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Title: Roy Blakeley's Motor Caravan
Author: Fitzhugh, Percy Keese, 1876-1950
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Roy Blakeley's Motor Caravan" ***

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[Illustration: THE MOTOR CARAVAN ON THE WAY.]



                      ROY BLAKELEY’S MOTOR CARAVAN

                                   BY

                          PERCY KEESE FITZHUGH

                               Author of

                       TOM SLADE, BOY SCOUT, TOM
                          SLADE AT BLACK LAKE,
                           ROY BLAKELEY, ETC.

                              ILLUSTRATED

                     PUBLISHED WITH THE APPROVAL OF
                       THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

                            GROSSET & DUNLAP
                          PUBLISHERS—NEW YORK

                  Made in the United States of America



                          COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY
                            GROSSET & DUNLAP



                           Table of Contents

               I—Some Expedition!
               II—Who We All Are
               III—Who Is Pee-Wee Harris, and If So, Why?
               IV—Pee-Wee’s Watch
               V—The Caravan
               VI—Stranded
               VII—A Good Turn
               VIII—Grumpy
               IX—Military Plans
               X—The Signal Corps at Work
               XI—A Mysterious Footprint
               XII—A Discovery
               XIII—Tom Slade, Scout
               XIV—Pee-Wee’s Goat
               XV—The Message
               XVI—Brent’s Ambition
               XVII—A Side Show
               XVIII—A Shower Bath
               XIX—Brent Gets His Wish
               XX—We Consider Our Predicament
               XXI—Getting Started
               XXII—Silence!
               XXIII—Fixing It
               XXIV—Snoozer Settles It
               XXV—Big Excitement at Barrow’s Homestead
               XXVI—To the Rescue
               XXVII—Another Discovery
               XXVIII—A Mysterious Paper
               XXIX—The Mystery Deepens
               XXX—We Make a Promise
               XXXI—We Reach Our Destination
               XXXII—Surrender and Indemnity
               XXXIII—Mobilizing
               XXXIV—Tr-r-aitors!
               XXXV—Peace With Indemnity
               XXXVI—Scouts on the Job
               XXXVII—That Mysterious Paper Again
               XXXVIII—The Only Way



                      ROY BLAKELEY’S MOTOR CARAVAN



                       CHAPTER I—SOME EXPEDITION!


Gee whiz, whenever I see that fellow Harry Domicile, I know there’s
going to be a lot of fun. Just the same as I can always tell if we’re
going to have mince turnovers for dessert. That’s one thing I’m crazy
about—mince turnovers. I can tell when I go through the kitchen if
we’re going to have them, because our cook has a kind of a look on her
face. I can eat five of those things at a sitting, but that isn’t saying
how many I can eat standing up. Pee-wee Harris can eat seven, even while
he’s talking at the same time. Anyway, that hasn’t got anything to do
with Harry Donnelle.

Maybe you’re wondering why I named this chapter “Some Expedition.” If it
was about Pee-wee Harris, I’d name it “Some _Exhibition_,” because that
kid is a regular circus. So now I guess I’ll tell you.

One afternoon I was sitting on the railing of our porch taking a rest
after mowing the lawn. I was thinking how it would be a good idea if
they had lawn mowers that run by gas engines. We’ve got a great big lawn
at our house. At Doc Carson’s house they have a little bit of a
lawn—he’s lucky. Gee whiz, you could cut that lawn with a safety razor.

All of a sudden I saw Harry Donnelle coming up the street. I guess maybe
you know who he is, because we had some adventures with him in other
stories. He’s a big fellow, I guess he’s about twenty-five. He was a
lieutenant in the war. My sister likes him a lot only she said I mustn’t
say so in a story. I should worry about her. He comes up to our house a
lot. Believe me, that fellow’s middle name is adventure. He says all his
ancestors were crazy about adventures. He says he wouldn’t have any
ancestors unless they were. He says that’s why he picked them out. Gee
williger, you ought to hear him jollying Pee-wee. He told Pee-wee that
once he lived in obscurity and Pee-wee wanted to know where that was.
Can you beat that? Harry told him it was in Oregon. Good night!

So as soon as I saw that fellow coming up across the lawn, I kind of
knew there was going to be something doing. Because only a few days
before that he had told me that maybe he would want my patrol to help
him in a daring exploit. Oh, boy, those are my favorite outdoor
sports—daring exploits. I eat them alive.

He said, “Hello, kid, I went fishing with Jake Holden last night and we
got into a school of perch.”

I said, “Don’t talk about school; this is vacation.”

He had a bundle with some perch in it and he said they were for supper.
So I took them into the kitchen and while I was in there I ate some
icing off a cake. If I had my way cakes would be all icing, but our cook
says you have to have a foundation to put the icing on. Me for the roof.

When I went back Harry said, “I suppose you kids will be starting for
that old dump up in the Catskills pretty soon.” He meant Temple Camp. I
said, “We take our departure in two weeks.”

He said, “Take your which?”

I said, “Our departure; don’t you know what that is?”

“Well,” he said, kind of puzzled like, “I guess I’ll have to pike around
and get some assistance somewhere else. I’ve got a little job on hand
that I thought might interest you and your patrol. Ever hear of the
Junkum Corporation, automobile dealers? They have the agency for the
Kluck car. They’re down in New York. It wasn’t anything much; just a
little hop, skip, and a jump out west, and back again.”

“In junk cars—I mean Kluck cars?” I blurted out.

“Mostly junk,” he said; “but of course, as long as your plans are
made——”

“Never you mind about our plans,” I told him; “tell me all about it.”
Because, gee, I was all excited.

He said, “Well, there isn’t much to it; just a little gypsy and caravan
stuff, as you might say. My sister’s husband’s brother, Mr. Junkum, is
tearing his hair out and lying awake nights, because he can’t get cars
here from the west. He says the customers are standing on line and all
that sort of thing and that everything is clogged up at the other end,
the railroads are all tied up in a knot, the freight is piled up as high
as the Woolworth building and nothing short of a good dose of dynamite
will loosen up the freight congestion out west. If it was a matter of
Ford cars he could get them through by parcel post, but with these big
six cylinder Klucks it’s a different proposition. He’s got three touring
cars and a big motor van waiting for shipment out in Klucksville,
Missouri, and if he can’t make deliveries in a couple of weeks or so his
customers are going to cancel. Poor guy, I’m sorry for him.”

