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In School and Out or, The Conquest of Richard Grant written by Oliver Optic who was a noted academic, author, and a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. This book was published in 1863. And now republish in ebook format. We believe this work is culturally important in its original archival form. While we strive to adequately clean and digitally enhance the original work, there are occasionally instances where imperfections such as missing pages, poor pictures or errant marks may have been introduced due to either the quality of the original work. Despite these occasional imperfections, we have brought it back into print as part of our ongoing global book preservation commitment, providing customers with access to the best possible historical reprints. We appreciate your understanding of these occasional imperfections, and sincerely hope you enjoy reading this book.
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In School and Out
or, The Conquest of Richard Grant.
CHAPTER I. RICHARD GRANT AND FRIEND GET INTO AN AWFUL SCRAPE.
CHAPTER II. RICHARD JUMPS OUT OF THE FRYING-PAN INTO THE FIRE.
CHAPTER III. RICHARD FINDS THAT NO CHASTENING SEEMETH TO BE JOYOUS.
CHAPTER IV. RICHARD MAKES A TREMENDOUS SENSATION AT WOODVILLE.
CHAPTER V. RICHARD IS DETERMINED TO BE REVENGED.
CHAPTER VI. RICHARD GIVES ANOTHER ILLUSTRATION OF SLEEP-WALKING.
CHAPTER VII. RICHARD KINDLES A LITTLE FIRE.
CHAPTER VIII. RICHARD BEHOLDS HOW GREAT A MATTER A LITTLE FIRE KINDLETH.
CHAPTER IX. RICHARD GOES TO THE TUNBROOK MILITARY INSTITUTE.
CHAPTER X. RICHARD LEARNS THE MEANING OF RIGHT ABOUT FACE.
CHAPTER XI. RICHARD GOES THROUGH THE DRILL, AND HAS A SET-TO IN THE GROVE.
CHAPTER XII. RICHARD DOES A "BIG THING," AND TAKES THE CONSEQUENCES.
CHAPTER XIII. RICHARD LISTENS TO A HOMILY ON FIGHTING, AND SPENDS THE NIGHT IN THE GUARD HOUSE.
CHAPTER XIV. RICHARD DOES GUARD DUTY, AND IS CAPTURED BY AN ENEMY.
CHAPTER XV. RICHARD FINDS HIMSELF IN THE HANDS OF THE REGULATORS.
CHAPTER XVI. RICHARD BECOMES FIRST SERGEANT OF COMPANY D.
CHAPTER XVII. RICHARD GIVES THE TUNBROOKERS A LESSON IN BOATING.
CHAPTER XVIII. RICHARD WINS ANOTHER RACE, AND TUNBROOK IS MUTINOUS.
CHAPTER XIX. RICHARD IS DETERMINED, AND SOME ALLUSION IS MADE TO "WATERMELONS."
CHAPTER XX. RICHARD VISITS GREEN ISLAND, AND THE REGULATORS CONSIDER THEIR PLANS.
CHAPTER XXI. RICHARD ANNIHILATES THE REGULATORS, AND THE STORY IS CONCLUDED.
RICHARD ON DRILL.
The second volume of the Woodville Stories contains the experience of Richard Grant, "in school and out." We are sorry to say that Richard had become a bad boy, and was in the habit of getting into the most abominable scrapes, some of which are detailed in the first chapters of this book. But he is not what is sometimes called a vicious boy, for he has many good qualities, which redeem him from absolute condemnation. There is something noble in his character, which is the germ of his ultimate salvation from the sins which so easily beset him.
Richard, like thousands of others, finds his strongest and most dangerous foe within his own heart; and the conquest he achieves is not a triumph of mind over matter, of force over force, but of principle over passion, of the good angels in the heart over the invading legion of evil ones.
