Jack Lightfoot's winning oar; or, A hot race for the cup

Jack Lightfoot's winning oar; or, A hot race for the cup

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Jack Lightfoot's winning oar; or, A hot race for the cup
Series Title:
All-Sports Library
Stevens, Maurice
Place of Publication:
New York
Winner Library
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1 online resource (31 p.) 28 cm.: ;


Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels. ( lcsh )
Sports stories, American. ( lcsh )
Athletic clubs -- Fiction ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
A46-00007 ( USFLDC DOI )
a46.7 ( USFLDC Handle )
025818894 ( ALEPH )
75562041 ( OCLC )

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P bl.Shers' Note "Teach the American boy how to become athlete, and lay the foundation for a Constttatlon irreater than that U I of the United .States."-Wl1e sayings from "Tip Top." There bas never been a time when the boys of this veat country took so keen an Interest In all manly and health-giving sports as they do to-day. As proof of this witness the record-breaking throngs that attend college struggles on the gridiron, as well as athletic and baseball games, and other teats of endurance and skill. lo a multitude of other channels this love for the "life strenuous" Is making Itself manifest, so that, as a nation, we are rapidly forging to the front as seekers of honest 1port. this "handwriting on the wall," we have concluded that the time bas arrived to give this vast army of young eotbuslastll a publication devoted exclusively to invigorating out-door life. We feel we are Justified In anticipating a warm response from our sturdy American boys, who are sure to revel In the stirring phases of sport and adventure, through which our characters PUii from week to week. ALL-SPORTS LIBRARY Issued Weekly. By Subscription ta.so per year. Entered accordingto Act "f Congress in the year rqo5, in the Office of the Librarian oF Congr1ss, Washing-ton, D. C., by THE WINNER LIBRARY Co., a Duane St., New York, N. Y. No. 8. NEW YORK, April I 1905. Price Five Cents. JACK LifiHTFOOT'S WINNING OAR; OR, A IIo1: for 1:h..e Cup. By MAURICE STEVENS. PllRll.AlOUNT EXCr.fANGE 2007 EYE STRF.ET N w D C U 8 A CHARACTERS IN THIS STORY. Jack Lightfoot, the best all-round athlete In Cranford or vicinity, a lad clear of eye, clean of speech, and, after he had conquered a few of his faults, possessed of a faculty for doing thi1Jg-s while others were talking, that by degrees caused him to be looked upon as the natural leader in all the sports Young America delights in-a boy who in learning to conquer himself put the power into his hands to wrest victory from others. Tom Lightfoot, Jack's cousin, and sometimes his rival; though their-striving for the mastery was ahvays of the friendly, generous kind. Tom was called the "Book\V orm by his fellows, on ac count of his for studying such secrets of nature as practical observers have discovered and published; so that he possessed a fund of general knowledge calclllated to prove useful when his wandering spirit took him abroad Into strange lands. Ned Skeen, of impulsive, nervous temperament, but a good friend of Jack's. Nat Kimball, an undersized fellow, whose hobby was the study of iiu-iitsu, and who had a dread of gern1s. Lafe Lampton, a big, hulking chap, with an ever present craving for something to eat. Lafe always had his appetite along, and proved a stanch friend of our hero through thick and thin. Bob Brewster, a brawnT lad, against whom Kimball tried his Jap tricks with poor results. Phil Kirtland, leader of the Academy boys, and Jack's rival in all-sports. Brodie Strawn, a member of the Academy boat club. Prof. Sander100, principal of the Academy, who dislikes our hero :or various reasons. Jubal Marlin, a Yankee boy who knew how to pull a steady oar. Kate Strawn, a girl whose good opinion Jack desired. CHAPTER I. ON THE LAKE. Jack Lightfoot had no truer friend in Cranford than his cousin Tom. The fact that Tom was a student at the rather pre tentious Cranford Academy, conducted by Prof. San derson, and was in far better financial circumstances than Jack, made not the slightest difference in their friendship. Not a week went by but they spent more or less time together in the comfortable shed room back of Jack Lightfoot's home, where there were books in suf ficient numbers to satisfy Tom's cravings as a book worm, and, in addition, a workbench, with a goodly


