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Title: Endurance Test - or, How Clear Grit Won the Day
Author: Douglas, Alan
Language: English
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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 "Endurance Test - or, How Clear Grit Won the Day" ***

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The Hickory Ridge Boy Scouts

ENDURANCE TEST

or

How Clear Grit Won the Day

       *       *       *       *       *

A SERIES OF BOOKS FOR BOYS

      Which, in addition to the interesting boy scout
      stories by CAPTAIN ALAN DOUGLAS, Scoutmaster, contain
      articles on nature lore, native animals and a fund of
      other information pertaining to out-of-door life, that
      will appeal to the boy's love of the open


I. The Campfires of the Wolf Patrol

      Their first camping experience affords the scouts
      splendid opportunities to use their recently acquired
      knowledge in a practical way. Elmer Chenowith, a lad
      from the northwest woods, astonishes everyone by his
      familiarity with camp life. A clean, wholesome story
      every boy should read.


II. Woodcraft; or, How a Patrol Leader Made Good

      This tale presents many stirring situations in which
      some of the boys are called upon to exercise all their
      ingenuity and unselfishness. A story filled with
      healthful excitement.


III. Pathfinder; or, The Missing Tenderfoot

      Some mysteries are cleared up in a most unexpected
      way, greatly to the credit of our young friends. A
      variety of incidents follow fast, one after the other.


IV. Fast Nine; or, a Challenge From Fairfield

      They show the same team-work here as when in camp. The
      description of the final game with the team of a rival
      town, and the outcome thereof, form a stirring
      narrative. One of the best baseball stories of recent
      years.


V. Great Hike; or, The Pride of The Khaki Troop

      After weeks of preparation the scouts start out on
      their greatest undertaking. Their march takes them far
      from home, and the good-natured rivalry of the
      different patrols furnishes many interesting and
      amusing situations.


VI. Endurance Test; or, How Clear Grit Won the Day

      Few stories "get" us more than illustrations of pluck
      in the face of apparent failure. Our heroes show the
      stuff they are made of and surprise their most ardent
      admirers. One of the best stories Captain Douglas has
      written.


Boy Scout Nature Lore to be Found in The Hickory Ridge Boy Scout Series

    Wild Animals of the United States--Tracking--in Number I.
    Trees and Wild Flowers of the United States in Number II.
    Reptiles of the United States in Number III.
    Fishes of the United States in Number IV.
    Insects of the United States in Number V.
    Birds of the United States in Number VI.

  _Cloth Binding_      _Cover Illustrations in Four Colors_
            _40c. Per Volume_

  THE NEW YORK BOOK COMPANY
  147 FOURTH AVENUE (near 14th St.) NEW YORK

       *       *       *       *       *


ENDURANCE TEST

or

How Clear Grit Won the Day


       *       *       *       *       *

COMPLETE ROSTER, WHEN THE PATROLS WERE FILLED, OF

THE HICKORY RIDGE TROOP OF BOY SCOUTS

MR. RODERIC GARRABRANT, SCOUT MASTER


THE WOLF PATROL

ELMER CHENOWITH, Patrol Leader, and also Assistant Scout Master

  MARK CUMMINGS
    TED (THEODORE) BURGOYNE
      TOBY (TOBIAS) ELLSWORTH JONES
        "LIL ARTHA" (ARTHUR) STANSBURY
          CHATZ (CHARLES) MAXFIELD
            PHIL (PHILIP) DALE
              GEORGE ROBBINS


THE BEAVER PATROL

MATTY (MATTHEW) EGGLESTON, Patrol Leader

  "RED" (OSCAR) HUGGINS
    TY (TYRUS) COLLINS
      JASPER MERRIWEATHER
        TOM CROPSEY
          LARRY (LAWRENCE) BILLINGS
            HEN (HENRY) CONDIT
              LANDY (PHILANDER) SMITH


THE EAGLE PATROL

  JACK ARMITAGE, Patrol Leader
    NAT (NATHAN) SCOTT

(others to be enlisted until this patrol has reached its legitimate
number)

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: "We're gaining a little all the time, fellows!" exclaimed
Elmer.]


The Hickory Ridge Boy Scouts

ENDURANCE TEST

or

How Clear Grit Won the Day

by

CAPTAIN ALAN DOUGLAS SCOUT MASTER



[Illustration]

The New York Book Company
New York

Copyright, 1913, by
The New York Book Company



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER                                      PAGE

     I.--SURPRISING LANDY                     17
    II.--SIGNS OF TROUBLE AHEAD               25
   III.--THE LURE OF THE RED FLAG             35
    IV.--THE FINISH OF TY'S FAMOUS SWEATER    42
     V.--A DOUBLE-ACTION JOKE                 50
    VI.--STRANGE SOUNDS FROM THE WATER        58
   VII.--THE NEWS THAT GEORGE BROUGHT         66
  VIII.--UNDER THE TWINKLING STARS            74
    IX.--THE INVASION OF THE CAMP             82
     X.--THE EDUCATION OF ADAM                90
    XI.--A LOUD CALL FOR HELP                 98
   XII.--SHOWING THEIR METTLE                106
  XIII.--HOW THE SCOUTS WON OUT              114
   XIV.--SEARCHING THE HAY BARN              122
    XV.--THE CAPTURE OF THE TRAMPS           130
   XVI.--GOOD-BY TO THE SWEETWATER           138



ENDURANCE TEST

OR

HOW CLEAR GRIT WON THE DAY



THE HICKORY RIDGE BOY SCOUTS

ENDURANCE TEST;

OR,

HOW CLEAR GRIT WON THE DAY.



CHAPTER I.

SURPRISING LANDY.


"LET Adam Limburger have a try, fellows!"

"Yes, give the new tenderfoot scout a chance to show what he can do in
the water."

"That's the ticket; just watch him take the high dive, will you, boys?"

"Mine gootness gracious, poys, oxcuse me, if you blease. If you dink I
can dot blunge make vidoudt upsetting mineself, you haf anudder guess
coming."

"Try it, Adam!"

"You've just got to, you know, old chap! Everybody's jumped but you; and
all the while you've just sat there on the bank and watched us cutting
up!"

"Shut your eyes, Adam, if you're timid, and then go; head or feet first,
we don't care which, so long as you make a big splash."

"Ach, idt vould not, pe sooch a surprises if Adam he preaks his neck:
put, poys, if dot happens, somepody carry de news to mine mudder. Py
chimineddy, here I go!"

"Get out of the way, Ty Collins, if you don't want to get squashed; for
here comes Adam down the shoot-the-shoot plunge!"

A number of lads were in swimming out in the country quite a number of
miles away from the home town of Hickory Ridge. Besides the stout German
who was standing in a hesitating way on the springboard that had been
thrust out from the high bank, some ten feet above the water, there were
Elmer Chenowith, Ty Collins, Landy Smith, and Ted Burgoyne, the latter
of whom, though afflicted with a decided lisp, was looked upon with
considerable respect among his fellows in the Boy Scout troop, because
of his knowledge of medicine and the rudiments of surgery.

They had been splashing and having a splendid time for at least ten
minutes after entering the water, when somebody happened to notice that
the new recruit in the Hickory Ridge troop of Boy Scouts, Adam
Litzburgh, a name that had been quickly corrupted into Limburger by the
boys, did not seem to enter into the sport, but contented himself with
either dipping his feet into the water, as if afraid, or else sitting
ashore in the shade watching his new mates.

Adam seemed to be inclined toward stoutness, although hardly in the same
class with Landy, who had long been bantered by his chums on account of
his ever-increasing tendency to put on flesh in spite of all he could
do.

"Lock at the board bend, would you, fellows!" cried Ty Collins, as the
German recruit stood there, balancing at the end, as though fearful of
what the result would be should he jump.

"He's glued to it, that's what," said Landy, who was anxious to discover
whether Adam would make a greater splash than he himself produced when
he came down like a huge frog into the water of the Sweetwater River;
for this was not the familiar "swimming-hole" of the Hickory Ridge
boys, but miles farther away from home.

Adam made several violent gestures as though he might be going to jump,
and then shook his head vigorously in the negative.

"Noddings doing, poys!" he grinned.

"Hey, none of that crawfishing, now, Adam!" cried Ty. "You've just _got_
to jump, once anyhow. We'll stand by and yank you out if you can't swim.
Perhaps the boys over in your beloved Yarmany don't learn as early as
Yankees do. Go on, now!"

"Want us to come up there and push you off, you Dutch cheese!" called
Landy, in the hope of arousing the belligerent nature of the Teuton, and
thus making him conquer his timidity.

"Vell, py shiminy crickets, off you dink you can scare Adam Litzburgh,
poys, you haf anudder guess goming. Look oudt pelow!"

Elmer had been watching the antics of Adam with a critical eye. Before
these last words were spoken he had turned to Ted, who chanced to be
swimming near him, and remarked significantly:

"That fellow is pulling the wool over the eyes of Ty and Landy."

"Think tho?" asked Ted, quickly.

"Just watch and see," replied the other, who, besides being the leader
of his patrol, known as the Wolf Patrol, was also the assistant scout
master of the troop and authorized by certificate from the headquarters
of the organization to assume the duties of Mr. Garrabrant whenever that
gentleman was away on business.

Suddenly Adam gave a bound up and down until the springy board had taken
on a motion superior to anything that had been done by the others in
their efforts to excel.

As it came up finally, the body of the German boy leaped into the air.
Those who were watching with distended eyes saw him turn over twice
before he struck the surface of the water, beneath which he shot with
the grace of a fish.

Elmer gave a shout.

"I thought as much; Adam was hoodwinking you, boys!" he laughed.

"Wow, did you ever see the like of that! A double somersault before he
struck, and then he dived under like a greenback frog from a log!" and
Landy's fat face was a study as he looked his utter amazement.

"I take it all back!" shouted Ty. "They _do_ know how to dive over in
Yarmany and beat us all hollow. Say, fellows, I bet you Adam is going to
prove to be the best water dog in all Hickory Ridge. Look at him
swimming there, will you? I've seen an otter or a muskrat doing it that
way, but never a boy. Ain't he the peach though! I take off my hat to
Adam!"

"That'th what we all thay!" cried Ted, enthusiastically.

"Three cheers for our new comrade, fellows; here's to Adam, and may he
prove as great a find as a true scout as he has a water duck!" exclaimed
Elmer.

The cheers rang out, and were followed with a "tiger." Adam was coming
back now, and his red face beamed with satisfaction. They had been
inclined to look on him as a real greenhorn; and no doubt that was what
he would prove to be with regard to most of the ways of woodcraft in
which scouts desire to become proficient; but the boy from across the
big water had certainly surprised his new mates this day by his
expertness at diving and swimming.

So long as they remained in the water they kept Adam busy showing off.
He had a dozen clever tricks from the springboard; and there was no one
in Hickory Ridge who, as Ty declared, could "hold a candle to him."

"No, nor in Fairfield, either," said Elmer, after he had seen what the
German lad could do; "and if we ever have another series of rival tests
with our friends over there, make up your minds, fellows, that Adam will
stand in a class all his own."

Finally, when some of the boys began to show signs of blue lips, Elmer
declared they had been in long enough. When one is not accustomed to
being in the water at all hours, the vitality of the system is exhausted
after a certain time; and those who are wise will make it a point to
come out before they get to shivering, even on a hot September day, like
the one that found these Hickory Ridge scouts in camp up on the
Sweetwater.

A few of the boys, it seemed, had not had quite enough of outdoor life
during the long vacation and they had induced Elmer to start out for
three days more of camping, taking a tent along and a few things
calculated to add to their comfort.

Adam, as the latest addition to the troop, asked permission to accompany
them, and as he was something of a comical fellow they expected to have
more or less fun at his expense as a greenhorn.

After this remarkable experience, however, some of them began to suspect
that the shoe might frequently prove to be on the other foot; and that
the German boy would turn the tables on them, even as he had done in the
water test.

The tent was pitched close by, at a point selected by Elmer as the best
to be found along that part of the river. The ground had the proper
drainage in case of a heavy storm and was not under any high tree, so
that the danger from lightning was reduced to a minimum.

They had brought a few things along to eat; and as farms lay not far
away, each day some of the scouts trailed over to one of these in order
to purchase other articles, such as fresh milk, eggs, butter, and green
corn, and on this morning Elmer had brought back a couple of fine
chickens which a farmer had presented to him.

Of course, the rest of the boys understood that at some past time Elmer
must have done the farmer a favor; for he was always eager to lend a
helping hand when an occasion arose; but he declined to tell the story,
and as they had the chickens the boys found no fault.

Elmer had made an oven in the ground, after the type used by hunters in
many lands. A deep hole was scooped out, and a hot fire kept going for
some hours; then the red ashes were removed, and the chickens, properly
wrapped in big leaves, placed in the oven which was then hermetically
sealed with clay.

This might be called the first "fireless cooker." It is the very
principle upon which all those now on the market are constructed; and,
indeed, the bottles that are guaranteed to keep their contents hot for
twenty-four hours are fashioned on some similar lines for retaining the
heat.

For six hours now had those spring roasters been in "hot storage," as
Landy called it, and many were the appeals to Elmer to know if they
would be ready by the time they had the corn and other things done.

The afternoon was wasting away. In another hour the sun would be
setting. Elmer was busying himself at the fire with Ty, who claimed to
be something of a cook and had proved this on various occasions. Ted was
overhauling the little case of remedies, without which he seldom went
anywhere. Adam and Landy had taken a small camera, loaned by one of the
other members of the troop, a tall scout known to his chums as "Lil
Artha," and with this they expected to take a few snapshots of the camp,
the picturesque river as seen in the afternoon glow, and such things as
appeal to the average boy looking around for subjects on which to
execute his skill as a photographer.

They could be heard rummaging among the bushes not far away, and Landy
seemed to be getting more or less fun out of the German tenderfoot, who
was utterly new to the ways of the American woods, however familiar he
might be with any species of water.

Elmer had just made up his mind, after a sly investigation on his own
account, that the chickens were deliciously done, and hence there need
be no further delay about starting the balance of the dinner, when he
heard Landy's rather whining voice approaching, and raised his head to
watch.

When the two came into camp it was noticed that Adam seemed to be
leading his companion, who was acting rather queer. At first Elmer
wondered whether the fat boy could have been overcome by the heat, for
his face was unusually red. Then he saw that Landy seemed anxious to dig
his knuckles into his eyes.

"What's the matter, Landy?" asked Ty, whose attention had also been
directed to the incoming pair.

"I declare if I know what to make of it, fellows," said the fat boy, as
he stood there, trying to grin at them, though he certainly looked
foolish, with his cheeks beginning to puff out and furiously red. "Just
can't seem to see right. Feels like my eyes were going to close. And no
wasp stung me, either; that is, as far as I know. It feels awful tough,
I tell you now, and that's no joke."

Elmer bent forward to look closer.

Then his face assumed a serious expression.

"Well, I should say it wasn't a joke, Landy!" he exclaimed.

"But what's the matter with me, Elmer; tell a fellow, won't you?"
pleaded the afflicted one.

"Why, you're poisoned, that's what!" declared Elmer.

Landy immediately let out a whoop; but although he was undoubtedly
frightened, it seemed as though his face could not possibly turn white,
as might have been expected under the circumstances.

"Me poisoned!" he exclaimed. "Oh, whatever do you mean, Elmer!" he
cried, laying a puffy hand on the sleeve of the other's outing shirt,
which he had rolled up above his elbow in order to have greater freedom
in his movements.

"You've been foolish enough," Elmer went on with grave concern in his
voice, "Landy, to handle that rank stuff, poison ivy, and then rubbed
your hands all over your face. You've got a dose, all right, I'm
afraid!"



CHAPTER II.

SIGNS OF TROUBLE AHEAD.


LANDY was certainly badly frightened. The grave manner in which the
patrol leader said this with regard to the ivy poisoning seemed to add
to his alarm. Some of the boys afterwards declared that his knees
knocked together, but this the fat boy always indignantly denied.

Nevertheless it was with an almost plaintive expression that he
proceeded to inquire further about his prospects.

"Poison ivy, you say, Elmer? Was that the stuff growing around that tree
we rubbed up against? But Adam was in just as deep as I was; why don't
his face burn and turn red like mine?" he asked, as though he considered
it rank injustice that he should be picked out as a victim, when
another, equally guilty, went scot-free from harm.

"That's the queer thing about poison ivy," replied Elmer. "While it's
bound to act on most people, more or less, a few can handle it without
any bad result."

"That's so," broke in Ty just then. "Why, I've known fellers that would
begin to itch and burn if they even set eyes on the old stuff, and I
reckon I'm liable to get a little turn myself; had one spell and they
kept doctoring me for a week at home. Hand full of little water
blisters, and I had to be mighty careful, for when they broke they
poisoned wherever the fluid ran. Wow, hope I don't get it again, that's
all!"

"Oh, my goodness gracious! What's going to become of me, then?" gasped
poor Landy. "Because I've been crazy enough to rub it all over my face.
Me for the hospital, I guess!"

"Wait!"

It was Ted who said this, and somehow the very confident tone in which
he spoke awakened a wild hope in the heart of the lad who was in
trouble.

"Oh, Ted, can _you_ do anything for me?" he asked, eagerly, transferring
his attention from Elmer to the other, who had arisen after listening to
all that had been said, and now approached the group.

"Let me look at you firtht," remarked the budding doctor of the troop,
gravely.

He examined the face and hands of the boy closely.

"When did you rub up againth that vine?" he asked.

"Why," replied Landy, "just a little bit ago, when Adam was helping me
get a snapshot of the camp. It was in the way and we pulled it off the
tree. Fact is, I tripped over the old thing and got mad, so I yanked it
loose, and Adam, he helped."

"Then let me tell you, in the firtht plathe, that I don't believe it'th
poithon ivy at all, becauthe that doethn't begin to thow for theveral
hourth," said Ted.

"Oh, bully for you, Ted; it makes me glad to hear you say that!"
exclaimed the boy who was in trouble. "But mebbe you can tell if you see
the old vine?"

"Courthe I can, and here'th Elmer who knowth all about it, too. Did it
have jutht three leaveth to each thtem, do you remember?"

"Sure, I didn't pay any attention to the leaves, I was so anxious to
drag the old thing away so as to get a better view," replied Landy.

Elmer beckoned to Adam, and the two hurried off. Everyone knew that they
had gone to view the vine that had been accused of doing so terrible a
thing to the fat boy.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ted had picked up a little bag which he usually carried
with a shoulder strap. Every fellow in the troop knew what that same bag
contained; and indeed, many of them had found reason to bless the
forethought that induced their chum to bring it along on every trip for
emergencies such as the present. Ted delighted to call it his "vade
mecum," and most of the scouts had only a hazy conception of what those
words meant, though they appreciated the bag all right.

"If it wath really poithon ivy," went on Ted, "the firtht thing to be
done would be to wath the thurfathe of the thkin with warm water, and
then apply thith weak tholution of permanganate of potath. It'th about
three per thent, and the color of wine, you thee. It'll dithcolor the
thkin, of courthe, and for a while Landy can path for an Injun; but it
doeth the work. Elmer put me in touch with the good it can do. He thayth
every hunter of big game out in India and Africa alwayth carrieth thome
along, to take out the poithon if he geth clawed by a tiger, a lion or
any other carnivorouth beatht."

There was some hot water, fortunately, and in another minute the
quick-witted camp doctor had bathed the face and hands of the patient
with this, as warm as Landy could stand it. Then he started to apply the
contents of the small bottle, to the intense enjoyment of Ty who seemed
to consider the whole thing in the light of a huge joke.

"Say, you'll be a beaut, Landy, and no mistake!" he chuckled.

"What's that matter, if it only does the business?" demanded the other.

"That'th common thenthe, anyhow," commented Ted, as he continued to
make sure that every inch of affected skin was liberally treated with
the liquid, which, as he said before, was of a magenta color.

"There comes Elmer, and now we'll know," remarked Ty.

The other two came hurrying back to camp. Poor Landy, whose eyes were
really looking half shut, turned a beseeching gaze upon the patrol
leader.

"Was it poison ivy, Elmer?" he asked, anxiously.

"Not in a thousand years," came the hearty reply.

"Oh, that's almost too good to be true!" said Landy, with the tears
standing in his eyes, for he had begun to fear that he was in for a
horrible experience.

"What was it then?" asked Ty.

"I don't know," replied the other. "Some of your plants here are strange
to me, and I reckon it's able to bring on a burning and a swelling
sensation in a hurry, like lots of them are, with some people. But it
can't be anything as bad as the real rhus tox. I've seen some serious
cases of poisoning from ivy. And, Ted, I think you're doing the wise
thing to use that potash solution."

"It can't do any harm," remarked the doctor, "and you thee, it'th bound
to do thome good. Of courthe Landy will look like the dickenth for
theveral dayth, but he'th a lucky boy if he geth off that eathy."

"Sure I am," affirmed the victim, readily. "Paint away all you like.
Tell you what, fellers, she feels some better already. Perhaps, after
all, I won't have to be led home with my face lookin' like a big punkin
and my eyes out of sight."

"We may be happy yet," remarked Ty, who could be cheerful because it was
not _his_ face that burned and stung as though nettles had done their
work. "And, Elmer, would you mind if I once more turned my attention to
getting grub ready? I've got a terrible vacuum down here, and you know
we learned at school that Nature abhors a vacuum."

"I'll do more and help you get supper ready, Ty," replied the other. "We
can leave Landy in the hands of Dr. Ted. He'll make him lie down and
rest; and above all things keep his hands from his face. It's good he
took hold of the case so quick, for the poison hasn't had much chance to
get in."

So the work went on, two of the boys hovering over the fire that had
been started, while Adam ran errands for Dr. Ted. Landy was given a
blanket and told to keep quiet, but he insisted on lying so that he
could watch the cooks out of the corners of his eyes, and every now and
then he would sniff the air as though his appetite had not been entirely
chased away by his misfortune.

When the coffee was done boiling, the Boston baked beans heated to a
turn and everything ready, Elmer opened the odd oven in the ground.

"Why, they're nearly as hot as when we put 'em in!" declared the
wondering Ty, as he unwrapped the two young chickens that had come from
the friendly farmer.

Landy sat upright presently.

"Here, don't you dare to forget me!" he called out, as he saw the others
about to sit down around the spot where the supper was spread.

"But sick people should never eat a bite," declared Ty, unable to resist
the opportunity to tantalize the patient, whose one weakness lay in his
enormous appetite, which he could never seem to control.

"I ain't sick, though," retorted the other, getting up with an effort.

"I always heard that it was the right thing to starve a fever, and stuff
a cold," Ty went on, deliberately helping himself to a portion of a
fowl, which almost fell to pieces in his hands, it was so tender and
well done; "and I guess you've got the fever, all right. Anyhow, you're
as red as a chief in the Buffalo Bill show."

"Oh, let up on that, Ty Collins!" cried Landy, indignantly. "Just give
me half a chance, and I'll mighty soon show you who's sick around here.
I can make them chickens look that way, I want you to know. Here, make
room for me! Looks don't count in camp. Just think I'm sunburned, that's
all. Elmer, help me to some of that delicious coffee, won't you? I've
been smelling it this long time. It would go right to the spot, I
believe."

"Sure I will, Landy," replied the other, smilingly; "and it does me good
to know you're feeling so much better. But let's hope this will be a
lesson to you never to handle vines that you don't know."

"It will, I promise you, Elmer," replied the other, earnestly. "And the
first time you run across some of the genuine poison ivy just call me,
please. I've heard so much about it that I want to know the stuff so I
can beware."

"I saw some only a few hours back, and to-morrow I'm going to take you
and Adam and Ty there to impress its looks on your minds. It may save
you a heap of suffering if you expect to roam much in the woods after
this."

Landy was feeling much better. Indeed, the swelling seemed to be going
down rapidly, and even the burning, itching sensation had yielded to the
application of that wonderful remedy.

Everybody, even Ty, felt glad of this, for Landy was a jolly chum and
they must miss him very much had he been compelled to be taken home in
suffering.

"Hot work, this cooking in summer weather, fellows," observed Ty, as he
looked up from cleaning off his tin platter.

"Then why don't you shed that terrible old red sweater?" suggested
Elmer, though he knew beforehand that Ty would find lots of excuses for
declining.

Winter and summer, Ty always wore that old flaming sweater when engaged
in any outdoor game, whether it be skating, playing hockey, football,
baseball, or even going fishing. The season seemed to make no difference
to him, though some of his chums declared that the mere sight of the
thing made them perspire.

"What, this!" he exclaimed, as though astonished that anyone should
mention the subject. "Why, I just couldn't do a thing minus my jolly old
sweater. It's been on all sorts of jobs with me. I look on it as my best
friend. Nobody knows how many colds it's saved me from. I'd just feel
lost without it on, that's what."

"But in hot weather like this it must make you swelter," continued
Elmer.

"Not much it don't. Why, don't you know it _keeps the warmth out_?
That's what I read once, and I believe in it, too. Besides, all the
fellers have got so used to seeing me with it on that they'd pass me by
if I dropped it," grinned Ty.

"That'th tho," remarked Ted.

No one suspected just then what an important part that same red sweater
was to play in a game that might change Ty's mind, and that before many
hours had passed.

The supper was pronounced prime, and a vote of thanks taken for the
farmer who had once been a boy himself and could appreciate the
appetite of five fellows who were camping out.

A tent had been brought along, and into this the five crowded when the
hour had grown late, and everyone admitted that he was "real sleepy."

Nothing out of the way happened during the night. There were no wild
animals of any consequence around that part of the country, although
farther north hunters got deer, and even a black bear had been shot the
previous spring. Now and then a sly fox would create a little excitement
among the neighboring farmers by slipping into their henroosts and
carrying off a fat fowl. Mink might be found along the smaller
tributaries to the Sweetwater; muskrats were plentiful in the marsh
land, and some smart trappers made quite a little sum taking these small
animals during the season.

Of course raccoons and possums abounded, as they always do around the
smaller towns all through the middle East. Elmer, waking in the night
and coming out to stretch his legs because the presence of five in a
small tent cramped the quarters somewhat, amused himself for some time
in listening to the various sounds that came from the woods close by.

