H. Irving Hancock.

The High School Pitcher Dick & Co. on the Gridley Diamond online

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Produced by Jim Ludwig


or Dick & Co. on the Gridley Diamond


I. The Principal Hears Something About Pennies
II. Dick Takes Up His Pen
III. Mr. Cantwell Thinks Twice - -or Oftener
IV. Dave Warns Tip Scammon
V. Ripley Learns That the Piper Must be Paid
VI. The Call to the Diamond - -Fred Schemes
VII. Dave Talks with One Hand
VIII. Huh? Woolly Crocheted Slippers
IX. Fred Pitches a Bombshell into Training Camp
X. Dick & Co. Take a Turn at Feeling Glum
XI. The Third Party's Amazement
XII. Trying out the Pitchers
XIII. The Riot Call and Other Little Things
XIV. The Steam of the Batsman
XV. A Dastard's Work in the Dark
XVI. The Hour of Tormenting Doubt
XVII. When the Home Fans Quivered
XVIII. The Grit of the Grand Old Game
XIX. Some Mean Tricks Left Over
XX. A Tin Can for the Yellow Dog
XXI. Dick is Generous Because It's Natural
XXII. All Roads Lead to the Swimming Pool
XXIII. The Agony of the Last Big Game
XIV. Conclusion




"Attention, please."

The barely audible droning of study ceased promptly in the big
assembly room of the Gridley High School.

The new principal, who had just stepped into the room, and who
now stood waiting behind his flat-top desk on the platform, was
a tall, thin, severe-looking man of thirty-two or three.

For this year Dr. Carl Thornton, beloved principal for a half-score
of years, was not in command at the school. Ill health had forced
the good old doctor to take at least a year's rest, and this stranger
now sat in the Thornton chair.

"Mr. Harper," almost rasped out Mr. Cantwell's voice, "stop rustling
that paper."

Harper, a little freshmen, who had merely meant to slip the paper
inside his desk, and who was not making a disturbing noise thereby,
flushed pink and sat immobile, the paper swinging from one hand.

From the principal's attitude and his look of seriousness, something
unusual was pending. Some of the girls permitted their apprehension
to be seen. On the faces of several of the boys rested a look
of half defiance, for this principal was unpopular, and, by the
students, was considered unjust.

"It being now in the early part of December," went on Mr. Cantwell,
"we shall, on Monday, begin rehearsing the music for the special
exercises to be held in this school on the day before Christmas.
To that end, each of you found, on returning from recess, the
new Christmas music on your desk."

Mr. Cantwell paused an instant for this important information
to sink in. Several slight, little sighs of relief escaped the
students, especially from the girls' side of the great room.
This speech did not presage anything very dreadful to come.

"This sheet music," continued Mr. Cantwell, "is to be sold to
the pupils at cost to the Board of Education. This cost price
is fifteen cents."

Again Mr. Cantwell paused. It was a trick of his, a personal
peculiarity. Then be permitted himself a slight smile as he added:

"This being Friday, I will ask you all to be sure to bring, on
Monday morning, the money, which you will pay to me. Don't forget,
please; each of you bring me his little fifteen pennies. Now,
return to your studies until the beginning of the fourth period
is announced."

As he bent his head low behind a bulky textbook, Dan Dalzell,
of the sophomore class, glanced over at Dick Prescott with sparkling
mischief gleaming in his eyes.

Dick, who was now a sophomore, and one of the assured leaders
in sports and fun, guessed that Dan Dalzell was hatching another
of the wild schemes for which Dalzell was somewhat famous. Dick
even guessed that he knew about what was passing in Dan's mind.

Though moderate whispering was permitted, at need, in the assembly
room, there was no chance for Dick and Dan to pass even a word
at this time, for almost immediately the bell for the fourth period
of the morning's work sounded, and the sections rose and filed
out to the various recitation rooms.

To readers of the preceding volume in this series, Dick & Co.
will need no introduction. All six of the youngsters were very
well introduced in "The High School Freshmen."

Such readers will remember their first view of Dick & Co. With
brown-haired Dick Prescott as leader, the other members of this
unique firm of High School youngsters, were Tom Reade, Dan Dalzell,
Harry Hazelton, Gregory Holmes and Dave Darrin.

The six had been chums at the Central Grammar School, and had
stuck together like burrs through the freshman year at the Gridley
High School. In fact, even in their freshmen period, when new
students are not expected to have much to say, and are given no
chance at the school athletics, Dick & Co. had made themselves
abundantly felt.

