,” said Gordon, “and see how it goes. Maybe we’d better put Jack after me, though. What do you think?”

“We had it that way, and you thought we’d better change it,” answered Dick patiently.

“I know, but—but I guess he ought to follow me, Dick.”

“Look here,” said Dick, with a smile, “who’s manager here?”

“You are,” replied Gordon, a trifle sheepishly.

“All right. I just wanted to know.”

“Then—you think——

“I think the batting order is going to stay just as it is!”

They reached the field shortly after half-past two, and found a handful of spectators from the hotel and cottages already seated in the shade of the little row of trees behind the third-base line. The Point team was not in evidence, and Gordon quickly distributed his players over the diamond and started warming up. Five minutes later the rival team appeared by ones and twos, and Caspar Billings sought Dick where he was watching the performance of his charges. When Gordon came in from first base, Dick introduced the rival captains and they shook hands. Other introductions followed, but several of the Point fellows were already known to the Clearfield members. Clearfield gave up the diamond to her opponents at ten minutes to three, and watched their practice. The Point team was not in agreement, it appeared, as to a uniform. Every player wore togs of some sort, but at least a half-dozen schools were represented, and there were stockings of about every color in the solar spectrum in evidence. The umpire was named Vokes, and was a college man who was serving as a clerk at the hotel. Gordon decided that while Mr. Vokes’ sympathies might be with Rutter’s Point he was not the sort to let them affect his decisions. Also, Gordon reflected, unless he was very much mistaken, Vokes knew baseball from A to Z. As it turned out, Gordon was not mistaken, and Mr. Vokes’ umpiring was perhaps the most perfect feature of that far from perfect contest.

Clearfield, as the visiting team, went to bat first. Dick, who had been given the Point batting list by a youth who was to score for the home team, was relieved to find that Mason was not set down as a pitcher. Dick didn’t know a thing about Mason, but he somehow had got the impression that Mason was something a bit unusual. Evidently he had not arrived in time for to-day’s game. The pitcher whom the Point presented was named Porter. He looked capable and wore a Lawrenceville cap with what Dick took to be the second team insignia over the visor.

The Point team averaged perhaps a year and a half more than the visiting nine, and was almost entirely composed of players from well-known preparatory schools. As, however, they had never performed together before as a team, save in one or two desultory practice games with a nine made up of hotel employees, Dick had hopes of taking their measure to-day.

Some seventy or eighty onlookers were gathered together on the grass behind the third base line, prepared to root for the Pointers, when Porter delivered the first ball to Harry Bryan. It was a pretty hot afternoon, for what breeze there was came from the landward side of the sun-smitten field. Two settees had been placed on the first-base side of the plate for the accommodation of the visitors, and here Dick and the others sat in the full glare of the afternoon sun, Dick perspiring over his score book and the rest watching interestedly the behavior of the rival pitcher. The field was fairly level about the infield, but further out it rolled a good deal and was covered with rough, bunchy grass.

Porter disposed of Harry Bryan without trouble, and Will Scott took his place at the plate. Will beat out a slow grounder to shortstop and went to second on Gordon’s bunt down third base line. But Gordon was out at first and Curtis Wayland let the third strike get by him.

Rutter’s Point led off with a clean two-base hit by Caspar Billings and followed it with a neat sacrifice bunt that placed the captain on third. But he died there a few minutes later, for Tom Haley struck out Morris Brent easily and made the next man pop up a fly to Pete Robey.

The second inning passed without a score, but in the first of the third, after Tom Haley had struck out, Harry Bryan drove a long fly into right field and reached second when the fielder misjudged it. Will Scott walked and Gordon hit clean past third, Harry scoring the first run and leaving third and second occupied. Way went out, second to first. Jack Tappen put himself in a hole and then emerged brilliantly with a smash that was too hot for the pitcher. Will scored and Jack reached first safely. With Gordon on third, Jack tried a steal. To his surprise the Point catcher slammed the ball down to shortstop and Jack was caught a yard away from base. Gordon scored too late.

But with a lead of two runs things looked bright for Clearfield. The Point again failed to cross the platter, although Loring Townsend got as far as second. Tom’s shoots were too much for the home team. Neither side scored in the fourth. When the first half of the fifth began Pete Robey was up, and Pete, contrary to expectations, delivered a scratch hit and reached the first bag. Lanny flied out to left fielder and Pete reached second ahead of the throw-in. Fudge went out on strikes and, with Tom Haley up, the inning seemed over. But Tom made his one hit of the game, a Texas Leaguer that fell safely behind first baseman, and Pete legged it for the plate and arose from the dust triumphant with a tally. Tom got to second on the throw to the plate, but Harry was out, third baseman to first.

So far Clearfield had played a clean game in the field, but in the last of the fifth luck deserted her. A hard smash down the first base line put a runner on second. A slow hit to Will Scott should have been an easy out, but Will booted the ball and the runner was safe. The next man went out on a foul to Gordon, but the following batsman cracked a liner between Peter and Harry and the Point scored its first run. With a man on third, Lanny declined to throw to second and the runner on first worked an easy steal. Then a batsman found one of Tom’s straight ones and sent it into short center. Fudge made a fine running catch, but the best he could do was to field the ball to Harry and Harry’s throw to the plate was too late to keep the Point from tying the score. Tom settled down then and struck out the next batter and the inning was over, with the score three to two.

The spectators warmed up then and there was plenty of noise during the rest of the game. The sixth inning was uneventful, although both sides got men on bases. The Point pitcher was by no means remarkable, and, as Gordon complained, his deliveries would have been easy for Clearfield had the latter’s batsmen been in any sort of condition. As it was, though, they found him puzzling when hits meant runs and by the end of the sixth he had seven strike-outs to his credit. It was during the last half of that inning that a small youth detached himself from the group of spectators across the field and walked around to the Clearfield bench and seated himself beside Dick. He was a good-looking youngster, as brown as a berry, with a pair of big and rather impudent gray eyes.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hello,” responded Dick, glancing up from his score. “How are you to-day, Harold?”

“Fine and dandy,” replied that youth easily. “Keeping score?”

“Yes,” answered Dick, crediting Harry Bryan with an assist and Gordon with a put-out and penciling the mystic characters “2-1 1” in the square opposite Pink Northrop’s name. “Enjoying the game, Harold?”

Harold Townsend yawned. “I guess so. We’re going to beat you fellows.”

“Think so?” asked Dick amiably.

“Sure thing. Our pitcher’s just getting good now. Bede Porter never begins to pitch till the middle of the game. He will have you fellows eating out of his hand pretty soon.”

“Well, he’s pitched a pretty good game so far. Hello!” Dick was gazing in surprise at the boy beside him. “What have you done to your hair?”

Harold grinned. “Had it clipped. Mother’s so angry she can’t see straight. She said I wasn’t to, but I went down to the barber shop this morning before breakfast. Gee, it’s fine and cool!”

“Hardly the right thing to do, though, was it?”

“Oh, she’ll get over it. Other fellows have their heads clipped in summer, don’t they?”

Dick evaded the question. “How are you getting on with your lessons?” he asked. “Going to be all ready for me Monday morning?”

“I guess so,” replied Harold without enthusiasm. “Who’s the fellow catching for your team, Lovering?”

“Lansing White.”

“Gee, that’s a good name for him, White. He’s a regular tow-head, isn’t he?”

“Is he? He’s a fine chap, though.”

“He don’t catch as well as Billy Houghton. Look at the way Gil Chase stole on him last inning. Say, you keep score dandy, don’t you? Isn’t it hard?”

“Not very, when you’re used to it. Would you like to learn how?”

“No, I can do it well enough. It’s too much trouble, anyhow. I’d rather play. My brother’s the best player on our team.”

“Better than Caspar Billings?” asked Dick idly.

“Aw, go on! He can’t play! Why, Loring’s been first baseman on his school team for two years. He could be captain if he wanted to.”

“That’s very nice,” said Dick. “Now you’d better scoot along and make room for the fellows. That’s three out. I’ll see you Monday, Harold.”

“All right. Don’t come if it’s too much trouble,” replied the boy with a grin. “I shan’t mind.”

“That your pupil?” asked Lanny, sinking on to the bench beside Dick. “Looks like a fresh kid.”

“He is, rather,” replied Dick dryly. “Will, you’d better play further in. That fellow House has laid three bunts down the base line and made them good twice. You’re up, Jack. Pete on deck. Let’s have a couple of runs this inning, fellows.”


But although Jack Tappen drove out a two-bagger over shortstop’s head and Pete Robey got safely to first on an error by the third baseman, the next three players went out in order, Lanny on a foul that was pulled down by third baseman, Fudge on strikes and Tom Haley on a weak effort to second baseman.

Encouraged by the valiant cheers of its supporters, the Point went to work in its half of the seventh in a very business-like way. Townsend beat out a bunt in front of base, Morris Brent hit safely into short left field, advancing Townsend, and Gil Chase sent a hot one through the pitcher’s box which Tom couldn’t handle. With the bases full, things looked bad for Clearfield. Tom knocked down House’s drive, however, held Townsend at third, and worked the first out. Then Leary, after spoiling three good ones, fouled out to Lanny, and Clearfield breathed easier. But Pink Northrop, although a tail-ender on the batting list, came through with a hit that brought shrieks of delight from the Point sympathizers and sent two runs across. Billy Houghton trickled a slow bunt toward first and the man on third tried for the plate. But Gordon, running in fast, got the ball to Lanny ahead of the runner and the side was out.

“You’re up, Harry,” announced Dick. “There’s a fine opening for a bright young man between third and short. See what you can do.”

“I’ll try it, but I’m batting pretty punk,” replied Harry doubtfully. “What’s the matter with a bunt, Dick?”

“Nothing doing, Harry. Hit it out. Get to first and try a hit-and-run with Will.”

But Harry’s effort was a weak grounder that bounded nicely into shortstop’s hands and there was one out. Gordon, behind first, looked worried as Will faced the pitcher. But, “Pick out a good one, Will,” he called cheerfully. “He hasn’t much on it.”

Will, profiting by the advice, sought to select one to his liking and Porter very soon found himself in a hole. The umpire didn’t like Porter’s offerings any better than Will and after six deliveries Will walked to first.

“That’s the stuff!” cried Jack Tappen, relieving Gordon on the coaching line. “He’s all in! Whale it out, Gordon! Here we go, fellows!”

Gordon swung viciously at the first ball across and the third baseman stepped cautiously back. Then came a wide one that Gordon disdained. The next was likewise a ball by a narrow margin. At first Will was dancing back and forth and Jack was coaching at the top of his lungs, while from behind third Lanny was offering his budget of advice and comment. Porter wound up again, Will started for second and Gordon swung his bat. There was a crack as ball and bat met, and Will, nearing second, saw Lanny’s entreating gestures and never paused in his stride.

Out in center field the ball was bounding along the turf and Gordon was already rounding first. Luck helped Clearfield then, for just as center fielder slackened his pace to get the ball the latter struck against a tuft of the coarse grass in front of him and bounded erratically aside. At third Lanny waved Will on to the plate. Gordon, pausing a few yards past first, took up his running again while the center fielder turned and raced back for the rolling ball. When he reached it Gordon was sliding to second in a cloud of dust and Will was halfway to the plate. The fielder, Jim House, made a beautiful throw, but Will beat it, and the best the catcher could do was to hold Gordon on second.

On the Clearfield bench the purple-hosed players cheered and cavorted, while on the shady side of the diamond a strange silence held. Way tapped the base impatiently with his favorite bat and Harry implored him to hit it out. Porter looked nervous for the first time.

“He’s up in the air!” shrieked Harry. “Wait for your base, Way. You don’t have to hit it! He’ll pass you! Here we go! Here we go! Here——

Harry paused only because Way had picked out the first ball offered him and had banged it across to shortstop. Gordon scurried to third and Way raced toward first. Shortstop got the ball on a low bound, cast a hurried look toward third and pelted it across to first. But the throw was poor and although first baseman got it he dropped it the next instant and the umpire spread his hands wide.

“Watch home!” implored the catcher. But Gordon was taking no chances with only one out and contented himself with dancing up the base line a few yards to draw the throw. The ball went back to pitcher and pitcher and catcher met and held a conference. Gordon spoke to Lanny and Lanny nodded.

“Well, I guess we’ve got them guessing, Harry,” he called across.

“Here’s where we break it up, fellows!” responded Harry. “On your toes, Way! Here we go!”

Porter glanced over his infield, tugged at his cap, hitched his trousers, studied the catcher’s signal and wound up. But the throw was to first and Way was nearly caught napping. Twice more Porter tried to clear that base, and then, anticipating a steal, threw out to the catcher. But Way hugged first and only grinned, while the umpire announced “One ball!” Then a curve went over the corner of the plate and Jack Tappen had a strike on him. The Point infield was playing close and Jack knew that a bunt would not help any. He let the second strike go by, a deceptive drop, and then came the signal from Harry.

“Make it be good, Jack!” called Harry. “Here we go! Here we go!”

Porter wound up again and Way started for second. It was now or never for Jack and desperately he glued his eye to the oncoming sphere, swung and felt the pleasant tingle that announced that he had hit it! Then he was racing for the base. Shortstop had the ball a dozen feet back of the base line. Second baseman ran to cover that bag. Perhaps he thought a throw to the plate would fail to head off the speeding runner from third, or perhaps he had some idea of starting a double play. At all events, Chase tossed the ball quickly toward second. It reached there simultaneously with second baseman and Way. Second baseman made a grab for it and got it, but at that instant Way, sliding into the bag feet-foremost, collided with the defender of the sack and the ball trickled away in the dust. Gordon slid across the plate, Way was safe at second and Jack was grinning from first!

That misadventure was the Point’s undoing. Porter went to pieces then and there. Pete hit a liner that sent in Way, put Jack on third and himself on second; Lanny, enjoined to wait for his base, stood idle while the pitcher slammed four balls past him, and then, with the bases full, and one out, Fudge, with the score two strikes and two balls, resisted the temptation to swing and was presented with his base. Jack was forced across for the fourth tally.

Tom, eager to add his mite to the slaughter, hit a beautiful drive toward left field and the runners started around. But Caspar Billings performed the impossible. Although the ball was at least a yard over his head, he knocked it down with his right, spoiling what was intended for a two-bagger, and sped it to the plate ten feet in front of Pete, who, with the possible exception of Caspar himself, was the most surprised youth on the field. Back flew the ball to third, but Lanny had luck with him and somehow managed to slide into the bag ahead of Caspar’s descending arm.

Encouraged, Rutter’s Point set about getting the third out, and Porter settled down to deceive Harry Bryan. But Harry, realizing that in all probability this would be his last time at bat, and seeing what a fine opportunity was presented him to write his name on the annals of fame, was cautious and watchful. Porter worked a low ball over for a strike, followed it with a ball wide of the plate, coaxed him with a slow one that failed to entice Harry or please the umpire and then tried to sneak a fast one across in the groove. But Harry saw it coming, laid all his strength along that slender piece of ash he held and swung! And when the excitement was over three more runs had been piled on to Clearfield’s score and Harry was seated, breathless but happy, on third, having lined out a two-base hit into deep center and taken third on the throw to the plate. That ended it, however, for Will Scott popped a foul into first baseman’s hands.

With the score ten to four against them the Rutter’s Point team was discouraged and beaten. It tried half-heartedly to get a man around in the last of the eighth and managed to stop Clearfield in the first of the ninth, although some poor base-running on the part of the visitors did more than any efforts of the home team to save the plate in that inning. And in the last half of the ninth the Point actually got a runner as far as third. But there he stayed while the next two batsmen fell before Tom’s slants and a third sent up a short fly that settled comfortably into Pete Robey’s hands and brought the game to an end.

Clearfield cheered Rutter’s Point, in the intoxication of the moment using the regular High School slogan, and Rutter’s Point cheered Clearfield and bats were gathered up and the two teams started off the field. They came together at the corner of the hotel and Caspar called to Dick: “We’d like to try you again, Lovering, some time.” And Dick answered: “Glad to play you, Billings. We’ll talk it over soon.”

Morris Brent laid a hand on Gordon’s arm and pulled him aside. “Say, Gordon, I’ve got my car here. Come on back with me, won’t you? I’ll get you home quicker than the trolley will do it.”

“Why, much obliged,” murmured Gordon, “but——

“Oh, come on! I want you to see how dandy it runs.”

“I’m not insured,” laughed Gordon, trying to pull away from the other’s detaining hand.

“Oh, pshaw! I won’t dump you out. I’ll run as slow as you like. Come on.”

“Well, all right,” agreed Gordon without enthusiasm. “Oh, Dick! I’m going back with Morris. I’ll see you this evening.”

Morris led the way toward the pier, where the Clearfield road joined the shore avenue, and Gordon saw the blue runabout standing at the side of the road. It was a very attractive little car, in spite of the layer of gray dust which sullied the shining varnish.

“Isn’t she a peach?” demanded Morris. “And go! Say, I went nearly forty miles an hour in her the other day!”

“Yes,” replied Gordon dryly, “Dick saw you, I guess. He said you were racing with the trolley.”

“Oh, shucks, not that time! I was only doing about thirty then. I had to slow down for a team. You ought to have seen me the other morning on the Springdale road. That was going some, I tell you!”

“Well, if you try any thirty mile stunt to-day I’ll fall out the back of it,” warned Gordon.

“I won’t. Wait till I start it. All right. In you get. Pretty comfortable seats, aren’t they?”

“Yes,” agreed Gordon as the runabout swung around in the dusty road and headed toward Clearfield at a moderate speed. “Does—does your father know about it?”

Morris chuckled. “No, not yet. I don’t want him to, but I suppose some busybody will tell him.”

“Bound to,” said Gordon. “Especially if you do such spectacular stunts as you did the other day. Folks on the trolley, Dick said, expected to see you go off the road any minute.”

“Pooh! Folks who don’t drive autos always think that. Why, you’re just as safe in this thing as you are in the trolley. Safer, I guess. Remember when the car jumped the track year before last and killed six or seven people?”

“Yes, but I’ll take my chances with the trolley,” replied Gordon. “There it goes now. I wonder if the fellows caught it.”

“Sure. Anyway, we’ll soon see. I can catch that trolley as though it was standing still!” Morris pulled down his throttle and the little car bounded forward with a deeper hum of its engine. Gordon grasped the arm of the seat beside him.

“Never mind!” he exclaimed. “I don’t care whether they did or not, Morris! Pull her down!”

Morris obeyed, laughing. “Shucks,” he said, “that wasn’t fast. We were only going twenty-five or six miles an hour.”

“How do you know?” grumbled Gordon, relaxing his grip.

Morris indicated the speedometer with his foot. “That thing tells you,” he explained. “Watch the long hand. We’re doing sixteen now. I’ll hit her up a bit. There, see the hand move around? Twenty—twenty-two—twenty-four——

“That’ll do, thanks! And for the love of mud, Morris, keep her away from this fence!”

“Why, there’s five feet there,” protested the driver.

“Y-yes, but the old thing wabbles so it gives me heart failure!”

“You just think it does,” returned Morris. “I can keep her as straight as an arrow if I want to.”

“Want to, then, will you?” laughed Gordon uneasily. “And—and here’s another car coming, Morris. Hadn’t you better slow down a little?”

“Say, you’re an awful baby,” commented the other. But he lowered the speed of the car still further and, to Gordon’s relief, hugged the fence pretty closely while a big gray touring car shot by them in a cloud of dust. Morris turned a speculative, admiring gaze on it as it passed.

“Thirty-five easily, she’s making,” he said. “Some day I’m going to have one like that. These little cars are all right to knock about in, but they’re too light to get much speed out of.”

“How fast do you want to run, anyway?” grumbled Gordon. “Isn’t twenty miles an hour fast enough?”

“You wait till you run one and you’ll see,” laughed Morris. “Why, twenty miles will seem like standing still to you!”

“It’s fast enough for me,” sighed Gordon. “Besides, this road is so rough that—Morris!

But Gordon’s cry was too late. There was a bump, a crash, the sound of splintering wood, and——


Gordon raised himself on one aching elbow and looked dazedly about him. Up the bank a dozen feet away lay the blue runabout on its side, one forward wheel—or the remains of it—thrust through a broken panel of the white fence that guarded that side of the road. A cloud of dust still hovered above the car, proving to Gordon that the accident had happened but the moment before. If it was not for that he could well have imagined that he had lain huddled up in a clump of bushes halfway down the steep bank for some time. His head was spinning wildly and he felt horribly jarred and bruised. But a tentative effort to get to his feet, while it was not successful because of dizziness, showed that at least he had no limbs broken. A second effort, made when the clouds had stopped revolving overhead like a gigantic blue-and-white pin-wheel, brought him staggering to his feet.

Strangely enough, it was not until he stood swaying unsteadily on the bank that he remembered Morris, or, rather, that he felt any concern for him. Anxiously then he looked about on every side. But no Morris was to be seen. Gordon called in a weak and shaky voice. There was no reply. Summoning his strength, Gordon crawled slowly up the side of the declivity, pulling himself by bushes and grass-tufts until at last he was clinging limply to the fence rail. There he leaned for an instant and closed his eyes. He felt very much as if he was going to faint, and perhaps he would have had he not at that moment, just as he seemed about to go off into a deliciously fearsome black void, heard the sound of a low groan.

Gordon pulled himself erect, opened his eyes and tried to look about, but the sunlight was frantically hot and glaring and the dusty road and the helpless hulk of the overturned auto danced fantastically before him. It was a full minute before he dared attempt to again lift his head and look. Even then sight was uncertain. But he realized that the groans—he heard them quite plainly now, low and monotonous—came from the further side of the car. He squirmed through the stout rails and stepped dizzily out into the road. Then he saw Morris.

He lay half in and half out of the car, one arm stretched from him in the dust and the other caught between the spokes of the steering wheel. Evidently the wheel had saved him from being thrown out as Gordon had been, but the latter, gazing with horror at the white face that seemed crushed against the dirt of the highway, surmised that it would have been better for Morris had he too been hurled over the fence. The dreadful thought that Morris was killed assailed Gordon, only to be banished by the comforting knowledge that dead folks don’t groan.

Gordon cast despairing looks up and down the road. Not a team or person was in sight. Then he knelt by Morris and spoke to him. But only low, unconscious moans answered him. Panic-stricken for an instant, Gordon gazed helplessly, his wits quite deserting him. Then common-sense whispered and he drew a deep breath of relief and seized Morris under the shoulders. Tug as he might, though, he could not budge the limp body. Then he saw why. Morris had evidently started to leap from the car and had got his left leg over the side when the car struck. Now that leg was imprisoned with the whole weight of the runabout upon it. Again Gordon looked along the highway for assistance, but, as before, the road stretched in either direction empty and deserted. Off toward town a cloud of dust hovered, but whether it indicated an approaching vehicle or a farmer’s wagon moving slowly toward Clearfield there was no knowing. Gordon set his lips firmly, striving to close his ears to Morris’ groans, and tried to think what to do. Perhaps if he could find water he could bring Morris back to consciousness, but what use to do that so long as the boy was pinned there under the car? No, the first thing to do was to set him free, and Gordon strove to think of a way to do it. He didn’t believe for an instant that he was capable of lifting that car and at the same time pulling Morris’ leg from beneath it. In fact, he doubted if he was strong enough to raise the weight of it. To make certain, however, he tried. It did move a little, he thought, but there was no question of raising it. Then he recalled seeing automobilists lifting their cars with jacks to put on new tires. If Morris had a jack——!

In a moment he was struggling with the cover over the box at the rear of the seat. It was jammed at one corner and it took him a full minute to wrench it open. When he finally did, however, the lifting jack was the first thing he saw. It was a small contrivance, scarcely a foot high, and Gordon viewed it doubtfully as he hurried with it around to the side. Morris’ leg was held down at the ankle by the edge of the turning-board and there was barely space between the ground and the side panel of the car in which to slip the jack. But it went in finally and Gordon began to work the handle. There was a heartening click as the cogs slipped into place and a cracking of frame and varnish as the car slowly rose. Bit by bit it went and at last Gordon pulled the imprisoned leg out. And not an instant too soon, for there was a lurch, the jack toppled sideways and the car settled back again in the dust, a forward wheel spinning slowly around.

Gordon turned Morris over on his back, placed a seat cushion, which had toppled out, under his head and again viewed the road anxiously. In the distance the dust cloud had disappeared and the road was still empty. He groaned with disappointment and exasperation. Usually a half-dozen vehicles would have passed in the ten minutes that had elapsed. To-day, because Morris’ life perhaps depended on getting him to a doctor, not one appeared! Gordon again thought of water and looked around him. Only dry hillside met his gaze on one side and only the equally dry gully separating road from trolley track on the other. But sight of the track gave Gordon an idea. The cars ran every quarter of an hour or so and if he could somehow get Morris down the bank, across the wide gully and up the slope on the other side it would be only a matter of a few minutes to town. But the distance was a good two hundred and fifty yards, he calculated, and Morris was no light burden. And, to increase his difficulties, he himself was in poor shape to make the effort. There was nothing else for it, however, and Gordon hurried to the fence and viewed the descent. A little further along was a place where the bank had at some time loosened and fallen in a miniature landslide and toward that spot Gordon was presently making his way.

He tried carrying Morris in his arms, but after the first few yards he had to give up. Instead, he took him by the wrists and dragged him as he might have dragged a sack of potatoes. It was hard work getting him through the fence, but easier when that obstacle was negotiated, for the descent helped. At the bottom of the bank it was necessary to worm in and out between bushes, while briars caught at him and tripped him as he toiled backward toward the further side of the gully. Twice he stopped to regain his breath and mop his streaming face. And it was while he was taking his second rest that a buzzing, humming sound came to him from the direction of town, a sound that grew louder even while he turned to look. Far down the track, visible here for a half-mile, came one of the big trolleys, swaying from side to side and eating up the rails in its rapid flight. There was but one thing to do, and Gordon did it.

Dropping Morris’ wrists, he set off at a run for the track. Once he tripped and measured his length in the briars, but he was up again in the instant, while, almost at hand as it seemed, the buzzing and throbbing of the rails sounded. When he finally reached the foot of the bank it seemed that he had not enough strength left to climb it. But climb it he did, somehow, with toes digging into the loose gravel and hands clutching at the infrequent tufts of grass or weeds. And when he reached the top and the side of the track the plunging car was almost up to him.

He knelt there on the edge of the embankment and waved his arms, shouting at the top of his exhausted lungs. A screech from the whistle sent its warning and then the big car was hurtling past him, the motorman casting a puzzled, indifferent glance as he shot by and the few passengers turning inquiring faces toward the boy crouched beside the track. Dust enveloped him and a great despair crushed him, and he did what was perhaps the one thing that could have stopped the car. He crumpled up in a heap at the ends of the ties and then rolled, slowly at first and then gaining momentum as he went, down the gravel slope into a clump of bushes at the bottom.

The conductor, who had leaned outboard at the warning shriek of the whistle, had seen the boy and had kept his eyes on him as the car had gone past. “Some kid wants to get on,” he explained to a passenger beside him on the rear platform, “but there’s no stop here.” Then his hand flew to the bell-cord. Boys didn’t crumple up like that and go rolling down embankments for the fun of it! With a loud grinding of brakes the big car came shivering to a stop a hundred yards along the track. The conductor tugged again at the cord and slowly the car crept backward. By that time the passengers were on their feet and the conductor was hanging over the steps. Then he had dropped and was plunging down the embankment in a cloud of dust and a cascade of loose gravel, the passenger on the platform following more carefully.

Gordon was already struggling to his feet when they reached him, and somehow he made them understand that some thirty yards away lay the unconscious form of Jonathan Brent’s son. After that events were very hazy and confused to Gordon. Kindly hands pulled and lifted him up the embankment and into the car, where he subsided weakly on a seat. Voices asked questions and he tried to answer them. Someone caught sight of the overturned automobile and there was much pointing and much exclaiming. And then three men came toiling across the ground below with Morris and others slid and stumbled down to help them, and almost at once the big car was pounding back the way it had come, its strident whistle shrieking above the hum of the rails in an incessant warning and alarm!


That was perhaps the quickest trip a Rutter’s Point car ever made, and almost before Gordon realized that town had been reached, and certainly before he had fully recovered from his experiences, the big yellow-sided car was coming to a stop at the foot of B Street, from where it was but two short blocks to Brentwood. The prolonged and frantic whistling had summoned a knot of curious persons to the corner as the car trundled around the curve and there were plenty of willing hands to bear the still unconscious form the remaining distance.

Gordon, not a little faint and weak, followed slowly. Someone had sped ahead and when the little throng reached the house anxious faces were already at the doorway. Gordon remained without and soon the men who had carried Morris inside returned to linger about the door and await the doctor’s verdict. The latter reached the gate a minute later, and, leaping from his buggy, hurried up the walk, his black bag swinging briskly.

There was a long wait after that. The accident was discussed in low voices by the small gathering outside and Gordon was forced to go through his story again. Presently he left the front steps and wandered around to the side of the house. From an upper window came the low mutter of voices. Near at hand was a rustic seat, placed against the wall of the screened porch, and on this Gordon subsided with a big sigh of relief. Inside the house a telephone bell rang shrilly. Footsteps hurried. The voices in the room upstairs still came indistinctly through the open window. It was pretty late, Gordon reflected, and he ought to be at home. His father would be angry with him if he was late for supper. But he didn’t want to go until he had heard whether Morris was going to get well. Meanwhile, it was fine and comfortable in the corner of the rustic seat and he would just close his eyes a minute——

Someone was shaking him gently and calling “Gordon! Wake up!” He stretched and opened his eyes. “Yes’m,” he muttered sleepily. But it couldn’t be morning, for it was almost dark and—and where was he? He sat up quickly then and gazed about him in blank surprise until his roaming glance encountered the smilingly concerned face of Louise Brent bending above him. “Oh!” he said, recollection coming to him.

“Have you been here all the time?” asked Louise. “You poor boy!”

“I—I must have fallen asleep,” admitted Gordon sheepishly. “How—how is he, Louise?”

The girl’s face went suddenly serious in the twilight. “He’s pretty badly hurt,” she said. “One leg is broken and he hurt his head horribly, Gordon.”

“Is that all?” he asked anxiously.

“They think so. Seems to me it’s quite enough, though.”

“Of course, only——” Gordon heaved a sigh of relief—“I was afraid he was dying. He—he looked so awfully!”

“Yes, didn’t he?” Louise shuddered. “He is still unconscious, but Doctor Mayrick says he will get his senses back in a little while. He must have had an awful blow on his head. Would you mind telling me just how it happened, Gordon, or are you too tired?”

He recounted the incidents of the unfortunate ride rather uncertainly. Somehow, they had got pretty much mixed up by now.

“But I think you were splendid,” said the girl warmly. “To think of stopping the trolley car was fine, Gordon. You must have been dreadfully scared and—and everything. And wasn’t it a wonder you weren’t hurt too?”