To one not familiar with the voices of the forest folks, these might
have passed as unmeaning noises, but he could place every one. In
imagination he saw the bushy-tailed coon trying to scoop up a fish from
the end of the log that ran down into the water; he could follow the
movements of the fat possum climbing the tree to her nest in a hollow
limb, and that angry snarling he understood came from a couple of slim
mink who had met while patrolling the bank of a small creek on their
nightly rounds.

Morning came at last, and as the boys emerged from the tent, the first
thing they did was to take a plunge in the river. Even Landy was on
hand, looking very comical, it is true, with his stained hands and face,
but feeling quite "chipper," as he declared, when Elmer asked concerning
the state of his health.

They could all swim, of course, even Landy, who earlier in the season
had been utterly ignorant concerning the first rudiments of how to keep
afloat; but association with the other scouts in camp had caused him to
take lessons, and Elmer had shown him how useful the knowledge of
swimming may prove to any boy at some unexpected time.

"Whose turn to go for milk this morning?" asked Elmer, after they had
dressed.

"I reckon it's mine," remarked Ty. "Some other fellow must start getting
breakfast, then. Perhaps Adam may turn out as good a cook as he is a
diver. Here, give me the directions how to take that short cut to the
farmer's shack."

So, presently, Ty wandered off, carrying the tin pail for the milk. The
getting of breakfast went on apace. Adam seemed willing to act as an
assistant to Elmer, and between them they soon had things in an advanced
stage.

"Thay, that Ty ought to be here with the lacteal fluid," remarked Ted,
who often amused his chums by spouting big words.

"That's so," remarked Elmer, "and as Adam is busy here and poor old
Landy recuperating from a bad attack of sunburn, I'll appoint you a
committee of one to meander along the trail and hustle Ty up."

Ted hurried away, for he was beginning to feel the gnawing sensation of
a hunger that always attacks growing boys soon after arising. Besides,
that cold dip seemed to just give them all an additional zest.

Ten minutes later Landy jumped up in considerable excitement.

"Look there, fellers!" he exclaimed, pointing along the trail over which
Ted had recently passed, "ain't that our chum Ted comin' back on the
dead run and waving his hands like fun? Tell you what, something's just
gone and happened to Ty! That's what he gets for making fun of me.
P'raps he's run across a rattlesnake! You know that farmer said they
killed one up here last year, and we did the same early this season. Oh,
my, I hope not!"



CHAPTER III.

THE LURE OF THE RED FLAG.


"WHAT'S the matter?" demanded Elmer, as Ted came reeling into camp,
quite out of breath; but upon seeing that the other had a huge grin on
his face he knew the news he was bringing could not be so very serious
after all.

"Ty!" was all the runner could gasp at first.

"Yes, what about him?" Elmer exclaimed; while Landy laid a quivering
hand on Ted's arm and inquired:

"'Taint a rattlesnake, I hope, this time, Ted?"

The other shook his head in the negative.

"Bull!" he articulated.

"Oh, he means that our poor pard has been chewed up by a bulldog!" cried
Landy. "And Ty never did like dogs, either; only hot ones at the county
fair."

"No, no!" whispered Ted. "Gentleman cow, you thee, and the motht thavage
looking beatht ever. Wow!"

"A bull! Now I know what you mean," Landy went on, as the light of
understanding broke over his mottled countenance. "Some of these farmers
up here do keep terrors, and enter them in the exhibition for prizes.
But what did the bull do to our poor chum Ty?"

"Don't know; didn't ask Ty," replied the other, now beginning to get his
breath back again fairly well, so that his voice, lisp and all, was
audible. "You thee, I wath jutht about to thaunter acroth a field, when
I heard thome one yelling like the dickenth. Then I thaw a big red bull
pawing the grath at the foot of a tree; and there wath Ty, ath big ath
life, thitting up on a limb. That'th all I thaw, for the bull tharted
after me, and I got over the fenthe like fun."

The boys stared at each other; then a wide grin began to appear on their
faces. Since it seemed as though their chum had not been seriously
injured they could not resist the temptation to chuckle over the comical
aspect of the adventure.

"Say, perhaps the bull just went and heaved Ty up in that tree,"
suggested Landy.

"Oh, I hardly think it went as far as that," said Elmer. "The chances
are, Ty had plenty of warning, and climbed without any help from the
beast."

"But why would the bull hang around all the time?" asked the fat boy,
wonderingly. "Bulls don't feed on boys, do they?"

"Not very often," laughed Elmer. "But they do seem to hate a certain
color above all things on this earth. You remember that the Spaniards
use a red flag to make the bull attack in the ring?"

Then Landy saw a great light.

"Ty's famous old red sweater, that's what!" he shouted. "It's gone and
pulled him into a peck of trouble, for a fact. And just last night he
was blowing about what a great help it had been to him. Say, he must be
in a nice pickle now, hey?"

"Breakfast will have to wait a while," declared Elmer; "while the whole
bunch of us sally out to rescue our chum in distress. You know the rules
of the organization. Come on, fellows."

Even while speaking, Elmer had placed the coffee pot and the frying pan
aside, as far away from the fire as they could go without losing their
heat. Adam, Landy and Ted were apparently only too willing to accompany
him on his errand of mercy.

Following a trail that led through the woods, they finally came to an
open field. It had just one tree, and that growing some distance from
the high rail fence.

"There's the bull, just as Ted said," remarked Elmer, as they looked.

"And he's about the ugliest critter I ever laid eyes on, for a fact,"
remarked Landy. "My goodness! Look at him tossing up the dirt with those
nasty little black horns, would you! And he's punched holes through that
tin pail the farmer's women folks loaned us, too. I can see Ty now,
because of that nice red sweater he wears. He's waving at us, and there
he shouts!"

"Hey, call him off, fellers! Somebody go and coax him around to that
other end of the field. I want to come down. Been up here 'most an hour,
I guess, and I'm getting tired of it. Elmer, you know how to do the
business. Landy, s'pose you climb over and let him see you. He won't be
able to resist trying for such a fat prize!"

"Listen to his nerve, boys," complained Landy. "He wants me to sacrifice
myself on the altar of friendship for him. Just as if I could ever climb
over this fence again, if that holy terror came snorting and rampaging
for me! I guess not."

"No need to, Landy," laughed Elmer, as he noted the indignation of the
fat boy. "We'll find some way to get Ty out of his fix without taking
chances of your climbing a fence in one, two, three order."

"Hurry up!" came floating across the field from the tree, among the
branches of which the owner of the red sweater was waving frantically.

"Firtht thing to be done, he ought to get out of that thweater, don't
you think, Elmer?" inquired Ted.

"That's right, and I'll tell him so"; and, accordingly, raising his
voice, he informed Ty that if he expected them to do anything toward
effecting his rescue he must rid himself of the garment that was
exciting the fighting spirit in the bull.

Of course that went against the grain of Ty; but when the others refused
to make the first move until he had complied, he went about the task
with evident ill humor.

"But he ain't leaving it hanging in the tree, Elmer," announced Landy,
whose eyesight seemed to be all right this morning, however defective it
may have been on the previous evening after his engagement with that
poison vine. "He's stuffing it inside his shirt, I do declare!"

"Well, that doesn't matter," the patrol leader remarked; "so long as he
gets rid of it. And now, boys, you stay here to help him over when he
comes. I'm going to go around to the other side and tempt the bull.
Fortunately I've got a red bandana handkerchief myself, which I wear
cowboy style around my neck; and that ought to be a good enough bait for
Mr. Bull."

"Oh, be careful, Elmer; don't stay in the field too long, because he
might get you," pleaded Landy.

"You let Elmer alone," said Ted. "He knowth hith buthineth all right. He
cometh from the ranch country, where they breed bullth. All right,
Elmer; we'll get buthy when Ty getth here. Good luck to you!"

Elmer, when a little distance away, stopped to hold a short talk with
the boy up in the tree. It happened that the border of the field varied,
and this spot was a trifle closer than any other.

"Now, listen, Ty," he shouted, after he had succeeded in attracting the
attention of the other; "I'm going over to that spot that's farthest
away. When the bull gets a good start for me, you slip down, and run for
all you're worth straight to where the other fellows are waiting. Try
and keep the trunk of the tree between you and the bull all you can. And
if he chases you too hard, throw that red sweater aside. He may stop to
toss it a few times, and that'll give you a chance to make the fence. Do
you understand?"

"Yes, it's all clear enough; but hold his attention as long as you can,
Elmer, because it looks like a whole mile over to that fence!" Ty called
back.

So Elmer kept on around the field. The place he had selected as the
scene of operations was exactly opposite where he had left the other
three fellows; and he considered this a favorable circumstance, indeed,
as it increased the chances of the boy in the tree.

When he had finally arrived, Elmer took the red bandana handkerchief
from his neck, and climbed over the fence. Of course, not being a
professional bullfighter, he did not mean to get far away from his base,
and expected to make good use of that same fence when the crisis came.

Immediately he began to shout and wave that defiant banner, the bull
took notice. Since the color that he detested so heartily seemed to have
been transferred from the boy in the tree to the one on the ground, so
the interest of the bull changed.

He instantly started on a mad run toward Elmer, galloping along in a way
that seemed to indicate a desire to be out after business.

"Get down, quick, Ty, and run for all you're worth!" shouted Elmer,
still waving his bandana, and at the same time trying to correctly
gauge the speed of his enemy, so that he could get out of harm's way in
ample time.

"Jump, Elmer!" shrieked Landy, who was perched on the top of the fence
across the field, and could not tell just how close the bull had arrived
to his chum.

Ty had meanwhile dropped out of the tree, and was heading for them as
fast as his nimble legs, aided by his fright, could carry him. But as he
had said, it was quite some distance, and his heart seemed to be in his
mouth every second of the time he was in transit.

"There! Elmer's made for the fence at last!" cried Landy. "Oh, look at
that rush of the bull, would you! But Elmer was too quick for him, and
he's over the fence and out. Oh, my, just hear that crash when the old
bull banged into the fence! Now, will you be good, you monster? He's
looking around, and I just hope he don't see poor old Ty making this
way!"

"Py chimineddy! He's goming pack!" declared Adam.

"He is, and like a whirlwind, too!" gasped Landy. "Oh! now we won't be
able to help our chum a little bit. Run faster, Ty; let out another
kink! He's after you!"

Evidently there was no need to tell poor Ty that dismal fact, for he had
been taking frequent observations over his left shoulder as he galloped
along. Perhaps he did let out another "kink," as Landy expressed it; but
if so, the fact was not very noticeable, so rapidly was the bull
overtaking him.

But Ty had not forgotten that last instruction given him by the one who
knew bulls from the ground up, their little weaknesses as well as their
ferocious habits. The friendly fence, with his three anxious chums
perched on the top rail, was not so very far away; but to his eyes it
seemed a long distance, and he just knew he could never make it before
being overtaken.

In vain did Landy, Adam and Ted wave their arms, shouting at the top of
their voices, in the hope of attracting the attention of the animal; or
perhaps alarming him; he kept doggedly on, aiming straight for the
fleeing boy, whose legs by this time seemed to wabble under him,
possibly through sheer fright.



CHAPTER IV.

THE FINISH OF TY'S FAMOUS SWEATER.


EVERY one of the three scouts, waiting at the fence to assist Ty over,
should he be fortunate enough to arrive ahead of the enraged bull, held
his breath with suspense.

They could easily see that at the rate of progress made by their
unfortunate chum, he must certainly be overtaken before he could arrive
and have a chance to clamber over that high and stout rail fence,
supposed to be bull proof.

But they failed to take into consideration the fact that Ty had profited
more than a little from his connection with the scouts. And, besides,
all through his exciting race with that owner of the wicked little black
horns, he had kept in mind the last instructions shouted across the
field by Elmer, the boy who had spent a part of his life on a cattle
ranch and farm, and was supposed to know all about the habits of the
animals.

"Oh, he's sure a goner!" gasped Landy, as they saw the rapidly advancing
bull draw nearer and nearer the frantic runner. "Poor old Ty; I wonder
will we be able to catch him on the fly!"

Landy was evidently thinking of baseball, though his excitement was so
great that he hardly knew just what was passing through his mind.

"Look at that, will you?" burst from Ted.

Ty had waited until all hope of gaining the fence seemed to have fled.
Over his shoulder he could see his terrible enemy closing in and
apparently putting on greater speed. If anything was to be done it must
be accomplished without the loss of another second.

It was then that he suddenly drew something from the bosom of his outing
shirt. This "something" proved to be that old red sweater which he had
refused to leave in the crotch of the friendly tree, into the branches
of which he had hurriedly climbed at the time he was first beset.

He waved the flaming garment wildly about his head in order to make sure
that it caught the eye of the bull; and once that was done it might be
put down as certain that the animal would see nothing else than that
hated color.

"Wow! He's done it!" cried Landy, as his fat face was pressed tight
against the rails of the fence, between which he had an uninterrupted
view of the proceedings.

Ty had thrown the red sweater aside.

It floated to the ground as the slight breeze caught its extended folds,
and must have presented quite an inviting picture to the inflamed orbs
of the bull.

Would he stop short to pay attention to the object of his wrath,
forgetting all about the boy who was fleeing toward safety? Elmer did
not once doubt it. He knew that this was a familiar trick among the
picadors in the arena during a Spanish bullfight; and one that seldom
fails, if properly carried out.

Still, he held his breath with anxiety during that brief space of time;
for if the trick did not succeed, Ty would very likely be in for an
experience that must prove exceedingly painful, if not positively
dangerous.

But the red sweater did not fail its owner. Long had Ty worn that same
garment proudly, in spite of jeers and caustic comments on the part of
his comrades. And if it were fated to meet destruction at this time, at
least it would serve a very useful purpose.

The animal saw the descending flag that incited his anger. Immediately
he pulled up short, and began to gore the inoffensive article, thrusting
his horns through it, while holding it down with his forefeet at the
same time. In this way it was quickly rent into fragments, which the
triumphant bull seemed to take great delight in tossing up into the air,
as he bellowed with satisfaction.

And so the puffing Ty was enabled to reach the fence. Willing hands were
extended to him, and with a rush he found himself drawn to safety.

"Hurrah!" cheered Landy. "You beat him to a frazzle, Ty! That was as
clever a little trick as I ever heard tell of."

"All right," grunted the saved one, as he glared venomously between the
rails of the fence; "but would you see what he's doing to my fine old
sweater? That makes me feel sick. Two years now I've worn that, and she
was sure good for another."

"But, man alive, think of what he would have done to you only for that
sweater!" exclaimed the fat boy.

"Vat's de madder mit you, Ty?" demanded Adam, who looked at things
without the least bit of sentiment; "you pet my life I vould pe gladder
as anydings if I pe in your blace. Let der pull alone; he's enchoying
himself. Shake vonce on dot narrow escape. Py chimineddy! Mine heart it
vas yump in my throat yust as you throw dot sweater avay!"

But Ty refused to be consoled. The sight of the animal running around as
if looking for him, with a sad portion of the beloved sweater fastened
to one of his ugly little horns, made him grit his teeth.

"Huh!" he said, disdainfully. "You fellers just think it's fine because
you never did appreciate that beautiful old sweater; but if you think
you're going to get free from seeing me look like myself, you've got
another guess coming, that's what. Say, d'ye think I'm going to let an
old one-eyed bull knock me out of wearing what I fancy? If I feel like
it I'll put on six red coats."

"Hath he got only one eye, Ty?" asked Ted, eagerly.

"That's a fact, boys; didn't I see it glaring up at me time and again,
when the sly old critter'd pretend to be eating grass, and hoping I'd
come down," Ty answered, promptly enough.

"Then jutht think what might have happened to you, my thon, if the old
bull had happened to potheth _two_ eyeth," remarked Ted, soberly.

Ty would not even smile, he was so angry at the sacrifice of his
garment. Climbing up on the topmost rail of the fence, he shook his fist
at the prancing bull, and even shouted all sorts of things at him.

"That don't wind it up, not by a long sight!" he declared. "I know where
I can get a better sweater than that old one, and for three dollars,
too. I've got that and more in my bank at home; and the very first thing
I do when I get back will be to bust that same bank open and go down to
Selfridge's department store. Oh, have all the fun you want with it, you
one-eyed beast; but some day perhaps I'll get even with you!"

"Better forget all that, Ty," remarked Elmer, coming up at this moment.
"You had ought to be so tickled over making such a narrow escape that
you'd never bother your head over the loss of that worn-out old thing."

"Worn-out nothing," declared the aroused Ty. "I could have had good use
out of that sweater this fall, in football. But never mind; I know just
what I'm going to do about it."

"Nothing foolish, I hope," observed the patrol leader, as he cast an
apprehensive glance toward the bull.

"Buy that other red sweater that's hung in the window of our big store
this month and more. Perhaps, after all, I may not be so sorry, because
it's much brighter than that old one; and some of the boys will let out
a howl when they first see me in it."

Ty actually allowed a grin to appear on his face at the thought of this;
which would apparently indicate that his anger was not so very deep
after all.

"Anyhow," continued Elmer, "I want to tell you, Ty, old fellow, that you
did that little trick as fine as silk!"

"D'ye think so, Elmer?" remarked the other, looking pleased; for what
boy does not like the appreciation of his fellows?

"You certainly did. I've seen cowboys go through with that act many a
time, but never any better than you did it," Elmer went on to say. "The
only thing I was afraid of was, you might throw it in such a doubled-up
way that it would not catch the eye of the bull. But you shook it out
all right; and once he saw it he could look at nothing else after that."

"Say, I did that on purpose, sure I did, Elmer," declared Ty, eagerly.
"Seemed to me that it was the proper caper to try. And she worked all
right, too. But look here, fellows, he put his horns through that
blessed old tin milk pail the farmer's women folks loaned us. She's a
wreck; and anyhow we couldn't get in there by the tree to pick it up.
What's to be done about it, tell me that?"

"Oh, there's only one thing to be done," laughed Elmer, taking out half
a dollar and thrusting it into the hand of Ty. "We've just got to pay
for the lost pail and borrow another one. That's part of the funds we
raised before starting out. Are you still going to get that milk, Ty?"

"Am I? Say, twenty bulls couldn't stop me, once I start on a thing. Milk
we want for our breakfast, and milk we're going to have, you mark me,"
said Ty, stubbornly.

"Shake on that!" laughed Landy.

"Oxcuse me, off you blease," spoke up Adam with a sly grin; "put is dot
vat you galls a milk-shake?"

Elmer laughed, and at the same time looked suspiciously at the German;
for somehow he was fast coming to the conclusion that Adam might be
smarter than his stolid appearance indicated. In fact, he believed that
the German often put on an air of extreme innocence when in fact he was
enjoying a sly little joke.

"He'll bear watching," was what Elmer said to himself, as he heard the
other laughing uproariously at his own humor, while squeezing the hands
of his new chums.

"But, Ty," the patrol leader remarked, with a twinkle in his own eye,
"you've learned one thing, I think."

"Sure. Always to see that there's a tree in a field before trying to
cross over," said the other, quickly.

"Well, that's a good motto, I suppose," remarked Elmer; "but that wasn't
what I meant. You know now that many times the longest way around is the
shortest way to the fire. After this you'll think twice before taking a
short cut."

"I'll squint around for anything in the shape of a bull, anyway,"
chuckled Ty.

The animal had succeeded in demolishing the offensive garment by this
time, and as if to show his utter contempt for the whole bunch of boys,
he started to crop the short, sweet grass where he happened to be
standing. Whenever he came upon a tattered fragment of the illy treated
sweater, he would give it a toss, utter a defiant bellow, paw the ground
a little, and then calmly resume his feeding.

But doubtless all the while he was watching the boys beyond the fence
out of a corner of his eye. Elmer knew that this must be so, for he
noticed that the animal always kept his head turned toward them.

"He vas as mad as some hornets," remarked Adam, who seemed to be
particularly interested in the actions of the bull, for he kept peering
through the fence. "Aber I haf a red sweater I vould see if he likes to
yump at me. Oxcuse me, Elmer, put let me haf de loan off dis."

He deftly took the bandana handkerchief from the hands of the patrol
leader, as Elmer was about to fasten it once more around his own neck;
for he had used it to attract the attention of the bull, it may be
remembered, when at the other side of the field; and events had followed
so rapidly since, that he had not found a chance to replace the
handkerchief where it belonged.

"Hold on, no foolish business, Adam!" cried Elmer, clutching a leg of
the German as he started to mount the fence.

"Nein! I haf no vish to get me a grafeyard in kevick," Adam declared.
"Only I vould like to see if dot pad egg oudt in der field vould run at
me like he dood at Ty. You pet my life I vill not yump _inside_ de
fence; and dot's no choke, Elmer."

Accordingly, Elmer released his clutch, and the stout German climbed
nimbly to the top of the fence. Here he began to wave the handkerchief
in the most brazen manner, at the same time calling out defiantly at the
animal.

At first the bull refused to listen, but kept on grazing; though
doubtless the sight of the hated color was working upon him.

"See him edging this way, would you, the sly old sinner!" called Landy.

"He's getting ready for a rush," remarked Elmer.

"Look out, Adam; be ready to drop off there!" cried Landy.

"And be thure not to take the wrong thide, or you'll be in for it!"
admonished Ted, a little nervously.

Suddenly the beast threw off the mask, so to speak. He made a plunge,
and was immediately in motion, coming with lowered head on the full run,
and heading for the spot where Adam stood on the fence flaunting that
flag of defiance.

"He's off!" yelled Landy. "Jump, Adam, before he knocks you into the
field! Oh, ain't he just the limit, though; and as mad as they make 'em!
Jump, why don't you? Elmer make him come down! Perhaps he's got his foot
caught, and can't drop out!"



CHAPTER V.

A DOUBLE-ACTION JOKE.


"JUMP, Adam!" called Elmer.

The German had waited as long as he dared, and as if the voice of the
patrol leader gave him the sign, he suddenly made a backward spring,
turned a somersault in the air, just as he had done from the springboard
when swimming, and landed squarely on his feet.

Crash!

That was the bull striking head-on against the fence. And it was
fortunate for the other boys, as well as Adam, perhaps, that the owner
of the bull had made that fence additionally strong. Had it given way
before the onslaught of the animal the chances were Elmer and his mates
would have had to do some lively running to get clear.

But the fence held, though it wabbled suspiciously, and Elmer felt sure
that a few more such blows must have demolished the barrier completely.

"Don't you wish you could, old fellow?" taunted Landy, after he had made
sure of the fact that the animal was going to be held back.

The bull looked through the fence, snorted, pawed the earth, and let out
an angry bellow. Then he walked disdainfully away, as though satisfied
with the victory he had gained, that one fragment of the torn red
sweater still floating from his horn, just for all the world, as Ty
remarked, "like a flag at half mast."

"Come, let's hike back to camp, boys," remarked Elmer, moving off, "and
finish getting our breakfast ready. By the time Ty manages to come along
we'll be fixed for business."

"Oh, I'll show up in decent shape, all right," remarked the other. "This
time I'll take no rash chances in crossing fields. Around the fence is
good enough for me, I guess."

He was as prompt as his word, and came along with his pail of fresh milk
just as Elmer was beating the tattoo on the frying pan that summoned the
party to breakfast.

"What did they say up at the farmer's, Ty!" asked Landy.

"Not guilty," replied the other, who was cramming his mouth with a
portion of the flapjacks Elmer had made, and which were really fine.

"Now, what's the use of giving us puzzles to solve!" complained the fat
boy, as he speared his second helping from the tin platter, and
proceeded to deluge the same with some maple syrup that had been brought
along in a bottle. "Not guilty of what, say!"

"That ain't their bull, you see," remarked Ty.

"And tho they declined to buy you a new thweater, ith that it, Ty?"
asked Ted, a little maliciously.

"Oh, rats!" cried the other; "you know right well I'm not built that
way, Ted Burgoyne. Never once thought of trying to make anybody pay for
my foolishness in trying to cut across a field that had a bull in it. I
only mentioned the fact because, you see, I had to explain what happened
to their tin bucket, when I was paying for it. But after all they
wouldn't accept the money--said it was only an old pail after all, and
the farmer he told me I ought to be glad it was the bull, and not me,
that kicked the bucket."

"Bully for the farmer!" said Landy, or at least that was what the others
took it for granted he meant, since his mouth was so full of flapjack
that he could hardly do more than mutter.

After breakfast was over they started to carry out the various duties or
pleasures which each fellow had in view. One wanted to take a few
pictures, and, of course, this was Landy, though his mates solemnly
warned him to be careful what vines he touched while in the woods.
Another declared he felt like trying to tempt some of the finny denizens
of the river from their beds on this bright morning. This was Adam, and
he had brought along a lot of new tackle, as well as a fine jointed rod,
to prove that he was as good a fisherman as he was a water dog.

Elmer chose to potter around the camp. There were always plenty of
things that could be done to improve conditions and add to the general
comfort of those who occupied the tent and cooked at the fireplace made
of stones. And having the true sportsman spirit in his composition, he
was never more happy than when arranging these many little details
connected with the camp.

He improved the fireplace so that the coffee pot would not tilt and
threaten to upset from the three metal crossbars that formed a gridiron;
he dug the drain at the back of the tent a little deeper, so that in
case of a sudden heavy downpour the surplus water would be carried off
and not inundate the tent, and, finally, he finished the rude but
effective table on which they could place their food at meal times, and
even had a couple of short sections of log rolled up so as to take the
place of seats when they dined.

Ty, after the breakfast things had been washed up and put away, wandered
off somewhere. And Ted was supposed to be fishing farther down the
stream, he, too, having expressed a wish for a real fish dinner that
night, if so be the bass in the Sweetwater were in a "taking" humor.

Several times when Elmer stood up to rest the muscles of his back, and
consider what he would do next, he happened to cast a curious look up to
where Adam had taken his position on the bank of the river.

Apparently the fish did not respond to the urgent invitations of the
German boy as well as he had expected, or else Adam's education with
regard to the ways the American black bass has to be attracted to the
bait had been neglected.

For some time he was industriously seen threshing the water as though
issuing a call to all the fish in the river to come and have a bite with
him. Of course that was just the opposite of what he should have done;
for bass are shy and have to be tempted in quietness.

Elmer chuckled to himself when first he noticed what the new scout was
doing.