Our readers will recall how the Board of Education had some notion
of prohibiting High School football, despite the fact that the
Gridley H.S. eleven was one of the best in the United States.
Readers will also recall the prank hatched by Dick & Co., by
means of which the Board was quickly shown how unpopular such
a move would be in the city.

Our readers will also recollect that, though freshmen were barred
from active part in sports, yet Dick & Co. found the effective
way of raising plentiful funds for the Athletics Committee. In
the annual paper chase the freshmen hounds, under Dick Prescott's
captaincy, beat the sophomore hares - -for the first time in many
years. In the skating events, later on, Dick and his chums captured,
for the freshman class, three of the eight events. From the start,
Dick & Co. had shown great ingenuity in "boosting" football, in
return for which, many of the usual restrictions on freshmen were
waived where Dick & Co. were concerned.

In the nearly three months, now, that the new school year had
gone along, Dick & Co. had proved that, as sophs, they were youngsters
of great importance in the student body. They were highly popular
with most of their fellow-students; but of course that very popularity
made them some enemies among those who envied or disliked them.

For one thing, neither Dick nor any of his partners came of families
of any wealth. Yet it was inevitable that some of the boys and
girls of Gridley H.S. should come from families of more or less

It is but fair to say that most of these scions of the wealthier
families were agreeable, affable and democratic - -in a word, Americans
without any regard to the size of the family purse.

A few of the wealthier young people, however, made no secret of
their dislike for smiling, happy, capable Dick & Co. One of the
leaders in this feeling was Fred Ripley, son of a wealthy, retired

During the skating events of the preceding winter, Dick Prescott,
aided by his chums, had saved the life of Ripley, who had gone
through thin ice. However, so haughty a young man as Fred Ripley,
though he had been slightly affected by the brave generosity,
could not quite bring himself to regard Dick as other than an
interloper in High School life.

Ripley had even gone so far as to bribe Tip Scammon, worthless,
profligate son of the honest old janitor of the High School, to
commit a series of robberies from the locker rooms in the school
basement while Dick carried the key as monitor there. The "plunder"
had been found in Dick's own room at home, and the young man had
been suspended from the High School for a while. Thanks, however,
to Laura Bentley and Belle Meade, two girls then freshmen and
now sophs, Tip had been run down. Then the police made Tip confess,
and he was sent away to the penitentiary for a short term. Tip,
however, refused to the last to name his accomplice. Dick knew
that Ripley was the accomplice, but kept his silence, preferring
to fight all his own battles by himself.

So Fred Ripley was now a junior, in good standing as far as scholarship
and school record went.

So far, during this new year, Ripley had managed to smother his
hatred for Dick & Co., especially for Dick himself.

Lessons and recitations on this early December morning went off
as usual. In time the hands of the clock moved around to one
o'clock in the afternoon, at which time the High School closed
for the day.

The partners of Dick & Co. went down the steps of the building
and all soon found their way through the surging crowds of escaped
students. This sextette turned down one of the streets and trudged
along together. At first several of the other High School boys
walked along near them. Finally, however, the crowd thinned away
until only Dick & Co. were together.

"Dan," said Dick, smilingly, "something struck you hard this morning,
when Mr. Cantwell asked us all to bring the music-money on Monday."

"He didn't say exactly 'money,'" retorted Dan Dalzell, quickly.
"What Prin. did say was that each one of us was to bring fifteen

"Yes, I remember," laughed Dick.

"Now, we couldn't have held that mob when school let out," pursued
Dan. "And now it's too late. But say, if the Prin. had only
sprung that on us _before_ recess - - -"

"Well, suppose he had?" interrupted Greg Holmes, a trifle impatiently.

"Why, then," retorted Dan, mournfully, "we could have passed word
around, at recess, to have everybody bring just what the Prin.
called for - -_pennies_!"

"Hm!" grinned Dave Darrin, who was never slow to see the point
of anything. "Then you had a vision of the unpopular Prin. being
swamped under a deluge of pennies - -plain, individual little copper

"That's it!" agreed Dan. "But now, we won't see more than a few
before we go to school again Monday. Oh - -wow! What a chance
that takes away from us. Just imagine the Prin. industriously
counting away at thousands of pennies, and a long line of boy
and girl students in line, each one waiting to pass him another
handful of _pennies_! Say, can you see the Prin. - -just turning
white and muttering to himself? But there's no chance to get
the word around, now!"

