Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: The Boy Scout Automobilists - or, Jack Danby in the Woods
Author: Maitland, Robert
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Boy Scout Automobilists - or, Jack Danby in the Woods" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



                      _Boy Scout Series Volume 7_

                      The Boy Scout Automobilists


                        Jack Danby in the Woods

                        By Major Robert Maitland


THE SAALFIELD PUBLISHING COMPANY
CHICAGO, AKRON, OHIO, NEW YORK

_Copyright, 1918_
_By The Saalfield Publishing Co._



CHAPTER I

CALLED TO ACTIVE SERVICE


"What's this call for a special meeting of the Boy Scouts, Jack?" asked
Pete Stubbs, a First Class Boy Scout, of his chum Jack Danby, who had
just been appointed Assistant Patrol Leader of the Crow Patrol of the
Thirty-ninth Troop.

"Well, I guess it isn't a secret any more," said Jack.

He and Pete Stubbs worked in the same place, and they were great chums,
especially since Jack had enlisted his chum in the Boy Scouts.

"The fact is," he continued, "that Scout-Master Durland has been trying
for several days to arrange the biggest treat the Troop, or any other
Troop, has ever had. You know the State militia begins maneuvers pretty
soon, Pete?"

"Say, Jack," cried red-haired Pete, dancing up and down in his
excitement, "you don't mean to say that there's a chance that we are to
go out with the militia?"

"I think this call means that there's more than a chance, Pete, and that
the whole business is settled. You see, some of the fellows work in
places where they might find it hard to get off. In the militia it's
different. The law makes an employer give a man time off for the militia
when it's necessary, but there's no reason why it should be that way for
us. But Mr. Durland has been trying to get permission for all of us."

"I'll bet he didn't have any trouble here when he came to see Mr.
Simms," said Pete, enthusiastically. "If all the bosses were like him,
we'd be all right."

"They're not, Pete, though I guess most of them try to do what's fair,
when they understand just how things are. But, anyhow, Mr. Simms thought
it was a fine idea, and he went around and helped Mr. Durland with the
other people, who weren't so ready to let off the Boy Scouts who
happened to be working for them. And I guess that this call means that
it's all fixed up, for if it hadn't been nothing would have been said
about it."

Pete and Jack, with the other members of the Troop, reported at Scout
headquarters that night, and gave Scout-Master Durland a noisy welcome
when he rose to address them.

"Now," he said, "I want you to be quiet and listen to me. A great honor
has been paid to the Troop. We have been invited to take part, as
Scouts, in the coming maneuvers of the National Guard. There is to be a
sham war, you know, and the militia of this State and the neighboring
State, with some help from the regular army, are to take part in it. A
troop of Boy Scouts has been selected from the other State, and after
the militia officers had inspected all the Troops in this State they
chose the Thirty-ninth."

He had to stop then for a minute to give the great cheer that greeted
his announcement time to die away.

"Gee, Jack, I guess we're all right, what?" asked Pete, happily.

"Be still a minute, Pete. Mr. Durland isn't through yet."

"Now, I have gone around and got permission for all of you to go on this
trip," the Scout-Master went on. "It's going to be different from
anything we've ever done before. It's a great big experiment, and we're
going to be watched by Boy Scouts and army and National Guard officers
all over the country. It means that the Boy Scouts are going to be
recognized, if we make good, as a sort of reserve supply for the
militia. But we are going, if we go, without thinking about that at all.
Forget the militia, and remember only that you will have a chance to do
real scouting, and to make real reports of a real enemy."

"Look here," cried Dick Crawford, the Assistant Scout-Master, suddenly,
"I want everyone to join in and give three cheers for Scout-Master
Durland. I know how hard he's worked to give every one of us a chance to
make this trip and get the experience of real scouting. And it's up to
every one of us to see that he doesn't have any reason to feel sorry
that he did it. He trusts us to make good, and we've certainly got to
see to it that we do. Come now--three times three for the Scout-Master!"

Then came the formal giving of the instructions that were required for
preparation for the trip. Each Scout got word of the equipment that he
himself must bring.

"And mind, now, no extras," said Durland, warningly. "If the weather is
at all hot, it's going to be hard work carrying all we must carry, and
we don't want any Scouts to have to drop out on the march because their
knapsacks are too heavy. We will camp by ourselves, and we will keep to
ourselves, except when we're on duty. Remember that I, as commander of
the Troop, take rank only as a National Guard captain, and that I am
subject to the orders of every major and other field officer who may be
present.

"Some of the militiamen and their officers may be inclined to play
tricks, and to tease us, but the best way to stop them is to pay no
attention to them at all. Now, I want every boy to go home and spend the
time he can spare before the start studying all the Scout rules, and
brushing up his memory on scoutcraft and campcraft. Polish up your drill
manual, too. That may be useful. We want to present a good appearance
when we get out there with the soldiers."

The start for the camp of the State militia, who were to gather under
the command of Brigadier-General Harkness at a small village near the
State line, called Guernsey, was to be made on Sunday. The Scouts would
be in camp Sunday night, ready at the first notes of the general
reveille on Monday morning to turn out and do their part in the work of
defending their State against the invasion of the Blue Army, under
General Bliss, of the rival State.

"You see," said Jack, explaining matters to Pete Stubbs and Tom Binns as
they went home together after the meeting, "we are classed as the Red
Army, and we are supposed to be on the defensive. The Blue Army will try
to capture the State capital, and it is our business to defeat them if
possible."

"How can they tell whether we beat them or not, if we don't do any
fighting?" asked Tom Binns.

"In this sort of fighting it's all worked out by theory, just as if it
were a game of chess, Tom, and there are umpires to decide every point
that comes up."

"How do they decide things, Jack?"

"Why, they ride over the whole scene of operations, either on horseback,
or, if the field is very extensive, in automobiles. If troops are
surrounded, they are supposed to be captured, and they are sent to the
rear, and required to keep out of all the operations that follow. Then
the umpires, who are high officers in the regular army, decide according
to the positions that are taken which side has the best chance of
success. That is, if two brigades, of different sides, line up for
action, and get into the best tactical positions possible, the umpires
decide which of them would win if they were really engaged in a true
war, and the side that gets their decision is supposed to win. The other
brigade is beaten, or destroyed, as the case may be."

"Then how about the whole affair?"

"Well, each commanding general works out his strategy, and does his best
to bring about a winning position, just as they would at chess, as I
said. There is a time limit, you see, and when the time is up the
umpires get together, inspect the whole theatre of war, and make their
decision."

"It's a regular game, isn't it, Jack?"

"Yes. The Germans call it Krug-spiel--which means war-game, and that
term has been adopted all over the world. It's played with maps and
pins, too, in the war colleges, both for sea and land, and that's how
officers get training for war in time of peace. It isn't an easy game to
learn, either."

"Where do we come in, Jack? What is it we're supposed to do?"

"Obey orders, in the first place, absolutely. And I don't know what the
orders will be, and neither does anyone else, so I can't tell you just
what we'll do. But, generally speaking, we'll just have to do regular
scout duty. It will be up to us to detect the movements of the enemy,
and report, through Scout-Master Durland, who'll be Captain Durland,
during the maneuvers, to the staff."

"General Harkness's staff, you mean, Jack? Just what is a staff,
anyhow?"

"The headquarters staff during a campaign is a sort of extra supply of
arms and legs and eyes for the commanding general. The staff officers
carry his orders, and represent him in different parts of the field.
They carry orders, and receive reports, and they take just as much
routine work as possible off the hands of the general, so that he'll be
free to make his plans. You see the general never does any actual
fighting. He's too valuable to risk his life that way. He's supposed to
stay behind, and be ready to take advantage of any chance he sees."

"Times have changed, haven't they, Jack? In the old histories we used to
read about generals who led charges and did all sorts of things like
that."

"Well, it would be pretty wasteful to put a general in danger that way
now, Pete. He's had plenty of chance to prove his bravery, as a rule,
and, when he's a general, and has years of experience behind him, the
idea is to use his brain. If he is in the rear, and by his eyes and the
reports he gets in all sorts of ways, can get a general view of what is
going on, he can tell just what is best to be done. Sometimes the only
way to win a battle is to sacrifice a whole brigade or a division--to
let it be cut to pieces, without a chance to save itself, in order that
the rest of the army may have time to change its position, so that the
battle can be won. That's the sort of thing the general has got to
decide, and if he's in the thick of the fighting in the old-fashioned
way, he can't possibly do that."

"I think it's going to be great sport, don't you, Jack?" asked Tom
Binns. "Will there be any real firing?"

"Yes--with smokeless powder, because they want to test some new kinds.
But they'll use blank cartridges, of course. There'll be just as much
noise as ever, but there won't be any danger, of course."

"I don't like the sound of firing much," said Tom Binns, a little
shamefacedly. "Even when I know it's perfectly safe and that there
aren't any bullets, it makes me awfully nervous."

"This will be good practice for you, then, Tom, because it will help you
to get used to it. I hope we'll never have another war, but we want to
be ready if we ever do. 'Be prepared'--that's our Scout motto, you know,
and it means for the things that we might have to do in war, as well as
the regular peaceful things that come up every day."

"Will there be any aeroplanes?" asked Pete Stubbs. "I'm crazy to see one
of those things flying sometime, Jack. I never saw one yet, except that
time when the fellow landed here and hurt himself. And I didn't see him
in the air, but only after he made his landing. The machine was all
busted up then, too."

"I think there'll be some aeroplane scouting by the signal corps.
Several of the men in that are pretty well off, you know, and they have
their own flying machines. I guess that's one of the things they'll try
to determine in these maneuvers, the actual, practical usefulness of
aeroplanes, and whether biplanes or monoplanes are the best."

"Say, Jack, why couldn't we Boy Scouts build an aeroplane sometime? If
we learned something about them this next week, I should think we might
be able to do something like that. I know a lot of fellows that have
made experiments with toy ones, that wind up with a spring that's made
out of rubber bands. They see how far they will fly."

"I think that would be great sport, Pete. But we won't have any time for
that until after we've been through the maneuvers. But I'll tell you
what some of us may get a chance to do next week, though it's a good
deal of a secret yet."

"What's that, Jack! We'll promise not to say a word about it, won't we,
Tom?"

"You bet we won't, Jack! Tell us--do!" pleaded Tom Binns.

"I guess it's all right for me to tell you if you won't let it go any
further. Well, it's just this. They're going to do a lot of
experimenting with a new sort of automobile for scout duty, and I think
some of us will get a chance with them."

"Gee, I wish I knew how to run a car the way you do, Jack. I'd love that
sort of thing."

"I can soon teach you all I know, Pete. It isn't much. Come on down to
the factory garage after work to-morrow morning, and I'll explain the
engines to you, instead of eating lunch. Are you on?"

"You bet I am! Will they let us?"

"Mr. Simms will, if I ask him, I'm sure."



CHAPTER II

THE RED ARMY


The Scouts, under Durland and Dick Crawford, went to Guernsey on a
special car of a regular train. Durland, in making the arrangements for
the trip, had told the adjutant-general of the State militia that he
wanted to keep his Troop separate from the regular militiamen, as far as
possible.

"I've got an idea, from a few words I've heard dropped," he told that
official, "that some of the boys rather resent the idea of the Boy
Scouts being included in the maneuvers. So, for the sake of peace, I
think perhaps we'd better keep them as far apart as possible. Then, too,
I think it will make for better discipline if we stick close together
and have our own camp."

"I guess you're right," said the adjutant-general. "I'll give you
transportation to Guernsey for your Troop on the noon train on Sunday.
There'll be a special car hitched to the train for you. Report to
Colonel Henry at Guernsey station, and he'll assign you to camp
quarters. You understand--you'll use a military camp, and not your
regular Scout camp. The State will provide tents, bedding and utensils,
and you will draw rations for your Troop from the commissary department
during the maneuvers."

"I understand, Colonel," said Durland. "You know I served in the Spanish
war, and I was able to get pretty familiar with conditions."

"I didn't know it, no," said Colonel Roberts, in some surprise. "What
command were you with? I didn't get any further than Tampa myself."

"I was on General Shafter's staff in Cuba," said Durland, quietly.

Colonel Roberts looked at the Scout-Master a bit ruefully.

"You're a regular," he said, half-believingly. "Great Scott, you must be
a West Pointer!"

"I was," said Durland, with a laugh. "So I guess you'll find that my
Troop will understand how to behave itself in camp."

"I surrender!" said the militia colonel, laughing. "If you don't see
anything you want, Captain, just ask me for it. You can have anything
I've got power to sign orders for. And say--be easy on the boys! They're
a bit green, because this active service is something new for most of
us. They mean well, but drilling in an armory and actually getting out
and getting a taste of field-service conditions are two different
things."

"I think it's all splendid training," said Durland, "and if we'd had
more of it before the war with Spain there wouldn't have been so many
graves filled by the fever. Why, Colonel, it used to make me sick to go
around among the volunteer camps about Siboney and see the conditions
there, with men who were brave enough to fight the whole Spanish army
just inviting fever and all sorts of disease by the rankest sort of
carelessness. Their officers were brave gentleman, but, while they might
have been good lawyers and doctors and bankers back home, they had never
taken the trouble to read the most elementary books on camp life and
sanitation. A day's hard reading would have taught them enough to save
hundreds of lives. We lost more men by disease than the Spaniards were
able to kill at El Caney and San Juan. And it was all needless."

"I'm detached from my regiment for this camp," said Colonel Roberts,
earnestly, "but I'm going to get hold of Major Jones as soon as I get to
Guernsey, and ask him to have you inspect the Fourteenth and criticize
it. Don't hesitate, please, Captain! Just pitch in and tell us what's
wrong, and we'll all be eternally grateful to you. And I wish you'd give
me a list of those books you were talking about, will you?"

"Gladly," said Durland. "All right, Colonel. I'll have the Troop on hand
for that train."

The Scouts enjoyed the trip mightily. Durland took occasion to impress
on them some of the differences between a regular Boy Scout encampment
and the strict military camp of which, for the next week, they were to
form a part.

"Remember to stick close to your own camp," he said. "After taps don't
go out of your own company street. There's no need of it, and I don't
want any visiting around among the other troops. In a place like this
camp, boys and men don't mix very well, and you'd better stick by
yourselves. We won't be there very long, anyway, because we'll probably
be detached from headquarters Monday. The army will break up, too,
because this is really only a concentration camp, where the army will be
mobilized."

"When does the war begin?" asked Dick Crawford.

"War is supposed to be declared at noon to-morrow," said Durland. "It is
regarded as inevitable already, however, and General Harkness can begin
throwing out his troops as soon as he has them ready, though not a shot
can be fired before noon. Neither can a single Red or Blue soldier cross
the State line before that time. However, I suspect that the line will
be pretty well patrolled before the actual declaration, so as to prevent
General Bliss from throwing any considerable force across the line
before we are ready to meet it. If he could get between Guernsey and the
State capital in any force, the chances are that we'd be beaten before
we ever began to fight at all."

"That wouldn't do," said Dick Crawford. "Will we have any fortifications
to defend at all, sir?"

"Not unless we're driven back pretty well toward the capital. Of course
there are no real fortifications there, but imaginary lines have been
established there. However, if we were forced to take to those the moral
victory would be with the Blues, even though they couldn't actually
compel the surrender of the city within the time limit. If I were
General Harkness, I think I would try at once to deceive the enemy by
presenting a show of strength on his front and carry the war into his
own territory by a concealed flanking movement, and if that were
properly covered I think we could get between him and his base and cut
him off from his supplies."

"You mean you'd really take the offensive as the best means of defense?"

"That's been the principle upon which the best generals always have
worked, from Hannibal to Kuroki," said Durland, his eyes lighting up.
"Look at the Japanese in their war with Russia. They didn't wait for the
Russians to advance through Manchuria. They crossed the border at once,
though nine critics out of every ten who had studied the situation
expected them to wait for the Russians to cross the Yalu and make Korea
the great theater of the war. Instead of that they advanced themselves,
beat a small Russian army at the Yalu, and pressed on. They met the
Russians, who were pouring into Manchuria over their great
Trans-Siberian railway, and drove them back, from Liao Yiang to Mukden.
They'd have kept on, too, if they hadn't been stopped by peace."

"Could they have kept on, though? I always had an idea that they needed
the peace even more than the Russians did."

"Well, you may be right. That's something that no one can tell. They had
the confidence of practically unceasing victory from the very beginning
of the war. They were safe from invasion, because their fleet absolutely
controlled the Yellow Sea after the battle of Tsushima, and there
weren't any more Russian battleships to bother them. They had bottled up
the Russian force in Port Arthur, and they were in the position of
having everything to gain and very little to lose. Their line of
communication was perfectly safe."

"They must have weakened themselves greatly, though, in that series of
battles."

"Yes, they did. And, of course, there is the record of Russia to be
considered. Russia has always been beaten at the start of a war. It has
taken months of defeat to stiffen the Russians to a real fight. Napoleon
marched to Moscow fairly easily, though he did have some hard fights,
like the one at Borodino, on the way. But he had a dreadful time getting
back, and that was what destroyed him. After that Leipzic and Waterloo
were inevitable. It was the Russians who really won the fight against
Napoleon, though it remained for Blucher and Wellington to strike the
death blows."

"Well, after all, what might have happened doesn't count for so much.
It's what did really happen that stands in history, and the Japanese
won. It was by their daring in taking the offensive and striking quickly
that they did that, you think?"

"It certainly seems so to me! And look at the Germans in the war with
France. Von Moltke decided that the thing to do was to strike at the
very heart and soul of France--Paris. So he swept on, leaving great,
uncaptured fortresses like Metz and Sedan behind him, which was against
every rule of war as it was understood then. Of course, Metz and Sedan
were both captured, but it was daring strategy on the part of Von
Moltke. It was supposed then to be suicidal for an army to pass by a
strong fortress, even if it were invested."

"That was how the Boers made so much trouble for the English, too,
wasn't it?"

"Certainly it was. The English expected the Boers to sit back and wait
to be attacked. Instead of that the Boers swept down at once on both
sides of the continent, and besieged Kimberly and Ladysmith. That was
how they were able to prolong the war. They took the offensive, in spite
of being outnumbered, and while they could never have really hoped to
win, they put up a wonderful fight."

"Well, I suppose we'll know in a day or so what General Harkness plans
to do."

"Hardly! We're not connected with the staff in any way, and he'll
discuss his plans only with his own staff officers. He has an excellent
reputation. He commanded a brigade in the Porto Rico campaign, you know,
and did very well, though that campaign was a good deal of a joke. But
one reason that it was a joke was that it was so well planned by General
Miles and the others under him that there was no use, at any stage of
it, in a real resistance on the part of the Spaniards. They were beaten
before a shot was fired, and they had sense enough not to waste lives
uselessly."

"Then they weren't cowardly?"

"No, indeed, and don't let anyone tell you they were, either. The
Spaniards were a brave and determined enemy, but they were so crippled
and hampered by orders from home that they were unable to make much of a
showing in the field. We'll learn some time, I'm afraid, that we won
that war too easily. Overconfidence is our worst national fault. Just
because we never have been beaten, we think we're invincible. I hope the
lesson, when it does come, and if it does come, won't be too costly."

The run to Guernsey was not a very long one. The train arrived there at
four o'clock in the afternoon, and the Scouts, armed only with their
clasp knives, Scout axes and sticks, lined up on the platform in
excellent order. Dick Crawford, who ranked as a lieutenant for the
encampment, took command, while Durland reported the arrival to Colonel
Henry, as he had been ordered to do.

Half a dozen extra sidings had been laid for the occasion by the
railroad, and on these long trains, each carrying militia, had been
shunted. Clad all in khaki, or, rather, in the substitute adopted by the
American army as more serviceable and less easy to distinguish at a
distance, a stout cloth of olive drab, thousands of sturdy militiamen
were standing at ease, waiting for orders to move. Field guns, too, and
horses, for the mounted troops, were being unloaded, and the scene was
one of the greatest activity. Hoarse cries filled the air, but there was
only the appearance of confusion, since the citizen soldiers understood
their work thoroughly, and each man had his part to play in the
spectacle.

From one of the trains, too, three great structures with spreading wings
had been unloaded, and the eyes of the Boy Scouts turned constantly
toward the spot where mechanics were busily engaged in assembling the
aeroplanes which were to serve, to some extent, as the eyes of the army.

"Glad to see you, Captain," Colonel Henry said to Durland when the
Scout-Master reported the arrival of his Troop. "I'll send an orderly
with you to show you the location of your camp. Colonel Roberts directed
me to give you an isolated location, and I have done so. It's a little
way from drinking water, but I guess you won't mind that."

"Not a bit, sir," said Durland, smilingly.

"Very well, Captain. Report to General Harkness's tent at eight o'clock,
sir, for your instructions. I think you will find that the General has
enough work planned to keep your Troop pretty busy to-morrow. We shall
all watch your work with a great deal of interest. We've been hearing a
lot about Durland's Scouts."

Durland saluted then, and turned with the orderly to rejoin his Troop.

In two hours the camp was ready. The neat row of tents, making a short
but perfectly planned and arranged company street, were all up, bedding
was ready, and supper was being cooked from the rations supplied by the
commissary department. Durland, with active recollections of commissary
supplies, had been inclined to bring along extra supplies for his Troop,
but had decided against doing so, though he knew that many of the
militia companies had taken the opposite course to his own, and had
brought along enough supplies to set an excellent table.

"I want the boys to get a taste of real service," he told Dick, "and it
won't hurt them a bit to rough it for a week. They get enough to eat,
even if there isn't much variety, and the quality isn't of the best. The
stuff is wholesome, anyhow--that's what counts."

By the time he returned from headquarters, the Troop was sound asleep,
save for the sentries, Tom Binns and Harry French, who challenged him
briskly.



CHAPTER III

THE SCOUTING AUTO


Reveille sounded at five o'clock. There was plenty to be done before the
war game actually began. There were plans to be laid, codes to be
determined, umpires to be consulted as to vague and indefinite rules,
and all sorts of little things that in a real war would have adjusted
themselves. But the Scouts were well out of the excitement. They struck
their tents and handed them over, neatly arranged, with all their
bedding, to the men from the commissary department.

