MoboReader > Young Adult > The High School Freshmen; or, Dick & Co.'s First Year Pranks and Sports

   Chapter 9 LAURA BENTLEY IS WIDE AWAKE

The High School Freshmen; or, Dick & Co.'s First Year Pranks and Sports By H. Irving Hancock Characters: 12286

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


Suspended!

That did not mean expulsion, but it did mean that, until the school authorities had taken definite action on the case, young Prescott could not again attend H.S., or any other school under the control of the Board of Education.

The five other partners of Dick & Co. had faced the school defiantly when taking Dick's books from his desk and strapping them to bring home.

Dan Dalzell thrashed a sophomore for daring to make some allusion to Prescott's "thefts." Tom Reade tried to thrash another sophomore for a very similar offense, but Reade got whipped by a very small margin. That fact, however, did not discourage Reade. He had entered his protest, anyway.

Dave Darrin extracted apologies for remarks made, from three different sophomores. All of the partners were diligent in protecting and defending the reputation of their chief.

Every day the "Co." came to see Dick. They made it a point, too, to appear on the street with him. Not one member of the football team "went back on" the suspended freshman. All treated him with the utmost cordiality and faith wherever they met him. Laura Bentley and some of the other girls of Dick's class stood by him unwaveringly by chatting with the suspended freshman whenever and wherever they met him on the street.

"Pooh, old man, a fellow who has all the brains you displayed in making that football stroke doesn't need larceny as an aid to getting ahead in the world," was the way Frank Thompson put it.

"Thank you, Thompson. It's always good to have friends," smiled Dick, wistfully. "But, just now, I appreciate them more than ever."

"The football team and its best friends are giving Fred Ripley the dead cut," pursued Thompson. "And say, you know the junior class's dance comes off the night after tomorrow night. Juniors are always invited, but members of other classes have to depend on favor for invitations. We've fixed it so that Ripley couldn't get an invite. He tried, though. Now, Prescott, you'll receive an invitation in tomorrow morning's mail. Fix it to be there, old man. Do! You'll find yourself flanked by friends. If any fellow looks at you cross-eyed at the junior dance, the eleven will throw him out through a window!"

Dick looked more wistful than ever. He had never had many lessons in dancing, but he took to the art naturally. Had life been happier for him just then he would have been glad to take up the invitation. Besides, Dave Darrin had told him that Laura Bentley was invited and meant to go.

"Now, you'll come along, of course," asked Thompson, coaxingly.

"No-o-o," hesitated Dick, "I don't believe I shall."

"Oh, nonsense, old man!"

"I believe I'd rather not," replied Prescott, sadly; "though I'm tremendously grateful to those who want me to come and who would try to make it pleasant for me."

Thompson argued, but it was no use.

"Why, every one of your partners is going," said Frank. "Here comes Dave Darrin now. He'll tell you so."

"Nope," said Dave, with all the energy at his command. "We understand we're to be invited, and we'd give almost anything to go, but Dick & Co. don't go unless the Dick part of the firm is with us."

The junior dance came off, and was a good deal of a success in many ways. Only one of the ten boys of the freshman class who were invited attended. Eight girls of the same class were invited, but only two of them accepted. Laura Bentley decided, at the last moment, against attending.

Within ten days two important games came off between the Gridley

H.S. and other crack high school teams. Gridley won both.

"It would be cheeky in me to go to the game, when I'm suspended--hardly a H.S. boy, in fact," Dick explained to his partners. "But you go.

"No, sir!" muttered Greg Holmes.

"Not if you feel that you can't go," protested Harry Hazelton.

"Dick & Co. go together, or not at all."

Gridley H.S. won both games by the skin of their teeth.

"We can't succeed much longer without our mascots," Thompson declared impressively before all the members of Dick & Co. The six freshmen, walking along the street together had been rounded up and haled into the store where the football squad held its "club" meetings.

"Humph! I'd be a poor mascot for any body," muttered Dick. "I haven't been able to bring even myself good luck."

"You just come to a game once, all six of you," begged Ben Badger. "Then you'll see how we can pile up the score over the enemy! Don't let it get out of your heads that you're our real, sure-thing mascots. Why, if it hadn't been for you six youngsters we probably wouldn't be playing football any more this season."

Other members of the squad tried to ply their persuasive powers, but all in vain. Dick Prescott, though not breaking down or wilting under the suspicion that lay against him, felt convinced that it would be out of place for him to attend High School affairs while on the suspended list.

"Humph!" grunted Thomp. "The only thing I can see for us to do is to spend a lot of the Athletic Association's money in hiring a swell detective to come to town and find out who really did take the things at the old H.S. Then we'd have you with us again, Dick Prescott."

Though under such long suspension Dick was not going backward much in his studies. He had his books at home, and every forenoon he put in the time faithfully over them.

One of these November evenings Dick had the good fortune to have Dave Darrin and Greg Holmes up in his room with him. The other partners were at home studying.

Dick and his friends were talking rather dispiritedly, for the long suspension, without action, was beginning to wear on them all. Dick's case was now quietly before the Board of Education, but a result had not yet been reached by that slow-moving body. Of course, the members of the Board had now more than a good idea that Dick & Co. had been behind that "dead ones" hoax; but the members of the Board were trying to do their duty in the suspension case, and tried not to let any other considerations weigh with them.

