Chapter I The Snowball Fight - The Rover boys on a Tour by Edward Stratemeyer

"Now then, boys, are you ready?"

"I am!"

"Been ready for the last five minutes!"

"Sure you've got all the snowballs you can carry?"

"I couldn't carry any more if I tried," came from Sam Rover, with a grin. "Just see how I am loaded up," and he glanced down at both hands, which were filled with snowballs, and at the snowballs held under either arm.

"I've got some dandy hard ones," put in Spud Jackson.

"Oh, you can't use soakers, Spud!" cried Stanley Browne, who was the leader of the snowballing contingent. "That's against the rules."

"They are not soakers, Stanley," was the reply. "They are only good and hard, that's all."

"Hi, you fellows! When are you going to start things?" came a cry from behind a snow wall up the slope of a hill. "We can't waste the whole afternoon waiting for you."

"We're coming, don't fear," answered Stanley Browne.

"And when we arrive you won't know what's struck you," announced Sam Rover gaily.

"It's all vell enough to brag, but you'd chust better start dot fight,"

came in German-American accents from behind the snow wall, and a merry face appeared in sight for an instant and a fist was shaken playfully at those beyond.

"Sound that bugle, Paul!" yelled the leader of the attacking party, and an instant later the mellow notes of a bugle floated out on the crisp, wintry air.

It was the signal for the attack, and with merry shouts the students at the foot of the hill charged upward through the snow toward the wall above.

The occasion was the annual snowball fight at Brill College. Snow fights there were, of course, without number, but each year there was one big contest in which the freshmen and sophomores attempted to hold a snow fort located on the hill back of the institution against the attacks of the juniors and seniors. According to the rules, three charges were allowable, all of which must be made inside of two hours, and if all of these failed to take the fort, then the victory went to the defenders, and they were permitted to crow over their success until the following winter.

A little over an hour and a half had been spent in the sport and two attacks had been made and repulsed, much to the chagrin of Stanley Browne, the senior in charge of the attacking army. Juniors and seniors had fought nobly, but the freshmen and sophomores outnumbered them, and, being strongly intrenched behind the snow wall of the so-called fort, had succeeded in forcing a first, and then a second, retreat.

"Say, fellows, we've got to do it this time, sure!" cried Sam Rover, as, side by side with Stanley, he led the attack. "If we don't oust them they'll never get done talking about it."

"Right you are, Sam!" answered Bob Grimes, who also had hands and arms full of well-made snowballs.

"Remember what I told you," came from Stanley, as he turned slightly to address his followers. "Don't throw any snowballs yet. Do as the soldiers did in Revolutionary days--wait until you can see the whites of their eyes."

"And then make those whites blacks!" burst out Spud Jackson, gaily.

"Come ahead, and no turning back."

Up the snowy hillside sped the crowd of students, while a number of professors and visitors watched the advance from a distance.

"Get ready for 'em! Don't let them come too near!" came in a rallying cry from behind the snow wall. And then, as the attacking party came closer, a volley of white spheres came flying through the air into the faces of the juniors and seniors.

It was a sharp and heavy volley, and for the instant the air seemed to be filled with flying snowballs. Many of them, of course, went wild, but others landed on the heads and bodies of the attacking party, and for the moment the advance was checked.

"Wow!" came from one of the juniors who had been hit in the ear. "Why can't we do some throwing ourselves?"

"That's the talk! Give it to 'em!" came from another student who had had his cap knocked off by a snowball.

"No, no," answered Stanley. "Save your snowballs until we get closer."

"Come on, we'll soon be up there," put in Sam Rover. "Only a hundred feet more, fellows!"

There was a yell of assent, and forward the charging party went again in the face of another volley of snowballs. By bending low the juniors and seniors protected themselves as much as possible from the onslaught, but many were hit, two so stingingly that they had to retire to the rear.

"Hurrah! We've got 'em on the run!" came from the leader of the fort contingent, who had mounted a tree stump located behind the wall. "Give it to 'em, fellows! Give it too 'em hot!"

"Now, then, boys, all together!" yelled Stanley at the top of his voice, and then the eager juniors and seniors launched their snowballs with all the swiftness and accuracy of aim at their command.

The two previous attacks which had been repulsed had taught the advancing students a lesson, and now in this third attack scarcely a snowball was wasted. Those in the front ran directly up to the wall of the fort, while those farther back spread out, as directed by their leader, to the right and to the left, sending in cross fires at points where the fort was supposed to be weakest.

It was a thrilling and spirited fight, but, although the students were greatly excited, there was little more actual roughness than there would have been at a football or other athletic contest.
"And, yes, there is Dutz, who filled my mouth with snow," cried Spud.

"Come on!"

Sam was already on the run, and, coming to the turn in the road, he let fly several snowballs.

"Here! Here! What do you mean by such actions?" came suddenly from behind some brushwood which lined the roadway and then, as the students advanced still further, they were surprised to find themselves confronted by a tall man wearing a heavy, fur-lined overcoat. He had likewise been wearing a beaver hat, but the tile now lay in the snow.

"Belright Fogg!" exclaimed Sam in dismay. "That lawyer who tried to get the best of us! And I thought he was one of the students!"

"Ha! so it is you," snarled the man in the fur overcoat harshly. "What do you mean, Rover, by attacking me in this fashion?"