"Looks like Adam is densely ignorant along our ways of fishing," he
thought. "Wonder now what kind of fish he's ever caught that style on
the other side of the ocean. Perhaps he never wet a line before in all
his life. I noticed that he watched Ted closely, and imitated him
exactly in setting up his line, even to the float Ted always persists in
using."

The third time Elmer looked it was perhaps an hour after Adam had
started fishing, and he saw that a change had come over the manner of
the young Teuton. He was no longer casting out again and again with a
great splashing of the water. On the contrary, he sat astride the tree
trunk that jutted out some eight feet above the water. His line ran
downstream and the float could be seen bobbing in the midst of the
little bubbles that marked an eddy below.

Elmer watched him closely for five minutes, and not once in all that
time did he see the other move in the least.

"Well, I declare, I believe the fellow's gone to sleep!" he laughed. "I
reckon Adam isn't used to camping out, and on that account he's had poor
rest these two nights. And that hot sun is enough to make any fellow
feel drowsy, too. Whew, what if he nodded too hard and just dropped off
there! Perhaps I'd better go and wake him up. And while I'm about it I
can just give him a few pointers as to how he'll have at least a decent
chance to coax a few bass to his bait."

Filled with this feeling of comradery toward the new recruit, whom he
was fast learning to like because of his constant good-nature and really
witty remarks, Elmer started away from the camp.

It just chanced that instead of heading directly for Adam, he walked
first of all out to the river bank. Looking downstream he could just see
Ted busily engaged in landing a fish that seemed to be fighting hard,
and this told that the bass were "on the feed," if only one knew how to
attract them.

The idea of that sleepy Adam dozing there and letting the golden harvest
time slip by unheeded made Elmer laugh again. He even allowed himself to
imagine that it would just about pay Adam right if he crept up and gave
his line a sudden tug, to make him think he had a bite.

Just then something moving attracted his attention. It was directly
below the boy who sat astraddle of the projecting log, and a little
farther downstream.

Ty, why of course it was that party, though minus his distinguishing red
sweater, which was now, alas, no more. But what under the sun was he
doing there? As near as Elmer could see he appeared to be industriously
attaching some bulky object to the end of a line!

All at once what seemed to be the truth burst upon the patrol leader. Ty
had also noticed the sleeping Dutchman, and was bent upon having a
little joke at the expense of Adam. Yes, he had managed to draw the line
of the fisherman in, by the aid of a long stick that had a crotch at the
end, and was now fastening a bunch of hemlock browse, done up to
represent a big fish, to the end of the same.

When all was ready and the current pulled strongly at the bulky object,
possibly the additional strain might arouse Adam, who would immediately
think he had hooked a monster bass, and doubtless the ensuing excitement
would tickle the joker to the top of his bent.

And if Adam did not wake up himself, it would be easy for Ty to creep
under the projecting log until he could reach out and give the line a
jerk.

So Elmer concluded that he might as well wait and see the fun. Being a
boy himself, he liked anything that partook of clean sport, so long as
the joke did not border along the cruel or mean stage.

Now Ty had dropped his artificial fish back into the river. The swift
current that ran farther out did not seize upon it at once, for there
was an eddy and a rather deep pool at the spot Adam had selected for his
fishing. Consequently the pull upon the line did not seem to come up to
the expectations of the joker.

Ty crouched there waiting for results.

The minutes passed and all remained peaceful and serene. Adam seemed to
be enjoying a lovely sleep. His head was upon his chest and his whole
figure appeared to be in a relaxed state.

Twice did Ty rise up to stare at the boy who sat there straddling that
log, as though he wondered why Adam did not arouse to the occasion.
Plainly, the practical joker would have had his labor for his pains
unless something was done to start things moving.

The third time Ty seemed to come to this conclusion himself, for instead
of merely observing the sleeping fisherman he started to advance toward
him.

At this point the bank of the river was hollowed out somewhat. There was
just about enough footing below for an agile boy to clamber along and
keep from being precipitated into the water.

Elmer chuckled quietly.

"It's coming," he said to himself, as he prepared to see more or less
excitement around that region. "Looks like Adam might be due to a little
surprise party."

Ty had finally managed to crawl far enough along the narrow ledge. He
was apparently directly below the log that stuck out from the bank above
him. Elmer judged this by the way the other craned his neck in order to
look up.

"Now he's got his chance, if he can only reach that dangling line!" he
thought.

Apparently Ty realized the same thing, for he was seen to be extending
that same crotched stick that had before proven so useful.

In this fashion he speedily drew the line in toward him, gently, so as
not to arouse the fisherman before he was ready to give him a good hard
shock.

"Pull up the curtain, the stage is all ready!" Elmer said to himself, as
he kept close watch on the movements of the boy below.

He could see Ty taking a firm grip on the dangling line as though he
meant to have it no halfway affair.

"Now, go!" exclaimed the watcher.

Just as though Ty might have been waiting for some such order, he was
seen to suddenly tighten his hold, and then give a tremendous jerk, that
was surely calculated to make Adam believe the champion bass of the
Sweetwater had taken his bait and gorged it.

Then something happened, something that doubtless the practical joker
crouching below had not anticipated as a result of his prank.

Adam seemed to suddenly awaken. He was evidently greatly excited, and as
he made a wild clutch at the butt of his rod, which had been partly
jerked out of his grasp by the violence of that bite, he just naturally
lost his seat on the log.

Elmer saw him gracefully slide around the trunk of the fallen tree and
go down with arms and legs sprawled out like an immense frog. And,
strange to say, as he dropped his extended arms seemed to suddenly clasp
Ty in their embrace, for both of them went headlong into the river with
a tremendous splash!



CHAPTER VI.

STRANGE SOUNDS FROM THE WATER.


"ADAM did that on purpose!" was what Elmer exclaimed, as he saw how the
arms of the falling German boy pulled Ty with him into the pool under
the log.

That great splash was surely enough to frighten away any bass that might
even have had the hardihood to remain around, after the vigorous
threshing of the water by the greenhorn fisherman.

Of course the two boys immediately came to the surface. Ty was spouting
water like a young whale; but Adam seemed to be all right. He made a few
strokes after his original fashion, that had so aroused the admiration
of Landy, and arriving at the bank, climbed up.

Ty made a great deal more fuss as he churned his way to the shore; and
Elmer, who had hastened up so as to witness what followed, could see
that there was a look of wonder, almost awe, on the face of the
practical joker. The results had been so sudden, and so disastrous to
himself, that he could hardly understand just what had happened.

"Ach! put dot vas sooch a surprises to me, Ty," remarked Adam, from the
shore; "I dinks me I haf ketch de biggest fish in der river; undt ven I
throw oudt mine arms to pull him in, py chinks, it vas only you, having
some fun py me. How goes it, londsman; I hopes you enchoy yourself
mooch. Subbose you go pack, undt get my fishing pole, vich is floating
down der stream."

He gave Ty a push as the other tried to clamber out on the bank and
forced him in again. The other showed signs of fight until Elmer, sizing
up the situation, called out:

"That's only fair, Ty; you made him lose his rod, as well as take a
ducking with his clothes on. Get the rod again, and let him pull in his
fish."

Possibly Ty realized the justice of this claim; or it might be he felt
disposed to take his medicine gracefully, for with a laugh he swam out
again, as well as he was able with his garments clinging to his limbs,
secured the rod, which had partly sunk, and came back with it in one
hand.

As if to prove that he harbored no animosity, Adam frankly stretched out
his hand and helped Ty ashore. There they stood, dripping wet, and
laughing at each other.

"Oxcuse me, Ty," said the German lad, making a queer face; "put I haf to
laugh, it is so funny! You dinks to make me some droubles, and by
shiminy you fall indo de same hole yourself. So, dere is two of us!"

"The joke is on Ty," announced Elmer. "I saw the whole thing, and I want
Adam to own up right now that he had one eye open all the while, and was
watching what was going on."

Adam looked up at him with a leer on his square face; then he shut one
eye and deliberately winked at Elmer.

"I subbose dot I vas nodt so much asleep as somepody pelieves," he said;
and that was the only confession they could get out of him.

Fortunately, as the weather was so very warm, there was no danger of
either of the boys taking cold after their ducking. Neither of them
would bother changing their garments, or attempting to dry those they
had on.

"Let 'em dry on me," said Ty, whose good-nature had returned, though he
declared that everything had conspired to upset all his calculations
that morning; what with the obstinate bull, and now the clumsy Dutchman
who had to throw out his arm and pull him into the river along with
himself.

Ted had come up from his fishing place below to ask what all the row was
about.

"Fact ith, you have buthted up the fithing for thith morning," he
declared, with some show of indignation. "If you mutht kick up a racket,
why under the thun don't you go off by yourthelf and do it. I got theven
fith, and one of 'em a beaut. And the biggetht of the bunch wath jutht
going to take hold when you had to make all that beathtly row."

When, however, the thing was explained to him, Ted enjoyed the joke as
well as Elmer had. He declared that he would wander along down the river
to another promising hole he remembered seeing. And Elmer, thinking that
the German boy might as well begin taking some lessons in bass fishing,
agreed to accompany Adam upstream a little distance, to try for a
capture.

"Hey, that was just the greatest thing ever!" called out a voice; and
Landy was seen approaching from above, waving his little kodak in glee.

"What's all this talk about?" demanded Ty.

"I got it, that's what!" the fat boy kept on saying. "And won't it just
be a corker, though!"

Elmer jumped to conclusions at this remark.

"Do you mean you saw the tumble Adam and Ty took?" he asked.

"Well," Landy went on, "you see, I had just discovered Adam sitting
there asleep on that log sticking out over the water; and I thought what
a lovely subject he would make for a picture. So I crept up till I had a
good focus, and then I pressed the button!"

"Yes, go on; that wasn't all you did, was it?" asked the patrol leader,
who was able to read the open-faced Landy like the page of a book.

"Well, you see, it was such a fine subject that I thought I had ought to
knock off another view, so that if one proved poor the other might be
good. And just as I was all ready, why, it happened!"

"And you snapped it off as they were falling in?" Elmer continued.

"I think I did," said Landy, eagerly; "for my finger just pressed the
trigger unconsciously. I was that astonished, you see. And I'm going to
develop this roll to-night. Wouldn't it be just immense if it turned out
to be a good picture!"

"Oh, yes; something to amuse the rest of the troop, and chase the blues
away," grunted Ty, as he hunched his shoulders and sauntered back to the
camp to ascertain what Elmer might have been doing there.

Elmer did take Adam up the river a piece, and finding a promising spot
where there seemed to be a likelihood of bass frequenting, he proceeded
to instruct the other in the rudiments of the art.

Adam took to it from the very first. He was frank enough to confess that
he had never done any fishing in the old country, and was therefore
utterly green; but he showed an aptitude for catching on to what Elmer
told him; and before they had been an hour at work he had not only
succeeded in hooking a fine specimen of the gamey bass, but played and
landed him in great style.

"You'll do, I reckon, now, Adam; so I'll leave you here and go back to
camp. Be sure you come in when you hear the signal, which will be three
loud cooies."

At noon, when the fishermen gave it up for the day, as the heat stopped
all biting on the part of the bass, it was found that while Ted had
caught seven fair-sized fish, five of them bass, one a large perch, and
a sucker that was the largest Elmer had ever seen around that region,
Adam had brought in two bass and a big catfish.

"Py shiminy crickets, dot feller vas dry some foolishness py me," he
said, as he held up the still wriggling catfish; "I haf drouples to get
him off der hook; and he sthick me dwice so hardt in der finger. Ooch!
put it do feel sore yet somedimes. I dink me he preak off some dot thorn
in der pone."

"That's another lesson you must learn, Adam," said Elmer. "The catfish
has ugly spines that hurt like fun when you run your hand against them.
I guess they're poisoned, like the tail of the stingy-ray, down South.
I've known a fellow who had a running sore for a month after being stuck
by the fin of a cat. And, Ted, seems to me here's another chance to use
that colored stuff that was so fine with Landy."

"Right-o, Elmer," exclaimed the other, making a dive for the tent to
look up his medicine bag.

So Adam grinned, and allowed the "doctor" to paint his hand in the
region where the spines of the catfish had penetrated with such painful
results. Indeed, he declared an hour later that the pain had all
departed; and Elmer concluded from this that permanganate of potash was
good to use on all sorts of poison wounds.

"I believe," he went on to say, "that if I was struck on the arm by a
rattler, I'd cut the wound open some, suck all the poison I could out,
providing I had no scratch or sore about my mouth, and then take my
chances, after painting it freely with the strongest solution of this
potash I could bear. Yes, and I think I'd come out much better than
those who believe in soaking the patient with whisky."

The afternoon they spent in resting up. Indeed, it was unusually hot,
and somehow none of them aspired to exert themselves any more than they
could help.

Adam had offered to clean the fish, after he had been shown how, and
made quite a good job of it, being very particular, after the fashion of
his kind. And Elmer gave Ty the duty of seeing that the fish were served
that evening at supper. It would be a poor piece of business if they put
several days in up there on the old Sweetwater, famous for its bass
fishing, and never once enjoy a mess of the delicious dish.

They waited later than usual that evening, hoping the air would cool off
some with the setting of the sun. It was almost dark when Ty got started
with the supper. When the fish began to fry in the pan (in which the
cook had first tried out several slices of salt pork, which grease was
made very hot before the bass, dipped in cracker-dust, were placed in
the pan), some of the boys, who had declared they had no appetite, were
observed to sit up and take notice as they sniffed the fragrant odors
that arose.

"Guess you-all will come around when things are ready," laughed Ty, who
often liked to mock the Southern scout, Chatz Maxfield, when he talked.

"Well, I confeth I'm waking up," admitted Ted, frankly.

"And that stuff smells mighty good, Ty," declared Landy. "I want you to
remember now that it wasn't me said I couldn't eat a bite."

"I thould thay not," laughed Ted. "Nobody would ever believe you guilty
of thuch a thilly thing. You're alwayth hungry, Landy, and ready to
gobble."

"Say, now, that's what I call mean," expostulated the fat boy,
pretending to be very indignant, though these attacks on his character
were of daily, almost hourly occurrence, and he was quite accustomed to
meeting them. "Just because I'm big, and need more to keep me up than
the rest of you, some fellows like to say I'm greedy. 'Tain't so. And
some day I'll run you a match, Ty, to see who can keep from eating a
bite the longest."

"Not much, you will," declared the cook. "Why, it wouldn't be a square
deal. You've got all your fat to fall back on; and look at me, skin and
bones."

So they laughed and talked, as the preparations for supper went on
apace.

"What're you listening to, Elmer?" asked Landy, after some time had
passed; and looking toward the patrol leader he saw that he had his head
raised in an attitude that told of suddenly aroused interest.

"I thought I heard a queer plunk just then, out there on the river,"
replied the other. "Yes, there it went again. Did you hear it, boys?"

"Sure we did," replied Ty, raising his head from his duties at the
cooking fire, in between the stones that had been fashioned somewhat
after the shape of a V, with the evening air fanning the broad end.

"Whatever can it be, Elmer?" demanded Landy, his face immediately
expressing curiosity, and, perhaps, a trace of alarm; for anything that
savored of mystery always excited the fat boy.

All of them were now interested, and listened to ascertain whether that
strange sound was repeated. Perhaps an interval of half a minute passed.
Then once more came that plain "plunk!"

"Sounds like somebody drowning, and givin' the last gasp!" declared Ty.

"Oh, let up on that thort of thuff, Ty," said Ted. "You're alwayth
thinking about thuch nathty thingth."

Landy turned appealingly to the patrol leader. He realized that if
anybody ought to know what the character of those queer sounds was,
Elmer must.

"What is it, Elmer?" he asked again. "The sea serpent or only some old
grand-daddy bullfrog croaking to himself on a log. Say, perhaps that's
one of them funny old loon birds you were telling us about to-day, that
can just laugh so's to make your flesh creep! Tell us about that, Elmer.
Whatever is it? There, that time it was a double plunkety-plunk! Now, I
wonder what in the dickens it means!"



CHAPTER VII.

THE NEWS THAT GEORGE BROUGHT.


ELMER laughed.

"Listen," he said, "and you'll hear some more of the same kind."

Hardly had he ceased speaking than there was another loud "chug" heard.

"My, he jumped into the water that time, sure, if it _was_ a frog!" said
Landy.

Then came a strange rattling sound, as of half a dozen "plunks" all
mixed up.

"He threw a handful then for a change, and good measure," remarked
Elmer, dryly.

"A handful of what?" echoed Ty.

"Stones!" replied the patrol leader.

The others stared at each other.

"Is _that_ what it is, then?" asked Landy, heaving a distinct sigh of
relief. "Why, of course, we all ought to have got on to it before now.
Stones always make that kind of plunk when they drop into the water from
above. But, Elmer, whoever d'ye think it can be; and what's he trying to
do--scare us?"

"Oh, that remains to be seen. Suppose you fellows go on getting supper
ready, while I slip out quietly and investigate," Elmer proposed.

"Don't take too many chances, remember, Elmer," cautioned Ty, as he
turned again to his frying pan, filled with fish.

"Yeth, go thlow, Elmer," said Ted, shaking his head. "You know there'th
a bad lot of fellowth over in Fairfield, alwayth ready to play trickth
on travelerth. It may be they only want to coax one of our crowd out,
and then carry him off. Take a club along with you, Elmer."

"Yes, do," Landy added, thrusting a stout stick into the hand of the
patrol leader. "And use it if you have to. Remember, one call of the
wolf will bring us along in a rush, Elmer. And I'm going to have some
other nice clubs handy, in a minute or two."

"Don't go to any trouble, because you may be disappointed," chuckled
Elmer, as he pushed back into the shadows, so that he could enter the
tent.

Having done this, two minutes later he was crawling out from under the
canvas at the back of the tent, having unfastened the same by uprooting
the peg at that particular spot.

Of course it was easy enough for Elmer to creep away undetected by
anyone who might be in a position to watch the camp. His experience on
the plains of the new country up beyond the Saskatchewan River in
Canada, where his father had been in charge of a relative's ranch and
farm, was of considerable benefit to him now.

Once free from the light of the fire, Elmer stopped to listen and made
up his mind concerning certain things. Then he again pushed forward.

He was now making something in the shape of a half circuit. If he kept
on long enough he would presently bring up on the river bank below the
camp; and this was in reality his destination; for he believed that the
unknown party who was tossing those stones out into the river, with the
intention of mystifying them, must be stationed somewhere there.

In fact, Elmer had remembered that just here the shore made a sort of
little beach, which they could have used nicely as a landing place, had
they possessed a boat. And he had also noted the fact that there was a
great abundance of round stones there, very tempting to the average boy,
who loves to hurl such things into the water, just to see them splash.

He was drawing near this particular spot now, and in order to avoid
being seen, as his figure would be outlined against the sky, he dropped
down on his hands and knees, crawling forward the last ten feet after
this Indian fashion.

The darkness was not intense, and Elmer had a pair of unusually keen
eyes. Hence, as he stopped there just above the little beach, he was
able to make out a figure that seemed to be bent over as if searching
for something.

"He's hunting another relay of stones," thought Elmer, wondering who the
party could be.

There was a slight possibility that it might turn out to be some
wandering hobo, who thought he might cause the boys to temporarily
abandon that fine supper, which he could snatch up and make away with.
Then, again, there was a chance of this fellow being only one of a
number of the Fairfield roughs, who, having discovered their camp, were
bound to do all they could to make trouble.

But Elmer did not take much stock in either of these theories. He was
inclined to look upon the unknown as a friend, one of the fellows from
Hickory Ridge, who had come out to join them for the last day of their
stay on the Sweetwater.

That was why he listened so keenly, for he hoped to catch some familiar
sound calculated to tell the identity of the dusky figure below.

The drone of voices from around the fire came to his ears, telling that
his four chums had taken his advice, and were acting as though they had
no particular interest in those queer noises.

Now the figure below seemed to straighten up, and Elmer knew he meant to
throw another stone, perhaps a second volley that would rattle like shot
as they came down on the surface of the running water.

And as he heaved them forth, the party below gave vent to a peculiar
little grunt or wheeze that was very familiar to the ears of Elmer
Chenowith.

"Hello, there, George! Having a great time, I see, amusing yourself!" he
said, in a low, but plainly heard tone.

There was a moment of silence, as though the unknown was somewhat taken
aback by the fact of his having been caught so neatly, even in the act.

"That you, Elmer?" he asked, with a short laugh.

"That's who it is, George," the other replied. "Suppose you come up out
of that, now, and surrender. There's a penalty attached to this thing of
trying to scare us. Do you know what you've got to do now to make good?"

"No, what's that, Elmer?" asked the boy, who was climbing up the bank by
now, and who happened to be a cousin to Landy Smith, known among his
mates as "Doubting George," simply because he could not help appearing
skeptical about nearly everything that came along.

"Why," observed Elmer, very seriously, "you've just got to unfasten your
belt, sit down alongside us, and do your level best to get away with a
share of the fine fish supper the boys have ready."

"Oh, ginger! Count me in on that, won't you?" laughed the other, as he
accepted the extended hand of the patrol leader, and was assisted up the
bank. "It's a long walk up here, and you see, since you fellows hiked
it, I just didn't dare use my wheel. And I tell you I'm hungry enough to
eat anything halfway decent."

"Well, Ty's chief cook and bottle-washer to-night; and you know enough
about him to understand what that means. Ty's long suit is his cooking.
He's just the boss at that, every day," and Elmer purposely elevated his
voice as he said this, so that those by the fire, now awaiting them,
could overhear what he said.

"Hey! what's all that you're saying; and who're you talking to, Elmer?"
demanded the party in question.

Landy gave a shout.

"By the great horn spoon, if it ain't my cousin George!" he exclaimed.
"Ten to one he doubted whether we had really come up here at all--that
he didn't believe he could ever find us--that he expected to frighten
the whole bunch out of their seven senses by that silly trick; and even
now he isn't sure whether he sees us or is dreaming he does. In fact,
George can find a loophole to doubt anything."

"All right, say what you want," replied the newcomer, sturdily. "I admit
that I was born with an unfortunate disposition to question everything.
Mother says I must be a great lawyer some day. But there are some things
that are so plain even Doubting George can't miss hitting 'em. That
smell, now, is sure the finest thing that ever came down the pike; and,
anyhow, I don't doubt but that you fellows are going to ask me to share
in the grub with you. How's that, Cousin Philander?"

"Oh, you're welcome to it," replied Ty, in place of Landy. "Plenty for
all; and we owe this treat to the patience of Ted and Adam here. Later
on you must get our new scout to tell you how he goes in after his
fish, clothes and all. It's a real funny stunt, George."

"Yeth," put in Ted. "And mind you, he pullth in other fellowth with him.
Be thure to have him tell you that part, my thon. It'th worth hearing,
George."

Of course, around the fire, as they discussed the qualities of the fish,
the story was told. Everyone seemed to have a share in the telling, so
that George got it from several sources.

"And pretty soon," declared Landy, "I'm going to use a black pocket in
the woods close by as my dark room, so I can develop that roll of films.
You see, I'm just wild to learn whether I really did push that trigger
on the camera, and shoot it off, just as those two fellows were tumbling
into the water. If I got that, it'll pay me for the whole job of hiking
away up here and losing more'n a pound in weight."

"Wish you luck, then, Philander," said George, who usually made a
mouthful of his cousin's name.

Some people said George was really envious of Landy's possessing such an
uncommon name; others believed that he was proud of being connected with
a family that could sport such a classical "cognomen," as he often
termed it.

"When did you leave good old Hickory Ridge?" asked Ty; for, like most
boys, no sooner was Ty away from home than everything about the place
assumed an almost sacred aspect, and he could never even mention its
name without an affectionate prefix of some sort.

"I reckon I've been three hours on the way," was George's reply.

"Three hours to get up here! Say, you didn't walk like that in the big
hike, when you covered the name of Robbins with imperishable glory,"
Landy declared.

"Shucks, and me the lowest score in the whole bunch!" sneered George.
"But I guess I lost the way, and covered a lot more territory than I
ought to have done."

"Yes," said Landy, "I know what was the matter. You just made up your
mind every signpost lied, and when it said go east, you tried the other
road. That's what you get for doubting everything. It brings heaps of
trouble, and if you're wise you'll shunt that on to the side track in a
hurry."

"Oh, shucks! Attend to your own mutton, Landy," said George; but his
face had reddened at the accusation of his cousin, and none of the
others doubted but that Landy's random shot had hit pretty close to the
truth.

"Anything new around Hickory Ridge since we left there?" asked Elmer.

"Why, yes, there is, fellows," replied George, brightening up, as though
he had just thought of something.

"Then tell us what it is. Has Hiram Juggles got a new shingle on his
barn; or did the Mosely twins get mixed up again, so that nobody knows
which is Jim and which Jack?" asked Ty.

"Oh, it's something more serious than that, let me tell you," George
went on, with a vein of mystery in his voice that instantly aroused the
curiosity of Landy.

"Then why don't you tell us what it is, George, you old ice wagon!" he
exclaimed. "Somebody give him a push, please, and get him to roll his
hoop."

"They tried to wreck the midnight express--guess you fellows started off
too early in the mornin' to hear about it," George said.

"We never heard a word, so hurry up and tell us, George," said Elmer.

"Yes, whatever in the wide world would they want to wreck that train
for? Was it some crazy man; or do they think it could have been an
attempt to rob the express safe?" demanded Ty, anxiously; for he had an
uncle who held the throttle of the engine pulling that particular train,
and was therefore deeply interested.

"Nobody's dead sure what they wanted to do," George went on, "but the
messenger admits that he was carrying a bigger amount of money than
usual. Perhaps the hoboes got wind of it, and thought they might have a
chance to capture the stuff. They didn't have nerve enough to hold the
train up in western fashion, so they tried the coward play."

"I notice that you say hoboes did it, as if nobody doubted that part of
the affair," Elmer remarked, significantly.

"They were seen by a track walker, and had quite a fight with him,"
George continued. "The poor chap is in the hospital now, though he's
going to pull through. He managed to crawl to a station and give the
alarm, so no damage was done. And now they're hunting high and low for
two hoboes, one short with red hair, and t'other a long-legged fellow
who limps when he walks, like he'd once had his leg hurt. They are
called Shorty and Lanky Jim!"

It was Adam who set up a shout that caused the others to stare at him.

