“Boys, I’ve got a proposition
to make,” said Dick, one Friday afternoon, as
he and his brothers, with Songbird and Stanley, were
strolling along the river bank.
“All right. We’ll
accept it for twenty-five cents on the dollar,”
returned Tom gaily.
“What is it, Dick?” asked Songbird.
“Do you remember the haunted
house at Rushville, the place Mr. Sanderson called
the Jamison home?” asked Dick of his brothers.
“Sure!” returned Sam and Tom promptly.
“Well, I propose we visit that
house to-morrow and investigate the ghosts - if
there are any.”
“Just the thing!” cried Sam.
“I’ve heard of that place,”
said Stanley. “I am willing to go if the
“If I go as far as Rushville
I might as well go on to the Sanderson home,”
said Songbird, who could not get Minnie out of his
“Well, we’ll leave you
off - after we have interviewed the ghosts,”
answered Dick with a laugh.
“Do you believe in ghosts?”
asked Stanley with a faint smile.
“No. Do you?”
“Hardly, although I have heard
some queer stories. My aunt used to think she
had seen ghosts.”
“She was mistaken,” said
Tom. “There are no real ghosts.”
“Say, Tom, how could a ghost
be real and still be a ghost?” asked Songbird
and this question brought forth a general laugh.
The boys sat down on a bench in the
warm sunshine to discuss the proposed visit to the
deserted Jamison place, and it was arranged that they
should drive to the spot in a two-seated carriage.
Then, while the Rovers and Stanley investigated to
their hearts’ content, Songbird was to drive
on to the Sanderson home for a brief visit.
“But, mind, you are not to stay
too long,” said Dick. “An hour is
“I’ll make it an hour
by the watch,” answered the would-be poet.
“Say, I just thought of something,” he
went on, and murmured softly:
“To-morrow, ere the hour is late,
We shall go forth to investigate.
The Jamison ghost
Shall be our host;
We trust we’ll meet a kindly fate!”
“That’s as cheerful as a funeral dirge!”
“We don’t want to meet
any kind of a fate,” added Sam. “We
want to have some fun.”
While the boys were discussing the
proposed trip to Rushville they did not notice that
Larkspur was close at hand, taking in much that was
said. Presently Larkspur sauntered off and hunted
up Jerry Koswell.
“The Rovers are going off to-morrow,”
he said. “Where do you suppose they are
“I am not good at guessing riddles,”
answered Koswell rather sourly. He hated to hear
the Rover name mentioned, since it made him think of
his defeat at Tom’s hands.
“They are going to the old Jamison place at
“Well, what of it?”
“I was thinking,” answered
Larkspur meaningly. “You said you would
like to square up with the Rovers, and with Tom especially.”
“So I would. Show me how
it can be done and I’ll go at it in jig time.”
And now Koswell was all attention.
“I happen to know that Tom Rover
and Professor Sharp are on the outs again,”
said Larkspur. “The professor wouldn’t
like anything better than to catch him doing something
against the rules.”
“Well, what do you propose,
anyway?” demanded Jerry Koswell.
“Come up to the room and I’ll
tell you,” answered Larkspur, and then the two
hurried off and, joined by Dudd Flockley, hatched out
a scheme to get the Rovers into dire trouble with
the college authorities. They had a number of
preparations to make, and paid a hurried visit to
Ashton and several other places, Flockley hiring a
runabout for that purpose.
Saturday proved clear and warm, and
the Rovers and their friends started directly after
lunch for Rushville in a two-seated carriage, hired
from a liveryman of Ashton. As they did not wish
to excite any curiosity, they told Tubbs and Max that
they were going out merely for a long ride.
“Going to call on Miss Stanhope
and the Misses Laning, I suppose,” said William
“No. They have some lessons
to make up to-day,” answered Dick, and this
was true; otherwise the Rovers might not have been
so willing to spend their time at the haunted house.
No sooner had the Rovers and their
two friends driven away from Brill than an automobile
dashed up on the side road, and Flockley, Koswell
and Larkspur climbed in. The automobile kept to
the side road until the Rovers turnout was passed,
then took to the main highway, passing the upper end
“Here is where you can leave
us,” said Koswell to the chauffeur. “I’ll
see to it that the machine comes back safely.”
“You are sure about being able
to run it?” asked the man.
“Of course. I ran a big six-cylinder at
“Very well, then. This
is a fine car, and there would be trouble with the
boss if anything happened to it.”
“Nothing is going to happen,
so don’t worry,” answered Koswell coolly.
Then the chauffeur left, and the automobile dashed
on its way in the direction of Rushville.
As the Rovers and their chums were
out purely for pleasure, they took their time in driving
to Rushville, going there by way of Hope Seminary.
They thought they might catch sight of Dora and the
Lanings, but were disappointed.
“Too bad that they have got
to grind away on such a fine day as this,” said
“Well, such is life,”
returned Sam. “One good thing, schooldays
won’t last forever.”
“Just wait till the summer vacation
comes!” cried Tom. “I’m going
to have the best time anybody ever heard about.”
“What doing?” questioned Stanley.
“Oh, I don’t know yet.”
They took their time climbing the
long hill leading to the haunted house, and it was
just three o’clock when they came in sight of
the dilapidated structure, almost hidden in the tangle
of trees and underbrush.
“Now, Songbird, you’ve
got to be back here by four, or half after, at the
latest,” said Dick as he and his brothers and
Stanley got out. “No spooning with Minnie
“Huh! I don’t spoon,”
grumbled the would-be poet. “I am - er - only
going to show her some new verses I wrote. They
are entitled - ”
“Keep them for Minnie!”
cried Sam. “And remember what Dick said.
We are not going to hang around here after dark.”
“Scared already?” asked Songbird.
“No, but enough of this place is enough, that’s
“I’ll be back, don’t
worry,” said Songbird, and away he drove at a
swift gait, leaving the Rovers and Stanley in the roadway
in front of the house said to be haunted.
It was certainly a lonely spot, no
other house being in sight, for Rushville lay under
the brow of a hill. The boys stood still and
listened. Not a sound broke the stillness that
surrounded the deserted house.
“It sure is a ghostlike place,”
remarked Stanley. “I shouldn’t care
to come here at midnight.”
“Oh, that wouldn’t make
any difference, if you had a light,” answered
Dick. The thought of a ghost had never bothered
him very much.
Boldly the four boys entered what
had once been a fine garden. The pathway was
now overrun with weeds and bushes, and they had to
pick their way with care. Then they ascended
the piazza, the flooring of which was much decayed.
“Look out that you don’t
fall through somewhere, and break a leg,” cautioned
Tom. “This is worse than it looks from the
“Wait till we get inside,”
said Sam. “Glad we brought a lantern.”
For a light had been taken along at the last minute.
They pushed open the front door and
entered the broad hall. As they did so they heard
a noise at the rear of the place.
“What was that?” asked Stanley nervously.
“Sounded like a door closing,” answered
“Hello!” called out Tom. “Is
any one here?”
To this call there was no answer.
Nor was the noise they had heard repeated.
“Come on,” said Dick bravely.
“I am going to walk right through the house,
room by room, from top to bottom.”
“And we’ll all go along,” said Tom
“Well, I am with you,”
came from Stanley. But he plainly showed that
he did not relish what was before him.