That’s just the way Harry talks. He said, “One of those cars, the big
enclosed van, is for Jolly and Kidder’s big store in New York.”

“That’s where I bought my last scout suit, at Jolly and Kidder’s,” I
told him.

Then he said, “Junkum wanted me to see if I couldn’t round up two or
three fellows and bang out to Klucksville and bring the cars home under
their own power. I told him the roads were punk and he said it’s punk to
have your business canceled, so there you are.”

“Oh, bibbie,” I said, “we’d love to do that only we can’t run cars on
account of not being old enough.”

Then he said, “I rounded up Tom Slade and he agreed to die for the
cause—said his vacation was at my disposal. He drove a motor truck in
France and he’s a bug on good turns. Rossie Bent has promised to run one
of the touring cars, I’m going to run the van myself and that leaves one
touring car. I tried to get Brent Gaylong on the long distance ’phone up
at Newburgh to-day, but he wasn’t home—out grouching around, I suppose.
His mother said she’d have him call me up or wire me. All I want now is
a commissary department and I got a kind of a hunch that maybe you kids
could camp in the van and cook for the crowd and make yourselves
generally useful. The way I figure it out by the road map there’ll be
long stretches of road where we won’t bunk into any towns. I figured on
taking Pee-wee along as a kind of a mascot; you know those little fancy
jim-cracks they put on radiator caps in autos? I thought he could be one
of those, as you might say, and bring us good luck. He’d be a whole
commissary department in himself, I suppose, considering the way he
eats. But if you can’t you can’t, and that’s all there is about it.”

“What do you mean, _we can’t_?” I shouted at him. “You make me tired! Do
you suppose Temple Camp is going to run away just because my patrol is a
couple of weeks late getting there? You bet your life we’ll go. If you
try to sneak off without us, we’ll come after you. We’re coming back in
that motor van, so that’s settled. I should worry about Temple Camp.”

He just sat there on the railing alongside of me, laughing.

He said, “I thought it would hit you.”

“Hit me!” I told him. “Believe me, it gave me a knockout blow.”

He said he’d stay to supper so as to talk my mother and father into it,
because they don’t care anything about making long trips in motor vans
and things like that, and maybe they’d say I’d better not go.

But, believe me, Harry Domicile knows how to handle mothers and fathers
all right, especially mothers. So don’t you worry, just leave it to him.

The worst is yet to come.



                           II—WHO WE ALL ARE


What do you think my father said? He said he wished he was young enough
to go along. Oh, but he’s a peach of a father! So is my mother. My
sister Marjorie said she’d like to go too. Harry said that no girls were
allowed. He said that girls were supposed to stay home and receive
picture post-cards. Gee whiz, I’m sorry for them. I’m glad I’m not a
girl. But if I wasn’t a boy I’d like to be a girl.

That night we had our regular troop meeting. Cracky, you can’t get that
bunch quiet enough to tell them anything. You know how it sounds in a
graveyard? And you know how it sounds in a saw mill? Well, a graveyard
sounds like a saw mill compared with the noise at one of our meetings.
So I told our scoutmaster, Mr. Ellsworth, that I had something to say
and he said they should let me have the chair. Then they began throwing
chairs at me. It’s good he didn’t tell them to let me have the floor, or
they’d have ripped that up, I suppose.

“I’d like to get your ear,” I shouted.

“You’ll get our goat if you don’t say what you’ve got to say,” Doc
Carson yelled.

“I’m trying to say it if I can get your ear,” I said.

“You can have anything except my mouth,” Pee-wee piped up. Good night,
he needs that.

Then Mr. Ellsworth got them all quieted down and I told them how Harry
Domicile wanted the Silver Fox Patrol (that’s my patrol) to go out west
and how he wanted Pee-wee to go too, even though he was one of the
raving Ravens. I said the reason he wanted Pee-wee to go was so he could
blow up the tires and we wouldn’t have to have any pump. Pee-wee likes
auto tires, because they’re the same shape as doughnuts—that’s what I
told him.

There’s one good thing about our troop and that is that one patrol never
gets jealous of another. If my patrol gets a chance to go somewhere the
other fellows don’t get mad, because they get more to eat. Absence makes
the dessert last longer. In our troop each patrol does as it
pleases—united we stand, divided we sprawl. Each patrol always has more
fun than the other patrols. So if everybody has more fun than anybody
else, they ought to be satisfied, I should hope. Pee-wee is in the
Ravens, because he got wished onto them when the troop started, but he
belongs to all three patrols, kind of. That’s because one patrol isn’t
big enough for him. He spreads out over three.

So this is the last you’ll see of the Ravens and the Elks in this story.
Maybe you’ll say thank goodness for that. They went up to Temple Camp.
There were fifty-three troops up there and everybody had more dessert
because Pee-wee wasn’t there. So that shows you how my patrol did a good
turn for Temple Camp. Gee whiz, you have to remember to do good turns If
you’re a scout.

Now this story is all about that trip that we made to bring back those
four machines, and believe me, we had some adventures. If you were to
see Jolly and Kidder’s big delivery van now, all filled up with bundles
and things C. O. D., you’d never suppose it had a dark past. But,
believe me, that past was darker than the Dark Ages. You learn about the
Dark Ages in the fifth grade—that’s Miss Norton’s class. She’s my
favorite teacher because she has to go to a meeting every afternoon and
she can’t keep us in.

So now I guess I’ll start. The next morning who should show up but Brent
Gaylong. He didn’t even bother to wire. He said he didn’t believe in
telegrams and things like that when it came to adventures. He’s awful
funny, that fellow is—kind of sober like. He’s head of a troop up in
Newburgh and we met him when we were on a hike once. He can drive a Ford
so easy that you don’t know it’s moving. He says most of the time it’s
_not_ moving. He’s crazy about adventures. Good night, when he and Harry
Domicile start talking, we have to laugh. He said he’d do anything
provided we got into trouble. Harry told him there ought to be plenty of
trouble between Missouri and New York. That fellow tries awful hard to
get arrested but he never can.

