Dick Hamilton's Cadet Days/Chapter 11

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CHAPTER XI


DICK GIVES A SPREAD


The shock of the blow made Dutton stagger back, but he quickly regained his balance, and rushed at Dick, raising his foot to give him a kick.

"Hold on, that's not fair!" cried Paul. "Do you stand for that, Stiver?"

Stiver plainly wanted to side with Button, but there were cries of "Shame! That's not fair!" from several in the crowd and Dutton's second was forced to caution his man.

"Don't do that, Dutton," he said. "You can lick him with your fists."

"Yes, and I'll fix him, all right!" exclaimed the angry cadet captain.

Dick, who had stepped back, out of reach of his opponent's foot, now stood up to meet the rush of Dutton.

"There! I guess that will teach you to make insinuations about me!" spluttered the angry lad, as he aimed a fierce blow at Dick. Our hero easily dodged it, however, and countered with a stiff upper cut, which gave Dutton quite a jolt.

Dick was not quite quick enough in getting away, however, and received a blow on the chest, which he did not mind, much. Then Dutton closed in, and both boys exchanged several severe blows, but Dick had the best of it, for he had taken boxing lessons from an experienced instructor at home.

"Go in and do him!" called Dutton's friends.

"Stand up to him, Dick," advised Paul, in low tones at the conclusion of the first round. "You've got him going."

Dutton tried to be calm as he came up the second time, but he speedily lost his temper, as he saw how easily Dick parried his blows.

"Why don't you stand up and fight?" he asked.

"Why don't you hit me?" retorted Dick, as he tapped his antagonist on the nose, making it bleed slightly.

"I'll pay you for that!" cried Dutton, rushing forward.

"Not so loud!" cautioned Stiver. "You'll bring some of the professors down on us."

Once more Dick dodged a straight left hander, and, in return, sent in a terrific right, that caught Dutton on the point of the jaw. The cadet went down like a log, and lay still.

"You've knocked him out, Hamilton," remarked one of the older cadets, who acted as referee. "I congratulate you."

"Yes, he fought well," added another, but there was no heartiness in his tones, and, to Dick, it seemed almost as if they were sorry he had won.

For won he had, as Dutton did not arise. He had been fairly, but harmlessly, knocked out.

"Do you throw up the sponge?" asked Paul, of Stiver.

"I guess so," was the rather surly response. "Your man wins."

"I hope I didn't hurt him," said Dick. "I didn't mean to hit so hard, but he rushed right into it."

"You didn't hurt me!" suddenly exclaimed Dutton, as he struggled to his feet. "I'm game yet."

"You've had enough," said his second. "You can have another try later."

"I can do him," mumbled Dutton, but even his friends were forced to admit that he had been well beaten.

"Will you shake hands?" asked Dick, advancing toward his antagonist.

"No!" exclaimed Dutton, surlily.

A hot flush came to Dick's face, and he was about to turn away when, the older cadet, who had complimented him said:

"Shake hands, Dutton. Don't be a cad."

This was equivalent to a command, and Dutton grudingly complied.

"Do you think he will be better friends with you after this?" asked Paul, as he and Dick walked away together.

"I hope so, but I doubt it."

Dick was right. Though he had gained the victory he had whipped one of the most popular cadets, which Button was, in spite of his caddishness.

Our hero's victory took nothing away from the regard in which Dutton was held, while, as for Dick, save a few friends whom he had made among the younger lads, he was not admitted to the comradeship of the older cadets, to which place, of right, he belonged. The fight had not made him popular, as he had hoped it would, after he had won it, though the sporting element in the academy could not but admire his fistic abilities.

"I don't seem to be making much progress," remarked Dick to his roommate, one afternoon. "You have more friends than I have."

"Oh, I don't think so."

"Yes, you have. It would be different, if I was at home, but here, everyone seems to follow Dutton's lead, and turns a cold shoulder to me."

"Maybe you'll have more acquaintances next term."

"I doubt it. I wish I could get in with the fellows. They'll be making up the football eleven, soon, and I'd like a chance to play."

"Do you play?"

"I did at home. I was right half-back. But I don't s'pose I'll have any show here."

"I tell you what you might do," said Paul, after a pause. "Why don't you give a spread?"

"A spread?"

"Yes, a feast, you know. You can get permission to have it in one of the rooms, and you can invite a lot of the fellows. Several of the new fellows have done that, and some of them got proposed for membership in the Sacred Pig society."

This was one of the exclusive secret organizations of the academy, and Dick, as well as many others, wished to join. But one had to be invited to apply for membership, and only those students on whom the seal of approval was set by the older cadets had this honor.

"Do you think that would do any good?" asked Dick.

"It might."

"Then I'll try. Here's a chance where I can use some of my money. If this plan doesn't work, I have another that I'll spring."

"What is it?"

"Well, I don't want to say yet. I may want to get you to help me at it, though."

"I'll do anything I can."

"I know you will, Paul. I wish there were more like you."

Dick obtained permission from Colonel Masterly to give a spread in one of the barrack rooms, and he made elaborate preparations for it. A town caterer was given orders to supply a fine supper, and then Dick sent out his invitations. He included all the lads in his class, and every member of the so-called "sporting crowd."

"Are you going to invite Dutton?" asked Paul.

"Of course. I want him more than all the others. If he would drop his hard feelings we could be friends."

"After he tried to get you into trouble about your dog, and the firing of the cannon?"

"Do you think he did?"

"I'm sure of it, and so are lots of others."

"Captain Hayden can't seem to find out anything about it."

"No, because all of Button's cronies are keeping mum. But I'm sure he did it."

"Well, I'll forgive him, if he'll be friends. I got even by whipping him, I guess."

"Perhaps, though I don't believe he thinks so."

Dick received acceptances from nearly all the lads in his class, but regarding the others he heard nothing, and did not know whether they would come or not. He hoped they would—particularly Dutton and his chums.

On the afternoon of the evening on which Dick's spread was to come off, he met Button and Stiver on the campus.

"Let's see, isn't your spread to-morrow night?" asked Stiver, with studied carelessness.

"It's to-night," said Bick, pleasantly. "I hope you are both coming."

"I'll see," answered Stiver.

"Is there going to be anything to drink?" asked Dutton with a covert sneer.

"Lemonade," replied Dick promptly.

"Is that all? I should think a millionaire cadet like you would provide champagne; or at least beer."

"It's against the rules," said Dick.

"Then you'll have some cigars."

"No."

"Cigarettes then?"

"No."

"I suppose you'll give us malted milk and crackers," sneered Dutton, as he turned aside. "I don't think that will suit us. Eh, Stiver?"

"No indeed. I thought you wanted to be a sport, Hamilton?"

"I don't care about breaking rules," replied Dick. "Besides, I don't use tobacco or liquor."

"Ah, he's a regular Sunday school brand of millionaire," remarked Dutton, with a mean laugh. "He gives his money to the heathen, instead of buying cigars. Come on, Stiver."

At Dick's spread, that night, only a few freshmen came, and, though they tried to be jolly, the affair was a dismal failure, after the elaborate preparations that had been made. None of Dutton's friends came, and not a member of the sporting element.

"Dutton told 'em to stay away," said Paul, as he and Dick went to their room, after it was all over.

"I suppose so," answered Dick gloomily, and there was a heavy feeling in his heart, that the thought of all his wealth could not lighten.

He was beginning to realize what it meant to fulfill the conditions of his mother's will.