"We don't need to get the word around," smiled Dick. "If we passed
the word around, it might get to the Prin.'s ears before Monday,
and he'd hatch up some way to head us off."

"If you can see how to work the trick at this late hour, you can
see further than I can," muttered Dan, rather enviously.

"Oh, Dick has the scheme hatching, or he wouldn't talk about it,"
declared Dave Darrin, confidently.

"Why, if all you want is to send the whole student body on Monday
morning, each with fifteen copper cents to hand the Prin., that
can be fixed up easily enough," Dick pronounced, judicially.

"How are we going to do it?" asked Dalzell, dubiously.

"Well, let us see how many pennies would be needed? There are
close to two hundred and fifty students, but a few might refuse
to go into the trick. Let us say two hundred and forty _times_
fifteen. That's thirty-six hundred, isn't it? That means we
want to get thirty-six dollars' worth of pennies. Well, we'll
get them!"

"_We_ will?" demanded Dan, with a snort. "Dick, unless you've
got more cash on hand than the rest of us then I don't believe
a dragnet search of this crowd would turn up two dollars. Thirty-six?
That's going some and halfway back!"

"There are three principal ways of buying goods of any kind,"
Dick continued. "One way is with cash - - -"

"That's the street we live on!" broke in Harry Hazelton, with
a laugh.

"The second way," Dick went on, "is to pay with a check. But
you must have cash at the bank behind the check, or you get into
trouble. Now the third way is to buy goods on credit."

"That's just as bad," protested Dan. "Where, in the whole town,
could a bunch of youngsters like us, get thirty-six dollars' worth
of real credit?"

"I can," declared Dick, coolly.

"You? Where? With your father?"

"No; Dad rarely takes in much in the way of pennies. I don't
suppose he has two dollars' worth of pennies on hand at any time.
But, fellows, you know that 'The Morning Blade' is a one cent
paper. Now, the publisher of 'The Blade' must bank a keg of pennies
every day in the week. I can see Mr. Pollock, the editor, this
afternoon, right after luncheon. He has probably sent most of
the pennies to bank today, but I'll ask him if he'll have to-morrow's
pennies saved for us."

"Say, if he'll only do that!" glowed Dan, his eyes flashing.

"He will," declared Dave Darrin. "Mr. Pollock will do anything,
within reason, that Dick asks."

"Now, fellows, if I can put this thing through, we can meet in
my room to-morrow afternoon at one o'clock. Pennies come in rolls
of fifty each, you know. We'll have to break up the rolls, and
make new ones, each containing fifteen pennies."

Dave Darrin stopped where he was, and began to laugh. Tom Reade
quickly joined in. The others were grinning.

"Oh, say, just for one look at Prin.'s face, if we can spring
that job on him!" chuckled Harry Hazelton.

"We can," announced Dick, gravely. "So go home and enjoy your
dinners, fellows. If you want to meet on the same old corner
on Main Street, at half-past two to-day, we'll go in a body to
'The Blade' office and learn what Mr. Pollock has to say about
our credit."

"_Your_ credit, you mean," corrected Dave.

After dinner Dick & Co. met as agreed. Arrived at "The Blade"
office it was decided that Dick Prescott should go in alone to
carry on the negotiation. He soon came out again, wearing a satisfied
smile and carrying a package under one arm.

"If I'm any good at guessing," suggested Dave, "you put the deal

"Mr. Pollock agreed, all right," nodded Dick. "I have fourteen
dollars here. He'll let us have the rest to-morrow."

They hurried back to Dick's room, over the bookstore that was
run by Mr. and Mrs. Prescott.

"Whew, but this stuff is heavy," muttered Dick, dumping the package
on the table. "Mr. Pollock sent out to the pressroom and had
some paper cut of just the size that we shall need for wrappers."

"Did you tell Pollock what we are going to do?" asked Greg Holmes.

"Not exactly, but he guessed that some mischief was on. He wanted
to know if it was anything that would make good local reading
in 'The Blade,' so I told him I thought it would be worth a paragraph
or two, and that I'd drop around Monday afternoon and give him
the particulars. That was all I said."

Inside the package were three "sticks" of the kind that are used
for laying the little coins in a row before wrapping.