2 ALL-SPOI\TS LIBRARY. supply of tools, and gymnastic apparatus of various kinds. But neither Jack nor Tom were thinking of these things, as they rowed, in the light, two-oared boat, round Tiger Point, of the proposed boat race the boys of the academy and the high school. Jack Lightfoot was the recognized leader of the athletic boys of the high school, was president of the High School Athletic Club, and captain of newly formed Cranford baseball nine, a nine composed of the best baseball material both schools. In the coming boat race, however, the lines between the two schools were to be drawn again, and it was to be high school against academy. As Tom was an academy student, that would put him in opposition to Jack; but such athletic rivalry between the two had occurred before, and it had not marred, or even touched, their mutual respect and go_ od will. "As Lafe Lampton says, 'Old Snod is hot stuff!' It was Tom who spoke. Jack la 1ghed in his merry way. "Well it is a little singular, when you come to think of it, that a quiet, old banker and business man shobld take such an interest in athletics as to offer that hand some cup as a prize for a rowing match between the schools," Jack remarked. "I rather think it is because he has taken such an interest in you," said Tom, significantly. Jack smiled. "He can't be sure that my crew will get it!" "But he thinks you will, all right; I heard him saying so, myself, while be stood talking yesterday with some men, in front of Strawn's dry-goods store. And I believe Strawn thinks so, too." "Brodie will probably pull an oar in the academy boat; so that seems strange." Brodie Strawn was the son of the proprietor of the dry-goods store mentioned, and an academy boy. "Strawn thinks a lot of you, you know, since you saved the !if e of his daughter Kate, by ')Ulling her of that hole in the ice. The things he has done for your fellows makes me envious. That gym. he has helped you to fix up is great, and he gives you the room rent free. So, I don't know that it's strange, after all. Jack looked at his cousin with a smile of questioning. "Well, what do you think?" "Concerning which school will win that race?" "Yes; that' s what I meant." Tom flushed. "Now, .that isn't a fair question, is it?" "Oh, you needn't answer it said Jack, "if it will hurt your feelings any to admit that your fellows haven't a ghost of a show!" His tone was humorous. "Well, I'll tell you what I think. You fellows have as good a show to win as our fellows." "Oh-h !" "I don't think you have a bit better," Tom asserted, earnestly, "and I say this because I believe it. Brodie Strawn will pull an oar in our boat, and there is Phil Kirtland; you haven't two better men. If you have, I'd like to know who they are?" "And you will pull an oar there, an Cl try as hard as you can to beat us." "I certainly shall. We'll beat you fellows, if we can. That's the rule of the game. Why shouldn't I? Won' t you try to beat us?" Jack laughed. "We're not only going to try to, but we're going to!" he declared, jocularly. "Talk's easy." "So it is. But I'll say we're going to try mighty hard to down you fellows, and I think we can." "We'll give you the fight of your lives," said Tom, in the same good-humored tone. "Hello, we're al most at the landing!" They had pulled along, rounding Tiger Point as they