"Sleeping bags for us, after to-day," explained Durland. "That is, if we
have to sleep in the open. Sometimes we'll get a barn or a hayrick, or
even a bed in a farmhouse. We won't worry about all that. But we're not
going to sit still, and we can't scout and carry tents and dunnage of
that sort along. So I said I'd turn it all in."

Then the Troop waited, quietly, for the orders that seemed so slow in
coming. But they came at last. A young officer rode up on a horse that
was dripping wet.

"General Harkness's compliments, Captain," he said, saluting Durland,
"and you will take your Troop at once to Bremerton, on the State line.
You will make your headquarters there, where a field telegraph station
has been established. Please hold your Scouts for the stroke of twelve,
when they may cross the line. The line for five miles on each side of
Bremerton is in your territory."

"My compliments to General Harkness, and we will start at once," replied
Durland.

And a moment later they were on the hike. There was plenty of time,
since Bremerton was less than three miles away, and it was scarcely
seven o'clock, but it was cooler then than it would be later, and
Durland was glad to get his Troop away from the bustle and apparent
confusion of the camp where the Red army was beginning to move.

"Where are the divisional headquarters to be to-day?" Durland asked a
hurrying staff officer who passed just then.

"Hardport--across the line," the staff man replied, as he paused a
moment. A wide grin illuminated his features. "That's nerve for you, eh?
The old man's pretty foxy. He's going to start us moving so that we'll
begin crossing the State line on the stroke of twelve, and he'll fling a
brigade into Hardport before two o'clock."

Durland whistled.

"That's fine, if it works," he remarked to Dick Crawford, later. "But
Hardport practically is the key to the railroad situation, and it isn't
conceivable that the Blues will leave it unguarded. I'm inclined to be a
wee bit dubious about that."

However, as he reflected, it was really none of his business. He was
responsible for his own Troop, not for the conduct of the campaign, and
that let him out.

It was a hot, hazy day, when the sun was fully up, and the Scouts
marched into Bremerton, to find it a sleepy, lazy, old-fashioned little
town. Above a building in the center the national flag was floating, and
next to it a Red standard. Durland turned the Troop over to Dick
Crawford, with instructions to make a bivouac near the centre of the
little place, and then walked over to the building where the flag was
flying.

As he surmised, it had become unexpectedly brigade headquarters for the
fourth brigade of the Red army, which had left Guernsey before the
breakfast call had been sounded for most of the army, and had arrived
too soon.

"Where is your brigade, Tomlinson?" he asked a young officer, who almost
ran into him as he came out.

"Oh, hello, Durland!" said the officer, wheeling briskly to shake hands
with the Scout-Master. "Why, we're hidden in the woods. Old Beansy's
fuming and fretting because he's here too soon. The men are lying back
there, but he's moved up here for brigade headquarters because it's a
field telegraph station and he can talk as much as he likes with General
Harkness."

"Your brigade commander is Beansy, I take it?" said Durland, with a
grin.

"You're right, he is! General Beverly Bean, bless him! He'll want to see
you, too, now that you've blundered into his territory. Go on up--third
door to the left!"

Durland stopped to report his arrival to division headquarters and then
went on, getting into the presence of General Bean after a few minutes'
delay.

"Glad to see you sir," said the testy old officer, who was a real
soldier. "Suppose you know we're intended to get into Hardport just as
soon after this war begins as we can get there."

"How soon will that be?" asked Durland.

"About two hours, if we're not cut to pieces on the way. I want your
help here, Captain. Can you send some of your Scouts over there to
investigate? I've an idea that getting into Hardport may be easier than
getting out again. If Bliss knows his business, he will be regarding
that as a pretty important place."

"I've orders to cover five miles each side of Bremerton," said Durland.
"I can spare two Scouts for any duty you may wish done, General. Could
they have a car?"

"Do they know how to run one?"

The question was asked in evident surprise, but Durland replied
confidently.

"Yes, General," said he. "I've got two Scouts, at least, who are
perfectly capable of handling an automobile under any conditions. I'd
trust myself to them, no matter how hard the road might be."

"I'm glad to hear it," said the general, rather dryly. "I've got two of
those new-fangled scout duty cars, with an armored hood and those new
non-explosive tires, that can't be stopped by a bullet aimed at the
wheels. But they didn't send me anyone to run them. There may be some
chauffeurs in my brigade, but I'm not too anxious to take any men from
their regiments. Here--I'll give you an order for one of the cars. Let
your Scouts make the best use they can of it."

Durland had heard of the new scouting cars, but had never seen one. He
went now, since there was plenty of time, to look it over, and found a
heavy but high-powered and fast machine of a most unusual type.

The hood was armored, so that no stray bullets could reach the engine,
as would be easy enough in the ordinary car. Similar protection was
afforded to the big gasoline tank in the rear of the car, and the seats,
intended for two men, were covered by a shield, also of bullet-proof
armor, that was so pierced with small holes that the road ahead could be
seen.

But the most extraordinary feature of the car was the new type of wheel.
There were no tires in the ordinary sense at all. Instead, there was a
tough, but springy steel substitute, and Durland spent an hour in
looking the queer contrivance over, having first satisfied himself that
the car was not sufficiently different from the ordinary automobile to
make it impossible for Jack Danby to operate it. For it was Jack Danby
he had had in mind when he asked for the use of the machine.

His friend Lieutenant Tomlinson came up while he was looking it over.

"Queer lookin' critter, isn't it?" said Tomlinson. He seemed quite
enthusiastic. "I tell you what," he went on, "if that thing works out
all right, it's going to revolutionize certain things in warfare. And
it's perfect, theoretically. Tires are the things that have barred
automobiles from use in warfare so far. Ping!--a bullet hits a tire, and
the car is stalled. Or suppose the chauffeur wants to leave the road and
go 'cross country? His tires again. He's afraid to."

"And this has tires that won't be afraid of bullets or rocks, either,
eh?"

"I should say they wouldn't! Bullets wouldn't have a chance against that
stuff. And the man who drives it is protected, too. That bullet-proof
shield makes him as safe as if he were at home. And the blooming thing
is good for sixty miles an hour over a half-way decent road--though it
can be slowed down to just about two miles an hour, and still be ready
for a quick jump."

"They're being used in both armies, aren't they?"

"Yes. There are about a dozen of them altogether. They're evenly
divided, and both armies are under orders to try them out pretty
thoroughly. If they make good, there will be a lot of them put in use by
the regular army. They're making their own tests, but tests under actual
service conditions count for more than any number of trials when all the
conditions are made to order for the people who are trying to put the
cars over."

It was Tomlinson's busy day, and he didn't have time to dally long in
talk. So he went off, and Durland sent Tom Binns, who was acting as his
orderly for the day, to bring Jack Danby to him.

Durland carried in his pockets a number of large scale maps of the
sections all around the State line, in both of the States. The scale was
two inches to the mile, so it took a considerable number of the maps to
show at all adequately the theatre of the imaginary war. But so full of
detail, thanks to the large scale, were the maps, that they showed every
house in the territory they covered, and every grade. He spread three of
these maps out, side by side, as he waited for Jack, and traced a course
over them with a pencil.

Jack appeared in due time, and saluted--not with the Scout salute of
thumb and little finger bent, with the three other fingers held straight
up, but with the military salute.

"Danby," said Durland, "I'm going to entrust you with a piece of work
that is so important that the whole result of the maneuvers may depend
upon it. Do you think you can run that car?"

Jack, who had a positive genius for mechanical matters of all sorts,
looked the strange looking car over carefully before he answered.

"It looks straight enough, sir," he said. "Self starter, I guess. And
you ought to be able to go anywhere you like with those wheels. What is
it that I am to do, sir?"

"I can explain better with these maps," said Durland. "Come close here,
and I will show you what I mean."

Jack bent over the maps with the Scout-Master, and Durland began tracing
a line with a sharp pencil.

"Here we are, in Bremerton," he said. "Now, about four miles across the
State line is Hardport. You can see the smoke from its factories, and
the railroad yards there, because it's quite an important little city.
Now, there is a straight road from here that leads there--the
continuation of this very road we are on now. What I want you to do is
to circle around"--he pointed on the map--"and strike into Hardport from
the other side. Find out, if possible, what troops of the Blue army are
in the neighborhood, and particularly along this main road. If they
occupy it in force, report as quickly as possible. If they advance
immediately after war is declared, return, but try to see if there is
not some way in which our own troops can get behind them."

"Am I to go into Hardport itself, sir?"

"Yes. And you need not stop, if challenged. Your car is regarded as
bullet proof, and the only way in which they can legitimately capture
you is by stretching a rope or providing some sort of an obstruction
that enables two of them to get a foot on your running board. Remember
your rights, and don't surrender to a mere challenge from a sentry. And
keep your hood well down, so that they won't recognize you."

"I understand, sir. What time am I to start from here?"

"Start as soon as you like. You'd better get off and circle pretty
widely, so as to get used to the car. But don't cross the State line,
whatever you do, before twelve o'clock. That is strictly against
orders."

There was a lot of good-natured talk among the Scouts when they heard of
the great chance to distinguish himself that had come to the Assistant
Patrol Leader of the Crows.

"Gee, Jack's lucky!" said one member of the Whip-poor-will Patrol.

"He is not!" defended Pete Stubbs, loyally. "He's a hard worker. He's
spent a lot of his own time in the last year learnin' all about an
automobile. He knows how to run one, and he knows how to fix it, too, if
it goes wrong on a trip. That isn't luck, and don't you call it luck!"

"I didn't mean anything against Jack when I said he was lucky, Pete. No
call to get so mad about it!"

"I'm not so mad, but it does get my goat to hear people say that
everything that happens to Jack Danby that's good comes because he's
lucky. I guess he isn't any luckier than any of the rest of us, but he
sticks to the job harder."

No amount of coaxing, of course, would have induced Jack to tell what
his orders were; and as a matter of fact, only one or two of the Scouts
tried to find out. Durland had not even thought it necessary to warn
Jack to be quiet, for he knew that Jack was on his honor as a Scout, and
that nothing more was necessary to lead him to maintain a resolute
silence on the subject of the strange scouting trip into the enemy's
country which he was soon to begin.

"Good luck," cried the Scout-Master, finally, as Jack started off. "You
know your orders--now make good!"



CHAPTER IV

IN THE ENEMY'S COUNTRY


Almost at the last moment Scout-Master Durland, or Captain Durland, as
he was again for this week, had decided not to send Jack Danby on his
trip into the enemy's country alone. Seated beside Jack, therefore,
under the protective hood of the scout car, was little Tom Binns.

"Keep your eye on your watch, Tom," said Jack. "We don't want to make
any mistake and cross the line too soon--but we don't want to be late,
either. This job is too important to run any risks of bungling it. I'd
hate to think that I'd been trusted with something really big for the
first time and then fallen down on it."

"Where will you cross the line, Jack?" asked Tom. "I should think it
would be pretty hard to tell just where the boundary was."

Jack pointed to a road map, on a slightly smaller scale than the one
from which Captain Durland had given him his course, which was pasted
right before his eyes on the metal dashboard of the car.

"I can't lose my way with that, Tom," he said. "See, there's a road that
we're getting pretty near to now. It crosses the State line about six
miles east of Bremerton, if you'll notice the map, at a little village
called Mardean. That's all on this side of the line. They may be
watching the road there, so what we want to do is to get where we can't
be seen, and then, about a minute before noon, go ahead as fast as the
car will carry us. That ought to take us through all right, even if
they've got a guard on duty. Then we can circle around in a big sweep
and come down to Hardport from behind. The country people ought to be
able to tell us part of what we want to know, and we can confirm what
they tell us by what we can see ourselves."

"They wouldn't lie to us, would they, Jack?"

"You couldn't call it regular lying if they gave us false information
about their own army, Tom. Remember that this is supposed to be like a
real war, and in a war the invading army wouldn't expect to get correct
information from the people along the roads. On the contrary, they'd do
their best to delay the enemy, and make all the trouble they could, and
they'd be patriotic. So we've got to be mighty careful this next week
about how we take any information we pick up in that fashion. If the
people on the farms take the game seriously, and enter into the spirit
of it, they'll do all they can to harass us and bother us."

Jack drove his car well and carefully, but made no great attempt to get
high speed out of it, though it was, as he knew, capable of going three
or four times as fast as he was driving it. But there is always a
certain danger in driving an automobile at high speed, and Jack saw no
use in taking any risk that was not necessary.

"You can go a lot faster than this, can't you, Jack?" asked Tom, as they
bowled along easily, at little more than fifteen miles an hour.

"What's the use, Tom? We'll get to Mardean before we can cross the line,
anyhow. I'll go fast enough then for a spell, if you're anxious for
speed. Don't be impatient! We'll get all the speed you want before very
long."

Jack was a true prophet, as one ought to be when he has the means of
fulfilling the prophecy in his own hands. At Mardean, just out of sight
of the line, they waited while the minutes dragged slowly by.

"One minute more!" cried Tom Binns, breathless with excitement and
suspense.

"All right," said Jack, quietly. "Hold tight now, Tom! I'm going to let
her out a bit."

Swiftly the grey car gathered speed. In a rush of dust, with horn
blowing and exhaust sputtering behind them, the car shot over the line,
and, just as a whistle boomed out the twelve o'clock dinner signal, Jack
was in hostile territory. The war was on!

Behind them there was a confused shouting. The car was built so that it
was easy to look behind.

"There was an outpost there," said Tom, as he looked back. "They're
kicking up a tremendous fuss, Jack. I guess we rather put one over on
them that time."

"We've got to put another one over on them in a hurry, then," said Jack,
"or they'll put one over on us. Let me know as soon as that outpost is
well out of sight, Tom. And keep your eyes skinned for any sign that
they're after us with a motorcycle or anything like that, will you?"

"They're out of sight now--and there's nothing on the road. Hey, Jack,
where are you going?"

For Jack, after a swift glance at his map, had run deliberately off the
road, reducing speed considerably as he did so, but not so much that the
car did not rattle around considerably as it left the smooth roadbed and
plunged into a field that had not long since been ploughed.

"They'll telephone ahead of us, and they'll be waiting," Jack explained.
"I've got to cut through the fields here, so that we can get on another
road where they won't be looking for us. Otherwise I'm afraid we
wouldn't get very far before we ran into a trap that all our armor and
all our speed wouldn't get us out of without capture. You don't want to
lose this car on its first trip, do you, Tom?"

"Not by a good deal!" yelled Tom, who was beginning to feel the
exhilaration of the wild, bumping ride over the furrows of the field.
"It was sort of sudden, that's all, Jack; I wasn't expecting it, you
see."

"I meant to tell you we'd do that, but I forgot. I had it all doped out.
See, we're coming to another road, now. This is a pretty big field, and
it was marked accurately on that map. This whole section was surveyed
and mapped especially for this war game."

"Say, if they do many things like that, it must cost something," said
Tom.

"War's the most expensive thing in the world, Tom, and the next most
expensive, I guess, is getting ready for it, and having such a strong
army and navy that no one will want to fight you. But it pays to be
ready for war, no matter how much it costs, for the country that isn't
ready is always the one that has to fight when it least expects it. And
fighting when you're not ready is the most expensive of all. It costs
money and lives."

Then, with a sickening bump, the car took the road again, and Jack was
heading straight for Hardport.

"Those wheels worked splendidly," he said. "And the car, too. An
ordinary car would have bumped itself to pieces a mile or so back, and
this one is running just as easily as when we started. I suppose it cost
a lot, but it was certainly worth it."

"Every time we hit a new furrow I thought we were going to break down,"
confessed Tom. "I was scared at first. But I soon decided that we were
all right. But I don't believe, even if I knew how to drive a car, that
I'd have the nerve to take it through a ploughed field that way."

"Yes, you would, Tom, if you knew it was the only thing you could do.
You couldn't be any worse scared than I was when we left the road--but I
knew, you see, that there simply wasn't any other way out of it. When
you have to do a thing, you can usually manage it. I've found that out."

"What's next?"

"The outskirts of Hardport. I want to skirt the railroad track. Their
mobilization was at Smithville, back along the railroad about twenty
miles, and if they've sent any force to Hardport, the railroad will show
it. If they haven't, I'm going to mark the railroad cut."

"What do you mean, Jack?"

"In a real war, if people got a chance, this railroad would be cut. A
lot of rails would be torn up and burnt. We don't want to interfere with
regular traffic, so in this game we build a fire with spare ties, and
mark as much rail as we'd have time to tear up, allowing ten minutes for
each length of rail. Then if a troop train comes along and sees that
signal, it is held to be delayed an hour for each torn up rail, as that
is the time it would take the sappers to repair the damage."

They paused for thirty minutes, therefore, when they reached a spot
about three miles and a half from the city line of Hardport.

"There," said Jack, when he had set his marks, "that will hold them up
for three hours, and give General Bean a chance to occupy Hardport and
destroy the railroad bridge. That will take a day to rebuild, without
interference, and I guess it makes it pretty safe for us. Now we'll go
on into town."

But they didn't go into the town. They did not have to, to discover that
Hardport was occupied by a Blue regiment, which had outposts well
scattered around the place, anticipating an attack, just as Captain
Durland had said he thought would be the case.

"We'll do some more circling, now," said Jack, "and get around their
outposts. I know a way we can do that. What they're planning is to let
General Bean advance and walk into a trap. They've got enough men
waiting for him along here to smash him on a frontal attack. What we've
got to do is to get word to him in time to prevent him from doing that."

Twice, as the grey car sped along, now on the road, now in the fields,
they saw parties of the enemy, but never were they near enough seriously
to threaten the Boy Scouts with capture. And at last, striking into the
main road for Bremerton, they saw a cloud of dust approaching, which
they recognized as the signal of the coming of General Bean's brigade.

The soldiers cheered them as they recognized the scout car, and opened
up a way for the big car to pass through them to the brigade commander
himself.

"What's your name, eh?" asked the General, sharply. "Danby, eh?
Excellent work, Scout Danby! I shall make it a point to report my
appreciation to your Troop commander. You'd better come along in the
rear now, and watch the rest of the operations. Thanks to you, I rather
think they'll be worth watching."

And, touching the spurs to his speedy black horse, he cantered up to the
front of the column, chuckling and laughing as he thought of how the
enemy had been outwitted by his youthful Scout.

The direct forward march of the brigade was interrupted immediately. One
regiment, indeed, continued along the straight road to Hardport, but the
rest of the brigade was deployed at once.

"What will they do now, Jack?" asked Tom Binns.

"Well, I wouldn't be able to say for certain," replied Jack, with a
smile, "but I rather think they'll manage to get behind the town in some
fashion, and close in on the Blue troops in the garrison while the
regiment in front here keeps them busy with a strong feint of an
attack."

A colonel of regular cavalry, with a white badge on his arm to show he
was serving as an umpire, drove past just then in a big white
automobile.

"See, there's one of the umpires," said Jack. "He goes all about, and
determines the result. I'm glad he's here--that means there can't be any
dispute this time. General Bean has probably told him what he plans to
do, and he will see how it comes out. Of course, he doesn't communicate
in any way with the enemy, or tell them what we're planning to do."

"Of course not! That wouldn't be fair, Jack. I'm glad he's here, too. Do
you suppose he's heard about the way we blocked the railroad?"

"I think he may have seen our signs and come this way just to find out
what was doing."

"Listen!" cried Jack, suddenly. "There's firing ahead! Let's get on and
find out what's going on."

There was heavy firing ahead of them for a few minutes, and then it
became intermittent.

"Our attack is being repelled, I guess," said Jack. "That's the first
engagement of the war, too. Well, we may seem to be beaten in that, but
I guess we can afford to lose a skirmish, if we can capture Hardport and
a whole Blue regiment."

Again, after the firing had almost ceased, a rattle of shots burst on
the quiet air. Then, too, came the screaming of a shell, as it burst
harmlessly above the city.

"Hooray!" cried Jack. "We've surrounded them! Come on!"

And this time there was no opposing the entry of the grey car into
Hardport. The city had been surrounded and captured, just as Jack had
predicted, and the Blue regiment that had been so completely outwitted,
thanks to the cleverness of Jack Danby, was out of the war entirely. It
was an important victory, in more ways than one. General Bliss could ill
afford to lose so many men, and the capture of Hardport, moreover, was a
crippling blow, since it interfered with the operation of the railroad
which he had relied upon for bringing his troops across the State line
in large numbers.

The umpires lost no time in telling General Bean of their decision, and
in congratulating him on the strategy he had displayed.

"Cutting the railroad was a masterly stroke," said one of the umpires.

"That's what I say!" said the General, with enthusiasm. "And it was a
little tike of a Boy Scout, in my grey scout car, who did it--and that
without orders!"



CHAPTER V

OFF TO CRIPPLE CREEK


Jack and Tom Binns waited only to see the surrender of Hardport before
Jack turned the car about and made for Bremerton, taking the direct road
this time, since the advance of General Bean and his division of the Red
army had swept aside all danger from the invading Blue forces. The
outposts, of course, which Jack had had to dodge as he scouted in
advance of the Red advance guard, had all been driven back upon
Hardport, and they were prisoners of war now, and the way was clear for
the day, at least.

Captain Durland listened with scarcely concealed enthusiasm to Jack's
clear and concise account of what had been accomplished.

"You two saved the day," he said, finally. "We would have been in a very
tight hole indeed if you hadn't cut the railroad, which was the only
thing that made it possible for General Bean to effect the capture of
Hardport as he did."

"How is that, sir?" asked Jack. "I thought we gave him useful
information, and I cut the railroad because there seemed to be a good
chance to do it, without thinking very much of the consequences of doing
so."

"Why, if you hadn't cut the railroad," said Durland, "General Bliss
would have thrown a division into Hardport as soon as he heard at his
headquarters, by telegraph, that the place was threatened. Then he could
have moved troops over from Mardean, where I imagine he had at least a
couple of regiments, and General Bean's brigade would have been in a
trap that would have been absolutely impossible to escape from. Now it's
all different. We've got Hardport. By this time General Bean has
unquestionably theoretically destroyed the railroad bridge and has
artillery mounted so that the guns will have to be captured before
General Bliss can make an attempt to rebuild it."

