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- The Boys of Bellwood School - 27/27 -

"Maybe some fruit from my folks in the South," suggested Frank. "What was in the box?"

"It's light. I shook it--nothing to indicate."

"Where is it?"

"I took it up to your room. Hey, Ritchie, and you, Foreman--come and be witnesses before Frank sneaks a box of goodies under cover."

The little group proceeded pell-mell up the stairs and were soon in Frank's room. Eager, curious eyes observed a box about two feet square on a little stand.

"There's holes in the top, and--hello! there's something alive in this box, Frank," declared Bob.

"Yes, I can hear it scratching," put in Ritchie.

"Oho!" exclaimed Frank, enlightened now. "This end up--handle with care. I know."

"Know what, Jordan?" inquired Ned.

But Frank did not answer. He had detached the shipping tag, and was reading some words written on its reverse side.

"I am sending you my special pet, Rambo," the scrawl read, "because nothing is too good for you. Highly educated, gentle. I know you'll be good to him."

Frank recalled his new friend, Dave, with a smile of pleasure. He took the cover off the box. Nestled contentedly in some soft hay at its bottom was a wonder-eyed little monkey. Beside the animal was a thin, long chain.

To be sure, the boys made a lot of the cute little pet during the next hour. The word went around, and Rambo held quite a reception. A drink of water and a cracker put the animal in rare good humor, and he began to show off.

Rambo would sit in a chair and hold a book, pretending to read. He could whirl around, hanging by his tail from a hook in the ceiling. His agility, displayed in springs, curvets and climbing, was something prodigious.

Frank arranged the box comfortably, and lots of fun they had with the clever, friendly little animal.

Mace and his crowd, with their usual envy for the enjoyment of others, complained finally that the chattering of the monkey awakened them nights. This was not true, but obedient to the suggestion of the monitor, until the faculty could act in the affair, Frank shut Rambo up in a room in the unused attic nights, not wishing to trust him along with the other animals in the academy stables.

This was a providential move, it developed later. The second night of Rambo's isolation, toward morning, Frank was awakened by the crash of glass. He got up to find that the monkey had burst in through the outside window. Rambo was bleeding and shivering on the floor.

"Hello, this is strange!" exclaimed Bob, roused up also from sleep. "I say, Frank, I smell smoke!"

"That's so," replied Frank quickly. "Where does it come from?"

They ran out into the corridor, to quickly trace the smoke to its source. It evidently proceeded from the attic. Rushing there, Frank and Bob found some rafters on fire. They had evidently ignited near the chimney.

Rambo, it seemed, frightened at his danger, had broken through the attic window and had reached the boys' room in time to warn them. The fire was soon extinguished, but it might have been serious had it not been discovered in time.

That settled it for useful, vigilant Rambo. He was given permanent quarters in Frank's room, and was treated like a hero by the academy boys.

Another box came to Frank a few days later--from his father in the sunny South. It was filled with oranges, pineapples and other luscious fruits, and there was a gay supper in Frank's room that night. Even Gill Mace and his crowd were invited, and little Rambo was an honored guest at the banquet.

Frank felt that the disturbed air of the academy was clearing. Certainly his own affairs and those of Ned Foreman had come out most satisfactorily.

Samuel Mace had been convinced that Frank was innocent of any connection with the theft of the diamond bracelet. He had started out the officers of Bellwood to look up the real robbers, Tim Brady and his accomplice, the man Jem.

These two rascals had got an inkling of what was up and had fled the country--not, however, until they had disposed of the bracelet to an innocent purchaser. The jeweler had to pay out a large sum of money to recover it.

Gill Mace was compelled to retract in public his false charge against Frank, and the vindication of the latter was made complete. Then, to the surprise of our hero, came word from Banbury that Gill had once boasted of cutting loose a house that was being moved up a hill, using Frank's knife for that purpose and thereby getting our hero in trouble. This matter was investigated, and in the end Samuel Mace had to pay for the wrecking of the old building. This angered the jeweler, and he punished his nephew severely for his misconduct.

A pleasant position on a farm was secured for the man called Dan, who promised to lead an honest life in the future.

As to Ned, the homeless lad felt that the greatest happiness in the world had come into his life. The lawyer, Grimm, had been frightened into telling all about Brady's plot. The estate that belonged to Ned was traced, and Professor Elliott was legally made the boy's guardian.

The academy president called Frank, Ned and Bob to his office one evening, and informed them of the pleasant outcome of their affairs.

"Just think of it," said Ned, with happy tears in his eyes. "I'm sure of an education now, and all through the loyal friendship of the best boy I ever knew, Frank Jordan."

"I echo that sentiment," added Bob. "Why, say, I didn't know life was really worth living till I met Frank."

"Forget it, fellows," ordered Frank modestly, though flushing with genuine pleasure. "You may help me to win some battles yet."

"Jordan," spoke the bland old professor, handing a sealed letter to Frank, "you may feel very proud sending that letter to your father. It tells all the good things I know about a noble, honorable boy."

"Well, professor," replied Frank, "we've made you a good deal of trouble. Now we're going to get down to good hard work."

"And play," added Professor Elliott, with the kindly, earnest smile that made him the true friend of the boys of Bellwood School.


The Boys of Bellwood School - 27/27

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