ALL-SPORTS LIBRARY. 3 talked, and were, in truth, almost at the boat landing \ now. Cranford Lake was a beautiful sheet of water, lying like a great mirror in between the higher land and the hills on one side, where the town of Cranford nestled, and the deep, dark and forbidding woods on the other. It was large enough for boats of almost every description, and in the summer was pretty well filled with all manner of light pleasure craft, while in the ing into the heart of Cranford, and, reaching one of the cross streets, turned down it and proceeded to Jack's home, and to the shed room attached to the house. Here Tom soon had his nose buried in a book. "What have you found so interesting in that?" Jack asked. Tom looked up from the book. "This is 'Snider's Manual,' you know, on boat racwinter, when it was frozen from end to end, it rang ing, sailing, rowing, and everything of that kind." with the cheery music of flashing skates and skimming "I know that." ice yachts. "If a fell ow could get these ideas thoroughly baked On the shore, where several people were moving about, a neat though small boathouse had been erected by the high-school boys, assisted financially by Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Strawn. Here they kept their boats, and in the rear, in a place specially assigned to it, was the ice yacht which Jack had constructed, with Tom's help, during the winter, and in which he had won some notable races. Having disembarked from tpe light boat, they drew it up on the shore, and then, lifting it, carried it into the boathouse. Not far away was a similar boathouse. It was, however, somewhat more pretentious, and had a large L, or extension. Phil Kirtland, whose father "had money to burn," had spent his cash rather freely in building it, and in fitting it up. In the same Kirtland had put money into the boats owned by the academy boys, and for that reason they were the best that could be bought Phil Kirtland was quite sure that the rowing crew of the high school should not win in the race that was soon to come off; for he knew that he had under him a crew that could row, and no better boats than those of the academy could be found on Cranford Lake. Having put away the boat and locked the building, Jack and Tom went on up the little thoroughfare leadinto him, and could use them-Well, you fellows wouldn't have even a fighting chance in that race!" 'If' is a little word,". said Jack, quietly, "but it means a whole lot. I looked that book over. The trouble is that, the men who get up such books write, as a rule, for professionals, and for rich men, who can have everything and do everything just as they want it done. One chapter there tells you how to manage an ocean racing yacht, like one of Lipton's, or those belonging to the New York yacht club, costing several hundred thousands of dollars, probably, to build. A lot of good such things would be for us fel lows, in our little race here on Cranford Lake." Yet Tom kept his nose in the book, digging away, as was his wont, hoping to come across something that would be suggestive or useful. That was one of the marked traits of Tom Light foot's character. He was forever browsing through books an

4 ALL-SPORTS LIBRARY. CHAPTER II. IN THE GYM. Tom remained with his cousin for the remainder of the afternoon and evening. Jack read a little, and spent some time in exercise with his athletic devices, and at his workbench. He was handy with tools, and liked to make things. Shortly after the evening mea!i when it was growing dark, they left the shed room and proceeded along the street until they came to the old carriage shop. Above this abandoned place of business was the gymnasium which the high-school boys had fitted up, with assistance from Mr. Strawn. Some of the high-school boys were already gather ing there, to do various athletic stunts, and to talk over that most interesting subject, the coming boat race, for which all arrangements had already been made. Their tramp, was heard on the stairway leading to the upper floor, and from the gym. their voices floated out on the evening air, for the day had been quite warm, and some of the windows were open. The loud "haw haw!" of Jubal Marlin rose, as Tom and Jack clirpbed the stairway; and, accompanying it, was the cackling laughter of a parrot, the club's new mascot. Jube Marlin was taking care of the gym. room now, in return for the privilege of having his "office" there in one corner of it. His "office," as he rather proudly called it, was merely a railed-off space, in which he had installed himself, with a desk and some chairs, writing materials and the like. On the walls of the "office" were pictures of certain captains of finance, whose ability to make money in spired a like desire in Jubal's bosom. "Yeou can talk as much as yeou please," Jube had often declared, "but the feller that can matte the stuff is the man the world is runnin' after; and I'm goin' tew be one o' them men!" To become one of those me., Jubal believed, and rightly, that a sound mind in a healthy body, to be won by abundant exercise of the right kind, is a necessity. "By gravy, I knowed yeou was comin' !" said J ube, as soon as Jack appeared in the door:. "Polly piped up fer yeou not more than a second or two ago, and I said tew Lafe at the time: 'That's a good sign; he's comin' !'" As if to prove this, the parrot whooped: "Hurrah for Jack Lightfoot!" To hurrah for Jack Lightfoot, the high school and for Cranford, were things Jubal had taken much pains to hammer into the parrot's small head; he had, in fact, spent hours in training Polly so that she could yell for the high-school boys to perfection, whenever any athletic event was on. When Tom and Jack came thus into the gym., little Nat Kfmball was sparring, jiu-jitsu fashion, with big, red-headed Bob Brewster, trying to teach him tricks, and at the same time get the best of him by jiu-jitsu methods. Kimball was thin, with a thin face and raven-black hair that always looked oiled. The boys said he greased it every night with goose grease, but Kimball hotly denied it. Another thing about Kimball was that he was deathly afraid of germs. To Kimball's mind the world was simply a great germ hatchery; everything he ate, or drank, the ground he walked on, and the very air he breathed, he believed to be filled with germs, that were threatening daily and hourly to lay him on a sick bed or slay him outright. Bob Brewster had given him a fall that had sprawled him out on the gym. floor, and Kimball was now care fully polishing his hands with his handkerchief to get rid of any possible germs that might have come from contact with the floor. "Get a broom, one of you fellows, and sweep the germs up off the floor, so that Gnat can have some


