When recreation time approached, Paul would pass the sign to the ever ready "Stockie." Then down to the dark, cool pine woods to visit their "figure four" traps which they had set in different places to catch squirrels. This trap consisted of a square box placed on a piece of board and set with a little wooden trigger.
One day a professor called Stockie during recess and said: "As you are a good, swift runner, I want you to go over to the President's room and ask for his letters. I want to put them in the mail bag. The coach will be starting in a few minutes." The president was not in his room and Stockie availed himself of the chance to view the pictures hanging around the walls.
Stockie came also and told Paul that their crowd had discovered a tale-bearer in the person of a youth from Johnstown, Penn. He wound up by adding: "And how are we to fix him?" Paul answered mysteriously: "Leave it to me. I have it; bring me all the string you can find." From day to day Stockie produced liberal supplies of the desired article.
The bomb was at last completed and Stockie received a hint to keep his ears open for music that night. The little iron bed of the doomed talebearer was not far distant from Paul's, and between them was a stove in which burned a brisk fire every night to drive out the chill mountain air. When all were asleep, Paul slipped from his bed, and touched the fuse to the red hot side of the stove.
An investigation was made, Paul and Stockie were called to the president's room and interviewed regarding squirrels and their habits. After this, the study-hall was no longer disturbed by these little denizens of the forest. About the last time that Paul went swimming to Bruce's dam, a decayed thorn was driven into his foot, a portion of which he was unable to remove.
One day Stockie and Paul went to the woods at the bottom of a field that led by a gentle ascent to the farm house. They had with them a pillow-slip half full of oats. They were trying to induce a magnificent looking colt to approach them. The colt was shy, but the oats were tempting.
The pursuit was very close, for the president was sure from the tracks in the snow, that some of the boys were dodging him. Stockie and O'Meara broke for the shelter of another building; but Paul continued to dodge around the study hall. Once the president failed to appear at the expected corner.
Stockie made many fruitless attempts to unbutton his jacket, unbuttoning two buttons and buttoning one. At last the president's patience gave out and he rushed on his victim with the strap. Now, in the room was an old- fashioned bed, in which ropes were fastened from side to side, in lieu of slats. To escape the strap, Stockie dove under this bed.
To make it plain to you, I want every boy who did not raise his voice above a whisper after retiring last night to stand up." The first on their feet were Paul and Stockie, whose good example was followed without any exception by every boy in the school. The president was dumbfounded. He shook his head sadly. After a brief consultation with the professors he remarked.
Though strongly suspected, he escaped that time, the poor captive receiving a double dose. Stockie was generally unfortunate enough to get more than his share of punishment, but he was thoroughly loyal to his friends and never murmured. It was customary, when a boy had misbehaved himself or broken any rule, to send him to the president's room where either reprimand or a thrashing awaited him.