The Rover Boys at School





 

CHAPTER XXV

 

MUMPS IS TAUGHT A LESSON

 

 

The cadets stared blankly at each other.  Only two of them were

undressed; the others had all of their clothing on.

 

It was time for the head assistant to go the rounds, to see that

all was right for the night.  Should he be allowed to enter the

dormitory he would certainly "smell a mouse," and perhaps knock

all of their plans for a feast in the head.

 

"Off with your clothing, all of you!" whispered Tom.  "I'll manage

this affair.  Pretend to be asleep."

 

"But, Tom, it's my fault--" began Dick, when his younger brother

cut him short.

 

"Into the bed--I'll be all right, Dick."

 

Satisfied that Tom had some plan in his head for smoothing matters

over, the other boys disrobed with marvelous rapidity and crept

into their beds.  While this was going on the knocking at the door

continued.

 

"Boys, open the door!" said George Strong.  "Open the door, do you

hear?"

 

"Answer him!" whispered Tom to Larry, whose bed was nearest him.

"Pretend you have just awoke," and he flung himself on the floor,

with one of a pair of big rubber boots in each hand.

 

"Oh--er--Mr. Strong, is that you?"

 

"Yes, open the door."

 

"Why--er--is it locked?

 

"Yes."

 

At once Larry tumbled from his bed, unlocked the door and stood

there rubbing his eyes.  "Excuse me, Sir, for not hearing you

before."

 

"I want to know what the meaning is of the noise in here?" said

George Strong severely, as he gazed around the dimly lit

apartment, for the lamp was turned low.  "You boys are--gracious

me!  What's this?"

 

The teacher started back in genuine surprise, and his words

aroused all of the boys in the beds, who followed his gaze in

equal wonder.

 

For in the center of the floor sat Tom, his eyes tightly closed, a

rubber boot in each hand, and rocking backward and forward with

great rapidity, as if rowing.

 

"Two lengths ahead!" muttered Tom. "I'll beat you yet, Larry!

Three lengths!  Oh, but this is a dandy race!  Pull away, you

can't beat me!  Oh!  There goes an oar," and, bang! went one of

the rubber boots against the base board, and Tom made a leap as if

diving into the water after it, sprawling and spluttering as he

pretended to swim.

 

"He's got the nightmare again!" shouted out Sam, quick to

understand Tom's dodge.  "Tom, wake up there!"

 

"The nightmare!" echoed Mr. Strong.  "Is it possible?  Poor boy!

Wake up, Thomas!" and he caught Tom by the shoulder and shook him

and finally set him on his feet.

 

"The oar--I will have the-- Oh!" Tom opened his eyes and stared

around him blankly.  "Why--er--what's up?"

 

"My boy, you've had the nightmare," answered the teacher kindly.

 

"Nightmare!"

 

"I told you not to eat that pie tonight," put in Sam. "He saved his

pie from dinner, and ate it just before we came up here,"--which was

true.

 

"Er--I thought I was on the lake racing Larry Colby," murmured

Tom and hid his face as if in embarrassment.  "What did I do?" he

faltered.

 

"You almost raised the roof, that's what you did," answered Dick.

"You had better send home for some of those digestion tablets you

used to take," and then he hid his face in the blankets to keep

from laughing out loud.

 

"I will."  Tom turned to George Strong.  "Excuse me, Mr. Strong, I

am sorry I have caused you so much trouble."

 

"How do you feel now?" questioned the assistant anxiously.

 

"Oh, I'm all right now."

 

"Well, then, go to bed; and I trust you sleep more soundly for the

balance of the night," said the teacher; and he remained in the

room until Tom was tucked in, when he went off, taking the key of

the door with him.

 

"Tom, you're a brick!" came from Frank, when the teacher was out

of hearing.  "What a head you have on your shoulders!"

 

"Strong took the key of the door," said Fred.

 

"I don't like that."

 

"Shove a chair-back up under the knob," suggested Dick, and this

was done, the chair thus making an excellent brace.

 

"Now to get that stuff in," said Dick, donning his clothing with

all possible speed.  "I shouldn't wonder if the soda and root beer

are frozen as hard as a rock."

 

He was soon ready to descend, and the others lowered him by aid of

the wash line.  Then the boxes and packages were hoisted up, and

Dick came after.

 

A few minutes later came a slight tapping on the door, repeated

three times.  It was a signal, and Sam opened the door, admitting

George Granbury and seven other cadets from dormitory No. 2.  The

occupants of several other dormitories followed.

