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   Chapter 13 THE OATH OF THE DUB

The High School Freshmen; or, Dick & Co.'s First Year Pranks and Sports By H. Irving Hancock Characters: 8421

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

For a full week the boys and girls of Gridley H.S. scoured the town, trying their fortune everywhere that money was supposed to lurk.

The great Thanksgiving game was coming on. Gridley was to play the second team of Cobber University. This second team from Cobber had beaten every high school team it had tackled for the two preceding years.

Gridley, in this present year, had not met with a single defeat in a total of nine games thus far played. In six of the games the opponents had not scored at all.

But could Cobber Second be beaten?

The Cobber eleven was one of the finest in the country. Even the second team was considered a "terror," as its record of unbroken victories for two years testified.

So much awe, in fact, did Cobber Second inspire among the high school teams that Gridley was the only outfit to be found that dared take up the proposition of a Thanksgiving Day game with the college men.

"Gridley can't win!" the pessimists predicted.

Even the heartiest well-wishers of Gridley H.S. felt, mournfully, that too big a contract had been undertaken.

Dick & Co., however, under the inspiring influence of their leader, were all to the hopeful.

"We'll win," Dick proclaimed, "because Gridley needs the game. When Gridley folks go after anything they won't take 'no' for an answer. That's the spirit of the town, and the High School is worthy of all the traditions of the town."

"Talk's cheap, and brag's a good dog!" sneered Ripley.

Three sophomores who overheard the remark promptly "bagged" Fred and threw him over the school yard fence.

"Come back with any more of that," warned one of the hazers, "and we'll scour your intellect at the town pump."

Being a freshman, Prescott didn't say too much. Neither did his chums. Yet what they did say was bright and hopeful. Their spirit began to soak through the student body.

"You see, gentlemen," Coach Morton warned the football squad one morning at recess, "you've got to win. The school believes you can do it, and the town is beginning to believe it. If you lose to Cobber Second you'll forfeit the respect of all the thousands of Gridley folks who are now saying nice things about you."

"Write it down," begged Thompson. "We're going to beat Cobber

Second off the gridiron."

"Good!" cheered Mr. Morton. "That's the talk. And be sure you live up to it!"

"We've got to live up to it," asserted Thomp, solemnly.

"Right-o!" came the enthusiastic approval from as many members of the student body as could crowd within easy hearing. The girls were all there, too, for in these days the girls were as much excited as others over the prospects of winning.

"Shall I tell coach and students, Cap?" called Thomp to Edgeworth.

"It won't do any harm," nodded Sam. "Confession will make our deed more binding."

"What deed?" demanded Coach Morton, scenting some mystery that he was not yet in on.

"Why, you see, sir," proclaimed Thomp, "every member of the team, and every sub who stands any show to get into the game, has taken the oath of the dub."

"'The oath of the dub'?" repeated Sub-master Morton. "That's a new one on me.

"It's a new one on us all," admitted Thompson, gravely. "We've taken the oath, but it's so dreadful that most of us shivered when it came our turn to recite the patter--the ritual, I mean."

"What is this 'oath of the dub'?" asked the coach.

"It's fearful," shivered Thomp. "Any of you fellows feel better able to explain?"

He glanced around him at the other visible members and subs of the school eleven, but they shook their heads and shrank back.

"Well, then, I'll have to tell you myself," conceded Thomp, with an air of gloom. "It's a fearful thing. Yet, as I've been through with it once, one more time can't hurt me--much."

Thomp made an eloquent pause. Then, reaching his right hand aloft, his eyes turned toward the sky, he recited, in a deep bass voice:

"I have pledged my honor, as a gridiron specialist, that Gridley H.S. shall lug away all the points of the game from Cobber Second. If we fail, then may everyone who espies me mutter: 'There goes a dub!' May the word 'dub' haunt me in my waking hours, and pursue me, moun

ted on the nightmares of slumber! May my best friends ever afterward refer to me only as a 'dub.' For if I fail the school, then am I truly a 'dub,' and there is no help for me. If I fail, then may I never, so long as life lasts, be permitted to lose sight of the patent fact that I am a 'dub'! So help me Bob!"

A roar of laughter and approval went up from all who heard. Coach

Morton tried hard to preserve his gravity, but his sides shook,

and his face reddened from the effort. At last he broke loose.

When he could control his voice Mr. Morton demanded:

"What genius of the first class invented the 'oath of the dub'?"

"It wasn't a senior, sir," Thomp confessed.

"What junior, then?"

"Not a junior, either."

"Who, then?" insisted the submaster.

"Tell him, Sam."

"That oath, Mr. Morton, required and received the concerted brainpower of---"

"Dick & Co.!" shouted the football squad in chorus.

A good-natured riot followed.

"Dick & Co. will soon get the notion that they're the whole High

School," growled Fred Ripley to Purcell.

"They are a big feature of the school," laughed Purcell. "You're about the only one, Fred, who hasn't discovered it. Rub your eyes, man, and take another look."

"Bah!" muttered Ripley, turning away. Just then the gong clanged the end of recess.

"Now, that 'the oath of the dub' has been given out," suggested Dick Prescott to his chums, after school, "we ought to find Len Spencer and give it to him. He'll print it in tomorrow's 'Blade' and that will send local pride soaring. That'll help a whole lot to success with the subscription papers."

After the papers had been in circulation a week the Athletics Committee held an evening session, in the room of the Superintendent of Schools, in the H.S. building.

By eight o'clock nearly a hundred and fifty of the boys and girls had assembled. More came in later.

The subscription papers, and the amounts for which they called, were turned in to Coach Morton. It was soon noticed that many of the subscriptions had been paid by check.

Laura Bentley was the first to turn in a paper.

"Twenty dollars," she announced, quietly, though with evident pride.

"Eleven dollars," announced Belle Meade.

After a good many of the girls had made accounting they boys had a brief chance.

When it came Dick Prescott's turn he spoke so quietly that those nearest him thought he said six dollars.

"Sixty dollars?" repeated Mr. Morton, more distinctly. "The best offering yet."

"I've one more," added Prescott, in the same low voice.

"Then speak up more loudly," directed the submaster. "There are a lot of young people here who want to hear."

"Here," continued Dick, handing in another paper, "is a communication signed by the members of the city's Common Council. They signed as individuals. They agree to hire the Gridley Military Band, of twenty-eight pieces, to be on hand at the Thanksgiving game and to play for our High School eleven."

None of Dick's partners had secured less than twenty-five dollars.

When all the subscriptions had been turned in, and the amount footed up by Coach Morton, that gentleman announced, in tones that betrayed excitement:

"The total subscriptions amount to nineteen hundred and sixty-eight dollars. That will put us on a fine footing for this year, and leave a good balance over for next year!"

Then the enthusiasm broke loose in earnest. Two score of fans turned, at once, to find Dick & Co., who had started the scheme. But Dick & Co. had quietly vanished.

Before it adjourned that night, the Athletics Committee, with the help of Captain Sam Edgeworth, found one effective way of rewarding those who had conceived this highly successful subscription campaign.

Dick Prescott was appointed cheer-master for the great Thanksgiving Day game. More, Dick was to name any one of his chums as assistant cheer-master.

As the cheer-master bosses the noise that is so indispensable a part of the game, the honor that had come to young Prescott was no mean one. No Gridley freshman had ever before achieved it.

Dick left to his partners the selection of assistant cheer-master. They settled on Dave Darrin.

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