"I see! If the bridge is covered with guns, the theory is that the enemy
couldn't do any work, eh?"

"Exactly! They've got to work in a narrow place, and they'd be blown to
pieces, a squad at a time, while they were trying to work. That was the
decisive move of the whole action. What did General Bean say to you?"

"He said it was good work, sir, and that he was going to speak to you of
it."

"Excellent, Jack! I am very pleased that one of my Scouts should have
played so important a part in the first decisive engagement of the
campaign. And General Bean is the sort of a man who is sure to see that
you get the credit for what you've done."

"What shall we do next, sir?"

"I'll hold you in reserve until I get further orders from headquarters,
I think. General Harkness evidently plans an aggressive fight from the
very outset. I have heard nothing from his headquarters direct as yet,
but I probably shall pretty soon. I shall send in a report of General
Bean's success at Hardport at once, though he has probably done that
already."

The Scouts were working well all along the line. The enemy, as Pete
Stubbs had reported, had crossed the State line in some small force at
Mardean. Two regiments had occupied that village, which was on the Red
side of the line, and had thrown out skirmishers for a couple of miles
in both directions. Warner, one of the Raccoon Patrol, had been
captured, but he was the only one of the Troop who had not made good his
escape in the face of the enemy's advance, and even he had accomplished
the purpose for which he had been sent out, since he had managed to
wig-wag the news of the advance of a troop of cavalry before they had
run him down, and the news had been flashed all along the line, from
Scout to Scout, until it had reached Durland.

The wireless was not in use here, though experiments were being made
with a field wireless installation some miles away, but the Scouts did
not need it. They were spread out within plain sight of one another, and
with their little red and white flags they sent messages by the Morse
alphabet, and in a special code, as fast as wireless could have done.
They also were prepared to use, when there was a bright sun, which was
not the case that day, the heliograph system, which sends messages for
great distances.

In that system of field signalling, extensively employed by the British
during the Boer war, since wireless had not at that time been at all
perfected, a man stands on a slight elevation, and catches the rays of
the sun on a great reflector. Those flashes are visible for many miles
in a clear atmosphere, in a flat country, and the flashes, of course,
are practically instantaneous.

"We don't need to worry about wireless for communications of a few
miles," said Durland. "The system of signalling that depends on seeing
flashes, smokes, flags and other signals, is as old as warfare, really.
The Indians, in this country, used to send news an astonishing distance
in an amazingly short time. They used smokes, as we know, since we have
all worked out those signals ourselves from time to time. And all
nations in time of war have employed relays of men with flags, stationed
at fixed intervals for scores of miles, for the sending of despatches
and important news. Napoleon used the system on a great scale, and,
until the telegraph was invented and made practicable for field work,
that was the only way it could be done."

"The telegraph was first used in our Civil War, wasn't it, sir?" asked
Tom Binns.

"Yes. But even then it was done in a very crude way. There was none of
the modern elaborate work of field telegraph systems. Nowadays, you see,
an army builds its telegraph lines as it goes along. Then they were
dependent upon the lines already built, mostly along the railroad
tracks. The first really great war in which such systems were in use was
the struggle between Russia and Japan. The French and the Germans didn't
have them in their war."

A few minutes later an orderly from the building in which the field
telegraph station had been established came running up to Durland.

"Despatch from General Harkness, Captain," he said, saluting, and
Durland took the slip of paper. He flushed with pleasure as he read it.

"Concentrate your troop at Hardport," he read. "Send Danby and companion
in scout car ahead, to report to me for special duty. Congratulations on
his splendid work, reported to me fully by General Bean."

"That is the sort of thing that makes it worth while to do good work,"
he said. "I think we saved General Harkness from an embarrassing
position this morning, and it is good to think that he appreciates what
we were able to do. Get along, now, Jack, and report to headquarters
just as soon as you can."

There was now no need to take the grey car through the fields as Jack
retraced their course over the straight road from Bremerton. They met
pickets, but those they met, who had heard something of the deeds Jack
had already accomplished, cheered his progress now, since this was no
longer the enemy's country but a part of Red territory, by virtue of
Bean's swift and successful attack of the morning. The soldiers they saw
were a part of their own army, and Jack waved his hand in grateful
acknowledgment of the cheers that pursued them as they sped by.

"Those fellows are regulars," he told Tom, as they passed one small
detachment. "It makes you feel good to think that they regard us as
comrades in arms, doesn't it, Tom? Those fellows know what they're
about, and they must regard some of our militia as a good deal of a
joke."

"I don't think that's a bit fair, Jack," said Tom. "The militia have
their own work to do most of the time, and they do the best they can
when they turn soldiers. And if we had a war, the regulars wouldn't be
able to go very far without help--they must know that!"

"They're not mean about it, Tom. They help the militia as much as they
can when they're in camp together, and teach them the tricks of the
trade. But they're trained men who don't do anything but work at their
soldiering, and the trained men always feel a bit superior to the
volunteers."

"Some countries have a much bigger army than we do, don't they, Jack?"

"Indeed they do! Why, in Europe, in every country except England, every
man has to serve in the army, unless he's too weak to do it. You see,
they have possible enemies on all sides of them. Over here we don't
realize how lucky we are to have the sea guarding us from the most
dangerous enemies we might have. We haven't any reason to fear trouble
with England, and Canada, of course, isn't any better off than we when
it comes to an army. We could take care of them easily enough with the
trained troops we have. And Mexico, while they might fight us, couldn't
put up any sort of a real fight. The Mexicans couldn't invade this
country, and if we ever had to invade Mexico, we'd have all the time we
needed to train an army to go across and fight them, the way we did
before. We may have to do that some time, but I hope not, because
fighting in the sort of country there is down there would mean an awful
loss of life."

"You mean that they know the country so well that a small force of them
could worry us and make a lot of trouble, even if we won all the big
battles?"

"Yes. The Boers couldn't stand up to the British very long in their
fight, but they kept under arms and made the English armies work mighty
hard to bring about peace."

"Well, I hope we never do have a war, Jack. This is only a game, of
course, but it gives you an idea of what the real thing would be like,
and it must be dreadful. It makes me realize, somehow, what it might
have been like in the Civil War, when we were killing one another.
Somehow reading about those battles doesn't give you as much of an idea
of how it must have been as even a single morning of this sham war."

They were moving along fast as they talked, and they were in the
outskirts of Hardport now. The town was full of soldiers. General Bean's
brigade had been reinforced by the arrival of nearly ten thousand more
men, and there were, altogether, about sixteen thousand troops there.
General Harkness, thanks to Jack Danby and the quick wit of General
Bean, who had understood the necessity of altering his plans for the
capture of the place when he got Jack's report, had made good his boast
that he would make the place his divisional headquarters for the night.

The place was all astir. Small automobiles, painted red, carried
bustling officers from place to place, delivering orders, preparing for
the next step in the defense of the State capital. General Harkness,
Jack found, after making several fruitless inquiries of officers who
seemed to be too busy to bother with a small boy, who, had they known
it, was a far more important factor in the campaign than they were at
all likely to be, had established his headquarters at the Hardport
House, the leading hotel of the town, and there Jack went.

He was kept waiting for some time, after he had stated his name, and
that he was under orders to report to the commanding general, but when
he reached General Harkness he found him a pleasant, courteous man, and
very much pleased with the work that he and Tom Binns had done.

"Now," said the General, "I've got some more and very important work for
you to do. I've got to find out as soon as I can what the enemy's plans
are. I don't expect you to do all of that, but you can play a part."

He walked over to a great wall map of the whole field of the operations,
and pointed out a road on it.

"That road is the key to the situation this afternoon," he said.
"General Bean is pressing forward to reach it as soon as possible, and
occupy this bridge here in force. If he can get there in time, the
enemy's advance will be checked. It is likely, in fact, that we may be
able to force a decisive engagement there before the enemy is at all
ready for it. Our capture of Hardport to-day, you see, has given us a
great advantage. Before that, the enemy was in a position to choose his
fighting ground. He could make us meet him where he liked, and with all
the advantage of position in his favor. Now that will be no longer
possible for him. The ground at Cripple Creek Bridge here is the best we
could have, since, if General Bean can occupy the position there,
General Bliss will have no choice but to give battle there, and I think
we can turn him back on his own mobilization point."

Jack saluted.

"I am to report on the number and disposition of the enemy's forces
about Cripple Creek, then, sir?" he said.

"Those are your orders. I shall expect a report within two hours."

"Yes, General. I will do my best to have one within that time."

Off in the distance, as Jack whirled out of Hardport, and beyond the
last pickets of the Red army, he saw a cloud of dust spreading across
the country.

"There's General Bean," he said to Tom. "Gee, his fellows must be pretty
tired! They've fought a battle and captured a town already, and now
they're off on a fifteen-mile march. Going some, I think!"

Cripple Creek was fifteen miles by the straight route the troops were
forced to take, but by short cuts and taking bad roads, Jack could reach
it by less than nine miles of traveling.

"Keep your eyes skinned, Tom!" said Jack, as he drove along. "I've got
to watch the road, and we're in the enemy's country again with a
vengeance."



CHAPTER VI

AT THE COVERED BRIDGE


There was not a sign of the enemy as they neared the bridge, one of
those covered affairs so common a few years ago in country districts.
The countryside was serene and undisturbed.

"This doesn't look much like war," said Jack. "But I guess Gettysburg
itself looked just as peaceful a few days before the big battle in 1863.
You can't always tell by appearances. We'll go pretty easy here, anyhow,
until we're certain that it's all right."

But the most careful investigation failed to reveal a trace of hostile
occupation or passage. At the end of the bridge Jack got out of the car,
leaving Tom Binns at the wheel, and ready to start at an instant's
notice should there be a sudden attack.

"The tracks here don't show anything much," he said, looking up to Tom
with a puzzled face. "I don't believe anything but a couple of farm
wagons have passed this way to-day. If General Bliss thought this was
his only line of advance, he'd have been certain to have had a few
pickets here--or at least one of his scout cars. And I'll swear that
nothing of that sort has happened here to-day. They'd have been bound to
leave all sorts of traces, that's certain!"

"What do you think it means, Jack?"

"That there's something cooking and on the stove that we don't know
about or suspect, even," said Jack. "I guess that General Bliss gets as
good information as we do, and he must have figured out that he wouldn't
be able to get here in time. If he went this way, anyhow, he'd have to
leave Hardport in our possession behind him. And somehow I don't believe
he'd do that."

"Say, Jack," called Tom Binns, suddenly, "I just saw a flash over there
behind you--upon that hillock."

Jack began whistling indifferently. He strolled around, as if he were
interested only in the view. Gradually he worked over closer to Tom and
the big car, and then, and only then, he turned so that he could follow
Tom's eyes with his own.

"I don't want anyone that's around here to think I'm looking at them,"
he said in a low tone to Tom. "What does it seem like to you, Tom?
Scouts?"

"I think so, Jack. I caught just a glimpse, after I called to you, of
something that looked like a Scout uniform. I think that they're
watching us."

"That's much better," said Jack, greatly relieved. "It didn't seem
natural, somehow, to find this place so deserted. Say, Tom, you can run
the car, can't you?"

"Yes, if I don't have to go too fast."

"All right. I'm going to climb in. Then pull the hood pretty well over
and run her slowly through the bridge. It's covered, you see, and they
can't see us after we're on it. Then, as soon as we're under cover, I'm
going to drop out. They can't see how many of us there are in the car.
I'll stay behind, and you run on around the bend, drop out of the car,
quietly, and leave it at the side of the road."

"Will that be safe, Jack? Couldn't anyone who came along run off with
it?"

"Not if you take the spark plug out and put it in your pocket. That
cripples the car absolutely, and you ought always to do that, even if
you just leave a car outside a store for a couple of minutes when you go
in to buy something. This car is great, too, because you don't have to
crank it. It has a self-starting device, so that you can start the motor
automatically without leaving your seat."

"All right, Jack. What am I to do after I leave the car?"

"Work up quietly into the woods there. When you get up a way, scout down
easily, and try to trail them. You'll find traces of them up there on
the ridge, I'm sure, if they're really up there. I'll do the same thing
from the other side here. I think we've got a good chance to break one
of their signalling relays, don't you see?"

"I'll take my flags along, shall I, Jack?"

"Good idea! No telling what we'll be able to find out and do here. All
right--I'm going to drop out now!"

The car slowed down and he dropped off silently, and laughed as he saw
Tom Binns guide the big machine off into the light beyond the covered
bridge again. Then, the laughter gone from his face, he slipped
cautiously back in the opposite direction, and at the entrance to the
bridge dropped down to the bed of the creek. The season had been dry,
and the water in the creek was very shallow. His plan was definite in
his own mind, and he had had enough experience in scouting to know that
there was at least a good chance of success in his enterprise, although
a difficult one.

His destination was the ridge where Tom Binns had seen the flashing of
red and white signal flags. Step by step now, climbing slowly and
carefully, he made his way up the bank, sure that even if whoever was on
the ridge had guessed the ruse of the way in which he had left the
automobile, they would not be looking for an attack from the direction
in which he was making his stealthy, Indian-like advance. Another reason
for slow and deliberate progress was to give Tom Binns time to reach the
ridge, and take up a position favorable for the playing of his part in
the scheme.

Before him now, as he moved on, he could hear sounds of quiet and
stealthy movement, and at last, standing before him, as he peeped
through a small opening in the thick undergrowth, he could see a Boy
Scout, standing stiff and straight, and working his signal flags. He had
to stand on a high spot and in a clearing to do this, as otherwise, of
course, his flags could not have been seen at any distance. Jack
measured the place with his eyes. His whole plan would collapse if the
body of the signalling Scout were visible from the next relay stations,
but he quickly decided that only the flags would show.

From behind the Scout with the flags now came the call of a crow--caw,
caw, caw!

Jack grinned as he answered it. For a moment a look of suspicious
alertness showed on the face of the Blue Scout. He whirled around to
face the sound behind him, and in the moment that his back was turned
Jack sprang on him.

The Blue Scout put up a fine struggle, but he was helpless against the
combined attack of Jack Danby and Tom Binns, who sprang to his comrade's
aid as soon as he saw what Jack had done.

"Two to one isn't fair," gasped Jack as he sat on his prisoner's chest,
"but we had to do it. This is war, you see, and they say all's fair in
love and war. Who are you?"

"Canfield, Tiger Patrol, Twenty-first Troop, Hampton's Scouts," said the
prisoner. "Detailed for Scout service with the Blue army. You got me
fair and square. We caught one of your fellows near Mardean, we heard,
soon after the war began. Sorry--but it's all in the game.

"How on earth did you get to me so quietly? I was watching you in the
road by the bridge, and I thought you'd gone off in your car. You
certainly fooled me to the queen's taste."

"Fortune of war," said Jack. "The car gave us a big advantage. You're
not to blame a bit. I guess you'll be exchanged pretty soon, too. We'll
give you for Warner, you see. He's the one of our Troop who was caught.
And a fair exchange isn't any robbery."

"Have we got to tie him up?" asked Tom Binns.

"Not if he'll give his parole not to escape or accept a rescue," said
Jack. "How about that, Canfield? Will you give me your word of honor?
I'm Jack Danby, Assistant Patrol Leader of the Crow Patrol of Durland's
Troop, and ranking as a corporal for the maneuvers in the Red army."

"I'll give you my parole all right," said Canfield. He saluted stiffly.
"Glad to meet you, Corporal Danby. Sorry the tables aren't turned,
though. We've got a special dinner for our prisoners to-night--but we
haven't caught many prisoners yet, worse luck!"

"All right! See if the flags are just the same, Tom."

Tom Binns compared the flags captured from Canfield with those he
himself carried.

"They're exactly the same," he said. "We can use either his or ours. It
doesn't make any difference."

"That's good. Stand up there now, Tom, and see what's coming. Can you
see the next stations on both sides?"

"Sure I can, Jack. They're wig-wagging like the very dickens now, asking
Canfield here why he doesn't answer."

"Signal that he was watching a grey scout car of the Red army, going
north," said Jack, with a laugh.

Canfield heard the laugh with a rueful smile.

"You're certainly going to mess things up!" he said. "I ought to be
court-martialled for letting you break up our signal chain this way."

Meanwhile Tom Binns was working his flags frantically.

"O. K.," he reported to Jack. "Message coming!"

Jack sprang to his side, and together the two Red Scouts watched the
flags flashing in the distance. Jack showed a good deal of excitement.

"Gee," he said, "this is all to the good! That's a message from General
Bliss himself, I'll bet! See, Tom? He's sending orders to General Brown,
who commands his right wing. They're going to swing around back toward
Hardport in a big half-circle, of which this place where we are now is
pretty nearly the centre. And it's the Newville road that's the line of
their march, and not this road over the creek at all. That's nerve for
you, if you like, because the Newville pike is right in our lines, and
if we move fast we can turn that right wing right in on their center."

For half an hour they stayed there, realizing more and more with every
passing minute that the whole Blue army was developing a great and
sweeping attack on Hardport, and in a direction entirely different from
that being taken by General Bean. The information so far obtained by
General Harkness obviously was entirely misleading, and in sending
General Bean to Cripple Creek, as he had, he had simply deprived himself
of a brigade, and, as he would learn in the morning, when the attack
would most certainly begin, weakened a vital part of his lines. Bean was
moving directly away from the spot where the attack would be
concentrated, and the enemy would be able, unless something were quickly
done, to strike at the unprotected center of the Red line, drive right
through it, and throw the main portion of his army, like a great wedge,
between the two sections of the Red forces.

Jack's face grew grave as message after message confirmed his fears. He
looked at his watch.

"We've got to get word of this to General Harkness," he said. "Tom, I'm
afraid you'll have to stay here and take chances on being caught. I've
got to get back to headquarters and tell General Harkness what we've
learned here. And if we both go, and leave the relay broken here,
they'll smell a rat at once, and investigate. There's enough of a trail
here to show a blind man, much less a bunch of Scouts who are just as
good in their State as we're supposed to be in our own, just what's
happened. So you stay here, and I'll take Canfield along with me in the
car and make my way back to headquarters. You'll be able to leave pretty
soon, anyhow, because it will be too dark for effective long-range
signalling less than an hour from now. You can do it all right, can't
you?"

"Yes," said Tom Binns, pluckily. It was plain that he didn't like the
prospect of staying there alone, but he could see the necessity as
easily as Jack himself, and that there was no other way of meeting the
circumstance that had arisen.

"Do your best, of course, to avoid being captured," said Jack, as he
turned to go, with Canfield at his side. "But it will be no reflection
on you if you are made a prisoner, and we won't need to feel that
they've put one over on us if they catch you. We've got more than a fair
return for the loss of even a First Class Scout in the information that
they've unknowingly given us. It may mean the difference between the
success and failure of the whole campaign."

"You're a wonder, Danby," said Canfield, as they made their way down to
the car. Being on parole, of course, and, as a Boy Scout should always
be, honorable and incapable of breaking his given word, Canfield made no
attempt to escape or hamper Jack in any way. "I've heard a lot about
you, and I'm glad to see you at work, even if it does make it bad for
me. You seem to be able to tell just about what's going on around here.
I couldn't do that. I didn't think about the larger meaning of the
orders I was passing on."

"I may be wrong, you know," said Jack, as he waited for Canfield to step
into the car before climbing into the driver's seat. "I'm really only
making a guess, but I think it's a pretty good one. And, anyhow, with
the notes I've got for him, General Harkness ought to be able to get a
pretty good line on what's doing."

"He ought to be," admitted Canfield, regretfully, but smiling at the
same time. "You're certainly one jim-dandy as a Scout! I'd hate to be
against you in a real war. If you can handle things always the way
you've done this time, you'd be a pretty hard proposition in a real
honest-to-goodness fight."



CHAPTER VII

A TIMELY WARNING


Jack debated the advisability of meeting General Bean and telling him
what he had learned, but he decided that since that detour would take up
nearly half an hour of time that was now most valuable, he had better
hurry right through to headquarters, and carry his news direct to the
commander-in-chief. He cared little now for the danger of meeting stray
detachments of the enemy. He was not afraid of them, since he knew that
they would not, in all probability, be keeping a particularly careful
watch for him, and he was confident of the ability of his car to
outdistance any pursuit that might be attempted.

Twice, indeed, as he raced for Hardport, he met patrols of the enemy's
cavalry, but he was burning up the ground at such a rate that they
probably were not able to distinguish the nature of his car, especially
as it was nearly dark.

"Gee, Danby, you certainly make this old car go!" said Canfield,
admiringly. "She's a daisy, too. I never was in a car before that rode
as easily as this, and I think you're going twice as fast as I've ever
ridden in my life before."

Going at such speed, it did not take long for Jack to reach
headquarters. He rushed at once into the hotel, and his earnest,
dust-streaked face so impressed the officer on duty outside the
General's door that he took Jack in at once.

"I have the honor to report that I have carried out your instructions,
General," said Jack. "I have used more than the two hours you allowed
me, but I felt that that was necessary."

Then he explained the capture he and Tom Binns had effected, and how, by
taking the place of their prisoner with the flags, they had been able to
discover the enemy's real plans.

General Harkness wasted no words then for a few minutes. He pressed two
or three buttons, and, as staff officers answered, his orders flew like
hail.

"Telegraph General Bean to change his route at once," he ordered, "and
make Newville his objective point, throwing out heavy skirmish lines and
advance pickets to prevent a surprise. He will march all night, if
necessary--but he must be at Newville before five o'clock."

The officer who took the order saluted, turned on his heel, and left the
room.

"Direct Colonel Abbey to bring up his cavalry regiment at once from
Bremerton," was the next order. "He will march across the line, and then
follow it until he reaches the Newville pike. Thence he will turn to
support any movement General Bean may find it necessary to make there.
Colonel Abbey will not engage the enemy, however, even to the extent of
feeling him out, without direct orders from either General Bean or
myself. Repeat a copy of Colonel Abbey's orders to General Bean."