“Yes, I suppose so. I guess it would have been better if Morris had been thrown out of the car too. It was the steering wheel that kept him in, I think.”

“I don’t see how you ever thought of lifting the car up with the—that thing you spoke of,” she said admiringly. “Goodness, I’d have been so frightened I’d have just cried!”

“I guess I’d better be going home,” said Gordon.

“Yes, it must be quite late. And you haven’t had any supper, have you? I wish I’d found you here before.”

“I don’t believe I want any,” he murmured. “I—I’m mighty glad he isn’t hurt any worse. I’ll come around to-morrow if you don’t mind and see how he is.”

“Please do. Mama will want to see you, Gordon.”

“I suppose your father is pretty angry, isn’t he?” asked Gordon.

“He’s too upset and anxious now to be angry,” replied Louise. “But I suppose he will have something to say to Morris later. I felt all the time that he shouldn’t run that car. It was horrid of him to get it without letting anyone know.”

“I guess he’s got his punishment,” replied Gordon grimly. “A broken leg will keep him laid up a long time. I’m awfully sorry for him. Good-night, Louise.”

It seemed a terribly long distance to his home, although it was in reality but two blocks. His father was on the porch, reading under the electric light, when Gordon reached the steps. Down went the paper and Mr. Merrick viewed his son with cold severity.

“Well, Gordon, where have you been?” he asked.

“Over to the Point, sir. I—we——

“I think I have told you fairly often that I do not like you to be late for your meals?”

“Yes, sir,” assented Gordon wearily.

“Exactly. It is now—hm—nearly eight o’clock. I think you had better go up to your room. You don’t deserve supper at this hour. And—hm—after this kindly give a little consideration to my wishes.”

“Yes, sir.” Gordon wanted to tell him what had happened, but he was frightfully tired and the thought of getting upstairs and into his bed was very alluring. Mr. Merrick showed that the conversation was at an end by again hiding his face behind the newspaper and Gordon went indoors and quietly climbed the stairs, rather hoping that his mother would not hear him. But she did, and came out of her room with the secrecy of a conspirator.

“Gordon, dear,” she whispered, “your father was very angry and said you were to have no supper, but I put a little something on a plate for you. It’s on your bureau. You shouldn’t stay out like this, though, dear. Your father doesn’t like it and—and it makes me worried, too.”

“Yes’m, I won’t again,” replied Gordon. “I—I’m not very hungry, though. I’m going to bed.”

“Aren’t you—don’t you feel well?” inquired Mrs. Merrick anxiously.

“Yes’m, I’m all right. I just feel sort of tired. Good-night.” He kissed her and went on up the second flight. Half-way up, though, he paused and called down in a hoarse whisper: “Thanks for the eats, ma!”

In spite of his weariness, sleep didn’t come readily. It was a hot, still night and, although his bed was drawn close to the two windows that looked out into the upper branches of the big elm, not much air penetrated to his room. He lay for a while staring out at the motionless leaves, intensely black in shadow and vividly green where the light from the big arc on the corner illumined them, reviewing the incidents of the day. He was awfully glad that Morris wasn’t dangerously hurt, grateful for his own escape from injury and sorry that Morris would have to lie abed for many weeks while his broken leg knit together again. Finally he dozed off only to awake in a terror, imagining that he was riding in an automobile that was just about to plunge down a cliff so steep and deep that the bottom was miles away! He awoke shaking and muttering and it took him several seconds to reassure himself and throw off the effects of the nightmare. After that he tossed and turned until he remembered the plate on the bureau. He got up and brought it back to bed with him, and leaned on one elbow and ate a little of the cold chicken and bread-and-butter his mother had placed on it. But he wasn’t really hungry and his appetite was soon satisfied. He put the plate on the floor beside him and settled down again. A clock downstairs struck nine and a moment later the town hall clock sounded the hour sonorously. Then the telephone in the first floor hall rang sharply and he heard his father’s chair scrape on the porch and his father’s feet across the hall.

“Hello? Yes.... No.... What say?...”

Gordon must have dozed then, for the next thing he knew someone was pushing open his bedroom door cautiously and asking if he was awake.

“Yes, sir,” answered Gordon.

Mr. Merrick closed the door and came over to the bed. “Time you were asleep, son,” he said concernedly. “Having trouble?”

“I—I’ve been asleep once, sir. Something wakened me.”

“Hm. Er—I was just talking to Mr. Brent on the telephone, Gordon.”

“Yes, sir?”

“Hm. He told me about the accident, son.”

“Yes, sir. Did he say how Morris was?”

“Doing very well, he said. Why didn’t you—hm—why didn’t you tell me about it?”

“I don’t know, sir. I was sort of tired, and——

“Brent says you carried Morris almost half a mile to the trolley, Gordon.”

“It wasn’t nearly that far. And I didn’t carry him. He was too heavy. I—I pulled him.”

“Well, the doctor says it’s a lucky thing you got him home as quick as you did. Mr. Brent is—hm—very grateful. He’s going to stop in the morning and see you.”

“He needn’t be,” murmured Gordon. “It wasn’t anything.”

“Hm. You can tell me about it in the morning. I-hm—I’m sorry I was so short with you, son. If you’d explained——

“Yes, sir, I ought to have. It—it’s all right, dad.”

“Well, but—if you’re hungry, Gordon——

“I’m not, sir. I—no, sir, I’m not.”

“If you are I guess you and I can forage around and find something. Sure you wouldn’t like a little bite?”

“No, sir, thank you.”

“Well—hm——” Mr. Merrick laid a hand on Gordon’s arm and pressed it. “Sorry I scolded, son. I—we—we’re proud of you, boy.”

Gordon didn’t answer. It was rather embarrassing and he was glad of the darkness.

“Good-night, Gordon.”

“Good-night, sir.”

Mr. Merrick turned away, there was a sound of cracking and crunching china and an exclamation.

“What’s this?” asked Mr. Merrick in surprise, peering down at the floor.

“It—it’s a plate, sir. Mother—that is——

“Hm,” said Mr. Merrick, and then again “Hm!” He pushed the broken fragments under the bed. “I—hm—I can understand that you aren’t very hungry,” he said dryly. “Evidently your mother—hm—well, good-night, Gordie.”

The door closed. Gordon smiled at the black and green foliage beyond the window. It was all right about that lunch. If it wasn’t his father would never have called him Gordie.


Gordon was up at seven the next morning, having had, as he reckoned, a good nine hours and more of sleep. At breakfast he told again the story of the accident, this time to an interested audience of three. The third was Fudge, who, since almost an hour before, had been hanging around waiting for Gordon’s appearance, and who now was seated at table with a cup of coffee and one of Mrs. Merrick’s graham muffins in front of him. Fudge acknowledged that he had rather skimped his breakfast. Mr. Merrick mildly censured Gordon for accepting Morris Brent’s invitation to ride, but it was evident that he was too proud of Gordon’s part in the affair to be severe. Fudge was anxious to know what had become of the runabout and Gordon replied that so far as he knew it was just where they had left it.

“I guess,” he said, “it’s pretty badly smashed up. I know one wheel has about all the spokes out of it, and I think the axle is busted. Still, I dare say it can be mended.”

“B-b-bet you Morris will never run it again, though,” said Fudge. “Guess it’s a good chance for someone to buy an auto cheap. Wish I could!”

“Why, William!” murmured Mrs. Merrick. “The idea!”

“Oh, a fellow doesn’t have to run it the way Morris did,” replied Fudge knowingly. “Tim Turner’s father has had a car for two years and he’s never had an accident yet.”

“Why don’t you see Mr. Brent?” suggested Gordon. “I dare say he will let you have it for almost nothing.”

Fudge thrust a hand in a pocket and gravely counted the change he drew out. “If he’ll let me have it for sixty-three cents I’ll take it,” he said.

Mr. Merrick pushed back his chair. “If I ever hear of either of you riding in an automobile without permission I’ll see that you get what you deserve,” he said grimly.

Fudge grinned. “You’d have to catch me first,” he said.

Gordon announced his intention of running over to see Dick and his father reminded him that Mr. Brent was going to call. Gordon replied evasively that he guessed Mr. Brent had changed his mind. He secretly hoped that he had. But when, after Mr. Merrick’s departure for his office, Gordon wheeled his bicycle down the steps he saw Mr. Brent coming along the street, his ivory-topped walking-stick thumping the pavement briskly. Escape was impossible and so Gordon leaned his wheel against the gate post and waited. Fudge melted into the background. Mr. Brent was about the only person Fudge was in awe of.

“Well, my boy,” greeted Mr. Brent, “you got off lucky.”

“Yes, sir. I’m awfully sorry about Morris. How is he?”

“Better than he deserves,” replied Mr. Brent with a snap of his jaws. “The doctor tells me it will be six weeks or more before he will be on his feet again. I suppose he was running the thing like mad, wasn’t he?”

“No, sir, he was going quite slowly. I don’t know just how it happened, Mr. Brent. I think there must have been a bad place in the road.”

“Of course it wasn’t his fault,” said the other dryly. “Well, it was a merciful thing he had you with him, my boy. His mother and I are very grateful to you, Merrick. You did a very plucky thing.”

“It wasn’t anything,” muttered Gordon, looking longingly at his wheel. Perhaps Mr. Brent saw that he was more than willing to avoid further expressions of gratitude, for he smiled and said:

“Well, that’s all. I wanted to see you and thank you. And as I told your father last night I’m ready and anxious to prove my gratitude to you. If there’s anything I can do, Merrick, you call on me.”

“Thank you, sir, but I guess there isn’t anything.”

“Perhaps some day there will be. When that time comes don’t forget what I say, Merrick. I wish you’d stop in at the house to-day or to-morrow and see Mrs. Brent. She wants to see you, my boy. And after Morris gets where he can talk to folks I’d like you to pay him a visit too. He doesn’t deserve it, but—well, I guess he’s in for a long, hard siege of it.”

“Yes, sir, I will. I—I was going to call to-day and ask after him, but now that I know how he is——

“Better go just the same. My wife is anxious to tell you how she feels about it, Merrick. She can do it better than I can, too. Your father at home?”

“No, sir, he’s gone down town.”

“That’s where I ought to be. I waited around for the doctor to call. By the way, Merrick, there’s something you can do for me if you will. See this man Stacey and get him to take that automobile away from there. If I talk to him I’ll fly off the handle and tell him what I think of him. I don’t care what he does with the thing. He may burn it up or fix it up or anything he likes, but you tell him from me that he will never get another cent in payment. Will you do that?”

“Yes, sir, I’ll see him right away. I guess the car will be worth quite a good deal after it’s fixed up. I mean, sir, I don’t think Mr. Stacey will be out much.”

“I don’t care if he is,” replied Mr. Brent grimly. “Morris tells me he paid three hundred and fifty dollars and owes about two hundred more. He will never get it. You tell him so. If he wants to sue, let him. I wish he would!” Mr. Brent flicked angrily with his cane at a spray of leaves that peeked through the fence. “Well, I’ll be grateful if you’ll attend to that for me, Merrick. Good morning.”

After Mr. Brent had gone Gordon summoned Fudge with a whistle and that youth sauntered around from the back yard. “I guess Stacey will be mad,” he commented when Gordon had told him of the commission he had accepted. “I’ll go along with you. I like a scrap.”

“There isn’t going to be any scrap,” said Gordon. “I’ll just tell him what Mr. Brent says and come away.”

“All right. Wait till I get my wheel.”

Mr. Stacey’s place of business was on Oak Street, a smart shop with two big plate-glass windows behind which were displayed shining new automobiles. The proprietor was a small man under thirty who affected brilliant neckties and a jovial smile. But the smile faded when Gordon delivered his message. Mr. Stacey looked angry and ugly.

“Is that so?” he demanded truculently. “Old Jonathan Brent said that, did he? Well, you tell him I hold Morris’ note for two hundred and thirty-five dollars and I mean to collect it. Why, that car’s no good to me, son! What would I do with it? It isn’t mine, anyway. I sold it fairly and squarely. If he wants me to fetch it in and have it repaired I’ll do it and charge him only what it costs, but as to taking it back and calling quits—nothing doing, son. You tell him that, see?”

“It isn’t my affair,” replied Gordon calmly. “I’ve only told you what Mr. Brent asked me to. Why don’t you talk to him about it?”

“Because I haven’t any dealings with him. I sold that car to his son. If he wants to talk to me let him come here or call me up on the telephone. It’s nothing to me. I’ve got Morris Brent’s note——

“It isn’t worth anything,” piped up Fudge, who found proceedings dull. “He isn’t old enough to give a note.”

“We’ll see whether he’s old enough,” was the answer. “I’ll go to court with it if it isn’t paid prompt. Get me?”

“Sure. But Jonathan Brent’s a bad man to fight, I guess,” said Fudge with a shake of his head. “I wouldn’t want to do it.”

“Maybe you wouldn’t.” Mr. Stacey had to smile in spite of himself. “But I would—if I had to. I’m not in this business for my health, son. You tell Mr. Brent that if he wants me to haul that car in and repair it I’ll do it, but I won’t take it back.”

“All right,” answered Gordon. “Seems to me, though, you could fix it up for a few dollars and have a perfectly good car.”

“There’s no market here for second-hand cars,” replied the dealer shortly. “Tell you what I will do, though. I’ll fix that car up as good as new as cheap as it can be done and take it on sale. Maybe I’d find a buyer for it.”

“You mean you’ll let Morris off on the balance he owes?”

“No, sir, I don’t mean anything of the sort! I mean that he’s to pay what he owes when it comes due. If I can sell the machine he’ll get what it fetches, less my commission of twenty per cent. Understand?”

“Well, I’ll tell Mr. Brent what you say,” agreed Gordon. “But I don’t believe he will be willing to have it that way.”

“There’s no other way he can have it,” snarled Mr. Stacey. “He may have a heap of money and own this town, but he don’t own me! And he can’t cheat me out of what belongs to me, either! And you can tell him so! You tell him that if that two-thirty-five isn’t paid by the tenth of October I’ll sue for it.”

“Think of him suing Mr. Brent!” chuckled Fudge as they went out.

“I guess he’d have a pretty good case, though,” said Gordon. “Of course Morris does owe that money to him.”

“Pshaw, Morris’ note isn’t worth a cent.”

“Maybe not; I don’t know about that; but he’s morally liable, isn’t he?”

“I guess so. Going to tell Mr. Brent now, Gordie?”

Gordon shook his head. “Not—not right away. I think I’ll see Dick first. I told him I’d be over last night.”

Fudge chuckled again. “You’re scared,” he said. “I’d be, too. Tell you what, Gordie; tell him over the ’phone, why don’t you?”

“I was thinking of letting you tell him, Fudge.”

“Me! Gee, I wouldn’t d-d-do it if he g-g-gave me the car!”

They found Dick on the porch. “Hail to the Hero!” he declaimed.

“Shut up!” said Gordon.

“Modesty is very becoming,” pursued Dick. “Hello, Fudge. I’m glad to see you in such distinguished society. Sit down, Gordie, and tell me about it. First, though, how’s Morris getting on? Lanny told me that he was pretty well broken to pieces.”

“He’s got a busted leg. Broken in two places. That’s all. He was unconscious when they brought him home, but he’s all right that way now. There isn’t much to tell. We were coming along that stretch where the white fence is and——

Gordon went through with it again, Fudge interpolating details where Gordon failed to do full justice to the narrative. Afterward Gordon told about his visit to the automobile agent. “I don’t know what to do,” he ended. “I hate to tell Mr. Brent what that fellow said, Dick.”

“I don’t see why. It isn’t your fault. Besides, Mr. Brent is in the wrong, anyway. It’s Morris’ duty to pay what he owes. The dealer isn’t supposed to find out before he makes a sale whether the buyer’s relatives want him to own a car!”

“That’s all very well,” grumbled Gordon, “but he will be as mad as a March hare. I don’t see why he got me to do it for him, anyway.”

“Because you’ve made a hit with him,” laughed Dick. “I believe if you asked for it you could get a yearly pass over the trolley line. And speaking of trolleys reminds me that I’ve got to hustle over to the Point and get busy with young Mr. Townsend. What time is it?”

It was almost ten, and Dick seized his crutches and swung himself hurriedly into the house to reappear a minute later ready for the journey. Gordon and Fudge walked to the corner with him.

“How about another game with those fellows, Dick?” asked Gordon. “Are you going to see Billings to-day?”

“If you want me to. There’s time enough, though, I guess. We’ve got a game with Lesterville the day after to-morrow, as you perhaps recall.”

“I know, but I was thinking we might get the Pointers to come over and play us a week from Saturday. You might see what Billings thinks about it.”

“All right. If I can find him I’ll ask. By the way, he’ll have to find someone to take Morris’ place, won’t he? Guess, though, it won’t be hard to do. Here comes my car. See you later, fellows.”

Gordon and Fudge mounted their wheels again when the trolley had rolled off and pedaled leisurely along Sawyer Street.

“Too bad,” observed Fudge, “that Dick hasn’t got that automobile, Gordie. It would save him a lot of hard work, wouldn’t it? Say, someone may run off with it if it stays out there on the road much longer. Bet you half of it’s gone already!”

There was no reply from Gordon, who was riding slowly along with his gaze fixed intently on his handle-bar.

“You ought to have hidden it behind a tree or something before you came away, Gordie.”

“Eh? Hidden what?”

“The automobile, of course. Say, what did you think I was talking about, anyway?”

“I guess I didn’t hear you,” replied Gordon apologetically. “I—I was thinking.”

“Some day you’ll be doing that and get run down by a trolley car,” commented Fudge crushingly. “What were you thinking about?”

“Nothing much,” answered Gordon. “Want to play some tennis?”

“My racket’s busted. I can borrow Lanny’s, though. But I guess it’s too hot for tennis, isn’t it?”

“Maybe. I suppose, anyway, I’d ought to see Mr. Brent and tell him what that fellow said. There’s no use putting it off. Will you come with me?”

“Not to speak of! I’d do most anything for you, Gordie, but not that!”

“Well, ride down town with me. You needn’t go in.”

“That’s fair. And I’ll try to catch you when he drops you out the window. Come on.”


Mr. Brent was not in. The clerk, recognizing Gordon as the youth who had called previously and been admitted, explained, in answer to his look of perplexity, that Mr. Brent had been suddenly called to New York and would be gone at least overnight.

“He didn’t leave any message for me, did he?” asked the boy.

“No. He went away hurriedly. If it’s very important, you can reach him in New York by telephone this afternoon.”

Gordon departed, shaking his head. On the sidewalk he was presently joined by Fudge, who came out of Castle’s drug store, a few doors away, with a suspicious moistness about the mouth.

“You’re soon back,” he said. “Did he throw you out?”

“He’s away. Gone to New York. Now what’ll I do?”

“Do nothing. That’s easy. I should think you’d be tickled to death.”

“But that automobile can’t stay out there on the road forever, Fudge. Someone will steal it or pull it to pieces or something. I guess I’ll go over to the Brents’ and see what Louise thinks we’d better do.”

“Huh! What’s a girl know about it?” demanded Fudge. “Say, I had a soda. Want one?”

Gordon shook his head at first but finally allowed himself to be conducted to the front of the long white marble counter. A nice cold raspberry phosphate is an awfully good thing to soothe the mind, and Gordon felt more cheerful when he emerged. Fudge, who had followed his original root beer with a pineapple phosphate, confided to Gordon on the way home that he believed he’d apply at Castle’s for a job at the soda fountain.

“You see,” he explained, “I never had enough soda yet, and if I worked there I’ll bet I’d have a dandy time!”

Gordon postponed his call at Brentwood until after dinner and in the meanwhile presented his problem to his father. Mr. Merrick’s advice was caution. He thought Gordon had best let the automobile alone unless he obtained authority from Mr. Brent or perhaps Mrs. Brent to rescue it. When he reached Brentwood he asked for Louise and that young lady soon joined him. Morris, she reported, was very comfortable, considering the fact that his left leg was in a cast, but the doctor didn’t want him to see anyone quite yet. Gordon was secretly relieved, for he was afraid he wouldn’t know just how to behave or just what to say to an invalid. Louise led the way to the porch and then disappeared in search of her mother. When that lady appeared Gordon had to listen to many nice things and many expressions of gratitude, all of which embarrassed him horribly.

Mrs. Brent was a short, comfortably stout lady with soft, quiet manners and a voice to match. Gordon liked her immensely, but just now he found himself wishing that he might have escaped her. It was Louise who, noting his unhappiness, finally came to his rescue.

“There, mama, you’re embarrassing Gordon awfully. I’m sure he doesn’t want to be thanked any more. Besides, he didn’t come to make a social call; he’s here on important business. He told me so.”

Gordon explained the difficulty about the abandoned automobile and asked them what he had better do. “You see,” he pointed out, “Mr. Stacey won’t go after it unless someone tells him to. I was thinking that perhaps the best thing would be to have one of the liverymen bring it back and keep it until Mr. Brent decides about it.”

“Well, I don’t know what to say,” replied Mrs. Brent. “If Mr. Brent says he won’t pay the man the rest of the money, why, he won’t, and that’s all there is to that. But, of course, the automobile can’t stay on the road. I suppose, Louise, we oughtn’t to worry Morris with it just yet.”

“Goodness, no! What does it matter what happens to the horrid old thing, anyway, mama? Let someone bring it into town and keep it. I’m sure Morris will never want to see it again, even if papa is willing; and of course he won’t be.”

“Then if Gordon will see to it——

“Yes’m, I will. I’ll get Stewart to go after it. I guess he can pull it if he puts a timber under the broken wheel. There wouldn’t be room in your stable for it, would there?”

“Yes, there would,” replied Louise. “There’s lots of room in the carriage-house. Tell Stewart to bring it here, Gordon.”

“All right. That would be the best thing, I guess. Stewart would probably charge storage for it if he kept it at his stable. I suppose he will want quite a little money to haul it in, too.”

“Tell him to charge it to papa, Gordon. Do you mind attending to it? It’s awfully nice of you to take so much trouble for us. You’ll begin to think we’re a pretty bothersome family, I’m afraid.”

“I don’t mind at all. I’m glad to, Louise. I wish you’d remember me to Morris, please. I—I’ll call and see him some time after he’s able to have visitors. Is there anything I can do for him, Mrs. Brent?”

“I think not, Gordon. You’ve done so much already——

“I couldn’t have done any less,” murmured Gordon hurriedly, fearing that Mrs. Brent was about to express her gratitude again. “Folks—folks made more of it than it—really amounted to. I guess I’ll go and see Stewart. I hope Morris will get along finely and—and everything.”

“I suppose,” he said, after he had bade good-bye to Mrs. Brent, “you won’t get over to the Point for some time, Louise.”

“No, not for a month, probably. I don’t mind a great deal. The main thing is to get Morris well again. It’s going to be terribly dull and stupid for him, Gordon.”

“Fierce!” They had paused at the gate. “If there’s anything I can do, or anything any of us can do, Louise——

“Not now, but you can do a lot later,” she replied smilingly. “You can come and see him and cheer him up in a day or two. Will you?”

“Of course! Glad to! And I’ll bring the other fellows, too.”

“I guess there aren’t very many others, are there?”

“Many others?” he asked.

“Many others who would care to come, I mean. Morris doesn’t seem to have very many boy friends, does he?”

“Why, I don’t know. I guess every fellow likes Morris——

“Fibber! Never mind, though. You come when you can, Gordon. Good-bye. I’ll tell Ryan to get a place ready for the automobile.”

His way to Stewart’s stable led him past Lanny’s house and he slowed down as he reached the gate and whistled. Lanny appeared from around the house with a bicycle chain dangling in his hand.

“Come on over to Stewart’s stable with me,” commanded Gordon.

“Can’t.” Lanny exhibited the chain. “Chain’s busted. I’ve been trying to fix it, but I think I’ll have to take it to the shop.”

“Bring it along, then, and we’ll walk. I’ll stick my wheel back of the fence here. I’ve got something I want to talk to you about.”

“All right. Wait till I get some of this dirt off my hands. It won’t take a minute.” As a matter of fact, it took five, and Gordon was established comfortably on the horse-block in front of the gate when Lanny returned. Together they went on along B Street and turned into River Street, talking very earnestly all the way and more than once pausing stock-still on the sidewalk. Whatever the subject of conversation was, it was easy to see that Lanny was both interested and enthusiastic, and at last, just before their halting progress landed them outside the livery stable, Lanny clapped a hand on Gordon’s shoulder.

“It’s a peach of a scheme!” he declared. “Does he know anything about it?”

Gordon shook his head. “I just thought of it awhile ago, after I’d seen him. I don’t think we’d better say anything to him about it, Lanny, because he’d probably refuse.”

“That’s so. The best way is to go ahead and do it—and tell him afterward.” Lanny chuckled. “The other fellows will have to know, though.”

“Yes, but we’ll make them promise not to talk. Gee, if I don’t hurry that automobile will stay out another night, I guess!”

But fortunately Mr. Stewart had a truck and horses that could be at once dispatched on the errand and the two boys waited while the expedition made ready. Mr. Stewart himself, a good-natured little red-faced Scotchman, proposed to accompany the truck and personally superintend the project. Afterward Gordon went with Lanny to the bicycle repair shop and waited while a new link was put in the broken chain. Later in the afternoon they mounted their wheels and, with Fudge, who had joined them meanwhile, rode over to the back entrance of Brentwood and awaited the arrival of the automobile. It came about half-past five and was rolled into a corner of the big carriage-house. Then Gordon and Lanny and Fudge took stock of injuries. One wheel was smashed and the front axle was bent. It didn’t require an expert to determine that much. For the rest, barring a broken lantern and bent fenders and a dent in the radiator, the car was as good as new so far as they could see.

“I wish I knew enough about cars to try it and see if the engine is all right,” said Gordon. “But I don’t see how anything can be wrong there, do you?”

“No, I guess the wheels will go around same as before,” said Lanny. “How much do you suppose it will cost to fix it up?”

Gordon shook his head. “Maybe thirty dollars,” he said finally. “What do you think?”

“Bet it will be nearer a hundred,” said Fudge. “Repairs on automobiles cost like anything.”

“Fudge knows,” remarked Lanny. “His repair bills are something frightful, aren’t they, Fudge? Why, he was saying just the other day, Gordie, that he had half a mind to sell two or three of his cars!”

“Th-that’s all right,” sputtered Fudge. “I’ve heard Mr. T-T-Turner say th-th-that——

“Of course you have,” agreed Gordon soothingly. “By the way, Lanny, heard the latest? Fudge is going to get a job with Castle at the soda fountain.”

“That s-s-s-s-so?” laughed Lanny.

“Yes. Can’t you see Fudge, with a white apron on, leaning across the counter asking, ‘What kind of s-s-s-s-soda will you have, Miss?’”

“‘S-s-s-sarsparilla, please,’” responded Lanny.

“‘S-S-So s-s-s-sorry, but we’re all out of s-s-s-sarsparilla. We’ve got s-s-s-some nice ch-ch-ch-ch-chocolate, though.’”

“Oh, dry up,” said Fudge, with a grin. “If you fellows come around there I’ll p-p-poison you!”

“Well, come on, fellows, it’s supper time,” said Lanny. “Don’t you take that car out and go ‘joy riding,’ Mr. Ryan.”

“Huh!” growled the Brent coachman, who had viewed the proceedings with deep pessimism. “I wouldn’t touch the thing for a hundred dollars. How do I know it won’t be blowin’ me up some fine night?”

“It won’t if you treat it kindly,” Fudge assured him. “Give it plenty of oats and hay, Mr. Ryan, and a drink of gasoline now and then and it’ll be as quiet as a lamb.”

They left the coachman muttering over the harness he was cleaning and got on their wheels. “Who will you get to look at it?” asked Lanny as they rolled homeward.

“I don’t know. Not Stacey, anyway. Of course I’ll have to talk with Morris first, and Mr. Brent too, I guess. And maybe it won’t come to anything.”

“What won’t?” asked Fudge suspiciously.

“Never you mind, son. It’s something that doesn’t concern little boys.”

“Go on and tell me,” begged Fudge. “Is it a secret?”

“It wouldn’t be if you knew it,” answered Gordon unkindly.

“I’d like to know when I ever blabbed anything,” exclaimed Fudge indignantly. “Didn’t I know all about Charlie Matthews a whole week before anyone else did? And didn’t I——

“Well, we may tell you some time,” teased Gordon. “What do you think, Lanny?”

“I guess so. It would cost money to advertise it in the paper, and so——

“Oh, you make me tired,” growled Fudge. “I don’t want to know it anyway. ’Tain’t anything, I’ll bet!”

“Not a thing, Fudge,” agreed Lanny.

“Then what you so—so mysterious about?” Fudge demanded.

“To arouse your curiosity, Fudge. Good-night, Gordie. Maybe you’d better tell him before he busts up. Good-night, Fudge. Say, we play Lesterville Saturday, don’t we?”

“You bet! And don’t forget practice again to-morrow. We want to beat those fellows.”

“Well, we’ve got a perfect record so far,” laughed Lanny. “Our percentage is one thousand. Played one, won one, lost none. Are the Pointers going to play us again?”

“Sure! I told Dick to see Caspar Billings to-day if he had a chance and see if they’d come over here a week from Saturday.”

“That’s good. Bet you, though, they lick us next time. So long.”

Lanny sped homeward and Gordon and Fudge parted midway between their gates. “You come over after supper, Fudge, and I’ll tell you what that is we were talking about.”

“Thanks, but I guess I don’t care to know,” replied Fudge a trifle haughtily. Gordon laughed.

“Don’t be a chump. We were only fooling. All the fellows are going to know about it, but I’ll tell you first if you’ll come over.”

“You told Lanny first,” Fudge objected doubtfully. “But—I’ll come.”


Two days later the Clearfield Baseball Club met at the railroad station shortly after dinner time and boarded the train for Lesterville. Only Harry Bryan was missing. A press of business had developed at the grocery store and Mr. Bryan had, to Harry’s sorrow, set his foot down on a Saturday holiday. A small youth named Tim Turner, a youthful crony of Fudge’s, was drafted to play in right field and Jack Tappen was moved to second in Harry’s place.

None of the fellows was very hopeful of beating Lesterville, for the neighboring mill town had maintained for several years a nine which averaged fully two years older than Clearfield. But, as Dick pointed out, the game would be fine practice, even if they were beaten. “We really need,” said Dick, “to run up against a spanking good nine and see how the game is played.”

Some of the fellows hooted at that, but Dick only smiled. “That’s all right,” he replied. “I’ll wager that you’ll learn one or two tricks to-day worth knowing.”

“What’s their pitcher like?” inquired Fudge anxiously.

“They have two of them, Fudge, and they’re both pretty good.”

“They won’t be hard for Fudge,” said Pete Robey. “Fudge will eat ’em alive!”

“Bet you I make as many hits as you do,” responded Fudge eagerly. “Come on, now! Wh-wh-what do you say?”

