The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Dozen from Lakerim, by Rupert Hughes
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Title: The Dozen from Lakerim
Author: Rupert Hughes
Release Date: February 12, 2004 [eBook #11062]
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE DOZEN FROM LAKERIM***
E-text prepared by Rick Niles, John Hagerson, and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team
THE DOZEN FROM LAKERIM
By RUPERT HUGHES
Author of "The Lakerim Athletic Club"
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY C.M. RELYEA
TO THE BEST
A BOY EVER HAD
(EXCEPT POSSIBLY YOURS)
BELONGS THE DEDICATION OF THIS STORY
OF LIFE AT AN ACADEMY,
SINCE HIS GOODNESS ENABLED ME
TO KNOW IT AND WRITE IT
About half of this book was published serially in "St. Nicholas." The rest of it is here printed for the first time. If in this story of life at a preparatory school I have neglected to say very much about books and studies, and have stuck to far less interesting matters, such as the games and gambols that while away the dull hours between classes, I hope my readers will graciously forgive the omission.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
IT WAS EVIDENT THAT A SEVERE STRUGGLE HAD TAKEN PLACE
"STOP THE TRAIN AND WAIT FOR ME. I'M GOING TO KINGSTON, TOO!"
TUG IS TREATED TO A LITTLE SURPRISE-PARTY
QUIZ LEARNED TO SHOOT THE HILLS AT A BREATHLESS RATE
JUMBO SAW A PAIR OF FLASHING EYES GLARING AT HIM OVER THE COVERLET
PRETTY AND ENID
THE CROSS-COUNTRY RUN
TIED UP LIKE DUMMIES IN SACKS
BURNING THE BOOKS
THE DOZEN FROM LAKERIM
Some people think it great fun to build a house of cards slowly and anxiously, and then knock it to pieces with one little snip of the finger. Or to fix up a snow man in fine style and watch a sudden thaw melt him out of sight. Or to write a name carefully, like a copy-book, and with many curlicues, in the wet sand, and then scamper off and let the first high wave smooth it away as a boy's sponge wipes from his slate some such marvelous statement as, 12 × 12 = 120, or 384 ÷ 16 gives a "koshunt" of 25. When such things are erased it doesn't much matter; but there are occasions when it hurts to have Father Time come along and blot out the work you have taken great pains with and have put your heart into. Twelve young gentlemen in the town of Lakerim were feeling decidedly blue over just such an occasion.
You may not find the town of Lakerim on the map in your geography. And yet it was very well known to the people that lived in it. And the Lakerim Athletic Club was very well known to those same people. And the Lakerim Athletic Club, or, at least the twelve founders of the club, were as blue as the June sky, because it seemed to them that Father Time—old Granddaddy Longlegs that he is—was playing a mean trick on them.
For hadn't they given all their brain and muscle to building up an athletic club that should be a credit to the town and a terror to outsiders! And hadn't they given up every free hour for two years to working like Trojans? though, for that matter, who ever heard of any work the Trojans ever did that amounted to anything—except the spending of ten years in getting themselves badly defeated by a big wooden hobby-horse?
But while all of the Dozen were deep in the dumps, and had their brows tied up like a neglected fish-line, the loudest complaint was made, of course, by the one who had done the least work in building up the club—a lazybones who had been born tired, and had spent most of his young life in industriously earning for himself the name of "Sleepy."
"It's a dad-ratted shame," growled he, "for you fellows to go and leave the club in the lurch this way, after all the trouble we have had organizing it."
"Yes," assented another, who was called "B.J." because he had jumped from a high bridge once too often, and who read wild Western romances more than was good for his peace of mind or his conversation; "it kind of looks as if you fellows were renegades to the cause."
None of the Twelve knew exactly what a renegade was, but it sounded unpleasant, and the men to whom the term was applied lost their tempers, and volunteered to clean out the club-room where they all sat for two cents.
But the offenders either thought they could have more fun for less money, or hadn't the money, for they changed their tune, and the debate went on in a more peaceful manner.
The trouble was this: Some of you who are up on the important works of history may have heard how these twelve youth of the High School at Lakerim organized themselves into an athletic club that won many victories, and how they begged, borrowed, and earned enough money to build themselves a club-house after a year of hard work and harder play.
Well, now, after they had gone to all this trouble and all this expense, and had enjoyed the fruits of their labors barely a year, lo and behold, one third of the Dozen were planning to desert the club, leave the town, and take their good muscles to another town, where there was an academy! The worst of it was that this academy was the very one that had worked hardest to keep the Lakerim Athletic Club from being admitted into the league known as the Tri-State Interscholastic.
And now that the Lakerim Club had forced its way into the League, and had won the pennant the very first year, it seemed hard that some of the most valuable of the Lakerimmers should even consider joining forces with a rival. The president of the club himself was one of the deserters; and the rest of the Dozen grew very bitter, and the arguments often reached a point where it needed only one word more to bring on a scrimmage—a scrimmage that would make a lively football game seem tame by comparison.
And now the president, or "Tug," as he was always called, had been baited long enough. He rose to his feet and proceeded to deliver an oration with all the fervor of a Fourth-of-July orator making the eagle scream.
"I want you fellows to understand once for all," he cried, "that no one loves the Lakerim Athletic Club more than I do, or is more patriotic toward it. But now that I have graduated from the High School, I can't consider that I know everything that is to be known. There are one or two things to learn yet, and I intend to go to a preparatory school, and then through college; and the best thing you follows can do is to make your plans to do the same thing. Well, now, seeing that my mind is made up to go to college, and seeing that I've got to go to some preparatory school, and seeing there is no preparatory school in Lakerim, and seeing that I have therefore