ALL-SPORTS LIBRARY. 5 peace of mind," said Lafe Lampton, as he leaned lazily against the wall, munching an apple. It was one of Lafe's nightly jokes, yet Kimball never learned to like it. "You big lubber, you never think of peeling those apples you're always hogging down, and some day you'll die of the germs that are on them, see if you don't!" Kimball retorted, still polishing away at his hands. Kimball's mother was a "germ fiend," and Nat im bibed his ideas from her. "It's well enough to be careful, I suppose," said Tom, who had himself read some startling things in a recent magazine on the germ theory of disease. "They \ say cats carry measles from house to house." "Well, I'm not eating cats, and I've had the measles," Lafe retorted, and took another bite of apple "Hello, Kimball's forgot about the germs, and is going to do up Bob for certain this time. I want to see how that's done, myself." Boys were talking in all parts of the room, and more were heard coming up the stairway. Some of the boys were in the trapeze others were using the flying rings, and still others swinging Indian clubs or lifting dull}b bells. Tom Lightfoot, being an academy boy, was not a member of the club that had the use of this room for a gymnasium, but even the high-school boys liked Tom, and he was always welcome there. I hands. Then I'd turn round quick!y, this way, with my back to you, and jerk your arrri up over my shoul-. der, at the same time turning your hand so that when your arm is on my shoulder the palm of your hand will be upward." As he said the words he tried to do the things he was describing, but Bob Brewster jerked his away. "Hold on, hold on!" said Kimball. "That wasn't what I said!" "But, see here," Bob expostulated, "if you and I were fighting, do you suppose I'd let you do that?" "You couldn't help yourself!" "Why couldn't I?" "I wouldn't let you." "Oh, you wouldn't let me! Try it over agam; I want to see what you're Uf> to." Kimball's dark eyes held a confident light. Again he grabbed Bob's wrist with both hands, turned round quickly, at the same time with a jerk drawing Bob's arm up over his shoulder with the palm uppermost, doing it easily enough, for the big fellow did not resist. "Now I've got you, and if I pull down hard on your wrist I can break your arm short off at the elbow." I "Well, that's a cowardly trick, anyway!" said Bob. "But if I'm a smaller man than you, or if you're trying to kill me!" "If you were smaller, I'd simply ha,mmer you." "Now," said Kimball standing up before big, redKimball still had Bob's big arm over his shoulder, headed Bob, "suppose you were about to hit me, or and, in that position, it was true if he had jerked stab me, or shoot me, or anything like that." down hard on it he could have given the elbow a "All right, suppose I was?" severe wrench, and might have broken it, or injured "Well, as you thrust out your hand I'd grab it it seriously. this way; see?" "What would I do?" said Bob. "Well, if you do He ca1Jght Bob by the wrist with both hands. pull down on that arm, I'll knock your head off. But "Now I have hold of the hand that you were going I wouldn't let you get that far, if we were fighting, to hit me with, or in which you held your knife cir for this is what I'd do to you!" pistol. I'd get hold of your wrist, this way, with both He swung his huge, left fist straight at Kimbalrs (