"Hey, what's this mean?" demanded Ty. "He looks like he knew something
about the two rascals you were telling us about, George. Elmer, you take
him in hand, won't you, and see what he's got on his mind. And make him
tell it in plain United States. We left our Dutch dictionaries at home
this trip, you see."



CHAPTER VIII.

UNDER THE TWINKLING STARS.


SUPPER was forgotten for the time being, under the influence of this new
source of excitement. But then the young campers had taken the edge off
their sharp appetites before now, so that it did not matter very much.

Adam was grinning as he found himself the one object upon which all eyes
were focused. It would be hard to find the boy who does not enjoy
standing in the lime light, even for a little while.

"How about this, Adam," said Elmer, "do you know anything about these
two men?"

"So," drawled the German boy, "aber I am nodt sure. Dey looks to pe
sooch; put mebbe I haf anudder guess goming, poys."

"Tell us where you think you saw them," the assistant scout master
continued.

"At Prady's," answered Adam, promptly.

"Brady's--why, that's where we get our milk," spoke up Landy.

"Sure it is," declared Ty. "That's funny now; I never remember setting
eyes on anybody answering that description; and I've been over there
twice."

"Yeth," declared Ted, "and I can thay the thame thing."

"You think you can; but you're away off, Ted," grinned Ty, who never
grew weary of nagging the other on that lisp, with which he was
afflicted.

"When did you see them, Adam?" asked Elmer, paying no attention to any
of these side remarks.

"Vy, berhaps you may remember, Elmer, dot dis very evening I vant to go
py der voods vonce, und get dot milk. Vat ve haf, it did get sour by der
heat, und Ty he say he haf a desire to dake der tramp again nix. So I
volunteer py der game. You pet me I nefer dry to gross dot field py der
pull. I dake der long vay, und pring der milk safely home. Iss it not
so, Ty?"

"Well, we're drinking some of it in our coffee this meal, so that goes
without saying," the other replied.

"Tell us about the men--where were they when you saw them, Adam?" Elmer
went on.

"Py der parn," returned the German scout.

"Not prowling around like a couple of thieves, Adam?"

"Nodt as I can see."

"Then what were they doing?" the patrol leader asked, impatiently; for
it was a most difficult thing to draw the story out of the German, who
seemed to want to be "pumped" step by step, as Landy termed it.

"Vorking," came the short reply.

"Oh, then you mean they were apparently in the employ of Mr. Brady?"

"Dot iss so. Dey toss der hay oop to him py der stack, und he stow it
avay."

"I believe the farmer is getting in a late crop of clover hay," remarked
Elmer.

"Yes," broke in Ty, "and he was telling me this very morning when I got
the milk, after my little adventure with that neighbor's bull, how his
man had left him in the lurch, and everybody around was so busy he
hardly knew just how he could get the big crop of hay that was stacked
in the field, ready for the mow."

Elmer nodded his head as though, after gaining this knowledge, it was
comparatively easy to put two and two together.

"That settles it," he remarked. "These two hoboes came along, and he
offered them such big wages to help him over his trouble, that they just
couldn't resist. But I know something about tramps, and the real article
wouldn't work at any price."

"Gee! Perhaps they had some other object in taking the place?" Landy
suggested.

"Just what I had in mind," Elmer followed. "If they are the rascals who
tried to throw that train off the track for some awful reason, they must
know that there'll be a hunt through the country for them; and, perhaps,
they hope to hide as farm laborers until the thing wears off."

"Then we ought to warn Mr. Brady, hadn't we?" asked Ted.

"Yes, but at the same time we must be careful not to excite the
suspicion of those fellows," Elmer replied; and then turning again to
Adam, he continued: "Did you have anything to say to either of the men,
Adam?"

"Vell," replied the other, slowly and reflectively, "I dink me dot
berhaps von off dem might dell me der vay to der milk house, und so I
stop me to ask."

"Yes, you asked one of them--which one, Adam?"

"I notice me dot as I gome close dey look at me like I vos a pad egg,
und put der heads togedder in a punch. So I yust chuck oudt mine preast
und valk right up to der spot, like I vas say: 'Vat's der matter mit
you; I am Adam Litzburgh, und I pelong to der scouts; put dot in your
pipe und smoke it!'"

"But you didn't say all that; you just asked one of them where the milk
house might be; wasn't that it, Adam?" Elmer went on.

"Der short von idt vas; und he turn to der udder und he say it pe all
right, nuttings to bother apout from dot Dutch fool. Den, py chinks, he
call oudt to der farmer who vas on der top of dot haymow, und ask vere
der milk house pe."

"And that was all, was it, Adam?"

"I knows me nuddings else," replied the German boy; "only ven I gomes me
along again, der short von vaves his hand to me, und laughs him some py
my pack."

Elmer really sighed with relief when he realized that he had actually
succeeded in getting the whole story out of the uncommunicative fellow.
It was like "drawing teeth," as Landy more than once remarked.

"You've heard the story, fellows," he said, turning to the others; "what
had we better do about it? I want everybody to have a voice in this, and
majority rules. So don't be bashful, but speak up."

"Well," remarked Landy, slowly. "I suppose we ought to give Mr. Brady a
hint of the truth; but, as you say, Elmer, we must be mighty careful how
we do it. Those tramps must be a pretty desperate pair, and they'd think
nothing of sailing in to clean us out if they suspected we were on to
their curves."

"How about you, Ted?" asked Elmer.

"Oh, count me in the thame lay," replied the one addressed. "Nobody
knowth when they're entertaining angelth unawareth, like the good book
thayth; or bad men either. The farmerth want help tho bad at timeth that
they don't athk too many quethtionth when they get a thanthe to employ a
huthky man. We'll drop around there in the morning thome time, when
they're out in the haying field, and give the women folkth a little
hint that they'd better get rid of the new handth."

"Ty?"

"Them's my sentiments. No special need of any hurry, I guess," replied
Ty, who was really feeling the effect of his unusual exercise of that
morning when the unfriendly bull gave him such a lively chase, and who
wanted to keep quiet in camp.

"George?"

"Wow! You just couldn't get me to stir away from here to-night unless
you tied a pair of mules to me and started them going," replied the
newcomer, as he slyly helped himself to more fish.

"And Adam?"

"I dinks me as how it pe werry comfortaples here," grinned the German,
duplicating the act of George, as though he feared lest he might not get
his full share of the supper.

"Hey, let me in on that, will you, fellers?" cried Landy, spearing
another portion from the rapidly vanishing pile. "And if you want to
know my sentiments, Elmer, just put them down as 'he also ran.' Because
I'm willing to do whatever the rest of you say."

Elmer himself looked a trifle disappointed. He had been thinking that
perhaps they ought to warn Mr. Brady that night; for it could not be a
very safe thing to have two such desperate men in his employ longer than
was absolutely necessary.

Still, he had said that he would be bound by what the majority of his
chums decided was best; and he could not change his ideas.

After all, the chances seemed to be that if the two new farm hands were
actually Shorty and Lanky Jim, their sole object in taking service with
Mr. Brady must be to lie low until the excitement died away.
Consequently, they would be very careful not to do anything that would
turn attention upon them; and in that case a little delay could not
matter.

"All right, then," said Elmer; "it's settled that after breakfast
to-morrow we'll make up a party to go after milk and find a chance to
warn the Brady people. Of course the women folks will be scared nearly
to death; but they'll find some way of sending word to town in these
days of telephones. And then the officers will come out to arrest the
fellows. Pass my dish, please, Landy, and get a small help of the fish.
I'm mighty fond of it in camp, and never care for a bite at home. And
this is as good as they make fried fish, thanks to Ty's way of cooking."

The balance of the supper was eaten amid a lively lot of talk. Of course
much of this concerned the events of the day; the adventure with the
bull; the trick Ty attempted to play on Adam, with disastrous results to
himself; and last, but not least, the coming of Doubting George with
such exciting news.

When, finally, they went to bed it was with all these things fastened
upon their minds; so that Elmer expected that more than one among them
would be apt to "see things" in the dark that night.

The fire which, after supper, had been built larger, so that it lent a
cheerful glow to the scene, was allowed to die down. Really the weather
was still so sultry that it took away some of the pleasure of sitting
around a blaze; which is always appreciated most when there is a tang of
frost in the night air; but, then, these boys were up here for fun and
did not mean to be cheated out of anything they considered their due by
such a thing as hot air.

One by one they crawled under the canvas and subsided.

The coming of George promised to add to the discomfort of a crowded
tent; and secretly Elmer had decided that he would not occupy his
quarters of the preceding nights. It would not be a new thing at all for
him to sleep out under the stars with a blanket for a covering; and,
indeed, he believed he would enjoy the experience, as it must revive
recollections of the past when he was accompanying the cowboys on a
round-up far away from the home ranch; or else off with a comrade on a
hunt in the big Rocky Mountains of Canada.

Only one more day remained, and then the wagon would come for the tent
and other things that had to be transported by team. After that they
could look forward to a few days of restlessness; when school duties
would begin once more.

Elmer noticed that there was little talking indulged in that night. They
seemed too tired all around for any "funny business," such as often
marked the period when the lively boys started to go to bed.

When all seemed quiet within the tent, Elmer stepped over to where he
had slyly hidden his blanket some little time before. He had already
picked out the spot in which he intended passing the night. It was under
a tree, where he could look up through the leafy branches, and get
glimpses of the star-decked heavens. The soft, caressing touch of the
night wind would lull him to sleep, he felt sure; and on the whole Elmer
infinitely preferred such an experience to being crammed up against five
others, in one small tent.

So he fixed himself, and lay down. By turning his head he could see the
flickering fire, and imagine it surrounded by some of those good fellows
whom he had known long ago, daring riders of bucking bronchos, and
expert wielders of the flying rope.

Then Elmer dropped off into a sound sleep. The last thing he remembered
was hearing some one snoring in the tent; he never knew just who the
guilty party might be, although his suspicions pointed to George; since
they had not been afflicted up to his coming. And the sounds seemed
uncertain too, just as though they were inclined to express a lingering
doubt.

From this state of peace and calm the campers were suddenly aroused by a
most piercing scream, that rang through the woods on the borders of the
river.

Instantly a scene of wild confusion resulted. Out from the narrow exit
of the tent came a struggling mass of boys in pajamas, grabbing hold of
each other in their excitement.

And one lone figure might have been seen crawling under the back canvas,
in much the same fashion as Elmer had done at the time he started on
that hunt for the unknown party who was throwing the stones with a plunk
into the river.

Elmer was on his feet instantly, and could, perhaps, be said to be the
only one in the lot who had control of his senses in this emergency.



CHAPTER IX.

THE INVASION OF THE CAMP.


"OH! what is it?" cried Landy, who was actually trembling all over as he
stood there in the night air, which had grown a trifle cooler during the
hours they had been asleep.

"What's Elmer going to do?" exclaimed George, as he saw the patrol
leader spring suddenly forward, and bend down.

"He'th got thomebody!" yelled Ted. "Perhapth it'th jutht one of the
trampth come over here to rob the camp!"

"Aber I dinks me he iss yust getting some off der vood to puts on der
fire," remarked Adam, who, strange to say, in all the excitement, seemed
to keep fairly calm.

It turned out to be exactly the case; for immediately Elmer threw
something on the smouldering fire, which started up a cheery blaze. When
this came about it was wonderful how much better all of them felt. A
crackling fire can do more to dispel thoughts of ghosts, and all such
silly things, than any other agency.

"But Ted," said George, "I don't think you could have guessed right,
because you see there ain't any sign of a tramp here."

"Sounded to me," ventured Landy, "like it was out there on the river.
Say, p'raps it might have been some poor duck just going down for the
last time!"

"Shucks!" grunted that unbeliever, George; "he'd never be able to let
out such a whang-doodle yell in that case. I ought to know, because I've
near drowned myself twice, and all I could do was just to gurgle and
kick and grab."

"How about that loon Elmer wath telling uth about?" suggested Ted,
softly. "From all he thaid I reckon it'd let out jutht thuch a noithe
ath that."

"Elmer, you heard it, didn't you?" demanded Landy.

"I sure did," came the reply.

"Wath it a loon, then?" went on Ted.

"Not the kind you mean, boys; I give you that straight," replied the
other.

"But it came from out there on the river, didn't it?" persisted Landy,
who seemed to have that notion imbedded in his brain pretty strongly.

Elmer shook his head in the negative.

"Then where did it come from?" asked Landy.

"I didn't tell you, boys," went on the patrol leader; "but knowing that
six in the tent would make it stuffy, I planned to sleep out here under
the stars, just as I've done many a night, you know. And so I was in a
pretty good position to hear where that whoop came from."

"Tell us, Elmer, tell us right away," demanded Landy, impatiently.

"The tent!" said Elmer, without hesitation.

The boys stared at each other.

"Say, he means that one of us let that yell out," remarked Landy.

"I know I didn't!" declared George.

"Not guilty!" chirped Ted immediately, holding up his right hand as he
spoke.

"Noddings doing, poys, mit me," Adam ventured to say, positively.

"How about Ty?" asked Elmer, chuckling.

"Where is he?" demanded Landy.

And thus, all at once, they awakened to the fact that one of their
number was absent, though no one save Elmer had noticed this before.

Landy rushed to the tent and looked in. The fire was by this time giving
out enough light to make it possible to see the entire interior.

Landy crawled inside, and almost immediately came forth again.

"Say, he ain't there! Ty's disappeared, fellows! Mebbe he's been taken
with a fit, and jumped into the river!" he cried, in tones that were
filled with horror.

"Elmer, what have you got to thay about that?" demanded Ted, who had
noticed the significant fact that the patrol leader did not seem to
share the alarm of the rest; indeed, he even smiled as though amused.

"Watch me," said Elmer.

He strode back of the tent, while the other boys waited with wondering
eyes. In a minute Elmer reappeared, nor was he alone. He had hold of a
shrinking figure, also clad in pajamas, and these of so violent a color
that they instantly recognized them as belonging to the boy who had
clung so long to that red sweater.

Yes, it was surely Ty, and he did not seem to be suffering to any great
extent. There was evidence of a grin hovering around the corners of his
mouth. Evidently Ty was the one who had crawled hastily under the canvas
of the tent after that fearful yell had awakened the entire party. "The
wicked flee when no man pursueth," and Ty knew that he was probably in
for a good raking, after giving his mates so great a scare.

"Hey, he's got him!" declared Landy. "Elmer knew where to find him. See
here, did you let off that awful whoop, Ty Collins?"

"I s'pose I did," replied the culprit, meekly. "I was dreaming about
that old bull, you see. Thought I was sitting up there between his
horns, and he was just gallivanting around the whole country with me,
jumpin' fences and all that. Then we came to a barn, oh, as high as the
church steeple at Hickory Ridge; and as sure as you live if that critter
didn't make straight for the same. I felt him rising in the air like a
balloon, and then I think I must have let out a squawk, fellers."

"Listen to him, would you!" cried Landy; "he calls that a squawk! Why,
it sounded like a whistle for down-brakes on the track; or else a feller
falling over a precipice ten thousand feet deep! And he's got the nerve
to say it was only a little squawk, just like a chicken would give!"

"Well, if you'd been dreaming like I was, you'd holler too," argued Ty.
"Say, I reckon I scared myself pretty bad too, for I crawled out of the
back of the tent in a big hurry, and tried to hide in the bushes. Then I
heard you talkin' and it struck me what I'd done. Didn't feel much like
walkin' in after that; but Elmer, he came and convinced me."

"No great harm done, boys," said Elmer. "And as Ty didn't mean to
frighten anybody, we'll have to let him off this time."

"Yes, if he'll promise not to repeat the dose, we might," grumbled
Landy.

"Don't believe him, if he does, because he won't keep his word,"
declared Doubting George.

"Well, what sort of remedy would you suggest?" asked Ty, indignantly.

"Gag him; that's the only way," returned George; "and even then I think
he'd find a loophole to let out another howl. Ty always could whoop it
up better than any other fellow at school. That's why they made him the
cheer captain when he couldn't get in the football game on account of a
sprain."

"You just try it," muttered Ty. "I've got troubles enough, and a plenty;
but a gag is going it a little too strong. Elmer says it's all right,
and that anybody is liable to have bad dreams. Think of what I went
through with, when that bull chased after me! Forget it, fellers, and
let's go back to our blankets."

"Yes, get along there, the whole bunch of you," laughed Elmer,
pretending to "shoo" them as he might a flock of little chickens. "It's
getting cool out here, and we've got a few more hours for sleep. So
long!"

So the five crept inside the tent again, and for some little while the
murmur of voices told that they did not find it so easy to drop off into
sleep as on the earlier occasion.

But finally all became silent. The episode was closed; and once more
sleep dominated the camp by the Sweetwater.

There was no further alarm that night. Perhaps Ty took warning from the
awful proposition made by George, and found some way of restraining his
inclination to dream; but no one ever knew how he did it.

When early morning came, with the cheep of birds in the thickets, Elmer
was the first one to be stirring. He kindled the fire afresh, and tidied
up around the camp a bit, after the manner that was so much to his
liking.

Then he went down to the river and plunged in.

It was now broad daylight; indeed, the sun was peeping up beyond the low
hills far away to the east. The sound of splashing must have reached
the ears of Landy as he awakened, for presently he came crawling forth.

"Hi, get up there, you sleepy-heads!" he shouted, stooping to thrust his
head into the tent. "Here's Elmer occupying the whole river, and there
won't be any of it left if you don't hurry!"

That brought the balance out in a hurry, and soon the six were sporting
gayly in the water. Adam had to do the high dive, with all its attendant
"frills," as Landy called them, in the way of double somersaults,
backward and forward, in order to convince the newcomer of his
accomplishments. For, of course, Doubting George refused to believe
until he had been shown; and even then declared that there must be some
sort of trick about it, because it stood to reason that a greenhorn
could not excel in anything.

Adam, however, was too good-natured to take offense. As long as they
remained in the water he was kept busy showing the many tricks he knew.
Tenderfoot though he might be in most things connected with boy life in
America, Adam certainly stood in a class by himself when it came to
aquatic events.

Then came the pleasing job of getting breakfast. Ty, assisted by George,
consented to look after that part of the business. Since George would
only have one whole day in camp, with two nights thrown in, he purposed
getting all he could out of it, and had laid out a list of things he
wished to try before sundown, consisting of fishing, taking a few
pictures with a little camera he had fetched along, and roaming the
neighboring country, looking for promising nut trees for the October
gathering, because George was very fond of hickory nuts, chestnuts and
walnuts, in season and out.

"Just as like as not there won't be a fish willing to nibble at my
bait," he grumbled, after his customary fashion; "and I'd like to wager
that this year is a bad one for nuts."

"Oh, let up on that cranky way of looking at things," said Ty. "Perhaps
something's the matter with your new camera too, George!"

"Well, you never know," replied the other, sighing. "It looks all right;
but the proof of the pudding lies in the eating; and I'm sorter
expecting the thing to turn out a fizzle. Cheap things never do amount
to much, you know."

"But that was a present on your birthday!" ejaculated Ty.

"Sure it was; but all the same it's not one of the best; and I'm always
suspicious of these things that don't cost top-notch prices," George
continued.

"I'd just like to know what you ain't suspicious of," snapped Ty. "Here,
don't you go smelling at my flapjacks like you thought there was a bad
egg in 'em. Every egg we get is fresh from the coop that day, and marked
gilt edge. Before I'd have a way like yours, George, I'd, well, I
believe I'd jump in the river."

"I don't believe you would," grinned George, once again true to his
reputation as a skeptic.

"What's Elmer going to say?" remarked Ty, he noticed the patrol leader
coming hastily into camp, with a queer look on his face.

"Get ready!" Elmer said, mysteriously.

Ty, Ted, George and Landy looked up at this.

"Get ready for what!" demanded the fat boy, attempting to gain his feet
in haste, but having to clutch hold of Ted in order to assist himself.

"To vacate the camp," replied the other.

"But, Elmer, explain, won't you?" asked Ted.

"Yes, tell us why we must get out," echoed George, and adding: "I don't
believe he means anything at all, that's what; he's just fooling us,
fellows."

"Wait and see," Elmer continued, gravely nodding his head, although his
eyes were sparkling with humor. "It's coming, and I tell you that after
it arrives there won't be any room here for you fellows. It will occupy
the whole place!"

"But, Elmer, what is it that's coming?" asked Landy, visions of the two
desperate hoboes filling his mind.

Elmer, in reply, commenced to raise his head, and make a face as he
sniffed the air.

"Just try that and see," he remarked, simply.

Upon that the whole lot started to drawing in their breath. Immediately
various exclamations told that they had "caught on," as Landy expressed
it.

"Oh, murder! What sort of an odor is that!" ejaculated George.

"I know!" cried Landy, who had started to clutch his nose between thumb
and fingers; "it's a skunk, that's what it is. Wow! It's getting worse
all the time, too!"



CHAPTER X.

THE EDUCATION OF ADAM.


THE utmost consternation seized upon the campers.

"Oh! what's bringing all that smell along here?" George cried; for this
was his first experience with such a thing, though he had heard lots
about other adventures the scouts had had in that line.

"It's Adam; he's got a monopoly of the scent!" laughed Elmer. "And he's
on his way to the camp right now. I saw him coming, and got a whiff;
then I hurried on to warn you, because I didn't want you to be caught
unprepared. There's one good thing about it, though, fellows."

"Good thing?" ejaculated Ted, who had snatched out his handkerchief and
was trying to keep from inhaling more air than was absolutely necessary.

"Why, yes," Elmer went on, "for once George here doesn't doubt but that
he gets it. You don't hear him asking questions now. He _knows_ it's
here with us. He's getting his dose, all right, ain't you, George?"

"Look, there he comes!" gasped Landy, pointing to a moving figure that
was pawing a way through the neighboring thicket.

"Ach! vat iss de matter mit me? I feels like I vas goin' to faint!"
exclaimed a complaining voice.

"For goodness' sake do it out there, then!" screamed Landy. "Don't you
dare come into camp with that terrible smell hanging to you. Sit down
where you are, and listen to what we've got to say. Oh, gracious, I
can't get my breath! Elmer, you tell him!"

"Py chimineddy, dis makes me some drouples! It peats all der limpurger
cheese I ever saw. Vat vos idt, Elmer? I am nodt choking, tell me vot I
dood," Adam asked, with a beseeching air, for he was almost overcome by
the fumes.

"Well, if you ain't choking, we are; so you stay there," George
remarked.

"How did it happen, Adam?" asked Elmer, trying to stop laughing, for he
knew that after all this was apt to be a serious piece of business for
the other.

But the German boy only shook his head and coughed, as he tried to get
his breath.

"Idt iss some foolishness py me; but, poys, I don't know vot it iss
already yet. I vos vandering apout der voods, enchoying mineself, ven I
see der prettiest little squirrel dot ever vos, mit a nice white stripe,
und a pushy tail. I dinks dot he look like he vill pe friends mit me,
und so I yust hold out mine hand und call him; put pefore I could take
hold mit him, I dink I step on von of dem musherooms mit der awful
smell. Ach! it vos so pad I haf to get oudt right avay, und come pack to
der gamp. I'm von sick Dutchman, poys, pelieve me. I dink me I must pe
going to die right avay qvick."

"I should think you had died a week ago," cried George.

"He thought the skunk was a pretty squirrel," said Ty; "and he was going
to make a pet of it, think of that, fellows!"

They laughed and coughed by turns. One minute the comical side of the
event appealed to them, as they saw poor Adam standing there looking so
forlorn; then as if by magic their humor turned, and they began to
wonder what in the wide world could be done.

"We just can't stand this much longer, Elmer," said Landy. "Make him go
away off in the woods and bury himself."

"Well, one thing's sure," remarked the patrol leader. "He's got to get
rid of every stitch he has on him. We'll have to rig him out the best we
can afterwards."

Adam set up a howl upon hearing this.

"I pelieve it might wash oudt in der river!" he declared.

"Not in a thousand years," Landy made answer. "The only chance for you
is to go off and bury your clothes--everything you've got on. Then get
in the water, and try to get rid of the smell from your hair. Lucky
thing it's cut short. Oh, ain't this the meanest luck, though?"

"It might be worse if the whole lot of us had been there and got our
share," remarked Elmer, who could always see things on the bright side,
in which he was the exact reverse of Doubting George.

"Dell me vat I must do, Elmer. I promise to carry oudt de plans.
Somedings must pe done right qvick, or I shall pe smothered. It is pad;
but I am von scout, und can take der hard knocks mit der good."

"That's the kind of talk, Adam," Elmer hastened to say. "You're all
right, even if you do seem unpleasant company just now. Listen to me. Go
back into the woods a piece. Then strip off every rag and hide them in
some hollow log. I'll follow you when you go to the river, and fetch
along what stuff we find we can spare. All told I reckon there'll be a
shirt, trousers and shoes for you; and that's all you need this hot
weather. Please make a start, for we've got to the end of our endurance.
Turn around; now you're off!"

When the unfortunate German lad had vanished, the trouble was far from
being at an end. He left a decided legacy behind him, and Landy was loud
in his wails.

"How ever can we stand it, Elmer?" he asked. "All the rest of the time
we stay in camp do we just have to endure that rank odor?"

"'What can't be cured must be endured,' you remember we used to write in
our copybooks at school, Landy," replied the patrol leader. "Nothing
like getting used to things, you know. It isn't pleasant, of course; but
there might be worse happen to us. Suppose now our new recruit had run
across a rattlesnake instead of a polecat! But get a hustle on you,
fellows, and see if we can rig Adam out somehow. I've got an extra shirt
he's welcome to."

"And there's that pair of trousers I brought along," said Landy; "he can
get into them all right. But I'll say good-by when I hand 'em over; for
I just know the perfume will stick always; and I never could stand it,
never."

Some one else came forward with shoes, and in this fashion the wretched
victim of confiding innocence and curiosity was supplied with an outfit
calculated to carry him through.

Taking these things with him, Elmer started forth along the trail of
Adam.

"Just follow your nose, and you'll find him!" sang out Landy.

"And look out you don't repeat his sad experience, Elmer," laughed Ty.

The woods seemed to be pretty strong with the powerful odor, as Elmer
walked on. He was a fair hand at following a trail, and the German lad
had certainly not made any effort to conceal his footprints.

