Chapter I A JOLT ON A QUIET DAY
"There's just one thing that I keep thinking about on a day like this," Dave Darrin sighed contentedly.
"What's that?" Tom Reade wanted to know. "Supper?"
Darrin turned, favoring Reade with a flash of disgust from his large, dark eyes.
"I'm still waiting for the information," insisted Tom after a short pause.
"You may as well wait," retorted Dave. "You wouldn't understand what I feel, anyway. Any fellow who can keep his mind on supper, on a grand June day like this——-"
"I imagine that you'll keep your mind on the meal when you reach the table," predicted Tom, grinning.
"That'll be time enough," Dave rejoined. "But I'm not going to profane the woods, on a perfect June day, by thinking of kitchen odors."
"Say, aren't you feeling well?" asked Tom gravely.
"That's just the point, I guess," broke in Dick Prescott, with a light laugh. "Dave is feeling so extremely well and happy——-"
"Now, you're shouting," Darrin assented. "But it's no use for poor Reade to ponder over the glories of nature. All he can think of is the region bounded by his belt."
"Glories of nature?" repeated Reade. "If that's what you're talking about, why didn't you announce your subject earlier? Yes, sir; nature is at her greenest best to-day. Just look off through that line of trees, and see how the light breeze moves the tops in that field of young corn, and——-"
"Corn?" flared Dave. "Something to eat, of course! Tom, you're hopeless when it comes to the finer things of life. You ought to have been born in a pen, close to a well-filled trough. Corn, indeed!"
"This country would probably be bankrupt if there were no corn crop, and you'd be digging hard for a living, instead of being a lazy schoolboy," retorted Reade, with an indulgent smile. "Let me see; how many hundred million dollars did Old Dut tell us the annual corn crop brings in wealth to this country?"
All of the other boys, save Dave, glanced at Tom, but all shook their heads. Statistics do not mix well in a Grammar School boy's head.
"Oh, well, it was a lot of money, anyway," Tom pursued his subject. "I wouldn't mind having all the money that the American corn crop brings."
"So you could buy the fanciest kinds of food, I suppose?" jeeredDave Darrin.
"Never mind, Darry; if I had a lot of money I'd buy you the biggest and softest mattress I could find, so that you'd have nothing to do but lie off by yourself, look up at the green leaves and dream your summers away. That lying on your back and looking up at the sky is what you call reverie, isn't it?"
"Quit your kidding!" ordered Dave.
"Is it reverie?" asked Harry Hazelton, "or just plain laziness that ails Dave?"
"Laziness, of course," laughed Tom. "Dave, I guess Harry has more sense in naming things than any of us. Yes; that's it! And Dick thought it was merely poetic temperament."
"Temperament? What's that?" grinned Dan Dalzell. "Is that what you get in June by adding up the column of figures in the thermometer?"
To signify his lack of interest in the talk, Darrin rolled over on his side, turning his gaze away from the other boys....