"That's good work, Danby, once more," he said, then, turning to Jack.
"We'd have been in a nice mess if you hadn't discovered that. They
masked their turning movement beautifully. If they had got hold of
Newville and cut General Bean off from the main body of this army we
would have had to abandon Hardport at once. General Bean would certainly
have been captured, and we would have had to fall back on the capital,
with an excellent prospect of being attacked and forced to fight at a
great disadvantage on our retreat. As it is, even if General Bean is
forced to circle around Newville, we can concentrate at Bremerton and
fight on ground of our own choosing, though that would make this place
untenable."

Receiving no further orders, Jack remained to listen. He stood at
attention, and he enjoyed the experience of being in the room of a
general on active service, for the constant stream of orders General
Harkness was giving was hardly checked at all by his pause to speak to
Jack and thank him for the good work he had done.

"Instruct Colonel Henry to complete preparations for the theoretical
destruction of the railroad station, the sidings, and all passenger and
freight cars now here," he directed next. "If we are forced to abandon
the place, we will leave plenty of evidence behind us that it is no
longer of any use to the enemy. Rather a dog-in-the-manger policy, I
suppose--" this to Jack, since the officer had gone to obey the
order--"but that's war. If you can't make any use of a town or a lot of
supplies yourself, remember always that that is no reason why the enemy
should not find them of the utmost service, and see to it that he can
get no benefit from them. That was General Sherman's way. He left a
trail of desolation fifty miles wide wherever he marched with his army,
and he was always sure that the enemy, even if he came along after him,
would find no chance to live in that country."

Jack offered no comment at all. He knew his place, as a Boy Scout, and,
while he realized that it was a great compliment for the General to talk
to him in that fashion, he had no intention of presuming on the fact.

Just then an orderly entered.

"Scout Thomas Binns, of Durland's Troop, General," he said, saluting.
"He says he has important information."

"Another of you?" asked the General, smiling as he faced Jack. "Send him
in!"

"He was with me in the car, sir," said Jack. "I left him behind when I
came to make my report."

"I have the honor to report, General," said little Tom Binns, standing
at the salute when he appeared, "that the enemy now has reason to
believe that General Bean is advancing for Cripple Creek and will camp
there to-night."

"How do you know that, my boy?" said the General.

"The signal station next to me on the side nearest Hardport flashed the
news that General Bean had changed his course, sir," replied Tom. "I
didn't think they ought to hear that at General Bliss's headquarters, so
I changed the message in relaying it, and said that it was now
positively determined that General Bean was heading for Cripple Creek,
and would proceed to occupy the bridge. In fact, I added that his
pickets were already in sight."

"Excellent!" laughed the General. "But how did you get here, my boy? I
don't see how you escaped falling into their hands."

"That was the last message we got before dark, sir," said Tom. "After
that we all got orders to report at their Scout headquarters, and I
decided to try to make my way back here. On the way I ran into one of
their outposts, and a man with a motorcycle chased me. But he had a
puncture--I think that was because I dropped my knife in the road--and
he had to stop to repair that. While he was doing it, I worked up behind
him, and I managed to get the motorcycle and came on. I knew he'd have a
good chance to catch me, because I didn't know the roads very well."

"Ha, ha!" laughed General Harkness. The incident seemed to amuse him
immensely, for he laughed till the tears rolled down his cheeks. "I wish
I had a whole army of you, my boy. We'd have little trouble with the
enemy, then. Now you two can go back to Bremerton. That is likely to be
nearer the scene of battle in the morning than this town, and you have
both done a good day's work in any case. I am highly pleased with you.
Carry my compliments to Captain Durland, and say to him that I shall be
glad to see him in my headquarters in the morning. He will have to find
out where they are, for I don't know myself at this moment. I shall
probably be up most of the night myself, but do you be off now, and get
a good night's rest. You have earned it."

So once more Jack drove the grey car to Bremerton. He was almost reeling
with fatigue by this time, for it was nearly nine o'clock, and he had
done enough since noon to tire out a full-grown man.

"That was mighty clever work of yours with the motorcycle," he said to
Tom. "How did you ever think of it?"

"I didn't want to be caught, Jack, that's all. I guess you were right
the other day when you said we never knew what we could do until we had
to do it. It's certainly true with me, because if anyone had ever told
me that I would do a thing like that, I'd have told them they were
crazy."

"Well, whatever the reason was, it was good work. If they'd caught you
with your signal flags, they might have smelled a rat, and the best part
of our catching Canfield was that they didn't know anything about it.
That's what made him such a very valuable prisoner for us to have."



CHAPTER VIII

THE ENEMY'S TRICK


Jack Danby was pretty tired after his exertions. Captain Durland, glad
that his Troop, except for the one prisoner, poor Harry Warner, of the
Raccoons, was still all together under his command in Bremerton, found
quarters for them in the little village hotel.

"We'll turn in early," he said, "and get all the sleep we can. I think
there'll be some hard fighting to-morrow, and we can't tell yet what
part we'll be called on to play in it when it comes. So we'll get all
the sleep we can. I shouldn't wonder if the battle to-morrow began long
before dawn. If we can turn the right wing of the Blue army, which
doesn't seem very likely now, we will want to start the action as soon
as possible, because, when you have the enemy trapped, the thing to do
is to strike at him just as quickly as you can. Every minute of delay
you give him gives him just that much more of a chance to get out of the
trap."

"That means if General Bean gets to Newville in time, doesn't it, sir?"
asked Dick Crawford.

All the Scouts had listened with the greatest interest to what Jack had
told them of his day's adventures. He had been at the very heart of
things, and he was able, from the information that he and Tom Binns had
intercepted, to get a complete view of the whole scene of the
operations, far superior to that of any of the others, who knew, of
course, only what was going on in their own immediate neighborhood.

"Yes--that's what I mean, of course," said Durland. "But it's a forlorn
hope. There's a limit to human endurance. Even regular troops would call
what Bean's brigade did before sunset a hard day's work. Just think of
it--they were in motion before daybreak this morning, ready for their
dash across the line. Then they marched several miles toward Hardport,
turned aside for a big flanking movement, and had hardly occupied the
city when they were started off for the Cripple Creek Bridge. Then they
were turned off again from that, and sent to march another twenty miles
to Newville. That was necessary, of course--they'd have been cut off and
captured, to a man, if they'd kept on for the bridge, without even the
fun of putting up a fight for their colors. But that doesn't make it any
easier work. I know Bean--he won't ask his men to do the impossible. And
that means that he'll be five miles from Newville when morning comes."

"Then nothing is likely to be decided to-morrow?" said Bob Hart.

"I don't see how it can be. The two armies are playing at cross purposes
to-night, you see. Unless the Blues have corrected their mistake, they
will be working on the assumption that Bean's brigade is out of it
entirely, and that they can eat up the main body of our army, and then
turn around and capture Bean when they like. While they're working on
that idea, General Harkness is making a desperate effort to turn the
tables on them, and lead them into just the same sort of a trap that
Jack Danby has enabled him to escape. His strategy is perfectly sound,
and he can't lose seriously, even if his plan fails. But I think the
umpires will call the fight to-morrow a drawn battle."

"What will happen then?"

"Now you're asking a question I can't answer. We've got to wait more or
less on the movements of the Blue army, you see. After all, we're on the
defensive. Of course, we've taken the offensive to-day, and on the
showing that's been made so far the Blues are very much out of it. On
the single day the umpires would have to give the decision to General
Harkness. He's in a better position right now to prevent an attack on
the capital itself than he was before the war began."

Then Durland called the order to sound taps, and in a few minutes the
Troop was sound asleep.

Bremerton that night was peaceful and quiet. Over in the telegraph
office watchful soldier operators were at work, but the clicking of
their keys did not disturb the Scouts in their well-earned rest. For
miles all about them there was bustle and activity. Troops, exhausted
after a day of work that was very real indeed for a good many of the
militiamen, clerks and office workers, camped along the roads and took
such rest as they could get. This game was proving as much of an
imitation of war as many of them wanted to see.

They had come out expecting a restful, pleasant vacation, with the
thrill of a war game as an additional incentive for them to turn out,
but they were finding that it closely resembled hard work--the sort of
work they got too little of in their crowded days of office routine.
Later they would enjoy the recollection of it, but while they were doing
it there was a good deal of roughing that wasn't so pleasant.

A late moon made the countryside brilliant, and easy to cover with the
eye, and when, a couple of hours after midnight, the roll of rifle
firing in the distance, coming like light thunder, awoke the Scouts, who
were sleeping three in a room, many of them rushed to their windows.

Jack Danby shared a room with Pete Stubbs and Tom Binns, his particular
chums, and he laughed at them.

"What are you looking for, powder smoke?" he asked them. "Don't you
remember that they're using smokeless powder in this war? You couldn't
see that firing if it were within a hundred yards."

The firing soon became general and Jack himself grew interested.

"That doesn't sound just like outposts coming together," he said. "It
seems to me that it's pretty general firing, as if considerable bodies
of men were getting engaged. I'd like to be out there and see what's
going on."

The distant din increased, and there was no longer a chance for the
Scouts to sleep. In real warfare tired men, it is said, can sleep with a
battle raging all about them, but the Scouts weren't inured to such
heavy firing yet, and it disturbed and excited them. Durland himself
wasn't bothered, but he sensed the restlessness of his Troop, and he
rose and dressed. One by one, too, the Scouts followed his example, and
gathered on the big veranda of the village inn.

"Come on over to the telegraph office, Dick," said Durland. "Let's see
if we can't find out who's kicking up all this fuss and what it's
about."

The telegraph wires, which never slept, were clicking busily when the
Scout-Master and his assistant entered the office.

"Abbey's cavalry running into the enemy on the Newville pike," said a
tired operator, flicking a cigarette from his mouth as Durland spoke to
him. "Funny, too! We thought he'd join General Bean before he saw a sign
of the enemy."

Durland felt himself growing anxious; then laughed at himself for his
own anxiety. He turned to find Dick Crawford at his elbow.

"I'm taking this thing too seriously, Dick," he said, with a smile.
"After all, it's only a game. But I'd certainly like to know the inner
meaning of that firing. Unless we've been grossly deceived, Abbey had no
business to bump into any considerable force of the Blue army to-night."

"I guess we're all taking it pretty seriously, sir," said Dick. "Isn't
that the right way, too? Of course, it's only a game--but we might be
playing it seriously some time."

"You're right, Dick," said the Scout-Master. "We can't take this too
seriously. I'm going to horn in here and see if there isn't something we
can do."

He walked over to the key.

"See if you can report my Troop to General Harkness as ready for any
service required," he said.

It took some little time for the operator to get the message through.
Then, however, he sat back with a smile.

"I guess they'll be able to use you, all right, Captain," he said. "They
seem to be a mile up in the air about what Colonel Abbey's doing. All
the Colonel can report himself is that he's run into a considerable
force, and he's engaging him tentatively. He seems to be afraid of being
cut off if he goes on without feeling his way."

Then followed another delay.

"Here you are, Captain," said the operator, at last. "Coming, now!"

"Take it," said Durland. "I can read it as it comes."

Out of the chatter of the sounding key both Durland and Dick Crawford
could make sense.

"Take your Troop up to Colonel Abbey," came the order. "Report to him
for any service possible. But detail two Scouts, with automobile, to
make an attempt to discover the nature of the enemy's operations on the
Newville road beyond the point where Colonel Abbey's command has engaged
the enemy. General Bean is within three miles of Newville, waiting for
daylight, owing to the firing in that direction. It is most important to
apprise him of the actual conditions."

"Report that orders are received and will be obeyed at once," Durland
flung back to the operator, and he and Crawford hurried from the
building to rejoin the Scouts, who were waiting eagerly on the porch of
the hotel for any news that might come.

"Get ready to hike," ordered Dick Crawford, as he reached the Scouts.
"Danby, report to Captain Durland at once."

Jack listened to his instructions carefully.

"This is a harder job than any you've had yet, Jack," said his
commander. "But it counts for more, too. Are you sure you're not too
tired to handle your car?"

"Not a bit of it, sir!" protested Jack. "I've had all the sleep I need.
What the General wants to know chiefly is whether there are enough
troops of the enemy between Colonel Abbey and Newville to prevent a
junction between the cavalry and General Bean's brigade, isn't it?"

"Right! I can't give you any special orders. You'll have to use your own
judgment, and do whatever seems best when the time comes. This is the
sort of a situation that changes literally from minute to minute, and if
I gave you special orders before you started they would probably hamper
you more than they helped you."

"Can I have Tom Binns again, sir?"

"Certainly! I'll have Crawford tell him to report to you at the garage.
Overhaul your car carefully--you don't want any little mechanical
trouble to come along and spoil your work just as you are on the verge
of success."

"The car's all right, sir. I went over every bit of it before I turned
in. I had an idea I might be called for some sort of emergency work when
every minute would count, and she's ready for any sort of a run right
now."

"Good enough! That's the way to be. 'Be prepared'--that's a pretty good
motto. It has certainly been proved abundantly in the last few hours."

It would take the Scouts a good three hours to come up with Colonel
Abbey's regiment of cavalry, but Jack and Tom Binns, in the big grey car
that moved silently, like a grey ghost, in the moonlight, were well
ahead of them as the column swung out of the little town.

"Well, we're off again!" said Jack. "No telling what's going to come up
before the night's over, either, Tom. We've got a roving commission,
with no orders to hold us down, and I'm out to see just as much as the
road will show us."

"Are you going to stick to the main road, Jack?"

"No. There's a cross road a little way beyond here. If they've blocked
Colonel Abbey's advance on this road, we couldn't get beyond his
position, anyhow, and it won't do us any good to get as far as that and
no further. It's what they're doing beyond there that General Harkness
wants to know."

"Where is the main body of our army now, Jack?"

"Right around Hardport. The only troops that are moving to-night are
Abbey's cavalry regiment, and General Bean's brigade. General Bean, with
the rest of the army closing toward him, is to hold the enemy in check
if they occupy Newville before we get to the place ourselves. The rest
of the army, at Hardport, can move to his support, or it can develop a
big flanking movement that will bring Bremerton into the centre of our
line, with the forces toward Newville making a sort of a triangular
wedge stuck out in front. That wedge, you see, will have the whole army
as a reserve. It isn't as favorable a situation as if they had made for
Cripple Creek, for there we would have been in a position to force them
back on Smithville, where they mobilized."

"They'd have gone right into a trap if they had kept on for Newville,
wouldn't they?"

"Yes; but that was too much for us to hope for, really. It's good enough
as it is. It was General Harkness's plan from the first to make a stand
at Bremerton, unless they gave him the chance to make it an offensive
campaign. The mistake we made in sending a brigade to Cripple Creek more
than made up for the capture of Hardport, however, and so we lost that
chance. If we could have made sure of Newville to-night, nothing could
have saved the Blue army."

"Who's to blame for that, Jack?"

"No one. You can't expect the enemy to tell you what he's going to do,
and even Napoleon couldn't always guess right. I think we'll beat them
all right--that is, I don't think they'll get within twenty miles of the
capital in the time they've got, even if we get badly beaten in this
battle that's starting now."

"Here we are at the cross roads, Jack. Which way are you going now?"

"Toward Mardean, at first. I'm going to swing in a great big circle
around Hardport, and way beyond it. I want to come down on them from
behind and see just as much as I can."

"If you swing very far around that way it'll take you pretty near
Smithville, won't it?"

"That's just where I want to get, Tom. The place to find out what the
enemy is going to do is the place where he is doing it, it seems to me."

Hardport, a patch of light against the sky, held little interest for
Jack. The road he took swung back toward the State line, so that he
passed very near Hardport before he reached the road that he and Tom had
first traveled when they crossed the line at full speed after war had
been declared. But Mardean wasn't held by the enemy now. The troops that
had crossed there had been recalled after the capture of Hardport and
the wreck of the early Blue plans, and some of them probably were in
Hardport now as prisoners of war, but with none of the rigors commonly
attaching to imprisonment to distress them.

"This road is safer than it was when we took it before," said Jack.
"Remember how we had to take to the fields a little way along here? That
was pretty exciting."

"You bet it was, Jack! I'm glad we can stick to the roads here."

"Don't be too glad yet, Tom. No telling what we may have to do before
the night's over, you know. It's early yet--or late, as you happen to
look at it."

Mile after mile of road, looking like a silver streak in the moonlight,
dropped beneath the wheels of the big grey car. They sped around and
beyond Hardport, and Jack, studying his road map, lighted now by a
little electric light, began to slow down, since they were in country
where it was possible, though not probable, that the enemy's outposts
might be encountered.

"I've got an idea that they're marching hard and fast to-night," said
Jack. "Somehow, I'm not easy in my mind. I'm afraid they may have had
some way of finding out what our army was doing. You know that we're not
the only people who can detect concealed and covered movements. And they
may be setting a trap for us again, just as they were doing when General
Bean was drawn off toward Cripple Creek."

"I've lost track of where we're going, Jack. Where does this road we're
on now come from?"

"Practically straight from Mardean. You see, Mardean will be about the
right of our army to-morrow. A brigade will drop back that way from
Hardport, if we give up that town in the morning, and the main force
will move for Bremerton."

"Then if the enemy should happen to get around this way and break over
the State line near Mardean, they'd be in a good position to meet us
to-morrow, wouldn't they?"

"First rate! But that's not the idea, at all. They're all over in the
other direction, nearer Bremerton, and east of Hardport. The trouble
Colonel Abbey encountered seems to indicate that it's their plan to
cross in force near Bremerton. That's why holding Newville would be so
important to them."

Now Jack threw in the high speed again. And at once, almost, as the car
sped on, something about the song of the throbbing engine bothered Jack.
In a moment he had shifted his gears, and in another, the car, coughing
and rattling, came to a sudden stop.

"Good thing I heard that," said Jack, a few moments later, "or we'd have
been stuck properly a few miles further on. Won't take me five minutes
to fix it now."

As he tinkered on the machine, his ears were busy, and he and Tom heard
the sound of approaching horses in the same instant. At once Jack leaped
to his driver's seat, and ran the car through an open fence into a field
beside the road.

"I want to see what's doing here," he said. "That doesn't sound very
good to me."

The trouble with his engine had been providential, for ten minutes later
he realized that had he gone on at full speed he would have encountered
the advance guard of at least a full division of the enemy.

Quietly and steadily the Blue troops were marching on. There was purpose
in the look of them, and a grim earnestness that made Jack whistle.

"Tom," he whispered, "you certainly hit it! They're setting a trap all
right. They're going to cross at Mardean and swing around to cut off our
troops from Bremerton. They've got a nice plan--just to steal our
position, and make us fight on our ground--but with positions reversed."



CHAPTER IX

JACK DANBY'S GOOD NEWS


Hardly daring to breathe lest they be heard, the two Scouts waited while
the Blue troops passed. It took more than two hours for the regiments,
marching in close order, to get by them, and it was nearly light when
the last stragglers had passed their hiding-place.

"Gee," cried Jack, "that's certainly a surprise to me! Say, Tom, do you
know what they've done? They've buffaloed General Bean, and fooled him
completely--and our whole army! They've left not more than two regiments
there. Of course, that was a stronger force than Abbey had, but they
managed it so cleverly that they're holding up General Bean and his
whole brigade."

"How can that be, Jack? I thought the umpires decided on the strength
and the probable result of any encounter between the armies--and they
surely couldn't decide that two regiments could beat a brigade?"

"No--but if the two regiments masked their real weakness so cleverly
that they weren't attacked by the brigade, there wouldn't be anything
for the umpires to decide--and that's what I'm afraid of. That's clever
tactics, you see, and they'd get the credit for it, of course--and
they'd deserve it, too. Well, here's where we stop loafing. We've got to
cut a telegraph wire somewhere and get word of the true state of affairs
to General Harkness. He can't wait until full daylight to move his
troops now."

"What good will cutting a wire do, Jack?"

"Lots of good, Tom. This car has a regular apparatus for cutting in on a
wire, and a set of sending and receiving instruments. If we cut the
wire, it goes dead until we connect it with our instruments. Then only
the section beyond where we cut in is dead. There's a telegraph wire
direct from Hardport to Smithville. Cutting the wire is legitimate, even
in the war game, because it's necessary to do the actual cutting. It
isn't like the railroad, which can be destroyed theoretically, and left
actually ready for use."

Jack had started his car, still running through the fields when the
troops had passed, and now, looking carefully at the telegraph poles and
wires, he dropped from his seat and, with wire cutters and repair tools,
and his pocket set of instruments, he proceeded to put into practice the
theory that he had explained to Tom. He cut the wire neatly and
carefully. Then he connected the broken end with his instruments,
completing the circuit again, and began calling for General Harkness's
headquarters in Hardport.

"See how it's done, Tom?" he asked. "Easy when you know how, you see."

"Yes; it's like lots of other things that way, Jack. The trouble is you
always seem to know just how to do things like that and I never do."

"Got 'em!" cried Jack, enthusiastically, at that moment, and began at
once to send his important news.

"I want to get permission now to go on and tell General Bean what we've
learned," he explained to Tom as he still waited after sending his
message. "Then, as soon as I get it, I'll splice this wire and fix it so
that the line will be open for regular service again. We don't want to
interrupt traffic by telegraph or telephone, if we can help it. But this
won't make much difference at this hour of the night. I don't believe
that many messages are sent over this wire after midnight as a rule."

They had to wait twenty minutes for the reply, but when it came Jack was
told to use his own best judgment, and that General Harkness would rely
upon him to get the highly important information he had sent to
headquarters to General Bean.

"I thought we'd be allowed to do that," said Jack, after he had put the
wire in order again. In the car there was plenty of telegraph wire for
repairing lines cut by the enemy, so the task was not at all a difficult
one.

"Gee, Jack," said Tom, "I've certainly learned one thing lately, and
that is that there's nothing you know that isn't likely to come in handy
sometime or another. I didn't know you knew as much as this about
telegraphy."

"I've always been interested in it, Tom. It's so fascinating. You can
use all sorts of knowledge if you're in the army, too. Think of the
engineers. They have to be able to build bridges, and destroy them, and
erect fortifications without the proper materials. Not in this war, of
course, but if there was real fighting. These maneuvers are different
from the ordinary sort. They're not so cut and dried, and there aren't
so many rules. I've read about maneuvers when there were rules to govern
every sort of situation that came up--in fact, surprising situations
couldn't come up, because everything that was to happen had been worked
out ahead of time."