Presently Elmer found where Adam had stuffed his garments into a hollow
log, just as he had been told; but as he was no longer in sight, the
scout patrol leader took it for granted that he had turned to head for
the river again, in order to plunge in.

Accordingly Elmer also turned and walked that way, believing that he
would strike the stream a little distance below the camp.

"Goodness! I hope, now, Adam doesn't lose himself in the woods!" he
exclaimed, as a sudden startling thought flashed into his mind.
"Wouldn't that just be the limit, though, and with not a bit of clothes
along!"

But a minute later he caught sight of the other stalking along ahead.
The river could also be seen in glimpses between the trees, showing that
after all Adam had chosen the right course.

"Well, what ails him now?" Elmer asked himself, for as he looked he
suddenly saw the German boy bound up into the air, and start to
threshing about with his hands in the wildest kind of way.

Then he started to run madly along, letting out a series of shouts, and
finally taking a header from the bank into the river.

Something came buzzing about Elmer's head.

"Hornets!" he exclaimed, making a stroke at the insistent insect that
was trying to reach his face, until by a fortunate blow he sent it down.

Then he started off, making a wide detour so as to avoid the spot where
the unlucky Adam must have run foul of the nest.

When he finally drew up at the river bank and peeped over, he saw Adam
with everything but the upper part of his head submerged. He seemed to
be looking for a new assortment of enemies hovering over him. His
introduction to the mysteries of the great American woods bade fair to
make a great impression on Adam. Indeed, when finally Elmer induced him
to come forth, he discovered that there were three distinct impressions,
and each of them as large as a hickory nut, one being behind the ear,
another on his right arm, and a third on the calf of his leg, where the
angry little hornets had left their mark.

No doubt the new recruit thought he was having a pretty rough time of it
all told. But he had a genial nature, and could take things as they
came; so that presently he was able to laugh at his misfortunes.

When he was dressed in the borrowed clothes Adam looked a "sight," as
Landy declared after he saw him coming to the camp. Of course there must
hover around him more or less of the strong odor; but Elmer told the
others they must make up their minds to get used to that, as it could
not be remedied.

Breakfast had been ready for some little time when the pair reached the
camp; and all of them were able to do justice to the meal. Even Adam
seemed to have retained his appetite.

"But it's the only thing he did save," chuckled Landy.

When the meal was over, Elmer reminded them of the arrangement they had
made on the previous evening.

"Who goes along with me to Brady's?" he asked, getting up.

"Don't you think we'd all better paddle along?" remarked Landy;
"because, you see, those fellows are tough characters; and it might be
they'd set on our crowd, if they suspected we'd come to tell on 'em."

"Count me out," said George. "You know I got a stone bruise yesterday
when on the way here, and I want to let it heal up, so's to be able to
toddle back home when we break camp to-morrow."

"Oh, rats! The chances are you don't think there's anything worth while
in going over there," declared Ty. "And I meant to show you just where I
had all that fun with the old bull, too."

"Fun!" shrieked Landy. "Hear that, will you, boys? He calls that
business just fun. But it looked another way, then, you understand,
George. Why, Ty's face was as white as paper when he thought that old
bundle of beef was going to hook him higher than a kite!"

But Ty declined to argue the matter with him.

"And I think Adam had better thtay at home, don't you, Elmer?" remarked
Ted.

"Why, he's that strong he could tackle the hobo crowd alone and
single-handed," observed Ty.

"I'm afraid he'd turn all the milk in the dairy," chuckled Landy.

So it was presently decided that two of the scouts were to remain behind
to take charge of the camp. The others, four in number, would trail
along toward the Brady farm; and if the opportunity presented itself,
let the farmer's women folks know the character of the new hands.

The last that Elmer and his comrades saw of those who were to remain
behind, George seemed to be endeavoring to coax Adam to try his luck
again on the river, for he was holding out the rod of the German.

"He just wants to get him away for a while," laughed Ty.

"It looks like George had run up against something at last that won't
stand for any doubts," declared Landy, who had long suffered from this
peculiar malady on the part of his cousin.

"If it can't be seen, it makes itself felt in another way," remarked
Elmer, who was in the lead of the file that headed through the woods,
Ted swinging the tin milk bucket.

Reaching the field where Ty had had so much "fun" with the ugly bull,
they failed to see anything of the animal.

"Afraid to come out again, you see, boys," said Ty, pretending to puff
out with valor. "I guess the farmer who owns him will keep him shut up
till we leave the neighborhood. He'd better, for I was just hatching up
some game that would discourage the old fellow from tackling every one
that walked through his pasture."

"Perhaps he's loose, and carrying on somewhere else," remarked Elmer, as
he lifted his head in an attitude of listening.

"Say, that _is_ somebody shouting, as sure as you live!" cried Landy.

"And hollering to beat the band, too!" echoed Ty.

The whole four of them stood still, the better to listen. There could be
no longer the least doubt about the matter; for other voices joined in
with the one they had heard at first.

"It's women yelling, too," said Landy. "Whatever can be the matter?
Elmer, do you think it's that bull broke loose?"

"More'n likely the hoboes are at the bottom of the row!" declared Ty.

"Come on with me, fellows, and we'll soon know!" called Elmer, as he
immediately started off on a full run.



CHAPTER XI.

A LOUD CALL FOR HELP.


A BELL began to ring wildly near by.

"That's over to the place where the bull belongs; sure the row ain't
there, Elmer?" asked Ty, as he hurried on the heels of the leader.

Elmer paused to listen again.

"No," he said, positively, "most all the racket is over yonder in the
direction of the Brady house. You can hear the women screaming, too.
Come along again, boys! They've heard the racket over here, and that
bell's to call the men in from the fields."

"Sounds just for all the world like what I've read about an Injun attack
in the good old pioneer days," declared the panting Landy, who had to
exert himself more than any of the others in order to keep up with the
procession.

"Theemth like I thmell thmoke!" remarked Ted.

"I reckon you do, because I've been getting it for the last half
minute," Elmer threw over his shoulder as he ran on.

"That means a fire!" cried Ty.

"It generally does," Elmer added, dryly.

"What if the Brady house is going up in flames?" ejaculated Ty, again.

"It would be a bad job," remarked Elmer; "but not quite as hard on them
as if it happened in the dead of winter, with the thermometer down to
zero."

"But it's always a hard job fighting fire in such steaming hot weather
as this September spell!" Landy observed, as he dug for his
handkerchief, so as to wipe his red face, which was beginning to reek
with perspiration.

"There, I saw smoke over the trees; it's a house afire, as sure as
anything, boys, and the Brady one at that!" declared Ty.

None of them doubted it now, since all the indications seemed to point
that way. They kept up their forward rush, hoping to at least be able to
lend a helping hand in the way of getting some of the furniture out;
because that is generally all that can be done at a country blaze, when
there are no fire engines to respond to the call for aid.

They were rapidly overtaking several persons who seemed to be hurrying
in the same direction they themselves were bound. Two of these were
women, and the other a very old man, whom the excitement had stirred
into unwonted action.

"What is it?" asked Elmer, as he was passing the three.

"The Brady house must be afire!" answered a young woman, who seemed to
have her wits fairly well in hand.

None of the boys stopped, though Landy's tongue was almost hanging from
his mouth because of the exertion on such a hot morning. They continued
to bound along steadily, and expected to come in sight of the burning
house at any moment now.

As they burst out from the cover it stood before them. Smoke was coming
from windows and doors in heavy volumes; and evidently the fire must
have managed to get considerable headway before being discovered.

A number of women were running excitedly up and down doing nothing to
aid in saving property, or subduing the flames. Several men were
present, and seemed to be wholly engaged in carrying out some of the
furniture belonging to the parlor. A small cabinet organ had been rolled
over on the grass, and then they added heaps of books to the wreckage.

"Why don't they try and save the house, Elmer?" asked Ty, as they saw
what was going on.

"I don't know, unless it's because they have no leader, and nobody is
able to tell what to do," replied the other.

Elmer was taking the scene in with eyes that nothing escaped. Even while
he was running forward toward the fire he saw that there was a
fair-sized stream close to the barns. His attention was directed to it
chiefly because of a flock of big white Pekin ducks that were flapping
their wings, and adding their loud quacks to the general excitement.

"If we only could find plenty of buckets, something might be done!" he
called back over his shoulder, never stopping an instant in making for
the building that was threatened with destruction.

"I see three right now by that pump!" cried Ty.

"Plenty more in the barn, Elmer!" added Ted, who saw what the other had
in his mind, and thought it worth trying.

"There's a lot of tin milk buckets hanging on that fence!" called Landy.

"Go for 'em, fellows!" ordered the patrol leader. "Gather all you can
find, and begin to fill 'em at the brook. I'll see if these ladies won't
stand in line, and pass them along."

"Hurrah for the Hickory Ridge Fire Brigade!" shouted Landy, fully filled
with the novel idea.

Each of them made a bee-line for the buckets in sight, and, gathering up
all they could lay hands on, immediately started for the water, where a
great dipping began, to the intense amazement and consternation of the
ducks, which could not understand why these strangers should try to
empty their favorite little stream without asking their permission.

Meanwhile Elmer must have managed to explain after a fashion what he
purposed doing. He had already coaxed two of the women to stand ready to
take the buckets as they came along, and these were shouting to the
others.

"More buckets! Try in the barns for some!" called Elmer, as, seizing one
of the first that arrived, he rushed up to where a tongue of fire had
suddenly darted out of a window, like a snake that was striking, and
sent the contents of his receptacle through into the room.

Now something a little more like sense seemed to seize upon those
present. All they needed was a leader, some one capable of giving
orders; and it would be surprising how much could be accomplished.

The men stopped trying to save the furniture. If the building could be
kept from burning to the ground the things it contained might have a
chance of being spared. They rushed away to the barn, as though knowing
where horse buckets were to be found; and Elmer knew that he had found
several willing allies in his battle with the flames.

He saw that these men were the farmer himself, and his son, almost a man
in size. The two farm hands were not to be seen; and this fact gave
Elmer a strong idea that in truth they might have been responsible for
the fire itself. Sometimes when a robbery has been committed the thieves
will try to cover all traces of their work by burning the building.

By the time those other women had arrived he believed he would have
enough on the ground to form a living chain between the brook and the
house, so that the full buckets could be passed swiftly along from hand
to hand, and the empties returned after the same fashion for a fresh
start.

Inside of five minutes after the Boy Scouts arrived on the spot it was a
lively scene that was taking place. The smoke continued to pour out of
the windows; but whenever a bit of flame showed itself, Elmer or Ty was
ready to dash a bucket of water on the same.

"Keep up the good work, fellows!" shouted Landy, who was filling the
buckets at the time. "She ain't gaining much, now; and every one that
comes just adds to the fire brigade, so's to send the buckets along
faster. I'm coming over to help fight soon as that farmer's boy gets
here!"

"Say, if only we had all our troop here, Elmer, wouldn't we make short
work of it, though?" asked Ty, who was beginning to turn many shades
darker because of the smoke that swept past him every little while.

"We'll do it as we are!" answered the patrol leader, firmly; for he
believed that they must soon begin to get the mastery over the hungry
flames.

Then Landy came staggering along, bearing with him a huge bucket, which
he expected to dash personally on some place where it would do the most
good. The farmer's boy had arrived to take his place at the brook, which
set him free for sterner duties.

"Go for it, fellers!" he gasped; and then as a wicked looking finger of
fire darted out toward him he emptied the contents of his pail in that
direction. "Plenty more where that came from. The crick'll hold out all
right, if only we can get it up here fast enough. That's the way, Ty,
soak it to the measly old thing. We're going to win out yet, see!"

It was the right sort, of spirit to show at any rate; and afterwards his
chums had only words of praise for Landy's conduct.

"If we c'n only hold out long enough, we're just bound to knock this old
fire into a cocked hat!" Ty managed to cry out, as he seized another
bucket, and turned to look for a chance to use it.

Just then he noticed a small girl standing near by, sobbing as if her
heart would break. She seemed to be looking up toward the second story
windows of the house that was on fire, as though there might be
something that she longed to save up there.

Ty was immediately thrilled with the thought that it might be a human
being. Nobody had as yet said anything about a missing person, whether a
child, a very old man, or a woman; but this might come from the fact
that such tremendous excitement held everybody in its grip.

Ty had read about daring feats which lads no older than himself had
performed at such critical times. Perhaps within his soul there burned a
desire to outshine these heroes of fact and fiction; and do something to
make the name of Tyrus Collins go ringing down the ages, on the annals
of heroes who have risked their lives in order to save others.

At any rate, as soon as he had emptied the bucket he was holding, he
passed it along to the nearest woman, and then whirled upon the little
girl.

"What's the matter with you?" he asked.

She turned to him eagerly.

"Oh, he'll be burned, my little baby, Bennie!" she wailed, wringing her
hands as if in the greatest woe.

Ty was thrilled by the words. Here then was the golden opportunity he
had long sought. A baby, she had said, forgotten in the mad rush and
excitement. And to him had come the chance to show of what metal scouts
were made.

"Where is he--show me the window of the room!" he demanded in such a
stern tone that the child shrank back; but she managed to point upward
and say:

"That window--it's the little room over the front hall! Oh, if you could
only bring him out, mister; everybody's too busy to remember poor little
Bennie!"

That finished Ty. He heard the call to duty and was off. Still, he kept
his wits about him fairly well, and did not plunge recklessly into the
building.

His first act was to take another look upward, so that he might locate
the window she had mentioned, and remember which it was when groping
about the interior. Elmer was close by; but although he turned toward
the patrol leader at first, Ty changed his mind, fearing that he might
be interfered with in his bold designs.

No, if a rescue must be made, he would go it alone; and hence all the
glory that was coming would be his.

"Here, take that full bucket and follow me, Ty!" called Elmer, who saw a
chance to deluge a threatened point in such a way that the fire would be
fully beaten back in that quarter.

He supposed the other was carrying out his suggestion, and did not know
any different until on turning he found himself face to face with Landy,
who had quickly taken the place of the one called upon.

"Where's Ty?" asked Elmer, as upon looking around he failed to discover
the figure of his late assistant.

"He's gone in!" declared Landy, seeming to be a little appalled by
something he had witnessed.

"Gone in where?" continued the other, hardly understanding what was
meant.

"He rushed right into the house like he'd lost his senses, Elmer;
whatever do you think made him act like that?" Landy replied.

The patrol leader looked aghast.

"I'm sure I don't know," he replied, "unless he heard that some one was
in there, and might be smothered or burned. But it was a nervy thing for
Ty to do. I only hope he comes out again all right!"



CHAPTER XII.

SHOWING THEIR METTLE.


"OH, thay, can't we do anything to thave him?"

It was, of course, Ted, with his lisp, who said this. He had come up
while the others were talking, and seemed to understand the situation;
perhaps he had even witnessed the strange dash of Ty Collins into the
burning farmhouse.

Elmer shook his head in the negative, as he replied:

"You see, the smoke is so heavy that even if one of us did go in, the
chances are he'd never be able to find Ty. We'll have to let him alone.
Ty has a long head on him, and generally knows what he's doing. Let's
work away here as fast as they fetch us the full buckets, and hope our
chum will get out again. Here, hand me that pail, Ted; and get busy,
Landy. No time to be staring around."

Landy seemed to be half stunned because of the queer actions of the
scout who had entered the house. He was standing there looking up at the
row of windows, out of which the smoke curled and eddied, as though he
expected an answer to the puzzling question there.

But the energy of the patrol leader influenced him; and taking the
bucket that had reached the end of the line of men and women, he
hastened to dash its contents in the spot Elmer indicated.

The boys were all showing more or less signs of exhaustion by this time,
owing to the terrific heat, caused by the stickiness of the weather, and
the influence of the fire. But not one of them gave any indication of
showing the white feather. They seemed to feel that the honor of the
scouts was involved in this fight for the farmer's home; and with set
teeth they continued to ply the water.

"We're gaining a little all the time, fellows!" exclaimed Elmer, meaning
to bolster up the courage of both Ted and Landy; though often he would
cast an anxious eye up at those mute windows, as though beginning to
fear that the missing chum would never again appear.

"Yeth," said Ted, dolefully, "but every time we leave a plathe to go to
a new one, the fire tharth out again freth ath a daithy. If only a lot
more men would come to help uth out, we might get it under."

"We will do it, boys, just make up your minds to that," gasped Elmer, as
he once more gripped a big stable bucket and started back to the window
through which he expected to hurl the contents. "We've got the grit to
stick to the job to the bitter end, and grit wins the day every time.
Hurry up there with that other pail; and tell them to find some more, if
they can. Anything will do that can hold water. We've just _got_ to put
this thing out! That's the way, Landy; you did a good job that time!"

Those words of praise did more to inspire new faith and confidence in
the heart of the almost exhausted fat boy than anything else could have
done. He seemed to pluck up fresh courage, braced himself to his task,
and even grinned at Elmer, although it was a sickly attempt at a smile.

Landy was, indeed, a sight just then. He was wet to the skin with
perspiration and spilled water from the creek. Besides, his usually
jolly face was streaked with a series of queer marks, where the black
smoke had found lodgment, and been ground in every time he drew his
sleeve across his smarting eyes.

But then the others were little better off, though possibly they did not
feel the terrible heat quite so much as the stout youth. Regardless of
the damage to their clothes they labored faithfully on, determined that
the Hickory Ridge troop was bound to receive new honor because of what
they did at the Brady fire.

Seconds had merged into minutes, and Elmer's anxiety grew to an alarming
extent. What if poor Ty had, indeed, fallen in the midst of that smoke
and was lying there now in the house helpless?

It was a terrible thought, and made him shiver, even though at the time
he was also burning with the heat. Suffocation was just as bad as the
fire itself; and Elmer began to argue with himself that perhaps it was
his sacred duty to rush into the house in the endeavor to find Ty.

He looked at Landy and Ted with almost pity in his eyes, and yet at that
moment the young patrol leader was proud of his chums. Never had there
been a test of endurance where the stake meant so much. If they could
save the Brady home surely that were far better than any prize which
might have fallen to their prowess because of a great hike, or a
swimming distance match!

Suddenly he heard Landy give a shrill yell.

"There he is, Elmer! Hurrah for Ty!"

The fat boy was pointing a trembling finger upward; and following its
general direction Elmer saw a head thrust forth from a certain window in
the second story.

Ty did not seem disposed to pay the slightest attention to his chums,
though the three of them stood there waving their hands and shouting. He
was beckoning wildly to the little girl who had been standing near by
all the while, with her eager eyes riveted on the window above, just as
though she expected a miracle to be wrought in her favor.

When Ty's head poked into view as through a curtain, for eddies of smoke
were all around the scout, the child began to dance up and down, and
clap her hands. At that moment Ty Collins came nearer to being a real
hero in the eyes of a girl than ever before in all his life.

"Come closer!" he shouted, and as she did so, he continued: "Where did
you say Bennie was, up here? Is this the room?"

"Yes, yes," she replied, nodding her head at the same time, as if in
fear lest he might not hear her childish voice in the midst of so much
noise, with women calling, and newcomers asking questions as they
reached the scene.

"Where did you leave him?" demanded the intrepid rescuer.

"Over in the corner--the box on the floor--Bennie was naughty, and he
had to be punished!" she cried at the top of her shrill voice.

Ty immediately disappeared, while his three chums below waited with
astonishment written on their faces, not knowing what it all meant.

"Did you hear that, Elmer?" demanded Landy, plucking at the wet sleeve
of the other. "She said the baby was in a box! Don't that beat the
Dutch, though? Whatever could she have been thinking of to do such a
thing?"

"It wath the thillieth ever!" declared Ted, "thtuffing a baby in a box
jutht like he wath a rag doll!"

"Hold on and see," said Elmer, who must have had some sort of suspicion
as to the true state of affairs.

All eyes were riveted on that window. Seconds passed as before, and the
boys began to get nervous again because Ty failed to appear. Had he
found the baby really smothered? Was he attempting to carry the poor
little darling down the stairs through all that dreadful smoke?

"Oh, look! look!" cried Landy.

There was no need of his saying this, because everyone near by had been
watching that window eagerly, and no doubt saw what was happening just
as quickly as the fat boy did; but then Landy was so worked up with
excitement that he could not restrain himself.

Yes, Ty was there in full sight again. This time he was leaning from the
window, and seemed to be holding something in his arms.

"Hold on there, Ty," shouted Ted, feeling a thrill of horror, as he
fancied his fellow scout must be about to heave the poor little innocent
darling from that second story window, in the hope of somebody catching
it before it could reach the ground. "Give uth a thanthe to get under
firtht."

"Yes, hold your horses, old fellow!" panted Landy, as he started forward
with outstretched arms.

But, singular to say, Ty seemed to pay little or no attention to their
demands; though Elmer was sure he could see a broad grin on the
blackened face of the one who leaned out of the window to get away from
the smoke.

"Here, take your baby, little girl!" he shouted hoarsely, as he began to
lower away on a strange rope, which Elmer decided he must have made by
tearing a sheet into long strips, and tying these together.

Something came down, foot by foot--something that struggled, and made
frantic attempts at getting free from the encircling rope.

"Wow! it's a pup!" shrieked the astonished Landy.

"Well, I do declare!" echoed Ted.

Elmer laughed aloud, as he started once more at the task of emptying
several buckets that had meanwhile arrived at the end of the human
chain. For wise Elmer had guessed the truth before the moment when the
other two made their discovery.

The little girl darted forward and snatched the small woolly dog up the
moment it touched the ground. She began to hug "Bennie" with all the
ardor of an indulgent little mistress; and, then freeing him from the
torn sheet, ran off toward the women as if to show her recovered prize
to her mother.

"Now come down yourself, Ty!" shouted Elmer. "Don't you think of going
back by way of the stairs, d'ye hear?"

Ty waved his hand. Perhaps his voice was utterly gone by this time,
thanks to the smoke and his exertions. They saw him swing out of the
window; and Elmer understood from this that at least the scout had
considerable power left in his arms and lower limbs.

Now his feet were on a little ledge that ran along the face of the house
above the lower windows. Ty had noticed that a shutter was partly open
and meant to make use of this in his descent. It was a clever idea, and
did the boy great credit in the way of judgment. A veteran fireman,
accustomed to such things, could hardly have conceived a better plan of
campaign.

Once his feet were planted on top of this, Ty gave a sudden move, and
they saw him slipping down until his ready hands caught the upper edge
of the heavy blind. After that he dropped to the ground in a heap, to
quickly stagger to his feet once more.

"Hurrah for Ty!" shouted Landy, making the high sign of fellowship in
the direction of his chum; for he was too busily engaged just then to
think of abandoning his buckets in order to rush to Ty's side so as to
shake hands with the hero of the occasion.

What if it was only a miserable little woolly pup that he had managed to
save from possible destruction; it would have been all the same had it
been the real baby that the child had given him to understand was in
peril. And Ty need never feel ashamed of his brave act. It shed new
luster on the name of the Hickory Ridge Boy Scout troop; and Elmer was
determined that when the account was written up, there should be no hint
of humor in the same that might reflect in any way on Ty's act.

Immediately Ty got busy again, and proceeded to fight the fire with
renewed vigor, though the poor fellow did look as though he had almost
reached the end of his resources. Twice did Elmer tell him to drop out,
and try to recover; but for once Ty refused to obey orders, under the
plea that, as they were not really in uniform, it was not obligatory on
his part.

"Now something is going to happen!" said Landy, as he brushed past Elmer
while warmly engaged; and at the same time he pointed across the open
space to where a party of stout farm hands had burst into view, running
as fast as they could toward the fire.

"More bucketh coming, boyth!" called Ted, who had seen that each one of
the newcomers was armed with at least one big pail; which fact proved
that they must have suspected the cause of the wild alarm before they
left home, and had provided in this wise manner against a dearth of
vessels for fighting the flames.

When those fellows got busy, hurrying up from the friendly creek, each
with a fresh supply of energy, and a pair of big buckets that were
filled to the brim with the liquid so needful in order to check the
spread of the flames, things began to look more cheerful.

"Now we've got it on the run, fellows!" cried Landy, almost hysterical
through sheer weakness, and his grim determination not to give up so
long as he could put one foot before the other.

"Thay, look at that giant bringing a wath boiler full of water at a
time!" exclaimed the delighted Ted, almost forgetting to lisp, so great
was his excitement. "When he geth thtarted, it'th good-by to the old
fire. Whoop! hear it thizzle, would you! Hit it again, mithter; it never
will be mithed! Now it'th your turn, Elmer. One, two, three, and thet
'em up again in the other alley! We win, boyth, we win!"



CHAPTER XIII.

HOW THE SCOUTS WON OUT.


THE newcomers, whose coming the boys had noted with pleasure, certainly
showed signs of knowing how to fight a fire in the country. In the first
place, they had brought their tools of trade along with them, in the
shape of buckets. Doubtless they remembered that on former occasions the
fire had gained headway simply on account of a lack of receptacles for
water.

Then they knew the brook, and that an abundance of water could be had
for the taking. Last of all every man was full of vim, judging from the
way they started in to whoop things up.

Besides, their coming seemed to invigorate those already on the ground,
and who, by reason of long service, were nearly exhausted.

"'Everybody's doin' it,' fellers!" gasped Landy, as he staggered forward
with his sixteenth bucket, and gave the contents a fling.

"It'th a burning thame, what we're doing to that old fire, don't you
know?" laughed Ted, who followed close on the fat boy's heels.

"Keep it going another round, boys," shouted Elmer; "and by that time, I
reckon, there won't be any more need of water. We've saved the house,
even if it is damaged a little with water and smoke and fire. That's the
ticket, Ty; you're making a record worth while to-day, old fellow! Once
more to the breach; then it's rest for yours."

"All out!" cried Landy, in another minute, as he dropped his bucket and
sank in a limp heap on the ground, a sight that would have caused his
good mother to throw up her hands in horror.

But Landy was proud of having had a chance to prove his right to the
name of a Hickory Ridge Boy Scout. He grinned, and looked particularly
happy; for he knew that when the history of the saving of the Brady home
was written, his name would surely have a place of honor among those who
participated in the good work.

By this time there were fully forty people present. How the news got
abroad it would be hard to say. Some of the farmers in that neighborhood
had telephones, and in this way it may have been passed along the line;
but there were many other methods in which the fire could have made
itself manifest.