Now I’ll tell you about the other fellows. Harry was the captain—he had
charge of the whole outfit. I bet Mr. Junkum trusted him a lot. But one
thing, Harry never does anything for money. He says money is no good
except when it’s buried in the ground and you go and try to find it.
That’s the kind of a fellow he is. He didn’t get killed three times in
France. But he came mighty near it. He’s got the distinguished service
cross. He lives in Little Valley near Bridgeboro. Bridgeboro is my town.
I don’t mean I own it. Harry’s got a dandy Cadillac car of his own. He
takes my sister Marjorie out in it.

There was one other big fellow that went on that trip and that was
Rossie Bent who works in the bank. He got his vacation especially so he
could go. He’s got light hair. Often when he sees me he treats me to a
soda.

Tom Slade went so as to drive the fourth car, and he’s a big fellow too,
only you bet your life I’ll never call him a big fellow, because before
he went to the war he was in our troop. And even now he’s just like one
of us scouts. I guess maybe you know all about him. Believe me, the war
changed him more than it changed the map of Europe.

That leaves Pee-wee and the rest of the fellows in my patrol. So now
I’ll tell you about them. First comes Roy Blakeley (that’s me), and I’m
patrol leader. That’s what makes me look so sober and worried like. I
have to take strawberry sundaes to build me up, on account of the strain
of managing that bunch. Next comes Westy Martin; he’s my special chum.
He’s got eleven merit badges. He’s awful careful. He does his homework
as soon as he gets home every day, so in case he gets killed it will be
done. I should worry about my homework if I got killed. Next comes Dorry
Benton, only he was in Europe with his mother so he didn’t go with us.
If he had gone with us he would have been there. Hunt Manners couldn’t
go because his brother was going to be married. The rest of the fellows
were Charlie Seabury and Will Dawson and the Warner twins, Brick and
Slick. They’re just the same, only each one of them is smarter than the
other. You can’t tell which is which, only one of them likes potatoes
and the other doesn’t. That’s the way I tell them apart. If I see one of
them eating potatoes I know it’s Slick. That leaves only one fellow, and
gee whiz, I’m going to give him a chapter all to himself and I hope
he’ll be satisfied. Some day he’ll have a whole book to himself, I
suppose. _Good night!_



               III—WHO IS PEE-WEE HARRIS, AND IF SO, WHY?


Anyway Pee-wee Harris _is_, that’s one sure thing. His mother calls him
Walter and my sisters call him Walter, but Pee-wee is his regular name.
He’s our young hero and some of the fellows call him Peerless Pee-wee,
and some of them call him Speck.

If all of us fellows were automobiles, Pee-wee would be a Ford. That’s
because he’s the smallest and he makes the most noise. He eats all his
food running on high. He never has to shift his gears to eat dessert.
Even if it’s a tough steak he takes it on high. He’s a human cave. He’s
about three feet six inches in diameter and his tongue is about six feet
three inches long. He has beautiful brown curly hair and he’s just too
cute—that’s what everybody says. His nose has got three freckles on it.
He starts on compression. When he gets excited Webster’s Dictionary
turns green with envy.

Now the way it was fixed was that we were all to meet at the Bridgeboro
Station at three o’clock the next day so as to get the three-eighteen
train for New York. Then we were going to go on the Lake Shore Limited
to Klucksville—that’s near St. Louis.

When Pee-wee showed up at the station he looked like the leader of a
brass band. His scout suit was all pressed, his compass was dangling
around his neck, in case the Lake Shore Limited should lose its way, I
suppose, and his scout knife was hanging to his belt. He had his belt-ax
on too. I guess that was so he could chop his way through the forests if
the train got stalled. He had his camera and his air rifle and his swamp
boots and his scout whistle, and he had his duffel bag on the end of his
scout staff. And, oh, boy, he had a new watch.

I said, “_Good night_, you must have been robbing the church steeple.
Where did you get that young clock? If it only had an electric bulb in
it we could use it for a headlight. Is it supposed to keep time?”

“It ought to be able to keep a whole lot of time, it’s big enough,”
Harry said. “Are you going to take it with you or send it by express?”

I said, “Oh, sure, a big watch like that can keep a lot of time; it
holds about a quart.”

“You make me tired!” Pee-wee shouted. “It’s warranted for a year.”

“I bet it takes a year to wind it up,” Westy said.

“Anyway we can drink out of it if we get thirsty,” Will Dawson told him.
“It’s got a nice spring in it.”

“It doesn’t vary a second,” Pee-wee shouted. “Look at the clock in the
station; that’s Western Union time.”

Gee whiz, but that kid was proud of his new watch. He looked at it about
every ten seconds while we were waiting for the train, and every once in
a while he looked up at the sun. I guess maybe he thought the sun was a
little late, hey? When we got to the city he checked up all the clocks
he saw on the way over to the Grand Central Station, to see if they were
right, and when we were whizzing up along the Hudson on the Lake Shore
Limited he kept a time table in one hand and his watch in the other so
as to find out if we reached Poughkeepsie and Albany on time.

Just before we all turned in for the night, Harry and Brent Gaylong went
over and sat by him and began jollying him about the watch. The rest of
us sprawled around on the Pullman seats, listening and laughing. Gee
whiz, when Harry and Brent Gaylong get together, _good night_!

Harry said, “The trouble with those heavy duty watches is they’re not
intended for night work. They work all right in the daytime, but you see
at night when they haven’t got the sun to go by, they get to
sprinting——”

“Do you know what kind of a watch this is?” Pee-wee shouted at him.
“It’s a scout watch——”

Brent said in that sober way of his, “That’s just the trouble. Those
scout watches go scout-pace. A scout is always ahead of time; so is a
scout watch. If a scout watch is supposed to arrive at three o’clock, it
arrives at two—an hour beforehand. A scout is prompt.”

“Positively,” Harry said; “by to-morrow morning that watch will be an
hour ahead of time. It’ll beat every other watch by an hour.”

“I bet it’s right on the minute to-morrow morning,” Pee-wee shouted.
“That’s a scout watch; it’s advertised in _Boys’ Life_. The ad. said it
keeps perfect time.”

“How long have you had it?” Rossie Bent wanted to know.