Richard's experience is full of stirring incidents; and while the author hopes therein to realize the expectations of his partial young friends, he begs them to remember that these exciting events are only the canvas upon which he has endeavored to paint the great change wrought in the character of the hero. There is a moral in the story, and though the author has not attempted to "point" it, he hopes his young readers will feel it, even if they do not see it.
Again it affords me pleasure to acknowledge my indebtedness to my young friends for the kind reception given to my books. I trust that this, the twentieth volume of my "Stories for Young People," will not disappoint their hopes, or fail to improve their minds and hearts.
WILLIAM T. ADAMS.
Dorchester, Oct. 26, 1863.
"Now, steady as she is," said Sandy Brimblecom, who lay upon the half-deck of the Greyhound, endeavoring to peer through the darkness of a cloudy night, which had settled deep and dense upon the Hudson, and obscured every object on the shore. "Steady as she is, Dick, and we shall go in all right."
"Ay, ay; steady it is," replied Richard Grant, who was at the helm.
"Port a little! Port a little!" added Sandy, a few moments after, as he discovered the entrance of a little inlet, which was the destination of the Greyhound.
"Shut up your head, Sandy!" replied Richard, in a low but energetic tone. "You might as well publish our plan in the newspaper as speak as loud as that."
"Port a little more," said the lookout forward.
"What's the use of hallooing port?" answered Richard, impatiently. "Don't you see the mainsail shakes now?"
"You will be on the rocks in half a minute more."
"Let her go about, then, and we will get a little farther to windward before we try to run in."
The Greyhound came over on the other tack, and stood away from the shore a considerable distance. The wind was very light, and the current was against them; so the progress of the boat was necessarily very slow.
"Now, Sandy Brimblecom," said Richard, when the boat had made a third of the distance to the opposite shore, "we might as well go back to Woodville, and go to bed, as to attempt to carry this thing through, if you are going to bellow and yell like a mad bull."
"I didn't think I spoke very loud," replied Sandy.
"Didn't think so!" sneered Richard. "Any one might have heard you clear across the river."
"O, no, Dick; not so bad as that."
"You spoke too loud, at any rate, and you might as well go up and tell 'Old Batterbones' what we are about as talk half so loud as you did."
"Come, Dick, you have said enough," replied Sandy, who did not relish all the reflections that were cast upon his conduct.
"You are as stupid as an owl; I thought you had some common sense."
"That'll do, Dick; I don't want any more of that kind of blarney; and if you don't shut up, you or I will get a black eye."
Richard did not seem to have much doubt which of them would obtain this ornamental tinting of the physiognomy, for he immediately changed his tone, and did not venture to apply any more unpleasant epithets to his companion. Sandy had obtained some reputation as a fighting character, and was virtually the champion of the ring among the boys in the vicinity of Whitestone.
"Now be more careful, this time, Sandy," said Richard, as he put the boat about upon the other tack.
"Don't give me any more lip, Dick, and I will do any thing you want," replied Sandy, mollified by the altered tones of his friend.
"Don't get mad; we have no time to quarrel, if we mean to put this thing through to-night."
"I am ready to put it through, but I have no notion of being treated like a slave or a fool," said Sandy, as he lay down upon the half-deck, and began to gaze into the gloom ahead of the boat. "Luff a little," he added, as he discovered the dim outline of the shore.
"Luff, it is."
This time, both boys spoke in a low tone, and the want of harmony which a few moments before had threatened to break up the enterprise, and end in a game of rough and tumble, was removed. The Greyhound, under the skilful management of Richard,—for there was not a better sailor of his years on the Hudson,—was thrown into the inlet without touching the rocks which lay at the entrance.
Sandy, with the painter in his hand, jumped ashore, and made fast to a small tree on the bank. Neither of the boys spoke a loud word, and Richard carefully brailed up the sails, so that their flapping should not attract the attention of any person who might be in the vicinity.
"Now, Dick, if you will follow me, I will lead you up to Old Batterbones' garden," whispered Sandy, when the sail boat had been properly secured.
