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open an account, we might as well do it now, don't you think?"
Polly retired behind a counter and produced a long and narrow book, from which dangled a lead-pencil at the end of a string. She put the tip of the pencil between her lips and looked across. “You 'd better tell me your full names, I think.”
"Edward Anderson Turner and
"Oh! Edward and Laurence. You can charge us each with two bottles and one cake."
"I like that!” scoffed Laurie. “Thought you were treating to cakes?”
"Huh! Don't you want to help Miss Comfort? I should think you 'd like to-to do a charitable act once in awhile."
"Don't see what difference it makes to her," grumbled Laurie, "whether you pay for both or I pay for one. She gets her money just the same."
Ned brushed a crumb from his jacket. "You don't get the idea," he replied gently. “Of course, I might pay for both, but you would n't feel right about it, Laurie."
“Would n't I? Where do you get that stuff? You try it and see." Laurie spoke grimly, but not hopefully. Across the counter, Polly was giggling over the accountbook.
“You 're the funniest boys I ever did see,” she explained, in answer to their inquiring looks. “You-you say such funny things!"
Before she could elucidate, footsteps sounded in the room behind the store and a tiny white-haired woman appeared. In spite of her hair, she could n't have been very old, for her face was plump and unwrinkled and her cheeks quite rosy. Seeing the customers, she bowed prettily and said “Good afternoon” in a very sweet voice.
“Good afternoon," returned the twins.
“Mama, these are the Turner boys,” said Polly. “One of them is Ned and the other is Laurie, but I don't know which, because they look just exactly alike. They--they 're twins!”
"I want to know!" said Mrs. Deane. "Is n't that nice? I'm very pleased to meet you, young gentlemen. I hope Polly has served you with what you wanted. My stock is kind of low just now. You see, we don't have many customers in summer, and it's very hard to get things, nowadays, even if you do pay three times what they're worth. Polly, those ice-cream cones never did come, did they?"
“Gee, do you have ice-cream?" asked Ned, eagerly.
"Never you mind!" said Laurie, grabbing his arm. “You come on out of here before you die on my hands. I'm sorry to tell you, ma'am, that he does n't know when to stop eating. I have to go around everywhere with him and look after him. If I did n't, he'd be dead in no time."
"I want to know!" exclaimed the Widow Deane interestedly. “Why, it's very fortunate for him he has you, is n't it?”
“Yes'm," answered Laurie, but he spoke doubtfully, for the little white-haired lady seemed to hide a laugh behind her words. Ned was grinning. Laurie propelled him to the door. Then, without relinquishing his grasp, he doffed his cap.
“Good afternoon," he said. “We 'll come again.”
“We know not how," added Ned, "we know not when."
"Bless my soul!" murmured the Widow, as the screen door swung behind them.
Back at school, the twins found a different scene from that they had left. The grounds were populous with boys, and open windows in the two dormitory buildings showed many others.
The entrances were piled with trunks and more were arriving. A rattling taxi turned in at the gate, with much blowing of a frenzied, but bronchial, horn, and added five merry youths to the population. Ned and Laurie made their way to East Hall, conscious, as they approached, of many eyes focussed on them from wide-flung windows. Remarks reached them, too.
“See who 's with us!" came from a secondfloor casement above the entrance; "the two Dromios!"
“Tweedledum and Tweedledee!”. “The Siamese Twins, I 'll bet a cooky!” “Hi, East Hall! Heads out!"
The two were glad when they reached the shelter of the doorway. "Some one's going to get his head punched before long," growled Ned, as they started upstairs.
“What do we care? We don't own 'em. Let them have their fun, Neddie.”
"I'll let some of them have a wallop,” was the answer. “You'd think we were the first pair of twins they 'd ever seen!”
“Well, maybe we are. How do you know? Suppose those trunks have come?”
They had, and for the next hour the twins were busy unpacking and getting settled. From beyond their door came much turmoil; the noise of arriving baggage, the banging of
doors, shouts, whistling, singing; but they “Got what?"' Laurie asked. were otherwise undisturbed until, just when “The the clue! I know how to tell you Laurie had slammed down the lid of his apart! His eyes are different from yours; empty trunk, there came a knock at their more blue. Yours are sort of gray. But, portal, followed, before either one could geewhillikins, it must be a heap of fun! open his mouth in response, by the appear- Being twins, I mean. And fooling people. ance in the doorway of a bulky apparition in You understand.” a gorgeous crimson bath-robe.