"Now, one thing we must be dead careful about, fellows," urged
Dick, as he undid the package, "is to be sure that we get an exact
fifteen coins in each wrapper. If we got in more, we'd be the
losers. If we put less than fifteen cents in any wrapper, then
we're likely to be accused of running a swindling game."

So every one of the plotters was most careful to count the coins.
It was not rapid work, and only half the partners could work
at any one time. They soon caught the trick of wrapping, however,
and then the little rolls began to pile up.

Saturday afternoon Dick & Co. were similarly engaged. Nor did
they find the work too hard. Americans will endure a good deal
for the sake of a joke.

Monday morning, shortly after half-past seven, Dick and his chums
had stationed themselves along six different approaches to the
High School. Each young pranker had his pockets weighted down
with small packages, each containing fifteen pennies.

Purcell, of the junior class, was the first to pass Dick Prescott.

"Hullo, Purcell," Dick greeted the other, with a grin. "Want
to see some fun?"

"Of course," nodded the junior. "What's going?"

"You remember that Prin. asked us, last Friday, to bring in our
fifteen pennies for the Christmas music?"

"Of course. Well, I have my money in my pocket."

"_In pennies_?" insisted Dick.

"Well, no; of course not. But I have a quarter, and I guess Prin.
can change that."

Dick quickly explained the scheme. Purcell, with a guffaw, purchased
one of the rolls.

"Now, see here," hinted Dick, "there'll be such a rush, soon,
that we six can't attend to all the business. Won't you take
a dozen rolls and peddle them? I'll charge 'em to you, until
you can make an accounting."

Purcell caught at the bait with another laugh. Dick noted Purcell's
name on a piece of paper, with a dollar and eighty cents charged
against it.

All the other partners did the same with other students. With such
a series of pickets out around the school none of the student body
got through without buying pennies, except Fred Ripley and Clara
Deane. They were not asked to buy.

Meanwhile, up in the great assembly room a scene was going on
that was worth looking at.

Abner Cantwell had seated himself at his desk. Before him lay
a printed copy of the roll of the student body. It was the new
principal's intention to check off each name as a boy or girl
paid for the music. Knowing that he would have a good deal of
currency to handle, the principal had brought along a satchel
for this morning.

First of all, Harper came tripping into the room. He went to
his desk with his books, then turned and marched to the principal's

"I've brought the money for the music, Mr. Cantwell."

"That's right, Mr. Harper," nodded the principal.

The little freshman carefully deposited his fifteen pennies on
the desk. They were out of the roll. Dick & Co. had cautioned
each investor to break the wrapper, and count the pennies before
moving on.

Two of the seniors presently came in. They settled with pennies.
Then came Laura Bentley and Belle Meade. Their pennies were
laid on the principal's desk.

"Why, all pennies, so far!" exclaimed Mr. Cantwell. "I trust
not many will bring coins of such low denomination."

A look of bland innocence rested on Laura's face.

"Why, sir," she remarked, "you asked us, Friday, to bring pennies.

"Did I?" demanded the principal, a look of astonishment on his

"Why, yes, sir," Belle Meade rattled on. "Don't you remember?
You laughed, Mr. Cantwell, and asked each one of us to bring
fifteen pennies to-day."

"I had forgotten that, Miss Meade," returned the principal. Then,
as the sophomore young ladies turned away, a look of suspicion
began to settle on the principal's face. Nor did that look lessen
any when the next six students to come in each carried pennies
to the desk.

Twenty more brought pennies. By this time there was a stern look
on the principal's white face.

During the next few minutes after that only two or three came
in, for Dick had thought of a new aspect to the joke. He had
sent messengers scurrying out through the street approaches with
this message:

"We're not required to be in the assembly room until eight o'clock.
Let's all wait until two minutes of eight - -then go in a throng."

So the principal had a chance to catch up with his counting as
the minutes passed. So busy was he, however, that it didn't quite
occur to him to wonder why so few of the student body had as yet
come in.

Then, at 7.58, a resounding tread was heard on the stairs leading
up from the basement locker rooms. Some two hundred boys and
girls were coming up in two separate throngs. They were still
coming when the assembly bell rang. As fast as any entered they
made their way, with solemn faces, to the desk on the platform.

As Mr. Cantwell had feared, the pennies still continued to pour
in upon him. Suddenly the principal struck his desk sharply with
a ruler, then leaped to his feet. His face was whiter than ever.
It was plain that the man was struggling to control himself against
an outburst of wrath. He even forced a smile to his face a sort
of smile that had no mirth in it.

