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CHAPTER VII


HOW JOB HASKERS WENT SLEIGH-RIDING


On the instant the noise in Dormitory No. 12 came to an end. Shadow Hamilton dropped the chair and sat upon it and Luke Watson swung his banjo out of sight under a bedspread. Dave remained on one knee, picking up the books that had been scattered.

"You—you young rascals!" spluttered Job Haskers, when he could speak. "How dare you throw books at me?"

He glared around at the students, then strode into the dormitory and caught Dave by the shoulder.

"I say how dare you throw books at me?" he went on.

"I haven't thrown any books, Mr. Haskers," answered Dave, calmly.

"What!"

"I threw that book, Mr. Haskers," said Roger, promptly. "But I didn't throw it at you."

"Ahem! So it was you, Master Morr! Nice proceedings, I must say. Instead of going to bed you all cut up like wild Indians. This must be stopped. Every student in this room will report to me to-morrow after school. I will take down your names." The teacher drew out a notebook and began to write rapidly. "Who knocked over that stand?"

"I did," answered Shadow. "It was an—er—an accident."

"Who was making that awful noise dancing?"

"I was dancing," answered Sam. "But I don't think I made much noise."

"It is outrageous, this noise up here, and it must be stopped once and for all. Now go to bed, all of you, and not another sound, remember!" And with this warning. Job Haskers withdrew from the room, closing the door sharply after him.

"Now we are in a mess!" muttered Roger.

"Isn't it—er—dreadful!" lisped Polly Vane, who had taken no part in the proceedings, but had been looking over Dave's book on polar explorations.

"He'll give us extra lessons for this," grumbled Roger. "Just wait and see."

The next day the weather remained fine, and a number of the students went out coasting on a hill running down to the river. Dave and his friends wished they could go along, as both Sam and Ben had big bobs capable of carrying six boys each. But after the school session they had to report to Job Haskers, and he kept them in until supper-time, doing examples in arithmetic.

"Say, Dave, we ought to square up for this," said Phil. "See what a lot of fun coasting we've missed."

"Just what I say," added the senator's son. "We must get even with old Haskers somehow."

"Remember the time we put the ram in his room?" said Sam, with a grin.

"Yes, and the time we put the bats in," added Phil. "My, but didn't that cause a racket!"

"Let us put something else in his room this time," said Ben.

"Oh, that's old," answered Dave. "We ought to hit on something new."

"If we could only play some joke on him outside of the academy," said the senator's son.

"He is going to Oakdale to-night; I heard him mention it to Mr. Dale."

"Did he say when he would be back?"

"Yes—not later than eleven o'clock."

"Maybe we can have some fun with him on his return," said Dave. "I'll try to think up something."

They watched and saw Job Haskers leave the Hall dressed in his best. He drove off in a cutter belonging to Doctor Clay. But he had hardly reached the gateway of the grounds when he turned around and came back again.

"Forgotten something, I suppose," said Dave, who had been watching.

Job Haskers ran up the steps of the Hall and disappeared.

"Come, Roger, quick!" cried Dave. "We'll unhook the horse!"

The senator's son understood, and in a trice he followed Dave outside. It was rather dark, so they were unobserved. With great rapidity they unhooked the traces and unbuckled the straps around the shafts. Fortunately the horse did not move.

"Wait, we'll fix up the seat for him," said Dave, and lifting the cushion he placed some snow and ice beneath. "That will make things warm for him."

"I'll put a cake of ice in the bottom, too, for his feet," said the senator's son, with a grin, and did so, covering it partly with the lap-robe. Then the lads hurried into the school.

Soon Job Haskers came from the Hall with a small packet in his hand. The boys watched from some side windows and saw him leap into the cutter. He took up the reins.

"Get ap!" he chirped to the horse, and gave a quick jerk on the lines.

The steed did as bidden and began to move out of the shafts of the cutter. At first Job Haskers could not believe the evidence of his eyesight.

"Hi! hold up!" he yelled. "What the mischief! Who did——" And then his remarks came to a sudden end. He tried to hold the horse back, but could not, and in a twinkling he was dragged over the dashboard and landed head first in the snow of the road. Then the horse, no doubt startled at the unusual proceedings, started off on a trot, dragging the teacher after him.

"Whoa, I say! Whoa there!" spluttered Job Haskers. "Whoa!" and he tried to regain his feet, only to plunge down once more, this time on his face. Then he let go the reins and the horse trotted off, coming to a halt near the campus gateway.

If ever there was an angry man that individual was Job Haskers. He had intended to make an evening call on some ladies, and had spent considerable time over his toilet. Now his beautiful expanse of white shirt front was wet and mussed up and he had a goodly quantity of snow down his back.