“My father gave it to me for a present on account of this trip,” the kid
said; “he gave it to me just before I started off.”

“So you haven’t had it overnight yet?” Brent asked him. “You don’t know
whether it’s good at night work or not.”

“They always race in the dark,” Harry said; “that’s the trouble with
those boy scout watches.”

By this time the colored porter and about half a dozen passengers were
standing around listening and laughing.

Harry said, “Well, I’ll tell you what I’ll do, Kid. I happen to know
something about those watches and they’re not to be trusted. The boy
scout watch is a pile of junk. If that watch isn’t at least an hour
ahead of time when we sit down to breakfast to-morrow morning, I’ll buy
you the biggest pie they’ve got in the city of Cleveland. If your watch
is wrong by as much as an hour you’ll have to do a good turn between
every two stations we stop at till we get to Chicago. What do you say?”

“I won’t have to worry about any good turns,” Pee-wee shot back at him.

Harry said, “All right, is it a go?”

“Sure it’s a go,” the kid shouted. “Mm! Mm! I’ll be eating pie all day
to-morrow.”



                       CHAPTER IV—PEE-WEE’S WATCH


I guess Pee-wee dreamed of pie that night. Anyway he didn’t wake up very
early in the morning. When the train stopped at Cleveland for eats, he
was dead to the world. The rest of us all went into the railroad station
for breakfast and Harry took a couple of sandwiches and a hard boiled
egg and a bottle of milk back to the train for our young hero when he
should wake up.

When we were eating breakfast in the station, Harry said, “Well, I see
that none of you kids has ever been out west before. Hadn’t we better
set our watches?”

I looked up at the clock in the station and, _good night_, then I knew
why he and Brent had been jollying Pee-wee the night before. The dock in
the station was an hour behind my watch.

“Western time, boys,” Harry said; “set _your_ watches back.”

“And keep still about it when you go back on the train,” Rossie said,
“if you want to see some fun.”

“We’ve lost an hour,” Westy said.

“Don’t you care,” Brent said; “don’t bother looking for it; we’ll find
it coming back.”

Gee whiz, I had to laugh when I thought of Pee-wee lying sound asleep in
his upper berth with his trusty boy scout watch under his pillow. When
we went back on the train all the berths except Pee-wee’s were made into
seats. There were only about a half a dozen passengers besides ourselves
in that car, and Harry went around asking them all not to mention to
Pee-wee about western time.

I guess it was about a half an hour later the kid woke up. He was so
sleepy that he never thought about the time till after he had got washed
and dressed, then he came staggering through the car wanting to know
where we were. The rest of us were all sprawling in the seats and the
passengers were smiling, because I guess they knew what was coming.

Harry said, “Sit down here and have some breakfast, Kid. We thought we
wouldn’t bother you to get up when we stopped in Cleveland. What time
have you got?”

Pee-wee hauled out his old boy scout turnip and said, “It’s half past
nine.”

Harry said, “Oh, not quite as bad as that; boy scouts don’t sleep till
half past nine. It’s just—let’s see—it’s just about half past eight.”
Then he showed his watch to Pee-wee, kind of careless like.

By that time we were all crowding around waiting to see the fun and the
passengers were all looking around and kind of smiling.

Harry said, “Sit down and eat your breakfast, Kid, and don’t let that
old piece of junk fool you. What time have you got, Roy?”

I could hardly keep a straight face, but I said, “About half past
eight.”

“You see, it’s just as I told you, Kid,” Harry said. “As soon as you go
to sleep those boy scout watches take advantage of you. I wouldn’t trust
one of them any more than I’d trust a pickpocket. How about that,
Brent?”

“Oh, I’ve met some pretty honest pickpockets,” Brent said. “Of course,
some of them are dishonest. But it’s the same as it is in every other
business; some are honest and some are not. I’ve seen some good, honest,
hard working pickpockets. What time is it, Tom Slade?”

Gee whiz, I was afraid when Tom took out his watch, because he usually
stands up for Pee-wee, and I was afraid he’d let him know. But he just
looked at his watch, very sober, and said, “Pretty nearly twenty minutes
of nine.”

“You all make me sick!” Pee-wee yelled. “You think you’re smart, don’t
you? You all got together and changed your watches.”

“This is the same watch I always carried,” Brent said.

“I mean you all changed the time,” Pee-wee shouted; “you think you can
put one over on me, don’t you?”

“That watch would be all right for a paperweight, Kid,” Rossie said, “or
for an anchor when you go fishing.”

“It’s all right to keep time, too,” the kid shouted.

“It doesn’t _keep_ it, it lets it out,” Harry said; “did you have the
cover closed? A whole hour has sneaked away on you.”

“Maybe it leaks a little,” Brent said.

“There may be a short circuit in the minute hand,” Harry said.

“That watch is right!” the kid shouted. “That’s a boy scout watch and
it’s guaranteed for a year.”

“Well, it’s an hour ahead of the game,” Harry said. “You ask any one of
these gentlemen the correct time.”

Oh, boy, I had to laugh. Pee-wee went through the aisle holding his
precious old boy scout watch in his hand, asking the different
passengers what time it was. Every single one of them took out his watch
and showed the kid how he was an hour wrong. All of a sudden, in came
the conductor and Harry winked at him and said, “What’s the correct
time, Cap?”

“Eight thirty-eight,” the conductor said.

Harry said, “There you are, Kiddo; what have you got to say now?”

Gee whiz, the kid didn’t have _anything_ to say. He just stood there
gaping at his watch and then staring around and the passengers could
hardly keep straight faces.

The conductor caught on to the joke and he winked at Harry and said,
“Those toy watches aren’t expected to keep time.”

Harry said, “Oh, no, but he’ll have a real watch when he grows up. He’s
young yet. He can take this one apart and have a lot of fun with the
works.”

“Somebody set this watch ahead—some of you fellows did!” Pee-wee
shouted. “It was right last night. It keeps good time. Somebody played a
trick on me! This is a what-do-you-call-it—a conspiracy. You’re all in
it.”

Just then we passed a station and there was a clock in a steeple. Harry
said, “You don’t claim that clock in the church steeple is in the
conspiracy, do you? Look at it. _Now_ what have you got to say?”