"This is better for us, isn't it, Jack? I mean, we're really learning
how a war would actually be fought."

"We're getting a pretty good idea of it, anyhow. It isn't a bit the way
I thought it was going to be."

"Well, we ought to be getting in touch with General Bean pretty soon, I
should think."

"We've got another ten or twelve miles to drive yet. I took a pretty
wide swing around, thinking we'd avoid the enemy altogether. Instead of
that, we bumped right into them. It's surely a good thing we had that
little engine trouble. We'd be prisoners right now if we'd been able to
go on at full speed, because I don't believe we'd have been able to see
them in time to turn around and get away. And we got a much better
chance to see what they were up to, too."

As they approached General Bean's brigade the firing in the direction of
Bremerton, where Colonel Abbey had encountered the enemy, began to be
audible again. It had died away for a time, and Jack had wondered
whether Abbey had retired. The sound of the heavy rifle fire, however,
with an occasional explosion of a shell to make it louder, reassured
him.

Newville was deserted when they entered it, and Jack laughed. Not a Blue
soldier was in sight--and yet General Bean was waiting for full
daylight, convinced that the main body of the Blue army was there.

"They certainly did make a clever shift," he said to Tom. "General Bliss
has a reputation for moving quickly, and striking like a snake. He
covers his movements well, and I'll bet that if we ever do have another
war, he'll cut a pretty big figure. Captain Durland says he's a real
fighter, of the sort that was developed in the Civil War. Some of the
best fighters on both sides in that war, you know, were men who never
went to West Point at all."

"The great generals were regulars, though, weren't they?"

"Most of them, yes. Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Lee--they were all West
Pointers, and a lot more of them, too. But there were others. They say,
in the histories, that a great crisis brings up the men to meet it. It's
perfectly true that Grant and Sherman had been in the regular army, but
they had resigned before the war, and they hadn't made good particularly
before that, either in the army or afterward, when they went into
business. It was the war that made them famous, and a good many others,
too."

They had turned now toward Hardport, and the pickets of General Bean's
waiting brigade, eagerly looking for the enemy, were in sight. Time
after time they were challenged and stopped, but Jack, despite questions
from officers and men, all eager for the news they were sure he was
bringing, since his exploits had already won him a considerable
reputation in the Red army, refused to tell what he knew to anyone save
General Bean himself. They did not have to go all the way to the rear of
the army. General Bean himself, small, wiry, active and peppery, met
them soon after they had come into the midst of his lines. He was riding
his big, black horse, and, although he had had no sleep that night, he
looked fresh and ready for another day in the saddle.

"Hum," he said, pulling his moustache, as he listened to them, "they
fooled us, didn't they? Captain Jenks, you will give my compliments to
Colonel Jones, and instruct him to put his regiment in motion at once.
We will occupy Newville, and then close in on the enemy, supporting
Colonel Abbey by an attack on the enemy's rear."

He rubbed his hands together delightedly as the officer rode off to give
the order.

"Do you know the enemy's position now?" he asked Jack. "He's the nut,
and Abbey and I are the crackers. You've done good work. This is the
second time within twenty-four hours that the information you have
obtained has rescued us from a situation of a good deal of danger. Did
you learn what General Harkness's plans were?"

"He intends moving at once to Bremerton, sir," said Jack. "The enemy, as
nearly as I could guess, was heading for that place, planning to cross
the line by the Mardean road, and then swing cast to Bremerton."

"Right! That's what they must intend to do. Well, I reckon they will
find we're ready for them, and that we'll hold a position that the
umpires will have to give us credit for."

The brigade was already in motion while they spoke. The men had
bivouacked in their lines, as they had marched, and the whole section of
country was lighted with their fires. In the faint light of dawn,
growing stronger every minute now, the twinkling fires had a strange and
ghost-like effect.

"Looks like the real thing, doesn't it?" asked General Bean. "I wish I'd
had such a chance when I was a boy as you have now. We don't ever want
another war--but there's no use acting as if it was beyond the range of
possibility, and the next best thing to not fighting at all is knowing
how to do it and getting it over quickly when it does become inevitable.
If I had my way these maneuvers would take place in a score of different
parts of the country every year. It isn't asking much to ask the militia
to turn out for one week of the fifty-two, and a week of this sort of
thing is worth a year of ordinary drill and theory work in armories. I
don't mean that the drill isn't useful; it is. But it isn't everything,
as we've seemed inclined to think. This sort of work, and constant
practice at the ranges is what makes soldiers. These fellows, if they
ever go to a real war, won't have to work any harder than my brigade has
had to work in the last few hours. They're so tired now that they
haven't got enough energy to know they are tired. They'd just as soon
march as rest--and that's the way they ought to be. Do 'em good!"

Jack led the way of Colonel Jones's regiment into Newville, and then
turned down the pike. The firing in front was very sharp now. And soon
it was redoubled, as the advance of the main body of General Bean's
brigade came into touch with the Blue troops who had so decidedly
worried Abbey during the night.

Finally, on the crest of a hill which overlooked the valley beneath,
Jack stopped the car.

"This is a splendid chance to see a battle on a small scale, Tom," he
said. "There's nothing else for us to do now--we might as well take a
look at things."

There was light enough now to make it worth while to stop and look on.
Abbey's men were dismounted. In a field a mile or so back of the line of
battle they could see the horses of his regiment, hobbled, and under
guard. Before them, lower down, was the enemy, doing little of the
firing, and with his real strength pretty well masked. And, as they
knew, Bean's troops were advancing slowly, ready to take them in the
rear, and cut them off.

"Where are the umpires?" asked Tom.

"They're somewhere around--trust them for that!" said Jack. "They're not
only supposed to umpire, but they've got to make a detailed report of
all the operations to the War Department, and criticize everything that
both armies do, too. The firing brought them up as soon as it began, you
may be sure."

Slowly but steadily and surely the drama unfolded itself before their
fascinated eyes. They could see the slow advance of Abbey's dismounted
troopers as soon as the firing in the enemy's rear convinced them that
the support they had been awaiting had come at last. And before long the
enemy was completely surrounded by a chain of Red troops, firing
steadily. It lasted for nearly twenty minutes and then a bugle blew,
over to their right, and in another moment the "Cease Firing" call had
passed from regiment to regiment. The appeal to the umpires had been
made, and now the troops that had been seeking all possible cover showed
themselves, that the umpires might inspect the position and see whether
there was any possible chance for the entrapped regiments of the Blue
army to extricate themselves.

"They hung on too long," said Jack. "They ought to have begun their
retreat before daylight. Then they might have been able to fall back and
slip away and around to join the main Blue army at Mardean. I'm afraid
they'll all be written down as captured now."

Jack was right in his idea, too. The umpires, after a careful inspection
of the situation, decided that General Bean's tactics had been
successful.

"You are to be congratulated, General," said a Brigadier General of the
regular army, the chief umpire, riding up to the militia commander. "A
very neat evolution, carefully planned and worked out. We were inclined
to think that they had fooled you. Abbey was in a bad way until you came
up. But you came out very well."



CHAPTER X

THE SCOUTS MEET AN OLD FRIEND


Jack Danby's clever scouting had changed the entire situation. The
capture of his two regiments made General Bliss's situation decidedly
precarious. His case was not hopeless yet, by any means, since, as the
attacking force, the Blue army had been the stronger to begin with,
because the War Department had so arranged matters that the advantage of
position favored the Red forces sufficiently to make up for the superior
force of General Bliss. General Bean's quick following up of the
information Jack had given, however, had enabled the Red army to
equalize the forces of the contending armies, and General Harkness, who
threw a cavalry brigade into Bremerton within three hours of the timely
warning Jack sent him, was now in no danger of being forced to fight on
ground where his original advantage of position would be transferred to
the enemy.

Now the position was one of open tactics. The lines were drawn, and some
sort of a battle would have to be fought, theoretically, before further
movements were in order. With Bremerton as his centre, General Harkness
and his army lay directly across the line of the Blue advance, already
across the border at Mardean, and seeking, or intending, rather, to seek
the control of the railroad at Fessenden Junction, a dozen miles back of
Bremerton.

The Junction was the key to the situation now, so far as the hopes of
the invading forces were concerned. Its possession would, theoretically,
cut the defenders off from their base of supplies, and, once it was
captured, General Bliss would force the Red army immediately to fall
back and occupy the defenses of the capital city itself, since the
railroad would enable him to cut off its supplies and advance his troops
against it with great speed. That would mean the immediate abandonment
of any offensive tactics on the part of General Harkness, and would make
up for the capture of the two regiments that General Bean had sent into
Bremerton as prisoners of war.

But there seemed little chance of an engagement on Tuesday. Ever since
noon the day before, when hostilities had begun, both armies had been
constantly on the march. There had been severe fighting, and the plans
of the commanders had involved the rapid movement of considerable bodies
of troops. As a result, the troops on both sides were nearly exhausted.
In the first place, they did not have the stamina that is the portion of
regular troops. They were, in the main, militiamen, clerks, lawyers,
brokers, and men of that sort, who do not have the chance of regular
exercise, and who do not keep such strict hours as do trained soldiers.

"There'll be no fighting until to-morrow, in my opinion," said Durland,
when Jack and Tom reported to him; "it's a pretty situation as it stands
now, but these fellows can't do any more. Bean's brigade in particular
must be about ready to drop. I never saw troops worked harder. They've
done mighty well, and, while there won't be any formal arrangement to
that effect, I suppose, I guess that both generals will understand that
they can't accomplish any more without some rest. They'd have to
recognize that in a war, for the wise general never requires his men to
fight when exhausted, except in the case of attack."

The Scouts retained their headquarters in Bremerton, which was now,
after the abandonment of Hardport, headquarters for the Red army, also.
But General Harkness had his headquarters in tents, despising the chance
to use the small hotel of the town. He was exceedingly busy with his
plans. General Bean had come in from the lines facing the enemy, who had
been forced, reluctantly enough, to shift their base of attack, so that
Newville was the focus of their semi-circular advance. Other brigade
commanders and other high officers with them had also come in, and for
the first time since hostilities had begun, General Harkness was able to
consult with his subordinate officers.

"I guess the strategy of the campaign for the next two days will be
pretty well worked out about now," said Durland, glancing over toward
the tent of General Harkness, from which the smoke of the cigars and
pipes of the officers was curling.

Before General Harkness's tent two orderlies were waiting. Now,
suddenly, one of them, evidently hearing a call inside, answered it, and
a few seconds later went off. He returned presently with a young officer
of militia, and a few minutes later that officer came over to the Scout
headquarters.

"Captain Durland?" he began, then broke off. "Great Scott!" he cried,
"it's my old friend the Scout-Master, isn't it? I had no idea it was
your Troop that was doing so well here."

"Jim Burroughs! Is that really you? I'm glad to see you!" exclaimed
Durland.

Jack Danby, Tom Binns, Pete Stubbs and the rest of the Scouts, with
happy memories of their days at Eagle Lake, and of the time when they
had turned out in the woods at night to search for Burroughs and Bess
Benton, crowded around to greet the young militia officer.

"I'm a lieutenant in the Sixteenth Regiment," said Burroughs. "Captain
Durland, you're wanted in the General's tent. I went there to make a
report, and he asked me to tell you to come to him at once."

Then the Scouts and Burroughs, who had nothing else to do for the time,
began to exchange reminiscences and talk over old times.

"I've been hearing a lot about the good work a Scout called Danby was
doing in one of the new scouting autos," said Jim Burroughs, "but
somehow I didn't have any idea that it was a Boy Scout they were talking
of. But I might have guessed it! If it hadn't been for you when we had
the forest fires up at the lake, Camp Benton would have been wiped out."

"Oh, I guess you'd have managed all right with the guides," said Jack.
"You always try to make out that I do more than I do, Jim. You must be
trying to give me a swelled head."

"No danger of that, I guess," said Burroughs, laughing. "You're pretty
level-headed, young man. By the way, I heard you had some trouble lately
with a man called Broom. Anything in that?"

Jack's face darkened. Jim was bringing up a painful subject. But Pete
Stubbs spoke up for him.

"Trouble?" he said. "Well, I guess yes, Mr. Burroughs! You heard about
how Jack broke up the plot to wreck the train and rob it when he and Tom
Binns were on a hike together?"

Jim nodded.

"Well, Broom was mixed up with that gang in some fashion. Then,
afterward, we found that he was really after Jack. You know all about
Jack's queer life up at Woodleigh--about Old Dan and all that?"

"I know that Jack never knew much about himself--his real name and who
his mother and father were. You're still trying to find out about all
that, aren't you, Jack?"

"You bet I am!" said Jack, his face lighting up at the thought. "And I'm
going to do it, too!"

"Well, this Broom," Pete Stubbs went on, "was trying to find out where
Jack had gone from Woodleigh. He didn't know that our Jack was the one
he was looking for, or we don't know what he'd have done. So he had a
double reason to be after him, though all he knew was that Jack might
give dangerous evidence against those pals of his who were mixed up with
the train business."

"I see! He was really playing against himself, without knowing it,
wasn't he?"

"Yes. That was the funny part of it. Well, Broom and some other crooked
people got an old gentleman and his daughter to trust them. The old
gentleman, whose name was Burton, was looking for a boy, his brother's
son, who was kidnaped when he was a baby. We think it may be Jack, and
we're going to try to find out. Broom made the Burtons think that he
could find the boy they were looking for, and he got a lot of money out
of them."

"Gee, Pete, that sounds pretty interesting! Was that how the trouble
came with Broom?"

"One of the ways, yes. When we were down at the shore a little while ago
they tried to get hold of Jack. One night there was a pretty bad storm,
and that was the night they picked out. Jack and I, with Mr. Durland and
Dick Crawford, went out to rescue the Burtons, who had been left on
their yacht, and when we got back some of us caught Broom and a friend
of his. But they were rescued afterward by the sailors who had quit the
yacht, and Jack raced into Wellbourne, and got most of them arrested.
But Broom got away, in some fashion, after they had taken him to jail.
So we don't know what's become of him."

"How about the Burtons, Pete? Have you found out yet whether they're
really Jack's long-lost relatives or not?"

"No, not yet. Mr. Burton was terribly ill after the wreck of his yacht.
He was exposed to the sea and the wind for a long time that night, you
see, and as soon as he could be moved, he was sent to Europe by his
doctor. Until they get back we sha'n't be able to tell for certain."

"I'm glad they're over there, anyhow," said Jack, breaking in. "I think
they're safe from Broom over there."

"I'll tell you someone that isn't glad, though," said red-headed Pete
Stubbs, mischievously. "That's Dick Crawford!"

The Assistant Scout-Master, who hadn't heard the conversation that had
preceded Pete's mischievous remark, came up just then.

"What is it that doesn't make me glad like everyone else?" asked Dick,
unsuspiciously, and everyone laughed.

"Discovered, Dick!" cried Jim Burroughs, laughing. "I hear that a
certain beautiful young lady has charmed you--the one man I knew that I
thought was proof against the ladies!"

Dick flushed furiously, but he saw that there was no use in attempting
to deny the charge. He seized Pete Stubbs, jestingly, by the neck,
however, and shook him hard.

"I've a good mind to give you the licking of your young life, you
red-headed rascal!" he cried, but there was no malice in his tone, and
Pete knew that the threat would never be carried out.

"I didn't do anything but tell the truth," protested Pete. "Let go of
me, Dick! If it wasn't true, you wouldn't be so mad!"

"He's right, Dick, my boy," said Burroughs, much amused. "We've caught
you with the goods. It's nothing to be ashamed of--we all do it, sooner
or later, you know. You've done well to escape the charms of the other
sex so long, it seems to me."

Then the Scouts began to drift away, and Dick and Jim Burroughs were
left alone.

"Did they tell you of the way Jack's been pursued by this fellow Broom?"
asked Dick.

"They told me enough to worry me, Dick. We mustn't let anything happen
to that boy."

"I'd a good deal rather have something happen to me, Jim. But he's shown
that he's pretty well able to take care of himself. Down at the beach
there we all helped, but he was the one who really beat them, after all,
when it came to the point. They were mighty determined. I think myself
that they know who he is, although Jack himself and some of the others
don't. But my idea is that there is a very queer secret about him, that
they know all about it, and that they think it is to their advantage to
keep Jack from learning the truth and also to keep those who may be
looking for him from finding him."

"How about these Burtons, Dick? Do you really think that Jack is the boy
they're looking for, or is that just one of Pete's wild guesses?"

"Miss Burton and I have talked that over two or three times, and while
we're not sure, owing to Mr. Burton's illness, which made it impossible
for us to discover certain things which would probably have made matters
clear, we both agree that it looks very much as if Jack were the one.
She thinks so, anyway, and she's quite prepared to acknowledge him as
her cousin."

"Is she pretty, Dick, you sly old fox?"

"She certainly is, Jim! You can't tease me about her. I'm crazy about
her, and I don't care who knows it. But she'd never look at me, I know
that!"

"You can't tell, Dick. They're funny that way. You'd never think that
Bess Benton would have any use for me, but we're engaged, and we're
going to be married in a few months. Never give up hope, old chap!
You've got as good a chance as anyone else. What more do you want?"

"Well, I'm not going to worry about that now, anyhow, Jim. She'll be
away for some time yet, I'm afraid. And I've got to wait until I'm doing
better than I am now before I can even think about getting engaged, much
less married."

"You can think about it as much as you like, Dick, and it will do you
good. The more you think about it, the harder you'll work and the better
you'll get on. I've found that out, and I guess it's true with most of
us."

"I guess the council's over, Jim. Here comes Captain Durland, and the
other officers seem to be leaving, too. I wonder what's doing."

"Nothing much, probably. But I'll leave you to find out and get back to
my regiment."



CHAPTER XI

AN INTENTIONAL BLUNDER


"You're wanted for duty again, Jack," said Captain Durland, when he
returned from the council of war in General Harkness's tent.

"I'm all ready, sir," said Jack. "Gee, I think I've had it easy, riding
around in an automobile, when all the rest of the fellows were scouting
on foot."

"You'll make up for it, if you have been having it any easier," said the
Scout-Master, with a smile. "This job that you've got on your hands now
means a whole lot of work. You're to go to Fessenden Junction first, and
make a detail map of the tracks about the depot there. I don't know just
why it's wanted, or why it wasn't done before, but that's none of our
business. Then when that's done, you're to bring it back here. After
that I guess you'll have plenty more to do. But I won't tell you about
the rest of it until you've finished that."

"Am I to go alone?" asked Jack.

"No. I want it done as quickly as possible, so you'd better take Peter
Stubbs and Tom Binns along with you. Divide the work up and it won't
take you very long. That's the easy part of it."

The Boy Scouts had studied map-making from a practical, working point of
view, and it was no sort of a job for the three of them to make the
required map.

"I see why they need this map, all right," said Jack. "There are a whole
lot of new tracks in here, and the whole yard has been changed around
within the last few weeks. That explains it. The old maps wouldn't be of
much use for anyone who was depending on them for quick understanding of
the railroad situation here."

"Now," said Durland, when they returned, "I've got the most difficult
task that's been assigned to you yet, Jack. You've got only about one
chance in a thousand of succeeding in it, but it's my own plan, and I'll
be very pleased and proud if you do accomplish it. I want two of you to
take the car, get inside the enemy's lines, with or without the car, as
far as you can, and then get yourselves taken prisoners. What we want is
for you to be near enough to General Bliss's headquarters to get some
sort of an inkling of the nature of the attack that will be made.

"There is a dangerous weakness of the position here, which could hardly
have been foreseen when the campaign was laid out in advance. That is,
anyone getting control of Tryon Creek, which is practically dry in the
summer, is in a position to dominate one side of the prospective
battlefield. There are two lines of attack open to General Bliss. If he
chooses Tryon Creek we must keep him from occupying it at all costs. To
do that we would have to uncover the other side--the road from Mardean."

"I'm to try to find out which line of attack they will follow, then,
sir? Is that it?" asked Jack.

"Yes. We must know before the actual attack begins, or it will be too
late. Now I want you to understand my plan. I haven't thought of the
details, because they will depend absolutely on conditions as you may
find them to be. But here is the outline. Three of you will take the
car. You, Jack, and one other Scout will leave that, when there is no
longer a chance of continuing to use it, and proceed on foot until you
are well within the enemy's lines. Then you will manage to get captured,
while seeming to make an effort to escape."

"Are we to give our parole then, sir?"

"On no account! But pretend to be frightened and discouraged. That is
legitimate. You mustn't give your word not to attempt to escape, because
that is an essential part of the plan. I have an idea that they will not
keep a very close watch on you, and that you will find it quite possible
to make a dash for liberty after dark. But before you do that you must
try to discover where the attack is to be made, by keeping your ears
open and your eyes as well, for possible movements of guns. Then you can
try to get away, rejoin the automobile, and get back to our lines. Do
you understand?"

"Yes, sir, I do! I think Pete Stubbs would be a good one to go with me,
with Tom Binns to look after the car, because he knows how to drive it.
Then if Pete and I couldn't both get away, one of us ought to be able to
manage it, I should think, anyhow."

"That's the reason for sending two of you, of course," said Durland.
"It's an outside chance, but you've done things almost as difficult.
Remember that you must exercise the utmost caution. In time of real
warfare no enterprise could be more dangerous, and the mere fact that
there is no actual danger involved now is no reason for you to grow
careless, though I need hardly give you such a warning."

"I'll do my best, sir," said Jack, enthusiastically. "It would certainly
be a great joke on them if we could work it."

"Well, do the best you can. I don't want you to think that I really
expect you to succeed. I think the chances are desperate. But, even if
you cannot escape, there will be no difficulty about exchanging you, for
we have a great many of their prisoners, including a number of officers,
and they will be very glad to get them back. Otherwise I am sure General
Harkness would never have consented to let you make the effort."

"If this were real war, and they saw us trying to escape, they would
fire at us, wouldn't they?" asked Jack. "What I want to know is whether
we're assumed to be shot, and have to stop if they see us and get a
shot?"