"Well, if you 're quite through," snapped “Hello, fellows!" greeted the apparition. Ned, “maybe you 'll call it a day. We've "Salutations and everything!"
got things to do."
“Meaning you'd like me to beat it?" asked CHAPTER IV
the visitor, good-temperedly.
“Just that!” KEWPIE STARTS SOMETHING
“Oh, come, Ned,” Laurie protested soothThe twins stared silently and suspiciously ingly, "he 's all right. I dare say we are for an instant. Then Ned made cautious sort of freakish, and—” response.
“Sure," agreed Proudtree, eagerly, “that's “Hello,” he said, with what must have what I meant. But say, I did n't mean to seemed to the visitor a lamentable lack of hurt any one's feelings. Geewhillikins, if I cordiality.
got waxy every time the fellows josh me The latter pushed the door shut behind about being fat—" Words failed him and him by the kick of one stockinged foot and he sighed deeply. grinned jovially. “My name 's Proudtree," Laurie laughed. “We might start a sidehe announced.
show, the three of us, and make a bit of "You can't blame us,” replied Laurie, money. “Only ten cents! One dime! This coldly.
way to the Siamese Twins and the Fat Boy! Proudtree laughed amiably. “It is a Walk up! Walk up!" rotten name, is n't it? I live across the Proudtree smiled wanly. “I only weigh corridor, you know. Thought I'd drop in a hundred and seventy-eight and threeand get acquainted, seeing you 're new quarters, too," he said dolorously. "If I fellows; extend the hand of friendship and was a couple of inches taller it would n't be all that. You understand. By Jove, Prin
so bad.” gle was right, too!”
“I don't think it 's bad as it is,” said “That 's fine," said Ned, with more than Laurie, kindly. “You don't look really fat; a trace of sarcasm. “What about?”
you just look sort of- of_" “Why,” answered Proudtree, easing his "Amplitudinous," supplied Ned, with evigenerous bulk into a chair, “he said you dent satisfaction. fellows were twins."
Proudtree viewed him doubtfully. Then "Not only were," said Laurie, gently, he smiled. “Well, I 've got to get rid of "but are. Don't mind, do you?”
nearly fifteen pounds in the next two weeks,” “Oh, come off your horse," begged the he said, with a shake of his head, “and that 's visitor. “Don't be so cocky. Who 's said going to take some doing.” anything? I just wanted to have a look. "What for?" Laurie asked. “Why deNever saw any twins before grown-up stroy your symmetry?”' twins, I mean. You understand.”
“Football. I'm trying for center. I "Thought you said you came to extend nearly made it last year, but Wiggins beat the hand of friendship," retorted Ned, sar- me out. He's gone now, though, and Mulcastically. "Well, have a good look, partner. ford as good as said last spring that I could There's no charge!"
make it this fall if I could get down to a Proudtree grinned and accepted the invita- hundred and sixty-five." tion. Ned fumed silently under the inspec- “Who 's Mulford?" inquired Ned. “A tion, but Laurie's sense of humor came to fortune-teller?" his aid. Proudtree appeared to be getting Proudtree ignored the sarcasm. “Mula lot of entertainment from his silent com- ford 's our coach. He's all right, too. The parison of his hosts, and presently, when trouble with me is I 'm awfully fond of sweet Ned's exasperation had just about reached things, and I-I've been eating a lot of 'em the explosive point, he chuckled.
lately. But I guess I can drop fourteen “I 've got it,” he said.
pounds if I cut out pies and candy and things
Don't you think so?" Proudtree appealed these parts. Are you fellows going out?" to Laurie almost pathetically.
“Not just yet,” replied Ned.
we are, Proudtree; at
“We haven't decided yet. You see, we've never played your kind of football. Back home, at high school, we played American Rugby, and it 's quite different. But we decided that one of us had better go in for football and the other for baseball, if only to do our duty by the school.”
Proudtree looked puzzled. “How are you going to decide?" he asked.
“Oh, we 'll toss up or draw lots or something, I suppose. Maybe, though, Ned had better play football, because I know more baseball than he does. Still, I'm not particular."
“That 's the limit!" chuckled the visitor. “Say, what are your names? I did n't see any cards on the door."
“Turner. His is Laurie and mine 's Ned," answered the latter. “Do we put our names on the door?"