Then the conductor put his arm over Pee-wee’s shoulder and he said,
“Didn’t you ever hear of western time, son? The next time you’re
traveling west you just drop an hour at Cleveland station and you’ll
find it waiting there for you when you come back.”

“Sure,” I told him; “did you notice that big box on the platform? That’s
where they keep them. It’s all full of hours.”

The kid just stood there, staring. I guess he didn’t know _what_ to
believe.

“Set your watch back an hour and don’t let them fool you,” the conductor
said, and then he began laughing.

“And remember that western time is different from eastern time,” Rossie
said.

“Oh, sure, everything is different out west,” Harry put in. “I like the
western time better.”

“Eastern time is good enough for me,” Brent said; “I always preferred
it.”

“And if you should ever happen to be crossing the Pacific Ocean on any
of your wild adventures, Kid,” Harry said, “don’t forget to set your
watch back one day when you cross the equator.”

“If it’s one day I wouldn’t have to set it back at all,” Pee-wee said.
“Three o’clock to-day is the same as three o’clock yesterday.”

“It would be better to set it back and be sure,” Harry said.

“Oh, yes, safety first,” Brent said; “there might be a slight
difference. One three o’clock might look like another, but there’s a
difference.”

“How do you know when you cross the equator?” I asked Harry.

He said, “You can tell by the bump. Sometimes the ship just glides over
it easily and you can’t tell at all unless you look.”

“It’s best to shift gears going over the equator,” Brent said; “go into
second and stay in second till you get up the hill.”

“What hill?” Pee-wee wanted to know. “You make me sick; there aren’t any
hills on the ocean.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Rossie Brent said. “If you go to Coney
Island and watch a ship coming toward you from way out on the ocean, you
see the top of the masts first, don’t you? Then after a while you see
the whole ship. That’s because it’s coming up hill. See?”

“You should worry about hills, Kid,” I said; “go ahead and eat your
breakfast.”



                             V—THE CARAVAN


I guess by now you must think we’re all crazy; I should worry. I just
thought I’d tell you that about Pee-wee’s watch because, gee, it had us
all laughing. So already you’ve lost an hour reading this story; don’t
you care.

Now we didn’t have any more adventures on that trip. We didn’t do much
except eat and, gee whiz, you wouldn’t call that having adventures. Late
that night we got to Klucksville and we stayed at the hotel till
morning. They have dandy wheat cakes at that hotel. And syrup, _mm_,
_mm_! Then we went to the auto works and the four cars were all ready
for us, because Mr. Junkum had sent a telegram to say we were coming.

Oh, boy, you should have seen that big van, a regular gypsy wagon. On
the outside was painted,

                             JOLLY & KIDDER
                           THE MAMMOTH STORE
                        EVERYTHING FOR THE HOME

It was all enclosed and there was an electric light inside and steps to
go up to it and everything. There were kind of lockers inside too; I
guess they were for small bundles, hey? The kind that mothers buy and
then send back again, because they don’t fit.

Gee whiz, there wasn’t much to see in Klucksville. We could have brought
the whole town home with us in the van if we had wanted to,—all except
the auto works. We didn’t waste much time there because Harry wanted to
get an early start and go as far as we could the first day. But anyway,
we stopped long enough in the village to have a man print a big sign on
canvas that we tacked on the van. It said,

                          MISSOURI TO NEW YORK
                      SHOULD WORRY ABOUT RAILROADS
                         BOY SCOUTS ON THE JOB!
                       WE WORK WHILE OTHERS LOAF
                              BE PREPARED

Besides that we bought three straw mattresses and an oil stove and some
canned stuff. We didn’t need to buy much except food, because we had a
lot of camping stuff along. We got cans of beans and soup and tuna fish
and some egg powder and Indian meal, because I can make lots of things
with that. Gee whiz, I can’t tell you all the stuff we bought, but if
you watch us you’ll see us eating it. Believe me, we ate everything
except the straw mattresses. Harry said the Kluck was a pretty good car
for eating up the miles, but believe me, it hasn’t got anything on us
when it comes to eating.

Now this is the way we started. First was a touring car with Tom Slade
driving it. He’s awful sober, kind of. But you can have a lot of fun
with him. He has no use for candy, but he’s got a lot of sense about
other things. I can always make him laugh—leave it to me. Next came
another touring car with Rossie Bent driving it. He had a pasteboard
sign on his and it said,

                          WE’RE FROM MISSOURI,
                             WE’LL SHOW YOU

Next came Brent Gaylong in the other touring car and he had a pasteboard
sign that said,

                               YOU’RE IN LUCK
                             IF YOU GET A KLUCK
                                   -----
                            FROM THE WOOLLY WEST
                                   -----
                       BOUND FOR LITTLE OLD NEW YORK;

After that came the big van with Harry driving it.

Now we fellows were supposed to live in the van, but we didn’t do much
except sleep in it. Most of the time we were riding in the different
cars. A lot of the time I sat with Tom Slade. Mostly the Warner twins
rode in the car with Rossie Bent. Charlie Seabury and Westy were in
Brent Gaylong’s car a lot of the time. Will Dawson got sleepy a lot so
he was in the van mostly. Pee-wee rode in all the different cars at
once, but most of the time in the van, on account of that being the
commissary department. Wherever you see a commissary department, look
for Pee-wee. Commissary is his middle name. Sometimes he was up on top
of the van dancing around. He’s awful light on his feet. He came near
lighting on his head a couple of times.

So now I’m going to tell you about that trip.



                              VI—STRANDED


I guess you’ll say this story is a lot of nonsense, but anyway, those
big fellows were worse than the rest of us. Harry said it didn’t make
any difference if we were foolish, because even a dollar hasn’t as much
cents as it used to have—that’s a joke. Anyway Harry had plenty of
dollars that Mr. Junkum gave him for expenses. He told us the people who
were buying the cars paid part of the money. And anyway, my patrol saved
them some money on account of knowing all about camping and cooking and
all that. Harry said it was more fun than if we stayed at hotels all the
time. Gee whiz, I hate hotels—hotels and spinach. But once I went to a
peach of a fire when a hotel burned down. That’s one good thing about
hotels, anyway.