"We've all heard that old chestnut about the silver lining to the cloud

," observed Dave, dejectedly. "If it's true, then silver seems to be mighty scarce these days."

"Richard! Ri-i-ichard!" called the elder Prescott, loudly, from the foot of the stairs that led up from the store.

"Yes, sir," cried Dick, bounding to the door and throwing it open.

"Laura Bentley has called us up on the 'phone. She says she wants to talk to you quicker'n lightning, whatever speed that may indicate. She adds, mysteriously, that 'it's the biggest thing that ever happened!'"

"Coming, sir!" cried Dick, bounding down the stairs, snatching at his cap and reefer as he started, though he could not have told why he picked up these garments. Dave and Greg, acting on some mysterious impulse, grabbed up their reefers and hats, and went down the stairs hot-foot after their chum and leader.

"Hullo!" called Dick, reaching the telephone instrument in the back room of the store. "Yes, Miss Bentley, this is Prescott."

"Then listen!" came the swiftly uttered words. Dick discovered that the girl was breathless with excitement and the largeness of her news. "Are you listening?"

"I'll catch every word," Dick replied.

"Well, I'm at Belle Meade's house. Belle and her mother are here.

Mr. Meade is out. You know where the house is--corner of Clark

Street and Stetson's Alley?"

"Yes; I know."

"Well, the room between the dining-room and the parlor is in darkness, and has been all evening. There's a window in that room that opens over the alley. The Meade apartment is on the second floor, you know. Well, Belle was passing that window--in the dark--and she heard voices down below in the alley. She wouldn't have thought anything of it, but she heard one of the speakers raise his voice and say, excitedly: 'See here, I did the trick, didn't I? Ain't Dick Prescott bounced out of school! Ain't he in disgrace! And he'll never get out of it!'"

"Then another voice broke in, in a lower tone, but Belle couldn't hear what was said. She's back in the dark by that open window now," Laura Bentley hurried on, breathlessly. "The two parties are still there, talking. It's hardly a minute's run from where you are. Can't you get some one in a hurry, run up here and jump on the parties? Please do, Dick! It'll be the means of clearing up this whole awful business!"

"Won't I, though?" answered Dick, breathlessly, into the 'phone. "I have two chums here now. We'll be there like greased lightning--and, oh, Miss Bentley, thank you!"

Neither Dave nor Greg needed to ask any questions, for both had stood close to the receiver, drinking in every word. Now they shot out through the front of the store with a speed and turbulence that made studious Mr. Prescott gasp with amazement.

"Careful, now, fellows!" warned Dick a few moments later. "We want to hear, as well as catch! Softly does it."

Well practiced in running, not one of the three freshmen was out of breath by the time that they reached the head of Stetson's Alley.

Just before turning the corner at the head of the alley, Dick and his freshmen chums halted to listen and reconnoiter.

Peeping cautiously around the corner, Dick, Greg and Dave made out dimly one figure well down the alley. There was not light enough there to recognize the fellow. And the three boys could make out some one past this first fellow, but the second individual stood well in the dark shadow of the delivery doorway of a store.

"Let's see if we can't creep up a little nearer," whispered Dick

Prescott, softly.

"They may see us coming," warned Dave.

"If they do, we'll just make a jump in and nab them anyway," Dick rejoined. "Remember the main game--capture!"

Cautiously, a foot at a time, and in Indian file, the three freshmen stole down the dark alleyway. Then Dick halted, passing back a nudge that Dave Darrin passed on to Greg Holmes.

"Now, ye needn't think ye're goin' to renig," warned the fellow who was nearer to the boys. "I done the whole job against Prescott, and I done it as neat as the next one. Why, you never even thought of the trick of slipping that watch and pin into Prescott's trunk, did ye? That was my brains. I supplied the brains, an' you've got to raise the cash to pay for 'em! How did I do that trick of slippin' the watch an' pin into Prescott's trunk! Oh, yes! Of course, ye wanter know. Well, I'll tell ye when ye hand me the rest o' the money for doin' the whole trick--then I'll tell ye."

Something in a very low whisper came, in response, from the second party who was invisible to the prowling freshmen.

Dick Prescott felt that there was no need of prolonging this scene.

He had heard enough.

"Now, rush 'em! Grab 'em--and hold 'em!" shouted Dick, suddenly.

As the three freshmen shot forward into the darkness something that sounded like an almost hysterical cheer in girls' voices came from the open, dark window overhead.

But neither Dick nor his chums paused to give thought to that at this important moment.

The unknown who had been doing most of the talking wheeled with an oath, making a frantic dash to get out of the alley and onto the street.

But Dick shot fairly past him, dodging slightly, and made a bound for the second party to this wicked conference.

Just beyond the doorway in which this second party had keen standing was a yard that furnished a second means of exit from the alley.

It was this second party to the talk that Dick was after. He left the other fugitive to his two active, quick-witted chums. They were swift to understand, and grappled, together, with the rascal fleeing for the street.

The three went down in a scuffling, fighting heap.

Like a flash the fellow that Dick was after seemed to melt into the adjoining back yard. Prescott, in trying to get in after him in record time, fell flat to the ground just inside the yard.

Yet, as he went down Prescott grabbed one of his fugitive's trouser legs near the ankle.

"Let go!" hissed the other, in too low a voice to be recognized.

Before Dick, holding on grimly, had time to look upward, the wretch lifted a cane, bringing it down on Dick's head with ugly force.

(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top

shares