"Who did this? Who did this?" he cried, dancing around in his rage. "Oh, if I only catch the boy who did this, I will punish him well for it."

He looked around sharply, and at that moment a student chanced to come around the corner of the Hall, on the way to the gymnasium building. Job Haskers leaped towards him and caught him roughly by the shoulder.

"Ha! I have you, you young imp!" he cried. "How dare you do such a thing to me! How dare you!" And he shook the boy as a dog shakes a rat.

"St—top!" spluttered the pupil, in consternation and alarm. "Stop, I say! I—I Oh, Mr. Haskers, let up, please! Don't shake me to pieces!"

"Well, I never!" whispered Dave to Phil and Roger.

"Who is it?"

"Nat Poole."

"Oh my! but he's catching it right enough," chuckled the senator's son.

"Will unharness my horse!" went on Job Haskers. "Will throw me on my head in the snow! Oh, you imp!" And he continued to shake poor Nat until the latter's teeth rattled.

"I—I won't stand this!" cried Nat at last, and struck out blindly, landing a blow on the teacher's ear.

"Ha! so you dare to strike me!" spluttered Job Haskers. "I—I——"

"Let go! I haven't done anything!" roared Nat. "Let go, or I'll kick!"

Now, the assistant teacher did not fancy being kicked, so he dropped his hold and Nat Poole speedily retreated to a safe distance.

"You unharnessed my horse——" began Job Haskers.

"I never touched your horse—I don't know anything about your horse," exploded Nat.

"Didn't I catch you?"

"I just came from the library. I left a pair of skates in the gym., and I was going to get them. I've been in the library for half an hour," went on the dude of the school. "It's an outrage the way you've treated me. I am going to report it to Doctor Clay." And he started for the front door of the school.

"Wait! Stop!" called Job Haskers, in sudden alarm. "Do you mean to say you know absolutely nothing about this?"

"No, I don't."

"Somebody came out here while I was in the Hall and unharnessed the horse."

"Well, it wasn't me, and you had no right to pounce on me as you did," grumbled Nat Poole. "I am going to report it to Doctor Clay."

"Stop! I—er—if I made a mistake, Poole, I am sorry for it," said the teacher, in a more subdued tone. "Have you any idea who could have played this trick on me?"

"No, and I don't care," snorted the dudish pupil. "I am going to report to the doctor and see If he will allow an innocent pupil to be handled like a tramp." And off marched Nat Poole, just as angry as Job Haskers.

"Good for Nat," whispered Phil. "I hope he does report old Haskers."

"We must look out that we are not caught," answered Dave. "How funny it did look when Haskers went over the dashboard!" And he laughed merrily.

The boys took themselves to a safe place in the lower hallway. They saw Nat Poole come in and march straight for Doctor Clay's office. The master of the Hall was in, and an animated discussion lasting several minutes took place. Then the doctor came out to interview Job Haskers, who in the meantime had caught the horse and was hooking him up once more.

"Mr. Haskers, what does this mean?" asked the doctor, in rather a cold tone. "Master Poole says you attacked him and shook him without provocation."

"Somebody has been playing a trick on me—I thought it was Poole," was the reply, and the teacher told what had happened. "Just look at that shirt, and my back is full of snow!"

The doctor looked and was inclined to smile. But he kept a straight face.

"Certainly nobody had a right to play such a trick," said he. "But you shouldn't punish Poole for what he didn't do. You are altogether too hasty at times, Mr. Haskers."

"Am I? Well, perhaps; but some of the boys here need a club, and need it badly, too!"

"I do not agree with you. They like a little fun, but that is only natural. Occasionally they go a little too far, but I do not look to a clubbing as a remedy."

"I wish I could find out who played this trick on me."

"Don't you think you owe Poole an apology?"

"An apology?" gasped Job Haskers. Such a thing had never occurred to him.

"Yes. You are certainly in the wrong."

"I'll apologize to nobody," snapped the teacher.

"Well, after this you be more careful as to how you attack my students," said Doctor Clay, severely. "Otherwise, I shall have to ask you to resign your position."

Some sharp words followed, and in the end Job Haskers drove off feeling decidedly humble. He could not afford to throw up his contract with the doctor, and he was afraid that the latter might demand his resignation. But he was very angry, and the discovery of the ice and snow in the cutter, later on, did not tend to make his temper any sweeter.

"I'll find out who did this!" he muttered to himself. "And when I do, I'll fix him, as sure as my name is Job Haskers." But he never did find out; and there the incident came to an end. The boys thought they had had fun enough for one night, and so did not watch for the teacher's return to Oak Hall.