Now about noontime that day the road crossed the railroad station at a
place called Squash Centre. It crosses it there every day, I guess,
Sundays and holidays and all. Anyway, it crossed it there that day.
Pee-wee was sitting on the seat beside Harry and he shouted, “Squash
Centre; I like pumpkin better.” As soon as he saw the word squash right
away he thought about pie.

There were only about six houses there and the railroad station. On the
platform were a lot of funny looking people and they had a couple of big
dogs tied by ropes. They had a lot of boxes and bags and things standing
around them on the platform. Most of the squashes of Squash Centre were
standing around a little way off laughing at them. The man that was
holding the dogs had on a long black coat and a high hat and he needed
to be shaved. His coat didn’t have any cloth on the buttons. He had long
hair sticking out from under his hat.

Harry said, “Well, well, we sure are out west. Here’s poor old Uncle
Tom’s Cabin, bag and baggage.” Then he called down to the man with the
black coat and said, “How about you, old top? Stranded?”

Then all the squashes of Squash Centre set up a howl.

The man said, very dignified like, “Thank you, for your inquiry, young
sir, and might I ask if you came through Jones’ Junction? Are there any
trains running?”

By that time our whole caravan had stopped and all the squashes got
around and began staring at us.

Harry said, “I don’t believe there are any trains except eastern trains.
I don’t believe there’s anything that stops this side of Indianapolis.
How far are you going? What’s the matter, didn’t you hit it right among
the squashes?”

The man said, “The squashes are without art or patriotism. I thank you
for your information, sir. We are both stalled and stranded. We have
neither a train to travel on nor money to travel on it if we had. Our
friends have not welcomed us as we hoped they would. We have a promising
engagement at Grumpy’s Cross-roads some hundred miles distant, where we
are under contract with Major Hezekiah Grumpy to give six performances
at the Grand Army reunion there. Major Grumpy, sir, fought bravely to
stamp out the evil which our play depicts with such pathos.” That was
just the way he talked.

Harry said, “So they are having a reunion at Grumpy’s Cross-roads, are
they?”

“A very magnificent affair, sir,” that’s just what the man said, “and
the major has contracted with us for the presentation of our heart
stirring drama with the view of having the dramatic part of the
celebration appropriate.”

Geewhiz, it was awful funny to hear him talk.



                            VII—A GOOD TURN


That man’s name was Archibald Abbington, and he talked dandy, just as if
he had learned it out of a book. One of those other people told us that
his right name was Henry Flynn. I felt sorry for them, that’s one sure
thing. And, oh, boy, but those were two peachy dogs they had. The thing
those dogs did mostly was to chase Eliza. Miss Le Farge, she was the one
that played Eliza. They never let anybody feed the dogs except her, so
they’d be sure to chase her.

Harry said, “Why don’t you let them chase some of these squashes away?
They stand around gaping just as if they never saw a human being before.
How far is Grumpy’s Cross-roads anyway?”

Mr. Abbington said, “It’s a matter of a hundred miles or thereabout.”
Gee, he was crazy about that word _thereabout_. Then he said that they
had a contract with Major Grumpy to give their first performance the
next afternoon at the Grand Army reunion, but he didn’t know what they
would do because they were stranded.

Harry was awful nice to him. He said, “Well, it looks as if you were in
a kind of a tight place, Archy, and I wish we could help you out. We’re
reproducing the good old times, too, as you might say, with our overland
caravan. These are boy scouts who are taking care of our commissary
department and this is their gallant leader, Roy Blakeley. How about it,
Roy? Do you think we could squeeze in a good turn, just to vary the
monotony? You’re the boss of that end of the outfit. It would mean
driving all night instead of stopping to camp as we meant to do. Let’s
look on the map and see where Grumpy’s Cross-roads is, anyway.”

I said, “The more the merrier; I don’t care where it is or how long it
takes us to get there. We’ll take you. That’s our middle name, doing
good turns.”

“We give shows ourselves sometimes,” Pee-wee said. “We have a movie
apparatus and we give movie shows. But one thing, we’ve never been
stranded.”

Brent said in that funny way of his, “But we hope to be, sometime; we
can’t expect to have everything at once.”

Mr. Abbington said, awful dignified like, “We have been stranded many
times, sir. I can assure you it is not pleasant, especially when one of
our company is ill.”

Gee whiz, I could see plain enough that one of them wasn’t feeling good;
that was the one they called Miss De Voil—she played Topsy. Maybe the
squashes disagreed with her, hey?

Harry said, “Well, it’s up to you kids, Roy. Grumpy’s Cross-roads is
east, so it isn’t exactly out of our way, only we’ll have to hit into a
pretty punk road and there’ll be no sleeping around the camp-fire
to-night. What do you say?”

Mr. Abbington and all the rest of those people looked at us kids awful
anxious, sort of. Gee, it made me feel sorry for them. All of a sudden
Pee-wee piped up. He said, “Camp-fires aren’t the principal things in
scouting; good turns come first. Anyway, once I heard that actors always
help each other and maybe, kind of, you might say we’re actors, because
sometimes we give shows.”

Mr. Abbington said, “I am delighted to hear that, my young friend. Let
me ask you what you have played.”

“He plays the harmonica when nobody stops him,” Westy said.

I said, “Oh, sure, he’s a peachy actor; he plays dominoes and tennis and
tiddle-de-winks. The most stirring part he ever plays is when he stirs
his coffee.”

Miss Le Farge said to another one of those ladies, “Oh, isn’t he just
too cute?”

So then we helped them get all their stuff into the van. They had a tent
and a lot of other things. Harry whispered to me that he guessed they
hadn’t had any supper and he said he was afraid if we didn’t give them
something to eat the man that played the slave driver wouldn’t have
strength enough to whip Uncle Tom the next afternoon. Brent said maybe
even Uncle Tom wouldn’t have strength enough to stand up and be whipped.
He said, “We’d better feed them up.”

So we made a fire in the grove right alongside the road so as not to
interfere with Miss De Voil, who was lying on one of the mattresses in
the van. We told the ladies that they could have the van all to
themselves that night so they could get good and rested. I fried some
bacon for them and heated some beans and we got water out of the
railroad station.

Gee whiz, the water was the only thing about that railroad that was
running.