New people kept arriving every few minutes; while a few went away again
to attend to the urgent business of getting in their late crops.

The four scouts remained in a bunch, talking matters over, and trying to
recover a little from their tremendous exertions before returning to the
camp.

"Thay, how d'ye thuppothe the old thing got thtarted?" Ted asked, with
the natural curiosity of a boy.

"That's so," echoed Landy. "It must have been an accident don't you
think, Elmer?" for even in such a matter as this they seemed to turn to
the patrol leader for information.

"I'm sure I can't say, fellows," replied Elmer. "At this time in the
morning the hands on a farm are out in the fields, and the women washing
up the breakfast things. Perhaps they've got a gasoline stove here, and
somebody was careless. It happens now and then."

"But here comes Mr. Brady over this way; he may know what started the
old blaze," remarked Ty.

"Looks kind of smiling," ventured Landy; "which I take it is some
singular for a gentleman whose house has pretty near gone up in smoke.
Tell you what, I know why he's heading this way, fellows."

"Then thay it right out, Landy," remarked Ted, who had noted how the fat
boy looked toward Ty and grinned.

"He's coming with a handful of thanks for our brave chum here, on
account of how he saved the little Brady girl's darling baby, Bennie,"
said Landy.

"Huh!" snorted Ty, "I did my best, anyhow, and that's all any fellow c'n
do. How was I to know it was only a silly little purp, and not a real
human being? Didn't she call it the baby? Laugh all you want, Landy; but
all I c'n say is that I reckon anyone of you fellers would have done
just as bad."

"And that's as fine a compliment as you could pay us, Ty!" declared
Elmer, heartily. "As for me, I want to say right here and now that I'm
proud of the way you went into that burning house, thinking that a poor
little baby was in danger. In my mind it's just as if you had done what
you meant to; and I'm glad to own you as a chum. Never mind if some
fellows try to have a little fun out of it; they don't mean anything by
it. But here's Mr. Brady."

The farmer was a heavy-set man in the prime of life. He, too, had worked
hard in the effort to save his house; but despite his anxiety and
fatigue, he approached the four scouts with kindling eyes and an
outstretched hand.

"I want to shake hands with every one of you boys," he said, earnestly.
"Only for you coming when you did, and takin' hold with such a vim, I
guess the old Brady farmhouse would have gone up that time. I see you
all wear trousers and leggings that say you belong to the Hickory Ridge
Boy Scouts; and make sure that I don't mean to forget this. I want the
name of every one of you, and I'm going to make it a point to see your
folks, to tell them what reason they've got to be proud of having such
boys in the family."

The way that horny hand of the farmer squeezed those of the boys told
that he meant every word he uttered. Landy winced under the pressure,
and came very near crying out for mercy; only he remembered that this
would not seem just right, when they were at the time being complimented
on their manly qualities.

"We're only too glad that we happened to be coming over to your place at
just the right time, Mr. Brady," remarked Elmer. "If we'd been at our
camp, perhaps we might not have known of the fire until it was too late
to do much good."

"Coming to see me, the four of you, were you?" said the other, looking a
trifle curious. "What could I do for you, boys? All you have to do is to
mention it: after your noble work this morning I guess it'd be hard for
me to refuse any favor."

"But you see, sir," Landy exclaimed, "we didn't want to ask a favor.
Fact is, we wanted to do you one, perhaps."

"I have been looking around, Mr. Brady," observed Elmer, "and I failed
to see your two new hands working to save the house--the short man and
his tall mate."

Immediately the face of the farmer darkened, and they saw his hands
close with a movement that seemed to speak of anger.

"No, you didn't, my lad, and for a very good reason," he said,
breathing hard. "They turned out to be a pair of rascals. My daughter
caught them in the act of robbing the house this very morning. I had
sent them out into a field back of the barns, and they knew that with my
son and the horses I expected to go to another part of the farm. So they
waited till the coast was clear, and then sneaked back to the house,
entering through a window when the women folks were busy in the kitchen
and dairy."

"Oh!" gasped Landy, who had not dreamed that this could be the
explanation of the fire; "then they must have been caught in the act,
and did it for revenge?"

"Just what they did," replied Mr. Brady, with his teeth gritting in
anger. "My oldest daughter just happened to go upstairs, and ran across
them turning things upside down in the search for valuables. She
screamed, and knowing that the rest of the women folks must have heard
the row, the scoundrels deliberately put matches to things, and then,
jumping from the windows, made off, laughing."

"Did they steal much from you, Mr. Brady?" asked Ty.

"That I don't know yet, because the fire took up all my attention as
soon as I got on the ground. And I don't bother much about what they
took, I'm that thankful about saving my house, and that nobody was
hurt," the farmer went on.

"Not even little Bennie," murmured Landy; though Elmer gave him a
reproachful look.

"Well, sir," the patrol leader went on, "it happens that we were just on
our way here to warn you about your new hands. One of our troop arrived
in camp last night, and told us a story about two tramps trying to wreck
the express train; and that the officers of several towns were looking
for them. When he described the fellows some of us thought the two new
hands might be the ones who were wanted."

"Yes," Ty spoke up, "and if Elmer had had his way we'd have come to see
you last night; but the rest of the bunch, being lazy or tired, voted to
wait till morning. Elmer knew best; he nearly always does."

"Well," the farmer went on, "it was nice of you to think of giving me
warning any time; and mighty lucky that you were on your way here when
the fire started. Only for that there would be a heap of ruins here,
instead of my old house, which has been in the family many generations."

"You say the two men ran away, Mr. Brady?" remarked Elmer, who felt more
or less curiosity concerning their movements.

"So the women folks say," came the reply. "Connie, my girl, the one who
came on them while they were turning things upside down, looking under
the mattresses of the beds for money, and even under the edges of the
carpets. She says they ran toward the barns. But I had the horses with
me, so they didn't find a mount."

"Thay, perhapth they're hiding right now over there in the haymow, or
thomewhere!" suggested Ted.

"Oh, my goodness! That would be too good a thing, wouldn't it?" cried
Landy, scrambling to his feet, part of his weariness seeming to leave
him at the prospect of new excitement.

"I never thought of that, now," said the farmer. "The rascals might have
made up their minds that, after all the excitement was over, another
chance would crop up to do some clever robbery. Perhaps I'd be wise to
get some of the men together, and take a look through the barns."

"Wait a minute, Mr. Brady," said Elmer. "Because, unless I miss my
guess, yonder comes a car that holds some men in uniforms, and they may
turn out to be officers from Hickory Ridge, Fairfield, or some other
place, looking for information about these very two men."

"Bully! Wouldn't that just be the best thing ever, to think of their
happening here when we need them so much," remarked Landy, staring at
the coming ear.

"They must have been passing by when they met some of the neighbors
going home, and learned of the fire," ventured Mr. Brady, who made a
motion with his arm to attract the attention of the big, pompous-looking
officer who was getting out of the automobile.

"I know who he is," remarked Ty. "That's the head of the police over at
Fairfield. His name is Benchley. I've talked with him more'n once. Why,
he used to run some sort of auction shop before they made him the chief
over there. And here he comes to interview us. My! Just get on to his
strut, will you, fellows?"

"Everybody look out how you talk when he's around!" exclaimed Landy. "He
looks as if he'd like to pinch everybody around, and slap 'em into the
cooler, just to beep his hand in."

But Mr. Brady had stepped out to meet the man in uniform.

"What's been going on here, mister?" asked the officer, with a heavy
frown in the direction of the four boys; as though he might be so
accustomed to having his share of trouble with the untamed youths of
Fairfield and Cramertown, that he naturally came to the conclusion, when
anything went wrong, in most cases, it could be traced back to the
depravity of the rising generation.

Evidently Mr. Benchley was always at war with the boys of his town,
which was one of the greatest mistakes the head of the police force
could make. In Hickory Ridge they managed things better, for the chief
there had long since won the respect of most of the lads, who knew they
had a good friend in the head of the force.

"Been having a fire; but we were fortunate enough to get it under
control before much damage had been done," replied Mr. Brady.

"Did these chaps have anything to do with it?" demanded the pompous man
in uniform, again frowning at Elmer and his chums.

"Sure they did, a whole lot," replied the farmer.

"Then you want them taken in, I reckon," interrupted the officer,
bracing himself, as though he might be ready to sweep the four scouts
into his car without further ceremony.

"Taken in?" repeated Mr. Brady. "Well, I should say not. When I agreed
with you that these lads had had considerable to do with the fire I
meant that only for the grand work they did, my house would have burned
to the ground!"

"Then they didn't set the blaze going?" growled the big man. "Who did,
then?"

"Two men I engaged yesterday as farm hands; and from what I hear I
believe they are the very scoundrels you are looking for this minute,"
the farmer replied.



CHAPTER XIV.

SEARCHING THE HAY BARN.


"SAY that again, please!" gasped Chief Benchley, as he stared at the
farmer, like a man who could hardly believe his ears.

"I said I had reason to believe that the two hands I hired yesterday
must be the very rascals you are looking for right now," repeated Mr.
Brady.

"Er--describe them, please?" said the man in uniform, as he drew out a
bulky notebook, and opened it at a certain place.

"One was very short, a squatty sort of fellow, but enormously strong.
When I saw what he could lift I thought I'd run across a good hand,
though I own that I didn't just like his face; but at this time of year
farmers can't be choosers, 'cause help is mighty scarce."

"Did he have a scar on his right cheek?" asked the pompous chief of
police, as he kept his eyes on his notebook.

"That's just what he did have; told me he had been caught once by a
reaper, and just escaped with his life!" answered Mr. Brady promptly.

"So. And did you happen to notice his left hand, was the upper joint of
his little finger missing?" the officer continued, in a sing-song tone.

"It certainly was," replied the farmer, nodding; "he explained that in
the same way; and I agreed with him that he was lucky to lose only so
small a piece, when he had the mower catch him, as the horses ran
away."

"Settled then; that was Shorty McCabe beyond all doubt," remarked the
official. "Now how about his companion? Was he tall?"

"Half again as big a man as the other," replied Mr. Brady.

"Squint with one of his eyes; and talk as if he had his mouth filled
with hot mush?" continued Chief Benchley.

"You have described him to a dot," answered the other, quickly.

"Then I have the honor to inform you, sir, that the men who were lately
in your employ are the identical criminals we happen to be looking for
at this very minute."

"I guessed as much," dryly remarked Mr. Brady; who, it seemed to Elmer,
had sized the important official at his true value, which, as Landy
afterwards declared, was very much along the line of a "bag of wind."

"Please produce them, and we will see to it that they give you no
further worry," remarked the officer.

"I only wish I could, sir; but the fact is, that after being caught
robbing the house by one of my family, while my grown son and myself
were in the fields, they set fire to things, and then ran off," the
farmer replied.

"That is bad," remarked the policeman, sadly. "I had thought you might
have tied the rascals up, and that we could relieve you of their care.
Can you tell me in what direction they fled, sir?"

"Toward the barns, my daughter says," Mr. Brady replied.

"Evidently with the design of securing horses, and continuing their
flight," said the big man in blue, as though these things were only for
the practical mind of a man of long experience.

"Hardly that, sir," the farmer observed.

"How do you know?" asked Chief Benchley, frowning at the idea of a mere
countryman venturing to differ with him.

"Because they knew in the first place that I only have two horses just
now, and both of them were being used by my son and myself out in
another field, some distance away from the house. But one of these
wide-awake lads has suggested that perhaps they meant to conceal
themselves in the haymow, or about the barns somewhere, in the hope that
after all the excitement blew over, another chance might open up to
search my house for the money they need to make a get-away."

The big man in blue wagged his head as he considered this piece of
information.

"Well, now, that might be worth looking into; it isn't such a bad idea
for a boy to think up. Perhaps we'd better take a look through the barn,
and make sure. Whether we find them there or not, make up your mind the
game's nearly up for the rascals. When they get Benchley hot on the
trail, they're going to cash in and start for the pen in short order.
Lead the way to the barn, then, mister. What did you say your name was?"

"I didn't mention it, but I'm Silas Brady. I was just going to get some
of the neighbors, and make the search myself when you hove in sight, Mr.
Benchley. But of course I'd be only too glad to have you take entire
charge, for your long experience in such things will be of great
advantage to us," and catching the eye of Elmer just then, Mr. Brady
gave him a sly wink.

But the pompous man in blue did not see this. He swelled out a little
more, until Landy privately informed Ty that he made him think of a
proud pouter pigeon he had at home, which threatened to burst every
time it strutted around, with its lungs filled with air.

As they started off toward the barn the officer made a sweeping motion
with his arm that was apparently understood by the three who had come
with him in the car, for they immediately headed as if to join him.

The farmer also spoke to quite a number of husky fellows whom he knew as
neighbors; so that there was a general exodus from the vicinity of the
house toward the out-buildings of the place.

As the word was passed from mouth to mouth the brawny farmers began to
show some signs of excitement. One of them picked up a stout cudgel,
which he gripped in a way to indicate that he anticipated using the same
in case of necessity; seeing which the others started to also arm
themselves.

It was quite a formidable force that began to surround the barn and
cowsheds.

"Wow!" exclaimed Landy, who had also snatched up a wagon spoke upon
which his eye had alighted, and seemed eager for the fray; "countin' the
four Fairfield cops, we're just sixteen good and true men. My eye! won't
Shorty and Lanky Jim throw up their hands when they see what they're up
against!"

"If they get just one look at that Benchley," said Ty in a low tone,
"they'll nearly drop dead. Say, just see him strut around, would you? He
couldn't put on more frills if he was a major-general, directing the
Battle of Gettysburg. This is as good as a circus, fellows, and I
wouldn't have missed it for a heap."

"Thame here," chuckled Ted. "And I wath jutht wondering how he'd act if
that hard faced little fighter, Thorty, would pop out of a hole and jump
him. Thix to one you'd hear that big gath-bag holler for help like a
calf. I know hith breed, boyth."

Elmer did not make any remark; but if that little smile on his face
stood for anything it meant that the others voiced his sentiments pretty
clearly.

The surrounding of the out-buildings was now complete. Chief Benchley
made the round, stationing every man afresh as though he did not want to
lose the slightest bit of credit for managing the affair. He was in his
glory, and looked as though the chance of a lifetime were now within his
grasp.

He had reserved several men to assist him in making the search. Among
these, two of his officers and the farmer himself were to be seen. And
as the official had scorned to place boys on guard, because of the poor
opinion he had of them in general, Elmer and his chums were enabled to
trail into the barn after the searching party, an opportunity they did
not neglect to avail themselves of.

Twice did the pompous official turn a questioning eye toward them, as
though he might be inclined to order them out; but on second thought he
changed his mind, and said nothing. As the scouts would have declined to
pay any attention to his orders, perhaps after all the Fairfield head of
police was wise not to attempt anything of the kind.

The Brady barns were unusually large, even for a big farm. As quite a
quantity of hay was stored here, waiting until the market price rose in
the winter, extensive space was needed; though there were also three or
four immense haystacks in the rear of the buildings, as well as one of
straw, left when the threshing machine had passed through, and the oat
crop had been attended to during the summer.

"If anybody comes across any sign of the culprits, call out, and the
rest of us will hurry to the spot. Just shout out the words, 'Here they
are,' and we will understand," the officer had said, as the party
entered the big barn.

Then began a scene of bustle, as men went this way and that, poking
about for signs of those who were supposed to be in hiding.

Of course all this could not be done without causing more or less
racket; and if the two tramps were close by they must have discovered
what was taking place early in the hunt.

Elmer kept his three scout chums with him.

"We'll hunt in a bunch, fellows," he had declared. "The Chief doesn't
want us around him, so we'll look in other places. Perhaps we can get
trace of the ones we're looking for."

"I just bet on you to figure it out, Elmer," remarked the confident
Landy.

"Shucks; Elmer could give that big bluffer all the handicap going, and
then beat him out. He don't know beans, that's what," snorted Ty,
looking scornfully over to where the important party in uniform was
walking about, giving orders in a loud and consequential tone.

"Tell uth what to do, Elmer," said Ted; "and we'll poke into every rat
hole in th' old plathe."

"One thing's sure," the patrol leader went on, as he looked thoughtfully
about him, "if they made up their minds to hide here, then they must
have tunneled under the hay, because that is the best of places for
staying concealed."

"I second that motion," declared Ty, nodding his head.

"And so we must keep on the watch for any signs of a hole under the
hay," Elmer continued, as he ran his eye along the base of the mow close
by.

"Huh! looks to me like hunting for a needle in a haystack!" declared Ty,
after they had been industriously at work for several minutes, without
any success.

"Only one needle this time; the other's a blunt-headed pin," chuckled
Landy.

Ted began to sniff the air.

"Thought I thmelled thmoke," he announced as Elmer looked at him
suspiciously.

"Well, considering what has happened here lately," remarked Ty, "seems
to me that wouldn't be so very queer. I'm just soaked with it, and
expect to smell smoke for a month of Sundays."

"But I thmell new thmoke!" Ted continued, positively.

"He's right, fellows; and I'm of the same opinion," Elmer went on to
say.

Landy gave a short whistle.

"Smoke, did you say, Elmer?" he exclaimed. "My stars, boys! what if the
hoboes have set fire now to the old barn? Say, what a blaze she would
make, with all this hay stored here. Me to let them pigs out of the sty
if it happens. It would be a shame to have roast pork when they're only
part grown."

"Do you really mean it, Elmer?" asked Ty, apparently appalled by the
thought of the terrible consequences that must follow, should the pair
of desperate rascals go to extremes.

"It seems to be getting stronger all the while," observed the patrol
leader, "and look at Mr. Brady; he is sniffing the air right now, as if
he didn't like it any too well. I reckon he's got the same idea I have;
which is that the men are in hiding here, and being afraid that they
will be found have started a fire to cover their escape. See, Mr. Brady
is telling the Fairfield policemen his suspicions now, and you can see
that he's given him a start too."

"What a shame it will be if the barn goes, with all this hay," said
Landy.

"Oh, Mr. Brady's got it all insured, I reckon," ventured Ty. "Farmers
are smart enough these days to look out for that. But it'll make a high
old blaze if it gets started, I tell you, fellows."

"But won't the thilly foolth be thetting the match to their own funeral
pyre?" demanded Ted.

"Not by a jugful," chuckled Landy. "Ten to one they fixed all that
before; and even made their old tunnel under the hay. But that smoke is
sure getting heavier all the time, boys; and look there, ain't that the
fire yonder? It is, as sure as you live! Good-by to the old barn, and
this fine crop of hay. Say, look at it jump, will you?"



CHAPTER XV.

THE CAPTURE OF THE TRAMPS.


ELMER saw at a glance that what his comrade had declared was really
true. And a loud shout from one of the searching men announced that he
too had discovered the fire.

Tremendous excitement seized upon the whole party, for they could
readily surmise that this new conflagration was not the result of a
smoldering spark, but that it had a meaning all its own. The two
desperate hoboes must have started the second blaze with the same idea
in view that had urged them to put the match to the farmhouse--to divert
attention while they slipped away.

That was what Elmer thought. And when most of the men rushed toward the
place where the fire was already burning fiercely amidst the hay, he
thought it good policy to turn his attention to another quarter.

It had flashed across his mind just then that as they passed around the
barn he had noticed a board off, with the hay sticking out of the hole.
And now it came to him what a splendid way of escape that same hole
would prove, did a tunnel under the hay lead to it.

The watchers outside had been summoned by the loud cries of those
within, and as they came rushing through the wide open doors with the
intention of trying to put down the spreading fire, Elmer saw that the
very condition which those hunted hoboes must have wanted had been
brought about.

Outside, the way to escape was clear, so far as brawny men went. If
Lanky Jim and Shorty could only wriggle along under the hay until they
arrived at that place where the board was missing, they had an open
field before them, and flight meant a chance to reach the shelter of the
woods beyond the fields.

"Come with me, and be quick about it, fellows," said Elmer, in his most
thrilling tone; at which Landy's big eyes opened wider than customary,
ditto his mouth.

The other three trailed along at his heels, wondering what he could have
in his mind. When all the men were gathering in the barn, with the idea
of trying to fight the fire, it seemed strange that Elmer should lead
them outside, and away from the excitement.

But then by this time those fellows understood that the patrol leader
never did anything without having some good and substantial reason for
it. And they were, as a rule, ready to follow blindly wherever he chose
to lead, leaving the asking of questions until a better chance opened
up.

Had Doubting George been present, possibly he might have tried to quiz
Elmer ere he yielded full obedience; but then even George must learn
that one of the first duties of a true scout is to exhibit implicit
subjection to authority.

In this fashion then did Elmer lead his three chums around the outside
of the big barn. They could hear the shouts of those who were fighting
the flames within; but Elmer knew only too well that the chances of the
new fire being subdued were small indeed. Hay burns with frightful
rapidity; and no buckets were handy at the moment.

Turning, as he drew near the place where the board had been torn from
the back of the barn, he made a motion with his finger that seemed to
call for silence. The other fellows almost held their breath with
suspense, still in doubt as to what Elmer meant to do; although they
began to suspect that he must have conceived an idea looking to the
confusion of the incendiaries.

When he pointed straight at the place where some of the new hay was
sticking out, Landy's blackened face lighted up with intelligence.

"He means they're expecting to crawl out right here," he whispered in
the ear of Ty, who was close beside him.

The other made a suggestive movement with the club he had picked up, and
by which action he meant that it would please him very much if only he
had the opportunity to bring it down upon the head of Shorty, or his
long-legged mate.

Then they all turned their eyes again on Elmer, expecting him to tell
just what he wanted them to do. They saw the patrol leader pick up a
piece of rope that happened to be lying handy, and fashion a slip-noose
with it. During his life up in that big country of the Canadian
Northwest, Elmer had seen many things which he would never be apt to
forget as long as he lived. And, among others, he had once watched the
mounted police capture a half-breed fugitive from justice, fastening his
hands together behind his back in a clever way, which possibly he might
now have a chance to imitate.

"Here, take this, Ty," he said, in a low tone, as he handed the noosed
rope over to the one nearest to him. "When I whip the fellow's arms
behind his back, make sure that you get that loop around them, and pull
tight! Understand?"

Ty nodded his head vigorously, not daring to trust himself to speech.
Things were happening so fast and furious that really he hardly knew
whether he might be awake, or else asleep and dreaming them.

Of course both Landy and Ted had also caught the significance of the
movement, and were ready to do whatever they were told. Elmer made
motions to give them to understand that he wanted them to range up on
the other side of the hole in the side of the barn, and await
developments, while he and Ty crouched as close to the boards across the
way as possible.

Landy was heard to chuckle while this was going on. Perhaps something
about the situation reminded the fat boy of other occasions, when he and
some of his mates had endeavored to clutch some rabbit as it came
darting out of its burrow, after a ferret had alarmed it, or a little
dog been let loose in the tunnel. But just now the game was of an
entirely different order, and Elmer frowned at Landy's merriment.

Inside the barn the noise was redoubled. Evidently the fire-fighters
were having their hands full, with the rapid spread of the blaze. If in
the end they managed to control the conflagration, Elmer felt that he
would be surprised. According to his mind there was not one chance in
ten of such good luck coming to Mr. Brady. He had saved his house, but
his barn would very likely have to go.

Elmer had his eyes glued on the projecting wisps of hay now. He fancied
that he had detected some little movement to them, though this might be
caused by a passing breeze; or some action on the part of the energetic
fire-fighters within.

No, as he looked, he distinctly saw the hay move! Then there must be a
reason for this. Elmer instantly placed his hand upon the hay, and the
sense of feeling telegraphed the truth to his brain. Some object was
making a way through the mow, and evidently pushing along a tunnel that
had been previously prepared!

He turned and put his finger to his lips, seeing which every one of the
wide-awake scouts understood what was meant.

Imagine the strain on their nerves while they waited for the appearance
of the first tramp. Would he come along head-first, or might they expect
to see a pair of feet thrust out of the opening?

More violently did the hay move. Whatever made the stir, it was
certainly drawing closer and closer to the spot. All eyes were glued on
the agitated dried grass, and Ty got his loop in readiness for quick
work.

Then something was seen pushing out through the hay, which gave way
before the energetic attack. Two extra large feet, encased in brogans
that looked as though they might have covered many weary miles in their
day, came into view; proving that the man must be making a crab-like
retreat, keeping his face toward the fire.

Perhaps fortune favored the boys, for had the man projected his head
first he might have detected their presence in time to duck in again;
though for that matter, with the fire burning briskly beyond, he would
find himself between two evils, and must sooner or later issue forth, or
be cremated in the hay barn.

Waiting until the main part of the long-legged tramp had wriggled into
view, Elmer made a sudden gesture. The others had been waiting for this,
and instantly pounced upon the figure that lay upon the ground.

While Ted and Landy deposited their combined weight on the fellow's
back, Elmer on his part hastened to snatch hold of his arms, and whip
them behind him almost before the tramp understood what was happening.

Ty was waiting, and the way he slipped that loop over both hands, and
tightened it, was worth seeing.

Having made all secure so far as things had gone, the patrol leader now
seized hold of the kicking legs, and began to pull. As the others came
to his assistance they were hardly two seconds in dragging the tramp out
of the hay mow; and thus far at least not the slightest sound had been
made calculated to betray the facts to the other rascal.

It was not Elmer's intention to let the fellow see, just yet, at least,
that he owed his capture to a parcel of scouts. He might burst out into
a tirade, which, while it could do him no particular good, might serve
to warn the other fellow, and cause him to change his plans.

Accordingly he motioned to Landy to sit down on him again; and then
bending low himself he pressed the end of his pocketknife against the
man's neck as he grunted into his ear:

"Keep still, now, unless you want me to press the trigger!"

Satisfied that Landy and Ted could manage the tied tramp, even if he
started to kick up a row, which was hardly likely, Elmer once more
turned his attention to that opening under the mow. Once again the
projecting hay was being violently agitated, and he believed the shorter
man must be following close upon his mate.

The programme would have to be repeated, and Elmer only hoped as good
success might attend his second effort as had his first.

It would be a big feather in the caps of the scouts could they say that
they had effected the capture of the two would-be train wreckers, alone
and unaided. But at the moment he was not thinking of such a thing as
glory; when it was a stern duty that had been suddenly thrust upon them,
and which they must not attempt to evade under any circumstances, if
they wished to be true to the principles of the organization to which
they belonged.