6 ALL-SPORTS LIBRARY. neck, and if he had planted the blow the little fellow for weeks, and perhaps for life. If he can get a hold would have been half killed. on the face, he sticks his fingers in the eyes of the man "Now, see here," cried Bob, earnestly. "If we were he is fighting, and literally pushes the eyes out of their fighting, I could keep you from pulling my arm that ay over your shoulder. While you were pulling at it I'd simply land you one with my left, right on your jugular, and I'd knock you out; or, I could beat you in the spine, and just paralyze you. I could hammer you in the ear with my left. Now, I'll show you, and I won't hurt you." Kimball turned about, and again grabbed Bob's arm. By a big jerk, having been given this advantage, he tried to draw the arm up over his shoulder. Bob re sisted, and Kimball could ndt turn the arm so that the palm of the hand rested uppermost. At the same time as Kimball made the attempt, Bob swung at him a terrible left-hander, which he stopped just before it reached Kimball's neck. "I guess I didn't get that right," Kimb all admitted, when he saw what would have happened. "You got it all right," said Bob, with a grin; "but there's one thing which must be taken into considera tion while you're doing jiu-jitsu-the other fellow's going to be doing something." "But, when you get jiu-jitsu down right," Kimball insisted, "you can break the arm or the neck of your opponent, or so injure him that if you don't kill him he'll never be worth anything again. The aim of jiu jitsu is to break arms, dislocate joints and disfigure or injure in the worst possible manner." "And for that reason I say it's cowardly." Most of the boys in the room, with the exception of a few like Lafe, who preferred chairs to standing, had gathered round Bob and Kimball. "If the jiu-jitsu expert gets a hold," Kimball went on, "he will break the bones in any part of the body on which he sucures a hold. If he gets you by the sockets. I tell you, it's hot stuff." Bob Brewster had listened to Kimball quietly. "Well, Gnat, I'm astonished at you; I am, for sure! You're a member of the high-school athletic club, and talk that way-a member of a club that teaches honor as one of the things that a fellow ought always to practice." He threw up his hands in disgust. "Doesn't this jiu-jitsu you recommend put it into the power of thugs and highwaymen and tramps and cattle of that kind to get the better of innocent people they attack?" I "But it's not intended for such people," Kimball insisted. "The book I'm studying says particularly that it should not be taught to people who will not use it properly." Bob laughed sarcastically. "Kimball, this is a free country, and anybody who wants to can learn jiu-jitsu. Only the other day I saw an advertisement in a magazine, offering to teach it by mail. Now, is the fellow who proposes to teach it by mail going to inquire if the man he is teaching is all right? Does he know who he is teaching, when he doesn't see him, and never will see him? And about those books! the one you've got. You bought it. Anybody can buy one of those books. How are you going to keep men who oughtn't to learn jiu-jitsu from learning it?" Bob showed his disgust. "I believe in the straight-out, honorable, old-fash ioned American method of fighting, if there is to be any fighting; and I'll bet anything I've got that a good, strong American who knows how to handle himself and his fists can knock out any jiu-jitsu fighter that throat, he will dislocate the larynx, which will paralyze ever came down the pike. Jiu-jitsu teaches trickery, the vocal chords, so that the victim will be speechless treachery, and an attack from behind. That's cow-


ALI.rSPORTS LIBRARY. 7 ardly. It may do for the yellow races, but not for the game Caucasian" r Kimball was trying a defense, but Bob was hardly giving him a chance. "Now, see here!" Bob went on. "The American "And then I suppose you'd feel proud of it?" said Bob Brewster. "Sure! Fellows, it's this way!" Kimball swung his arms and tossed back his shining hair. "In this world you've got to get the best of the other fellow; 1 don't care whether it is in fighting or in business. method is not only not cowardly, but is the best. I've been looking into this thing, since you began to prac tice and monkey with your jiu-jitsu up here. An American in fighting keeps both hands free. He uses them for attack and defense; and he can escape a lot of punishment by jumping backward or forward. His practice work makes him graceful in movement. And if he has lear.ned how to hit, and how to defend him self, he doesn't need to fear any jiu-jitsu professor that ever stepped. into a gym. I can hit a punching bag with a force of over two hundred pounds at each blow, and I can land the blows at the rate of two hun dred a minute. A blow sent right will knock out an opponent; but it won't kill him ; it won't break his neck, nor render him speechless for life, nor any of those things you seem to think are so great." "Just the same," said little Gnat, who never knew when he was whipped, either in an argument or any other way, "I'll get that method down fine some of these days, and then I'll show you a thing or two, even The man that wins must dowu the other fell ow every time. That's what makes him a winner. And when you're the victor, people don't stop to ask how ym1 did it; they see that you're on top And that's the thing." Jubal Marlin clapped his hands in approval. "By hemlock, that's right! Looky naow at them captains of finance!" Juba) pointed to the pictures of certain millionaires he had tacked on the wall of the space he called his "office." "Is anybody askin' haow them men got their money? Nit-they ain't. The world sees that them men have got the dough, and the world throws up its hands and hollers for 'em Kim ball is right, by gravy! When yeou go in tew win win and if yeou can't dew it one way, why dew it another." Jack Lightfoot laughed "You fellows make me think of the advice which a man once gave to his son Perhaps.. you've read it. Said the old man : 'My son, get money! Get it hon -if you are twice as big as I am. And that's why I estly if you can, but get money!' want to learn jiu-jitsu; I'm little, and I need it in my b IZ. Lafe Lampton began to smg lazily to the tune of "Just Because She Made Dem Goo-goo Eyes:" "Just because h e hasn't any s i ze, He thinks that jiu-jits u i s a pri ze. He says: 'See here, by Hec k, I can break your s w a nlik e n e ck, With jiu, or else goug e out b oth your eyes.'" "And, by Heck! that's just what I can do, when I get the thing down to a fine point!" cried Kimball, when the applause with which Lafe's little effort was greeted had subsided. "And, by hemlock, he was right!" cried J ube. "If yeou've got the coin jinglin' in yeour pockets, yeou can git abaout everything else yeou want in this world." "I don't know as it would help to win a boat race," said Jack, still laughing at Jubal's earnestness "Well, it might. With money yeou might buy up the judges, and they'd give the race to ye whether yeou won it or not." "Jube, we'll have to turn you out of the club," said Jack, in an amused tone "Such principles are shocking-perfectly shocking. But you haven't belonged here long, and likely that accounts for it."