 

"Are we to have Mumps and his crowd in here?" asked one of the

newcomers.

 

"I don't want Mumps," answered Dick.  "Not because he ran against

me, but because he was Baxter's toady and is a regular sneak."

 

"Little Luke Walton and Mark Gross voted for you, Dick," said

Harry Blossom.  "They ought to be invited."

 

"All right, tell them to come in, and anybody else who wishes,

outside of Mumps," answered Dick.

 

The young captain went off, and soon returned with six boys of

Sam's age or younger.

 

"Mumps is awfully mad," he announced.  "My idea is, he is going to

cause us trouble if he can."

 

"We'll wax him good if he does!" cried Tom. "Say, Sam, let us

watch him," and he hurried into the hallway, while the others

attacked the several good things Dick had provided for them.

 

Tom and Sam had been in the dark hallway but two minutes when the

door of Mumps' dormitory opened and the sneak came out, wearing

his slippers and his long overcoat.  He glided swiftly toward the

side stairs leading to Captain Putnam's private apartments.

 

"He's going to peach!" whispered Tom,  "Come on, Sam, let us

capture the enemy!" and he hurried after Mumps and caught him by

the arm.

 

"Hi! who is this?" demanded the sneak, turning in fear.  Then, as

Tom and Sam confronted him, his face grew white.

 

"Come with us, Mumps, we want to treat you," answered Tom readily,

into whose head another trick had entered.

 

"I don't want any of your treat," growled the sneak.  "Let me go."

 

"Oh, you must come," urged Tom.  "We have a fine bottle of root

beer and a lot of candied fruit for you."

 

If there was one thing that Mumps liked, it was root beer, while

he knew candied fruit was very rich eating.  Accordingly he

hesitated.

 

"I'll get all I can first and tell on them afterward," he thought,

and allowed Tom, and Sam to conduct him into the dormitory

occupied by the Metropolitan Sextet.

 

"Here is Mumps come to join us!" cried Tom, as he introduced the

sneak into the room and he winked at Dick.  "Now, Mumps, sit down

and make yourself at home, and I'll get something for you," and he

motioned the sneak to a position at the head of his bed.

 

He hurried off, and presently came back to Mumps with a fine slice

of candied orange.  The sneak was greedy, and instantly

transferred the entire slice to his mouth and began to chew it

vigorously.

 

"Oh!" he cried presently, and drew down his face in disgust.

 

"What's the matter, Mumps?" asked Sam.

 

"This orange tastes awful!" spluttered Mumps, and rushed

to the window. As he put out his head, Tom pointed to the sneak

and then to a bottle of cod liver oil on the table at which he had "flavored"

the candied fruit.  "We'll get square just wait," he whispered.  "You gave me that

piece on purpose," howled the sneak, as soon as he had cleared

his mouth.  "Oh, what an awful dose!  Somebody give me a drink of

water."

 

"The water is all gone, Mumps," answered Tom.  "Awfully sorry.

Have a glass of root beer," and he poured out a tumbler full.

 

Willing to drink anything to take that taste out of his mouth, the

sneak took the tumbler and gulped down about half of the root

beer.

 

The remainder was about to follow, when suddenly he stopped short.

"Oh, my!"

 

"Awfully good, isn't it?" put in Dick.

 

"Good?  It tastes like salt water!" snorted Mumps.  And he was not

far wrong, for Tom had taken the pains to put a lot of salt in to

the glass before filling it up.

 

"Why, that is the best root beer I ever tasted," put in Larry.

"It's as sweet as sugar.  Let me taste your glass, Mumps."

 

"Do so with pleasure," and the sneak passed it over.  Larry

pretended to take a gulp.  "Fine!  Couldn't be better.  Isn't that

so, Frank?" and he passed the glass to Harrington.  "It's

certainly as good as mine, and that's O. K.," answered Frank; and

then George Granbury took the tumbler and declared the root beer

was even better than what he had had previously.

 

"It's certainly your stomach, Mumps, my boy," said Tom.  "You look

kind of funny--just like a fellow I knew who got the smallpox."

 

"He does look like a fellow getting the smallpox," put in Dick.

"Mumps, does your tongue feel dry-like?"

 

"Dry, of course it is dry--and salty," growled Mumps, but he

began to grow uneasy.

 

 

Mumps whined, "I feel sick all over.  Oh,

say, do you think I really am getting the smallpox?"

 

For an instant there was a dead silence.  Then the boys could hold

in no longer, and a long but smothered laugh showed the sneak how

completely he had been sold.

 



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