Shorty, however, must have managed to change his position in some
manner, if so be he had started along the tunnel in the same crab-like
method of procedure which his comrade had employed. For the first thing
they knew a frowsy head had been thrust out of the hay, and a pair of
eyes were blinking up at them.

Elmer was afraid lest the fellow draw back upon seeing what awaited him,
just as a tortoise will pull in its head at signs of danger.
Accordingly, he was determined not to allow such a thing to happen.
True, with the advancing fire Shorty would speedily have to decide which
fate he must choose; but that might mean he would yield himself a
prisoner to the Fairfield police; and Elmer wanted the Boy Scouts to get
all the credit possible.

On this account, then, he pounced on the man, and gripped him by the
shoulders. Elmer was himself far from a weakling, and the man happened
to be taken very much by surprise; so that before he could collect his
wits sufficiently to make any show of defense, he found himself out on
the ground, with a couple of energetic young fellows hovering over him.

Ty, not having a second rope handy, had snatched up his club again. When
he saw that the shorter rascal was starting to make a move, as though
intending to get to his feet, when trouble must have followed, Ty waved
the wagon spoke threateningly over his head, as he yelled excitedly:

"Lie down, you, 'less you want me to let her fall! Stretch out and roll
over on your face, d'ye hear? Quick, now, keep amovin'! 'Everybody's
doin' it,' you know. Now, Elmer, if you only had another piece of
string handy, there's a good chance to snug him up good and tight."

Elmer did not have the cord or the rope; but all the same he was equal
to the demands of the occasion. He snatched his big red bandana
handkerchief from around his neck. He had seen such useful articles
serve strange purposes before; and why should this one not take the
place of a rope?

So he whipped it quickly around the thick wrists of the man, almost
before the fellow could get it through his head what had happened.

"Now, let's pull them farther away from here, because the barn's going
to be a hot place pretty soon," Elmer remarked.

Seizing hold, two to each prisoner, the boys succeeded in dragging them
some little distance off. Meanwhile some one had noticed what they were
doing, and presently the Fairfield Police head came running out of the
barn, rubbing his smarting eyes, and, coming upon the little party,
stopped to stare in astonishment.



CHAPTER XVI.

GOOD-BY TO THE SWEETWATER.


"WHAT are you doing to those fellows, boys?" demanded the champion of
law and order; from which remark it was plain to be seen that the smoke
had affected the eyes of the police officer to such an extent that he
had failed to recognize the culprits, and possibly believed the boys
were only carrying on high among themselves, as boys over in his town
frequently did, to the unhappiness of the constables.

"We just took a notion to prevent them from escaping, sir," remarked
Elmer. "And if you think you can hold them, we're willing to turn them
over into your charge, in the presence of Mr. Brady here and the
others."

A group began to cluster around them, most of the men rubbing their
smarting eyes. Already did they realize the uselessness of trying to put
up a fight against the flames that were spreading resistlessly amid the
hay.

"Well, I declare if it ain't the two hands that worked for me, and then
tried to rob my house, setting it on fire as they ran away!" declared
Mr. Brady, as he got a good look at the prostrate men.

"Do you mean to say these are the fugitives I have been chasing, the
desperate yeggmen named Shorty McCabe and Lanky Jim Smith?" cried the
police head.

"That's just who they are, sir," replied Elmer.

"But where did you find them?" demanded the other, hardly willing to
believe the plain evidence of his eyes and ears.

"As soon as I knew they had set fire to the hay I guessed it was only
meant to draw attention to that quarter while they slipped away. I've
seen that game played more than once out West, sir," Elmer remarked,
modestly.

"And it was a fact, was it; they did try to steal off?" questioned the
other.

"We found a place where there was a board off the barn, and Elmer, he
expected that was the way they'd come out," said Ty, breaking in; for he
just wanted this consequential personage to understand that he did not
know so very much after all, in spite of his splendid uniform and that
wonderful strut.

"Which same they did, all right," spoke up Landy, "and then, you see, we
just sat on 'em. Reckon the long feller must 'a' thought a mountain had
caved in when I dropped on his back."

"Will you take charge of the prisoners, Mr. Benchley?" asked Elmer.

"That's what we're here for, young fellow; though, as a rule we don't
much fancy boys interfering with the pursuit of justice," answered the
other, who did not look any too happy over the way things had turned
out.

Elmer, on his part, was fully satisfied Mr. Brady and a number of the
others had crowded around, astonished at the turn matters had taken, and
staring at the two prisoners. They would be in a position to prove,
should it be necessary at any time in the future, that the scouts had
indeed effected the capture of the hunted train wreckers, without any
assistance from the police.

And as for Shorty and Lanky Jim, it would not be polite to tell what
they thought and said when they discovered that their captors were
merely four half-grown boys. Perhaps on first seeing the khaki trousers
and leggings of the scouts they may have labored under the impression
that the militia had been called out to ran them down; and this would
account for the meekness shown all along.

The barn was now in the grasp of the fire. They could see the billows of
flame leaping upward; and a dense black smoke began to rise.

"This is tough luck, Mr. Brady," said Landy, after the officers had
fastened some shining steel ornaments to the wrists of their prisoners,
and led them over to the waiting car. "After saving your house by a
close shave, it's hard to have your barn and hay go up in smoke."

But the farmer did not seem to be very deeply concerned.

"Barn's insured; and it's an old one at that," he remarked, with a half
smile; "and as luck would have it, I sold all the hay in there just last
week, for cash! The man who bought it took out insurance, I believe. But
you boys have certainly covered yourselves with a lot of glory this
morning. First, saving my house, and then capturing those tough
characters. I consider that I'm getting off mighty cheap. Hope some of
you fellows will take a notion to camp up this way more times than a
few. It pays to have Boy Scouts around. That's been my experience,
anyhow."

"Well, how about milk, Mr. Brady?" asked Elmer.

"We brought that tin bucket along, but it's mixed up with all the rest
now. Suppose we could get one of your women folks to go to the milk
house with all this excitement on?"

"Why, any one of 'em would be only too proud to do such a little thing
for the brave boys who worked so hard to save a roof over their heads.
And don't think, young fellow," the farmer added, turning on the
confused Ty, suddenly, "that we don't appreciate what you did, just
because it turned out to be a pup instead of a baby. That was as bold a
thing as ever I saw done. If I had any boys about your age, I'd make
sure that they joined the scout movement before they were a week older.
Seems like it cultivates the best there is in a lad."

All of the boys glowed with pleasure at hearing these hearty words.

"Thank you, Mr. Brady," said Elmer. "It sure is a satisfaction to know
that you look at things that way. And we feel repaid for all we've done,
don't we, boys?"

"It's only been a pleasure to play coon for you, Mr. Brady," grinned
Landy.

"And I'm glad it was only a dog instead of a real baby," declared Ty,
stoutly; "'cause, you see, something might have happened to hitch my
plans, and think what a terrible thing would have happened then."

"Come with me, boys, and I'll see that you get milk; yes, cream if you'd
prefer it. It's lucky that those haystacks happen to be as far off as
they are, and the wind is blowing away from them; because, you see, I
kept that part of the crop. Intended making a lot of repairs to the barn
after it was empty. Now I'll take the insurance money, add some more to
it, and build me a better place three times over."

"There go Shorty and Jim," announced Landy, as the car started off for
the near-by public road.

"And they look at us as if they could eat us alive," commented Ty.

"I gueth thome of uth would rather thtick in their throath," remarked
Ted, gloomily.

"What ails you, Ted?" asked Elmer, as they trailed along after Mr.
Brady. "You don't look like you were altogether happy."

"I know," announced Landy, a little maliciously. "He just wanted to get
a chance to cut off a few arms and legs, and such things as go with a
battle. I could see it in his eyes when it looked like we were going to
have a real rumpus with them train wreckers. And it all turned out so
easy, Ted is disgusted. Ain't it so, Ted?"

The budding surgeon of the troop shrugged his shoulders and grunted the
one word: "Rotten!"

And those boys, who knew Ted so well, could understand something of the
wild ambition that must have fired his soul when he figured that one or
more persons must surely be seriously hurt, when the police came in
contact with the two house burners. But it had passed off, and now the
car containing prisoners and captors had gone, without even one little
blow having been struck on either side.

"What's the sense of knowing how to bind up wounds, and do all that sort
of stunts, when nothing ever happens; that's what Ted is saying to
himself," Landy remarked, chuckling as he spoke, for he did dearly love
to poke fun at others.

"If you keep on," said Ted, with a dark look, "there'll be a subject
forthcoming in double-quick order. But somebody'll have to sweep you up
with a broom first before I can do anything with you."

So Landy subsided, even though of course he knew that Ted was only
"talking through his hat," as he expressed it, and for effect.

Having procured the needed milk, the four boys returned to camp. Loud
were the lamentations of George and Adam when they learned what a great
event they had missed by not accompanying the others to the Brady home.
At first George, true to his nature, declined to believe a word of it;
but when he and Adam, urged on by curiosity to forget whatever cause
they had had for remaining in camp, hurried over to the scene of
excitement, they heard the story from numerous lips; so that the last
doubt was laid.

The balance of the day was spent in resting up, for all of them were
sore from their unusual exertions, however much they might try to hide
the fact. Of course a plunge in the river had soon removed all the smoke
stains, and refreshed them at the same time.

"It's lucky we had on our oldest trousers and leggings," remarked Elmer,
when they came to examine into the condition of things. "What with water
slopping over the pails, and the smoke and cinders, these are a sight
right now. But it'll wash out, fellows, and that's something our record
made this day will never do."

"Only one thing I'm sorry about," remarked Landy.

"What'th that! Anything to do with the way Ty here thailed into that
burning crib, and thnatched out the poor little innothent lamb, Bennie?"
asked Ted.

"No. What I meant was that I forgot to take Lil Artha's camera along
when we started for the farmhouse, because I never thought we'd have
anything happen to us worth remembering. Just think, boys, if I had
snapped off half a dozen views of that business, wouldn't they deserve a
frame in our meeting room?"

"Just what they would," affirmed Landy. "I'd give anything if I had one
to show my folks what a hero their son and heir had grown to be. But
then," he added, sighing, "they wouldn't have known me with all that
black on my face."

"Come off!" cried George. "Anybody'd know you by your elegant figure; I
could tell you a mile away, with one eye shut."

"Oh, thank you, George!" said Landy effusively, just as though he really
believed his cousin meant it. "I always knew you were a good chap, and
could appreciate true merit, no matter where found. It's worth something
to hear such splendid words of praise from one of your own family. I'll
treasure them for a long while, sure."

"Don't believe a word of it," remarked George, true to his colors, and a
doubter from the word "go."

Nothing more out of the way happened to the scouts while they were in
that snug camp on the Sweetwater. We saw them first on that same stream,
and it seems only right that we should take our last glimpse of some of
our friends while they are still in camp.

When on the morrow they would start to wend their way homeward, it would
doubtless be with many regrets, for they had certainly had a great time
of it, all told. As school duties began, the Hickory Ridge Troop of Boy
Scouts would not find so many opportunities for outings; but the ties
that had bound them together all summer still held good; and no matter
what the sport that engaged their attention, these lads who had signed
the roster under Roderic Garrabrant's guidance were bound to be drawn
together with the strong affection of those who have the same goal in
sight, and look upon one another as "comrades tried and true."

We shall hope to again meet with Elmer and his chums ere long, and in
new fields follow the fortunes of those good fellows who formed the
several patrols of the Hickory Ridge troop.


    THE END.



ADDENDA

BOY SCOUT NATURE LORE



BOY SCOUT NATURE LORE TO BE FOUND IN THE HICKORY RIDGE BOY SCOUT SERIES.


    Wild Animals of the United States } in Number I.
    Tracking                          }

THE CAMPFIRES OF THE WOLF PATROL.


Trees and Wild Flowers of the United States in Number II.

WOODCRAFT, OR HOW A PATROL LEADER MADE GOOD.


Reptiles of the United States in Number III.

PATHFINDER, OR THE MISSING TENDERFOOT.


Fishes of the United States in Number IV.

FAST NINE, OR A CHALLENGE FROM FAIRFIELD.


Insects of the United States in Number V.

GREAT HIKE, OR THE PRIDE OF THE KHAKI TROOP.


Birds of the United States in Number VI.

ENDURANCE TEST, OR HOW CLEAR GRIT WON THE DAY.



THE BIRDS OF THE UNITED STATES


THE birds constitute a large group of the animal kingdom. Their chief
distinguishing feature is their covering of feathers. Another
characteristic is the production of their young enclosed in eggs.


THE VULTURES.

[Illustration: TURKEY BUZZARD.]

The name "vulture" is applied to a family of birds of prey. The bill of
the vulture is large and very strong; the head and neck are almost
naked, being very lightly sprinkled with down. It is a carrion-devouring
bird and does not attack living animals. It displays marvelous quickness
in discovering a dead body. Vultures are generally protected in the
countries where they are found because of their value in clearing away
the putrid animal matter which would otherwise be injurious as well as
disagreeable. The American vultures sometimes reach a large size and are
very powerful in flight.

The Turkey Buzzard and Carrion Crow, both of which are vultures, are
common in the temperate parts of America. The Carrion Crow is found as
far North as Carolina. The Turkey Buzzard is not a true buzzard and is
wrongly so called.


THE EAGLE.

Eagles are large and powerful birds. The flight of this magnificent bird
is very beautiful and imposing, but its gait when on land is rather
awkward. Its food is usually smaller birds and quadrupeds such as hares,
rabbits, etc., but it does not hesitate to carry off young lambs or
sometimes to destroy sickly sheep. It generally hunts in pairs, one
eagle watching at some height while the other courses along the
ground and scares the game from the bushes. It lays two eggs of a
yellowish-white color with brownish spots on a nest composed of a great
mass of sticks, brush and grass. The young are fledged about the end of
July. While the young are in the nest it is very dangerous to approach
it as the eagles are then extremely fierce and daring. Some instances
have been related of children that have been carried off by an eagle,
but these stories are very doubtful. Eagles have certainly been known to
pounce upon children and carry them a little way, but there are no true
accounts of children having been actually taken to the eagles' nest,
although there are many stories founded on such a supposition. The beak
of the eagle is curved from the face, having a sharp point. Its wings
are long and large. They catch and kill their own prey, but unlike the
vultures will not eat carrion. The eagle which is found in North America
is usually the golden eagle, and inhabits the Western States. The
Indians called it "the War Eagle." Its feathers are dark brown.

[Illustration: AMERICAN BALD EAGLE.]


THE BUZZARDS.

The family of Buzzards are distinguished by their short beaks, large
rounded wings and squared tails. They live on small animals, reptiles
and various insects.

[Illustration: COMMON BUZZARD.]

The Common Buzzard, when searching for food, rests upon some high
branch, keeping a keen watch on the ground, and waiting patiently until
some small animal makes its appearance or some bit of carrion is
scented. Its length is from twenty to twenty-two inches. In flight it is
rather slow and heavy. The bird popularly known as a Hen Hawk is a
buzzard.


THE FALCONS.

The falcons are also birds of prey. Hawks are members of this family.
The Peregrine Falcon is an inhabitant of most parts of Europe, Asia,
South America and North America. It builds its nest on cliffs and lays
from two to four eggs which are spotted with dark red. It preys on other
birds; its strength and swiftness are very great, enabling it to strike
down its prey with great ease; indeed, it has been known to disable five
partridges in succession. It changes the color of its plumage several
times before it arrives at full maturity. Its length is from fifteen to
eighteen inches.

The Sparrow Hawk feeds on mice, ground squirrels, insects, small birds.
It displays great pertinacity in pursuit of its prey which it will chase
for a long while, skimming along a few feet above the ground. When taken
young it is easily tamed and will then associate with the most
incongruous companions. Its length is from twelve to fifteen feet. It
builds upon lofty trees.


THE OWLS.

The owls are nocturnal birds, pursuing their prey by night and sleeping
by day. They have a large round head with enormous eyes looking forward.
Many species possess two feathery tufts placed on the head greatly
resembling horns. In order to enable them to see their prey their eyes
are enormously large, capable of taking in every ray of light. To
protect them from the cold they are furnished with a dense covering of
downy feathers which also prevents the movements of the wing from being
heard. The beak is short and horny, but very strong. They prey on small
animals, fish, insects, reptiles. The cry of the owl is very peculiar
and weird. This, coupled with their strange appearance, has made them
objects of superstition. The ancients adopted them as symbols of wisdom.
The owls of North America that are the best known are the Horned Owl,
the Grayish-barred Owl and the Mottled Owl.

[Illustration: AN OWL.]

The Snowy Owl also is found in North America; it is a good fisher,
snatching its prey from the water by a sudden grasp of the foot; it also
preys on small animals, chasing and striking at them with its foot. It
makes its nest on the ground and lays three or four white eggs. Its
length is from twenty-two to twenty-seven inches. It extends its wings
four feet. There are some species of owl found in America that burrow,
living in the same hole with prairie dogs, making their nest in the
mouth of the prairie dog's burrow.

Cousins to the owls are the Nightjars, for example, the night hawk and
whip-poor-will. They feed on moths and insects which they catch as they
fly. Their eggs are laid on the ground without a nest.


THE SWALLOWS.

Swallows are remarkable for their great power of wing, their wide
mouths, their short legs and weak feet. Their wing feathers are long,
stiff and pointed, and their tails are long and forked. Nine species of
swallow are found north of Mexico. They spend most of their time on the
wing and live almost entirely upon insects which they capture as they
fly; their large mouths particularly adapt them for this manner of
feeding. They nest frequently in colonies; they migrate in large flocks
and can often be seen in great quantities at roosting places. They show
skill in the construction of their nests. The purple martin belongs to
this family; it is common in the South but rare in the Northern States.
The tree swallow builds its nest, of grasses and feathers in the hollow
of a tree. The bank swallow nests in a sand-bank.


THE SWIFTS.

The swifts are often confused with swallows owing to the similarity of
their flight and the manner in which they feed. A Chimney Swift,
commonly but erroneously called the Chimney Swallow, in construction is
more like the humming-bird than the swallow; they nest in chimneys about
ten feet from the top.


THE KINGFISHER.

These birds are chiefly tropical, the Belted Kingfisher being the only
one of the family that is found north of Texas. They feed on fishes and
frequent the land near the water and nest in holes which they make in a
bank. They perch on some limb overhanging the water and watchfully wait
for their dinner.

[Illustration: KINGFISHER.]


THE HUMMING-BIRD.

[Illustration: HUMMING-BIRD.]

Eighteen species of these have been found in the United States, but only
one of these is found east of the Mississippi. They feed on insects and
also on the juices of flowers. The humming-bird has no song, but the
beauty of its plumage makes up for this deficiency. It darts through the
air almost as quickly as thought; now it is within a yard of your
path--in an instant gone--now it flutters from flower to flower to sip
the dew--it is now a ruby--now a topaz--now an emerald--now burnished
gold. Its tongue is almost like that of the woodpecker, being curled
around the head under the skin, and is thus capable of being darted to a
considerable distance; like many other little creatures, it is
remarkable for its assurance and impudence; it is easily tamed for that
very reason and has been known to domesticate itself in an hour from the
time it is captured, and often when released has returned again to
partake of the dainties which it has tasted during its captivity. It
seems to have no fear and will attack any bird, irrespective of size.
The nest of the humming-bird is as dainty as the bird itself.


THE WRENS.

The American House Wren is larger than the European wren, being about
five inches long. It is of a reddish-brown color. The nest of the wren
is built in any convenient cranny: an ivy-covered tree, the thatch of a
barn or a warm scarecrow are all used by this featherless little bird.
It is a good fighter and will attack bluebirds and swallows. The nest is
usually of an oval shape, always covered on the outside with some
material resembling the color of the objects around it, such as green
moss, if built among ivy, or brown lichen, if built on a rock or in the
fork of a withered branch. The eggs are six or eight in number--white,
specked with reddish-brown.

The Carolina Wren frequents the undergrowth in thickets; he is the most
nervously active of all the wrens.

The Bewick's Wren is often found in the barnyard.

The Winter Wren builds its nest usually in the tree-roots and heaps of
brush.

The Marsh Wrens build their nests of a globular shape with the entrance
at the side, either attached to weeds or tall grass, near or on the
ground.


THE WARBLERS.

This is a very large family; they feed almost entirely upon insects.
They are the first to leave upon the approach of winter and the last to
come in the spring. They migrate at night and thousands are killed
annually by dashing against lighthouses.

The black and white warbler is streaked with black and white and can be
readily identified; it can be often seen creeping under branches in
search of its insect food.

The yellow warbler. What boy has not seen a "wild canary"? It likes to
inspect the gardens and shrubbery around our houses, and consequently
may be frequently noticed. There are a great many more in this numerous
family.


THE THRUSHES.

This is another large bird family. In it are the bluebird and the
friendly robin; their song is very sweet.

The wood thrush is less shy than the veery or hermit thrush. It can be
distinguished from the others by its larger size and its ruddy color and
the large black spots covering its underparts. The veery's upper parts
are cinnamon color; its dress is finely marked and its sides almost
white; it inhabits the dense woods and does not frequent the habitation
of man as does the wood thrush.

The Hermit Thrush is distinguished by its red tail, which is much
brighter in color than its back; it comes early in the spring and
lingers long in the autumn.

There are probably few boys who do not know a robin when they see one,
nor does the bluebird need to be introduced.


THE BLACKBIRDS AND ORIOLES.

The Red-winged Blackbird has bright scarlet shoulders; the rest of the
feathers are mainly black; they frequent marshes.

Orchard Orioles are to be found in the orchards, the elms, the maples,
and other trees of our lawns. This bird is remarkable for the complete
change he makes in his plumage, from a dull yellow to a deep orange and
black, the bird in the summer presenting an entirely different aspect
from that in the winter. He builds his nest very near the end of a tall
limb where it will swing in the wind like a hammock.

The Bobolink is another one of this family that changes its clothes each
year. It goes North as the bobolink and goes South as the reedbird or
ricebird.

The Purple Grackle comes to us early in the spring; its plumage is an
iridescent purplish and greenish black.

The Cowbirds build no nests; they deposit their eggs in the nests of
smaller birds. These eggs are hatched with the others in the nest and
the young birds clamor constantly for food and often starve or crowd out
the rightful bird babies.


THE THRASHERS, MOCKING-BIRDS, ETC.,

frequent the borders or the edges of the woods and have considerable
singing ability; possibly the best known of this family is the catbird,
so called because his most familiar cry is similar to the plaintive
"meow" of the cat. Although very few seem to know it, the catbird is
also a fine songster.

The mocking-bird is a great singer, sometimes singing throughout a
particularly bright moonlight night as well as all day long. While
sitting on its eggs it is an exceedingly courageous bird, attacking
without discrimination men, dogs, or any animal that may approach too
near the nest. The black snake is the special object of its vengeance.
The snake, which has perhaps just arrived at the vicinity of the nest,
and is contemplating a pleasant breakfast on the young or eggs, is
violently attacked by the enraged mocking-bird, which, by repeated blows
on the head, generally destroys its enemy, and then, mounting on a bush,
pours forth a triumphant song of victory. The nest is made generally in
a bush or fruit tree, frequently close to houses, as the bird is
protected by the inhabitants. The mocking-bird is often kept tame, in
which case, so far from its imitative powers showing any decrease, the
variety of domestic sounds heard about the house is often very
perplexing.

[Illustration: MOCKING-BIRD.]

The thrasher is also a vocalist of some quality; he likes to sit where
he can be seen when he is singing, generally high up in the tree.


THE FLYCATCHERS.

The flycatchers are songless; they are found all over the United States.
They remain on their perch, waiting for a passing insect; when their
prey is within sight they dart after it and then return to their
station.

The kingbird is grayish in color and bears a crest which, when raised,
reveals reddish feathers. He perches quietly at his station, but is
alert to every movement near him, and rarely does a passing insect
escape his keen eye.

The phoebe is very fond of building its nest under an old bridge. His
call is a monotonous, plaintive reiteration. It sounds as though he were
saying, "phoebe"; hence his name.

Very common flycatchers are the Arcadian Flycatcher, the Wood Peewee and
the Least Flycatcher: the latter being called the Least Flycatcher on
account of its being the smallest in size.


THE SHRIKES.

The color of this bird is gray, black and white. It causes fright at
once among sparrows, on which it preys as well as upon mice and insects.
He has a characteristic flight, flying steadily and in a straight line
close to the ground, flapping his wings. When he gets near his
destination he reaches it by a sudden upward movement. The shrikes are
often called "butcher birds"; they well deserve their name; they
transfix their prey upon a thorn preparatory to devouring it, having
darted on it from some place of concealment after the same manner as the
flycatchers.


THE CROWS AND JAYS.

It will probably surprise you to know that the gaily colored blue jay
belongs to the same family as the dusky crow. All of this family are
great feeders, taking fruits, seeds, insects, eggs and refuse; all of
them possess great intelligence. The blue jay seems to take positive
pleasure in teasing other birds; he is noisy and reckless; he nests
usually in the crotch of a tree from ten to twenty feet high.

The crow's harsh voice, large size and black plumage make this bird well
known. Every boy who lives in the country knows how fond the crow is of
corn, and who has not seen the scarecrows flapping their empty sleeves
in the winds of the cornfield.


THE FINCHES AND SPARROWS.

[Illustration: BLUE JAY.]

This is the largest bird family. They possess stout bills fitted to
crush the seeds on which they feed. The House, or English sparrow, was
first introduced into the United States in 1851. The Crossbill derives
its name from having the tips of its bill crossed. They frequent pine
forests and the structure of their bills helps them in forcing the
cones open to get at the seeds within.

The Goldfinches are canary-yellow and black; they travel usually in
small flocks; in song they become at times so ecstatic that it seems as
if they would burst their little bodies.

The Junco is a small, plump bird. When the summer birds have left for
the South the Junco comes from the North.

The Cardinal is one of the gayest of our feathered friends; its plumage
is a rosy-red with a little black patch at the throat and the crest; it
nests in bushes, the nest being composed of twigs, rootlets and lined
with grasses.

The Indigo Bunting is blue as his name. You will find him in old
pastures among bushes and clearings. The female of this bird is like a
sparrow in marking, except for the tinge of blue which you may discover
in her plumage.