                              VIII—GRUMPY


We ran the cars all that night so as to get those people to Grumpy’s
Cross-roads in the morning. The ladies slept in the van, all except one;
she was the one that played Aunt Ophelia. In the play she had to be
strict, like a school teacher kind of, with Topsy. But when she wasn’t
in the play she was awful nice. She sat up all night in Rossie Bent’s
car, because she said she liked the fresh air. Mr. Abbington and Harry
sat together outside the van. I didn’t get sleepy much. The rest of the
fellows sprawled in Tom Slade’s car and Brent Gaylong’s car, and were
dead to the world. It was nice traveling in the night only we had to go
slow. We went across a kind of a prairie and every once in a while we
came to farms. It was dandy to see the sun come up in the morning.

About five o’clock we came to a village and we asked a man how far it
was to Grumpy’s Crossroads. He must have got up before breakfast, that
man. He said it was about thirty-five miles, but that we’d have to go
very slow on account of the road being all stones. We had to drive those
cars easy, because they were supposed to be delivered new.

The man said, “If you’re bound east why didn’t you hit the south road
and cut out Grumpy’s Crossroads altogether?”

Harry said, “Because these people have to appear at the Grand Army
reunion at Grumpy’s Cross-roads this afternoon and we’ve got to get them
there.”

The man said, “If that’s all you’re going to the Cross-roads for, you
might as well take the south road. Bill Thorpe, he was t’the Cross-roads
yesterday en’ he said th’ Uncle Tom’s Cabin show was called off on
’count of thar bein’ no trains runnin’. He said ole Major Grumpy was
tearin’ ’is hair like a wild Injun at th’ railroad unions.”

Harry said, “Is that so? Well, I hope he won’t have his hair all pulled
out by 2 P. M. Do you suppose old Grump ever heard of the Boy Scouts of
America?”

“I’ll tell him all about them!” Pee-wee shouted. “You just leave it to
me.”

The man was smoking a pipe and it kind of smelled like a forest fire. It
smelled like a forest fire and a gas engine put together, kind of. He
laid his pipe down on the step of the van so we’d know that what he was
going to say was very serious.

He said, “You take my advice en’ daon’t mention no scaout boys t’the
major; it’s like wavin’ a red flag before a bull as yer might say.”

“Doesn’t like ’em, hey?” Harry said.

“Hates ’em,” the man said.

“Eats ’em alive, I suppose,” Brent said.

“He’d eat ’em raw, only he ain’t got teeth enough,” the man said.

Brent said in that funny way he has, “Well, I guess that settles it,
we’ll hit the trail for the Cross-roads; I kind of like old Grump
already. I have a kind of a hunch he’ll put some pep into this
Lewis & Clarke expedition. All we needed to make our joy complete was
somebody to try to foil us.”

“Cracky, I hope he tries to foil us,” Pee-wee piped up.

“Is he a villain?” Brent wanted to know.

“Wall, he ain’t just exactly what you might call a villain,” the man
said, very serious.

Brent said, “Oh, that’s too bad. We haven’t got a villain for our story
yet. I suppose we’ll have to advertise when we hit into Indianapolis.
‘Wanted, willing and industrious villain; one with some experience
preferred; good chance for advancement; duties, being foiled by the Boy
Scouts of America.’”

The man said, “Guess you’re a kind of a comic, hey?”

“What’s the trouble between old Grump and the kids, anyway?” Harry asked
him.

The man said, “Wall, naow, I’ll tell you. Th’ major’s an old Civil War
man en’ he’s a great stickler on military training for boys; ain’t got
no use for studyin’ natur’ en’ all that kind o’ thing. He’s daft abaout
the Civil War, en’ he’s jest abaout th’ biggest old grouch this side o’
th’ Missippi River. This here reunion o’ his, every three years, is the
pet uv his heart, as th’ feller says. He has th’ poor ole veterans
limpin’ in from miles araound fillin’ ’em up with rations en’ givin’ ’em
shows. He’s got money enough so’s ter make the United States Treasury
look like a poor relation; and _stingy_!”

“That sounds fine,” Brent said; “we’ll have him eating out of our hands;
we’ll have him so he comes when we call him. First I was in hopes we
might fall in with some train robbers——”

“Gee, it isn’t too late yet!” Pee-wee shouted.

“But a ferocious old major is good enough,” Brent said; “we can’t expect
to have everything. You’re positive about his hating the Boy Scouts, are
you?” he asked the man. “Because we shouldn’t want to count on that and
then be disappointed. It’s pretty hard when you think you’ve found a
regular scoundrel and then find that you’re deceived. Are you willing to
guarantee him?”

“Wall, I wouldn’ say exactly as he’s a _villain_,” the man said; “but
he’s a ole wild beast, so everybuddy says, en’ I’m tellin’ yer not to
wave no red flag in front uv him with a lot uv this scaout boy nonsense.
’Cause he ain’t in the humor, see?”

Harry said, “Do you know, Brent, I think the old codger will do first
rate.”

“Oh, he’ll do,” Brent said; “of course, it isn’t like finding a pirate,
or a counterfeiter, or an outlaw——”

“You make me tired!” Pee-wee yelled. “If Roy’s going to write all this
stuff up, we have to have an old grouch, so as we can convert him sort
of, don’t we, and then he’ll—then he’ll—what-d’ye-call-it—he’ll
donate a lot of money and say the boy scouts are all right. I’ll manage
him, you leave him to me.”

Brent said, “You don’t happen to know if he has a gold-haired daughter,
do you?”

Gee whiz, I guess that man thought we were crazy—I should worry. Even
the Uncle Tom’s Cabin people were laughing.

Brent said, “Because if our young hero could only rescue old Grump’s
gold-haired daughter from kidnappers, perhaps old Grump would come
across with a real watch that keeps time as a reward for our young
hero’s bravery. I think we’ll have to try our hand with old Grump.”

“Are you—are you _sure_ he’s mad at the scouts?” Pee-wee wanted to
know.

“Tell us the worst,” Harry said.

[Illustration: THE BLOODHOUND BEGAN SNIFFING THE FOOTPRINT.]