"Yes, at any range less than a hundred yards. Above that range a
prisoner escaping is supposed to have a good chance to get away. He has
to stop, but need not show himself, and unless he is found he can resume
his attempts to escape."

Then Durland explained briefly to Pete Stubbs and Tom Binns the parts
they were assigned to play in this newest development of the war game,
and, thrilling with excitement, they took their seats with Jack in the
grey scout car.

"It won't be dark for a couple of hours yet," said Jack. "I think that's
a good thing because we couldn't get very far in the enemy's lines with
this car in daylight. So I'm going to take a long circle again and come
down on them from behind. I'm not sure of where General Bliss's quarters
are, but I should think they were probably pretty near Newville. If we
come down the Newville pike from the direction of Smithville, it will be
safe enough. Their watch will be closer in this direction, and by going
around for about fifty miles we can manage that easily enough."

"Gee, you talk about driving a car fifty miles the way I would about
getting on the trolley car at home," said Pete, admiringly.

"If you can drive at all, it isn't much harder, if you've got the time,
to drive fifty miles than it is to drive five," said Jack. "And this
time it's a lot safer. It's certainly one time when the longest way
around is the shortest cut. We don't want to be caught until about ten
o'clock, Pete. You understand that."

They roared through Smithville as it began to get dark, and then down
the Newville pike. Jack slowed down when he was sure that he had plenty
of margin in time, and through the growing dusk they saw the campfires
of the Blue army springing up in all directions before them.

"Gee, there must be an awful lot of them," said Pete. "This is the
closest I've been to them since we got started. You know, it makes me
feel kind of shivery, even though I know that they won't do anything to
us when they do catch us, Jack."

"That just shows that you really get into the spirit of it," said Jack,
laughing happily. "If we remembered all the time that this was only a
game, we wouldn't be doing things the right way at all. If you feel a
little scary, and something like the way you'd feel if it was a real
enemy in front of us, it'll only make you a bit more careful, and that's
just what we want. We want them to think, when they catch us, that we're
surprised and scared, and if we can make ourselves feel that way, so
much the better. It's much easier to make other people believe a thing
if you half believe it yourself, even if you know down at the bottom of
your heart it isn't so at all."

A few rods farther on Jack swerved the car into a field.

"Here's a good place to stop, I guess," said Jack. "It's pretty quiet
here, and we'll get along, Pete, and find out as much as we can before
we let them catch us. You'll be all right here, Tom. Turn the car around
and keep it right here, no matter what happens. If there seems to be a
chance of your being caught, leave the car, but keep the spark plug in
your pocket. Then they'll find it impossible to do much with it. It's
too heavy to do much pushing, and I don't believe you're likely to be
seen, anyhow, under the hedge here. We may have to make a mighty quick
run for it if we get back here at all."

"Suppose you don't get away, Jack? Shall I wait here?"

"Wait until daylight, no longer. Not quite daylight, either. Let's
see--figure to the sunrise, and wait till half an hour before that. And
if you do have to go back alone, don't take any chances at all on being
caught. Make even a wider circle than we did coming here, and don't go
near Mardean. The car is a good deal more important than any of us. And
don't forget, if you do have to leave the car and take to the woods, to
take the spark plug with you. Do that, even if you just get out to get a
drink at a well, or anything like that. Remember that we're right in the
heart of the enemy's country, and you can't tell what minute you're
likely to be attacked."

"All right, Jack. I don't believe they'll see me here, either. But I'll
do the best I can if they do, and I'll be here, unless they pick me up
and carry me away."

"That's the right spirit, Tom! I think you've got the hardest part of
all. Pete and I've got something to do, and something pretty exciting,
too. But you've just got to wait here in the dark for something to
happen."

"Don't let it get on your nerves, Tom," said Pete. "It's hard work, but
keep your nerve, and you'll be all right. Coming, Jack? So long, Tom!"

"So long, Pete and Jack! Good luck! I hope you'll get away from them all
right--and get what you're after, too."

It was almost pitch dark by this time. The moon would not rise until
very late, and the night had the peculiar blackness that sometimes comes
before the moon appears. The country was thickly wooded here, which
worked to the advantage of Jack and his companion. Most of the country
in which Jack had been operating so far had been fairly open, which
would have increased the difficulty of their task very much if the scene
of operations had not been shifted eastward by the action near Newville
that morning.

"How far are we from their headquarters now, Jack?" asked Pete.

"About a mile and a half, I think, Pete. I can't be sure, of course, but
I think that's a pretty good guess. I could have run the car a little
nearer and probably still been safe, but I didn't want to take chances.
If we lose the car we can't get it back. If we're captured, why, they
can get someone else to run the car, but we wouldn't be any good if we
lost the machine."

"We'll want to be pretty careful, though, as we go along, Jack."

"Sure we will! But it won't be any harder than scouting the way we've
learned to do, Pete. These people aren't looking for us, and we've done
a lot of scouting when other fellows who were on the lookout for us knew
just about where we were."

The lay of the land favored the two Scouts decidedly as they made their
way onward. They were able to progress through the woods, but they did
not have to go so deep into them that they could not observe, as they
moved along, the situation in the open country that marched with the
woods. In these fields they saw the twinkling of numerous fires, and
they judged that the enemy was thick alongside, so to speak.

"They ought to watch these woods better than they do," whispered Jack.
"Gee, I can see how their whole camp is laid out! That's one thing
they're weak in--and it shows how important it is. They have fine
strategy, but they're weak on details, like guarding their camp. If they
don't watch these woods better when we start to make our get-away, we'll
have it pretty easy."

"That looks like headquarters, Jack. See, over there?"

"You're right, Pete. And I'll bet they're planning to move before
daylight, too. That's why 'Lights out!' was sounded so early. That was
the call we heard about three quarters of an hour ago."

A light still showed in one of two big, adjoining tents, however, and
the sound of voices came distinctly from it.

Jack waited until they were abreast of the tent.

"This will be a good place, Pete," he said. "There'll be a guard there.
We want to pretend to make a run for it. Come on, now--make a little
noise!"

Pete obeyed. The next moment the sharp challenge of a sentry rang out,
and a shot followed. Jack and Pete ran, as if frightened and confused,
right out into the midst of the sleeping men, and a moment later they
were the prisoners of a group of laughing militiamen.



CHAPTER XII

A RACE FOR FREEDOM


"They've got us, Pete," said Jack, dejectedly.

"Here, who are you, and where did you come from?" said a sleepy officer,
running up.

"We've caught a couple of spies, sir," said one of their captors.

"We are not spies!" cried Pete, indignantly. "Can't you see that we're
in uniform?"

"Hello, that's an aggressive young fighter, all right!" said the
officer, smiling at Pete's red-headed wrath. "No wonder--look at his
hair! Boy Scouts, eh? Do you belong to Durland's Troop?"

"Yes, sir," said Jack.

"How did you get here?"

"I d--don't know, sir. We hadn't any idea we were right among you till
we heard the sentry challenge us."

"Well, we won't eat you, my boy. No need to be frightened. Here,
Corporal, put them in the guard tent. We haven't many prisoners--I guess
we can take them along in the morning and let them see us lick the Reds
at Tryon Creek."

Jack almost betrayed himself by the involuntary gasp he gave as the
lieutenant revealed the secret he had taken so much trouble to surprise.
Here was luck with a vengeance! The very information they wanted was
being handed to them on a silver platter. But he managed to restrain his
emotions, so that no one should suspect the elation he felt at the
discovery.

Tryon Creek! That meant it was doubly important for the news to be
carried back to General Harkness, for it showed that General Bliss had
seized upon the weak spot in the Red line of defense, the necessity for
weakening one spot to strengthen another, and, moreover, that the Blue
army was far from being out of it as a result of the success of General
Bean in the minor engagement of Tuesday morning.

Jack nudged Pete as they were being led away to the guard tent. And Pete
nudged back, to show that he understood. That pleased Jack, for he knew
now that the all-important information had a double chance of being
carried to General Harkness. If he were baffled in his attempt to escape
and Pete did manage to get away, the news would go with him.

"You two boys can give your parole in the morning," said the young
officer. "The guard tent's the only place where there's room for you
to-night, and anyhow you'll be just as comfortable there as if you'd
given your parole."

Then he went off, leaving them to the care of the corporal of the guard,
who seemed immensely amused. That relieved Jack, too. He had feared that
they would be offered their parole, and that to refuse to give it would
mean an added watchfulness on the part of their captors and jailers, as
the Blue soldiers had become. Now he was relieved from that danger. It
was lucky, he thought, that the officer was loose and careless in his
methods.

In the guard tent they found themselves alone.

"Guess you can sleep all right in here," said the corporal. "It's a
pretty comfortable prison, and there's lots of room. If you get lonely,
call the sentry. He'll talk to you."

"Thanks," said Jack. "I'm sure you're very kind."

But he was really angry at the condescending way in which the Blue
corporal spoke. As soon as he was alone with Pete he expressed his
disgust, too.

"Gee, Pete," said he, "I thought this was going to be hard. It's like
taking candy from a kid. They'll catch us if we go up to them and ask
them please to do it, just the way we did before. And that corporal was
acting as if we were little boys! I hope he finds out some time that
we're the ones that spoiled their Tryon Creek plan for them."

"Hold on," said Pete, laughing. "We haven't done it yet, Jack. Gee,
usually you're the one that keeps me from going off at halfcock. We're
not out of the woods yet, old boy."

"That's right, too, Pete, but he did get my goat. He's so cocky! Some of
our fellows are a little like that, too, I guess, but I haven't happened
to run into any of them yet."

"I was just as mad as you were, Jack, but we have got a lot to do yet
before we get back to Tom. How are we going to get out of here?"

"Cut our way out," he said, shortly. He looked back toward the flap of
the tent in disgust. "They didn't even take our knives away from us. I
wonder if they thought we were going to stay here like little lambs. And
they didn't even ask us for our parole! I'll bet someone will get
court-martialed for this--and they ought to, too."

Still looking his disgust, he began to cut through the stout canvas of
the tent. As he had suspected, there was no sentry at all in the rear of
the tent, and it was a matter of five minutes to cut a hole big enough
to let them get out.

"Here we go, Pete!" he whispered. "We can get away now any time we want
to. Might as well do it now, too. No use waiting any longer than we have
to."

They slipped out quietly, within ten minutes of the time when they were
put in the guard tent. Quietly still, and using every bit of Scout craft
that they knew, they made their way to the shelter of the woods,
wondering every minute why some alarm was not raised. But a dead silence
still prevailed behind them when they crept into the sheltering shadow
of the trees, and, once there, they straightened up and began to more
fast.

First they went some distance into the woods, so as to lessen the danger
of discovery should their absence from the tent be discovered, and then
they struck out boldly in the direction which they had traveled only a
short time before, making their way back toward the place where they had
left Tom and the grey scout car.

"Gee," said Pete, drawing a long breath, "that certainly was easy! You
were right, Jack. I thought they must be setting some sort of a trap for
us. It didn't really seem as if they could be going to leave things
fixed so nicely for us. Why, they might better have turned us loose at
once! Then someone with more sense might have picked us up and really
held on to us before we could get out."

"They ought to be licked for being so careless," said Jack. "I'll put
everything that happened in the camp into my report. I'll bet the next
time they get prisoners, they'll look after them all right! It makes me
sore, because they're supposed to be learning how to act in case of a
real war just as much as we are, and it shows that there's an awful lot
of things they don't know at all."

In the east now the first faint stirrings of the light of the coming
moon that would soon make the country light began to show.

"I'm glad we got through so soon, anyhow," said Jack, then. "For Tom
Binns' sake, mostly. It must have been scary work for him, just sitting
there in the dark, waiting for us."

"He won't have to wait much longer, Jack. He's certainly a plucky one! I
know that waiting that way scares him half to death, but you never hear
a peep out of him. He just does as he's told, and never whimpers at
all."

"He's got what's really the highest courage of all, though he doesn't
know it himself, Pete. He's got the pluck to do things when he's deadly
afraid of doing them. There are a lot of people like that who are
accused of being cowards, when they're really heroes for trying to do
things they're afraid of. I've got much more respect for them than I
have for people who aren't afraid of things. There's nothing brave about
doing a thing you're not afraid of."

"There's the car now, Jack! We haven't wasted much time coming back,
anyhow."

Jack put his hand to his lips and imitated the cry of a crow. That was
the sign of the Crow Patrol, to which all three of the Scouts belonged.

"There comes his answer! That means the coast is clear. I was half
afraid they might have caught him and the car. It wouldn't have done at
all for us to escape as we have and then walk into a trap here--that
would make us look pretty foolish, it seems to me."

"You're right it would, Jack. Hello, Tom! Anything doing here while we
were gone?"

"Not a thing! How on earth did you get back so soon? Did you get what
you were looking for?"

"I guess we did! Get the spark plug in, Tom, and we'll be off."

A few moments saw them on the road again, and moving fast. In the
distance now, as they sped along, Jack's practiced ear caught a strange
sound, and he slowed down so that he might listen the better.

"Say," he cried, in sudden excitement, "that's another car! And what's
an automobile doing here at this time of night?"

The same thought came to the three of them at once.

"I wonder if it's one of their scout cars," cried Tom Binns, voicing the
thought. "I've been thinking it was funny we hadn't run into them at
all, Jack."

"Well, we'll have to look out if it is," said Jack.

The sound grew louder, and it was soon apparent that the other car was
coming toward them. Jack slowed down, and kept to a slow pace, keeping
his car as much as possible in the shadow of the trees that hung over
one side of the road. The other car came on fast, and, as it swept
around a bend of the road that had hidden it from them, they were almost
blinded by the great ray from the searchlight it carried. Jack himself
had been running without lights of any sort, for greater safety from
detection.

As soon as the driver of the other car saw the machine in which the
three Scouts were riding, he slowed down. It came alongside in a few
moments and a man leaned out and hailed Jack.

"What are you doing here?" he cried, and then, before Jack could answer
the question: "Come on, men, it's one of their cars! We've got to
capture them!"

As he spoke he slewed his car around, so that it half filled the road,
and two men leaped to the ground and made for Jack's car.

But Jack had a different plan. He had no mind to surrender tamely now
when victory was within his grasp. In a moment the big grey car shot
down the road, and the next moment it was roaring at full speed ahead.
Behind it, after a stunned moment of surprise and silent inaction,
thundered the other car, a scout car of the Blue army.

"Gee, this is going to be a real road race!" yelled Jack. "That car is
this one's twin. They can go just as fast as we can. And they're
stronger than we are, if they ever catch us--three men to three boys.
But they'll have to go some to catch us!"

For the first time since his dash across the State line when the war
began, Jack let the grey car do its best for him now. It leaped forward
along the road as if it were alive. But behind, going just as fast,
keeping the gap between the cars the same, pounded the hostile machine.

Over roads as empty as if they had been cleared by the police for a race
for the Vanderbilt cup, the two cars sped, kicking up a tremendous dust,
their exhausts roaring and spitting blue flame, and the noise of their
passage making a din that Jack thought could be heard for miles. Only
the big metal hood saved them from being cut to ribbons by the wind and
the flying dirt and stones that their mad rush threw back from the road
before them. But Jack had one big advantage, as he guessed. He knew the
country better, and he was making baffling turns every few minutes. One
thing he dared not do. He stuck to the road, afraid, at the frightful
speed, to risk a side trip into the fields, and equally afraid to slow
down, since that would mean that the other car, never very far behind,
would be able to catch up to them.

So fast they went that, by making many corner turns, Jack was able to
turn completely around without attracting the attention of the pursuing
car. He was heading straight for Bremerton, finally, and his heart
leaped at the thought that this new and unforeseen danger was going to
be thrown off. Just to lose the car behind would not be enough, he knew.
He was playing for high stakes now, and at last he slowed down--not
much, but enough to let the other car make a perceptible gain. He felt
safe now. He knew that the other car was no faster than his own, though
it was just as fast, and if he had even a hundred yards of lead, he was
sure he could hold it.

Other campfires were twinkling near by now. The sentries that guarded
them, he knew, would not fail to hear and guess at the reason for the
roaring race of the war automobiles.

And at last, making the sharpest sort of a turn, he baffled the
pursuers. Before they realized what they were doing, they were in the
midst of Colonel Abbey's regiment, and a minute later they were forced
to stop by a volley of shots, and instead of capturing the Red scout
car, as they had hoped, were themselves prisoners.

"I guess that's going some!" cried Pete, as they turned back toward the
captured car. "We got the news we were after, and we led one of their
scout cars into a trap, too. That's what I call a pretty good night's
work. Fine business, Jack! And that was certainly some ride, too! If you
hadn't been able to drive as well as you do, we'd never have got away
from them."

"We had a lot of luck," said Jack. "But it certainly was a great race!
I'll be glad to get some sleep, now. That was pretty tiring work."



CHAPTER XIII

A REAL ENEMY


Jack had led the hostile scout car into the most hopeless sort of a
trap. He had twisted and turned and doubled on his course so cleverly
that his pursuers had completely lost their sense of direction. In a
chase of that sort, with his quarry in front of him, the driver of a
racing automobile, making from sixty to seventy miles an hour, has no
chance to watch objects about him.

There Jack's almost uncanny sense of direction and locality had helped
him mightily. The speed at which he had driven his car had not at all
confused him. He had known exactly what he was doing, and just where he
was going, at all times. A few miles had taken him into country over
which he had already driven, and his memory for any place he had once
seen was phenomenal. So he had been able, by constant turning and
doubling, to fool the driver of the enemy's car completely, and lead
him, all unknowing the fate in store for him, into the very midst of the
Red troops.

Jack had taken his final turn from the road so sharply that it had been
impossible for his pursuer to turn quickly enough to follow him. Any
attempt to do so would have resulted in disaster, and, since this was
only a mock war, the driver of the other scout car was not justified in
taking the chance of killing himself and his companions in the effort to
make the turn. He had gone straight on, therefore, and a few rods had
carried him into the midst of Abbey's cavalry regiment. A minute was
enough to surround his car, and a line of troops in front of him made
him see the hopelessness of escape. Therefore he stopped and
surrendered.

Jack and his two companions sprang at once from their own car and ran
quickly, glad of the chance to loosen their tired and aching muscles,
stiff, sore and cramped from the confinement in one position that the
wild race had forced, toward the group that was gathered around the
captured car. Colonel Abbey, himself, the type of a true cavalry leader,
was questioning the prisoners.

"I'm Captain Beavers, of the regular army," said the man who had driven
the car, "detached from my regiment to serve on the staff of General
Bliss. We were returning from a scouting trip in our car when we ran
into this machine, and we chased it. The driver certainly knew his roads
better than I did. I haven't had any idea for the last forty minutes of
where we were going--I could only see the car ahead, and do all I could
to catch it."

"How are you, Danby?" said Colonel Abbey, trying to hide a smile.
"You'll excuse me, Captain, but you remind me a little of the dog that
chased the railroad train. You know the old story about the farmer who
watched him do it, and, when he got tired, turned around and said: 'What
in tarnation do you reckon he'd do with that engine if he caught it?'"

Beavers laughed a bit ruefully.

"Something in that, Colonel!" he admitted. "I suppose it was a good deal
like chasing a bird to put salt on its tail. But it was sheer instinct
with us--nothing more. We saw that car start up, and we chased it. A
fine lot of trouble it's got us into, too! But I guess we'd do the same
thing again, probably."

"Any of us would, Captain," said Abbey. "Don't feel bad about it. We'll
have to impound your car, but if you'll give me your parole, I'll be
glad to give you the run of the camp."

"Thank you," said Captain Beavers. "I say, I'd like to see the man who
led me that chase. I had an idea that I knew something about driving a
fast car, but he can show me lots of things I never knew at all."

Suddenly his eye fell upon Jack Danby, whose hands gave abundant
evidence that he was the chauffeur. The captain's jaw dropped and he
stared at the Scout in amazement.

"You don't mean to tell me that it was you who was driving that car?" he
gasped, finally.

"Permit me," said Colonel Abbey, smiling. "Scout Jack Danby, of
Durland's Troop, Captain, and the operator of our first scout automobile
ever since these maneuvers began."

"Well, I'll be jiggered!" said Beavers, speaking slowly. "You're all
right, my boy! You drove that car like a Lancia. If you entered one of
the big road races I believe you'd win it--upon my word I do!"

"We had a big lead at the start," said Jack; then, flushing a little at
this public praise, "You see, the two cars are supposed to be exactly
alike, and if one is just as fast as the other, and two of them get into
a race, it's only natural for the one that has the start to keep its
lead. I don't think I deserve any special credit for that. All I had to
do was to keep her at full speed and steer."

"Yes, but it took more than that to lead us into this little man trap
you had ready for us. Don't forget that!"

"Danby," said Colonel Abbey then, significantly, "you'd better get over
to your headquarters and report to Captain Durland, if you have any
information as a result of your trip. He is probably anxious to learn
what you have accomplished."

Jack saluted at once, and turned on his heel. The headquarters of the
Scouts was a mile or so distant from Abbey's camp, so the three Scouts
got in the car again.

"Gee," said Jack, as he tested his gasoline tank, "we couldn't have gone
much farther, that's sure! The juice is pretty low here, and if we had
had to go a mile or so farther I don't know what might have happened. I
guess he could have put the salt he was talking about on our tails
easily enough."

"Well, he didn't, anyhow," said Tom Binns. "It isn't what they might
have done, but what they did, that counts, Jack. I think we came out of
it jolly well. Gee, but I was scared when that headlight hit us first!"

Durland was up and waiting for them when they arrived.

"Tryon Creek, eh?" said he, when Jack had made his report. "I thought as
much. They may have weaknesses of their own in the matter of keeping a
close guard, but General Bliss doesn't overlook anything in the way of
strategy. He is mighty wide-awake on any point of that sort. I think
I'll let you drive me over to General Harkness's headquarters and go in
with you while you make your report in person, Jack."

General Harkness had to be awakened, but he had left orders that he was
to be called at once should the Boy Scouts bring any news, and they had
no difficulty in reaching him.

"You don't think there can be any mistake about their intention to march
by way of Tryon Creek, do you?" he asked, with a grave face, when Jack
had finished making his report.