"I will follow you. Have you got the bag?"
Richard followed his companion up the steep bank of the river, across a field, till they came to a fence, where they paused to reconnoitre.
"Now be careful, Sandy," whispered Richard, nervously, "for I wouldn't be caught in this scrape for the best hundred dollars that ever was."
"I don't want to be caught any more than you do," replied Sandy.
"Well, it won't make so much difference with you as it will with me."
"Won't it! Don't you think my neck is worth as much to me as yours is to you?"
"I don't mean that, of course. Your father is a carpenter, and people won't think half so much of it if you are caught, as they would in my case."
"My father never was in the Tombs if he is a carpenter," growled Sandy.
"That's mean," said Richard. "You know he was put there for nothing at all."
"It isn't half so mean as what you said. If you think you are so much better than I am, what did you ask me to come with you for?"
"I don't think I am any better than you are."
"Yes, you do; and you may go ahead with the game; I won't go any farther."
"Don't back out, Sandy. Have you got scared?"
"I'm not scared; you are too big for your boots."
"No, no, Sandy, I didn't mean any thing of the sort."
"Didn't you say it wouldn't make as much difference with me as with you, if we got caught?"
"I only meant that people would talk more about me than they would about you."
"Perhaps they would, and perhaps they wouldn't. In my opinion, I'm as good as you are, any day."
"Of course you are; I never doubted it. Come, Sandy, we've run together too long to fall out now."
"I don't want to fall out, or back out; but I don't want to be snubbed, every ten minutes, about my father's being a carpenter."
"I won't say another word, Sandy. I didn't mean any thing."
"All right, my boy. I don't live in a big house, and my father isn't rich; but I'm just as good as any other fellow, for all that. If you didn't mean any thing, I'm satisfied."
"If I thought you were not as good as I am, of course I shouldn't go with you."
This conversation was carried on in a very low tone, while the boys were seated by the fence. When Sandy's injured honor was healed, and the son of the rich broker of Woodville had acknowledged that the other was his equal, they were again ready to proceed with the business of the enterprise. Richard was not content with the homage which his companions could render without any sacrifice of self-respect, but he exacted the right not only to command them, but also to be indulged in the use of opprobrious epithets.
Sandy, as the "bully" of his circle, could not quietly submit to the domineering style of the rich man's son. He was willing, for the sake of sharing in the "loaves and fishes," which Richard had to distribute, to compromise far enough to be ordered in a gentlemanly way; but he would not tolerate any invidious comparisons. Richard had a fine boat, and Sandy was very fond of sailing, which made him sacrifice some portion of his dignity as the champion of the ring. Richard was usually well supplied with money, which was a scarce article with the son of the journeyman carpenter, and boys bow down to the Mammon of this world, as well as men.
Richard patronized Sandy because his hard fist and abundant muscle rendered him a powerful and influential person. It was easier to buy the champion than it was to whip him, and the broker's son had conquered the bully by paying for the oysters at Bob Bleeker's saloon in Whitestone, and by permitting him to use the Greyhound when he wished. Richard had a great respect for muscle. If Sandy Brimblecom's father had chosen to pursue his peaceful avocation in any other locality than Whitestone, Richard Grant might have been the champion of the "P.R." The advent of Sandy had produced a fight, in which Richard, though he behaved to the satisfaction of all his friends and supporters, was severely punished. His friends called it a drawn battle; but Richard did not think it advisable to have the question definitely settled, and Sandy was acknowledged as the champion.
Richard respected the boy he could not whip, and they had become friends, or, at least, associates. It is scarcely necessary to inform the intelligent young readers of this book, that the moral standard of both boys was very low; for those who can fight simply to find out which is "the better man," have a very inadequate conception of what constitutes true dignity and nobility of character. "Muscle" and "backbone"—fighting ability and courage—in a good cause, are to be respected, and men and boys will always pay them due homage; but fighting for its own sake is mean, low-lived business—the most vicious of vices.
