Author of “The Crimson Sweater,” “Tom, Dick, and Harriet,”
“Harry’s Island,” “Captain Chub,” etc.
By C. M. Relyea
Copyright, 1909, 1910, by
The Century Co.
Published September, 1910
Electrotyped and Printed by
C. H. Simonds & Co., Boston
AS A TOKEN OF A
|I.||Evan Happens in||3|
|II.||The Boy in 32||14|
|III.||Evan Makes Acquaintances||28|
|V.||Evan Is Warned||55|
|VII.||Up the Mountain||89|
|VIII.||On Table Rock||104|
|IX.||Dinner Is Served||112|
|X.||Stories and Slumber||121|
|XI.||Jelly Climbs a Tree||131|
|XII.||In the Fog||145|
|XIV.||The Football Meeting||167|
|XVI.||Rob Plays a Trump||195|
|XVII.||The Independents Organize||205|
|XVIII.||Duffield Takes Hold||220|
|XX.||Independents vs. Second||246|
|XXII.||The School Takes a Hand||277|
|XXIII.||The Independents Dissolve||296|
|XXIV.||The Game with Adams||312|
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Evan climbed the second flight of stairs,pulling his bag heavily behind him. Forthe last quarter of an hour he had been wishingthat he had packed fewer books in it. Atthe station he had stopped to telegraph to hisfamily announcing his safe arrival at Riverport,and so had lost the stage to school andhad walked a full mile and a quarter. That isordinarily no task for a well-set-up, strong ladof fifteen years, but when he is burdened witha large suit-case containing no end of booksand boots and other stuff that ought to be inhis trunk, and when the last half-mile is steadilyuphill, it makes a difference. Evan wasaware of the difference.
At the top of the final flight he set the bagdown and looked speculatively up and downthe long, dim hallway. In front of him theclosed door was numbered 24. At the officethey had assigned him to 36 Holden. He hadfound the dormitory without difficulty, andnow he had only to find 36. He wonderedwhich way the numbers ran. That he wasn’talone up here on the second floor was evident,for from behind closed doors and opened doorscame the sound of much talking and laughter.While he stood there resting his tired arms,the portal of number 24 was flung open, and atall youth in his shirt-sleeves confronted him.Behind the tall youth the room seemed at firstglance to be simply seething with boys.
“Where is room 36, please?” asked Evan.
“Thirty-six?” The other considered thequestion with a broad smile. Then, instead ofanswering, he turned toward the room. “Say,fellows, here’s a new one. Come and have alook. It’ll do you no end of good.”
In a second the doorway was filled withcurious, grinning faces. Perhaps if Evanhadn’t been so tired he would have acceptedthe situation with better humor. As it was,he lifted his suit-case and turned away with ascowl.
“He doesn’t like us!” wailed a voice.“Ah, woe is me!”
“Where’s he going?” asked another.“Tarry, stranger, and—”
“He wants 36,” said the tall youth.“Who’s in 36, somebody?”
“Nobody. Tupper had it last year; he andAndy Long.”
“Say, kid, 36 is at the other end of the hall.But don’t scowl at me like that, or I’ll comeout there and give you something to be peevishabout.”
Evan, obeying directions, turned and passedthe group again in search of his room. Hepaid no heed to the challenge, for he was muchtoo tired to get really angry. But he didn’ttake the scowl from his face, and the boy inthe doorway saw it.
“Look pleasant, kid,” he continued threateningly.He pushed his way through the laughinggroup and overtook Evan a little way downthe hall. He was a big chap, good-looking ina heavy way, and seemed to be about seventeenyears old. He placed a hand on Evan’s shoulderand with a quick jerk swung him aroundwith his back to the wall. Evan dropped hisbag and raised his hands defensively.
“What do you want?” he demanded.
“Didn’t I tell you to look pleasant?”growled his tormentor, with an ugly grin onhis features. “Didn’t I? Well, do it!”
“You let me alone,” said Evan, the bloodrushing into his cheeks.
“Of course I’ll let you alone, kid; whenI get ready. Off with that scowl; do youhear?”