But Pete only grinned and shook his head. You couldn’t start an argument with Pete.

On the way to Lesterville Dick exhibited a list of games which he had already arranged. Rutter’s Point was to play a return contest on the High School field a week from to-day, Logan was to visit Clearfield the following Wednesday and Corwin was to come a week later. “We have next Wednesday open,” explained Dick, “and a week from Saturday. I don’t believe we’ll be able to find a game for Wednesday, but I’ve written Shirley at Springdale to get up a team to play us that Saturday. I’ve told him we’d go over there.”

“Fine!” exclaimed Tom Haley. “I’d love to have another chance at those fellows!”

“Well, I suppose it won’t be quite the same team that we played last month,” said Dick. “I dare say some of their fellows have gone away for the summer. But that gives us three games anyhow, and perhaps four. And I heard of a team over at Locust Valley which may like to play us.”

“All those games are at home, too,” reflected Lanny. “How about trying that scheme to charge admission, Dick?”

“No harm in trying it,” returned the manager thoughtfully. “Whether it will go or not we’ll have to see. We could get a few notices printed and stick them around in the windows down town. And I guess the paper will announce the games if we ask.”

“A lot of folks will pay a quarter to see a good game,” said Jack Tappen.

“Would you?” challenged Gordon.

“Sure,” laughed Jack, “if I had the quarter!”

“Not if he could find a crack in the fence,” said Fudge.

“Look here,” announced Will Scott, “someone said they were surveying the athletic field, Dick. Suppose they start to work there in a day or two. We couldn’t play those games, could we?”

“In that case we’ll play the teams on their own grounds.”

“It makes it pretty expensive,” objected Way. “I’m nearly broke now. If I lose my return ticket someone will have to pay my fare back.”

“Oh, the walking’s good,” replied Tom carelessly.

“Another thing,” said Lanny. “If we play away from home we can’t make any money.”

At that most of the fellows observed each other with questioning and somewhat dismayed glances. Dick, studying his list, replied:

“That doesn’t make much difference, does it? None of those places are far away and it won’t break us to pay trolley fares. After all, we don’t need the money as far as I see.”

“Don’t we!” exploded Jack. “We need it like anything!”

Curtis Wayland kicked him on the ankle and Jack subsided.

“What for?” asked Dick, mildly surprised. “We’ve got four balls that haven’t been used and three that are still good. We’ve got bats and gloves and a mask and about everything else. I thought we were in this for the fun of it. What do we want to make money for?”

But Jack only mumbled, while the others regarded him with threatening looks. Will Scott changed the subject gracefully.

“You fellows don’t want to forget that there’s a meeting to-night about the new field. You’d better all show up. We want to get as many there as possible.”

“Thought it was just a meeting of the committee,” said Gordon.

“No, it’s public. We want to find out what the fellows think about it before we go ahead and do anything.”

“I don’t see that there’s more than one thing we can think about it,” observed Tom. “The old field’s going and we’ve got to have another. That’s dead simple.”

“Yes, but we may have to rent ground,” replied Way. “And we want to know how far out of town fellows are willing to go. And how much we ought to pay.”

“And whether to get a place on the town side or across the river. There’s a field over toward the Point, right near the car line, that might do.”

“That’s a long way from school, though,” objected Fudge.

“Any place we find is going to be a long way,” replied Will. “There isn’t any place in town big enough to play baseball on. As a matter of fact, the whole thing is a good deal of a puzzle. It’s going to cost us a lot of money, any way you look at it. We’ve got to have a new track and we’ve got to fence the field in and move the grandstand to it. It’s going to cost like sixty. I wish old man Brent had to make us a present of the old field or lose his money.”

“Stingy old codger,” muttered Fudge.

“There’s no sense in blaming Mr. Brent, Fudge,” said Dick. “We ought to be grateful to him for letting us have the field as long as he has. What we’ll have to do is get subscriptions from the graduates and anyone else we can. The next station is ours, fellows. Get your bags together.”

Lesterville was an unlovely town filled with smoking chimneys and the busy whirr of looms. A muddy canal intersected it and on either side immense brick mill buildings ran for the better part of a mile. But the boys didn’t tarry long in the town. A green trolley car bore them swiftly away from the belching chimneys and the hot, weary looking streets and out to the edge of the country. The ball ground was surrounded by a sagging fence and was ridiculously small. A long hit down the right or left foul line was certain to go over the fence, while even a good clout into center was likely to disappear through some hole in the rotting boards. A few unsheltered seats were clustered close to the first base line and these were already occupied when the Clearfield team arrived. The dressing-room was a ten-foot square space, unroofed, thrown together behind the stand. As the fellows changed into their togs the spectators on the top row of seats looked down upon them and offered sarcastic advice and rude comments. Fudge in particular aroused their humor and he was pestered so that he got his playing shirt on wrong side to.

The Lesterville nine was a pretty husky aggregation. Most of them were mill employees and their average age must have been fully eighteen. The audience was particularly partisan and offensive, and Dick, settling himself on the visitors’ bench in the broiling sun and opening his score-book, reflected that it was perhaps well that there was no likelihood of Clearfield going home with the ball. He fancied that the hundred or so local sympathizers would make it quite uncomfortable for the visiting team if it won!

There’s no necessity of following Clearfield’s fortunes that afternoon in detail. The contest was fairly featureless up to the eighth inning. The visitors could do nothing with Moriarity, the Lesterville pitcher, only three hits, one of them distinctly scratchy, accruing to their score and bringing in but one tally. On the other hand the home team showed itself very capable with the stick and Tom Haley’s best offerings were not puzzling after the second inning.

A slight attack of stage-fright in that round on the part of Clearfield aided the home players. Almost every member of the visitors’ infield managed to make an error, while Tom’s wild throw to first in the third allowed Lesterville to add two runs to her already swelling score. When the eighth inning began Lesterville had nine runs to Clearfield’s one, and there seemed no reason to suppose that the final tally would be any more complimentary to Clearfield.

Dick had predicted that his charges would learn some new tricks and his prediction was verified. Clearfield was the innocent victim of several plays quite outside her ken. Unfortunately, most of them were the sort she didn’t care to emulate. For instance, when Curtis Wayland tried to steal second on Jack Tappen’s lucky grounder into short right he failed for the simple reason that second baseman and shortstop occupied the base line and Way had to crawl around them to touch the bag. Unfortunately, by that time right fielder had sped the ball to shortstop, and the umpire, a young gentleman whose impartiality had all along been in grave doubt, ruled Way out. Of course Clearfield protested. Way lost his head and threatened bodily injury to the second baseman, who topped him by six inches, and some dozen or so Lesterville youths flocked to the scene. Gordon, however, lugged Way, protesting bitterly, from the field and then quietly asked the umpire to reverse his decision. But the umpire wouldn’t even listen and there was nothing for the visitors to do but swallow their indignation and accept the ruling. Again, earlier in the contest, the Lesterville pitcher objected to having a new ball thrown to him after Lanny had fouled a soiled one into the street, and turning, threw the new one far into center field. The center fielder refused to go after it and the umpire yielded, throwing out another old ball.

Still, Lesterville did show some playing that the visitors opened their eyes at. Such base-running Gordon’s team had never witnessed. One red-headed youth named Myers never failed to steal second yards ahead of the ball and on one occasion stole all the way around the bases, reaching home on Tom’s wind-up and subsequent hurried and wild pitch. The Lesterville fellows were born ball players and had graduated from the back lots outside the factories. They knew every trick of the game and used them all.

When Clearfield went to bat in the eighth it was Jack’s turn with the stick and Jack connected with a straight one and slammed it far out into left field, where it banged against the fence and rolled away from the fielder while Jack reached second with time to spare. Tim Turner fanned, Pete Robey worked a pass and Lanny hit into what should have been an easy double. But the Lesterville second baseman fumbled the ball and the bases were full. Unfortunately, with one out, it was Fudge’s turn at bat and Tom Haley followed Fudge. It looked to the visitors on the bench very much like another shut-out. But Fudge, perhaps still smarting under the gibes that had been thrown at him all the afternoon, surprised himself and everyone else by hitting cleanly between first and second. Two runs came in, Lanny reached third and Fudge stood panting on first. Tom Haley went out on strikes and Will Scott came to bat. Fudge stole without challenge. Will fouled off three and had two balls to his credit. Then something that looked good came his way and he swung at it mightily. The ball streaked far out into center field and the bases emptied. Will got to second safely, heard the frantic cries of the coachers and sprinted for third. Then in came the ball to shortstop, and that youth turned quickly and pegged to third. The sphere went fully four feet above third baseman’s head and Will legged it home while his team-mates on the bench shouted and cavorted and Dick, being unable to jump around, beat the ground with a crutch!

Nine to seven looked a heap better than nine to one, and there was still but one man out. Clearfield had ecstatic visions of a victory. But the Lesterville pitcher settled down and disposed of Gordon with five pitched balls and made Way pop up an easy fly to right fielder, and the eighth inning was over for the visitors.

Lesterville came back in her half with vigor and poor Tom was kept dodging liners that soon filled the bases. But the home team had a streak of bad luck in that inning. The runner from third was struck by a streaking liner that was meant for left field, and, fortunately for the opponents, the ball, after colliding sharply with the base-runner’s leg, rolled toward the pitcher’s box and Tom scooped it up and got it to first ahead of the batsman, who, counting on a two-base hit, had made a slow start. Lesterville resented her ill-fortune and, with two gone, the next batsman sent a long fly into left field that barely escaped going over the fence and had Way chasing around like a chicken with its head off while two tallies were added to Lesterville’s nine. A moment later Tom secured his fifth strike-out of the contest and the teams changed sides.

There was still a chance to win, declared Dick, and Jack was instructed to lay down a bunt along third base line. Jack followed instructions deftly and to the letter. The ball trickled a scant ten feet and, although third baseman came in for it and both catcher and pitcher did their best, Jack was easily safe. Young Turner, instructed to sacrifice Jack to second, did his best but struck out miserably for the fourth time. Pete got the signal for a hit-and-run play and swung at the third ball. He missed it, but the Lesterville catcher, who so far had been pegging the ball to second with deadly aim, threw low and before the shortstop had secured the ball Jack was sprawled in the dust with one foot on the bag.

Pete, with two strikes against him, was wary. Twice he spoiled good ones by fouling and then he was caught napping and retired to the bench with trailing bat. With two down the game looked to be over. But Lanny evidently thought otherwise, for he hit the first delivery squarely on the nose and Jack leaped away for third. The ball sped high toward center and although second baseman made a gallant attempt to get it, it went over his head. Jack turned third and streaked for the plate. The center fielder, however, had come in fast and now the ball was flying to the catcher. Lanny sped to second on the throw-in. Ten feet away from the home plate Jack hurled himself feet-foremost through a cloud of dust, rolled over the base and out of the way just as the ball settled into the catcher’s mitt. The umpire spread his hands wide to signify that the runner was safe, but the catcher turned fiercely on him.

“He never touched it!” he bawled. “Look at where he went!” He indicated a mark far back of the plate.

“Who didn’t touch it?” demanded Jack, scandalized and indignant. “I rolled over it!”

Players ran up excitedly. The umpire hesitated, glanced from the belligerent catcher to the astounded Jack, shook his head and said: “He’s out!”

What!” shrieked Jack.

“Sure you’re out,” said the pitcher with a grin. “You didn’t go anywhere near the plate. Beat it, kid!”

Gordon grabbed Jack’s arm and hustled him toward the bench, pursued by the laughter of the Lesterville players and the gibes of the spectators, crowding off the stand. At second Lanny got to his feet and tramped morosely in to the bench.

“I was all over the plate!” Jack was declaring fiercely. “He’s a robber!”

“Of course you were,” agreed Gordon soothingly. “He knows it, but he’s scared of the bunch. Never mind, it’s all in the day’s work, Jack.”

“I tell you I was safe!” sputtered Jack. “What do you want to quit for? Why don’t you make them play it out?”

“No good, Jack. Shut up and change your things. We’ve got to hustle for the train.”

Just then the Lesterville captain walked up to Gordon. “Say,” he said, “we’ll play you fellows again some time if you like. You put up a good game, all right, Merrick.”

“Thanks, I dare say we can get together again,” replied Gordon not overly enthusiastic. “I’ll let you know.”

“Next time we’ll have a decent umpire,” cried Jack, pausing on his way to the dressing shed. “That man’s a thief!”

“Aw, don’t be a baby,” growled the opposing captain. “You were out all right enough. I saw the play, didn’t I?”

“I don’t care whether you did or not. I was perfectly safe. I crossed the plate before the ball ever got to him!”

“What if you did, kid? You didn’t touch it. That ump is all right. The trouble is you can’t take a beating. Chase yourself.”

Jack was fighting mad then and pushed his way back, but Gordon and some of the others seized him, while the stragglers from the audience clustered around, eager for trouble.

“Jack, you get out of here,” directed Dick sternly.

“Like fun I will! That big chump can’t tell me——

“Just one more word and you’ll be suspended!” Dick spoke very quietly. Jack stared open-mouthed, his gaze traveling from the derisive face of the Lesterville captain to the stern countenance of the Clearfield manager. Gordon and Lanny still held him firmly. He swallowed hard, rewarded Dick with a baleful glare and said:

“Go ahead and suspend! You’re a peach of a manager, anyhow, to stand around and let those robbers swipe the game on us! You——

But Gordon and Lanny hustled him promptly through the throng at that, the crowd dissolved and the field emptied. In spite of Jack’s protest the game was recorded: Lesterville, 11; Clearfield, 7.


They talked it over on the way back in the train and the consensus of Clearfield opinion was that, taking into consideration the indisputable fact that the umpire had been against them all through the game, the final score was nothing to be ashamed of. Only Jack failed to subscribe with any enthusiasm to that verdict. Jack frankly sulked.

Dick called Gordon over to his seat after the discussion had waned and the fellows had quieted down. “Who,” he asked, moving his crutches to make room for Gordon, “can we get to take Jack’s place?”

“To take Jack’s place?” exclaimed Gordon. “Why, what’s the matter with Jack?”

“I thought you understood that he was suspended,” replied Dick calmly. “I certainly gave him a fair warning.”

“But—but—” blurted Gordon in bewilderment, “you can’t do that!”

“Why not?”

Gordon stared. Finally, “Are you in earnest?” he asked.

“Of course. I’m manager of this team. And while I’m manager the fellows have got to behave. Jack was all wrong. He had no business talking like that. In the first place, it wasn’t up to him to protest the decision. In the next place he might have got us into a nasty row with those toughs over there. They were dying for a scrap all along. If they had started anything we’d have got pretty well mussed up, Gordie.”

Gordon nodded. “I know,” he said gloomily, “but—Jack was excited, Dick. And it was a robbery. You can’t blame him for getting a bit hot about it.”

“I don’t. I blame him for showing it, or, at least, proclaiming it. If I’m manager, I’m going to manage. If I can’t manage, I’m not manager. Which is it?”

“Why, you’re manager, of course, Dick. But—Jack won’t like being suspended. In fact, he will probably get mad and quit altogether.”

“I don’t think so,” replied Dick. “But that’s his look-out. He’s suspended for a week—if I’m manager.”

“All right,” muttered Gordon. “Of course, you realize that leaves us in a hole next Saturday, Dick. Jack’s one of our best players, and I don’t know where we’ll find anyone to take his place.”

“Neither do I yet. But we’ve got a whole week to find someone. He’d be suspended, though, if he was the last player on the team.”

“Are you going to tell him?” asked Gordon uneasily. Dick smiled.

“Evidently you don’t care to?”

“I surely don’t.”

“Yes, I’ll tell him. He ought to know it, though, because I usually mean what I say. You needn’t mention it to anyone to-day. I’ll have a talk with him to-morrow, maybe.”

“He’ll quit flat-footed,” mourned Gordon. Dick smiled again.

“I don’t believe so. I think I know Jack a little better than you do, Gordie.”

The next afternoon, an hour or so after dinner, Dick called Gordon on the telephone. “Can you come around here for a few minutes?” he asked.

“Yes, I was just starting, Dick. Anything up?”

“Not much. I wanted to talk to you about a chap for Jack’s place.”

“Oh! You—you haven’t changed your mind about that, then?”

“No.” Dick’s voice sounded amused.

“Well——” Gordon frowned at the telephone instrument. “I’ll be over right away, Dick.”

Dick was on the porch, in spite of the fact that it was raining briskly, and his sister, Grace, was with him. Grace was thirteen and a very pretty girl, with dark hair and eyes. She was enveloped in a long apron and had her sleeves rolled up to her elbows and explained to Gordon that she was in the middle of washing up the dinner dishes.

“Dick called me out to read me a perfectly ridiculous story in the paper,” she laughed. “Read to Gordon, Dick, and see if he thinks it funny.”

Dick laughed. “Grace was born without a sense of humor, Gordie, and I find I can’t educate her.”

“Sense of humor!” scoffed Grace. “That story isn’t the least bit funny. I’ll leave it to Gordon.” She jumped up. “I must finish those dishes.”

“What’s the story?” asked Gordon, seating himself well away from the dripping vines.

“The story? Oh, never mind that! Jack’s just been here.”

“He has? Well—what—how did he take it?” asked Gordon anxiously.

Dick gravely regarded the point of one shoe. “Well, I’ll tell you the last thing he said as he went off, Gordie. He said: ‘Tell Gordon I know a fellow named Shores who works in the plating factory. He’s a pretty good ball player. If you like, I’ll talk to him and see if he will play for us Saturday.’”

Gordon viewed his friend with admiration, and shook his head helplessly. “I don’t see how you manage folks the way you do, Dick,” he said.

“That comes of being manager,” laughed Dick.

“If I’d told Jack he was suspended for a week he’d have sassed me and gone off in a huff and never played again!”

“Oh, no, he wouldn’t! Jack’s a good, sensible chap. He’s a little bit stuck on himself, but that doesn’t matter, and he will get over it some time. I just told him that he was wrong, and made him see it. And I convinced him without much trouble that it was for the good of the team that he should sit on the bench for a week. Of course, he was a bit huffed at first, but he got over that. In fact, Gordie, I think he’s rather proud of being suspended. It sounds sort of professional and big-leaguish!”

“You could convince a fellow it was a real pleasure to have his head cut off!” said Gordon. “I wish I had your—your diplomacy.”

“That’s a big word for it, Gordie. Last night’s meeting was rather a fizzle, wasn’t it?”

Gordon nodded gloomily. “I don’t see how we’re going to get a field in time for football practice if we don’t do more than we did last night.”

“Too much talk,” agreed Dick. “Somebody ought to just go ahead and find a field and then make a report on it. As for paying a hundred and twenty-five dollars a year rent for one, why, that’s poppycock. We couldn’t afford it, especially as we’ll have to build a running track before next Spring.”

“Way suggested that we could transfer next Spring’s meet to Springdale. That would give us nearly two years to fix up a track.”

“Not a bad idea. Most of the fellows seemed to fancy that place across the river beyond the carpet mills. It would be fairly near home, but it’s a mean part of town.”

“Punk! If we have to find a new place—and I suppose we must—I’m for going out toward the Point. Fellows seem to think it’s too far out there, but you can jump on the trolley and get there in no time. They’d put a stop opposite the field for us if we asked.”

“Yes, I should think Mr. Brent would do that much for us since he’s taking our field away,” agreed Dick. “By the way, seen Morris yet?”

“No; I thought I’d go over this afternoon and see how he is. Maybe he’s receiving callers by this time. Dick, do you know anything about running an automobile?”

Dick stared. Then he laughed. “Well, hardly, Gordie! How should I?”

“Well, of course you’ve never run one, but you know such a raft of stuff fellows usually don’t know that——

“You thought I’d made a study of autos? No, I’m afraid I can’t advise you much, Gordie. Thinking of buying one?”

“N-no, not exactly.”

“Going to rent it, then?”

“No, you idiot. I—I only wondered. I dare say you could drive an automobile finely, though. Your arms are all right and you told me once that you thought of getting one of those velocipede chairs that you work with your feet.”

“I see what you’re driving at. Old Man Brent has commissioned you to sell that car of Morris’. Is that it?”

Gordon looked startled, but shook his head. “No, he hasn’t. I dare say, though, anyone could buy it pretty cheap,” he remarked carelessly.

“I’m afraid I couldn’t afford it, Gordie,” Dick laughed. “You’ll have to find another buyer.”

“I know. I was just wondering if you could run an auto if you had one.”

“Why, I suppose so. I’ve got plenty of strength in my legs when I’m sitting down, you know, and so far my arms are still working. But I don’t believe I’ll ever have a chance to try, Gordie. At least, not unless you get an auto and let me run it for you. How would I do as a chauffeur?”

“I’ll bet you could run an auto to the King’s taste, Dick! You do most everything better than the rest of us.”

“You mean I think I could! Well, I’m not stuck-up about my automobile driving, Gordie. That’s one thing I’m not conceited about. Going now?”

“Yes, I guess I’d better run over to Morris’. I told his sister I’d look in pretty soon. When he can see folks, Dick, will you go over with me some time?”

“Of course. Glad to. Let me know when you want to go.”


“Why not?”

“I don’t know. I thought—you seemed sort of down on Mr. Brent and maybe you wouldn’t want to go to his house.”

“Oh, I’m not as down on him as all that,” laughed Dick. “And, anyhow, his house never did anything to me.” He paused and added soberly: “For that matter, Gordie, I don’t want you to think that I am really sore against Mr. Brent. Sometimes I get sort of peeved about that affair of dad’s, but maybe, after all, it was more his fault than Mr. Brent’s. Anyway, I’ve never accused Jonathan Brent of being dishonest. I don’t think he is. Give my regards to Morris if you see him, and tell him I’ll come over and call some day if he doesn’t mind. See you to-morrow afternoon, Gordie. We’ve got to practice hard this week. And I’ll tell Jack to look up his friend in the plating works.”


Gordon found Morris not only able but eager to see him. Louise conducted him upstairs to a big square bedroom in the middle of which, between two bay windows, Morris’ bed looked small and lonesome. There was a table by the bed, and on it was a great vase of pink roses, and some magazines, books, and glasses. A rocking-chair near the table with a magazine spread open in it suggested that someone, probably Louise, had been reading to the invalid.

Morris lay flat on his back, with only the wispiest little pillow under his head. Gordon was shocked to see how pale and drawn he looked as he waved a hand at the visitor’s entrance and called quite cheerfully across the room: “Hello, Gordon! Gee, but I’m glad to see you!”

Gordon took the chair beside the bed and asked Morris how he felt.

“Oh, pretty good, thanks! My leg’s done up in a ton of plaster, I guess, and it hurts a good deal. But the doctor’s tickled to death with it, and so I suppose I’ve got to be satisfied too. How are you? I thought you were never coming to see a fellow.”

“I’ve been wanting to come ever since—it happened,” answered Gordon; “but at first they said I mustn’t see you, and then, yesterday, there was the game at Lesterville——

“It must have been a peach of a game, even if you fellows did get beaten.” Morris paused abruptly and lowered his eyes. “Say, Gordon, I guess you know I’m—I’m awfully grateful——

“Now, look here,” interrupted Gordon sternly, “don’t you start that too! I’ve had a lot of it from your mother and Louise and Mr. Brent, and if you begin I’ll beat it out of here!”

“All right,” laughed Morris, “only—well, thanks, Gordon!” A twinge of pain brought a momentary scowl to his face. “I was mighty glad you didn’t get banged up too. It was a wonder you didn’t.”

“Oh, I’m like a cat; I light on my feet. What happened, anyhow?”

“I don’t know—quite. The first thing I knew the wheel spun around almost out of my hands and we were smashing against that fence. I suppose there was something in the road I didn’t see. I made a grab for the emergency brake and tried to set it. Then I got a leg over the side of the car and—and that’s all I remember. How badly is the car smashed, Gordon?”

“The right front wheel has most of the spokes out of it, and the axle is bent on that side. And there are some dents in the running board and radiator and one lamp’s done for. I don’t believe, though, it will cost you much to get it fixed up again almost as good as new. I suppose you’ll have to get rid of it, though, won’t you?”

Morris grinned. “Rather! And I’ll have to pay for it, too!”

“Your father says——

“I know; but Stacey has my note for the rest of the money, and I don’t propose to be a squealer, Gordon. I’ll get the money somehow. If dad won’t give it to me, maybe my mother will. I’ll get it somewhere. I’m not going to have Stacey telling it around that I don’t keep my word or pay my debts. I wish I’d let the blamed thing alone; but I didn’t, and so there’s no use talking about that now.”

“What—what are you going to do with it?” asked Gordon.

“Get Stacey to sell it for me, I guess. I haven’t talked to dad about it yet. He only got home from New York yesterday. I suppose he will be mad when I tell him I want to pay the rest of the money.”

“I ought to see him, too,” said Gordon uneasily, “and tell him what Mr. Stacey said. Is—is he at home to-day?”

“Yes, but you’d better wait a while. He always takes a nap Sunday afternoons. I guess I’ll let you tell him about Stacey before I tackle him.”

“How much would you sell the car for?” asked Gordon presently.

“Anything I could get, I guess. Of course, it’s never been used but a week; the speedometer shows only two hundred and eighty miles, I think; but I suppose it’s just as much second-hand as if it had been run a whole year. I should think Stacey might get three hundred for it, though.”

Gordon looked disappointed. “Oh!” he murmured. “Well, I suppose it is worth all of that. Only, I was thinking——

“What?” asked Morris.

“It—it sounds sort of cheeky,” replied Gordon, after a moment’s hesitation, “and you might not think much of the idea, but what I—what we were considering is this, Morris.” He drew the chair closer to the bed, with a glance at the half-open door, and lowered his voice.

An hour or so later Gordon left Brentwood well satisfied. Mr. Brent had only smiled at Mr. Stacey’s ultimatum, thanked Gordon for the trouble he had taken, and approved of the rescue and temporary disposal of the automobile. “We’ll let it stay where it is for the present,” he said, “and I’ll have a talk with Morris about it some day. If Stacey doesn’t want to take it back, I guess we can get the junkman to haul it away.”

“I think Morris has a—a scheme, sir, that would be pretty fine,” returned Gordon. “That is, if—if you were willing.”

“A scheme? What sort of a scheme, Merrick?”

“I’d rather he told you about it, sir.”

“Humph! I don’t think much of Morris’ schemes as a rule,” replied Mr. Brent grimly. “However, I’ll hear what he has to say.”

On Tuesday placards in the shop windows made the following announcement:


Clearfield vs. Rutter’s Point,


Saturday at 3 P. M.

Admission: 25 Cents.

Also on that morning the Clearfield Reporter obligingly called the public’s attention to the game and predicted a close and exciting contest. The notice in the newspaper cost the club nothing, but the printed announcements took just a dollar and sixty-five cents from the exchequer, and caused Fudge, whose portion of the expense amounted to eighteen and one-third cents, a deal of gloom.

“Nobody’s going to pay real money to see a lot of kids play ball,” said Fudge. “So what’s the good of spending all that on notices? Gee, we could have bought a new ball with that money!”

One or two others thought as Fudge did, but most of the team were optimistic, and Tim Turner was created ticket seller and gateman, and was to receive fifty cents for his services. Fudge declared that if Tim sold enough admissions to pay himself his wages he’d be “m-m-m-mighty lucky!” But as events proved Fudge was unnecessarily pessimistic.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Jack Tappen had fulfilled his agreement to find a substitute, and Danny Shores was duly “signed up” for Saturday’s game with the Point. Danny, who proved to be a long and lanky youth of sixteen or seventeen years, showed up for practice on Wednesday and made a good impression in right field and at the bat. Unfortunately, Wednesday was the only day he could get off, and, as Jack assured Dick, it took a lot of wire-pulling to secure that concession from Danny’s boss at the plating works. However, Danny played ball more or less every lunch-hour behind the factory, and so was by no means out of practice. Jack’s demeanor was amusing that week. He tried to look chastened and sad, but it was easy to see that he took it as a personal compliment, that suspension, and was vastly proud of it. Jack appeared to reason that if he hadn’t been an extraordinarily valuable member of the team Dick would not have taken the trouble to discipline him! Jack was as busy as a hive of bees, and was so generous with advice that Dick and Gordon found him something of a nuisance.

“I wish he was playing ball instead of sitting on the bench,” confided Gordon, in comic despair. “Next time, Dick, throw him in the river, but don’t suspend him. He’s as pleased as Punch with himself!”

Of course, the others tried their best to have their fun with Jack, but the attempt was not very successful. Jack seemed to consider that a signal honor had been done him, and, while he professed to be chagrined and ashamed of his position, he was secretly well contented and was enjoying it all greatly. As Dick said, one could have stood that well enough if Jack hadn’t tried to run the team!

But Jack Tappen was not the only cross that Dick had to bear just then. As a tutor Dick was having his troubles, too. Harold Townsend had at last, to use Caspar Billings’ expression, “laid down in the shafts.” Not only that, but he was “kicking over the traces” as well. Dick was pretty nearly at his wits’ end. The pupil’s first slight awe of his teacher had soon worn off, and now he was frankly mutinous. He no longer made pretense of studying the lessons Dick laid out for him, only grinned exasperatingly when taken to task, and, in short, openly defied authority. Dick worried for two reasons: In the first place, he disliked to be beaten. In the second place, he felt that he had no right to take money from Harold’s mother when he was not earning it. And he wanted the money and needed it. Harold apparently realized that any appeal to his mother by Dick would be useless. And Dick was pretty certain of as much himself. Nevertheless, on Thursday of that week he decided that the time had come for an understanding. Loring, Harold’s older brother, had threatened all sorts of dire punishment if that youth didn’t behave, but the threats had not impressed Harold much. Perhaps he knew that Loring wouldn’t carry them out. On Thursday the lesson had been the merest farce, and Harold’s behavior had for once almost caused Dick to lose command of a usually well-governed temper. At last:

“I shall have to talk to your mother, Harold,” he said. “This kind of thing can’t go on. You’re wasting your time and mine——

“Aw, you get paid, don’t you?” asked Harold, with a scowl.

“I get paid for teaching, not for loafing,” responded Dick sharply. “I shall want to see you when I come back. So don’t go off, please.”

“I shall if I want to. You don’t own me, Lovering. Besides, study time’s up, anyway.”

Dick, disdaining to answer, set off to find Mrs. Townsend. The conference took place on a corner of the hotel veranda. Mrs. Townsend was a sweet-voiced, pretty woman, with a tired air. At first she seemed to resent Dick’s charge against her boy. Then she grew pathetic, and bewailed the fact of her husband’s death.

“If he had lived,” she sighed, “Harold would have been a different boy. I’ve never been able to do anything with him. He needs a stronger hand, I fear. Perhaps—that is, possibly—er—it would have been better to have found someone—someone a little older to take him in hand. Of course, I don’t mean to suggest that you haven’t done excellently, Mr. Lovering, for I’m quite sure you have; but, of course, as you are so little older than Harold, he may feel—er—you see what I mean, don’t you?”