Sandy was satisfied with the explanation of his patron, and rising from his seat under the fence, he looked over into the garden, and listened for any sounds which might indicate an obstacle in the way of the enterprise; but not a sound could be heard except the chirping of the crickets and the piping of the frogs. With a great deal of care, he climbed to the top of the fence, and then listened again.
"Does he keep a dog?" whispered Richard.
"I don't know; I don't care, either," replied Sandy, as he dropped from the fence into the garden.
Richard climbed over with the same caution which his companion had used, and after following him for some distance, reached a patch of watermelons, which appeared to be the destination of this night expedition.
"Get down on the ground!" whispered Sandy, who had already prostrated himself. "You will blow the whole thing if you stand up there."
"Open the bag, and let's fill it up quick!" replied Richard, as he picked a large melon from the vines, and handed it to the other.
"What's the use of picking such a melon in that?" snarled Sandy. "It isn't ripe. Can't you tell the ripe ones by the feeling?"
"No; I can't."
"Stick your thumb nail into them. Here, you take the bag, and I will pick them. We don't want to lug off melons that are good for nothing."
Richard took the bag, and placed the fruit in it as fast as Sandy gathered it. In a few moments the bag was full, and the young marauders commenced their retreat with all the haste which a proper caution would permit. The bag was large and heavy, and it required their united strength to carry it.
The garden proved to be something like an eel trap—it was easy enough to get into it, but very difficult to get out. Near the melon patch there was a piece of corn, by the side of which lay their path out of the enclosure. They had gone but a short distance when they heard a rustling in the corn behind them, and before they could make out the cause of the noise, a strong hand grasped the collar of each of them.
"We've caught you, my lads!" exclaimed one of the men, who had seized Richard.
It was an awful scrape: so thought the broker's son; and Sandy, notwithstanding the difference in their social standing, was of the same opinion.
Richard Grant was the son of a rich man, but he was neither any better nor any worse for this circumstance. He had been in a great many sad scrapes before the one in which the reader now finds him. It was not the first time he had taken that which did not belong to him.
In his father's garden there was an abundance of watermelons, and he had always been plentifully supplied with all the fruits in their season. He had, therefore, no excuse for stealing melons. There could be no excuse, under any circumstances, for stealing. He did not need them; he did not even want them.
But Richard was fond of exciting adventures, and it was simply the love of fun which had prompted him to visit the garden of Mr. Batterman. I hope none of my young friends will think this even palliated his offence. If he did not have the motive which actuates the common thief, he was certainly more to blame than if he had needed or wanted the product of his theft. Stealing for fun cannot be any better than stealing from the love of gain, or to provide for one's necessities.
Richard Grant is the hero of this volume; but I shall not wink at any of his vices or inconsistencies on this account. That he may not be utterly despised, however, I may say of him that he had a great many redeeming qualities. He was generous to a fault, and his impulses were generally worthy and noble. He was ready to give to the needy, and to fight for the oppressed. He was kind-hearted, and nothing but the love of sport could induce him to violate the rights, or injure the feelings, of others. He lived upon excitement, and was not always very choice of the means which he used to procure it.
Richard's father had not been able to bestow that care upon his moral education which his temperament required. He needed discipline, and the want of it was seen in his daily life. Mr. Grant was conscious of the boy's needs, and he frequently talked to him about his vicious course; but words did not supply the want; he required a more active treatment.
Sandy Brimblecom was as little disturbed by his conscience as his more wealthy companion. As long as he could stand upon an equality with an heir of Woodville, he was satisfied to let all moral questions take care of themselves. The two boys who sailed in the Greyhound on the eventful night of their introduction to the reader, were well mated in every respect. Either was ready to follow the lead of the other, without asking whether he was doing right or wrong. If there was any fun to be had out of the enterprise, both were ready to engage in it.