THE TANAGERS

are closely related to the finches; all of them have pretty clothes,
especially the Scarlet Tanager, who is bright scarlet with black wings
and tail. It is well worth a day's tramp to see one.


THE WAXWINGS.

The Cedar Waxwings arrive late in the spring. They have a black line
which runs through the eye; their upper parts are brown, their head is
greenish, their tails gray. You will often find them among fruit and
shady trees; they like old orchards where they hunt for cankerworms.
They have red spots on their wings that look like drops of sealing-wax.


THE VIREOS.

Small insect-eating birds; they do not catch their prey on the wing as
do the flycatchers, but search for their food on bark and leaves; they
are pleasant songsters and their nests are neat and well-rounded,
suspended from the fork of a branch.


THE WOODPECKERS.

[Illustration: WOODPECKERS.]

The claw of the woodpecker is constructed of two toes forward and two
toes backward, which assist them in climbing the tree-trunks; their tail
feathers are pointed and stiff and serve as a prop; the bill is adapted
for chiseling out the homes of grubs, insects, etc., in the bark.

The Downy Woodpecker. Its upper parts are black, scarlet band on the
neck, the middle of the back is white, while the wing feathers are
specked with white. You can often see him in an orchard or in the trees
on the lawn, picking out the grubs as he climbs the tree-trunks and
branches.

The Sapsucker has a scarlet cap; its back is black and yellow, tail
black; it feeds largely on tree juices.

Red-headed Woodpecker. Head, neck, throat and principal parts red; back
black and white; nests generally in a dead tree.

The Flicker. The top of the head gray; red band across back of the neck;
back brownish with black bars; they are frequently called "high-holes."


THE PIGEONS AND DOVES.

The passenger pigeon is now practically extinct. Captain Bendire,
writing twenty years ago, says: "It looks now as if their total
extermination might be accomplished within the present century. The only
thing which retards their complete extinction is that it no longer pays
to net these birds, they being too scarce for this now, at least in the
more settled portions of the country, and also, perhaps, that from
constant and unremitting prosecution on their breeding-grounds they have
changed their habits somewhat, the majority no longer breeding in
colonies, but scattering all over the country and breeding in isolated
pairs." They used to be seen in enormous flocks, which, as they
migrated, really hid the sun, destroyed forests miles wide, breaking
down branches with their weight and wasting the crops far and wide. This
bird moves with extraordinary speed and goes enormous distances. Many
have been killed in New York State with their crops full of rice that
they must have eaten in Georgia. That means that they flew three hundred
miles in six hours. In 1813, Audubon says the air was literally filled
with pigeons, and the midday sun darkened as in an eclipse, and the
flocks flew over him in countless numbers for three whole days.

The Mourning Dove is similar to the Passenger Pigeon, but not as large.


GROUSE.

The Grouse are as a rule ground birds and trust to their ability to hide
to escape detection, their color being such as to make them difficult to
detect against a background of dead leaves. The Ruffed Grouse can easily
be detected by the drumming sound which it makes. This drumming begins
gradually and gradually dies away. The sound is made by the male bird
beating its wings in the air. The young birds run about like small
chickens. They feed on insects, berries and seeds.


QUAIL.

Who has not heard the quail call across the fields "bobwhite, poor
bobwhite"? They like the fields of corn in the fall; in the winter they
journey to the deep woods; like the grouse, they rely upon their
coloration for protection and will only take flight as a last resort.


THE PLOVERS.

In habit they are like the snipes; but their tails are shorter and
thicker. The Golden Plover may be found in marshes and sand-flats; they
can run very rapidly; they may be seen as the tide goes out feeding on
sand-flats or sand-bars. After running a few yards they stop suddenly
and seem to take their bearings. It is well known by its plaintive cry
and the stratagems it employs to decoy intruders away from its nest, or
rather eggs.

The Killdeer is so called on account of the cry which it utters; it
resembles "kill-dee, kill-dee." It is found usually in flocks and nests
on the ground in a hollow.


THE CRANES

frequent marshes and are fond of frogs, field mice, snakes, etc. They
have a loud cry. When in flight the neck is not bent like the Heron's.
They nest on the ground.


THE HERONS AND BITTERNS.

[Illustration: HERON.]

The Herons nest in flocks; the bitterns are not as sociable. The latter
inhabit grassy marshes, while Herons like the shores of lakes and
rivers. The Herons fly with their neck bent in between their shoulders.
The American Bittern lives in large grassy meadows; it makes a peculiar
booming sound which can be heard for a long distance. The Great White
Heron is found along the Gulf of Mexico and in Florida. The Great Blue
Heron is found further north; its nest is usually in tall trees and is
made up of sticks and twigs. The Egrets belong to this family.


THE SPOONBILLS.

The Roseate Spoonbill is found only in the very Southern parts of the
United States and in small quantities; their bill is large and flat,
shaped at the end like a large spoon.

[Illustration: THE SPOONBILLS.]


THE IBISES.

The Ibises find their food on mud-flats along the shores of lakes and
rivers. It consists of frogs, small fish, etc.


THE SNIPES AND SANDPIPERS.

The birds are also found near the water; they have long bills which they
force into the mud in search of their food.

The Wilson Snipe nests in meadows and swamps. It builds its nest on the
ground and is a game bird popular with the sportsman. The Snipe in its
habits much resembles the Woodcock; its flight is very singular,
rendering it a difficult mark.


THE AMERICAN WOODCOCK.

The presence of Woodcock can always be determined by the holes which
they make in the earth in search of worms; these are known as woodcock
borings. When the bird is found near its nest or young birds it will
feign an injury and will endeavor in this way to lead you away from
them. The Woodcock frequents dense thickets during the day and at night
it leaves for swamps and meadows in search of worms and insects.


AVOCETS AND STILTS.

Called "The Wading Snipe"; they wade in shallow water and can swim when
necessary. The bill of this bird is curved like that of the Curlew, but
the curve is upward instead of downward.


THE RAILS, GALLINULES AND COOTS.

The Rails live in marshes. The Gallinules live on marshy banks of
rivers, lakes, etc. The Coots are still more aquatic, and are very
noisy; all of this family lay their eggs on the ground.

[Illustration: FLAMINGOES.]


THE FLAMINGOES.

The Flamingoes formerly visited Southern Florida every winter. Now their
appearance is rare. The singularly shaped beak of this splendid bird is
peculiarly adapted to its long and flexible neck. When the bird wishes
to feed it merely stoops its head into the water; the upper mandible is
then lowest and is well fitted to receive the nutritive substances which
are entangled in a filter placed on the edges of the beak.

The color of its plumage is a deep brilliant scarlet, except the quill
feathers, which are black. When a number of these birds stand ranged in
a line, according to their custom, they present the appearance of a
small and well-drilled body of soldiers.


THE SWANS.

Wild Swans are now rare birds in the United States. They feed as they
swim by putting their long necks and heads under the water. They swim
with great rapidity.

[Illustration: SWAN.]


GEESE.

Watch the skies in the spring and when you see a V-shaped flock of birds
flying northward, the wild geese are flying. It is said that the apex of
the V is always an old gander. They feed on vegetable matter, both in
the water and on shore.

The White-fronted Goose is common in the Mississippi Valley and on the
Pacific Coast.

The Canada Goose travels many thousand miles each year in its
migrations.

Geese nest on the ground, the nest being made of grasses and twigs and
thickly lined with down.


DUCKS.

The Mallard is the origin of our domestic bird, and is widely spread
over the northern parts of Europe, Asia and America. In the winter it
migrates in countless flocks to the warmer States.

[Illustration: WILD DUCK.]

The Black Duck is sometimes called the Black Mallard. The Red-head Duck
along the Atlantic Coast feeds in salt water. The Canvasback is in great
demand on account of the superior quality of its flesh as food. Both the
Red-head and Canvasback are fond of feeding on wild celery, and it is
said that it is this that gives their flesh the fine flavor.


THE PELICANS.

These birds nest in colonies. Their flight is strong. The White Pelican
and the Brown Pelican are found in Florida. It is a very conspicuous
bird, its singular membranous pouch offering a distinction perfectly
unmistakable. The pouch, when distended, holds two gallons of water, but
the bird has the power of contracting it so that it can scarcely be
discerned.

[Illustration: PELICAN.]

The pouch serves as a net in which to scoop up the fish on which the
Pelican feeds.

Another most important use of the pouch is to convey food to the young.
The parent Pelican presses the pouch against its breast, in order to
enable the young to obtain the fish, which action in all probability
gave rise to the fable of the Pelican feeding its own blood. Although
web-footed, it can perch on trees, although it prefers sitting on rocks.


THE CORMORANTS.

Cormorants like the sea, but sometimes may be seen inland. They, too,
are colony birds. Their nests are made of sticks and seaweed.

[Illustration: CORMORANT.]

The Cormorant is exceedingly voracious, and devours an almost incredible
amount of fish. It is an excellent diver, and chases the fish actually
under the water, seldom if ever returning without having secured its
prey. Like the otter, when engaged in chase, it occasionally rises to
take breath, and then resumes the pursuit with renewed vigor. It has the
power of perching on trees, an accomplishment which we should hardly
suspect a web-footed bird of possessing.

The Cormorant is easily tamed, and its fishing propensities can be
turned to good account. The Chinese, at the present day, employ a kind
of Cormorant for that purpose, having previously placed a ring round the
bird's neck to prevent it from swallowing the fish. Its length is about
three feet.


THE PETRELS.

The Stormy Petrel is, under the name of Mother Carey's Chicken, the
terror of the sailor, who always considers the bird as the precursor of
a storm. It is the smallest of the web-footed birds. Few storms are
violent enough to keep this curious little bird from wandering over the
waves in search of the food that the disturbed water casts to the
surface.


THE ALBATROSSES.

The Albatrosses are relatives of the Petrels, but much larger birds.

The Wandering Albatross, the largest of the genus, is a well-known bird
in the southern seas, following ships for many miles. The flight of this
bird is peculiarly majestic. Its extreme length of wing prevents it from
rising at once from the ground, but when once launched into the air it
seems to float and direct its course without effort.

[Illustration: ALBATROSS.]


THE TERNS.

The Terns, or Sea Swallows, are possessed of great power and endurance
of flight, their long forked tails and pointed wings indicating strength
and swiftness.

It preys on fish, which it snatches from the surface with unerring aim
as it skims over the waves with astonishing velocity.

They inhabit the seashore and, unlike gulls, make distant journeys from
the coast.


THE GULLS.

The Gulls are larger birds than the Terns. As the vultures are the
scavengers of the land, these birds are the scavengers of the sea. They
are frequently seen at great distance from land, resting on the water.
Their nests are found in colonies.

[Illustration: GULL.]


PUFFINS.

The Puffin is an excellent diver, plunging fearlessly from a lofty cliff
into the sea, and speedily returning with its beak full of fish, which
are secured by their heads, and lie in a row along the bill of the
Puffin, forming a kind of piscatorial fringe. Its enormous and
sharp-edged bill renders it a formidable antagonist to intruders. It is
often called the "Sea Parrot."


LOONS.

Inhabit fresh water lakes during the summer and the sea during the
winter. They can swim considerable distances under water. Their nest is
near the shore.


GREBES.

The foot of the Grebes is not webbed like that of most water birds, but
each toe is separated and flattened, so as to serve as a separate
paddle.


COMMON RED BIRDS.

    Scarlet Tanager.
    Cardinal.
    Rose-breasted Grossbeak.
    Redstart.


COMMON BLUE BIRDS.

    Blue Jay.
    Bluebird.


COMMON YELLOW AND ORANGE BIRDS.

    Yellow Warbler.
    Flicker.
    Baltimore Oriole.


COMMON BLACK BIRDS.

    Crow.
    Purple Grackle.
    Red-winged Blackbird.
    Cowbird.


COMMON BLACK AND WHITE BIRDS.

    Black and White Warbler.
    Bobolink.
    Downy Woodpecker.


COMMON BROWN BIRDS.

    Thrushes.
    Sparrows.



INDEX.


                      PAGE

    Albatross, 174, 175
      Wandering, 174

    American Bald Eagle, 149

    American House Wren, 156

    Arcadian Flycatcher, 160

    Avocet, 168


    Baltimore Oriole, 177

    Bank Swallow, 153

    Belted Kingfisher, 153

    Bewick's Wren, 156

    Bittern, 166

    Black and White Warbler, 157, 177

    Blackbirds, 157
      Red-winged, 157, 177

    Black Duck, 172

    Bluebird, 157, 177

    Blue Jay, 160, 161, 177

    Bobolink, 158, 177

    Bobwhite, 165

    Brown Pelican, 172

    Butcher Bird, 160

    Buzzards, 150
      Common, 150
      Turkey, 147, 148


    Canada Goose, 171

    Canvasback Duck, 172

    Cardinal, 162, 177

    Carolina Wren, 156

    Carrion Crow, 148

    Catbird, 158

    Cedar Waxwing, 162

    Chimney Swift, 153

    Common Buzzard, 150

    Coot, 168

    Cormorant, 173, 174

    Cowbird, 158, 177

    Crane, 166

    Crossbill, 161

    Crow, 160, 177
      Carrion, 148

    Curlew, 168


    Doves, 164
      Mourning, 165

    Downy Woodpecker, 164, 177

    Ducks, 171, 172
      Black, 172
      Canvasback, 172
      Mallard, 171
      Red-head, 172


    Eagles, 148, 149
      American Bald, 149
      Golden, 148

    Egrets, 167

    English Sparrows, 161

    European Wren, 156


    Falcons, 151
      Peregrine, 161

    Finches, 161
      Gold, 162

    Flamingoes, 168, 169, 170

    Flicker, 164, 177

    Flycatchers, 159
      Arcadian, 160
      Least, 160


    Gallinules, 168

    Geese, 171
      Canadian, 171
      White-fronted, 171

    Golden Eagle, 148
      Plover, 165

    Goldfinch, 162

    Grackle, Purple, 158, 177

    Grayish-barred Owl, 152

    Great Blue Heron, 167
      White Heron, 167

    Grebes, 177

    Grosbeak, Rose-breasted, 177

    Grouse, 165
      Ruffed, 165

    Gulls, 175, 176


    Hawks, 151
      Hen, 150
      Sparrow, 151

    Hermit Thrush, 157

    Herons, 166, 167
      Great Blue, 167
      White, 167

    High Hole, 164

    Horned Owl, 152

    House Sparrows, 161

    House Wren, 156

    Humming-birds, 155


    Ibis, 167

    Indigo Bunting, 162


    Jay, 160, 161

    Junco, 162


    Killdeer, 165

    Kingbird, 159

    Kingfisher, 153, 154
      Belted, 153


    Least Flycatcher, 160

    Loon, 176


    Mallard Ducks, 171

    Marsh Wren, 156

    Martin, Purple, 153

    Mocking-bird, 158,159

    Mother Carey's Chickens, 174

    Mottled Owl, 152

    Mourning Doves, 165


    Night Hawk, 153

    Nightjar, 153


    Oriole, 157
      Baltimore, 177
      Orchard, 157

    Owls, 151
      Grayish-barred, 152
      Horned, 152
      Mottled, 152
      Snowy, 152


    Passenger Pigeon, 164

    Pewee, Wood, 160

    Pelican, 172
      Brown, 172
      White, 172

    Peregrine Falcon, 151

    Petrel, Stormy, 174

    Phoebe, 159

    Pigeon, 164
      Passenger, 164

    Plover, 165
      Golden, 165

    Puffin, 176

    Purple Grackle, 158, 177
      Martin, 153


    Quail, 165


    Rails, 168

    Red-head Duck, 172
      Headed Woodpecker, 164
      Winged Blackbird, 157, 177

    Redstart, 177

    Reedbird, 158

    Ricebird, 158

    Robin, 157

    Rose-breasted Grosbeak, 177

    Roseate Spoonbill, 167

    Ruffed Grouse, 165


    Sandpipers, 168

    Sapsucker, 164

    Scarlet Tanager, 162

    Sea Parrot, 176

    Shrike, 160

    Snipe, 168
      Wading, 168
      Wilson's, 168

    Snowy Owl, 152

    Sparrow Hawk, 151

    Sparrows, 161, 177
      English, 161
      House, 161

    Spoonbill, 167
      Roseate, 167

    Stormy Petrel, 174

    Swallows, 153
      Bank, 153
      Tree, 153

    Swans, 170

    Swifts, 153
      Chimney, 153


    Tanagers, 162, 177
      Scarlet, 162, 177

    Terns, 175

    Thrasher, 158, 159

    Thrush, 157, 177
      Hermit, 157
      Veery, 157
      Wood, 157

    Tree Swallow, 153

    Turkey Buzzard, 147, 148


    Veery Thrush, 157

    Vireo, 162

    Vulture, 147, 148


    Wading Snipe, 168

    Wandering Albatross, 174

    Warblers, 156, 157
      Black and White, 157, 177
      Yellow, 157, 177

    Waxwing, 162
      Cedar, 162

    Whip-poor-will, 153

    White-fronted Goose, 171
      Pelican, 172

    Wilson's Snipe, 168

    Winter Wren, 156

    Woodcock, 168

    Woodpecker, 163
      Downy, 164, 177
      Red-headed, 164

    Wood Thrush, 157

    Wood Pewee, 160

    Wrens, 156
      American House, 156
      Bewick's, 156
      Carolina, 156
      European, 156
      House, 156
      Marsh, 156
      Winter, 156


    Yellow Warbler, 157, 177



THE

Campfire and Trail Series


    1. In Camp on the Big Sunflower.
    2. The Rivals of the Trail.
    3. The Strange Cabin on Catamount Island.
    4. Lost in the Great Dismal Swamp.
    5. With Trapper Jim in the North Woods.
    6. Caught in a Forest Fire.

    By LAWRENCE J. LESLIE

A series of wholesome stories for boys told in an interesting way and
appealing to their love of the open.

    _Each, 12mo._      _Cloth._      _40 cents per volume_

    THE NEW YORK BOOK COMPANY
    147 FOURTH AVENUE
    NEW YORK



Christy Mathewson's Book


[Illustration: WON IN THE NINTH]

      _A Ripping Good Baseball Story by One Who Knows the
      Game_

This book has attained a larger sale than any baseball story ever
published.

The narrative deals with the students of a large university and their
baseball team, the members of which have names which enable the reader
to recognize them as some of the foremost baseball stars of the day
before their entrance into the major leagues.

One gains a very clear idea of "inside baseball" stripped of wearisome
technicalities. The book is profusely illustrated throughout and
contains also a number of plates showing the manner in which Mathewson
throws his deceptive curves, together with brief description of each.

    _Cloth bound 5-1/2 × 7-5/8_      _Price 50c. per volume_

    THE NEW YORK BOOK COMPANY
    147 FOURTH AVENUE      NEW YORK



Mrs. Meade's Books for Girls

Primrose Edition

Printed on fine quality book paper. Separate cover designs in colors.


    Daddy's Girl.
    A Girl from America.
    Sue, a Little Heroine.
    The School Queens.
    Wild Kitty.
    A Sweet Girl Graduate.
    A World of Girls.
    Polly--A New-Fashioned Girl.

  _Each, 12mo._        _Cloth._        _40 cents per volume_

      Mrs. Meade's girls' books never lose their popularity.

    THE NEW YORK BOOK COMPANY
    147 FOURTH AVENUE
    NEW YORK



_ECONOMICAL COOKING_

_Primrose Edition_

_Planned for Two or More Persons_

By

MISS WINIFRED S. GIBBS

      Dietitian and Teacher of Cooking of the New York
      Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor

  _Printed on Fine Quality Book Paper._     _Cover Design in Colors_


Many Cook Books have been published, from time to time, to meet various
requirements, or to elucidate certain theories, but very few have been
written to meet the needs of the large proportion of our population who
are acutely affected by the constantly increasing cost of food products.
Notwithstanding that by its valuable suggestions this book helps to
reduce the expense of supplying the table, the recipes are so planned
that the economies effected thereby are not offset by any lessening in
the attractiveness, variety or palatability of the dishes.

Of equal importance are the sections of this work which deal with food
values, the treatment of infants and invalids and the proper service of
various dishes.

The recipes are planned for two persons, but may readily be adapted for
a larger number. The book is replete with illustrations and tables of
food compositions--the latter taken from the latest Government
statistics.

  _Cloth Binding_     _Illustrated_     _30c. per volume, postpaid_

  THE NEW YORK BOOK COMPANY
  147 FOURTH AVENUE (near 14th St.) NEW YORK



CUT-OUT AND PAINT BOOKS


[Illustration: SCISSORS BOOK

_Dolls of All Nations_]

An original line of art studies printed in full rich colors on high
grade paper. This series introduces many novel features of interest, and
as the subject matters have been selected with unusual care, the books
make a strong appeal not only to the little ones but even to those of
riper years.

    Post Cards                _Painting Book_
    Dolls of all Nations      _Scissors Book_
    Our Army                  _Scissors Book_
    Children's Pets           _Puzzle Book_

    _Size 8-1/4 × 10-1/4 inches_

    Price 15c. per copy

    Send for sample and trade discount

    THE NEW YORK BOOK COMPANY
    147 FOURTH AVENUE       NEW YORK



THE ALGER BOOKS, BY HORATIO ALGER, JR.

THE "TWO-IN-ONE" EDITION


A new edition, 3 × 7-1/4 inches, bulk one inch, 360 pages, from new
plates, with new illustrations, two titles or stories to each volume,
sewed, cloth bindings, with picture covers in colors in several designs.

The two titles or stories contained in one volume gives more reading
matter and better value for the price than has been offered heretofore
in cloth-bound ALGER books.

The following volumes, each containing the two stories as listed, are
ready to deliver:

    VOL. 1--STRONG AND STEADY and STRIVE AND SUCCEED
    VOL. 2--BOUND TO RISE and RISEN FROM THE RANKS
    VOL. 3--JACK'S WARD and SHIFTING FOR HIMSELF
    VOL. 4--PAUL THE PEDDLER and PHIL THE FIDDLER
    VOL. 5--SLOW AND SURE and JULIUS THE STREET BOY
    VOL. 6--FACING THE WORLD and HARRY VANE
    VOL. 7--THE YOUNG OUTLAW and SAM'S CHANCE
    VOL. 8--WAIT AND HOPE and TONY THE TRAMP
    VOL. 9--HERBERT CARTER'S LEGACY and DO AND DARE
    VOL. 10--LUKE WALTON and A COUSIN'S CONSPIRACY
    VOL. 11--TRY AND TRUST and BRAVE AND BOLD
    VOL. 12--ANDY GORDON and BOB BURTON
    VOL. 13--THE YOUNG ADVENTURER and THE YOUNG SALESMAN
    VOL. 14--MAKING HIS WAY and SINK OR SWIM
    VOL. 15--MARK MASON'S TRIUMPH and JOE'S LUCK
    VOL. 16--THE TELEGRAPH BOY and THE CASH BOY
    VOL. 17--STRUGGLING UPWARD and HECTOR'S INHERITANCE
    VOL. 18--ONLY AN IRISH BOY and TOM THE BOOTBLACK

    PRICE THIRTY CENTS A VOLUME
    SOLD BY DEALERS EVERYWHERE

More ALGER books are sold and they are more popular than any other Boys'
books. Their high moral character, clean, manly tone, and the wholesome
lessons they teach without being goody-goody, make ALGER books as
acceptable to the parents as to the boys. The tendency of ALGER stories
is to the formation of an honorable, manly character. They convey
lessons of pluck, perseverance and self-reliance.

    THE NEW YORK BOOK COMPANY
    PUBLISHERS, 147 FOURTH AVE., NEW YORK, N. Y.



FAMOUS FICTION

THE "TWO-IN-ONE" EDITION

A new series of novels, containing the great books of the greatest
novelists, with either two novels in one volume, or in the case of some
of the very long novels, two volumes combined in one volume.

Size 5 × 7-1/4 inches, bulk one inch, 384 pages, from new plates, with
new illustrations, sewed, cloth bindings, with picture covers in colors,
in several designs.

The following volumes are ready to deliver:

    VOL. 1--AIKENSIDE and DORA DEANE, both by Mary J.
      Holmes

    VOL. 2--LENA RIVERS, by Mary J. Holmes, and TEN NIGHTS
      IN A BAR ROOM, by T. S. Arthur

    VOL. 3--BEULAH and INEZ, both by Augusta J. Evans

    VOL. 4--THE BARONET'S BRIDE and WHO WINS, both by
      Charles Garvice

    VOL. 5--STAUNCH AS A WOMAN and LED BY LOVE, both by
      Charles Garvice

    VOL. 6--CAST UP BY THE TIDE, by Dora Delmar, and
      GOLDEN GATES, by Bertha M. Clay

    VOL. 7--FAITH GARTNEY'S GIRLHOOD, by Mrs. A. D. T.
      Whitney, and DADDY'S GIRL, by Mrs. L. T. Meade

    VOL. 8--SOLDIERS THREE and THE LIGHT THAT FAILED, both
      by Rudyard Kipling

    VOL. 9--THE RIFLE RANGERS, by Mayne Reid, and TWO
      YEARS BEFORE THE MAST, by R. H. Dana

    VOL. 10--GREAT EXPECTATIONS, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, by
      Charles Dickens

    VOL. 11--ISHMAEL, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, by Mrs.
      Southworth

    VOL. 12--SELF-RAISED, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, by Mrs.
      Southworth

    PRICE THIRTY CENTS A VOLUME
    SOLD BY DEALERS EVERYWHERE

The two titles or stories contained in one volume gives more reading
matter and better value for the price than has been offered heretofore
in cloth-bound fiction books.

    THE NEW YORK BOOK COMPANY
    PUBLISHERS, 147 FOURTH AVE., NEW YORK, N. Y.



       *       *       *       *       *



Transcriber's note:

Obvious punctuation errors were corrected.

First advertising page, "Chenoweth" changed to "Chenowith" to match
actual book usage (Elmer Chenowith, a lad from)

Page 27, "ith" changed to "it" (stand it)

Page 65, "suite" changed to "suit" (Ty's long suit is)

Page 85, "galivanting" changed to "gallivanting" (he was just
gallivanting)

Page 129, "beween" changed to "between" (find himself beween)

Page 151, "iself" changed to "itself" (bird itself)





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