“Yes’m, but I don’t think that’s the trouble. Harold doesn’t want to study, doesn’t seem to see the necessity of learning and won’t. If I had full authority over him——

“Oh, but you have! I thought that was understood.”

“Oh, for two hours, perhaps, Mrs. Townsend; but what I mean is that if I—well, if you’d just back me up, I’m sure I could accomplish something.”

“Please explain. I don’t think I understand.”

“Why, it’s like this,” replied Dick desperately: “He knows now that if he doesn’t want to learn his lessons he doesn’t have to. So he doesn’t do any work. If—if you’d make him understand that he does have to, Mrs. Townsend, that if he doesn’t he will be—punished——

“Oh, but I’ve never punished Harold!” she protested. “I don’t believe in punishment; that is, other than verbal. A high-spirited boy such as he is—er——

“Yes’m, I know, but you want him to go to Rifle Point, and he will never get there if he doesn’t take some interest in his lessons and do some work. See here, please.” Dick had provided himself with a Rifle Point School catalogue, and now he went over for Mrs. Townsend’s benefit the list of studies required for entrance. Mrs. Townsend listened with a puzzled, tired frown on her pretty forehead.

“And you think he isn’t far enough advanced, Mr. Lovering, to enter this Fall?”

“He isn’t advanced at all!” blurted Dick. “What he has learned he has forgotten. He—he’s two years behind those requirements, Mrs. Townsend.”

“Dear me! And I had hoped——” She sighed tremulously. “What do you advise?”

“I advise you to make Harold understand that he’s got to do what I tell him to, and that if he doesn’t he will be punished.”

“But I never could punish him!”

“No’m, I’m sure of that,” agreed Dick. “You let me do it.”

“You?” she faltered. “Could you—that is——

“I don’t mean whip him, Mrs. Townsend, or anything like that. I’ll find a way that will answer quite as well.”

“Could you really? But how?”

“I don’t know just yet,” Dick owned. “But I’ll find a way. Really, Mrs. Townsend, you’ll have to do something of that sort. Harold’s just wasting his time and mine. And I can’t take your money when I’m not earning it.”

“Oh, but I’m sure you are! Even if—if Harold doesn’t get on very fast, it is a great relief to me to know that for two hours a day at least he is in good care and not—not running around with those horrid bell-boys. I’m sure that’s worth every penny of the money!”

“Not to me, ma’am. I mean I wouldn’t be satisfied to go on with things as they are now. I wish you’d try my way, Mrs. Townsend. All I’d want you to do would be just to tell Harold that he is to do absolutely as I tell him to, and that there is no use in his appealing to you.”

“We—ell, if you’re quite certain it won’t break his spirit or—or anything like that,” agreed Mrs. Townsend doubtfully. “I do want him to get on, Mr. Lovering. If only he had half the studiousness that Loring has!”

“He can study very well when he wants to,” replied Dick dryly. “And I’m pretty sure I can make him want to if you will just stand back of me, Mrs. Townsend.”

“I will, really and truly,” she said. “Thank you so much, Mr. Lovering. I—I’ll speak to Harold this evening, and——

“Couldn’t you speak to him now just as well, please?”

“Now? Why, I suppose so. If you wish. Perhaps I’d better, and get it over with.” Mrs. Townsend sighed deeply. “Will you send him to me, Mr. Lovering?”

“Yes’m, if I can find him,” answered Dick. “I’m afraid, though, he’s gone off somewhere. I’ll look him up, Mrs. Townsend. Thank you very much for—for helping me.”

Harold was not in his room where Dick had left him, and inquiry around the corridor of the hotel at first failed to elicit any information. Ultimately, however, Dick found a boy who had seen Harold walking down the beach about a half hour before and Dick set off in the indicated direction toward the distant point of rocks that jutted out into the sea.


It was hard going for Dick, for his crutches sank into the sand nearly to the depth of their rubber tips, but he persevered, and after some ten minutes of “crutching” arrived at the end of the beach where the point of rock from which the place received its name advanced from the grassy bluff and waded far into the breakers. Harold was not in sight when Dick reached the bottom of the ledge; but a few moments later when by careful climbing Dick had reached the seaward end of the rock, he came into view. The receding tide had left a long and narrow pool in a cleft of the ledge, a pool whose sides were festooned with delicate seaweed and set with purple mussels and green and brown snails and in whose bottom pink starfish crawled. Harold, perched at the edge of the pool, was looking fascinatingly into the clear green depths and didn’t hear the soft tap of Dick’s crutches until the older boy was almost beside him. Then he turned startledly, narrowly escaping a bath in the pool, and scowled at the intruder.

“Had to hunt for me, anyway, didn’t you?” he asked sneeringly.

Dick paid the question no heed. Instead, he moved to the edge of the pool and peered interestedly into it. He didn’t have to feign interest, he was interested. It seemed a long time to Dick since he had crouched, as Harold was crouched now, and gazed fascinatingly at the wonders of a rock pool. Nor had he done it very frequently, for climbing over the ledges is hard and risky work for a boy without two good legs. Harold continued to frown at a wavering starfish in the depths, but presently, as Dick did not speak, he shot a curious glance at him.

“Gee,” he said to himself, “you’d think he’d never seen starfish and things before!”

Dick took off his hat and wiped his moist forehead. Then he lowered himself cautiously to a seat on the rock. “Regular natural aquarium, isn’t it?” he asked pleasantly. Harold’s reply was an unintelligible growl. “Lots of queer things in there,” went on Dick musingly.

“Sure; I just saw a whale,” replied Harold sarcastically.

“Did you? Your eyes must be pretty good,” returned Dick, with a smile. “I dare say, though, I see something you don’t.”

Harold viewed him suspiciously. Finally: “What?” he asked.

“A sea-anemone.”

“A sea-what?”

“Sea-anemone.” Dick laughed. “I sea-anemone; what do you see?”

“That’s a punk joke!” scoffed Harold.

“I’m not joking. I’ll point him out to you. Lean over this way. See that purplish-brown thing on the side near the bottom? Looks like a flower, sort of. See?”

“Sure! Is that it? It isn’t a flower, though; it moves, don’t it?” Harold was interested in spite of himself.

“Yes, it moves, and it isn’t a flower. It’s a polyp. It’s name is Metridium something or other; I forget the rest of it.”

“What’s a polyp? An animal?”

“Y-yes, of a low order. About as much as a sponge is.”

“Pooh, a sponge is a vegetable!” derided the other.

“Not exactly. Those things that move are little tentacles with which it feeds itself,” said Dick, pointing again at the anemone.

“What’s it eat?” asked Harold curiously.

“All sorts of animal matter that floats around in the water and that is so small we can’t see it.”

Harold observed him suspiciously. “I don’t believe it’s alive at all,” he said presently. “It’s just a sort of seaweed, and it moves because the water moves.”

“Think so?” asked Dick. “Then put your hand down there toward it and see what happens.”

“It won’t—bite, will it?” asked Harold doubtfully.

“No, but it will show you whether it’s alive or not. You needn’t touch it,” he added, noting the other’s hesitancy. “Just put your hand near it or disturb the water.”

Harold pulled his sleeve up and cautiously thrust an arm into the pool. “Gee!” he exclaimed. “It shut its mouth!”

Dick laughed. “Doesn’t look much like it did, does it?”

“No; it’s an ugly little thing now,” responded the other. “Say, that’s funny, isn’t it? Guess it’s alive, all right.”

“Yes; and it knows three things pretty well: It knows how to attach itself to the rocks, how to get food, and how to shut up shop when trouble brews.”

“What would it do if you took it out?”

“Die. Besides, it’s stuck on there so hard you’d have to pull it to pieces to get it off. I tried it once when I was a kid, and had to give it up.”

“I’d like to find a sea-urchin,” said Harold. “I’ve got a lot of starfish and a horse-shoe crab and some razor-clam shells and two shark eggs. I guess I’ll get that big starfish down there, too.”

“What’s the use?” asked Dick. “It’s just like those you’ve got. Let the old chap live and enjoy himself.”

“I’ll get it if I want to,” replied Harold. “Say, what did you follow me out here for, anyway?”

“Because I told your mother I’d find you and send you to her. She’s got something to say to you.”

“Sure! I suppose you went and told her a lot of lies about me.”

“You don’t suppose anything of the sort,” responded Dick quietly.

“Well, anyway, I’m not afraid of her.”

“Of course not, but you want to do what she wishes, don’t you?”

“That’s my business,” replied the other ungraciously. “I do as I please.”

“Well, you’re a lucky chap, then,” said Dick pleasantly. “By the way, are you going to see the ball game Saturday?”

“Yes, I guess so. That is”—with elaborate concern—“unless you don’t want me to.”

“I was going to say that if you’ll ask for me at the gate I’ll pass you in, Harold.”

“Why, are they going to charge?”

“Yes; twenty-five cents.”

“Gee, they’ve got a crust! Who’d pay twenty-five cents to see a lot of wooden-heads play ball?”

“Well, we’re hoping a lot will. Anyway, you won’t have to. Just ask for me at the gate. I guess it will be a pretty good game. Do you like baseball?”

“I suppose so.”

“Do you play?”

“Sure! What do you think I am—a wooden Indian?”

“That’s good. They have a pretty good team at Rifle Point. Maybe you’ll make it some day.”

“There isn’t any maybe about it. I’m going to.”

“I hope so. Well, I must be getting back. You coming along? It must be very nearly lunch time.”

“No, I’m not,” growled Harold. “I’ll come when I’m ready.”

“All right. By the way, we won’t have any lessons to-morrow. Nothing doing until Monday. Meanwhile you see if you can’t get the better of that algebra, like a good fellow. So-long!”

“Long!” muttered Harold.

Dick pulled himself up and fixed his crutches and began the laborious task of climbing back up the rock and across to the beach. Fortunately his rubber tips held well, and he was soon at the top of the ledge. But there misfortune overtook him. Just what happened he couldn’t have told, but the result he was very certain about. For one crutch flew out from under him, he spun half around on the other and fell backward, his head coming into violent contact with the granite ledge. For an instant he was too dazed to move. His head rang and buzzed like a bee-hive. In falling he must have cried out involuntarily, for almost before he had gathered his faculties together and made a move to get up he heard footsteps pattering on the rocks, and then the anxious voice of Harold Townsend:

“Are you hurt, Lovering? What happened?”

Harold ran to him, and bent over him with very genuine concern.

“I—I’m all right, thanks,” replied Dick, a trifle vaguely. “I fell. That rock is some hard, Harold!” He rubbed his head ruefully and grimaced as his hand came in contact with the swelling bruise. “Just give me a hand, will you? And kick that crutch this way, please.”

“Here’s your crutch,” said Harold, “but just you wait where you are a minute.” He sped away down the slope of the rock, and Dick, with his head throbbing, for once could not but feel a qualm of envy. In a moment the younger boy was back. He had dipped his handkerchief in the water, and now he offered it a trifle shyly to Dick. “Put it on your head,” he said gruffly. “It’ll make it feel better.”

“Thanks, Harold.” Dick applied the wet compress to the bump. “It was stupid of me to keel over like that,” he said. “I don’t know when I’ve fallen down before.”

“I should think you’d have lots of falls,” replied Harold. “I think you get around mighty well, Lovering. How does it feel now?”

“Better, thanks. Just sort of give me a boost, will you?”

Harold assisting, Dick got to his feet, or, rather, his crutches, and, with the younger boy watching anxiously, went on down the ledge to the beach.

“You needn’t come unless you’re ready to,” said Dick. “I’ll be all right now, Harold.”

“I guess I’ll go, too,” replied Harold carelessly. “It’s most lunch time.”

They walked along in silence for a way, and then Dick asked: “Do you know who Caspar Billings has got to take Morris Brent’s place on Saturday?”

“Fellow named Jensen. Do you know him?”

“No, I think not. Pretty good, is he?”

“I guess so. Loring says he is. Say, Mason’s going to pitch for us. Did you know that?”

“Mason? Oh, he is the fellow who was to have played in the last game and didn’t get here. Is he a wonder, Harold?”

“Is he!” Harold chuckled. “You just wait and see. You fellows won’t be able to touch him!”

“As good as that, eh? By the way, who scores for your team?”

“I don’t know.” Harold shrugged his shoulders. “Nobody, I guess. Why?”

“I should think you’d like to do it.”

Harold considered. “I guess,” he answered finally, “I don’t know how well enough.”

“I can show you. You bring a book Saturday and sit by me, and I’ll make a professional scorer of you in no time.”

“Too much trouble,” replied the other indifferently.

“It isn’t trouble at all, Harold; it’s fun. Better try it some time. It’s a good thing to know.”

Presently Harold asked: “Why aren’t you coming to-morrow?”

“Because we haven’t been getting on very well, Harold. I thought it might be a good idea for us to stop for a couple of days and think it over; see whether we want to go on with it or not, you know. If we decide that we do, we’ll start all over again Monday and do the thing right.”

“Humph!” muttered Harold. “What did you tell my mother?”

“Oh, just that I wasn’t willing to go on and take her money without accomplishing something,” replied Dick cheerfully. “I told her you could study as well as your brother if you wanted to——

“She’s always beefing about Loring!” grumbled the boy.

“And that if you didn’t want to there wasn’t much use in my coming. Well, I’ll cut through here for the car. I’ll see you Monday, Harold.”

“What about Saturday?” asked the other. “You said——

“Of course! Look me up, and bring your score-book.”

“Haven’t any.”

“You can get one at Wadsworth’s, on Common Street. Or I’ll buy one for you, if you like.”

“You needn’t. It’s too much like work. So-long!”

Dick returned to Clearfield more encouraged. If only Mrs. Townsend would do as she had agreed to, he believed that he could manage Harold and earn the money that was being paid him. He had about given up hope of finding more pupils, and so could ill afford to lose Harold. He certainly didn’t want to, he reflected, but he would in an instant rather than make no better progress than he had been making.

At practice that afternoon, Gordon told him that Morris had asked to see him, and Dick agreed to call at the Brents’ for a few minutes before supper. Morris was pathetically glad to see the two boys and very loath to have them go again. Mrs. Brent looked in for a short time and Louise met them on their way out and thanked them for coming. She looked rather tired, and Gordon spoke of it.

“It’s been so hot to-day,” she explained, “and I’ve been indoors a good deal since Morris was hurt. He can’t read to himself yet, and so I have to do it for him. Of course, I’m very glad to, but it is hard work in a way. I wonder if either of you have any books he’d like. I’ve read about everything I can find.”

“I think I have,” responded Dick. “I’ll bring two or three over. I guess what Morris wants is a rattling good adventure story.”

“Yes; he’s crazy to hear stories about ships and pirates and hidden treasure, you know. About the only other thing he cares about is the baseball news. I read that to him every morning, and I’m getting to be quite—quite learned.”

“I suppose,” said Dick, “the doctor won’t let you move him out to the Point yet.”

“He says we can go in about another two weeks. I think it will be much better for Morris. He’s getting fearfully tired of that room up there. And it is hot, you know. Thank you both for coming, and do come again when you can. I guess it isn’t much fun for you, but Morris looks forward to it all day.”

“She’s a nice girl,” commented Dick, as they passed through the gate. “Pretty, too.”

“She is nice,” agreed Gordon. “I guess when a fellow’s laid up like that a sister’s a pretty good thing to have around.”

“Yes,” said Dick. And, after a moment, he added: “I’ll find those books and take them around to-morrow morning.”

“I would,” approved the other. “You’re certain to find her in then.”

“Don’t be a chump, Gordie! She’s only a kid!”

“She’s as old as I am, except for a few months. And if you call me a kid I’ll lick you.”

“If you do, I’ll suspend you,” replied Dick sternly.

Gordon laughed. “I hope I’d get as much fun out of it as Jack is getting,” he said. “He confided to me to-day that you were a fine manager. ‘I tell you, Gordon,’ he said, ‘a manager’s got to have plenty of discipline!’ If you could only fire Jack for good and all, he’d love you like a brother, Dick!”

“I sort of wish we were going to have him in the game Saturday,” said Dick. “We’ll miss his batting, I guess.”

“I wonder if this fellow Mason is as good as they seem to think him. Anyone know where he comes from?”

“I didn’t ask. He’s probably better than Porter, though. I have a feeling that we’re due to get the short end of the score day after to-morrow.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised. I hope to goodness Harry can play. If he is out of it, we will be in a mess!”

“How is Tom getting on with his shingling or painting or whatever it is he’s doing?”

“I don’t know. Why?”

“Well, it would be a good thing if he could come out and practice a little more. It’s too bad we can’t find another fellow to help out with the pitching, Gordie. If Tom got sick we’d be in a fix.”

“We surely would! But I don’t believe Tom was ever sick in his life. Anyway, he was pretty fit to-day. I caught him for a few minutes, and he had everything there is.”

Dick smiled. “Tom has just three balls, Gordie: an out, a pretty good drop, and a fast one that’s a peach. That’s all he needs, though. If he mixes them up right he can get by. But we’ve got to find our batting eye Saturday if we’re to win. How about the line-up? Think we’d better change it?”

“Yes, I do. This fellow Shores had better follow Lanny, don’t you think? He seems to think he can bat, but he didn’t connect with much yesterday.”

“Maybe he was embarrassed,” suggested Dick, with a smile.

“Embarrassed!” said Gordon. “Yes, about as much embarrassed as a bull-pup! Maybe he will do better in a game, though. Well, so-long, Dick. I’ll have to hustle or I’ll be late for supper.”

“Coming around to-night?”

“I don’t believe so. I told Lanny I’d go over there. See you to-morrow, though.”

“Come over in the morning, will you? I’m not going out to the Point to-morrow.”

“You’re not? You haven’t quit, have you?”

“No, not yet. I’m giving Harold a day or two to think over his sins. Good-night.”

“I say, Dick, don’t forget your call.”

“What call?” asked Dick, from the end of the hedge.

“Why, on Miss Brent!”

“You’ll sit on the bench if you’re not careful,” laughed Dick.


“Well, what do you know about that!” ejaculated Fudge awedly. He and Lanny were approaching the athletic field at a little after two on Saturday. Ahead of them, as they turned the corner, was a group of some fifty or sixty persons, mostly boys and young men, and they were quite evidently waiting for the gate to open.

“And it isn’t half-past two yet,” said Lanny. “Looks as if we were going to have an audience, after all, Fudge.”

“Bet you they don’t know they have to pay a quarter,” responded the other pessimistically.

“Then they’re blind, because there’s a notice right beside the gate there.”

“Someone ought to find Tim and get him here,” said Fudge anxiously. “They might change their minds and go away again!”

“What time is he supposed to get here?”

“I don’t know. Half-past, I suppose.” They passed through a smaller gate which led to the dressing-room and found Dick and Gordon already on hand. Fudge told his fears to Dick, and Dick reassured him by agreeing to take the gate himself until young Mr. Turner appeared. Five minutes later the first two or three rows of the grandstand were occupied, and spectators were still dribbling through the gate and depositing quarters in Dick’s hand. Tim Turner arrived breathless soon after and relieved Dick. Some thirty Rutter’s Point residents accompanied their team and still further swelled the audience, and by three o’clock Dick estimated that fully a hundred and sixty persons had paid admission. That was much better than anyone had dared hope, and Lanny, making a lightning calculation, confided to Gordon that there’d be thirty dollars coming to the club after Rutter’s Point had received the twenty-five per cent. agreed on.

“If we can do that often enough,” said Lanny delightedly, “we’ll have more than enough for——

“S-sh!” cautioned Gordon.

“He’s over there talking to Billings. Who is the kid with him?”

“That’s young Townsend, the fellow he’s coaching. It’s about time to start, isn’t it? There come three more, Lanny.”

“Every little quarter helps,” replied Lanny. “I hope Tim Turner doesn’t abscond with the cash! Someone ought to stand over him with a bat! Oh, Fudge!”

“What’s wanted?” asked Fudge, joining them.

“We wanted to tell you that if Tim runs off with the money you will have to make good.”

Fudge grinned. “He’s awfully excited,” he said. “He’s got both pockets full of silver, and sounds like a treasury when he moves. He’s terribly worried because he gave one fellow too much change. He says he knows him, though, and is going to get it back!”

“Come on,” said Gordon. “On the run, fellows. You’re in right field, Shores. Throw out another ball, Jack, will you? Here you are, Harry!”

A minute later Captain Billings faced Tom Haley, and the game began.

The batting list of the visiting team had been changed in two instances, Jensen replacing Morris Brent in left field, and Mason pitching instead of Porter. Melville, or “Mel,” Mason was a big youth of eighteen at least, with a quiet, self-constrained manner that impressed Dick and filled him with forebodings of defeat. Clearfield was minus the services of Jack Tappen, Mr. Daniel Shores making his first appearance in a purple uniform and holding down Jack’s place in right field. The umpire was Mr. Cochran, physical director at the Young Men’s Christian Association, and a great favorite among the boys.

Rutter’s Point failed to do anything in the first inning. Tom Haley allowed only one player to reach first, and he got no farther. When Clearfield came to the bat, with Harry Bryan up, the audience proved its loyalty to the home team by loud and prolonged cheering. It was very soon evidenced that “Mel” Mason was in a different class from Bede Porter as a pitcher. Who he was or where he came from neither Dick nor Gordon had learned; but, to use Fudge’s admiring and slightly resentful expression, he was “some pitchist!” He had plenty of speed when he cared to use it, but his favorite offering was a slow ball that was probably patterned on the “floater” of a famous league pitcher. The Clearfield batters hit under it or over it with discouraging regularity, and Harry, Will, and Gordon went out in order in the last of the first inning, only Will managing to hit into fair territory. Harry and Gordon fanned.

For three innings the contest was a pitchers’ battle. Tom was in excellent shape, and, although he secured fewer strike-outs than his rival, managed to hold his own with the assistance of sharp fielding by his team-mates. If there were those among the spectators who had come to scoff at the kind of ball they were to see they must have been surprised, for both teams played a practically errorless game until the beginning of the fourth. And even after that, if there were frequent miscues, there was enough excitement and suspense to make up for them.

It was Jensen, the chap who had taken Morris’ place, who started things going in the fourth. Loring Townsend had flied out to Pete Robey, making the first out. With two strikes and one ball on him, Jensen reached for an out-shoot, found it on the end of his bat, and deposited it neatly behind Gordon and close to the foul-line. Chase, the Point shortstop, tried twice to bunt, and then hit sharply past Pete, and Jensen went to third. House was over-anxious and went out on strikes, and Chase got to second. Then Leary waited and got his base. With the bags all occupied and two men down, it was up to “Pink” Northrop to come to the rescue with a hit. The Point coachers were jumping and shouting like mad, and Tom might have been excused for some unsteadiness at that juncture. But Tom settled down, followed Lanny’s signals closely, and at last, after working two strikes over on Northrop, caused that youth to hit weakly to third. Will Scott almost overthrew the base in his eagerness, but Gordon pulled the ball down in time and the crisis was over.

Gordon went out, shortstop to first; Way lifted a high one to second baseman, and Pete Robey faced Mason with little expectation of faring any better. But Mason let up for a minute, probably arguing that with two gone he could afford to take things easy, and Pete shot a hot liner at third baseman. Caspar Billings got his hands on it, but it trickled past him, and Pete was safe. That doubtful error—Dick charitably scored it as a hit—seemed the signal for the Point to go up in the air. Mason whipped a quick throw to first which would have caught Pete flat-footed off the bag had Loring Townsend been ready for it. He wasn’t, however, and the ball went past him to the fence, and Pete, finding his feet quickly, shot to second and then on to third, beating out the throw by a fraction of an inch and causing dissatisfaction among the Pointers over Mr. Cochran’s decision. Lanny, impatiently waiting at the plate, swung twice in his eagerness to score the runner, and then waited while Mason teased him with wide ones. With two strikes and two balls against him, Lanny out-guessed the pitcher, and swung against the next one. Shortstop knocked it down but couldn’t find it again in time to throw either to the plate or to first, and Clearfield, amidst the excited whooping of the audience, scored her first tally.

Lanny went down to second on the first pitch, and, although Houghton threw quickly and well to that bag, Lanny beat him by a yard. Danny Shores, who was at bat, had swung and was one strike to the bad when Mason grimly turned his attention to him again. Quite a few of Danny’s friends from the factory were on hand to see him perform, and when, after the third delivery, he caught the ball squarely on the nose and sent it streaking just over second baseman’s head, they shouted themselves hoarse in Danny’s honor. On the bench, Jack Tappen looked a bit glum. He had visions of being displaced by Mr. Shores. Lanny came in without hurrying much, and Danny reposed on first. Fudge tried to do his share of a hit-and-run play, but he swung far wide of the deceptive drop, and Danny was caught at second and the inning was over, with Clearfield two runs to the good.

Enthusiasm reigned among the spectators on the stand, and they “rooted” valiantly for Clearfield throughout the rest of the game. In the fifth the Point got two men on bases, and was in good position to score, there being but one out, when Pete Robey pulled down a liner that had been distinctly labeled “two bases,” raced to second ahead of the runner, and then completed the double by making a fine throw to Gordon. Mason struck out Tom easily in the last of the fifth, passed Harry Bryan, fanned Will Scott, and then, with Gordon at bat, caught Harry off first.

Every play was loudly applauded, and the audience was by this time perched on the edges of the seats. Again in their half of the sixth Rutter’s Point found Tom for two hits, and again sharp fielding kept her from crossing the plate. It was evident, though, that Tom was less of a puzzle now than in the earlier innings, and it seemed only a matter of time when the Pointers would bunch their hits and Dick would have to credit them with a run or two. You are not to suppose that Dick was doing nothing but keeping the score. He was managing that game from the bench as scientifically as if he had played the game all his short life. Every batsman got his orders from Dick before he stepped to the plate, and every coacher was instructed before he went to the box. And, besides that, Dick was teaching Harold Townsend how to score a ball game. In spite of his indifference two days before, Harold had appeared with a brand-new, black-covered score-book and a fountain pen. Dick had told him to put the pen in his pocket, and had supplied him with a pencil instead. Harold seated himself by Dick and watched and learned. He made more mistakes than enough, and his score when finished was a veritable hodge-podge of misinformation, but he seemed to get a lot of excitement and fun out of it, and he really did learn a good deal for a boy who had theretofore scored an out by placing a huge X opposite the batsman and a run by marking up an equally enormous I. When he began to memorize the symbols for struck out, base on balls, hit by pitched ball, and so on, he discovered that scoring was not the simple task he had thought it. About the sixth inning he gave up trying to keep a detailed score, and contented himself with disposing of the batsmen with his X’s and I’s. But by that time the excitement had grown so intense that it would have required a person with a much cooler head than Harold’s to keep his mind on scoring.

Clearfield went to bat in the sixth with the grim determination to add another brace of runs to her score and place the game safely away. Dick realized that Tom was weakening, and that before long the visitors would find him for some real hits, and before that occurred he wanted Clearfield to have a sufficient lead to place her out of danger. Gordon had his instructions to reach first at any cost. Then Way, who was a clever bunter, was to sacrifice him to second. Either Pete or Lanny was to supply the hit to score Gordon. But plans don’t always carry through. Dick’s didn’t on this occasion. Gordon hit squarely into Mason’s hands, and the pitcher tossed the ball nonchalantly to first for the out. Way bunted down the first-base line, and managed to beat out the throw. Pete flied to center field, and Way was held on first. With two down the inning should have been as good as over, but Fate took a hand and prolonged it until the bases were filled, and Dick, watching intently from the bench, dared to hope that Fudge might for once do the impossible. Mason had passed Lanny on purpose, forcing Way to second. Then Danny Shores had come through with a mild wallop down third-base line. Caspar had only to touch the base to retire the side, but his wits must have been wool-gathering, for, after gathering in the ball on the bound five feet away from the bag, he paid no attention to Way, dashing past him hardly out of arm’s length, but hurled the ball across to first. Perhaps Loring Townsend was too surprised to realize what was required of him. At all events, the ball dropped out of his glove, and Mr. Cochran, who had already motioned Danny out, had to reverse his decision.

And so the stage was set when Fudge seized his favorite bat and manfully stalked to the plate, resolved to do or die. Fudge was right in the midst of a baseball romance at that time, and only the night before, writing with his foolscap propped up on his knees in bed, he had described how his hero, despised and ridiculed by his school-mates, had gone to the bat in the last of the ninth and, even while the crowds turned disappointedly away from the field, had out-guessed the marvelous pitcher of the rival school and with one mighty stroke of his faithful bat had turned defeat into victory by driving out a home-run and scoring the men on bases. Fudge recalled that as he gripped his bat and faced Mason, trying hard to appear nonchalant and undismayed. He wondered whether things ever happened in real life as they did in stories. Somehow that brilliant deed of his hero seemed horribly improbable to-day. Fudge determined to tone it down a little that evening. A two-bagger would answer the purpose just as well, and would certainly sound more plausible.

Dick’s voice from the bench reached him as Mason, after glancing over the bases, wound up. “Make him pitch to you, Fudge! It only takes one!” Back and forth from behind first and third the cries of Harry Bryan and Gordon rattled. Fudge gripped his bat tighter yet and glued his eyes to the upraised hands of Mel Mason. Then the ball, a particularly dirty one, streaked toward him; Fudge’s heart beat loudly and he stepped nimbly out of the way, only to hear the fell verdict: “Strike!”

Fudge looked reproachfully at Mr. Cochran, sighed, and again faced the pitcher. That ball had come well across the inner corner of the plate, and Fudge determined that Mason shouldn’t fool him a second time with that particular kind of a delivery. So when the next ball shot forward apparently coming the same way Fudge held his ground scornfully and prepared to swing his bat. But the next instant he had forgotten all about swinging and was sitting on the ground with both hands clasped to his ribs and an expression of pained surprise on his face. When he had regained his breath and the use of his legs, Fudge thought that the joy of his team-mates was very ill-considered. It seemed nothing to them that he had narrowly escaped death at the hands of an infuriated baseball; they only shouted and jumped about because a run had been forced in!

Fudge walked painfully to first, reflecting how differently his hero would have performed. There was something distinctly humiliating to Fudge in gaining his base in such a manner, and so deeply did he feel the humiliation that he quite forgot to heed the warnings of Gordon, coaching behind the base, and was surprised to have Loring Townsend, without any provocation, punch him forcibly in exactly the spot that Mason’s in-shoot had collided with. That was too much for Fudge. The pain brought tears to his eyes and wrath to his heart. He sprang upon the first baseman with clenched fists, and only Gordon’s prompt interference prevented trouble. Gordon haled Fudge away, patiently explaining that Loring had tagged him with the ball while he had been apparently fast asleep a yard off the base. The explanation, however, was not entirely satisfactory to Fudge.

“What of it? He didn’t have to punch me in the ribs as hard as he knew how, did he?” demanded Fudge angrily. “What kind of a way is that to play ball?”