They had got into a bad scrape this time, for Mr. Batterman had the reputation of being a very hard man. He had suffered a great deal from the depredations of fruit thieves. He carried on a large business in raising fruit and vegetables for the New York market. It was not pastime to him, but bread and butter—the means by which he supported his family and accumulated his property. Those who stole fruit from his gardens robbed him of so much of his income; and he was not in the humor to submit to these exactions.
In several instances he had taken these petty marauders before the courts, and caused them to be fined; but as this course did not remove the evil, he had taken the law in his own hands, and severely punished some of the juvenile offenders. For this reason, among the boys he was called "Old Batterbones," which was only a slight corruption of his real name.
Of course Richard and Sandy had no idea of being caught when they embarked in this plundering expedition. They had taken extraordinary precautions to prevent such a catastrophe; but the farmer was constantly on the watch, and they had fallen into the trap which he had set not specially for them, but for any who might invade his grounds with malicious intent.
RICHARD IN TROUBLE.
The person who held Richard by the collar, and whose finger nails had already left their marks upon his neck, was no less a person than "Old Batterbones" himself; and from the manner in which he shook his prisoner, he seemed determined to make good his title to the sobriquet the boys had given him. The person who held Sandy in his grasp was the farmer's foreman, who fully sympathized with his employer in his views of discipline.
Richard struggled, and Sandy struggled; but they might as well have attempted to escape from the grip of an iron vise. The farmer and his man held them fast; and the more their prisoners squirmed, the more they shook them, and the more they seemed to enjoy the satisfaction of shaking and choking them.
"We've caught you, my lads," said Mr. Batterman several times.
"Let go of me," growled Richard, his anger fully aroused by the rough treatment he was receiving.
"I'll let go, you young villain, when I've done with you, but not before. I'll teach you to steal my melons; and then you can go home and tell your father how it is done," replied the farmer, as he twisted the cravat of the poor boy till he could hardly breathe.
Sandy, finding that any violent resistance was hopeless, submitted to his fate with the best grace he could command; but he only waited his chance for something to turn up that would afford him an opportunity to escape. He intended to use his wits, rather than his muscle, on this occasion; and his prudence saved him from some portion of the hard usage that was bestowed upon his companion in misery.
"Keep cool, Dick," said he, in a low tone, when he saw that his friend was wasting his strength and adding to his discomfort by useless resistance to the fiat of destiny.
Richard profited by this hint; and when he became calm and reasonable, the farmer relaxed his grasp, and permitted him to breathe with more freedom.
"Who are they, Bates?" asked the farmer of his foreman.
"I don't know them; it is so dark I can't make them out," replied Bates.
"We'll take them up to the barn, and see what they look like."
"They have been here before, I think," added the foreman. "I am pretty sure I saw them the other night."
"No, you didn't," said Richard, testily. "I never was here before."
"Perhaps you never was, my boys; but when chaps like you go far enough to steal, you don't stand about a lie or two to cover it up. Now, boys, you may take up that bag, and carry it to the barn."
"I won't carry it," said Richard, promptly.
"Won't you?" And the farmer again applied the twisting process to his cravat, till the boy's strength was almost gone from the choking sensation.
"Let go of me! You'll choke me to death!" gasped Richard, who had never before been so roughly handled.
"Will you carry the bag up to the barn, then?" demanded Mr. Batterman, as he eased off the pressure upon the prisoner's throat.
"No, I won't!" replied Richard.
"Now, I think you will," said the farmer, as he resumed the torture.
"Come, Dick, we may as well do it. It is no use to kick; we are in for it, and you had better make the best of it," interposed Sandy, who was disposed to get off as cheaply as he could.
"I won't touch the bag! I'll die first!" gasped Richard, whose rage had now reached the boiling point, and there was no more reason in him than in a mad dog.
"He's a hard one," suggested Bates.