"Young ladies and young gentlemen," Mr. Cantwell rasped out, sharply,
"some of you have seen fit to plan a joke against me, and to carry
it out most audaciously. It's a good joke, and I admit that it's
on me. But it has been carried far enough. If you please - -_no
more pennies_!"

"But pennies are all I happen to have, sir," protested Dave Darrin,
stepping forward. "Don't you want me to pay you for the music,

"Oh, well," replied the principal, with a sigh, "I'll take 'em,

As Dick & Co. had disposed of every one of their little rolls
of fifteen, few of the students were unprovided with pennies.
So the copper stream continued to pour in. Mr. Cantwell could
have called any or all of his submasters and teachers to his aid.
He thought of it presently, as his fingers ached from handling
all the pennies.

"Mr. Drake, will you come to the desk?" he called.

So Submaster Drake came to the platform, drawing a chair up beside
the principal's. But Mr. Cantwell still felt obliged to do the
counting, as he was responsible for the correctness of the sums.
So all Mr. Drake could do was check off the names as the principal
called them.

Faster and faster poured the copper stream now. Mr. Cantwell,
the cords sticking out on his forehead, and a clammy dew bespangling
his white face, counted on in consuming anger. Every now and
then he turned to dump two or three handfuls of counted pennies
into his open satchel.

Gathered all around the desk was a throng of students, waiting
to pay. Beyond this throng, safely out of range of vision, other
students gathered in groups and chuckled almost silently.

Clatter! By an unintentional move of one arm Mr. Cantwell swept
fully a hundred pennies off on to the floor. He leaped up, flushed
and angry.

"Will the young - -gentlemen - -aid me in recovering the coins that
went on the floor?" he asked.

There was promptly a great scurrying and searching. The principal
surely felt harassed that morning. It was ten minutes of nine
when the last student had paid and had had his name checked off.
Mr. Cantwell was at the boiling point of wrath.

Just as the principal was putting the last of the coins into his
satchel Mr. Drake leaned over to whisper:

"May I make a suggestion, sir?"

"Certainly," replied the principal coldly. "Yet I trust, Mr. Drake,
that it won't be a suggestion for an easy way of accumulating
more pennies than I already have."

"I think, if I were you, sir, I should pay no heed to this joke - - -"

"Joke?" hissed the principal under his breath. "It's an outrage!"

"But intended only as a piece of pleasantry, sir. So I think
it will pass off much better if you don't allow the students
to see that they have annoyed you."

"Why? Do the students _want_ to annoy me?" demanded Mr. Cantwell,
in another angry undertone.

"I wouldn't say that," replied Mr. Drake. "But, if the young
men discover that you are easily teased, they are sufficiently
mischief-loving to try other jokes on you."

"Then a good friend of theirs would advise them not to do so,"
replied Mr. Cantwell, with a snap of his jaws.

That closed the matter for the time being. The first recitation
period of the morning had been lost, but now the students, most
of them finding difficulty in suppressing their chuckles, were
sent to the various class rooms.

Before recess came, the principal having a period free from class
work, silently escaped from the building, carrying the thirty-six
hundred pennies to the bank. As that number of pennies weighs
something more than twenty-three pounds, the load was not a light

"I have a big lot of pennies here that I want to deposit," he
explained to the receiving teller.

"How many?" asked the teller.

"Thirty-six hundred," replied Mr. Cantwell.

"Are they counted and done up into rolls of fifty, with your name
on each roll?" asked the teller.

"Why - -er - -no," stammered the principal. "They're just loose - -in
bulk, I mean."

"Then I'm very sorry, Mr. Cantwell, but we can't receive them
in that shape, sir. They will have to be counted and wrapped,
and your name written on each roll."

"Do you mean to say that I must take these pennies home, count
them all - -again! - -and then wrap them and sign the wrappers."

"I'm sorry, but you, or some one will have to do it, Mr. Cantwell."

Then and there the principal exploded. One man there was in the
bank at that moment who was obliged to turn his head away and
stifle back the laughter. That man was Mr. Pollock, of "The Blade."
Pollock knew now what Dick & Co. had wanted of such a cargo of

"I can't carry this infernal satchel back to school," groaned
the principal, disgustedly. "Some of the boys, when they see me,
will realize that the satchel is still loaded, and they'll know
what has happened to me at the bank. It will make me look fearfully

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