8 ALL-SPORTS LIBRARY. "By gravy, money is the stuff!" said Jubal, not to be put down. Lafe took a bite of apple, and added, humorously: "And the way to begin is to select rich parents. What's the use of being born poor? This thing of being born poor is the greatest mistake any boy ever made." "You fellows are like the man I read about who was born in New York and then moved to Chicago," said Jack. "How's that ?" Ju be asked. "He simply went from bad to worse." "Wow! Somebody please hit him !" "If this thing keeps up, said Tom, "I shall have to do like the trees." "How's that?" Lafe inquired taking another bite of apple. "Put out the green things?" "No, leave "I'll lick some of yeou purty soon," J ube threatened, with a wide grin. "If you want to lick something, why don't you take that job at the post office?" "What's that?" asked J ube, eagerly, ready for anything that had money in it. "Pshaw, he don't want to hire anybody to do fightin' for him." "He wants to hire some one to lick stamps." When Tom and Jack walked back homeward, Tom remarked: "I think you've got the liveliest and pleasantest set of boys in your club I ever met." Jack was pleased, for he was proud of the club mem bership. "Leave the academy and come over and JO.m us. You'd be welcome at any time." Yet the invitation was not given seriously, for he knew Tom would not care to leave the academy. CHAPTER III. A HINT OF MYSTERY. Jack Lightfoot and his cousin Tom stood for a long time, talking, at the street corner above Jack s h o me. They were speaking chiefly of the coming boat race on the lake between the high school and the academy, in which both were much interested. As they stood thus, and were about to separate for the night, Tom chanced to observe a human form, man or boy, duck down in the open lot not far away, where the shadows of night were pretty dark. "Hello!" he whispered, touching Jack on the arm, to draw his attention, "what does that mean?" Jack looked in the direction indicated. Then both saw the form rise up and move across "Oh, git aout Stop yeour kiddin' But I was in the lot in a stealthy manner, in the general direction of earnest, fellows. If a feller is rich--" the lake. "He's likely to have his name and picture on post "There is something queer about that," Jack deage stamps," said Jack, "and then he'll be licked by dared. everybody." "Let's follow, and see what he's up to!" Tom sug"Oh, stop yeour kiddin' !" gested. "If that's all you want," said Lafe, "just to have From suggestion to action was but a step. your name in everybody's mouth, get a toothpick fac -Their curiosity was excited. tory to put it on their toothpicks, and there you are. "No fellow who i sn't up t o something would sneak "By gravy, I will lick some of yeou fellers if yeou along in that way," Tom averred. don't stop!" "That's right; he's planning either some dark work, "Try jiuj itsu on them," said Tom. or a joke."