"It's the best way,” answered Proudtree. “Well, I 've got to be moving. I started to take a shower and got side-tracked. You
chaps come on over and " 'HELLO, FELLOWS! SALUTATIONS AND EVERYTHING!"
see me and I 'll get evidently recovered from his peevishness, some of the other fellows in. You want to asked:
meet the right sort, you know. What 's "What sort of football do they play here?"
your class?" "Corking!" answered Proudtree.
"Lower middle, I reckon," said Ned. “I mean, Rugby or the other?”'
“That 's what we expect." “Rugby!" exclaimed Proudtree, scorn- “Too bad you can't make upper. That 's fully. "I guess not! We play regular mine. We've got a corking bunch of fellows football. Nobody plays Rugby around this year. Well, see you later. Try for Mr.
Barrett's table when you go down. That 's “I tell you what I think," said Ned, after the best. Maybe they 'll put you there if a moment's thought. “I think he got it you bluff it out. You understand. So long, into his head that we 're very ambitious and fellows."
want to graduate next Spring!" Proudtree withdrew with considerable "Maybe that's it," agreed Laurie, gravely. dignity in view of his bulk, waving a bene- "Shall we go back and tell him he 's wrong?” dictory hand ere the door closed behind “N-no, let's not. He seemed a wellhim. Ned shook his head. “Sort of a fresh meaning old codger, and I would n't want hombre,” he said.
to hurt his feelings--if he has any. Let 's "Oh, he only meant to be friendly, I go down and see what they've got for reckon," said Laurie. “You understand.' supper.
Ned laughed. “I'll bet they 've got a Ned's blandishments failed with the waitwonderful football team here if he plays on ress, and they were established at a table it! By the way, maybe we 'd better settle presided over by a tall and very thin gentlewhich of us is to be the football star. I man, whose name, as they learned presently, suppose they begin to practise pretty soon. was Mr. Brock. There were four tables in I 'll be the goat, if you like; though you had the room, each accommodating ten boys and better luck with that book you bought in a member of the faculty. Diagonally across Chicago. I could n't make head or tail of the dining-hall, the twins described the it. I never saw so many rules for playing ample Mr. Proudtree. Another table was one game in
in charge of a pleasant-faced lady who proved "It was sort of difficult," agreed Laurie. to be the school matron, Mrs. Wyman. Mr. “I dare say, though, that you pick up the Cornish, the hall-master, and Mr. Barrett, rules quick enough when you start to play. sat at the heads of the remaining boards. If you don't really mind, I think you'd better The room was very attractive, with a fine go in for football, and I 'll do the baseball big stone fireplace at the farther end, and stunt. I 've played it more than you have. broad windows on two sides. The food you know, even if I 'm no wonder."
proved plain, but it was served in generous "All right!" Ned sighed. “We 'll get a quantities; and notwithstanding that the bottle of arnica to-morrow. Nothing like twins were a bit self-conscious, they managed being prepared. How about going to see a very satisfactory meal. Their fellow-stuMr. What's-his-name before supper about dents seemed to be a very decent lot. Their courses?"
ages appeared to average about sixteen,
and “Might as well, and have it over with. they had the clean, healthy look of boys who I 'd like to know whether we're going to spent much of their time outdoors. At the make the lower middle."
table at which the twins sat, four of the boys “Don't see what else we can make. They were evidently seniors, and one can't stick as in the junior class. Where 's evidently a junior. The latter looked hardly my coat? For the love of lemons, Laurie, more than thirteen, though he was in reality can't you find anything else to sit on? Gosh, a year older than that, and had the features look at the wrinkles!"
and expression of a cherub. The twins “Those are n't wrinkles; they're just concluded that he was a new boy and felt a creases. Come on!"
little sorry for him. He looked much too Half an hour later they closed the door of young and innocent to face the world alone. Mr. Cornish's study on the floor below, in a No one made any special effort to engage chastened mood. Each carried a little buff either Ned or Laurie in conversation, perhaps card whereon the instructor had tabulated because the returning youths had so much an amazing number and variety of study to talk about among themselves. Mr. Brock periods. Back in Number 24, Ned cast him- ate his supper in silence, save when one of self into a chair, thrust his legs forth, and the older boys addressed him, and had a fargazed disconsolately at the card.