"No, general, I do not," said Jack, and he explained the manner in which
he had obtained his information.

"That lieutenant, you see, thought we were pretty well scared, and it
never entered his head that we might try to escape," he said. "I've got
an idea myself that they haven't found out yet that we've gone, really.
There was no hue and cry raised while we were slipping out of their
lines and back to the automobile, and I'm sure that we would have heard
if there had been any pursuit. It's my idea that they won't discover
that we're missing until breakfast. Even then, they're not likely to
suspect that we know as much as we do, and I don't believe it will occur
to that lieutenant to tell anyone that we learned from him where their
attack was to be made. He'll probably forget that he said what he did."

"I hope so," said General Harkness. "In any case we will act on the
information. If they knew that you had escaped with that news, I think
General Bliss would be quite likely to change his plan. But I imagine
that you are right about the officer who put you in the guard tent. His
every action shows that he is careless and unlikely to think of the
really important nature of the disclosure he made so lightly. I think we
may assume with a fair amount of safety that they will attack by way of
Tryon Creek, and I shall lay my plans accordingly and mass my troops at
that point."

Jack had referred only incidentally to the race with the other car, but
now the bell of the field telephone in the General's tent rang sharply,
and an orderly answered it.

"Colonel Abbey, General," he said. "He wishes to know if he may talk to
you."

Jack and Durland waited during the conversation that followed. General
Harkness began laughing in a moment, and, after a conversation of five
or six minutes, he hung up the receiver, his eyes wet with the tears his
laughter had produced and his sides shaking.

"You leave out the most interesting part of your adventures when you
think you can, don't you?" said he. "Do you know that Captain Beavers is
regarded as the most expert driver of automobiles in the regular army?
He invented the type of scout car that is being tried out, and you have
beaten him squarely at a game that he should be the absolute master of."

"I hadn't heard a word about this," said Durland, showing a good deal of
interest.

"I suppose we never would have from Danby," said the general. "That's
what Abbey said--that was why he called me up."

And he proceeded to recount, while Jack, embarrassed, stood first on one
foot and then on the other, the events that led up to the capture of the
enemy's car, as Abbey had learned them from Captain Beavers. Far from
being sore at his capture, Beavers regarded the whole affair as a fine
joke on himself, and was only eager to find listeners who would give him
a chance to repeat the story.

"That was fine work, Jack," said the Scout-Master, his eyes showing how
proud he was of the Scout who had done his duty so well. "You
accomplished something to-night that General Harkness and I were agreed
was next door to impossible."

"It certainly seemed so to me," said the general, nodding his head. "But
we needed that information badly, and I was ready to consent to any
plan, however desperate the chances of success seemed to be, if it gave
us even an outside chance to learn what it was that the enemy intended
to do. We couldn't defend Tryon Creek and the Mardean road together,
though we could block either one or the other, if we only knew where to
look for the attack. As it is, thanks to what you have brought back, I
think that we need have no fear of the outcome of the battle."

General Harkness, once aroused, and understanding what he had to do,
stayed up. It was no time for him to sleep, and, as was presently
proved, the army had had all the rest that was its due that night. For
even as Jack and Durland made their way back to their own headquarters,
the bugles began to blow, and the sleeping ranks began to stir all over
the great encampment.

The transition from sleep to wakefulness and activity was brief enough.
The bugles, blowing in all directions, aroused the sleepers, and soon
all was bustle and apparent confusion all over the camp. But it was only
apparent. Soon ordered ranks appeared, and all around the odor of frying
bacon, and the aroma of coffee told of breakfast being cooked under the
stars and the late moon, for it was recognized that there might be hard
marching and plenty of it before there would be a chance for another
meal. Two brigades were to start at once on the march to Tryon Creek,
and General Harkness had ordered that the men eat their breakfast and
receive a field ration before the march began.

"I guess we can turn in," said Jack to Pete and Tom, with a sigh of
utter weariness. "Seems funny to be going to bed when everyone else is
getting up--but they got in ahead of us on their sleep, so I guess it's
our turn all right."

"Me for the hay, too!" said Pete Stubbs, without much thought for
elegance of expression, but in such a tone as to convince anyone who
heard him that he really needed sleep. As for Tom Binns, he hadn't been
more than half awake since he had tumbled out of the car after the race,
and he was leaning against a post, nodding, when the others aroused him
to go upstairs.

The bustle and din of the army getting underway didn't keep Jack and his
companions from sleeping. They cared little for all the noise, and even
the rumbling of the gun caissons as the artillery went by was not enough
to disturb them at all.

When Jack awoke it was broad daylight. He sprang to the window and
looked out, to see that the sun was high, and that it must be after
noon. In the distance the sound of firing told him that the troops were
finding plenty of action. But the village street of Bremerton was
deserted. There was no sign, except a litter of papers and scraps, that
an army had ever disturbed the peace of the little border line village.

"Here, Pete, wake up!" he cried. "The whole army's gone--and we're left
behind! Let's get dressed and see if there are any orders down below for
us."

Pete got up, shaking his tousled red head disgustedly. He struggled over
to the window, and a moment later a sharp cry from him brought Jack to
his side.

"Jack! Look! Over there--looking up this way, now. See, it's Broom!"

Jack looked. There could be no doubt about it. The man who was lounging
across the street was Broom, the villain who had escaped after Jack had
caused his arrest at Wellbourne, and who had more than once tried to
harm Jack and his friends.

"You're right, Pete," said Jack, quietly. "It's Broom!"



CHAPTER XIV

A PARLEY WITH THE ENEMY


Even Tom Binns, sleepy as he was, and hard as it usually was to arouse
him, was wide awake as soon as he heard what his companions had seen.

"Broom!" he cried. "What's he doing here?"

"I don't know," said Jack, as he dressed hurriedly. "But I guess we'll
soon find out, unless he's changed his ways. Whenever he appears it's a
first-rate sign that there's trouble in the air. He's as good as a storm
warning. Whenever you see him, look out for squalls, and you're not
likely to be disappointed."

"He won't try to make any mischief here, with a whole army ready to drop
on him if he starts anything," said Pete. "I believe he's all sorts of a
scoundrel, and he's got plenty of nerve--but not enough for that."

"That's what we thought at the seashore, too, Pete, didn't we?" said
Jack. "But he made trouble, all right, and it was only by good luck,
really, that we got on to what he had in his dirty mind and stopped
him."

"Yes, that's so, too, Jack. Gee, I wish I was a little bigger--I'd jump
him myself and do all I could to lick him within an inch of his life!"

"What do you think we'd better do, Jack?" asked Tom.

"We've got to find out first what orders there are from Captain Durland.
Then we can tell better. If Broom leaves me alone, I won't do anything
about him. We're on active duty now, and we're not supposed to let any
of our private affairs interfere with our duty. We're just as much bound
to obey orders as if the country were really at war."

"I'm not worrying about interfering with him, Jack," said Pete, with a
grin. "I'm perfectly willing to let him alone--in this State. His pull
is in good working order here, you know. It wouldn't do any good, even
if we did have him arrested. I don't believe he'd ever be taken back to
Wellbourne for trial, because he and his gang know that there's a good
chance that he might be sent to prison if he were ever taken there. But
suppose he interferes with us? That's just what he's here to do, I
think, if the way he always has acted is any guide to what he's likely
to do now."

"Well," said Jack, "all we can do is to mind our own business and pay no
attention to him at all, Pete, unless he bothers us. If he lets us
alone, why, we'll do the same by him."

Then they went downstairs, and Jack found a note left for him by
Durland.

"I have left orders that you are not to be awakened, unless you wake up
yourselves, before three o'clock," the Scout-Master had written; "you
three have had plenty of work, and you are entitled to a good rest. The
Troop will be on scout duty near Tryon Creek, but your orders are to use
the car, and reconnoiter in the direction of Mardean. The fighting will
swing the Blue center over in that direction, unless we are badly
beaten, and your orders are to keep a close watch on the roads leading
to Fessenden Junction. It is possible that General Bliss may make a raid
in that direction, probably with his cavalry brigade. Timely warning of
any such plan is important, as it is not desirable to detach any
considerable number of troops to guard the Junction."

"What would they want to make a raid toward the Junction for?" asked
Pete, after Jack had shown him the note.

"Why not, Pete?"

"A cavalry brigade couldn't hold it a day, Jack. We would drive them out
in no time at all. Don't you think so?"

"Well, even so, a day would be enough to do an awful lot of damage. They
could destroy the station,--theoretically, of course,--tear up miles of
track, burn all the cars there, and destroy or capture and carry off
with them a great many of our reserve stores. That was why our capture
of Hardport was such a blow to them. We didn't hold it very long, of
course, but it wasn't much use to them when they got it back."

"I see, Jack. Yes, they could do a lot of mischief."

"You see, Pete, as it is now, even if we're beaten, we can fall back on
the Junction, hold it with a relatively small force, and retreat on the
capital and the inner line of defenses. But if our supplies and the
railroad cars, and everything of that sort that are massed there were
rendered useless by being marked destroyed, we couldn't do anything but
make our way back toward the capital as best we could, with a victorious
enemy harrying us all the way, which is a bad situation in warfare."

"Shall we cook breakfast for ourselves, Jack?"

"No! On account of Broom. Captain Durland will understand. We'll get our
breakfast here. I think that's better. If he's waiting for us, we'll
give him a good long wait, anyhow."

"Fine, Jack! I think that's a good idea, too. Gee, but I hate that man!"

"I can't say I exactly love him, myself, Pete. I wish I was big enough
to have it out with him with my fists. That's certainly one fight that I
wouldn't have any regrets for after it was over."

They had an excellent breakfast, and then they went out in the street
together. Broom was still waiting, and save for one or two of the idlers
commonly to be seen in a little country town, he was about the only
person in sight. He came over toward them at once.

"Don't shoot, Colonel," he said to Jack, smiling amiably. "I ain't
looking for no more trouble. I've been up against you and your pals
often enough now to know that it don't pay to tackle you. You're too
much class for me, and I'll give you best."

"We don't want to have anything to do with you," said Jack. "We know the
sort of a man you are, and you'll get your deserts some time. But right
now, if you'll let us alone, we'll do the same for you. We've got other
things to do beside talk to you. Good-day!"

Jack really was rather relieved at Broom's pacific advances. He had not
known what to expect from his enemy's appearance, and he knew that if
Broom had any considerable number of his allies on hand, he and his
companions would not be able to make a very effective resistance, try as
they would. After all, they were only boys, though in some respects they
had proved that they could do as well as men, and Broom and his fellows
were grown men, without scruples, who had no idea, apparently, of what
fair fighting meant. But though he was secretly pleased, he did not
intend to let Broom see it, and moreover he felt that he must be
constantly on the lookout for treachery.

"No use bearing malice and hard feelings," said Broom. "We never meant
to hurt you, my boy. You'd have been safe enough with us, and, as you
wouldn't come willing, we tried to get you to come the other way. We
didn't do it, so you've got no call to be sore."

"I've had plenty of samples of your good intentions," said Jack, his lip
curling in a sneer. "I'm not afraid of you, but you can't fool me with
your soft, friendly talk, either. I know you, and all about you, and
I'll thank you to keep away from us. We aren't going to stay here,
anyhow, and we haven't got time to talk to you, even if we wanted to."

"Yes, you have!" said Broom, suddenly, coming close to Jack and dropping
his voice. "Suppose I told you that I knew all about you, and could tell
you who you were and everything else you want to know? You'd have had a
better time at Woodleigh if you'd had a name of your own, like all the
other fellows, wouldn't you? You know you would! Well, that's what I can
do for you, if I want to. Now will you talk to me?"

"If you know all that about me, why don't you tell me?" asked Jack.

Despite himself, he was curious, and he was forced to admit that Broom
interested him. The secret of his birth, which seemed resolved to elude
him, was one that he would never tire of pursuing, and he was ready to
make use of Broom, villain though he knew him to be, or anyone else who
could shed some light on the mysterious beginnings of his life.

"I can't tell you now and here," said Broom. "But I tell you what I'll
do. Meet me here to-night at eleven o'clock, if you're off duty, and
I'll tell you the whole story. It's worth your while to hear it, too,
I'll promise you."

"I'm likely to do that," said Jack, with a laugh. "Do you know that
sounds like 'Will you walk into my parlor? said the spider to the fly.'
You must certainly think I'm an easy mark if you think I'll go into a
trap you set as openly as that! Not if I know myself!"

"You think you're mighty smart, don't you?" asked Broom, his face
working with disappointment and anger. "I'm not setting any trap for
you. If I'd wanted to do that, I couldn't have had a better chance than
there was here this morning, when your Scouts and all the rest of your
people went off and left you behind. If you're scared to come alone,
bring anyone you like--Durland, Crawford, or anyone. Bring them all--the
whole Troop! I don't care! But come yourself, or you'll always be
sorry!"

Jack was impressed, despite himself, by the man's earnestness. He knew
that Broom had been crooked in many ways, and he knew, also, that
Captain Haskin, the railroad detective, had given him the reputation of
being a clever criminal, whose scruples were as rare as his mistakes.
But there was some truth in what the fellow said. Had he meant to make
any attempt on Jack's liberty, he had already let the best chance he was
likely to have for a long time, slip by.

"I'll think it over, and talk to Captain Durland about it," he said. "I
won't promise to be here, but I may decide to come, after all."

"That's better," said Broom. "You think it over, and you'll see I'm
right. If I wanted to hurt you, I'd have done it before this."

"One thing more, Broom. If I do come, I shall certainly not be alone.
And if you try any tricks, it won't be healthy for you. I know you're
not afraid of the law in this State, but I've got friends that won't be
as easy on you as the police. And I'll have them along with me, too, if
I come, to see that you don't forget yourself, and go back to some of
your old tricks. If you're ready to take the chance, knowing that, I may
come."

"You surely won't think of meeting him, will you, Jack?" asked Pete, in
deep anxiety, after this conversation was ended and Broom had taken
himself off. "I didn't offer to butt in, because I thought you could
handle him better by yourself. But you won't let him take you in by just
pretending that he's got something to tell you?"

"I shan't meet him alone, anyhow, Pete. But I don't know whether he's
just pretending or not, you see. The trouble is this mystery about me is
so hard to untangle that I hate to let even the slightest chance of
doing so pass."

"I know, Jack, but please don't take any chances. You know what he's
tried to do to you before, and I'm certain this is only some new trick.
He's probably tickled to death to think that you didn't turn him down
absolutely."

"I'll promise you one thing, anyhow, Pete. I won't make a move toward
meeting him, nor have anything to do with him, without telling Dick
Crawford and Mr. Durland about it first. And I won't do anything that
they don't thoroughly approve of. Will that satisfy you?"

"Sure it will, Jack! Thanks! I hate to seem like a coward, but I'm a lot
more afraid for you when you're in some danger than I would be if it
were myself. That's why I'm so leery of this fellow Broom. I'm sure he
means some sort of mischief, and I surely do hope that Mr. Durland and
Dick Crawford will make you feel the same way about it that Tom Binns
and I do."

"What, are you in on this, too?" asked Jack, with a smile, turning to
little Tom Binns.

"I certainly am, Jack!" answered Tom. "I think Pete's quite right."

Then they got the car, and took the road for Mardean, prepared to turn
back when they reached the right cross roads, and scout along toward
Fessenden Junction.

Before them, on the other branch of the Mardean road, toward Tryon
Creek, there had been heavy firing. That had gradually died away,
however, and presently, as they sped on, they met a single soldier on
horseback. It proved to be their friend, Jim Burroughs.

"Hello, Lieutenant!" called Jack, cheerily, as he stopped his car and
saluted. "How is the battle going?"

"Fine and dandy," returned Jim Burroughs, reigning up his horse. "We got
to Tryon Creek, and we licked them there. They didn't come along for
more than two hours after we were in position. The umpires stopped the
fighting after a while, and gave us the decision. I don't see how
they're going to get through to Fessenden Junction, and, if we hold them
on this line, they'll never get near enough to the capital even to
threaten it, that's one sure thing!"

"I'm certainly glad we got the true news," said Jack, after Jim
Burroughs had ridden on. "It would have been fierce if that fresh
lieutenant had been wrong himself, and we had given our own army false
information that would have enabled them to beat us. But it's all right,
as it turns out, and I guess that they haven't got any chance at all of
beating us now."

"I'm glad of that, too," said Pete. "We certainly took enough trouble to
get the right dope, didn't we?"



CHAPTER XV

A DECISIVE MOVEMENT


Pete Stubbs was secretly glad that the scouting trip toward Fessenden
Junction had been ordered. He was terribly afraid of the consequences to
Jack should he accept Broom's defiance and meet him that night, and he
did not know whether Durland and Dick Crawford would share his views. So
he hoped that the work in the scout car would distract Jack's mind and
lead him to forget his promise to Broom to see what the Scout-Master and
his assistant thought of the plan.

As the car made its swift way along the roads towards Fessenden
Junction, the sound of firing constantly came to them.

"I thought Jim Burroughs said the fighting had been stopped," said Tom
Binns.

"The main bodies were stopped, but that doesn't mean the whole fight is
over," explained Jack. "Bean's brigade, you see, probably hasn't been in
action at all yet. His troops were not among those sent to Tryon Creek,
and he has to cover the roads leading in this direction. It's just
because General Harkness is afraid that some of the Blue troops may have
been detached to make a raid by a roundabout route that we are coming
over here."

"Suppose we ran into them, Jack? Would we be able to get word back in
time to be of any use?"

"Why not? This is our own country. We have the telegraph and the
telephone wires, and the railroad is within a mile of General Harkness's
quarters at Tryon Creek. All he needs to do is to pack troops aboard the
trains he undoubtedly has waiting there and send them on to Fessenden
Junction. We have the same advantage here that the enemy had when they
held Hardport. Then we had to move our troops entirely on foot while
they could use the railroad, and move ten miles to our one. Now that
position is reversed--as long as we hold the key of the railroad
situation, Fessenden Junction."

The road to Fessenden Junction was perfectly clear. They rolled into the
busy railroad centre without having seen a sign of troops of either
army. A single company was stationed at the depot in Fessenden Junction,
impatient at the duty that held it there while the other companies of
the same regiment were at the front, getting a chance to take part in
all the thrilling moves of the war game.

Jack told the officers all he knew as they crowded around his car while
he stopped to replenish his stock of gasoline. There was little in his
narrative that had not come to them already over the wires, but they
were interested in him and in the scouting car.

"We've heard all about you," said a lieutenant. "You've certainly done
yourself proud in this war! They tell me that the car will surely be
adopted as a result of your success with it. Do you know if that's so?"

"I hadn't heard, Lieutenant," said Jack, his face lighting up. "But I
certainly hope it's true. It's a dandy car!"

"You didn't expect to see anything of the enemy the way we came, did
you, Jack?" asked Pete Stubbs, when they were in motion once more.

"No, I didn't, Pete. But it was a good chance to study a road we didn't
know. We may have considerable work in this section before we get
through, and I want to know the roads. That road, of course, is guarded
this morning by General Bean's brigade. It would take more than a
raiding cavalry brigade to break through his line and make for the
Junction this way, and if General Bliss sent troops to Fessenden, they
wouldn't stop to fight on the way. They would choose a road that was
open, if they could, or very weakly defended, at least. Otherwise they'd
be beaten before they got here. Even a couple of regiments would be able
to hold up a brigade, no matter how well it was led, long enough for
General Harkness to find out what was going on and occupy Fessenden
Junction in force."

"Where are you going now, then?"

"East of Bremerton, on the way back. I know that isn't exactly orders,
but it seems to me it's common sense. General Bliss had a long line this
morning, and Mardean was practically its centre. Hardport had become his
base again. He's held Hardport now for two days, practically, and he's
had time to repair all the damage we did. Why shouldn't he have thrown
his brigade, if he planned a raid on the Junction at all, thirty miles
east from Hardport, to swing across the State line at about Freeport,
cut the railroad east of Fessenden Junction, and so approach it from the
east, when everyone expects an attack to be made from the west?"

"That would be pretty risky, wouldn't it, Jack?"

"Certainly it would--and yet, if he could fool everyone into thinking he
was going to do just the opposite, it would be the safest thing he could
do. You see, all the fighting to-day has been well west of Bremerton and
Fessenden Junction. Our orders were to do our scouting on the western
side of the Junction. I've obeyed those orders, and I haven't found out
a thing. Now I think I've a right to use my own discretion, and see if
there are signs of danger on this side."

"Gee, that certainly sounds reasonable, Jack! They've been doing the
thing that wasn't expected ever since the business started. I guess
they're just as likely as not to keep on doing it, too."

"We ought to know in a little while, anyhow, Pete. I'm going to circle
around here, strike a road that runs parallel to the railroad as it runs
east of the Junction, and see what's doing."

Jack hurried along then for a time, and none of those in the car had
anything to say, since, when Jack was pushing her, the noise was too
great to make conversation pleasant or easy in any sense of the words.

They were in the road now that ran along parallel with the railroad
that, running east from Fessenden Junction and away from the State
capital, which lay southwest of that important point, approached
gradually a junction with the main line of the railroad from Hardport at
Freeport.

Jack was keeping his eyes open. He hardly knew what he expected to see,
but he had an idea that there would be something to repay their trip.

And, about fifteen miles from Fessenden Junction, the soundness of his
judgment was proved once more.

"Look up there!" cried Pete, suddenly. The eyes of three Scouts were
turned upward in a moment, and there, perhaps two miles away, and three
hundred feet above them, they saw a biplane hovering.

"Gee!" cried Jack. "That's the first we've seen in the air--a Blue
biplane! None of our machines would be in this direction."

Swiftly he looked along the fence until he saw an opening.

"Here, jump out and let those bars down!" he cried, stopping the car.

The others obeyed at once, and in a moment he ran the car gently into
the field and stopped beside a hayrick.

"Sorry to disturb the farmer's hayrick," said he, then, jumping out in
his turn, "but this is important!"

And a moment later the three Scouts, following his example, were as busy
as bees, covering the grey automobile with new hay, that hid it
effectually from any spying eyes that might be looking down on them from
above.

