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   Chapter 19 ABOUT A SET OF TEETH

The Mystery at Putnam Hall: The School Chums' Strange Discovery By Edward Stratemeyer Characters: 9678

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

"I am afraid we are in for it!" whispered the young major, as he saw the rush of the Pornell students, each armed with all the snowballs he could carry.

"Shall we run away?" asked Andy. "I guess we can run as fast as they can."

"Never!" replied Pepper. "I am going to the Hall and on this road."

"So am I!" added Jack.

"Then let us rush 'em?" suggested Andy. "We can't stand and fight nine of 'em-we'll be snowed under."

"Rush it is," returned the young major. "Wait till I give the signal."

On came the enemy, and soon the snowballs were flying at a lively rate. It was growing dark, but the aim of the Pornell students was good and the chums were hit several times. They threw snowballs in return, hitting Bock in the breast and Grimes in the chin.

"Come on, throw 'em over!" roared Bock. "Roll 'em in the snow!"

"And stuff some snow down their backs!" added Grimes.

"Now then, all together!" cried Jack. "Keep as close as possible! One, two, three!"

Side by side the three chums bounded forward, straight for the line of Pornellites. They came on swiftly and took the enemy by surprise. Jack bumped into Bock, hurling him flat, and Pepper bowled over Grimes. Andy bent low and caught another student by the legs, sending him over into a fourth, and both went flat. Then the three cadets caught a fifth and ran him along the road and into a hollow, where he went into snow up to his waist.

"Stop 'em! Stop 'em!" was the cry, but the Putnam Hall boys could not be stopped. Turning, they delivered a parting shower of snowballs, and then ran on, in the direction of the school.

"I guess the Pornell fellows will remember that for awhile," panted Pepper, when they felt safe.

"And just think of it-three to nine!" chuckled Andy.

"They thought they had us dead to rights," came from Jack. "Well, I guess we showed them a trick or two they won't forget right away."

"Are they following us?" asked the acrobatic youth, looking back.

"I reckon not," replied Pepper, "Must have had enough," and he smiled broadly.

The three cadets were tired out from their long walk and the contest on the road, and when the school was reached all were glad enough to sit down and rest previous to having supper. Andy looked around for Reff Ritter, but that cadet kept himself out of sight.

"I'll see him after supper," said the acrobatic youth.

It was not until nearly bedtime that he got a chance to question the bully. He followed Ritter up to his dormitory, which chanced just then to be unoccupied.

"Reff, I want to talk to you," he said, when the bully was on the point of closing the door in his face.

"What do you want, Andy Snow? I'm not feeling well to-night, and I am tired out from a walk I took to Cedarville."

"I won't keep you long, Reff. I want to ask you about the man you met in Cedarville? What's his name?"

Reff Ritter stopped short and showed that the question took him by surprise.

"Man I met?" he stammered.

"Yes, the man you met at the new buildings in Cedarville."

"Who said I met any one?"

"We saw you, I and Major Ruddy and Pep Ditmore."

"Huh! Been spying on me, eh?" And Reff Ritter's face took on its old look of sourness.

"It was an accident. But I want to know who that man was."

"What for?"

"I have my reasons."

"I don't see that I am called on to answer your questions, Andy Snow. If I want to meet anybody I'll do it."

"Then you refuse to tell me who the man was?"

"Tell me why you want to know and maybe I'll tell you who he is," answered the bully, after studying the acrobatic youth's face for a moment.

"Very well. Do you remember the time the horse ran away with me and left me unconscious on the road?"

"I heard about it."

"Well, just before I was knocked unconscious I saw a man on the road ahead of me."


"I think it was the man you met this afternoon."

"That man?" cried the bully, and now he showed a sudden interest.

"Yes, and that is why I want to know his name, and where he comes from."

"You must be mistaken, Snow. That man doesn't belong around here."

"Where is he from?"

"I think he comes from Boston, but I am not sure."

"And his name?"

"Why do you ask these questions? Do you think he had something to do with your being thrown from the horse?"

"No, not with being thrown from the horse, Reff. But, if you'll remember, when I came to my senses my watch was gone, also my stickpin and eight dollars in bills."

"And you think that man took them?" questioned Reff Ritter, in a voice that sounded strained.

"I won't say that until I know more about the man. If you say he is a good, honest man, why then I'll be bound to believe I am mistaken."