"But he shall come to it, or I'll break every bone in his body," answered the farmer.
Richard, insane with passion, and choking with rage as well as from the discipline of Mr. Batterman, commenced a tremendous struggle for freedom and self-preservation. He sprang towards his captor in an ineffectual attempt to hit him, or to scratch out his eyes with his finger nails. Failing in his efforts in this direction, he began to use his heels as vigorously as a three-year old colt, and succeeded in planting two or three hard kicks upon the shins of the farmer.
Mr. Batterman was a large and powerful man, and the efforts of Richard were as puny as those of a lamb in the fangs of the lion. He foamed and struggled till his strength was exhausted, and his conqueror permitted him to drop upon the ground.
"You've killed him," said Sandy, very much alarmed at the apparent fate of his friend.
"If I have, that's his business, not mine," answered the farmer, without betraying any remorse at what he had done.
But Richard was not killed, or even very badly injured. The choking had deprived him of all his strength; but a few minutes' respite from persecution restored him in a great measure, and he attempted to get up, when he was promptly seized by the farmer again.
"Will you carry the bag up to the barn, or will you try some more of the same sort?" asked Mr. Batterman, in a tone which fully indicated his intention to resume his harsh treatment.
"I can't carry it," replied Richard, in an altered tone, which was, at least, suggestive of a "caving in" of his obdurate will.
"You carried it very well before you were caught, and perhaps you can again," sneered the farmer.
"Come, Dick, take hold of the bag," said Sandy. "It's no use."
"I wasn't brought up to do that kind of work," replied Richard, whose pride, quite as much as his self-will, prompted him to refuse to do the degrading office.
"Take your choice, and be quick," said Mr. Batterman, preparing to apply his disciplinary powers again. "Take hold of the bag at once, or I'll shake the life out of you."
Richard could not stand another dose of the farmer's exhausting medicine, and he sullenly seized the bag, while Sandy took hold of the other side. Bates and the farmer kept close to them, so that there was no chance to break away. After changing hands several times, they reached the barn, and placed the melons in the position designated by their tormentors.
"Now, who are you?" asked the farmer, when they had disposed of the bag.
"None of your business," answered Richard, in a low, sullen tone.
"You haven't got enough of it yet. Bates, bring the lantern, and fetch a cowhide with you, while you are about it."
Richard did not like the sound of this last order. It was ominous of a painful and degrading operation, a process of discipline to which he had never before been subjected. The idea of being whipped was almost as terrible as that of being shot through the head or heart.
"Will you tell me your name, young man?" demanded the farmer, when the foreman had gone. "Let me inform you in the beginning, that I am in no humor to be trifled with. You can answer me or not, just as you think best."
"I would rather not tell my name," replied Richard, in a subdued tone.
The son of the rich broker of Woodville had conscientious scruples on this point; for though he did not scruple to commit the theft, he was fully alive to the disgrace of being exposed. The good name, the worldly reputation of his family, seemed to be of more value than a conscience void of offence before Him who readeth all hearts. To speak of the sin of the act was but to utter trite and commonplace words, which could be found in any cheap catechism; but to mention the disgrace attending the exposure of that sin, was to touch him where he was keenly sensitive.
"You must tell me your name," said Mr. Batterman, firmly. "What is your name?" he added, turning to Sandy, whom he now held with one hand.
"Sanderson Brimblecom," answered he, for he had no family reputation to guard.
"Now, yours?" said he to Richard.
The broker's son made no reply. He had now too much respect for Mr. Batterman to irritate him with words, and too much respect for the name he bore to connect it with the theft he had committed. He waited in silence till Bates came with the lantern.
"Tell him who you are, Dick," said Sandy, when Bates appeared with the lantern. "What's the use of trying to cover up your name, when the light will blow the whole thing?"
"Well, Dick," added the farmer, adopting the name Sandy had used, "if you don't tell me who you are, I shall see what virtue there is in that cowhide."
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