“Stop your roasting,” laughed Tom joyfully. “But say, it does seem good to set eyes on you again, after two years.”
All of our readers who have read the “High School Boys Series” and the “West Point Series” know all about Dick Prescott, the famous leader of Dick & Co.
“What are you now?” Tom asked eagerly. “A general, or only a colonel?”
“Nothing but a shavetail,” laughed Dick. “Shavetail is the army nickname for a second lieutenant.”
“I’ve got to join my regiment, the Thirty-fourth Infantry, out in Colorado very soon,” continued Prescott. “But I came down here to spend a few days with you, if you can stand me.”
“If we can stand you!” chuckled Tom, patting his old high school chum on the back. “Say, where’s Greg?”
Greg Holmes had been another member of Dick & Co., and Dick’s chum and comrade at West Point.
“Well, you see,” laughed Lieutenant Prescott, “Greg has been falling in love with six girls a year regularly ever since he entered West Point. Now that he’s in the army he has started in to increase the yearly average. He’s visiting a Miss Deering, who lives near Chicago.”
“Greg’s likely never to marry,” wisely remarked Tom. “These fellows who catch a new love fever every few weeks always end up by finding that no girl wants them. But say, Dick you hardly look the soldier.”
“Well, one would expect to see an army officer in uniform, you know.”
“An officer rarely travels in uniform, unless on duty with troops,” explained Dick.
“How did you like West Point?”
“Fine!” said Dick, grimly. “It was like four years in prison, only more so. When I look back I shudder at the incessant grind I had to endure there. Yet I’m going to be happy, now I’m through, for I couldn’t be happy anywhere except in the United States Army.”
“What crazy notions some folks have of happiness,” murmured Tom, mockingly. “However, old fellow, we’re not going to fight, are we? Now, hustle over to the house. Harry is sleeping at the present moment, but I won’t let him have a wink more of sleep to-night. It’s getting toward daylight, anyway, and too much sleep isn’t good for a fellow. But don’t talk above a whisper, Dick, when we get near the house. I don’t want Harry, by any chance, to catch a sound of your voice until he comes out on the porch and runs into you.”
Chatting away in low tones the two old-time high school chums gained the porch.
“Now, just stay here,” whispered Tom, then strode into the house. He entered his partner’s room, gripping the slumber-seized Hazelton with a strong clasp.
“Oh, quit your fooling!” protested a sleepy voice from the pillow.
“Time to get up, you slant-eyed rations stealer!” muttered Tom gruffly. “Come on. You’re needed, and there’s no time to be lost. Up with you!”