“Shut up, Fudge!” said Gordon exasperatedly. “Why the dickens weren’t you watching the pitcher? What’s the good of getting hit if you get put out the next minute?”

“Good of it!” exclaimed Fudge. “Good of it! There isn’t any good of it! I just wish he’d lammed you in the ribs the way he did me! Good of it!” And Fudge, still muttering, wandered disgustedly out to center field, one hand pressed to his side.

The seventh inning passed uneventfully. Tom had small difficulty with the last three men on the Point batting-list, and Mason disposed of Tom Haley and Harry Bryan with five balls apiece, and caused Will Scott to pop up a foul to first baseman. So the eighth inning started and Dick began to breathe easier, and the Clearfield sympathizers were jubilant. After all, three runs was a good lead, and even if the Point got to batting Tom in the next two innings, surely Clearfield could stop them short of three tallies. Thus argued Dick, and said as much to Harold, who, to-day, at least, was divided in his sympathies. Harold, having predicted great things of Mason, was a bit disgruntled with that youth, and expressed the wish once that Clearfield would wallop him out of the box. But when Dick voiced his belief that the game was pretty safe Harold took exception.

“You wait,” he said darkly. “Here comes Loring up. He hasn’t done anything yet, and he’s just bound to. And if he gets on Gil Chase will send him home. You wait!”

Loring Townsend let two balls go by, failed to size up the third delivery as a strike, and swung unsuccessfully at the next. With the score two and two, Tom sped a straight one over and Loring met it with his bat and set out for first. He didn’t run very fast, though, for the hit was a weak one and was bounding straight at Will Scott at third. But Will made a mess of that play. He got the ball, dropped it, found it again and threw hurriedly across the diamond. Gordon leaped into the air, just managed to tip the ball with his fingers, and then dashed off on a chase for it as it rolled toward the fence. When the shouting had died away, Loring was on second, Al Jensen was swinging his bat eagerly and impatiently, and Harold had dropped his score-book between his feet and didn’t know it!

That was a disastrous inning for Clearfield. Tom managed to strike out Jensen after that player had knocked six fouls into various parts of the field, and managed, too, to hold Loring on second. But when Gil Chase got the signal from first and trickled the ball into the pitcher’s box while Loring sped to third, Tom, with plenty of time to make the out at first, tossed the ball six feet over Gordon’s head and Loring slid home with the first run for the Point, while Chase got to second.

Then Tom had his troubles. His misplay had taken his nerve, and for a while he went thoroughly to pieces. Eight batsmen faced him in that inning, and four hits, for a total of six bases, and five runs were made off him before he finally managed to strike out Mason. When that inning was over the game had a different complexion. Instead of being three runs ahead, with the prospect of winning a shut-out, Clearfield was two tallies behind, and defeat stared her in the face.

The home team returned determinedly to the fray, but Mason was impregnable. In the last of the eighth not a man saw first and only four players faced him. In the first of the ninth, Rutter’s Point again started things with a whoop when Caspar Billings, first up, singled into left field, took second on Townsend’s sacrifice, and was advanced to third when Jensen hit past Will Scott. Then Jensen was caught off first and House flied out to Shores.

I would like to tell how Clearfield went to bat in the last half of that final inning and pounded Mason for enough hits to win the game. But as this isn’t one of Fudge’s romances I can’t do anything of the sort. As a matter of regrettable fact, Clearfield stood up to the plate and watched Mason’s “floaters” waft past them and listened to the fateful voice of the umpire calling strikes. Mason ended the day in a blaze of glory, striking out three men in order and sending his team off the field victors by the score of 5 to 3.

Harold Townsend, slapping his score-book shut, grinned at Dick as the last man went out. “What did I tell you?” he asked gleefully. “Say, you fellows can’t play ball for shucks, Lovering!”

Dick smiled imperturbably. He had the ability to smile in the face of disaster, had Dick.

“We’ll try you again some day,” he answered. “Good-bye, Harold. See you Monday.”

“I may not be home,” replied Harold airily.

But when Dick was accompanying his team-mates toward the dressing-room a minute or two later, he felt a hand on his arm and looked around to find that Harold had followed him.

“Say, Lovering, I—I’m sorry your team got beaten. And thanks for showing me about scoring, you know.”


The Clearfield Reporter was quite enthusiastic over the game in its Monday’s issue. There had been, it declared, for some time a demand for a baseball team to represent the city, a demand which had now been satisfied in the recent formation of the club which had given such a good account of itself on Saturday. It was to be hoped that the organization would prosper and receive the support of the many lovers of clean sport residing in the town. The Reporter gave the game almost play by play, indulging in a wealth of baseball slang and metaphor worthy of a metropolitan journal. It was quite evident that the writer had thoroughly enjoyed his task. He dealt out praise lavishly and was especially complimentary to the Rutter’s Point pitcher, who, it seemed, had struck out ten batsmen besides fielding his position perfectly. Incidentally the Reporter provided the information that the Clearfield players had failed to obtain.

“Melville Mason,” said the paper, “gives every promise of becoming a top-notch twirler, and there is no doubt a berth awaiting him in one of the big league teams if he wants it. He has been playing ball for six years, and last season was second-choice pitcher on the Erskine College team. He is nineteen years of age. The Rutter’s Point team is to be congratulated on securing the services of so accomplished a player. We are assured by Captain Billings that Mr. Mason receives no salary.” (“Bet you he’s having his expenses paid, though,” commented Gordon, when he and Dick read the Reporter that morning.) “We trust,” concluded the Reporter, “that a third and determining game will be arranged between Saturday’s adversaries and that it will be played on the local grounds, where, doubtless, a large audience will be on hand to enjoy it.”

“That isn’t a bad idea,” said Lanny. “We took in forty-three dollars Saturday. I dare say we could do even better the next time. And I don’t believe but what the Pointers would be willing to play here if they got their twenty-five per cent. again.”

“We might offer them a third of the receipts,” suggested Gordon.

Dick looked puzzled. “You fellows are frightfully keen on the financial end of it, seems to me,” he said. “What’s the idea, Lanny? What are we going to do with the money we get, anyway? We can’t buy balls with all of it.”

“Well, there’s no harm in having it,” replied Lanny evasively. “You never know when you’ll need money.”

“I know when I need it,” said Dick grimly. “That’s most of the time.”

“It wouldn’t be a bad scheme to sound Billings,” said Gordon. “You might tell him we’d like to play a deciding game, and that—er—that as Clearfield is interested in the series it would perhaps be best to play here. If Billings kicked, you could offer him a third. I dare say we’d get a couple of hundred people easily for the next game, and that would give the Point something like seventeen dollars.”

“I don’t believe they’re as much on the make as you Shylocks,” objected Dick. “Still, I’ll talk it over with him some day. Perhaps, though, it would be better to wait and see if they won’t propose the game themselves. Then we’d be in a better position to make conditions.”

“Isn’t he the nifty old diplomat?” asked Lanny admiringly.

“A regular fox,” agreed Gordon. “Work it your own way, Dick.”

“We can’t play them for about three weeks, anyway,” said Dick. “We’re filled up with games until the third of September. I got a letter from Tyson over in Springdale this morning. He says they’ll play us there a week from next Saturday if we’ll come over. What do you say?”

“I say yes, by all means,” replied Gordon, with enthusiasm. “And I guess we’re all eager to have another try at those chaps after what they did to us in June.”

“Well, it won’t be quite the same team, Tyson says, and they’re calling themselves the Independents.”

“We’ll call them down,” laughed Lanny. “We play Logan the day after to-morrow, don’t we?”

“Yes, and that reminds me that I must see to getting notices printed and sent around. I wish you’d do that, Gordon. I’ve got to go out to the Point in half an hour. I’ll write out the copy and all you’ll have to do is to take it down to the printers. They’ll strike them right off and distribute them for us this afternoon.”

“All right. I’ll go there first thing. I’m going to see Morris for a few minutes this morning. Any little message I can take from you, Dick?”

“Message? No, not that I know of. Tell him I hope he will hurry up and get well again.”

“Of course, but—ah!—is there any other member of the family——

“Oh, you run away!” laughed Dick.

If Dick expected to find a chastened and much reformed pupil at the Point that Monday morning, he was doomed to disappointment. He gathered from a remark that the boy let fall that Mrs. Townsend had kept her promise to speak to him, but Dick doubted if she had accomplished much. And yet there was improvement visible. Harold had actually mastered two of the four lessons and Dick gathered some encouragement.

“I guess we won’t go on with this,” he said toward the end of the period. “You haven’t studied it, Harold. We’ll take it over to-morrow. How did you like the game Saturday?”

“Oh, pretty well! You fellows going to play us again?”

“Maybe, some day. We play Logan Wednesday. Do you care to come over and see it? We might have another lesson in scoring.”

“I guess so. We’re going to play a team from Bay Harbor on Saturday. Say, Loring says if I’ll learn to score, I can be official scorer for the team. I guess I’ll do it.”

“Fine! Then you come over Wednesday, and we’ll try it again. You did very well the other day.”

“Did I really? Gee, but there’s a lot to put down, isn’t there? Caspar’s got six games arranged for the team. Loring says if I’m scorer they’ll take me with them when they go away to play.”

That was really no news to Dick, since it was at his suggestion that Loring had made the offer. But he pretended to be surprised and interested, and said all he could to encourage Harold to learn to score. And Harold became so enthusiastic that he walked over to the trolley car with Dick, talking volubly all the way.

“I wish you’d make a real try at those lessons to-day, Harold,” Dick said, at parting. “Won’t you?”

Harold grinned noncommittingly.

But the next morning he went through with flying colors, and when Dick complimented him he laughed. “Gee, I can get that stuff all right if I want to,” he said carelessly. “It’s easy.”

“Why don’t you, then?”

“Aw, what’s the use? I’d rather play around, anyway.”

“Don’t you want to go to Rifle Point, Harold?”

“I guess so. I don’t care much. If I do, Loring will be always bossing me about. I’d rather go somewhere else, I guess.”

“Loring’s being there will make things easier for you,” said Dick. “I fancy he’s pretty well liked and the fellows will be nice to you on his account. But I’ll tell you one thing plainly, Harold: You won’t get to Rifle Point this Fall.”

Harold opened his eyes widely. “I won’t?” he exclaimed.

“Certainly not. And you won’t get there next Fall unless you buckle down and learn something.”

“Loring said I could!”

“Loring probably thought you were more advanced than you are, then,” replied Dick. “I’m sorry, Harold; but facts are facts.”

“Then what’ll I do this Winter?” asked the boy lugubriously.

“How about another year where you were?”

“I won’t! I hate that place! I won’t go back there, no matter what anyone says!”

“Then you might have a tutor.”

That suggestion didn’t seem to make much of a hit. Harold scowled for a minute in silence. Then: “Don’t you think I could get in this Fall, Lovering, if—if I studied hard?”

Dick hesitated.

“I’m entered, you know,” pleaded Harold. “I should think I might, Lovering.”

“Yes, you might,” returned Dick grimly, “but it would mean studying a good deal differently than the way you’ve been studying, Harold. It would mean getting your nose right down into the books, putting your whole soul into it, and giving up a lot of playtime. Think you could do that?”

It was Harold’s turn to hesitate. Finally, though, he nodded.

“Well, do you think you would do it?” asked Dick.

“Sure, if—if you’ll help me!”

“I’ll help you, all right, Harold. But there must be no changing your mind about it later. If we start this thing, we’re going to keep it up. If you’ll work honestly and do the very best you know how, I’ll get you so you can pass the exams this Fall. What do you say? Is it a bargain?”

“You bet!” said Harold.

“All right. Hand me those books, please.” Dick turned the pages and made new marks on the margins of them. “There; we’ll start off with eight pages instead of four, Harold. We’ve got to pretty nearly break all existing records, I guess.”

Harold whistled softly. “Gee!” he murmured. “Eight pages of that stuff!” Dick looked across inquiringly. Harold squared his shoulders with the suggestion of a swagger. “Oh, I’ll do it, all right!” he said. “You just watch me!”

Wednesday’s game with Logan attracted a smaller audience to the athletic field than had the Saturday contest but Tim Turner emptied his pockets of twenty-two dollars and fifty cents afterward, and as Logan received only her expenses there was nearly twenty dollars left. The game was one-sided, Clearfield winning by a score of 17 to 4. The Logan pitchers—she used two of them—were easy for the home-team batsmen, while Tom Haley was hit safely but thrice. Two of Logan’s runs resulted from errors, Jack Tappen, who had been reinstated, being one offender, and Gordon the other. Jack dropped an easy fly, and Gordon made an atrocious throw to second.

On Thursday Gordon was called to the telephone after breakfast. It was Louise Brent at the other end of the line, and Louise informed him that Morris wanted Gordon to come over there if he could. “It’s something about the automobile,” explained Louise. “There’s a man here to look at it, Gordon.”

Gordon promised to go right over, and did so. What passed in the sick chamber is not to be set down here, but later Gordon went out to the stable and stood around while a man with grimy hands and a smudge on the end of his nose inspected the blue runabout pessimistically and grunted at intervals. Finally:

“About fifty dollars will do it,” he said, in a sad tone of voice. “There’ll have to be new spokes set in that wheel, and them fenders’ll have to be straightened out again, and it’ll need a new lamp and the radiator’s sprung and likely leaks and——

“Fifty dollars will fix it as good as new?” asked Gordon.

“I don’t know how good it was when it was new,” responded the man dolefully. “But fifty dollars’ll fix it up in good shape, likely.”

“All right. I’ll tell him, and he will let you know. Could you start on it right away?”

“Likely I could. I’d have to haul it down to my place, though.”

“How long would it take?”

“Two or three weeks, likely.”

“All right. Much obliged. We’ll let you know for certain to-morrow. Fifty dollars is the cheapest you could do it for?”

“Well”—the man scratched his head reflectively—“maybe I could do it for forty-five, if I didn’t find anything else the matter with it. Likely there ain’t.”

They called him “Mr. Likely” during the following three weeks, for which period of time the runabout was in his care. Mr. Likely was a born pessimist, and about every two days he called up the Brents’ house to inform whoever answered the telephone that “that wheel’s a lot worse’n I thought it was, and’ll likely have to have a new rim,” or “I got to send out West for a new lamp, and it’ll likely take two weeks or more.” But, to anticipate, Mr. Likely made a good job of it, and in the course of time the blue runabout was returned to the Brents’ stable, shining and polished like a brand-new car. By that time the family had moved out to the cottage at the Point, and it was Gordon who saw the automobile run into the carriage-room under its own power and who locked the door afterward and pocketed the key.

Morris’ leg had knitted so well by the time Clearfield played Springdale that he was allowed to make the trip to the neighboring town in a carriage and witnessed the contest from a position far more comfortable than the sun-smitten boards of the grandstand. That was a pretty good game to watch, too. There was plenty of hitting on both sides, enough errors to add interest, and several rattling good plays. The game was in doubt until the last inning, when Clearfield, with a one-run margin, trotted into the field to do her best to hold the home team scoreless. Tom Haley had been touched up for eight or nine hits—Dick and Harold made it eight, but the Springdale scorer insisted on nine—and, as luck would have it, the head of the local batting list was up when the last of the ninth began. But Tom and Lanny worked together finely, and, although one runner got as far as second, the game ended with a spectacular catch by Fudge in deep center, and Clearfield went home with the ball. The final score was 7 to 6, and Clearfield derived a lot of satisfaction from that victory.

The Saturday before she had played Locust Valley, and had been pretty badly defeated, and the following Wednesday she had barely pulled out of the game against Corwin with a victory. Corwin had journeyed to Clearfield for the contest and the club treasury had had another twenty-odd dollars added to it. What puzzled Manager Dick Lovering those days was the interest displayed by the whole team in the condition of the exchequer. It seemed to Dick that every fellow was showing a strangely commercial spirit.


The matter of a new athletic field dragged. Two more meetings had been held by the committee, and several trips of inspection had been made to near-by fields, but no decision had been reached. In the meanwhile, the surveyors had shown activity and had run lines through the old field and even demolished a section of the fence. It was a question whether the team would be able to use the diamond much longer, although inquiries failed to elicit any definite information from the men who were doing the surveying. The football enthusiasts were becoming impatient. The prospect of having no better place to hold practice the next month than an empty lot somewhere in the neighborhood of the railroad didn’t please them, and they demanded action.

Unfortunately, Mr. Grayson, the principal, had left Clearfield on his summer vacation, and several other members of the High School faculty were also out of town, and the committee showed a disposition to await their return. The hope was several times expressed that, since Mr. Brent had done nothing with the field so far, he might postpone cutting it up until next year. But when the surveyors got to work that hope seemed idle, and at last a public meeting was called at which the Athletic Committee was to make a report and recommend the leasing of what was known as Tilden’s Meadow for a term of two years. The meadow was a mile from Clearfield and on the trolley route to Rutter’s Point, and consisted of about fourteen acres of fairly level turf. Only sufficient space for a football field and diamond was to be used, and the rest of the land was to remain as at present. Mr. Tilden was to keep the grass cut in return for the hay and was to receive one hundred dollars a year. There was no question of having a running track, for the owner absolutely refused to allow one to be laid out, and that, at first glance, seemed a great objection to the project. But, as several of the committee pointed out, there was no money on hand to build a track even if Mr. Tilden would allow it. The plan was to make use of the Y. M. C. A. field, a small enclosure behind the Association’s building on Lafayette Street, for training purposes, and hold the meets with Springdale at the latter’s grounds until Clearfield could secure a track of its own.

A piece of land sufficiently large for all athletic purposes was to be had across the river and fairly handy to the G Street Bridge, but it was next to the railroad tracks and the mills and the sentiment of the female members of the High School was strongly opposed to it. “It would be horrid!” they declared indignantly. “The smoke and soot from the engines and the mill chimneys would spoil our dresses and hats. And, besides, we’d have to walk a whole block through dust up to our shoe-tops!”

In the face of such weighty opposition the committee gave way, and the North Side location was abandoned. Only Tilden’s meadow remained then, and to that, too, there was much opposition. Many thought it too far from town; others pointed out that, since it was unfenced, there would be no way of keeping persons from witnessing games without paying, and still others dwelt on the lack of a track. The Athletic Committee was not to be envied.

Dick talked it over with Louise Brent one morning. Dick had got into the habit lately of walking over to the Brents’ in the morning before going out to the Point. Brentwood was hardly on his direct line to the car, although it is true that by retracing his steps two blocks he could get the trolley at B Street and consequently went only seven blocks out of his way. But seven blocks, when you have to do it on crutches, is quite a distance, and doubtless Morris was much flattered by the interest in his recovery which led Dick so far afield four or five mornings a week. Dick began by taking books to Morris, but his library was soon exhausted, and after that he continued to call just the same. Of course he always saw Morris, and equally of course Louise appeared at some period of his visit. I think that eventually Morris began to have doubts as to being the chief attraction. At all events he very frequently left Dick for his sister to entertain and it wasn’t apparent that Dick mourned his absence. Louise was good to look at and jolly and sympathetic, and there was no reason why Dick should not have been quite satisfied with her company.

On the morning in question, the morning of the Wednesday following the Springdale game, Morris had, after offering to race Dick on crutches to the gate and back and having his proposition declined, wandered away toward the tennis court, leaving Dick and Louise on the front steps, which, at nine o’clock in the morning, were shaded and cool. Dick had brought up the subject of the athletic field and both Morris and Louise had had their say. Morris, who was an ardent football enthusiast and played a good game on the High School team, had bewailed the fact that, with practice commencing in another three weeks or so, no place had been provided for it. Louise had reminded him gently that the doctor held out slight hope of his being able to play this Fall and Morris had briefly and succinctly informed them that the doctor was an old granny and didn’t know what he was talking about. When he had gone Louise said:

“You know, Dick, both Morris and I begged papa not to take the field, but he wouldn’t listen to us. He said the school could find another place to play on without trouble. He seems to think that all we need is a back yard or a vacant lot! I don’t think papa ever saw a game of baseball or football in his life.”

“It is too bad that he has to cut that field up,” replied Dick, “but I don’t see any reason why he should consider us any. He’s been very good to let us use it so long. And he’s never charged us a penny, you know.”

“May Scott told me yesterday that her father had told her that the field might not be cut up after all. It seems that the mayor or whoever it is that has the say about such things doesn’t want papa to put the street through there unless he builds it up to some grade or other. I don’t understand about it. And papa doesn’t want to do that.”

“Yes, I heard something of that sort. I believe the matter is to come up at a meeting this week. It’s the board of aldermen, I think, who are against it. It seems that the city has established a new grade out there and the present grade is several feet below it. I suppose it means that your father would have to do a good deal of filling in if he put the street through. Otherwise the city wouldn’t accept it.”

“It sounds awfully complicated to me,” said Louise. “I just wish father would change his mind about it. I almost wish the—the aldermen would tell him he couldn’t do it!”

“Perhaps they will,” laughed Dick. “But in that case your father would probably build to the new grade. So there isn’t much hope, I fear. No, I guess it’s up to us to move to new quarters. It’s a queer thing that in a town of this size there isn’t a place we can use.”

“I know. And that field they’re talking about now is so hard to get to! Of course, there’s the trolley, but it’s been such fun to walk out to the games and have the field so near home. Your team plays a game this afternoon, doesn’t it, Dick?”

“A sort of a game. We’re going to play a team called the Live Wires at four o’clock. They’re fellows in the mills and I guess they haven’t played together much. It’ll be sort of a practice affair for us. Tom Haley can’t play and Curtis Wayland is going to pitch for us. You haven’t been to any of the games, have you?”

“No one has asked me,” she laughed. “Morris has been laid up and——

“Would you care to go Saturday? We play the Hemlock Camp fellows. I guess they have a pretty good team.”

“I’d love to!”

“Then I——” Dick paused and frowned. “The trouble is,” he went on apologetically, “I’ll have to be on the bench a good deal of the time. Perhaps you’d rather not go.”

“I shouldn’t mind. Just come and see me now and then, Dick.”

“Really? Then I’ll get Gordon or one of the fellows to call for you about half-past two.”

“Indeed?” asked Louise coldly. “Why Gordon—or one of the fellows, please?”

“Why—why—because,” stammered Dick, “I thought probably you’d rather not—That is, I get along so slowly, you know——

“Dick Lovering, you were going to say you thought I wouldn’t want to walk with you! Weren’t you?”

“Well, something of the sort. You see——

“No, I don’t see at all,” she responded with suspicious sweetness. “I shall be very glad to go to the game with you, Dick, but I refuse to be palmed off on ‘Gordon or one of the fellows!’”

“Then I’ll be here for you at two-thirty, Louise. It isn’t very far, after all; only three blocks, you know.”

“I ought to know,” she said dryly, “since I can see the top of the grandstand this minute. I may decide, however, that I want to go by way of the Common, Dick.”

Dick smiled doubtfully. “We-ell, that’s all right. I’m game! Now I guess I’d better be getting along.”

“The car just went in,” said Louise. “You’ve got nearly a quarter of an hour yet. How are you getting along with your pupil?”

“Finely! I tell him two or three times a week that we’ll never be able to do it, and he doubles up his fists and glares at me and wants to fight—almost. He’s an awfully stubborn little chap and he’s simply made up his mind that he’s going to get into school this Fall, and I think he will, too. He will if I can keep him mad!” And Dick, smiling, went swinging off to catch the car.

That game with the Live Wires wasn’t as easy for Clearfield as Dick and Gordon and most of the others expected it to be. Of course Way wasn’t much of a pitcher, and that had to be reckoned with, but even allowing for that the Live Wires showed up a lot better than anticipated. From a financial standpoint the game was a huge success, in spite of the fact that the admission had been lowered to fifteen cents to entice the mill workers to attend. Attend they did, and “rooted” so lustily and incessantly for their team that poor Way was more than once up in the air. Young Tim Turner played in right field and Jack Tappen went over to left in place of Way. Tim didn’t do so badly, since out of three chances he got two flies and only muffed the third because the crowd hooted so loudly.

It was quite a tight game up to the fifth inning, with both pitchers suffering badly at the hands of the opposing batsmen and both infields guilty of many stupid errors. But in the fifth Clearfield landed on Kelly, the Live Wires’ pitcher, and batted around before they were stopped, adding seven runs to the six already accumulated. In the seventh the opposing team returned the compliment and had Way dancing out of the path of liners and giving bases on the least provocation. But the infield steadied down then and only three runs came over for the Live Wires. The final score was fourteen to eight and Dick, who had acted as gateman in Tim’s absence, turned over nearly seventeen dollars to himself as treasurer. So, on the whole, the game was a success.

When Dick got home after the game his mother told him that a Mr. Potter, from the Reporter, had called to see him and would be back about eight. Gordon came over after supper and was still there when the representative of the newspaper repeated his call. Mr. Potter, a wide-awake, energetic young man of twenty-five or six years, professed his pleasure at finding Gordon on hand. “Because,” he said as he took a chair in the Loverings’ little parlor, “I want to talk about another game of ball between your team and the Point. I wrote the story of the last game, by the way. I don’t know whether you saw it?”

“Yes, we read it,” said Dick. “It was awfully good, I thought.”

“I used to do that sort of stuff in Hartford. Well, say, fellows, how about another game? Anything doing along that line?”

“Yes, we’re to play the Point again later. There hasn’t been any date set yet, though.”

“Well, that’s good. I mean I’m glad you’re going to get together again. Folks who saw that game enjoyed it. There’s nothing like a game of ball to bring folks out and give them a good time. Now, Stevens—he’s my boss on the Reporter, you know—Stevens wants to get up a rousing good game for the final one, see? You and what’s-his-name out at the Point set a date; make it some Saturday, of course; and let me know and the Reporter will whoop things up. How would it do if we got the retail tradesmen or someone to offer a prize? Say a silver cup or a phonograph or a set of books or something? What the Reporter wants to do is to stir up some excitement; see? Get a big crowd there, have the Mayor throw out the ball, get folks pulling for the home team and all that sort of thing. Great scheme, eh? What do you fellows think?”

The boys looked both doubtful and perplexed.

“Why, I don’t know, Mr. Potter, that we want to make a—a Roman holiday of it,” objected Dick. “We started up the team just to have some fun, you see.”

“Well, you’ll have your fun, won’t you?” asked the newspaper man eagerly. “Don’t mind winning a prize and making a little money, too, do you? Look here, fellows, I’m keen on this. I want to make it go. To tell the truth, it was my idea. I put it up to Stevens and he fell for it. This town needs livening up. Say, honest, we could have the finest sort of a hullabaloo without half trying!”

“I don’t see why not, Dick,” observed Gordon, thinking a good deal of the money side of the project.

Dick shrugged his shoulders. “Sounds sort of like a four-ring circus, doesn’t it?” He asked. “Still, I don’t mind. I dare say it would amuse folks.”

“Amuse ’em! Say, I’ll guarantee to have ’em talking nothing but baseball in a week! I’ll get ’em so they’ll be offering fancy prices for the first row in the grandstand!”

The boys laughed. There was something infectious in the man’s enthusiasm and the proposed affair began to loom up as a huge and very amusing lark.

“Do you really think you can do it?” asked Dick.

“Watch me! I’ll run a story to-morrow on the first page that negotiations are under way looking to a deciding game, see? And I’ll hint that there is so much feeling between the two teams that the outcome is doubtful. Then——

“That’s hardly truthful, is it?” asked Dick.

“Well, maybe I can get around that,” was the untroubled reply. “I’ll say that the folks at the Point are so certain that their team will win that they’re willing to offer any sort of inducement for a third game.”

“You’ve got some imagination,” laughed Gordon.

“Have to have in my business,” replied Mr. Potter with satisfaction. “You trust me to work up the excitement, fellows. Stevens says I can go the limit. We’ll print your score-cards for you, and—that reminds me. How about a band? Ought to have a band there, oughtn’t we?”

“Bands cost a good deal,” Gordon objected.

“What of it? Why, say, we’ll have three or four hundred folks to see that game! We’ll get ’em in from the country and over from Springdale and Corwin and from miles around. It might be a good idea——” Mr. Potter paused and stared into space a moment. Then he nodded vehemently. “That’s the scheme! I’ll get the store-keepers to shut up shop that afternoon. Maybe Toppan will declare a public holiday.”

Mr. Toppan was the Mayor, and the boys stared in amazement.

“Why—why he wouldn’t do that, would he?” gasped Gordon. “Not just for a ball game?”

“Sure, he would, if the Reporter got after him hard. Say, you see that Point fellow, whatever his name is, and let me know by day after to-morrow. And don’t put it off too long. Let’s strike while the iron’s hot. Folks want to see baseball now. In another three weeks it’ll be about out of season. Well, that’s all. Glad to have met you fellows.” Mr. Potter shook hands briskly. “We’ll give Clearfield a ball game she won’t forget! Good-night. I’ll see you again in a day or two.”


When he was gone the two boys looked at each other a moment and then began to laugh.

“Rather takes your breath away, doesn’t he?” gasped Gordon.

“I should say so! And of all crazy stunts——

“Get out! It’s going to be a heap of fun! I’m for it—strong!”

“So I see. But maybe the Pointers won’t care to take part in such a silly affair.”

“Why not? Why, we’ll offer them twenty-five per cent. of the gate receipts and they’ll be dead anxious.”

“Pshaw! They don’t need any money. What would they do with it?”

“Do with it? Why—why, what would anyone do with it? Eat it, of course!”

“That’s what I’d like to know. What are we going to do with it, for instance?”

“Oh, there’s a lot of things we can do with it, Dick. We might—might give it to charity or—or—oh, lots of things!”

“Well, we’re in for it, anyway. I’ll talk to Caspar to-morrow. I guess two weeks from next Saturday would be a good date. The trouble is they’ve got a lot of games arranged and they may not be able to play us.”

“You tell them what this Potter chap says and whoop it up, Dick. They can cancel a game if they want to.”

True to his word, Mr. Potter started the ball rolling the next morning. The Reporter contained an announcement on the front page under a big head:





“Who has the better ball team, Clearfield or Rutter’s Point? That’s the question that is agitating both this community and the summer colony at the end of the trolley. And, if present plans carry, it is a question that will soon be settled definitely, and, we hope, to the satisfaction of Clearfield. Negotiations are to be opened to-day between representatives of the two teams looking to a third and deciding contest to be played on the High School field some time between now and the end of the month. Each nine has won one game and each nine claims to be a little better than the other. Over at the Point they are so certain that they have the champion bunch of players that they’re willing to do most anything to secure another game with Clearfield. At this end of the line there is an equally strong conviction to the effect that our own aggregation has more than a shade on the Point team. That’s the way it stands now, but the Reporter hopes to be able to announce in another day or two that the managers and backers of the rival teams have met and agreed on a deciding game. In which case we predict that those who are fortunate enough to witness the final battle will see a struggle they won’t forget in a long time. Watch for developments!”

