Chapter VII. Fun on the Campus

"It was Lew Flapp, just as I supposed," said Dick, when he heard the news from Captain Putnam. "What a rascal he is getting to be! Almost as bad as Dan Baxter."

"Oh, he would have to be a good deal worse than he is to be as bad as Dan," returned Sam. "But I admit, he is bad enough."

"I'd give some money to lay my hands on him," put in Tom. "Oh, but wouldn't I punch his head good and hand him over to the police afterwards!"

Word was sent to Josiah Cotton and other officers of the law to look for Flapp, but for the time being nothing was seen or heard of that individual.

The Rover boys were to start for home the next day and that night a large number of the cadets held a special jollification on the parade ground in front of the Hall. A bonfire was lit, and the lads danced around and sang to their hearts' content.

In the midst of the excitement somebody saw Peleg Snuggers, the general-utility man of the school, hurrying across the backyard.

"Hullo, there goes Peleg!" was the shout.

"Let's give him a rousing farewell, boys," came from Tom Rover. "Hi, there, Peleg, come here."

"Can't, I'm in a hurry," responded the man-of-all-work, who had had the cadets plague him before.

"Oh, you must come," was the cry, and in a moment more Peleg Snuggers was surrounded.

"Let us march him around on our shoulders," went on Tom. "Peleg loves that, I know he does."

"Don't, neither!" cried the general-utility man. "Now, Tom Rover, you just let me alone."

"We'll carry you around for your rheumatism, Peleg. You've got rheumatism, haven't you?"

"No, I haven't."

"It's good for the lumbago, too."

"Ain't got no lumba--Oh, crickey! Let me down, boys. I don't want a ride!"

"Behold, the conquering hero comes!" announced Sam, as six of the boys hoisted poor Snuggers up into the air. "Now, sit up straight, Peleg. Don't you want a sword?"

"Here's a broom," put in Fred Garrison, and handed over an article which was worn to a stump. "Present arms! Forward, march! General Washtub will lead the funeral procession."

"If you let me tumble I'll break my neck!" gasped Peleg Snuggers. "Oh, creation! How can I carry that broom and hold on, too! This is awful! Shall I call the captain? Let up, I say!"

"Send for Mrs. Green to give him some soothing syrup, he's got the fits," came from a cadet in the crowd.

"I'll get her," cried Tom, struck with a new idea.

Off ran the fun-loving youth to the kitchen of the academy, where the matron was superintending the work of several of the hired girls.

"Oh, Mrs. Green, come quick!" he gasped, as he caught the lady by the arm.

"What is it, Tom?"

"It's poor Peleg! They say he's got a fit! He wants some soothing syrup, or something!"

"Well, I never!" ejaculated Mrs. Green. "A fit! Poor man! Shall I ring for the doctor?"

"Perhaps you had better ring for two doctors, or else come and see if you can help him."

"I'll do what I can," answered the matron, and ran to get some medicine from a chest. "I know what it is," she added. "It's indigestion. He ate four ears of green corn for dinner and four for supper,--and it was very green at that."

"Then he will surely want Mrs. Green to help him," murmured Tom.

Off hurried the matron with some medicine and Tom at her heels.

In the meantime the boys had marched poor Peleg close to the fire.

"Now, steady," cried Sam. "Don't let him fall into the flames and singe his hair."

"Let us warm his feet for him," cried a cadet. "Take off his shoes and stockings!"

"Hi, don't you do nuthin' of the kind," cried Peleg Snuggers, in new alarm. "My feet are warm enough!"

But there was no help for it, and in a twinkling off came his shoes and his socks followed.

"I ain't a-goin' to have my feet warmed!" groaned the utility man. "You are worse nor heathens! Lemme go!"

He struggled violently, but the cadets placed him on the grass and sat on him. Then one, who had run down to the ice-house for a piece of ice, came up.

"Here's a red-hot poker," he said. "Peleg, don't you want your initials branded on your feet?"

"No! no! Oh, help! somebody, help!" yelled the utility man.

"Be careful, or he may get a spasm," whispered Dick, who was looking on without taking part.

"Oh, he's all right," returned the cadet with the ice. "Wait till I brand a P on one foot and an S on the other!" And he drew the ice across the sole of one foot as he spoke.

The poor utility man thought it was a red-hot poker and gave a yell which would have done credit to a South Sea savage. He squirmed and fought, and in the midst of the melee Mrs. Green and Tom arrived.

"There he is," said Tom. "He certainly must have a fit."

"Poor Peleg!" cried Mrs. Green. "Here, my dear, take this. It will do you good." And she held out the bottle of medicine she had brought. "Take about a big spoonful."

"Hurrah, Mrs. Green to the rescue!" shouted Sam. "Come, Peleg, don't be backward about coming forward."

"What is this, Mrs. Green?" asked the astonished man-of-all-work, as he suddenly sat up.

"It's for your cramps, or fits, or whatever you've got, Peleg."

"Cramps, or fits? I ain't got no cramps or fits! Are you crazy, Mrs. Green?"

"Oh, Peleg, don't act so! You certainly have cramps, or indigestion. Come, take the medicine!"

"That fer your medicine!" roared the angry man-of-all-work, and flung the bottle into the bonfire.

"Oh, that medicine!" shrieked the matron. "And I made it myself, too!"

"It's them pesky boys, Mrs. Green! They be a-tormenting the life out of me."

"The boys?" The matron stopped short in wonder.

"Yes, mum. They've stolen my shoes and socks, and they started to brand me with a red-hot poker. I ain't got no fits, nur cramps, nur nuthin', I ain't!"

"Well, I declare!" burst out the thoroughly angry matron. "Tom Rover, come here!"

"Thank you, Mrs. Green, I'll come day after to-morrow!" murmured Tom, as he kept at a safe distance.

"Well, I guess you are all in this together," went on Mrs. Green, looking at the crowd of cadets. "It's your last night and I suppose you will tear the academy down over our ears."

"Why, Mrs. Green, we never do anything wrong," said Sam, reproachfully.

"Oh, no, of course not," was the sarcastic answer. "I'll be thankful to find myself alive after you are all gone." And with this reply the matron bounced off into the kitchen, where she slammed the door after her.

"Here are your shoes, Peleg," said George Granbury, as he handed them over.

"I want my socks first."

"Here you are," came from Larry Colby. As Larry's term as major was now over he was inclined to be as full of fun as anybody.

Peleg took his socks and his shoes and started to put on the former.

"Hullo, what's this!" he cried, and shook one foot violently. "What's in that sock! A grasshopper, I declare! Larry Colby, did you do that?"

"Why, Peleg, you know I never play any jokes," answered the ex-major, innocently.

"Don't I, though! But never mind." The general-utility man started to put on the other sock. "If you think--Great snakes, what's this? Oh, my foot! A hop-toad! Beastly!" And Peleg flung the toad at Larry. The ex-major dodged and the animal struck William Philander Tubbs full in the face.

"Oh, ah--what do you--ah--mean by such actions!" stormed the aristocratic cadet. "I shall report this."

"Hurrah, Tubby has gone into the frog-raising business," shouted Tom, merrily.

"I shan't put nuthin' on here," went on Peleg Snuggers, and watching his chance, he ran off at top speed, with his shoes in one hand and his socks in the other.