When Reff Ritter heard about the accidents he shrugged his shoulders and tossed his head. "That's what they get for crowding us out of the carryall," he said to Coulter and Paxton, who roomed with him. "Yes, and it serves 'em right," grumbled Coulter. "That's what!" chimed in Paxton. It was not until two days later that Andy Snow felt like himself again.
"What did you and Reff quarrel about, Gus?" asked Pepper. "We quarreled about about Oh, I don't know how I can speak of it! But I suppose I've got to, if I want to remain honest. We quarreled over something I found one day in his private box. I got suspicious of him, and when he was taking a nap I took his key and opened the box. And in the box what do you suppose I found?"
As soon as Josiah Crabtree had departed a lively discussion commenced between the followers of the young major and of Reff Ritter. Only a few had seen the start of the quarrel and knew that it had been provoked entirely by the bully. "I'm afraid I am in for it," said Jack, dismally, to Fred. "Ritter will do his best to make out that it was all my fault."
As a consequence he lost the most of his wealth, and some folks who had bought mining stock from him came close to having him arrested for fraud. It was that state of affairs that made Reff give up his trip to the Adirondacks and go home. I got it from some close friends that the Ritters were almost cleaned out, and that Mr. Ritter wanted Reff to give up school and go to work. But Mrs.
"I'll go, Reff!" cried Mumps. "So will I!" added a cadet named White. "All right, jump aboard," cried the bully, and Mumps and White lost no time in doing as bidden. "Where do you want to race to?" asked Fred. "Up to Dorsett's Point and back." "All right. Are you ready?" "Yes." "Then let her go!" yelled the owner of Skimmer; and in a moment the iceboat race had started.
Ritter was too proud and insisted that Reff be returned to Putnam Hall. So he is back." "Well, that certainly is hard luck," returned Fred. "I wonder if Coulter and Paxton will stick to him, now he is poor? My notion of it was, Coulter stuck to him mainly for what he could get out of it, he not having much spending money of his own."
Do you think he had something to do with your being thrown from the horse?" "No, not with being thrown from the horse, Reff. But, if you'll remember, when I came to my senses my watch was gone, also my stickpin and eight dollars in bills." "And you think that man took them?" questioned Reff Ritter, in a voice that sounded strained. "I won't say that until I know more about the man.
"This is Jack Ruddy's sloop; you have no right to touch her." "Aw, you shut up." "I'll not shut up, Reff Ritter. If you make another mark on this boat I'll have you locked up!" "Humph! you think you've got the best of me, don't you?" sneered the bully, but his manner showed that he was considerably disconcerted.
"I've got as much right here, Ritter, as you have!" retorted the young major, sharply. "Don't you knock me again like that." "I will if you get in my way." "If you do, you'll take the consequences." "Bah! Don't you try to dictate to me, Jack Ruddy!" growled Reff Ritter. "You got the best of me last term, but you'll not get the best of me this term, I'll tell you that!" "Phew!
"Well, I can testify that Ritter hit you first, and Pepper and Brown can do so, too," answered Fred. "Reff will get Coulter and Paxton to back him up." "But they weren't on hand when the quarrel started." "That is true but they'll stick up for Reff, see if they don't." "I sincerely trust that Captain Putnam doesn't take away your majorship, Jack."