"Now we'll make ourselves look small," said Jack.

He looked around the field.

"I shouldn't wonder if they picked this out for a landing spot, if they
decide to land at all," said he. "We want to see them if they do
anything like that, and hear them, too, if we can. We may want to find
out something from them."

Swiftly, then, they burrowed into the hay. They could look out and see
anything that went on about them, but unless an enemy came very close,
they themselves were entirely safe from detection.

"Now we'll know what they're up to, I guess," said Jack, with a good
deal of satisfaction. "It's a good thing I sort of half disobeyed orders
and came this way, isn't it?"

"You didn't really disobey orders, did you, Jack?" asked Tom.

"No, I didn't, really, Tom. I did what I was ordered to do, but I did
something more, too, as there was no special time limit set for the job
they gave us. But a scout is supposed to use his own judgment a good
deal, anyhow. Otherwise he wouldn't be any use as a scout, so far as I
can see."

It was very quiet in the hay. But above them, and sounding all the more
clearly and distinctly for the silence that was everywhere else, they
could hear the great hum of the motor of the aeroplane. With no muffler,
the engine of the flying-machine kicked up a lot of noise, and, as it
gradually grew louder, Jack was able to tell, even without looking up,
that it was coming down.

"By George," said he, "I think they are going to land! They're getting
more cautious, you see. They scout ahead now, and they're using their
war aeroplane the way we have been using this car of ours."

"What are our flying-machines doing, Jack? I haven't seen them on the
job at all."

"General Harkness is using them in the actual battles. They go up to
spot concealed bodies of the enemy, so that our gunners can get the
range and drive the enemy, theoretically, out of any cover they have
found. That's one of the ways in which flying machines are expected to
be most useful in the next war. You see, as it is now, with smokeless
powder and practically invisible uniforms, ten thousand men can do a lot
of damage before anyone on the other side can locate them at all. But
with a flying-machine, they won't be able to hide themselves. A man a
thousand feet above them can see them, and direct the fire of artillery
by signals so that the troops that were in entire security until he
discovered them can be cut to pieces by heavy shell fire."

"That's what our men have been doing, eh?"

"Yes--and theirs, too, mostly. This is the first time I've seen one of
their machines scouting. Look out now--keep quiet! They're landing, and
they're not more than a hundred feet away!"

The scraping of the flying-machine, as it came to rest in the field, was
plainly audible as the Scouts stopped talking and devoted themselves to
listening intently. Also, by craning their necks a little, though they
were in no danger of being seen themselves, they could make out what the
two men in the aeroplane were doing.

"Pretty lucky, Bill!" said one of them. "This is a good landing-place,
and we can get an idea of the situation and cut the telegraph wire to
send back word."

"Right, Harry!" said the other. "I guess the coast is clear. The brigade
isn't more than five miles back, and with three train loads, they'll be
able to make that Fessenden Junction look like a desert before
night--theoretically."

"It's all theory, Bill, but it's pretty good fun, at that. I tell you,
we would be in a tight place if they'd guarded this approach at all.
That brigade of ours would be cut off in a minute. But if we can mess up
Fessenden Junction for them, they'll be so busy trying to cover their
line of retreat that they won't have any time to bother about our
fellows."

"What's the matter with that engine, anyhow?"

"Nothing much, I guess. But sometimes, if she starts missing, the way
she did when we were up there, you can fix things and avoid a lot of
trouble by a little timely tinkering. I was up once when my engine began
missing that way, and I didn't pay any attention to it. Then, about
twenty minutes later, she went dead on me while I was over the water,
and I had to drop, whether I wanted to or not. The water was cold, too,
I don't mind saying."

"You hear that?" said Jack, in a tense whisper. "Now, as soon as they
go, we've got to destroy that railroad track, right across the road. We
may have half an hour; we may have only a few minutes. And while two of
us do that--you and Tom, Pete--the other will have to cut the telegraph
wire and send word to Fessenden Junction. General Bean is in the best
position to get over there. I don't think we can hold them up more than
an hour or so, but that ought to be enough. At least, if there's nothing
else to be done, the fellows at Fessenden Junction can tear up a lot of
track."

For five breathless minutes they watched the two aviators tinkering with
their engine. Then the big bird rose in the air again, and winged its
way eastward. In a moment Jack was out of the hay and calling to his
companions to follow him.

"Get your tools from the car, now," he said. "Mark a rail torn up for
every ten minutes you spend there. I'll get busy with the telegraph
wire."

It took Jack twenty minutes to finish his task, which was exceedingly
quick work. But he had had practice in it, and he worked feverishly,
since he did not know at what minute they would be surprised and forced
to abandon the task by the on-coming enemy.

Ten minutes after he had completed his part of the task, when,
theoretically, the others had been able to destroy three lengths of
rail, and had left a pile of smouldering brushwood as proof that they
had had time to build a fire of the ties, they heard the hum of
approaching trains along the rails.

"All right!" cried Jack. "This is as far as they can go now until they
make repairs. It's time for us to be off!"

And he led the way swiftly toward the car, still hidden in the field.

Swiftly he adjusted the spark plug, which he had carried with him, and,
just as the first of the trains from the east appeared in sight, the car
was ready to move. But Jack, instead of returning to the road, and
retracing his course toward Fessenden Junction, headed north across the
field, toward the State line.

"I'm going to take a short cut to General Bean's brigade and get him
word of the chance he has to end things right now," he cried. "If he can
capture this brigade of the enemy, the war will be as good as over. It's
the best chance we've had yet."

Jack knew the country perfectly, and soon he was on a country road,
which, while it would have been hard on the tires of an ordinary car,
was easy for the big scouting machine. They made splendid time, and in
an hour they were in touch with the outposts of General Bean's troops,
waiting, since the attack of the enemy in front had ceased, for any news
that might come.

"I've just heard that the enemy is threatening Fessenden Junction from
the east," the general told Jack, when the Boy Scout made his report.

"Yes, General," said Jack, eagerly. "And the roads are open in this
direction. They will not be able to get very far along the railroad. The
troops in Fessenden Junction will undoubtedly cut the tracks, just as we
did, somewhere near the village of Bridgeton, and that will be a
splendid place to make a flank attack. They won't be expecting that at
all, and I think you can finish them up."

General Bean reached at once for a field map.

"You've got it!" he cried. "That's just what I'll do!"

And in a moment he had given his orders accordingly. Ten minutes later
the troops were on the march, and Jack was scouting ahead, to make sure
that no shift of the enemy's plan had made it impossible for his idea to
be carried out successfully.

Bean's troops marched quickly and well, and within two hours they were
in touch with the enemy, near Bridgeton. Jack and his companions, in the
rear, heard the sound of firing, which soon became general. And then,
unhampered, Jack sped for the place where he had already cut the
railroad, and, in two hours theoretically destroyed nearly half a mile
of track.

"They're in a trap, now," he cried. "They'll never get by here!"



CHAPTER XVI

THE PERIL IN THE WOODS


It was nearly seven o'clock that evening, and quite dark, when Jack and
the others rejoined the main body of the Troop of Scouts at Bremerton.

Durland was full of enthusiasm.

"The war is as good as over," he said, happily. "We've licked them
utterly! It's just a question now of what they'll be able to save from
the wreck. The brigade that made the raid toward Fessenden Junction was
annihilated by Bean, cut off, and forced to surrender. General Bliss is
in full retreat upon Hardport from Mardean, and the invasion has been
repelled. Our cavalry is pursuing him, and I think we will be in
Hardport again to-morrow. Whatever fighting remains to be done will be
on their side of the line, and the capital is safe."

"Will there be any more fighting to-night, Captain?" asked Jack.

"Only by the cavalry. They are worrying Bliss as much as possible in his
retreat, and we'll probably pick up a few guns. We outnumber them
decidedly now, as we have taken nearly eleven thousand prisoners in the
last two days, and there is no chance at all for them to take the
offensive again. General Bliss will be lucky to escape the capture of
his whole army. One of the umpires told me to-day that our success was
due entirely to the speed and accuracy with which we got information of
the movements of the enemy, which seemed to him to be remarkably well
covered."

"That's what Jack Danby's done for us," said Dick Crawford. "He's
certainly proved that the scout car has come to stay. And it was more or
less by accident that he got the chance to handle it, too."

"That's true," said Durland, "but a great many men have opportunities
just as good, and can't make use of them. It's not how a man gets a
chance to do things that counts, it's the way he uses the chance when he
gets it. And that's where Jack's skill and courage have helped him.
You've covered the Troop with glory, Jack, and we're all proud of you."

"Is there anything more for us to do to-night, sir?"

"No, indeed! I think everyone feels that the Boy Scouts have done rather
more than their share already in the fighting we've had, and have been
very largely responsible for our victory. There may be more work to do
to-morrow, but I doubt it. I think myself that the umpires will call the
invasion off to-morrow, and devote the rest of the time to field
training for both armies, working together.

"About all the lessons that the war can teach have been learned by both
sides already, and the training is useful, even when the war game itself
is over. That's only a guess, of course, but if we are in a position
to-morrow that leaves General Bliss as small a chance for getting away
as seems likely now, I think the umpires will feel that there is no use
in going through the form of further fighting. We are masters of the
situation now, and our superiority in numbers is so great that there
will be very little that is instructive about a further campaign."

Then Jack asked Captain Durland and Dick Crawford if he could speak to
them apart, and when the Scout-Master consented, he told them of his
interview with Broom.

"That's a queer shift for him to make," said Durland, thoughtfully.
"It's true, of course, that he was in a good position to make an attack
on you this morning. But it's also possible that he was alone, and
didn't have any help handy. I don't think he'd ever try any of his dirty
work single-handed. He's a good deal of a coward, and he likes to have a
lot of help when he tries anything, so that there is practically no
chance for his opponent. His idea is to fight when he is in overwhelming
force, and only then. What do you think of it, Dick?"

"I don't trust him, sir, and yet, if it is at all possible that he has
given up his designs against Jack and is willing to tell him what we are
so anxious to find out, it would be a great pity to let the chance
slip."

"That's what I think, sir," said Jack. "Pete Stubbs and Tom Binns heard
him, and they think I ought not to meet him. But I'm afraid he's right,
and that if I didn't do it, I'd always regret it."

"It seems safe enough," said Durland. "He didn't insist on your meeting
him alone. He probably knew that you wouldn't do that, anyhow, and took
the only chance he had of persuading you, but I don't see what harm
could come to you if you went to meet him with Dick Crawford and myself,
and perhaps two or three others, to see that there was no foul play."

"It's risky to have any dealings with him at all, I think," said Dick
Crawford, "but if it was ever safe, I should say that this was the time.
He's an awfully smooth scoundrel, or he wouldn't have been able to fool
the Burtons the way he did. Still, it's hard, as you say, sir, to see
what harm could come to Jack to-night."

"I think it's worth risking, anyhow," said Durland. "You and I will go
along, Dick. And I think I'll have a talk with Jim Burroughs, too. It
might be that he would feel like coming along with us."

"Can I bring Pete Stubbs and Tom Binns with us, sir?" asked Jack. "I
think they'd like to be along."

"By all means," said Durland.

Jack went off then to look for his two chums. But they were nowhere to
be seen. He was surprised, for, since they were on active duty, they
were supposed to be always in readiness at the headquarters of the Troop
unless detached with special orders. Finally, after hunting for them for
half an hour, he asked Bob Hart about them.

Bob, who, as Patrol Leader of the Crow Patrol, ranked during the
maneuvers as a sergeant, seemed surprised.

"I gave them permission to be absent from headquarters until eleven
o'clock," he said. "Didn't you know they were going to ask for it?"

"I did not," said Jack, decidedly surprised.

Pete and Tom had known of the chance that he might meet Broom, and he
wondered how it was that they were willing to be absent at a time when
he might need them. It was the first time either of them had ever failed
him, and he was puzzled and bothered by their absence.

"That's certainly mighty queer!" he said to himself. "I wonder if they
forgot about Broom, or if they thought I would?"

But there was no sense in trying to puzzle out the reason for their
having gone. They were off--that was plain, and he would have to go
without them.

While he waited for Durland and Dick Crawford to return, he began to
speculate a good deal as to what the reason for Broom's new shift might
be. He was sure, from the way Broom had acted, that the man was as much
his enemy as ever. And yet he had seemed to feel that he and Jack
together might be able to accomplish something that was beyond the power
of either of them, alone, to get done.

"Perhaps he's had trouble of some sort with the people who want to keep
me from finding out about myself," thought Jack. "In that case, he's
simply turned traitor to them, and is trying to use me to get even with
them. Well, I don't care! They must be a pretty bad lot, and if I can
find out about myself I don't see why I should mind helping him to that
extent. But I'd certainly like to know the answer!"

He waited some time longer before the Scout-Master and Dick Crawford
returned.

"Jim Burroughs isn't there," said Dick, with a puzzled expression on his
face. "His captain says that he and several of the men got leave before
dinner, because they wanted to see if they couldn't pick up some birds a
little way off, in a preserve that belongs to a man who is a friend of
Jim's. But we went over in that direction, and there wasn't any sign of
them."

"Well, it's no great matter, anyhow," said Durland, with a smile. "There
are enough of us left to attend to the matter. We'd better be getting
along, Jack. Where are Stubbs and Binns?"

"They got leave for a little while from Sergeant Hart, sir," said Jack.
"That seems mighty funny to me, because they knew about Broom, and that
I might want them along with me to-night."

"They've probably forgotten it, Jack," said Dick. "You've all had a
pretty full day and things slip the mind sometimes in such
circumstances. No use worrying about them. We'll go ahead, anyhow."

At the place where Broom had made his appointment a man was waiting for
them.

"Mr. Broom said this place was too public," the man whispered. "If
you'll come along with me, I'll show you where he is waiting for you
now."

"We'll come," said Durland. "But look here, my man, no tricks!"

He drew his hand from his holster, and showed the guide, a sullen,
scowling fellow, the big pistol that reposed there.

"If I see any sign of treachery, I'm going to use this and see who's to
blame afterward," Durland went on, grimly. "You'd better play level with
us, or you'll have a mighty good reason to regret it. That's a fair
warning, now. See that you profit by it. The next will be from my
pistol!"

"Aw, g'wan, what's eatin' youse?" asked the man. But, despite his
bluster, he was obviously frightened.

"I ain't here to hoit youse," he said, sullenly, after a minute's
silence. "Just youse come along wid me, and I'll take youse to Broom.
That's all the job I got, see?"

He led them some distance into the woods. Once or twice they thought
they heard sounds as if others were near them, but they made up their
minds that this idea was due to their imaginations. And finally, when
they were nearly two miles from the nearest troops, as far as they could
tell, their guide stopped in a little clearing in the woods.

"Wait here," he said. "I'll go tell Broom you're ready."

He crashed off through the undergrowth, and, with what patience they
could, they waited in the darkness.

They realized afterward that the waiting was a blind. No one had crept
up on them, but they were suddenly seized, each one from behind, so that
there was no chance at all for Durland and Crawford to use the pistols
that they held in their hands. Their assailants, as they guessed later,
had been waiting all the time for them, ready to spring, upon them as
soon as they were thoroughly off their guard. And in a moment they saw
Broom, an electric torch in his hand, which he directed at the faces of
the three prisoners in turn.

"You walked into the trap all right, didn't you?" he said to Jack, with
an ugly sneer on his face. "You was mighty smart this morning! Glad you
brought your friends along. They've bothered us, too. And now we've
caught you all together. That's much better, you see! You won't get in
my way again, any one of you!"

Suddenly he gave a curse.

"Where's the others?" he snarled. "The red-headed one and the little
shaver? I want them, too!"

"There weren't but the three of them," said the man who had served as
their guide. "I don't know where the others are."

"Well, it can't be helped," said Broom, with an oath. "I'll get rid of
these, anyhow."

"You'll spoil no more games of mine!" he told them. "Get the ropes,
there, men!"

"What are you goin' to do?" asked one of Broom's men.

"String them up," replied Broom, with a brutal laugh. "Hanging leaves no
evidence behind. No weapons--no wounds to show the sort of a blow that
killed. There's good advice for you, my friend. If you want to get rid
of an enemy, hang him!"

All three of the prisoners had been gagged. They had to stand silent,
now, while the rope was placed about their necks. They were all forced
to stand under the spreading branch of a big tree, and the ropes were
thrown over it.

"We'll let them swing all together, now," said Broom. "When I give the
word! Plenty of time, though! We'll let them have a minute or two to
think it over."

"NOW!" cried a voice in the woods beyond the small circle of light from
Broom's electric torch.

A second later the click of falling hammers fell on the air. And, even
as Broom turned, a dozen men stepped into the light, with leveled
rifles, covering every one of the gang that Broom had gathered to make
his trap.

"Fire if they make a single movement!" ordered Jim Burroughs. "Good
work, Pete! Release them now! You brought us here--it's only fair to let
you turn them loose, you and Tom Binns."

"Go ahead and shoot!" yelled Broom, suddenly, and made a dash for the
woods. A dozen rifles spoke out, but he crashed away in the darkness,
and one or two of the others ran also.

"He got away!" said Durland. "Pretty bad shooting, Jim!"

"Well, you can't expect much from blank cartridges," said Jim Burroughs,
with a grin. "We didn't have any loaded with ball, you know. It was just
a bluff, but it worked pretty well!"

"But how did you get here at all?"

"Pete Stubbs and Tom Binns are responsible for that. They didn't like
the idea of this expedition at all, and neither did I, when they told me
about it. We stuck pretty close to you. But I wanted to make sure of
Broom, or I'd have butted in before."



THE BRADEN BOOKS


FAR PAST THE FRONTIER

_By_ JAMES A. BRADEN

The sub-title "Two Boy Pioneers" indicates the nature of this
story--that it has to do with the days when the Ohio Valley and the
Northwest country were sparsely settled. Such a topic is an unfailing
fund of interest to boys, especially when involving a couple of stalwart
young men who leave the East to make their fortunes and to incur untold
dangers.

"Strong, vigorous, healthy, manly."--_Seattle Times._


CONNECTICUT BOYS IN THE WESTERN RESERVE

_By_ JAMES A. BRADEN

The author once more sends his heroes toward the setting sun. "In all
the glowing enthusiasm of youth, the youngsters seek their fortunes in
the great, fertile wilderness of northern Ohio, and eventually achieve
fair success, though their progress is hindered and sometimes halted by
adventures innumerable. It is a lively, wholesome tale, never dull, and
absorbing in interest for boys who love the fabled life of the
frontier."--_Chicago Tribune._


THE TRAIL of THE SENECA

_By_ JAMES A. BRADEN

In which we follow the romantic careers of John Jerome and Return
Kingdom a little farther.

These two self-reliant boys are living peaceably in their cabin on the
Cuyahoga when an Indian warrior is found dead in the woods nearby. The
Seneca accuses John of witchcraft. This means death at the stake if he
is captured. They decide that the Seneca's charge is made to shield
himself, and set out to prove it. Mad Anthony, then on the Ohio, comes
to their aid, but all their efforts prove futile and the lone cabin is
found in ashes on their return.


CAPTIVES THREE

_By_ JAMES A. BRADEN

A tale of frontier life, and how three children--two boys and a
girl--attempt to reach the settlements in a canoe, but are captured by
the Indians. A common enough occurrence in the days of our
great-grandfathers has been woven into a thrilling story.


BOUND IN CLOTH, each handsomely $1.00 illustrated, cloth, postpaid


_The Saalfield Publishing Co._

AKRON, OHIO



FICTION FOR BOYS


LITTLE RHODY

_By_ JEAN K. BAIRD

_Illustrated by_ R. G. Vosburgh

At The Hall, a boys' school, there is a set of boys known as the "Union
of States," to which admittance is gained by excelling in some
particular the boys deem worthy of their mettle.

Rush Petriken, a hunchback boy, comes to The Hall, and rooms with
Barnes, the despair of the entire school because of his prowess in
athletics. Petriken idolizes him, and when trouble comes to him, the
poor crippled lad gladly shoulders the blame, and is expelled. But
shortly before the end of the term he returns and is hailed as "little
Rhody," the "capitalest State of all."

CLOTH, 12 mo, illustrated,--$1.50


BIGELOW BOYS

_By_ Mrs. A. F. RANSOM

_Illustrated by_ Henry Miller

Four boys, all bubbling over with energy and love of good times, and
their mother, an authoress, make this story of a street-car strike in
one of our large cities move with leaps and bounds. For it is due to the
four boys that a crowded theatre car is saved from being wrecked, and
the instigators of the plot captured.

Mrs. Ransom is widely known by her patriotic work among the boys in the
navy, and she now proves herself a friend of the lads on land by writing
more especially for them.

CLOTH, 12 mo, illustrated,--$1.50

Books sent postpaid on receipt of price.


_The Saalfield Publishing Co._

AKRON, OHIO



_THE BOY SCOUT SERIES_

    1 THE BOY SCOUTS IN CAMP

    2 THE BOY SCOUTS TO THE RESCUE

    3 THE BOY SCOUTS ON THE TRAIL

    4 THE BOY SCOUT FIRE-FIGHTERS

    5 THE BOY SCOUTS AFLOAT

    6 THE BOY SCOUT PATHFINDERS

    7 THE BOY SCOUT AUTOMOBILISTS

    8 THE BOY SCOUT AVIATORS

    9 THE BOY SCOUTS' CHAMPION RECRUIT

    10 THE BOY SCOUTS' DEFIANCE

    11 THE BOY SCOUTS' CHALLENGE

    12 THE BOY SCOUTS' VICTORY

    13 THE BOY SCOUTS UNDER KING GEORGE

    14 THE BOY SCOUTS WITH THE ALLIES

    15 THE BOY SCOUTS UNDER THE KAISER

    16 THE BOY SCOUTS AT LIEGE

    17 THE BOY SCOUTS WITH THE COSSACKS

    18 THE BOY SCOUTS BEFORE BELGRADE

    19 THE BOY SCOUTS' TEST

    20 THE BOY SCOUTS IN FRONT OF WARSAW

    21 THE BOY SCOUTS UNDER THE RED CROSS





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Boy Scout Automobilists - or, Jack Danby in the Woods" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home