A dozen boys were playing ball in a field adjoining the boarding-school of Dr. Pericles Benton, in the town of Walltham, a hundred and twenty-five miles northeast of the city of New York. These boys varied in age from thirteen to seventeen. In another part of the field a few younger boys were amusing themselves. All these boys were boarding-scholars connected with the school.
The ball had been knocked to a distance by the batter, and it was the duty of Nicholas Thorne, one of the oldest boys, to ran after it. But he thought of an easier way.
"Cameron, run for that ball!" he cried, addressing one of the smaller boys outside the game.
"I don't want to," said little Cameron.
"Did you hear what I said?" demanded Thorne, imperiously.
"Then you'd better go if you know what's best for yourself," said the bully, frowning.
"I ain't in the game," said Cameron. "Why should I get the ball?"
"Because I say so!" retorted the tyrant.
"Run after it yourself, Thorne," said a lad named Davies. "It's your business, not Cameron's."
"It's his business, because I ordered him to do it," said Thorne, flushed and angry. "Do you think I will allow him to bully me?"
"The boot's on the other leg," said Davies, dryly. "Run after the ball, and don't keep the game waiting."
When the family fortune falls into the hands of his scheming stepmother, a young boy journeys westward to seek his fortune.