., ALL-SPORTS LIBRARY. 9 "A joke?" "I think it's a boy, or young man; and he may think of hiding somewhere and jumping out at some one, to frighten him." "That would be a poor joke." "There are fellows who would think it funny." "Gee-whiskers!" Tom whispered, m amazement. "That's Juball" Juba/ Marlin, down there, with a mask over his face! The thing was too astounding for belief. The figure came out between them and the sky line, on the shore of the lake. They followed on, along the street that led toward "That does look like Jubal," Jack admitted. "But the lake. what is he up to?" Once when the figure they were following came be tween them and a rather faint light, they saw enough to cause them to stop and gasp in astonishment. "Why, he's masked!" Jack cried. "He's got something over his face." "So he has! Her. e's a go! Maybe one of us had better run back and get Kennedy?" Kennedy was the night watchman and constable of Cranford. "I think we'd better keep as close to him as we can," said Jack. "While we're trying to summon Ken nedy, he may give us the slip." This did seem the best plan, and again they moved along, following the masked figure. They could not see him at all for a little while, after he passed beyond that light; but soon again they caught sight of him, and crept behind with stealthy steps. When they were near the shore and the boathouses, the masked individual again disappeared. Fearing discovery if they fdvanced, the boys lay almost flat on the ground, w atching, hoping to get the man, or boy, between themselves and the sky line. "There he is again!" said Jack, clutching Tom's arm, as the figure once more appeared. Then a sound reached them that caused their hearts to flutter. "Ha! ha! ha!--" It was the cackling laugh of the parrot, smothered, and shut off suddenly, as if a hand had caught the parrot by the neck. "That's for us to find out." "Yes, we'll see! I'm sure, though, he has some good reason for what he's doing." Tom stared in silence at the skulking figure, then said, slowly and earnestly: "Well, I don't want to say anything against any member of your club or high school, but you know what sort of company Jubal has kept." "I don't think he's been with those fellows since he became a member of our club, and the club janitor." "You know that Jubal, Nick Flint, Bat Arnold, Or son Oxx and Wilson used to be called "The Gang." They're still called that by a good many peo ple. Jubal and Crane are members of the baseball nine now, and have done some good work on the diamond, but I don't see as that would change their characters any." Jack had tried to think well of Jubal and Wilson, and it hurt him to have Tom-speak in that way. Yet he knew himself that both Wilson and Jubal had not borne reputations that were any too good in Cranford. Nick Flint and Bat. Arnold were, by the Cranford citizens, considered "bad boys," and Jack had no very good opinion of them himself. But it was different with Wilson and Jubal. Jack had always thought they were mischievous, rather than mean; and that, in some questionable things they had done, they had b e en led and influenced by Nick and Bat, with whom they too often associated.


IO ALL-SPORTS LIBRARY. "I'm not going to believe any harm of Jubal until I have to," he declared. "No, that's right; we don't want to misjudge him. Give a dog a bad name and you might as well hang him! I wouldn't want to do Jube an injustice. But his sneaking actions, and that mask he's got on, do look mighty suspicious." As they lay thus and watched the figure, they saw it approach the boathouse belonging to the academy, on which Phil Kirtland, as has been -said, had spent a good deal of money. As has been stated, also, this boathouse stood not a great distance from the smaller one, belonging to the high-school boys, and was a much finer building in every way. It had, in addition to the boathouse proper, a side wing, or extension, in which some extra boats, oars and other things were kept. "While the figure was sneaking toward the boathouse, another figure dimly into view from a point in the darkness somewhere along the lake shore. "He's got some one with him:" said Tom, fairly trembling now with excitement. "Yes, I see I I don't think this fellow 1s masked, though; but I can't tell." The first figure seen vanished behind the boathouse, and a moment later the other disappeared, apparently at the same point. "They've come together there," said Tom, half ris ing. "I guess we'd better try to get closer." Jack rose somewhat reluctantly. "There's one thing, Tom," he said. "We haven't seen anything to make us sure those fellows aren't down here on an honest mission, except the mask and their sneaking manner." "The way J ube shut off the parrot, when it started to make a noise, was something !" Tom answered. "I don't blame you for not wanting to believe that your fellows would

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