Besides that highly-colored effusion there was a short editorial inside in which the writer extolled athletics in general and baseball in particular. In twenty lines the writer alluded to Greek athletes, Roman games, Christopher Mathewson, Tyrus Cobb, the American Eagle, the Spirit of Fair Play and Clearfield. The style of the two productions was so much alike that Dick and Gordon decided that Mr. Potter was responsible for both.

“I hope,” said Dick, “that Caspar won’t see this until I’ve prepared him for it. He will think we’ve gone crazy!”

As it happened, however, Caspar Billings was much too busy playing tennis that morning to read the Clearfield Reporter, and when Dick met him he knew nothing of Mr. Potter’s activities. But five minutes later he had found the paper and was chuckling enjoyably over the story. “It’s great!” he declared. “That fellow ought to be working in New York. He’s lost in Clearfield. Say, we’ll have more fun than a picnic out of this, Lovering. What sort of a prize did he say?”

“A cup or a phonograph or—or something like that.”

“Me for a phonograph!” laughed Caspar. “Now, when can we play? Of course, we’ll go over to your field. Have to, anyway. How about two weeks from Saturday?”

“That’s the day I was going to suggest,” replied Dick.

“That’s all right for us. We had a game scheduled with a nine from the Ocean House at Traskville, but they telephoned the other day that they couldn’t make up a team. That gives What’s-his-name, your newspaper friend, a fortnight to work up the excitement. And I’ll bet you he will do it!”

“I guess there’s no doubt about that,” replied Dick. “That’s settled, then, and I’ll let Potter know. Did I tell you he wanted to get the Mayor to declare a holiday and have the stores close?”

“Great Scott, no!” chuckled Caspar. “He’s a wonder. Say, why don’t you suggest to him that it would be a bully idea to have the Governor issue a proclamation? Wonder if the New York stock market will close, Lovering.”

“It will if Potter thinks of it,” laughed Dick. “Well, I must be going. I’ll see you again next week and we’ll arrange about an umpire.”

An umpire!” scoffed Caspar. “We’ll have to have two of them for this game; one at the plate and one on bases. Maybe your friend Potter can persuade President Johnson to officiate. This is going to be some game, Lovering!”

“It’s going to be a circus,” replied Dick. “I dare say they’ll be selling popcorn and peanuts there!”

“Sure to! Well, so long. Tell Potter I’m crazy about it. By the way, how are you and young Townsend getting on? Loring told me yesterday that the kid thinks you’re about the finest thing that ever walked on—I mean——

“Ever hobbled on two crutches,” laughed Dick. “Well, Harold and I pull together pretty well these days. The boy is really working like a slave, Billings. I didn’t think he could do it.”

“He’s a heap more decent than he was the first of the season. You always wanted to kick him then. Now he behaves like a real fellow. I suppose he’s told you he is our official scorer now? He doesn’t do so badly, either. If you criticize his way of scoring he looks at you haughtily and says, ‘This is the way Lovering does it, and he knows!’”

“You’ll have to lay the blame on me, then, if your scorer doesn’t do you justice, Billings. Good-bye!”

It was Fudge who most delighted in the sensational aspect of the third contest with Rutter’s Point. Fudge loved excitement and color and romance, and for that reason the Reporter’s daily items about the soul-stirring event filled him with joy. He started a scrap-book and almost filled it with the amazing articles that appeared from Mr. Potter’s feverish and versatile pen. On the morning after Dick’s call on Caspar Billings the Reporter blazed forth at the top of the third column of the first page as follows:





What the captains said was that they expected a close game and didn’t care to predict the winner. At least, that’s what they really said. In Mr. Potter’s account they talked whole paragraphs and said a lot more. Gordon read his remarks with astonishment and began to wonder whether he had not possibly said all those things after all!

“Dick took Louise to the game on Saturday”

Dick took Louise to the game on Saturday and did not have to go by way of the Common. Fortunately, several of Louise’s girl friends were there and Dick’s frequent absences from her side were not so noticeable. Hemlock Camp presented a husky, sun-browned dozen of young athletes who, led by a clever captain, played the sort of baseball one reads of. The Camp’s pitcher was something of a marvel and soon had Dick’s charges eating out of his hand, to use Harold’s expression. The contest developed into a pitcher’s battle in which Tom had slightly the worst of it and which Hemlock Camp ultimately won by the score of 8 to 6. If the game was not quite so interesting as some previous contests, it was at least nearly free of errors and full of fast, clean playing. Dick regretted on the way home that Louise had seen a defeat instead of a victory, but Louise declared that she had enjoyed it all very much.

“You must come a week from to-day,” said Dick. “Lesterville is coming to play us a return game and that will be close and exciting, I think. Would you care to?”

“Yes, indeed, only we’ll be at the Point then. Still, I could come over on the trolley, couldn’t I? I’ll get Morris to come with me. I wouldn’t think of having you come way over there for me, Dick.”

Dick expressed his entire willingness to go to the Point and escort her to town, but Louise refused to allow it. “If you’ll come and see us during the game it will do just as well,” she said. Dick didn’t think so, but he said nothing.

The mass meeting to take action on securing a new athletic field came off that evening in the High School assembly hall and, after much discussion, the meeting endorsed the committee’s plan to lease Tilden’s meadow for a term of two years. The committee reported that it had a balance on hand of twenty-eight dollars and forty-six cents and asked for more money. It was voted to appoint canvassers to visit the students and the graduates, and, if not enough money was secured from them, to ask the public to assist. Dick found himself one of the committee on subscriptions. Lanny was another. They sympathized with each other on their way home and were gibed at by Gordon and Fudge. Fudge offered Dick five cents then and there, and, his offer being unexpectedly accepted, had to borrow the nickel from Gordon.

The next Monday the Reporter announced that a silver cup was to be donated by the merchants as a prize for the team winning the baseball game and that it would be on exhibition all next week in the window of Wetherell’s jewelry store. Tuesday afternoon Mr. Potter called on Dick with a proof of the poster which the Reporter was getting out. It was a gay piece of work in red and green ink and well calculated to attract the eye. In the center was a picture of a batsman with a flashing eye and a poised bat. That was printed in red. The lettering was in green and announced: “Championship Baseball! Clearfield vs. Rutter’s Point, High School Field, Saturday, September third, two-thirty o’clock. Music by Nagel’s Band. Admission 50 Cents, Reserved Seats 75 Cents. Tickets at Howland’s Drug Store, and at the Field before the game.”

“We’re going to use a heavy cardboard stock,” explained Mr. Potter, “and we’ll strike off a hundred of ’em. We’re going to charge you just what the stock and the labor cost us and no more.”

“What about the score-cards?” asked Dick.

“Won’t cost you a cent. I’ve got about a dozen advertisements and those will pay for the cards. Another thing we’re going to do is to run an ad of the game on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of next week.”

“That’s very kind,” murmured Dick. “You really think folks will pay seventy-five cents for seats? Wouldn’t it be better to make the prices fifty cents and a quarter?”

“I don’t think so, Lovering. We want ’em to understand that what they’re going to see is a real game of ball. They’ll pay the price all right. That reminds me of another thing. How would it do for you fellows to get hold of a crackerjack pitcher for this game? You could get one for thirty dollars or so. There’s Lafferty, of Providence, for instance. I dare say he’d twirl for you for twenty-five and his expenses. He’s a corker, too! I’ve seen him work.”

“I guess not,” replied Dick. “I think we’ll stick to home talent. It seems a bit fairer.”

“Well, just as you say. This fellow Mason, though, is pretty good, and everyone would like to see the home team win that game. Better think it over. If you change your mind you let me know and I’ll attend to the matter for you. I suppose you chaps are keeping up practice pretty well?”

“Yes, we practice every day except when there’s a game.”

“That’s the ticket! You play Lesterville next Saturday, don’t you? Well, I’ll give a good write-up of the game on Monday. Got to keep the excitement going.”

When the newspaper man had gone Dick went out to the porch and sank into his favorite chair beside the little table. He was tired and the day was a scorching hot one. There had been a solid three hours that morning with Harold Townsend and, although Harold had done his share without a whimper, it had been pretty hard for teacher as well as pupil. Dick closed his eyes and frowned in the green shadow of the vines. Was Harold going to make it? There were times when Dick was sure that he would, but also there were moments, usually when, as to-day, he was fagged out, when he had his doubts. If Harold could remember what he had learned when the time came he would undoubtedly get through, but there was always the danger that he wouldn’t. Dick sighed. At least, though, he reflected, his frown fading, he was doing his honest best for the boy. And—and here the frown quite disappeared—he had made a nice lot of money that was greatly needed. He would, he told himself, have enough by the middle of the month, when Harold went off to Rifle Point to put the summer’s work to the test, to pay for a new heater for the house. That was the most necessary improvement of the many that were needed. For the last two or three years the old furnace, never satisfactory, had quite failed to keep them comfortable in cold weather. Dick was wondering how much the hardware man would allow him for it when the gate clicked and Gordon and Morris Brent came up the path.

Morris still used his crutches, but, as he explained, the doctor had told him yesterday that he might lay them aside in another week. “And I’ll be mighty glad to,” he added. “They’re rotten things to have to get about with.” Then his eye fell on Dick’s crutches, leaning within reach, and he colored. “I guess I oughtn’t to kick, though,” he added hastily.

Dick smiled. “They are awkward if you’re not used to them, I suppose, Morris. I’m glad you’re getting on so well. Gordon says you’re going to move to the Point this week.”

Morris nodded. “Wednesday,” he said. “I want you and Gordon to come out some evening and have dinner. Will you?”

“Why, yes, I’d be glad to, Morris. Thank you.”

“Then I’ll settle on a day with the folks. Mother told me to tell you she wanted very much to have you. Louise, too. How would Saturday do?”

“All right, I think. We have a game Saturday, but I dare say it will be over by five. What time do you dine?”

“Seven. That’ll give you heaps of time. I’m going to fetch Louise in to see the game and we can all go back together.” Morris turned to Gordon. “That suit you?” he asked.

“Finely. Could we get the quarter of six car, do you think? I’d like mighty well to get a swim before dinner. Got an extra bathing suit out there?”

“You can take mine. What do you want to do with this?” Morris held up a book in a red cloth cover.

“Oh, I brought that over for you, Dick,” said Gordon. “That is, I borrowed it and he brought it. Thought you might like to look it over.”

“Much obliged,” said Dick, accepting the volume and reading the title rather puzzledly. “‘The Automobile; it’s Care and Management.’ Er—what——” He looked from Gordon to Morris. “What’s the idea, fellows? I’m much obliged, of course, but why should I want to study up on autos, please?”

“Oh, you like to know how to do everything,” replied Gordon carelessly. “That’s mighty interesting, isn’t it, Morris?”

“Great!” agreed the other enthusiastically. Dick still looked puzzled, but opened the book and glanced at two or three of its pages.

“All right, I’ll have a go at it some time. It does look interesting. Thank you.” He laid the volume on the table. “What ever became of that car of yours, Morris?”

“It’s home. I’m going to sell it. I paid Stacey the rest of the money I owed him the other day. He’s a mean little runt. Don’t want to buy it, do you, Dick?”

Dick smiled and shook his head. “I’m afraid I couldn’t afford it. It would be sort of handy for me to get around in, though, wouldn’t it? Look here!” He viewed the two boys searchingly. “You fellows didn’t bring me this book expecting I’d get daffy about automobiles and buy that one of yours, did you?”

“Of course not,” disclaimed Gordon hurriedly. “Besides, Morris has a buyer for that car already. That is, he thinks he has.”

“All right. Still I don’t see why you think I want to read up on automobiles,” said Dick. “What’s the use of knowing how to run a car and grease its joints if I haven’t got one and couldn’t run it if I had?”

“Couldn’t run it! Of course you could run it,” said Gordon. “Couldn’t he, Morris?”

“Easy! It’s nothing to do. I could show you how in two days. Why——

But at that moment Morris encountered Gordon’s warning look and subsided. Dick stared perplexedly.

“I think you chaps are crazed by the heat,” he said. “You’ve got automobiles on the brain. What you need, Gordie, is to get out and play ball. It must be about time to start for the field, too. By the way, Harry telephoned over at noon that he couldn’t get out to-day.”

“Again? I’ll bet anything Harry’s father isn’t keeping him away from practice. He’s just lazy. I guess we’d better come down on him with that twenty-five cent fine!”

“I’ll go over with you and look on if you don’t mind,” said Morris. “You can’t call me one of the enemy now, you know.”

“Glad to have you,” responded Dick. “I’ll put this book inside and we’ll start along. We’ll make a fine appearance,” he laughed. “Two cripples and a crazy fellow!”


A big crowd turned out the following Saturday for the Lesterville game. As a manufacturing town Lesterville was something of a rival to Clearfield and baseball lovers of the latter place were eager to see the Lesterville players humbled. By half-past two—the game was scheduled for three o’clock—the stand was well filled. Dick’s charges reached the field soon after the half-hour and began practice. They had, however, scarcely begun throwing the balls around when there was a commotion at the gate and Tim Turner was seen excitedly gesticulating toward Dick, who, near first base, was watching the team. Dick hurried across to the gate and found Tim trying to exclude a short, red-faced man in blue overalls.

“He says he wants to get in to open the big gate,” explained Tim. “He says they’re going to begin work in here. They’ve got a cart down the street there and a lot of men and——

“Sure,” said the man in overalls. “We’re going to plow in here. Them’s the orders.”

“But you can’t do it now,” exclaimed Dick. “We’re going to play in half an hour. Those folks on the stand have paid to see the game. Can’t you wait until Monday?”

“We cannot,” replied the man emphatically. “Mr. Brent give me the contract to build the street through here and me time’s valuable. You’ll have to play your game somewhere else, I’m thinking.”

“But we can’t do that! There isn’t any other place! Look here, Mr. Brent gave us permission to use this field and I’m sure he wouldn’t want you to come and break up our game like this. The other fellows have come all the way from Lesterville to play us.”

“’Tis no affair of mine, young feller.” The man tried to push by Dick and Tim, but many of the audience, attracted by the argument, had gathered around, and these, taking Dick’s side, stood immovably in the way. The contractor showed anger. “Now you fellers let me through here till I open them gates down there,” he blustered. “If you don’t we’ll break ’em down.”

“Try it!” said someone eagerly, and a laugh of approval went up.

“I’ll get the cops here if you make trouble for me an’ me men! An’ if it’s trouble you’re lookin’ for——

“Oh, run away till the game’s over, can’t you?” asked another of the throng. “Be a sport! What’s the good of busting up the fun?”

“An’ me losin’ money while you fellers play ball, eh? What for would I be doin’ that? You leave me get to the gates.”

“Nothing doing, friend! Better back out!”

“Hold on a minute,” said Dick quietly. “Will you wait fifteen minutes, Mister—er——

“Me name’s Mullin,” growled the contractor. “What’ll I be waitin’ fer?”

“To give us a chance to see Mr. Brent about it.”

“I got me contract, an’——

“I know,” said Dick soothingly. “That’s all right. You’ve got a perfect right to come in here and do whatever you’ve got to do, but it’s going to put us in an awful mess. Give us time to find Mr. Brent and see what he says about it, won’t you?”

“How long will it take?”

“Not long. Say fifteen minutes. He’s probably here in town. I’ll ask his son. He’s over there in the stand.” Dick wasn’t at all certain that Morris had arrived, but he risked it. The contractor hesitated and finally nodded surlily.

“All right. I’ll give you till three o’clock. Then I’m goin’ in here, an’ if anyone tries to stop me——

“I understand. Thank you. Tim, pass the gentleman inside until we settle this.”

“I’ll wait here,” said the contractor grimly.

Dick hurried across to the stand and searched for Morris. Presently he found him, with Louise at his side, halfway up the slope.

“Is your father in town, Morris?” he asked anxiously after he had greeted Louise.

“I don’t know. What’s wanted, Dick?”

Dick explained hurriedly and Morris whistled. “He may be at his office or he may be on his way out to the Point. He doesn’t usually stay in town on Saturday afternoons in summer. I’ll see if I can find him, though. Only thing is, it’ll take me a long time to hobble over to his office.”

“I can do it quicker, I guess. Or, hold on! I know! I’ll get Gordon to go. I’ll be back presently.”

Dick hurried down to the diamond and summoned Gordon from first base. Practice was still going on, but in a desultory way, for most eyes had been turned toward the gate. As quickly as he could Dick explained what had happened. “He will do it for you if he will for anyone,” ended Dick. “See if he won’t call off the workmen until after the game or until Monday, Gordon. Morris says he may be at his office. If he isn’t he’s gone home to the Point. Try the telephone in that case. And try to get back here by three. That chap won’t wait much longer.”

Gordon nodded and sped toward the gate just as the Lesterville team came onto the field. He was in his playing clothes, but there was no time to change them and he didn’t, as a matter of fact, give much thought to them. It was five blocks to Mr. Brent’s office in the bank building, and two of the blocks were long ones. Gordon did the distance in five minutes and leaped up the marble stairway to find a clerk just locking the outer door of the office.

“Mr. Brent?” he gasped.

“Gone home,” replied the clerk, looking curiously at Gordon’s attire and perspiring countenance. “He left about five minutes ago. You might catch him before he gets the trolley.”

Gordon raced off again and fortune was with him. Only a block down F Street he descried Mr. Brent in front of him walking briskly toward the car line and tapping the pavement with his cane. Gordon overtook him just over the Main Street crossing. Morris’ father turned at the boy’s breathless hail.

“Ah, that you, Merrick? How do you do! Want to see me?”

“Yes, sir, please!” gasped Gordon. “Mr. Brent, they’re trying to get into the field, sir, to start work on it this afternoon. And we’re playing Lesterville and there’s a big crowd there, sir——

“You mean that Mullin is starting work there? Well, that’s all right, my boy. I told him to.”

“Yes, sir, of course, but—but couldn’t he wait until Monday, sir? We are going to play Lesterville, and they’re here and there’s a lot of folks paid to see the game.”

“Oh, that’s it, is it? Why, I don’t know, Merrick. What does Mullin say? It’s his affair now. He has the contract for the work, you see.”

“He says he won’t wait, Mr. Brent. But if you told him to——

“But really, Merrick, I haven’t any right to interfere!”

“It—it’s your field, sir! And you said we could use it!”

Mr. Brent frowned. “I said you could use it until I was ready to put the street through, Merrick. Wasn’t that it?”

“Yes, sir, I suppose so,” replied Gordon dejectedly. Mr. Brent drew his big gold watch from his waistcoat pocket, snapped it open, frowned at it and snapped it shut again.

“As a matter of fact, Merrick, if the city council hadn’t held me up on that business you’d have lost your field weeks ago. You ought to be thankful for that. We’re late on starting that work as it is and I prefer not to have any more delay. I’m sorry, but you boys will have to play your game somewhere else.” He smiled, dropped his watch back to his pocket and turned toward the car line.

“There isn’t any other place, sir,” said Gordon sadly.

“No other place? Why, there must be lots of places! I’ve seen boys playing ball all sorts of places. There’s a back-lot behind my offices, now. I’ve seen them playing there day after day—and making a lot of noise, too. Come now, Merrick, you’re fibbing a little, aren’t you?”

“No, sir, really,” Gordon answered earnestly. “You can’t play a real game of baseball on a small lot, sir. I guess—I guess you’ve never seen one, Mr. Brent.”

“Seen a game of ball? N-no, I suppose not. I thought all you needed was an empty lot or a back-yard, Merrick. You say there isn’t any other place?”

“No, sir. We’re going to lease a piece of ground out toward the Point, but we haven’t got it yet, and, anyway, it isn’t ready for playing on.”

“Too bad,” said Mr. Brent sympathetically. “But, really, Merrick, you ought not to ask me to stop work in order that you can play baseball. That—that’s a little too much, eh?”

“I suppose so, sir,” acknowledged Gordon dejectedly. “Only—we thought—maybe a half a day wouldn’t make much difference——

“A half a day might make a lot of difference. Minutes count, my boy. You’ll learn that some day. No, no, I can’t interfere with Mullin. It’s his job. If he wants to accommodate you, all right, but you mustn’t expect me to interfere in his affairs, Merrick. Sorry. I’d like to oblige you.”

Gordon stared at the pavement. Mr. Brent coughed, turned away and hesitated. “Well, good-day, Merrick,” he said finally.

“Mr. Brent!” Gordon raised his head, his cheeks rather red. “Mr. Brent, you said once that—that if I ever wanted a favor—you——

“Hm; yes, I know I did.”

“Well, sir, I’d like awfully to have you do this for us.”

“Think that will square accounts, Merrick?”

“Why—why, you don’t owe me anything, sir,” stammered Gordon, “but you said——

“Yes, and I’ll keep my word.” Mr. Brent sighed and looked regretfully down the street. “All right. Come on, then. I’ll walk over with you and see what can be done.”

“Thank you,” Gordon murmured as he fell into step beside the man. “It—it’s awfully good of you, sir.”

“H’m,” replied Mr. Brent dryly. “You evidently don’t value your service to me very highly, Merrick. It doesn’t occur to you, apparently, that you might ask a good deal more than this in return for what you did for Morris.”

“I—I never meant to ask for anything,” murmured Gordon.

“Hm. More fool you, then!”

There was no more conversation. Mr. Brent walked briskly and it was but a minute or two after three when they reached the field. It was evident that they had got there none too soon, for the big gates halfway along the board fence were open and a wagon with a plow in it was drawn partly through it. That it was not all the way through was due to the fact that the audience, or a good part of it, had gathered at the point of attack and was doing its best to repel the contractor’s men. Shouts and jeers and laughter came from the scene. At the ticket gate young Tim Turner, afraid to leave his post of duty, was peering longingly toward the turmoil. Mr. Brent strode more quickly.

“Hm,” he said, “I don’t see that I was needed much, Merrick.”

Mullin, the contractor, very red of face and angry of eye, was berating the jeering crowd with the rough side of his tongue. Five laborers, two of them clutching the bridles of the horses, looked ready and eager for a fight. At sight of Mr. Brent a cheer went up from the crowd inside the gates, and Dick, anxious-eyed, fell back from where he had been vainly trying to avert trouble. Mr. Brent walked up to the contractor.

“Get out, Mullin,” he said. “Leave it until Monday.”

Mullin scowled hard. “An’ who’ll pay me for the time I’ll be losin’, Mr. Brent?” he demanded angrily.

“I will,” was the reply. “You ought to have seen, anyway, that the field was being used. Get your team out now. I’ll settle for your loss.”

“That’s all right, then,” replied the contractor. “All I wants is me rights. Back ’em out, Jerry.” And amidst the jeers of the spectators Mullin and his men retired, the gates were closed again and barred and, laughing and jostling, the defenders hurried back to secure their seats before others appropriated them, leaving Dick and the ball players and a few still curious ones at the gate. Among the latter was Morris, and it was Morris who, grinning broadly, came forward on his crutches.

“Good stuff, dad,” he said approvingly.

Mr. Brent viewed him without enthusiasm. “You here?” he asked. “Where is your sister?”

“In the stand, sir. I——

“You’d better go back and look after her, it seems to me,” said Mr. Brent grimly. Morris’s grin faded and, with a wink at Gordon, he hobbled back toward the seats.

“We’re awfully much obliged, sir,” said Dick. “If it hadn’t been for all these people, who had paid to see the game——

“Of course. I understand. You needn’t thank me. Thank Merrick.”

The players went back to their places, Lesterville to the diamond to finish her warming up, and Clearfield to the bench. Gordon was left practically alone with Mr. Brent, even Dick deserting him. From beyond the fence came the angry bellow of the contractor’s orders. “Leave the team here, Jerry,” he was saying. “We’ll be back Monday, an’ I’d like to see the man that’ll be stoppin’ me then!”

“Wouldn’t you like to see the game, Mr. Brent, now that you’re here?” asked Gordon at last. He ought to be with his team-mates, but he didn’t want to walk away and leave Mr. Brent standing alone there by the gate. The latter, who had been looking curiously at the renewed activity of the Lesterville players, now glanced at his watch, grunted and nodded.

“I might as well stay awhile,” he replied. “Where do you pay?”

“You needn’t pay, sir. We’re glad to have you see the game.”

“I prefer to pay,” was the reply as Mr. Brent followed Gordon toward the stand. “Here, son!” He had caught sight of Tim Turner at the ticket gate and walked across to him. “What’s the price?”

“T-Twenty-five cents, sir,” stammered Tim.

Mr. Brent found two dimes and a nickel among his change, handed them to the awed Tim and went on. “Where’s Morris?” he asked. “I’ll sit with him a few minutes.”

Gordon didn’t know where Morris was, but he called to Dick and Dick pointed him out. Then Gordon piloted Mr. Brent up the stand and by dint of much moving and shoving a place was made for him and Gordon, muttering his thanks again and getting a non-committal nod from Mr. Brent, took himself off.

“I’m so glad, papa,” said Louise gratefully. “It would have been horrid if they couldn’t have played the game, wouldn’t it?”

“Would it?” Mr. Brent smiled and settled his cane between his knees. “Who are those young fellows out there, Morris?”

“Those are the Lesterville players, sir. They’re warming up for the game.”

“Warming up, eh? Then the game hasn’t begun yet?”

“No, sir. They’re coming in now, though. It will start in a minute.”

“Need all this room for a game of ball, do they?”

“Why, of course, papa,” replied Louise. “Sometimes they hit the ball way over by the further fence there!”

“That so? Well, let’s see ’em do it!”


Perhaps a liking for baseball is latent in every American. Otherwise how explain the fact that Mr. Jonathan Brent, who, on his own showing, had never witnessed a game before in his life, watched that one with very evident interest? It was, of course, quite incomprehensible to him at first and both Morris and Louise had to do a lot of patient explaining. But by the end of the second inning their father had a very fair notion of what was going on, although he still was puzzled by many of the incidents. As when a Lesterville player tried to reach second after Will Scott had captured a foul behind third base and was thrown out by a scant foot. If it was a foul, argued Mr. Brent, that fellow on first shouldn’t have left his base. No sooner was that explained—by Morris, since Louise’s knowledge of baseball wasn’t sufficient for the task—than Tom Haley was unfortunate enough to hit the Lesterville right fielder on the elbow. The umpire waved the squirming, dancing batter to first and Mr. Brent exclaimed: “Now, what’s that for, Morris? He didn’t hit the ball, did he?”

At the end of the fourth inning, when Clearfield had managed to bat out a two run lead, Mr. Brent looked at his watch and announced his intention of leaving. “Guess you can finish this without me now,” he said. “Mother will be wondering where I’ve gone to.”

“No, she won’t,” replied Louise. “Mama’s gone to Mrs. Grey’s this afternoon. Do stay and see just two more innings, papa.”

“Yes, don’t leave us now, dad,” said Morris. “You never can tell what’s going to happen in a ball game!”

Mr. Brent frowned, fidgeted and finally leaned back again. “Well,” he said, “I’ll see one more turn for each of ’em.”

But at the end of the seventh when, after Lesterville had gone ahead in the fifth, Clearfield came back with two doubles and a base on balls and evened up the score, Mr. Brent was still there and showed no signs of leaving. In fact, although we have only Morris’ word for it—Louise remaining smilingly reticent on the point—when, in the eighth, with three Lesterville players on bases and only one out, Harry Bryan and Pete Robey executed a lightning double-play that retired the side without a tally, Mr. Brent’s voice was to be heard with the others that went up in a shout of delight! And even Louise affirmed that, in the tenth inning, when Gordon rapped out the single that sent Harry Bryan across with the winning run Mr. Brent pounded approvingly with his cane and declared that “that Merrick boy was a smart one!”

Ten to nine was the final tally and Dick and Harold Townsend, who had sat beside the manager during the entire game and kept a perfectly correct score—barring a mistake or two quickly set right by a surreptitious glance at Dick’s columns—closed their score-books with delighted slams. Revenge is sweet, and this had been fairly won.

Later on Louise, Morris, Dick, Gordon and the unescapable Harold journeyed together by trolley car to the Point and talked the game over with a wealth of detail and enthusiasm. There was a very merry party at the Brents’ cottage that evening. Mr. Brent pretended to have found the game very tiresome and declared that he didn’t see any sense in grown-up boys wasting their time on such nonsense, and the young folks, and Mrs. Brent, too, she having heard of her husband’s doings, pretended that they believed him. After dinner Gordon, who had failed to get his swim in the ocean before, borrowed Morris’ suit and went in by moonlight. The cottage almost overhung the waves and the others, on the veranda, watched him glide in and out of the moon’s path and supplied him with a lot of doubtless excellent advice on the subject of swimming. Still later, with Gordon once more among them, Louise brought out her mandolin and they sang songs. Attracted by the music, Loring Townsend and Caspar Billings joined the company and added their voices to the chorus. Then they talked some more; of the day’s game, of the next Saturday’s important contest—and the Reporter’s latest efforts—of school and a dozen other things.

Dick and Gordon got the last car back to Clearfield, both comfortably tired and sleepy, and Gordon walked home with Dick. It was just before they reached the Levering gate that Dick sprung a surprise on his friend.

“I’ve been thinking,” announced Dick, “that there’s one mighty good use we can put our money to, Gordie.”

“What money?” asked Gordon, with a yawn.

“Why, the money we’ve made on the games. You see, if we have the crowd next week that Potter thinks we’ll have we ought to be about two hundred and fifty dollars in pocket.”

“Easy! Then what?”

“Present it to the Athletic Committee to build a track on the new field. How’s that for a scheme?”

“Why—er—oh, that’s fine!” But Gordon’s tone didn’t sound terribly enthusiastic!

Mr. Potter’s prediction came true. By Monday Clearfield was undeniably baseball-mad. Even middle-aged and serious-minded merchants discussed the probable outcome of the third game between the home team and the Pointers when they met each other on the street or when they hobnobbed over the Fifty Cent Merchant’s Lunch at Martin’s Café. The younger element of the town was wrought up to a fine pitch of excitement. Those of its sterner sex who could do so went out to watch the Clearfield team practice in the afternoon, while the gentler sex, especially those with High School affiliations, became wildly partisan. A dozen or more girls, led by Grace Lovering, got together and manufactured a gorgeous pennant of purple and white silk, some four feet long, which, when completed, was hung behind the silver trophy in Wetherell’s window and, like the handsome cup, was to be presented to the winner. It was Lanny who made the suggestion that the pennant was much too good looking to become the property of the Pointers and that it should be a perpetual trophy to be played for each year. The girls approved the suggestion and the Reporter amended its previous statement regarding the flag. The trolley company announced a fare of one-half the usual rate for the round-trip on Saturday between Clearfield and near-by towns, and, while Mr. Potter failed to prevail on the Mayor to declare a public holiday, he did persuade the shop-keepers to agree to close their places of business between the hours of two and five. As a matter of fact, with few exceptions all of them were glad to do so, for they wanted to see that game as much as anyone!