"I don't know much about him, but I don't think he is a thief," answered the bully, slowly. "His name is Smith

, Cameron Smith, and he is a commercial traveler. I only met him twice, once about two weeks ago and to-day. He knows my-er-my uncle, and is doing some business for him, and he wanted to see me about it, that's all. But I am sure you are mistaken about his robbing you."

"I didn't say he robbed me,-in fact, I am not positive he was the man I saw on the road."

"I don't think he was near Cedarville at the time. He spends most of his time around Boston. Is that all you want to know? If it is, I'm going to lie down and try to get some sleep," went on Reff Ritter, passing his hand over his forehead.

"Yes, that's all," answered Andy, shortly. "Much obliged." And he left the dormitory.

He was not at all satisfied with the way Reff Ritter had acted. Evidently the bully was much put out over the fact that his meeting with Cameron Smith was known.

"He didn't say much about what business he had with the man," mused Andy. "It all sounds rather fishy to me. Wish I had some way of finding out more about this Cameron Smith. Guess I'll write to some of my friends in Boston and see if they can find out anything about him." And Andy sent a letter the very next morning.

On this same day Pepper had a sharp wrangle with Josiah Crabtree. The dictatorial teacher accused Pepper of copying an example in algebra from another cadet, and a bitter altercation followed.

"I didn't do it, and I don't want you to say so!" flared up Pepper, his cheeks aflame.

"Ditmore, be silent!" roared Josiah Crabtree. "Not another word, or I'll send you to Captain Putnam!"

"I don't care-I didn't copy!" muttered Pepper. "It's a shame to say I did!"

"You'll stay in after school," commanded Crabtree, majestically.

The accusation, and the fact that he had to stay in when the others were allowed to go out and have their fun, did not suit The Imp at all. While he sat in the classroom all alone, he thought again of something that had come into his mind before.

"I'll do it!" he said firmly. "I'll do it to-night! I'll show him that he can't accuse me for nothing."

Since the fall term at Putnam Hall had opened Josiah Crabtree had been making frequent trips to Ithaca, to a well-known dentist located in that city. Although many of the cadets did not know it, a few, and among them Pepper, were aware that the teacher was having a new set of false teeth made. Now the teeth were finished, and Josiah Crabtree was wearing them with great satisfaction and not a little pride. He fancied that the new teeth added not a little to his personal appearance.

It was Pepper's plan to get hold of these teeth and hide them. How the trick was to be accomplished he did not yet know, but he resolved to watch his chances.

That evening, as luck would have it, Josiah Crabtree retired early. As was his custom, he placed his false teeth in a glass of water on a stand in his room. Watching through a keyhole, Pepper saw him do this, and then calmly waited for the teacher to go bed and fall asleep.

The door was locked, but The Imp was equal to the emergency. The room next to that occupied by Crabtree was vacant, and he entered this and threw open the window. The window of the teacher's apartment was less than three feet away, and the sash was pulled down a few inches to let in fresh air.

Pepper was not such an acrobat as Andy, but he quickly raised the next window and moved into the teacher's apartment. In a trice he had secured the new set of teeth, and then he retired as quickly as he had come, leaving both windows as he had found them.

"Now what shall I do with the teeth?" the cadet asked himself. He was strongly tempted to tell Jack and Andy of the trick, but decided to keep the matter to himself.

At last another idea came into The Imp's head and after everybody had apparently gone to bed he stole downstairs and entered the assembly room of the school. He had previously tied the set of teeth to a bit of fishing line having a sinker at the other end. He now took aim at the central chandelier and by good luck sent the sinker and line whirling around one of the pendants, leaving the set of teeth dangling below a foot or more.

"Won't there be a surprise when they see 'em up there!" he muttered. "And won't Crabtree have a job getting them down!"

"Oh, my, what a thing to do!" came a voice from out of the darkness. Pepper whirled around quickly, but the speaker had vanished, banging a door after him.

"Who was that?" was the question Pepper asked himself. He could not place the voice, and was much disturbed. Would the intruder, who had seen his actions, expose him?

"I'll have to chance it," he told himself rather dubiously. "I can't get the teeth down anyway. Too bad! I thought I was alone!" And then he hurried off to bed in anything but a comfortable frame of mind.

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