“You take it off!” answered Evan, pushingthe other away from him.
“The new one’s game!” cried the tallyouth. The others were flocking about them.Evan’s arms were beaten down swiftly andpinned to his sides in a strong grip, and a handwas passed roughly over his face, hurting sothat, in spite of him, the tears rushed to hiseyes. With an effort he shook off the other’sgrip, stumbled over the suit-case, and staggeredagainst a door. The next moment hewas falling backward, the door giving way behindhim. He landed on his back, his headstriking the thinly carpeted floor with a forcethat made him see all sorts and sizes of bluestars and for an instant quite dazed him. Thenhe heard a drawling voice somewhere at theback of the room say:
“Welcome to my humble domicile.”
When he opened his eyes, his assailant wasstanding over him, and the group in the doorwayheld several anxious faces.
“Aren’t hurt, are you?” asked the causeof his mishap. “Give me your hand.”
Evan obeyed and was pulled to his feet.He had quite forgotten his anger. “I’m allright,” he said dully, feeling of the back ofhis head.
“That’s right,” said the other, with a noteof relief in his voice. “I didn’t mean to hurtyou. It was the door, you see.”
“Up to your tricks again, eh, Hop?”
It was the drawling voice Evan had hearda moment before, and its owner, a tall, somewhatlanky boy, came into view around thetable. “You’ve got the keenest sense of humor,Hop, I ever met with. Why didn’t youdrop him out of the window?”
“Oh, you dry up, Rob. I didn’t do anythingto him. The door was unlatched, andhe fell against it. It’s none of your business,anyway.”
“It’s my business if I like to make it mine,”was the reply. He pulled up a chair and wavedEvan toward it. “Sit down and get yourbreath,” he directed. Evan obeyed, his gazestudying the youth called Hop.
“Now, then,” said his new acquaintancequietly, “all out, if you please, gentlemen.I’ll look after the patient. Leave him to me.”
The group at the doorway melted away, andHop followed. As he passed out, he turnedand found Evan’s gaze still on him.
“Well, you’ll know me, I guess, when yousee me again,” he said crossly.
“I think I shall,” answered Evan, calmly.
His host chuckled as he closed and boltedthe door. Then he came back and sank into achair opposite Evan, his legs sprawling acrossthe floor.
“Well?” he asked kindly. “Any damage?”
“No, I guess not. My head aches and I’msort of dizzy, but I’ll be all right in a minute.”
“I guess so. Just come, did you?”
“Yes; I was looking for my room whenthat chap—”
“When he got mad because I scowled athim. We tussled, and I fell through the door.”
“That was partly my fault. I’m sorry.You see, I’d been fixing the latch so I couldopen it from bed, and I hadn’t quite finishedwhen you bumped against the door. What’syour name?”
“Mine’s Langton; first name Robert; commonlycalled Rob; sometimes Lanky. Gladto meet you. Nice of you to drop in so casually.”
“That’s better. Wait a minute.” Rob gotup and went to the wash-stand and dipped atowel in the pitcher. “Put that around yourhead,” he directed. “It’s good for aches.Too wet, is it? Let me have it.” He wrungsome of the water out on the carpet and handedit back. “There you are. What room havethey put you into?”
“No good,” said Rob, with a shake of hishead. “You’ll freeze to death there. TheGobbler had it two years ago, and he did somethingto the steam-pipes so that the heatdoesn’t get around any more. He vows hedidn’t, but I know the Gobbler.”
“Can’t it be fixed?”
“It never has been. They’ve tried dozensof times. I have an idea what the trouble is,and I told Mac—he’s house faculty here—thatI could fix it if he’d let me. But he neverwould.”
“Well, I suppose I’ll have to live there justthe same,” said Evan, with a smile.
“Oh, I don’t know. Where do you comefrom, Kingsford?”
“Elmira, New York.”
“Really? My home’s in Albany. We’renatives of the same old State, aren’t we? Iguess we’ll get on all right. What class areyou in?”
“So am I. That’s another bond of sympathy.I call this great luck! I hate to livealone. Sandy Whipple was with me last year,but he had typhoid in the summer and isn’tcoming