There was usually a crowd in front of Wetherell’s jewelry store that week. In the front row one found a half-dozen or so of small urchins with their noses pressed closely against the plate-glass, while behind them stood a scattering of older persons admiring, criticizing and audibly reading the engraved inscription which informed the world that the cup was to be “Presented by the Retail Merchants of Clearfield to the —— Baseball Club, Winners of the Clearfield Championship, September Third, Nineteen Hundred and——.” It was a very attractive affair, that trophy; twelve inches high, with a fluted base and two scrolled handles and a polished ebony stand beneath it. It was generally conceded that the merchants had done themselves proud. The Reporter gave a picture of it and a half-column list of those who had subscribed.

The town was liberally scattered with the red and green posters on Monday. They glared and shouted at one from every window. One was not allowed to forget for an instant that on the following Saturday afternoon the greatest and most important athletic event in the history of Clearfield was to be witnessed at the High School Field for the ridiculously moderate price of fifty cents—or seventy-five if you wanted to be sure of a seat!

All this in spite of the fact that from every indication there would be no field to play on!

Mr. Potter was at Dick’s at a quarter past seven that morning. He was filled with dismay and wrath, and some of the things he said about Mr. Jonathan Brent would not look at all nice in print! At seven-thirty-five he hurried away to find Mr. Brent. At a few minutes before nine he was back again, literally frothing at the mouth.

“Say!” he almost shouted in response to Dick’s anxious query. “Say! He didn’t say a thing! He let me talk my head off, that is all he did! I told him that public opinion would be against him if he allowed that field to be demolished before the game, that Clearfield would be up in arms, that the Reporter would deal editorially with the matter and not mince its words!” Mr. Potter faltered then.

“What did he say to that?” asked Dick. “He must have said something!”

“He said,” replied the newspaper man subduedly, “that he controlled three-fifths of the stock of the Reporter and he guessed the paper wouldn’t be too hard on him!”

Dick grinned. “Does he?”

Mr. Potter nodded sheepishly. “Yes, but I’d forgotten it. After that I had to—well, I had to tone down a bit. I asked him if it wouldn’t be possible to delay work on the field until after Saturday. I told him about all the advertising that had been done and how everyone was looking forward to the game and all that, you know.”

“Yes? And he wouldn’t agree?”

“He said, ‘Young man, get out!’ Just that and not another word!”

“Then I guess it’s all off,” said Dick regretfully. “It’s too bad. Of course, we might play the game at the Point——

“We couldn’t get the crowd over there. No, sir, it’s got to be played here. You’re certain there isn’t another field anywhere?”

“Absolutely certain.”

“Then there’s just one thing to be done. It’s a last resort and it doesn’t promise well, but I’ll try it.”

“What?” asked Dick.

Mr. Potter sank his voice. “See the contractor,” he said, “and buy him off. For a hundred dollars——

“A hundred dollars!” exclaimed his hearer. “Where’d we get it?”

“Pshaw, we’ll clear up two hundred easy if we can pull the game off!”

“Well,” replied Dick doubtfully, “but even so I don’t believe Mullin would dare to do it.”

“Supposing, though, his men went on strike?” suggested the other with a wink. “He couldn’t help himself then, could he?”

“N-no, but—I don’t like it, Mr. Potter. It’s pretty under-hand, it seems to me. After all, we don’t have to play that game, and——

“Don’t have to! You bet you have to! Look at that cup! Look at all the printing we’ve done; posters, score-cards, tickets! Look at——” But words failed him and he seized his hat from the table. “Here, I’ve got to get busy! That Irishman may be plowing up the field right now! See you later, Lovering!”

And Mr. Potter dashed off again.

Lanny called up a few minutes later to ask about developments and after that Tom Haley wanted information. Dick had no hopeful news to impart, however. Gordon and Fudge came around just as Dick was starting for the Point—by way of Brentwood—and walked with him as far as the corner of A Street. There Gordon drew Fudge back and reminded him that three was a crowd. Dick had the grace to blush.

“Oh, come on,” he said awkwardly. “Don’t be a silly chump!”

“Thanks,” murmured Gordon sweetly, “but we wouldn’t think of intruding. Come along, Fudge.”

“Wh-wh-what’s up?” asked Fudge when Dick had gone on. “Wh-why didn’t you w-w-want to go along?”

“I can’t explain,” replied Gordon gently. “You’re too young, Fudge, to hear such things.”

Whereupon Fudge impolitely requested Gordon to “ch-ch-chase himself!”

Mr. Potter was back again after lunch, mildly incensed at Dick because he hadn’t been able to find him before. “Say, there’s something funny about this business,” he confided, sinking into a chair on the porch and mopping his forehead vigorously. “I went over to the field after I left you this morning and there wasn’t a thing doing. You said Mullin left his wagon there, didn’t you?” Dick nodded. “Well, it’s gone now. I tried to get him on the ’phone and his wife said he was out of town. What do you make of that?”

Dick shook his head. “I don’t know. Maybe Mr. Brent thought better of it after you left him. You’re certain the wagon was gone?”

“Sure! I walked all around the field and went inside. There wasn’t a scratch there and there wasn’t even a wheelbarrow in sight outside. Now, what does that mean? I’d call the old chap up and ask him, only—well, frankly, Lovering, I’m afraid I’ll lose my job! I suppose you wouldn’t want to get him on the telephone and ask him about it?”

“I’d a lot rather not,” owned Dick. “I guess I’m just about as scared of him as you are.”

“But he can’t hurt you! With me it’s different. If he ever tells Stevens I went to his office and read the riot-act to him Stevens will hand me a ticket and a week’s pay!”

“I guess Gordon would do it if I asked him to,” said Dick after a moment’s thought. “I’ll see if I can find him on the ’phone.”

But Gordon was not at home. Mrs. Merrick said she believed he had gone somewhere with Fudge.

“I’ll see him at four o’clock,” said Dick. “I told the fellows we’d meet at the field and hold practice if we could find room there. I don’t see why—Excuse me a minute, will you?”

The telephone had rung and Dick took his crutches again and once more swung himself into the house.

“This you, Dick?” asked the voice at the other end of the line. “This is Morris. Say, Dick, I had a funny message from my dad a few minutes ago. He telephoned from the office. ‘You can tell that Merrick boy,’ says he, ‘that he can go on and use the field. Tell him to come and see me Wednesday. I’m going to Hartford at three and I’ll be back Wednesday noon.’ That’s great, isn’t it?”

“Fine! Do you suppose he means that we can have it until after Saturday, Morris?”

“Sure! Anyway, it sounds so, doesn’t it? And his wanting to see Gordon makes it look that way, too. I’ve been trying to find Gordon, but his mother says he’s out somewhere. If you see him get him to call me up here at the Point, Dick.”

“I will. That’s bully news, Morris, and your father’s a brick! I’ve just been talking with Mr. Potter. He’s all het up about it,” laughed Dick. “He will be tickled to death! So long, Morris, and thanks. I’ll tell Gordon when I see him about four.”

Dick hung up the receiver and went back to the porch to be confronted by Mr. Potter’s eager and questioning countenance.

“I couldn’t help hearing what you said,” he exclaimed. “Has he come around?”

“I think so. He telephoned Morris to tell Gordon that we could go on and use the field and that Gordon was to call and see him on Wednesday. He’s going to Hartford this afternoon. I guess it’s all right.”

Mr. Potter heaved a vast sigh of relief. “Well, I hope so. I want to put this thing through now that I’ve started, Lovering. I’ll breathe easier, though, when I hear for certain. If he changes his mind again about Wednesday we’ll be in a worse pickle than ever!”

“I don’t think he will, Mr. Potter. I guess he’s concluded to let us use the field. If he hadn’t Mullin would be at work this minute. If I were you, though, I’d hear what Mullin says.”

“I will, just as soon as he gets home.” Mr. Potter looked at his watch and jumped to his feet. “I must be off. Say, that’s a load off my mind, all right! Now I’ll go ahead and close with Nagel for the music. He wants twenty dollars for two hours. I guess that’s fair enough. By the way, can you let me have your batting-list to-morrow? We want to print those score-cards about Wednesday. And, say, if you hear anything more call me up at the office. If I’m not there they’ll take a message. Bye!”

“I wonder,” mused Gordon when Dick met him at practice an hour later, “what he wants to see me about.”

“Well, it’s about the field, I suppose,” said Dick. “Don’t look so frightened, Gordie. He won’t eat you!”

Gordon laughed and then shook his head ruefully. “I know, but that man scares me to death. I don’t know why, either. He’s always been as nice as pie to me. I guess it’s his eyes. They sort of go right through you and come out the other side!”

There was a big crowd of onlookers there that afternoon and the Clearfield Baseball Club performed to enthusiastic applause. Dick had sought to arrange a game for Wednesday afternoon but had found no team that could or would play them, which was a matter of regret since Clearfield needed harder practice than it could get without an opponent. Rutter’s Point, which had been playing two games a week steadily, was to meet Logan on Wednesday at the Point.

“I wish we had got them,” said Dick. “They’d give us just about the sort of a game we need.”

“Maybe,” suggested Jack Tappen, “they’d swap dates with us if we asked them. They won’t get any money at the Point, you know.”

“Yes, they will,” piped up Harold, who had come over to watch practice at Dick’s invitation. “They pass a hat around and sometimes get ten or twelve dollars.”

“Anyway, I don’t care to do a thing like that,” said Dick. “It wouldn’t be exactly square, I guess.”

“I’ll tell you what!” exclaimed Harold.

“Go ahead,” said Jack. “You’re full of information, kid.”

“Well,” said Harold, pausing long enough to regard Jack with a look of disdain, “why don’t you play them in the morning?”

“By jove!” said Lanny.

“‘Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings!’” murmured Jack. “Kid, you’re all right!”

“We might,” pondered Dick. “They’re coming over anyway, and I dare say they’d just as lief come in the morning as later. I’ll get hold of that captain of theirs this evening and see what he says.”

“Tell ’em we’ll pay their fares both ways,” suggested Will Scott.

“Sure thing; and buy them a lunch,” agreed Way.

“They’ll do it,” said Gordon. “Make the game at ten-thirty, Dick.”

“Better say eleven. They could hardly get over here before half-past ten. Well, I’ll get after them as soon as I get home. Harold, you are a youth of ideas!”

And Harold smiled proudly.


That was just about the busiest week for Dick that he ever remembered spending. In the mornings there was usually Mr. Potter to be seen and Mr. Potter’s newest schemes to be considered. And, after that, for nearly three hours, he and Harold shut themselves up in the latter’s room at the hotel and worked like a couple of galley slaves. All the hard work wasn’t the younger boy’s, either, for Dick had to do a lot of studying in order to maintain with dignity his rôle of teacher. It would never have done to have allowed Harold to catch him napping! The younger boy’s capacity for study was a revelation to Dick, and his progress a source of great satisfaction. By the end of that busy week Dick could, and did, assure himself that the battle was won! That unless Harold had an almost total lapse of memory when he was put through examinations he could not fail to enter Rifle Point. Of course cramming is not the best means of learning, and much of what Harold learned that summer he was bound to forget later, but Dick hoped that the forgetting would not come until he had passed examinations. Mrs. Townsend almost wept with joy and relief when Dick told her that he firmly believed they had succeeded in what had seemed not many weeks ago an impossible task, and her gratitude, or the expression of it, embarrassed Dick horribly.

After he returned from the Point each day just in time for dinner at one o’clock Dick had two hours to himself. Or he had unless the indefatigable Mr. Potter broke in upon him to breathlessly announce progress or to present a problem to be solved. At four there was practice at the field. In the evenings Dick very often had to go over the next day’s lessons, a task more often than not interrupted by the visit of Gordon or Lanny or Fudge or, possibly, all three. Tuesday evening not only that trio but Morris Brent as well descended upon him. Morris had at last discarded his crutches and walked with an almost imperceptible limp. The doctor assured him that the limp would leave him in a week or so, and Morris, an ardent football enthusiast, was already talking punts and drop-kicks.

Since Logan had readily consented to play a game with Clearfield at eleven o’clock the next morning, and since Dick’s services would be needed at the field, the usual morning lesson at the Point had been postponed until Wednesday evening. Dick hadn’t the heart to ask Harold to give up seeing Logan and Rutter’s Point play in the afternoon. And so when the visitors announced their presence that evening by a series of loud whistles from the gate Dick closed his books regretfully, knowing that he would have to sit up very late after his callers had gone.

They sat out on the porch and talked of many things while the crickets and katydids chirped and fiddled in the darkness. It had been decided that Tom was to pitch only three innings of the morning’s game and that Way was to finish out. This was in order to keep Tom fresh for the big game on Saturday. To equalize matters, Logan was to pitch her third baseman against Clearfield so that she might save her regular box artist for the afternoon contest. They discussed this and other features of the morrow’s battle, and then, as they always did sooner or later, reverted to the Saturday’s event. Fudge was filled with excitement these days and stuttered like an empty soda fountain whenever the subject was broached.

“Jordan and Fillmore’s window is f-f-f-full of flags and p-p-pennants,” announced Fudge. “It looks s-s-s-swell!”

“It’s sort of one-sided, though,” said Lanny. “They ought to put up some Point flags too.”

“I don’t suppose there are any,” answered Gordon. “They haven’t any regular color over there, have they?”

“Sure; blue and yellow. It’s a funny combination, but some of the girls out at the Point have made some flags and they say they look mighty well.”

“Mr. Potter told me to-day,” remarked Dick, “that he’s hired four kids to sell flags at the field. He got Jordan and Fillmore to make up two hundred of them for him. He can certainly think of more things to do!”

“Those are probably the flags they have in their window,” suggested Lanny. “What are they like, Fudge?”

“J-J-Just like the High School flags, only they have just a C instead of C. H. S. on them. They’re s-s-swell!”

“You told us that before,” said Gordon. “I guess Potter will be stuck with about a hundred and fifty of his two hundred.”

“I don’t believe he will. Say, why didn’t we think of doing that, fellows? We might have made a lot of money.” And Lanny looked almost accusingly at Dick.

“I don’t see that we need any more money,” replied the manager. “We’ll have so much as it is that we’ll have to open a bank account. I’m scared to death to have it in the house.”

“How much have we got now?” asked Lanny.

“Over a hundred, and all bills paid. Did Gordie tell you my scheme for using it, Lanny?”

“Yes,” was the unenthusiastic reply. “But I don’t believe——

“It’s a dandy scheme,” interrupted Gordon quickly. “We—we’ll talk it over some day, after this game’s over with. No use trying to think of anything else right now. I say, Dick, have you studied that automobile book any?”

“No, I haven’t had a minute’s time. No hurry, is there? I’ve about decided to wait another month or so and get one of the next year’s models. I’ve already got almost two dollars laid by toward it.”

“Well, don’t buy a cheap car,” laughed Lanny. “Get—get one like Morris’s.”

The succeeding silence was broken hurriedly by Morris. “Yes, but don’t break a leg with it,” he exclaimed. Lanny and Gordon and Fudge laughed loudly and Dick stared at them through the half-darkness of the porch with a puzzled look on his face. He had seen Gordon reach out and aim a kick at Lanny’s shin and, judging from Lanny’s pained contortions immediately afterward, Dick fancied that Gordon’s aim had been true. For over a week now Dick had been aware that some project was under way by the others that he was purposely excluded from. What it was he couldn’t imagine, but that it had to do with automobiles seemed certain. More than once he had seen warning glances sent from one fellow to another and quite often a remark had been cut short at his approach. That the mystery concerned him particularly Dick did not suspect, however. And just now he had too many things on his mind to allow of much consideration of it.

“You really ought to read that book, though,” said Gordon. “Oughtn’t he, Morris?”

Morris agreed emphatically, and Fudge said, “You really ought, Dick!” and Lanny murmured something about it being well to know such things.

“Look here,” exclaimed Dick, half laughing, half in earnest, “if you fellows don’t quit nagging me to read that book I’ll—I’ll pitch it out the window! What the dickens do I want to learn about running an automobile for? Are you fellows dippy?”

There was complete silence until Lanny said: “You never can tell, Dick, when you might be called on to—to profit by the—er——

“Oh, certainly,” responded Dick with sarcasm. “Most any old day I might get the offer of a chauffeur’s job! Or maybe you fellows are going to save up for Christmas and buy me a taxicab!”

“Ha, ha!” said Lanny weakly. Fudge giggled. Gordon had a fit of coughing. Morris became intensely interested in the stars seen through the vines.

“You’d make a peach of a chauffeur, Dick,” laughed Gordon finally.


“Why—er—just because,” replied Gordon flatly. “Say, I’ve got to be going home, fellows. You coming my way?”

The others displayed a most uncomplimentary enthusiasm for departure, and after they had clicked the little gate behind them Dick could hear them talking in low and excited tones as they passed up the street. He shook his head as he moved his crutches toward the doorway.

“Either they’re all crazy,” he murmured, “or they’re trying to work some sort of a game on me. I wonder what it is.”

But he didn’t wonder long, for the morrow’s lessons awaited him upstairs and when he had finished with them he was too tired and sleepy to wonder about anything.

Clearfield and Logan played only six innings the next forenoon. The visitors arrived nearly twenty minutes late and the game dragged. There was a lot of hitting and each team seemed determined to make more errors than its opponent. Curtis Wayland and the rival pitcher were pretty evenly matched and it was only because Clearfield, in spite of her endeavors, failed to tally as many errors as Logan that the home team stood three runs ahead when the contest was called to allow the visitors to snatch some dinner before going over to the Point. Dick couldn’t derive much satisfaction from that game, and was inclined to be downcast until, just before supper time, Harold telephoned over to him that the Point team had won by only two runs. After that Dick cheered up and saw things more brightly. And then, scarcely two minutes later, came Gordon with his news.

“We’ve got the field, Dick!” he cried from the sidewalk even before he reached the gate. “Mr. Brent is going to give it to the school! It isn’t going to be cut up!”

“Give it to the school!” echoed Dick amazedly.

“Yes! Isn’t that fine and dandy?” Gordon sprawled into a chair on the porch and fanned himself vigorously with his straw hat. “He’s having a deed made out and just as soon as Mr. Grayson comes back it will be ours. Morris is giving it.”

“Morris! How can he give it?”

“Well, I mean Mr. Brent is giving it in Morris’s name. It’s to be called Brent Field. And he almost as much as promised to build us a big new grandstand some day! Isn’t he—isn’t he a corker?”

“But—but what—how——

Gordon laughed excitedly. “I guess it was seeing us play the other day that did it. He said he guessed as we got so much enjoyment out of the field we ought to have it. He didn’t get home until nearly half-past four and I called at the office three times before I found him. I thought the first time that I’d sneak off and not come back. But I’m glad I did, though. I was scared to death when I went in. But he was as nice as pie. He asked a lot of questions about baseball and football and the Athletic Committee and the field we talked of getting, and then—then—well, then he asked me if I thought the fellows would like to keep the field. And I said of course they would. And then he said he had decided to make the school a present of it if—if I wanted him to.”

“If you wanted him to!” exclaimed his hearer.

Gordon nodded. “You know he told me the time I—the time I was with Morris when he got hurt that if I wanted anything I was to ask him for it. So the other day when Mullin was going to plow up the field I—I sort of reminded him of what he had said and told him I’d like him to let us use the field that day. I didn’t tell you, but that was how we got it. Well, to-day he said I hadn’t made the most of my opportunity, or something like that. He said I should have asked for the field outright if I wanted it. ‘Why didn’t you?’ he asked. Gee, I didn’t know what to say, so I just looked silly, I guess, and grinned. Then he said how grateful he and Mrs. Brent were for what I did for Morris that day and that if I’d asked him then for the field he’d have given it to me; I mean to the school. So I said, ‘Yes, sir, if you please,’ and he laughed and said: ‘All right, Merrick. I’ll have the deed made out to-morrow. But I want you to understand that it is Morris who is giving the field and not me. He’s one of you and the gift will come better from him.’ And then he shook hands with me and walked ’way out to the stairs with me! And—and say, Dick, isn’t it great?”


If that Saturday had been manufactured to Mr. Potter’s order it couldn’t have been finer. There was a bright blue sky overhead and not a cloud bigger than a handkerchief to be seen. A westerly breeze, bearing the first hint of Autumn, cooled the ardor of the sun. Clearfield had a gala look as soon as the shades at the store windows were drawn in the morning. Touches of purple appeared everywhere. By ten o’clock the downtown streets began to show the incursion of visitors from the neighboring villages and even from the country and the stores reaped a small harvest. At noon Common Street in the vicinity of the field was well lined with sidewalk vendors of peanuts and popcorn, lemonade and soft drinks, while in a vacant lot near-by a hustling gentleman with a blue-black mustache and a yellow corduroy coat had set up a merry-go-round whose strident organ ground out a repertory of four tunes monotonously from forenoon to midnight. Small boys with purple pennants bearing white C’s importuned passers to show their patriotism at the expense of a quarter of a dollar and other small boys flaunted copies of the morning Reporter. “Line-up of to-day’s game! Here you are! Reporter! Only two cents!”

The reserved seat tickets on sale at Howland’s gave out at eleven o’clock, and at twelve, after a hasty conference over the telephone with Dick, Mr. Potter had a load of lumber and four carpenters at the field erecting sixty extra seats.

At one, even before the last nail had been driven, the drug store reported that they had again sold out. “Sell fifty more,” telephoned Mr. Potter, “and mark them ‘Bench!’” Then he hurried to Odd Fellows’ Hall with a moving-van and transferred ten settees from there to the ball grounds and placed them in a double row all along the third base line. After that he threw up his hands.

Shortly before noon a blue runabout, with its brass glistening radiantly and its newly varnished surface reflecting back the sunlight, stopped in front of the carriage gate at the field and honked its horn. After which Gordon, who rode beside the operator, jumped to the ground, climbed the fence and unbarred the gates from inside. Then Morris drove in, Gordon dropped the bar back in place and climbed into the car again and the blue runabout ambled across the white foul line and stopped a few feet from the home plate, with its glistening radiator pointed at the grandstand.

“That’s my last ride in her,” said Morris regretfully as he got out.

“Oh, I don’t know,” said Gordon. “He may give you a lift some time.”

Morris smiled. “I meant the last time I’d run her,” he amended. “Gee, but I kind of hate to give her up, Gordon.”

“She’s a nice little car,” replied the other, “even if she did try to break your neck for you. And she certainly looks dandy. And she runs as well as ever, doesn’t she?”

“Better, it seems to me. I suppose she’s getting the stiffness out of her. Well, we’d better hike along to dinner. You’re sure your mother won’t mind having me, Gordon?”

“She expects you. I telephoned I was bringing you. Come on.”

It was long before two o’clock when the crowd began moving toward the field. Stewart, the liveryman, ran carriages from the station to the entrance and did a good business. At a few minutes before two Gordon and Dick and Lanny arrived. Mr. Potter was already on hand, instructing the two boys who were acting as ushers and keeping an eye on the amateur ticket seller at the gate. Tim Turner stood inside and took the tickets, dropping them into a tin box and looking as professional as you please. Dick’s gaze found the automobile the instant he was inside and he stopped short and stared at it. And no wonder, for a blue runabout placed imposingly in the center of a baseball diamond is about as incongruous a sight as one often sees.

“Wh-what the dickens!” gasped Dick.

“Oh, that?” said Gordon. “That’s the car that Morris just sold. Looks pretty well, doesn’t it? Come on in the dressing-room.”

“But what’s it doing there?” asked Dick. “Whose is it?”

“I suppose someone left it there. Gee, Dick, look at the crowd here already! We’ll have to have groundrules if they keep coming!”

“Yes, I guess so. But—that car! It can’t stand there, Gordie!”

“Of course not. It’ll be out of the way by the time we’re ready to practice, I dare say. There’s Tom. Come on. We’d better get changed. It must be almost two.”

Dick followed them into the dressing-room without further remarks, but it was plain to be seen that the incident of the misplaced automobile was occupying his thoughts. Most of the team had arrived and in another moment Dick found enough to attend to and talk about without further bothering his head with the blue runabout. The Point team came in a few minutes later and then there was a fine confusion and noise in there. Everyone was in the best of spirits and there was no sign of animosity between the opponents. One might have thought, were it not for the difference in costumes, that the two dozen or so fellows were team-mates rather than rivals. It was the first time that most of the Clearfield fellows had seen the Rutter’s Point players in their new togs, and they had to acknowledge that the white suits and blue-and-yellow-striped stockings were very attractive.

Of course Harold was there, score-book under arm, following Dick around closely. And Morris, too, in his capacity of honorary member of the visiting nine. Probably he would have been welcome in any case, for to-day was to witness the formal transfer of the field, in Morris’s name, from Mr. Brent to the High School. Mr. Grayson, who had arrived home the day before, was to attend and Morris was to deliver the deed to him, as a sort of added attraction. Morris, however, didn’t appear oppressed by his importance, a fact which his companions were quick to notice and approve.

At five minutes past the two teams went out to the diamond, and as they appeared, the band, massed fourteen strong in front of the grandstand, broke into the triumphal strains of “See the Conquering Hero Comes.” By that time the stand was filled to overflowing, the extra seats were well occupied and the settees sprinkled, while around the diamond what looked to the startled gaze of the players to be a vast assemblage sat or stood.

“Jumpin’ Jupiter!” muttered Fudge, his eyes very big and round. “S-s-s-say, Jack, I won’t b-b-b-be able to c-c-catch a thing!”

“I guess we’ll all have stage-fright,” replied Jack Tappen, with a rather nervous laugh. “Who would have thought all this crowd would have come? And look at the gate! They’re still coming, Fudge!”

“G-g-guess I’ll s-s-s-sneak home,” said Fudge.

Dick was frankly puzzled. Instead of trotting into the field to begin practice, his charges were lounging over toward the plate, and with them went the Point team. Then Dick’s eyes fell on that blue runabout again, and he frowned and followed the players, who by this time had gathered about it. Harold, who never allowed Dick to get more than six feet away from him, went, too.

“Someone will have to get that car out of here,” announced Dick impatiently. “Whose is it, anyway?”

As the band, which had been blaring forth a twostep, stopped suddenly at a signal from Gordon, just in the middle of Dick’s pronouncement, he finished it in a voice which, owing to the silence, was audible halfway to the outfield. A ripple of amusement came from the nearer seats. Dick, embarrassed by events and by an impending something that he sensed, looked blankly about the grinning faces.

“Wh-what’s the matter?” he faltered, appealing to Gordon.

Gordon cleared his throat and took a step forward. The rest of the players shuffled into the semblance of a half-circle behind him and about the blue car. The audience, none of them in the secret but all suspecting interesting developments, grew very still.

“Dick,” began Gordon, very red of countenance and nervous of manner, “we—that is——

“Go to it, Gordie,” murmured Lanny encouragingly. Gordon took a deep breath and another start:

“The Clearfield Baseball Club, in recognition of your services as manager and—and in token of its esteem and——

“Respect and esteem,” prompted Lanny, sotto voce.

——“Respect and esteem,” corrected Gordon, who had prepared his speech with much care and had now pretty well forgotten it, “desires to present to you this automobile, in the hope—er—in the hope——

“That it will provide——

——That it will provide both comfort and pleasure. It is with much—it is with much——

Gordon looked imploringly at Lanny, but Lanny’s gaze was fixed blankly on space. He, too, had forgotten the lines! Fudge gave way to his nervousness and giggled. Gordon waved his hand toward the car. “And we hope you’ll like it,” he ended breathlessly.

There was an instant’s silence, and then came a joyous screech from Harold. That was the signal for much hand-clapping and other evidences of applause from the spectators who, although Gordon’s speech had not been audible to them, had by this time gathered that someone was being presented with the natty blue automobile. Dick, rather white of face, smiled.

“I—I——” he began. Then he faltered. When he went on his voice was husky. “Thank you, fellows,” he said. “I don’t see why you did it, but—but I appreciate it more than I can say. And—I can’t make a speech, so I’ll just say thank you and—you’ll have to understand that it means a lot more than I can put in words!”

Then they cheered quite madly, being heartily glad to be over with the embarrassment, and flocked around him and shook hands just as though they hadn’t seen him for months!

“‘It is with much pride that we offer this small token,’” said Lanny explosively in Gordon’s ear. Gordon laughed derisively.

“What’s the good now?” he demanded. “Why didn’t you say that two minutes ago? You’re a fine one to help a fellow!”

“Why didn’t you remember it yourself?” asked Lanny, in an injured voice. “Gee! You wrote it, didn’t you?”

Morris jumped into the driver’s seat of the car and Dick, impelled by friendly hands, climbed in beside him. Will Scott spun the crank, the engine purred, and, to the cheers and laughter of the fellows and the enthusiastic applause of the spectators, the blue runabout chugged around the field and back into an angle of the grandstand, while the band played loudly.

“I’ll show you how to run it in two days, Dick,” Morris said, as they circled the diamond. “You’ll find it’s as easy as anything you ever did.”

“Did you know about it?” asked Dick curiously.

“Sure. It was Gordon’s scheme; but he told me what he wanted to do and dad and I were strong for it.”

“But—but where’d they get the money?” asked Dick.

“They haven’t got it yet,” chuckled Morris. “You have it!”

“I have——Oh, the baseball money!”

“Surest think you know, Dick!”

“Oh!” Dick gave a sigh of relief. “I was afraid they’d paid for it out of their pockets or—or somehow. I—I knew for two or three weeks that they were up to something, but I never suspected this. Say, doesn’t it just get there!”

“She’s a fine little car,” agreed Morris proudly, as he brought it to a stop behind the extra seats. “And I’ll just bet you’ll be crazy about her, Dick, in a week!”

“I guess I’m sort of crazy about her now,” murmured Dick.

There was still another ceremony to be gone through with; in fact, two. The first was performed a minute later when Morris, taking a folded sheet of paper from his pocket, walked across to the front of the grandstand, accompanied by the players, and with a neat but brief speech formally presented the deed of the athletic field to Mr. Grayson. The principal, however, wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to indulge in eloquence, and his speech of thanks went on for quite five minutes. It was a very good speech, too, but few heard it, for the spectators out of ear-shot were clamoring for the game to begin. When he had finished and bowed and taken his seat again, there was more applause, and the bass drum boomed ecstatically and Gordon led three cheers for Mr. Brent, and at last the home team trotted on to the diamond and the visitors began passing and warming up at one side.

By that time it was nearly the hour set for the game to begin, and almost every available spot on the field was occupied by spectators. Four of Clearfield’s modest police force were on duty in the outfield, patrolling back and forth, restraining the advance of the crowds which stretched along the continuations of the foul lines.

On the “press stand,” a kitchen table and two straight-backed chairs at the end of the home team’s bench, stood the silver trophy on its ebony stand. Around the base was twined the purple silk pennant with the white “C.” At the “press stand” sat Mr. Potter, his straw hat tilted back on his head, a pile of yellow copy paper in front of him and a big cigar tucked in the corner of his mouth. Mr. Potter, looking proudly about the crowded field, was happy. Apparently all the pennants had been purchased, for they waved on all sides, and flashes of purple glowed everywhere in the sunlight; everywhere, that is to say, except in one small section of the main stand, where the Rutter’s Point contingent, some fifty strong, waved blue-and-yellow flags and cheered for their heroes.

