“A tie! A tie!” was the cry.
“Well done, Larson!” came from Lew Flapp, but he was by no means satisfied over the showing made.
Being tied, it was necessary for Tom and Larson to throw once more, and again Tom took his position at the mark.
“Be careful, Tom,” whispered Dick. “Take your time.”
Again the hammer swung up into the air and went sailing forward.
“Hurrah, eight inches beyond his first mark!” came the cry.
“Larson will have to hump himself to beat that!”
It was now Larson’s turn and he stepped to the mark with a quick, earnest air. He realized that he must do his best if he expected to beat Tom.
Jackson had picked up the hammer and he it was who had handed the article to Tom.
As Larson swung the hammer on high Tom cried out quickly:
“What’s the matter with you?” cried Jackson uglily.
“I want Captain Putnam to examine that hammer.”
“There ain’t nothing wrong with it.”
“Possibly not. But please remember that I used the one marked A.”
“So did I,” came from Powell.
Captain Putnam brushed forward.
“I will look at that hammer, please,” he said to Larson quietly. He knew that the cadets had several hammers for practicing throwing in the camp.
“I—I guess it’s all right,” faltered Larson. “This hammer is marked B.”
“B!” cried Tom. “That B hammer is about half a pound lighter than the one marked A.”
“It ain’t so!” yelled Jackson.
“Let me see the hammer marked A,” said the captain, and it was brought from the spot where Jackson had thrown it. “It is certainly heavier than this one,” he went on. “Jackson, what do you mean by making such a substitution?”
“I—er—I didn’t know there was any difference.”
“But why did you make the change at all?”
“I—er—I knew Larson liked this hammer better. The handle just suits him.”
“That is so,” replied Larson blandly.
“We will try the contest over again,” said Captain Putnam. “And every contestant will use the hammer marked A.”
“I don’t like the hammer marked A,” grumbled Larson.
“I would just as lief use the hammer marked B,” said Tom quickly.
“So would I,” added Powell, who felt he could not win anyway.
“Very well then, we will use the hammer marked B,” said Captain Putnam. “And after this, Jackson, be sure of what you are doing,” he added sharply, and at the words the boy who had tried to work such a mean trick was glad enough to slink back out of sight as much as possible.
WINNING THE CONTESTS
Powell was again the first to throw the hammer and this time it went two feet beyond his first mark.
“Good for you, Songbird!” said Tom. “I wish you had made it a yard.”