“So he is worrying about the cup, eh?” asked the colonel, when Don and
Jim showed him the strange letter.
At the colonel’s suggestion they had read the entire thing, taking the
responsibility upon themselves in view of the fact that every effort to
clear George Long was justifiable. But outside of the one passage that
Don had read there was no other clue in the letter.
“He seems to be,” Don answered. “What do you make of that part about
scraping the bottom of the cup, sir?”
“I don’t know what to make of it,” the headmaster confessed. “It is very
strange, and I’m afraid that we will have to get possession of the cup
in order to find out just what all this mystery is. We must get the
“If we do get it, we’ll have to work fast,” Jim put in. “This friend of
his is to take it away to Canada with him.”
“Yes,” agreed the colonel. “We will have to work fast. In the meantime,
I shall have a copy of this letter made and then we’ll seal it up and
one of you should take it to the postoffice and drop it in the incoming
mail slot. In that way Gates will get it without ever knowing that it
had been tampered with.”
The colonel had a copy made of the letter and then Don and Jim walked
down to the postoffice and placed it in the proper slot.
In a day or two the colonel reported very satisfactory developments. He
showed Don an advertisement in the town paper. The advertisement read as
“Wanted: A butler for large household, must have previous experience and
good references. Apply at any hour to 14 Portville Avenue and ask for
Mr. Melvin Gates.”
“That ad just suits our purpose and couldn’t be better,” the colonel
“How so, sir?” asked Don, puzzled.
The colonel laughed. “I’ll show you this afternoon. Go to Captain Rhodes
and tell him I have excused you from drill formation, then come and
report to me. We will take a little drive together.”
After classes that day Don reported to Rhodes and repeated the colonel’s
order, and the drill instructor readily excused him from duty. While the
other cadets were drilling on the windswept field Don went to the
colonel’s office to accompany the headmaster on his unknown journey. The
colonel was ready for him and when Don entered he called up a local taxi
agency and ordered a cab.
“We are going in style—and in secrecy,” the colonel chuckled, amused at
the wondering look on the cadet’s face.
In due time the taxi arrived and the colonel and Don got into the cab,
after the headmaster had given an order to the driver in a low tone.
When they were safely underway Colonel Morrell told Don that they were
going to call on the police.
“A sort of a diplomatic excursion,” he smiled. “The fewer who see us,
They rode down into Portville and stopped at last in front of the town
hall, where the colonel alighted, paid his bill and then led Don inside
and into a small private office, where they remained alone for some
fifteen minutes. At last a small door opened and Captain Dorran of the
local police came into the room. He was an old friend of the colonel’s
and they shook hands heartily.
“This is one of my cadets, cap’n,” remarked the colonel, nodding to Don.
“One of my very best, too, the young man who helped me out of that bad
scrape last year.”
“Glad to know you, young man,” the police chief laughed. “I thought at
first that the colonel was bringing you to me for business purposes!”
“We have some business on hand,” said the colonel, as Don shook hands
with the police chief. “And we’ll want a little help from you.”
“Sit down, both of you,” Dorran invited. “Now what can I do to help
“Don,” directed the colonel, “tell Captain Dorran the whole class trophy
story up to date. Don’t leave a thing out.”
Don complied, being careful to remember and relate everything that had
happened, and when he had finished the colonel nodded in approval.
“Yes, that is about right. What do you think of it, Dorran?”
The chief frowned. “This Arthur Gates is a pretty black character, isn’t
he? What is it that you want me to do, Morrell?”
“There was an advertisement in the paper last night calling for a
butler, and the Gates family placed the ad. I want you to scare me up a
good detective that will pass as a butler, and have him placed in the
house. When the man from Canada comes this butler-detective is to try
and get hold of that cup, or at least to prevent it from going to
Canada. Can you do that?”
“I think I can,” replied the chief promptly. “I’ll have Proctor come
Mr. Proctor was called in and the colonel and Don saw he could play the
part well. He looked anything but a detective, with his expressionless
face, soft brown eyes and sleek hair. He did look every inch a
soft-spoken, efficient butler. He was informed of the necessary details
and ordered to either get the cup or at least keep it from going to
Canada. Even before Don and the colonel left the station he was on his
way to Gates’ place to apply, with references in his pocket that had
served him more than once in similar cases.
“Well, what do you think of my plan?” the colonel asked his young
companion on the way back to school in the cab.
“I think it should be just the thing to clear up all this business,” Don
replied. “We know that the cup is in the house and the detective should
be able to get hold of it. Once we get a good look at the thing we
should be able to clear up all the mystery surrounding it and then
George Long can be wholly cleared.”
“Yes, that’s what I think,” Colonel Morrell nodded. “When I do announce
the story of George’s innocence to the world I don’t want any loose
ends. I want to be able to tell the whole story. I think the detective
is clever enough to get the cup and then we’ll be at the end of our
Some of the cadets were standing around the door when the cab stopped
and they were surprised to see Don alight and hold the door open for the
colonel, who got out and paid the driver. The colonel went on inside and
Don lingered to talk to some of his friends. He came in for a lot of
good-natured bantering for going riding with the colonel.
“It beats me,” said Lieutenant Thompson, with mock seriousness, “how
some fellows do get along in this world. Here the rest of us go out and
drill all afternoon, while Don goes riding in a taxi with the colonel!
Some fellows have all the luck!”
The colonel kept Don fully informed of the progress of events at the
Gates home. Mr. Proctor had become butler at the house and in two days’
time reported the arrival of the friend from Canada. As yet the
detective had not been able to find the missing trophy, but he believed
that it would soon be forthcoming.
The next report came in one evening while Don and Jim were making out a
report in the colonel’s office. The telephone rang out and the colonel
answered it. They heard him say: “What? That’s fine. Get hold of it in
some way, and bring it right up to the school when you do. That’s good
news. All right, and best of luck.”
He turned to the boys and lowered his voice. “That was Mr. Proctor,” he
told them. “The friend from Canada is going home tomorrow, and in
addition to his regular suitcase, which he brought with him, he is
carrying a small black bag, and if he does not get an opportunity to get
the bag in the house, he will follow the man to the railroad station and
try to get it there. He’ll get it somehow, and I told him to bring it
right up here to the school when he did get it.”
“That is good news from inside,” said Don, with satisfaction. “I hope he