away and abstracted air. Laurie saw him "I don't see where a fellow finds time for sweeten his tea three times, and then frown anything but work here," he complained. in annoyance when he finally tasted it. The "Sixteen, eighteen, twenty-one hours a boy who had guessed their awful secret at week! What do you know about that?” luncheon sat at the next table, and more
“Well, don't be so proud of it. I've got than once Ned caught him looking across the same, have n't I? I wonder how many with a half-bewildered, half-frightened exhours he thinks there are in a day?”'
pression that somehow managed to convey
the intelligence that, in spite of temptation, kicked around the yard, you fat loafer. he had kept the faith. Ned finally rewarded Thought you wanted to play center this him with a significant wink, and the youth fall.” retired in confusion behind the milk pitcher. "I 'm going to! Listen, Joe, I 'm only
When the meal was over the twins went fourteen pounds over and I 'll drop that in outside and, following the example set by no time. Honest, I will. You see! Beothers, made themselves comfortable on the sides, it is n't all fat, either. A lot of it 's grass beyond the walk. Near by, two older .
good, hard muscle." boys were conversing earnestly, and Ned “Yes, it is! I can see you getting muscle and Laurie, having exhausted their own lying around on your father's yacht! I 'm subjects of conversation, found themselves off you, Kewpie. You have n't acted square. listening.
You knew mighty well that you were sup“We've got to do it,” the larger of the posed to keep yourself fit this summer, and two was saying. “Dave 's going to call a now look at you! You 're a big fat lump!" meeting of the school for Friday evening, "Aw, say, Joe! Listen, will you?" Proudand Mr. Wells is going to talk to them. I'll tree's gaze wandered in search of inspiration talk too. Maybe you'd better, Frank. and fell on the twins. His face lighted. You can tell them a funny story and get "Hello, you chaps!" he said. Then he them feeling generous."
leaned over and spoke to Joe. “Say, have "Nothing doing, Joe. Leave me out of you met the Turner brothers, Joe? One of it. I never could talk from a platform. 'em 's a swell player. Played out in North Anyway, it 's the fellows' duty to provide Dakota or somewhere." money. If they don't, they won't have a “Which one?” asked Joe, surreptitiously team. They understand that—or they will eyeing the twins. when you tell them. There's another thing, “Why, the—I forget: they look so much though, Joe, that we've got to have besides alike, you know. I think it 's the one this money, and that 's material. We 've got way. Or maybe it 's the other. Anyway, to get more fellows out."
I 'll fetch them over, eh?” “I know. I'll tell them that, too. I'm
"All right, Kewpie." going to put a notice up in School Hall in the Kewpie started away, paused, and spoke morning. Mr. Cummins says there are eight again.
again. "They 're--they 're awfully modest
“ new fellows entering the middle classes this chaps, Joe. You'd think from hearing year. Maybe some of them are football them talk that they did n't know much about players."
the game, but don't you be fooled. That 's “Bound to be. Did you see the twins?”' just their way. You understand.”
“No, but Billy Emerson was telling me “Oh, sure, Kewpie!” And when the latter about them. What do they look like?” had gone on his errand Joe smiled and, lower
"Not bad. Rather light-weight, though, ing his voice, said to Frank Brattle: "Kewpie and sort of slow. They ’re from Arizona or 's trying to put something over. I wonder somewhere out that way, I think. You can't what." tell them apart, Joe.”
“Proudtree tells me one of you fellows “Think they ’re football stuff?''
plays football," said Joe, a minute later, "Search me. Might be. They 're light, when introductions had been performed and though. Here comes Kewpie. Gosh, he 's Ned and Laurie had seated themselves. fatter than ever! Hi, Kewpie! Come over “We need good players this fall. Of course, here!”
I hope you 'll both come out." It was Proudtree who answered the hail, “Ned 's the football chap,” said Laurie. descended the steps and approached. "Hello, “Baseball 's my line." Joe! Hello, Frank! Well, here we
“I don't know-_" began Ned, but Laurie again, eh? Great to be back, is n't it? Have pinched him warningly and he gulped and, a good summer, Joe?”
to Kewpie's evident relief, made a fresh “Fine! You?”
start. “I'm not much of a player,” he said "Corking! I was on Dad's yacht all modestly, “but I'm willing to have a try at through August. Saw the races and every- it.” thing. Bully eats, too. You understand." Kewpie darted an “I-told-you-so” glance
“Yes," Joe Stevenson replied, “and I at Joe and Frank. understand why you 're about twenty pounds "Where do you come from, Turner?'' overweight, Kewpie! You ought to be Joe asked politely.