Dick, leaning on his crutches near first base, allowed his gaze to wander a minute from the work of his charges toward the crowded seats. There were his mother and Grace up there, and, farther along, Mr. and Mrs. Brent and Louise—and Morris just returning to his place beside them. Strangely enough, Louise happened to be looking just as Dick glanced her way, and nodded and waved. Dick took off his hat in answer. A second later he was bowing again, for Mrs. Townsend was waving her blue-and-yellow banner toward him.

Then, presently, the home team yielded the diamond to the visitors, and Dick went back to the bench with them. Harold was sharpening his pencils as Dick took his place beside him.

“Dick,” he said, in a low voice, “I hope you win.”

“Thanks, Harold! That’s treachery, isn’t it, though?”

Harold frowned and shook his head. “Can’t help it,” he muttered. “I do, anyway.”

The umpires were Mr. Cochran, of the Y.M.C.A., chosen by Clearfield, and Mr. Vokes, who had officiated at the first game between the two teams, the Point’s selection. The latter gentleman was on bases and Mr. Cochran umpired at the plate. At twenty minutes to three Clearfield trotted into the field to the cheers of the audience, and Gordon, taking a nice new ball from Mr. Cochran, ascended the stand to where Mr. Brent sat.

“Mr. Brent,” said Gordon, “we’d like very much to have you throw out the ball to us, sir, if you don’t mind.”

“Throw out the ball!” exclaimed Mr. Brent. “How—how do I do it?”

“Just stand up, sir, and toss it to Tom Haley, down there.”

Mr. Brent looked doubtful, but Morris and Louise urged him on, and finally he got to his feet, measured the distance anxiously, clutched the ball with a death-like grip, and hurled it toward Tom. It went a yard over his head, and was fielded by Harry Bryan near second! But that didn’t matter! Everyone cheered just as hard!


Bryan, 2b.Billings, 3b.
Scott, 3b.Townsend, 1b.
Merrick, 1b.Chase, ss.
Wayland, l. f.House, c. f.
Tappen, r. f.Leary, 2b.
White, c.Northrop, r. f.
Robey, ss.Jensen, l. f.
Haley, p.Houghton, c.
Shaw, c. f.Mason, p.

Gordon took his position off first base, thumped fist into glove, and called cheerfully across to Tom Haley:

“First man, Tom! Let’s have him!”

But Gordon wasn’t nearly as cool and collected as he tried to seem. He was conscious of the crowd, and especially of the throng that stretched four and five deep along the base line but a half dozen yards away. The noise, too, was disconcerting. He didn’t mind the bellowing of Jim House back of first, nor the answering shrieks of Pink Northrop behind third; but the steady hum and stir of the crowd gave him what was very much like stage fright. He almost hoped that the first hit would not come into his territory, for he was virtually sure that he would misplay it. But Gordon wasn’t the only one suffering from nervous embarrassment. Tom was as wild as a hawk, and if the batsmen had not been up in the air as well Rutter’s Point might have won the game then and there!

Dick, none too self-possessed himself, in spite of the fact that on the bench he was practically out of the public gaze, saw that in the outfield Way, Jack, and Fudge were each moving restlessly about, and he mentally hoped that there would be no long flies for a few minutes! The only one of the home team who seemed absolutely self-possessed and unconcerned was Lanny. Lanny, behind his mask and protector, gave his signals calmly, and called to Tom coolly and encouragingly, holding his hands over the center of the plate and inviting Tom to “put it right here!” And Tom tried his best to follow signals, and failed lamentably.

Caspar Billings went to base on balls, and Gordon took the bag. Tom tried one throw across, and Gordon, to his relief, caught the ball. While Tom had been in the act of swinging around and stepping out, Gordon had been sure that the ball would get by him. Caspar was playing it safe, however, and after Gordon threw the sphere back to Tom the latter gave his attention to the next batsman, Loring Townsend. Loring, with one strike and two balls against him, reached for a low one and sent it up in the air to Pete Robey. Pete caught it, juggled it, dropped it, and then sped it to second. Caspar, who had stopped halfway down the base line, turned back to the bench.

With one out, Tom settled down a little. Loring Townsend stole on the second delivery and beat out the throw. The Point clamored for a hit, but the best Gil Chase could do was to trickle a slow bunt to Tom, who threw out the runner at first.

“Two gone!” called Gordon. “Let him hit, Tom!”

But Tom did the hitting himself, bumping Jim House on the elbow with his first ball. Jim trotted to first, and Leary came to bat. Leary ought to have been easy, but he landed on the very first offering and sent a fly into short left field. Way started with the ball and got it after a hard run, and the inning was over.

“We got out of that mighty luckily,” muttered Gordon, as he took his seat beside Dick. “I guess we’ve all got nerves.”

“Well, so have the others,” replied Dick. “Try to get rid of yours first, Gordie.”

Harry Bryan waited and got his base. Will Scott, instructed to bunt and sacrifice, fouled two attempts, and finally went out on strikes. Gordon brought the stands to their feet by a bunt along first-base line which started well but eventually rolled into foul territory under the anxious gaze of Mason and Townsend. Then came a swipe that missed the ball by inches, then two balls, and last, with two and two, a straight one that Gordon liked the looks of. He found it, all right, but it dropped into center-fielder’s hands, and, with two down, Bryan was still anchored on first. A minute later he tried a steal, and was caught a yard away.

In the second Tom pitched better, and Northrop and Jensen fanned. Houghton, the Point catcher, got a scratch hit, and reached the first bag but died there when Mason struck out.

Clearfield did no better in her half, Wayland, Tappen, and Lanny White going out in order, and only Jack getting a rap at the ball.

It was not until the fourth inning that things began to happen. Leary started the Point’s half with a sharp tap between Pete and Harry that put him safely on first. Then, with the Point coachers yelling like mad and dancing like a couple of dervishes, Tom passed Pink Northrop. With the three tail-enders coming up there seemed no cause for alarm. But Jensen laid down a nice bunt right in front of the plate, and Lanny, tossing aside his mask, picked it up and hurled it to third. Unfortunately, Will Scott had started in toward the plate, and the ball got to third ahead of him. By the time Way had recovered it, Leary had scored, Northrop was on second, and Jensen on first. The Pointers went wild with delight, and the blue-and-yellow flags waved in the grandstand. Houghton, aching for a hit, was over-anxious, and fell a victim to the wiles of Lanny and Tom, and there was one out. Pitcher Mason was no more of a batsman than the average twirler, and yet he managed to make it two and three before he finally put an end to the suspense and the inning by hitting to Harry Bryan, who tagged Jensen as he went past and then threw to Gordon, completing the double.

For the next two innings it looked very much as though that one run would be enough to win the game, for Mason settled down and pitched air-tight ball and added four more strike-outs to his credit. Tom Haley was less spectacular, and yet got by without yielding a hit. He passed two batters and in the sixth Jensen got as far as third when Pete Robey fumbled Houghton’s liner. But there were no runs scored, and at the beginning of the seventh the score still stood 1 to 0 in the visitors’ favor, and Clearfield already tasted defeat. But the audience shouted that here was the “lucky seventh,” and those fortunate to have seats stood up and stretched cramped limbs, and everyone shouted.

In the first half of the seventh the clouds began to gather again over Clearfield’s head. Caspar Billings, first man up, beat out a weak hit and took second when Townsend sacrificed, Scott to Merrick. A moment later he reached third when Chase flied out to right field. Then House provided a half dozen attacks of heart disease when, with three balls and two strikes on him, he knocked fouls to nearly every point of the compass in his endeavor to secure a safe hit and score Caspar. But in the end Tom tricked him into a high fly that settled comfortably into Pete Robey’s glove, and again the sky cleared.

“If those boys don’t win a run this time,” said Mr. Brent, almost crossly, “I’ll be sorry I gave them the field.”

“You mean, dad, you’ll be sorry I gave them the field,” corrected Morris, with a grin. Mr. Brent grunted.

“Why don’t they bat the ball?” he demanded. “Every time one of them gets on a base, the others leave him there. What they ought to do is to take a good bang at it and send it out there beyond those fellows.”

“That’s what they’re trying to do, papa,” replied Louise, “but the Point pitcher won’t let them. He’s a wonderful pitcher, isn’t he, Morris?”

“Pretty fair. He’ll get his before the game’s over, though. See if he doesn’t.”

“Get his what?” asked his father curiously.

“Get what’s coming to him,” laughed Morris. “I mean the Clearfield chaps will bat him. He can’t keep this pace up much longer. I wouldn’t be surprised if we got after him this inning.”

“Oh, I wish we might!” sighed Louise. “I wish they’d just—just slam him!”

“My dear!” murmured Mrs. Brent. “That doesn’t sound very nice.”

“It’s all right, mama; it’s just baseball talk.”

“Even so, dear, I’m not certain,” replied her mother, “that——

But Louise didn’t hear the rest, for she was waving her purple pennant wildly and shrieking in a manner that Mrs. Brent must have disapproved of thoroughly. But she had a good excuse. Even Mr. Jonathan Brent was tapping his cane and breathing hard, while Morris was frankly on his feet, yelling at the top of his lungs.

Jack, the first Clearfield batsman, had landed on the second ball pitched, and now it was rolling along the grass between right fielder and center, and Jack was traveling fast for second base. He drew up there, breathless but happy. From the stands and from the crowds along the edges of the diamond came shouts and cheers. At last, Clearfield was to tie the score!

And yet even with a runner on second and only a hit necessary to bring in a tally, it began to look as if once more the hopes of Clearfield’s supporters were doomed. Lanny, determined and cool, after waiting until he had three balls to his credit and no strikes, tried to drop out of the way of a close one, only to have it hit his bat and roll fair! Mason fielded it to first, and there was one out. The incessant shouting from the spectators died away and Gordon, coaching at first, swung on his heel and kicked viciously at a pebble to relieve his feelings. Then, with Pete Robey up, there came an exchange of signals, and Jack started for third as the ball left Mason’s hand for the second time. It was an unexpected play, and it succeeded. Pete swung and missed and Houghton side-stepped and hurled to third. But Jack, who was a fast youth on his feet, was diving head-first for the bag when the ball arrived, and Mr. Vokes, trotting past, spread his hands. Clearfield applauded wildly.

With a man on third, Rutter’s Point considered discretion the better part of valor, and Mason pitched out three times to Pete and Pete walked to first, while the home team’s supporters jeered and shouted disparaging remarks to Mason. A minute later Pete went to second unchallenged. Tom Haley was up, and Houghton had argued that Tom could be easily disposed of. And it seemed that he could. Tom made desperate swings at the first two deliveries, and you could have heard the sighs of despair that came from the anxious watchers on the seats. Then, heeding the coachers’ voices at last, Tom got his eye on the ball and watched idly while Mason sped two wide ones past him. Then he tried again and a foul resulted, Houghton getting his hands on it at the edge of the stand but dropping it. A third ball narrowly escaped being a strike, and Gordon cried: “That’s waiting, Tom! Let him walk you; he’ll do it in a minute!”

And he would have, for the next delivery was inches wide of the outer corner of the plate, but Tom reached out eagerly, got that ball on the tip of his bat and sent it arching up in a low fly that fell three feet inside the first-base foul line and just out of the reach of the three fielders who raced after it! In trotted Jack, scoring the tying run, and in sped Pete Robey, close on his heels, while Clearfield went mad with delight and the purple pennants waved on high. Pete beat the throw to the plate by inches, but Tom, trying to reach second on the throw-in, was less fortunate and fell victim to a fine heave from Houghton to Leary.

Dick motioned Fudge to him. “We want another run, Fudge,” he said softly. “Mason will be up in the air now. Make him think you’re anxious to hit. Move up in the box and swing your bat; try to look nervous——

“I don’t have t-t-t-to try,” muttered Fudge.

“Never mind. Make him think you’ll offer at anything, but don’t swing but once. Pick out a wide one and swing at it, Fudge, but be careful not to hit it. If you work it right, he will pass you sure as shooting! Now, go ahead.”

Harold Townsend, so excited that he hadn’t scored a thing since Jack’s two-bagger, looked at Dick in open admiration. “I guess that’s what they call ‘inside baseball,’ isn’t it, Dick?”

“I don’t know,” was the reply. “It’s what I’d call horse-sense. I hope it works, anyhow!”

With two out and the bases empty the scoring was apparently over, and the Pointers were doubtless already occupying their thoughts with the task before them of overcoming that one-run lead when they at last returned to their positions.

“Last man, Mel!” called Billy Houghton. “Let’s have him!” Then Billy signaled for a straight one. But Mason, as Dick had predicted, was a bit flustered. The straight one came over too low and was a ball. He tried it again, and another ball resulted. Houghton returned the sphere with a slow and cautioning toss, and then spread his fingers for a curve. The curve came, went wide, and Fudge, as nervous as a wet hen, made a mighty swing at it, missing it by six inches and winning a laugh from the spectators. Then he walked to the pitcher’s end of the box and flourished his bat, and seemed to be daring Mason to put one where he could get it. Houghton signaled for a curve once more, for he figured that Fudge was in a condition to offer at anything that came. And Mason, winding his fingers none too carefully about the ball, let drive with it, and was properly surprised when Fudge made no offer!

Then Houghton woke up. The score was three balls and one strike. He signaled for one over the plate, and it came. “Strike!” called Mr. Cochran. On the bench Dick watched anxiously. If Fudge could get his base, he reasoned, Harry Bryan would be up, and, in the present disgruntled state of mind of the Point players, errors were likely to result. On the mound Mason was shaking his head at Houghton’s instructions. He had no doubt that he could put the third strike over, but he preferred to make the batter fan. Houghton signaled again, Mason wound up, and the ball traveled forward. It had a jump on it, if ever a ball did, and that jump was Mason’s undoing. Fudge never moved as the ball passed him, only turned inquiringly toward the umpire. The latter nodded. “Take your base,” he said.

Billy Houghton ejaculated an amazed “What?” and Mason disgustedly kicked up the dust, but Fudge, grinning toward the bench as he passed, trotted to first. Rutter’s Point suddenly awakened to the fact that perhaps the trouble was not yet over, after all!

Nor was it. Harry Bryan found something to his liking, and banged it head-high across the diamond toward Billings. Caspar knocked it down, fumbled it, and then threw too late to Townsend. Harry was safe on first and Fudge on second. Clearfield yelled like wild Indians, and the crowd swayed and threatened to push on to the field. Then began a panicky five minutes.

Fudge danced around at second and Bryan at first. The coachers shouted and leaped, and the crowd kept up an incessant thumping of feet and a steady roar of voices. Up in the main stand, Mr. Jonathan Brent was hugging his cane and leaning forward from the very edge of his seat. Louise had her purple pennant twisted into a hard knot, and Morris was talking hoarsely to himself or whoever might be listening. “Take a good lead, Shaw!” he directed. “Look out, Bryan! He almost got you! Here we go, fellows! Here we go!” Of course, neither Fudge nor Harry heard him, but Morris never thought about that. Morris was running that game for himself just then.

Dick whispered a few words to Jack Tappen, and Jack sped to first and whispered a few words to Gordon. And Gordon turned his head inquiringly toward the bench, caught Dick’s emphatic nod, and renewed his shouting.

“What did you tell him, Dick?” asked Harold, in a low voice.

Dick smiled. “You wait and see, Harold,” he said.

Will Scott was up now, with one ball to his credit. Mason had made three attempts to catch Bryan napping at first, and now he directed his attention to the batsman again. A waister went for a strike, a wide one followed and scored the second ball, and then Mason wound up once more and shot his arm out. And as he did so Fudge leaped away toward third, Bryan sped for second, and a cry of “There he goes!” went up from the visitors’ bench. Will Scott glued his eye to that ball, swung and missed it. Houghton made a desperate attempt to cut off the runner at third, but failed, and bedlam broke loose. Mr. Potter knocked the silver trophy off its base in his excitement, and only caught it at the edge of the “press-stand” table. Harold kicked his legs in air and tossed his score-book up. Mr. Anthony Brent nearly broke his walking-stick. Morris challenged everyone within hearing to deny that that was the prettiest double steal that had ever been pulled off. Louise clapped her hands until her palms ached and her white gloves threatened to rip. And some six hundred other folks did whatever it occurred to them to do, and did it just as noisily as they knew how!

Dick Lovering, Manager of the Clearfield Baseball Club, only smiled quietly and made little marks in his score-book.

A minute later Scott was perched on first base, Mason having been totally unable to locate the plate, and Gordon faced the pitcher. Bases full, two out, and the captain at bat! Well, it was a fine situation, no matter what might come of it. The Point infield crept toward the plate. Everyone talked loudly to the pitcher, as much, perhaps, to tranquilize his own nerves as to encourage Mason. Mason, it seemed, needed encouragement. He was palpably unstrung, and the first ball he pitched proved it, for it was as wild as a shooting-star, and if Billy Houghton had not leaped sidewise and sprawled on his elbow it would have been by him and let in a run. But Billy stopped it, and Fudge scuttled back to safety at third.

Mason worked a slow ball over for a strike on the next attempt, and that seemed to settle him somewhat. Gordon let one go by and found he had judged it correctly. Then a foul back of first base made the standing two and two. The noise had diminished, and now an almost breathless silence enveloped the field. Only the voices of the coachers were to be heard.

“Oh, come on, Fudge! Take a lead! That’s better! Hold it! On your toes, everyone! Look out for a passed ball now! Here’s where we score a few!”

“Pick out a good one, Cap! Make him pitch to you! Here it is! Here it is!”

But Gordon refused to offer at it, and, “Ball!” announced the umpire.

“It’s got to be good, now, Gordie!” yelled Jack. “Lean on it! Lean on it! Make it a homer, Cap!”

Mason wound, unwound, sped the ball toward the plate, bat and ball met and a sudden swelling pæan of joy went up as the spectators leaped to their feet and craned their necks. But Gordon, speeding down the first-base line, and the other runners, spurning the dust between bags, slowed up and turned disappointedly back. The hit had gone foul by several yards. A brand-new ball was thrown to the pitcher, and Gordon picked up his bat again, waited until the runners had regained their bases, and then once more faced Mason.

That new white ball looked good to him! What he feared most now was that Mason would pitch a bad one and that he would have to take his base on balls. To be sure, that would force in another run, but Gordon wanted more than that. Something told him that if Mason put one over he could hit it! Perhaps it would have been well if Mason had sacrificed a run and passed the Clearfield captain, but Mason couldn’t be expected to know what was to happen. He wanted to strike the batsman out and end a deplorable inning, and Billy Houghton wanted the same thing. And so Billy spread his hands wide and Mason was just a bit more careful than usual and the ball sped forward fast and straight. And Gordon felt his heart jump as he saw what was coming. Every muscle tightened, his bat swung sharply, there was a crack that was easily heard outside the field where an eager army of small boys had their eyes glued to all available cracks and knot-holes, and Gordon was racing for first!

Over Leary’s upstretched glove traveled the ball into the outfield. Jim House made a desperate effort to get it on the bound, missed it, whirled and scuttled back toward the fence. It was Pink Northrop, right fielder, who finally recovered it and threw it frantically in to second baseman. But by that time three joyous youths had crossed the plate and Gordon was sliding, in a cloud of dust, to third. And he might have kept his feet, at that, for poor Caspar, seeing the game slipping away, muffed the throw. Gordon had come through with a clean three-bagger! The score stood five to one! The “lucky seventh” had proved itself!

“The Lucky Seventh had proved itself”

The inning ended two minutes later when Way was an easy out, shortstop to first, and Rutter’s Point again took up the bat. But four runs was a desperate handicap to overcome, and Tom Haley, encouraged by success, pitched the best ball of his career. To be sure, Rutter’s Point did score once more, in the first of the ninth, Caspar Billings slamming out a two-bagger much too hot for Pete Robey to handle and sending Jensen across the plate. And after that Townsend got to first on an error by Will Scott, and the Point, with Gil Chase at bat, tried heroically to pull the game out of the fire by a ninth-inning rally. But Tom was not to be trifled with, and Chase finally went out on a long fly to center, which Fudge, making the most of his second chance of the game, pulled down without a tremor!

And then the band crashed forth into a triumphant march, the stands emptied, the field was flooded with laughing, satisfied spectators, cheers were given and answered, and, surrounded by a dense throng of enthusiastic admirers, Gordon and Dick and the others tried to hear Mr. Potter’s speech as he presented to them the silver cup and the silken pennant. That speech appeared in full in Monday’s Reporter, together with three columns of descriptive matter and a detailed story of the game; but no one heard it now.

Five minutes later, Dick, the trophy held on his knees, sat in the blue runabout, and, with the triumphant Clearfield nine following behind, was paraded thrice around the field, Morris acting as charioteer. And the crowd, loitering behind to miss none of the fun, scuttled aside and cheered and waved purple flags.

Last of all, with a score-book somewhat the worse for wear clutched tightly under his arm, strode Harold, adding his shrill cheers to the general tumult.


On a crisp and sunny Saturday morning, a fortnight after the game, a blue runabout automobile came quietly and circumspectly along Troutman Street, under the yellowing maples, and, with two gruff toots of its horn, slowed down and came to a stop in front of the Merricks’ gate. As the driver of the car slid the gears into neutral and kicked off the switch at the battery, a look of relief succeeded the somewhat strained and anxious expression he had worn. I think he even sighed his satisfaction as he relaxed his grasp of the steering wheel and looked toward the doorway. Along the running-board on the driver’s side of the car lay a pair of crutches, held in place by an ingenious contrivance of heavy wire.

After that, there is no use trying to longer conceal the identity of the boy at the wheel. It was Dick. A week of instruction by Morris and a second week spent in operating alone had made him a fairly competent driver, but he had not yet passed the stage where a corner was something to be approached with vast anxiety and to be negotiated with care and deliberation. Every inch of the blue varnished surface of the car shone resplendently, and every particle of brass was polished until it was painful to view.

Two more blasts of the grumpy horn at last produced results. The screen door flew open, and Gordon, a piece of toast in one hand and a napkin in the other, appeared.

“Say, what time do you think it is?” he demanded laughingly.

“It’s time you were through breakfast, anyway,” responded Dick. “Get a hustle on. Eli hates to stand.” (Dick had named the car Eli Yale because of its color, but generally referred to it as Eli.)

“I’ll bring a lump of sugar for him,” said Gordon. “Keep a tight rein on him, Dick, and I’ll be with you in five minutes. Maybe he will stand long enough for you to come in and have a cup of coffee.”

“I wouldn’t dare risk it,” replied Dick gravely. “Besides, I never take coffee in the middle of the forenoon.”

“Middle of the forenoon!” grunted the other. “It isn’t half-past eight yet! Since you got that car, you never go to bed at all, I guess!”

Gordon vanished with that, and Dick leaned comfortably back in the runabout to wait. But an instant later a speck of tarnish on the dash clock—a gift from Louise Brent—caught his eye, and he whisked a piece of cheesecloth from a pocket on the inside of the door and attacked it indignantly. Before he had conquered it, returned the cloth and buttoned the flap again, Gordon appeared once more, capped and ready for the ride.

“All set?”

Dick looked carefully at levers and switch. “All set,” he said.

Gordon turned the handle half over, and Eli broke into a frantic chugging that could be heard six blocks away. Dick pushed back the throttle and pulled down the spark, however, and Eli moderated his transports. Gordon, who had clapped his hands to his ears, grinned as he climbed in beside Dick and slammed the door. “Gee,” he said, “but he’s some noisy!”

“Not at all,” denied Dick indignantly. “He naturally chortles a little at times.”

“Oh, was he chortling? I thought he was champing his bit. Hello, see who’s here!” added Gordon, as the car swayed across B Street. A lusty shouting was heard, and Fudge came racing along the sidewalk. Dick stopped.

“W-w-where you going?” panted Fudge. “Take me, too, Dick. You haven’t given me a ride yet!”

“All right,” laughed Dick. “Open the door and sit on the edge there, Fudge. But don’t drag your big feet and stop the car.”

“Go get your cap,” advised Gordon.

“Don’t need a cap. Where are you going?”

“Oh, just for a ride,” replied Dick, throwing in his clutch again after a calculating survey of the empty street.

“The Springdale road’s pretty good,” suggested Gordon, with a wink at Fudge.

“I thought I’d run out toward the Point,” said Dick carelessly. “You don’t meet many teams that way.”

“By the way,” asked Gordon, “when do they move in?”

“Who?” Dick inquired.

“The Brents, of course.” Fudge giggled.

Dick laughed. “Who said anything about the Brents, you idiot?”

“No one; only you spoke of going to the Point. You can drop Fudge and me at the hotel. We don’t want to be in the way.”

“Oh, you run along and play!” said Dick good-naturedly. “If you really want to know when they’re coming back to town, I’ll tell you. They’re going to move in next Wednesday. Morris says it’s too hard to get to school on time. And since football practice has begun——” Dick broke off to negotiate a corner.

“Morris is crazy to think he can play this Fall,” said Fudge. “He will bust his leg again. You’ll see.”

“He’s going to try, anyway,” said Gordon. “They’re going to mark out the gridiron this morning, Dick.”

“That so? Oh, by the way, I heard from Harold. I’ve got his letter here somewhere. Steady the wheel a minute, Gordie, will you?” Dick drew forth an envelope from his pocket and handed it across. “Read it aloud.”

“‘Dear Dick,’” read Gordon, “‘I passed all right. Only I have got to do some extra Math this term. I was sort of rotten on Math. Old Penny (he’s the principal) says I did better than lots of fellows who come here. Loring said I was to thank you, and I do awfully, Dick. You were fine and dandy to me, and I am sorry I was such a rotter at first. And I am very sorry about the Math. It wasn’t your fault, Dick. Please remember me to the fellows, and tell them I am coming back next year. I am going out for the junior baseball team next week and maybe next summer I can play for you, Dick, if you want me. Loring says remember him to you, and so no more at present from your firm friend,


“‘Firm friend’ is pretty good,” commented Gordon, as he folded the letter up and returned it to its envelope. “But I’m glad the kid passed, if only on your account, Dick.”

“Yes; if he had failed, I’d have felt sort of mean about taking the money. Speaking of money, fellows,” he continued, as the runabout slid across the trolley tracks and headed toward Rutter’s Point, “Mr. Potter sent me the statement this morning. I didn’t bring it, though.”

“How did we come out?” asked Gordon. “About the way we figured?”

“Nearly forty dollars better. There were six hundred and thirty-three paid admissions to the game, amounting to four hundred and three dollars. The total expenses were, I think, sixty-one dollars; or maybe they were sixty-three. Anyway, the net profits amount to three hundred and forty-two dollars. That includes four dollars and something made on the pennants sold.”

“Peanuts?” exclaimed Fudge. “I didn’t know we——

“Pennants, stupid!” corrected Gordon. “Well, that’s doing pretty well, Dick. Then, after paying for the car, we have money left?”

“Over fifty dollars,” was the reply. “What shall we do with it?”

“G-g-give it to me,” suggested Fudge.

“I think you ought to have it for gasoline and tires,” laughed Gordon. “This thing will keep you poor, I’m afraid, Dick.”

“No, sir,” replied the owner of the car seriously. “I’m studying up on autos, and I’m going to make my own repairs. And I’ve sent for a vulcanizing outfit that only costs three dollars and a half. When I get that I can fix my own tires. As for gasoline, why, Eli only drinks a gallon every twenty miles! And I don’t run that far in three days! I think it would be a good plan to hand over what we have left to the Athletic Committee, Gordie. They’ll need a lot of money now that we own the field. We’ll have to pay the taxes and for water and other things.”

“That’s right. As far as I’m concerned——

“Remember this place?” interrupted Dick.

Gordon nodded. “Yes; that’s where Morris steered the car into the fence and me into the bushes.”

“It’s where you became a blooming hero,” said Fudge.

“Hero, nothing! What I did didn’t amount to a row of pins!”

“Well, it amounted to the gift of an athletic field to the school,” said Dick, with a smile. “That’s something, you know!”

“And it amounted to something else, t-t-too,” added Fudge. “It made Morris a respectable member of s-s-s-society!”

“What beautiful expressions you do use, Fudge!” laughed Gordon.

“Fudge is right, though,” agreed Dick, when he had carefully steered the car around a wagon. “Morris is a heap more—more likable than he was last year. Whether it was the accident——

“It jarred some of the nonsense out of him, perhaps,” said Gordon. “Although, for that matter, Dick, maybe you like him better for other reasons.”

“Humph!” said Dick, with a suspicious sidelong glance. Fudge chuckled.

“Even you and Morris’ father seem to be getting quite chummy,” pursued Gordon, “while as for Mrs. Brent, why, she’s absolutely spoony about you!”

“Go ahead and enjoy yourself,” said Dick. “I don’t mind your ravings. Looks as though they were getting ready to close the hotel, doesn’t it?” he added, as they took the corner cautiously and turned into the shore road.

“I should think they would. About everyone has gone. Did I tell you what Caspar Billings said at the station the other day?”

“I don’t think so. What was it?”

“He said he was going to send circulars of the hotel to all the prep schools next Spring, so he could get up a nine that would beat us next summer and get that pennant back!”

“L-l-let him!” sputtered Fudge. “We’ll be ready for them!”

“Yes, indeed, for we’ll have Mr. Harold Townsend playing for us,” said Gordon. “By the way, Dick, we’d better put him in center field, don’t you think?”


“That’s all r-r-right!” exploded Fudge. “P-p-put him there! I’m going to p-p-p-play in the infield next s-s-s-summer! I’m g-g-going——

But Fudge’s remarks were drowned by the sudden croaking of the horn as the blue runabout approached the Brents’ cottage.

“There’s Morris on the porch,” said Dick, adding another dismal warning.

“Yes, and—am I mistaken, or is that—— My sight isn’t what it used to be, Fudge. Look and tell me if that is Louise on the steps.”

“Dry up!” muttered Dick, turning the car toward the curb and throwing out the clutch.

Morris and Louise came down the walk. “Some driving, that, Dick,” Morris applauded.

“Oh, I told him what to do!” said Gordon modestly.

“Good morning, Mister Manager,” greeted Louise. “Good morning, Mister Captain. Good morning, Mister——” She paused, at a loss.

“Mister Historian,” supplied Gordon. “Fudge is writing a beautiful story about the game, aren’t you, Fudge? He’s going to call it——

“C-c-cut it out!” growled Fudge.

“Please tell me, Fudge,” begged Louise. “What are you going to call it?”

Fudge scowled, grinned, and relented.

“I’m g-g-going to c-c-c-call it,” he said, “‘The Lucky Seventh.’”


End of Project Gutenberg's The Lucky Seventh, by Ralph Henry Barbour


***** This file should be named 39923-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Roger Frank and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This book was
produced from images made available by the HathiTrust
Digital Library.)

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS' WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need, are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Its 501(c)(3) letter is posted at  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations.
To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart is the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.