                       CHAPTER IX—MILITARY PLANS


The man put one foot up on the step of the van and said, “Wall, yer see
he owns the Fair Grounds. Thar was a crew uv these here scout kids
camping over in the grove to one side of it, and not doin’ no manner of
harm, I reckon.”

“That’s one good thing about us, we never do any harm,” Pee-wee piped
up.

“Wherever they camp the violets spring up,” Rossie said.

“Sure, and dandelions and four-leaf clovers, too,” the kid shouted.

The man said, “Wall, naow, them kids wasn’ doin’ no manner uv harm, just
cookin’ and eatin’——”

“Gee whiz, they have to do that!” Pee-wee told him. “That’s one thing
about scouts, they always eat.”

“Most always,” Harry said.

“En’ nothin’ would do but he must chase ’em off,” the man said. “Some uv
them men who wuz interested in the kids made a rumpus about it, but it
weren’t no good; old Grump said off they must go, and off they went. I
wuz sorry ter see it too, hanged if I weren’t, because they’re a bright,
clever lot, them youngsters. Oft times when I’d go inter th’ Cross-roads
with my old mare marketin’, there they’d be in th’ grove right alongside
th’ road, sprawlin’ about and onct, when I come away abaout five o’clock
in the mornin’, thar they were en’ give my old mare a drink out uv th’
spring.”

“Up early, hey?” Harry said.

“Naow, haow is them kids goin’ ter hinder th’ reunion? That’s what I
say. Poked away off in th’ grove right on ter th’ end of the grounds.
But the ole major, he says they was nuthin’ but a lot uv loafers; wanted
to know what good they ever done. Why, Lor’ bless me, if he’d a made
friends with ’em they might uv helped in the reunion, mightn’t they?...
Wall, I guess he wuz all piffed abaout the show not bein’ able to get
there. Trams east of th’ Cross-roads is runnin’ all right, but out this
way thar ain’t been a wheel movin’ in a week, ’cept express trains from
the east. If I was you fellers I wouldn’ go a couple of dozen miles out
of my way over a pile of rocks what they call by the name of a road, I
wouldn’, jus ter do a favor for an old grizzly bear, I wouldn’. Not me.”

Gee whiz, Mr. Abbington looked kind of anxious, because Harry just sat
there on the seat whistling to himself as if he were thinking. The rest
of us were all standing around.

Brent said, “Well, as long as old Grump is a stickler on military
training, what do you say we take Grumpy’s Cross-roads right under his
very nose? We’ll make our approach from the west, with our dry-goods
delivery van and three five-passenger touring cars. General Harris will
have charge of the Commissary. First, the signal corps will communicate
with the boy scouts of Grumpy’s Cross-roads and advise them that
reenforcements are on the way—in a dry-goods van and three touring
cars. The grove on the edge of the parade grounds will be in our hands
before night. We’ll have the Civil War veterans down on their knees
begging for an armistice.”

“Yes, and maybe—maybe—old Major Grumpy will have to go and live in a
castle in Holland, hey?” Pee-wee yelled.

Honest, isn’t that kid a scream?



                       X—THE SIGNAL CORPS AT WORK


First, Harry asked if the telegraph office was open, but it wasn’t open.
The reason was, because there wasn’t any there. If that place had been a
little smaller we might have run over it without seeing it and punctured
one of our tires.

Then Brent said, “Well then, you don’t happen to have a nice hill handy,
do you? We’ll return it in good condition when we get through with it.”

They didn’t happen to have any hills in that village—they were out of
most everything. Brent said he guessed hills were hard to get. So we
started off again and hit into the road that went to Grumpy’s
Cross-roads. Gee whiz, if Major Grumpy’s temper was anything like that
road, _good night_! That was what we all said. But we should worry about
the road as long as we had all our plans made. Harry said the Kluck car
could eat up the miles all right, but, oh, Sister Anne, if one of them
tried eating the miles on that road it would have indigestion, all
right. Even Pee-wee couldn’t have eaten those.

After we had gone maybe about nine or ten miles we came to a dandy; it
was a kind of a young mountain. Now, on the way along, we had been
making up a message that we would send by smudge signal, because we
thought that if those other scouts got it, it would be a feather in
their cap and we were thinking about them more than we were about
ourselves. Because a scout is brother to every other scout, see?

So this is the smudge signal that we decided to send, and, _good night_,
little we knew what it would lead to. Pretty soon you’ll see the plot
beginning to get thicker.

               Uncle Tom show will be given as announced.
               Deny rumors to contrary.

                                   Boy Scouts of America.

Brent said, “If those kids are up as early as old what’s-his-name said
they were, they ought to see a smudge signal up on the top of a hill
like this, and they can notify old Grump. Then later we’ll give him the
knockout blow. He’ll look like a pancake when we get through with him.”

That started Pee-wee off—the word pancake. “We’ll go riding into the
village, and we’ll kind of have our clothes torn, and we’ll look all
what-d’ye-call-it—weary and footsore—and we’ll have all the Uncle
Tom’s Cabin company sitting in the touring cars,” he said, “and we’ll
have a big sign that says _Boy Scouts on the Job_, hey? And maybe we’ll
give a parade.”

Harry said, “Well, the best thing for us to do now is to parade up this
hill and send the message. You see, although assaults are usually made
unknown to the enemy, in this case we’ll make a big hit if we start some
propaganda along ahead of us. It pays to advertise, as Jolly & Kidder
would say.”

Now it was a pretty steep climb up to the top of that hill, all woods
and jungle. We left the cars down on the road and most of the actor
people stayed in them, because they were tired and sleepy. Westy stayed
down there so as to cook them some breakfast.

For quite a long distance up that hill we went through thick woods, then
we came out into an open place where we could look down and see the
road. The autos looked small down there. We could see a little thin line
of smoke going up where Westy was starting a fire. The sun was getting
brighter and it made Jolly & Kidder’s van look all shiny on account of
the bright paint on it. It seemed funny to see a department store car
away out there in that lonesome country.

Pretty soon we got into more woods and Harry said he guessed there must
be a trail. But we couldn’t find any.

He said, “This is a forsaken wilderness up here.”

“I bet the foot of white man never trod it,” Pee-wee said; “I bet it’s
unknown to civilization up here.”

“Well, I guess we’re not likely to bunk into any movie shows,” Brent
said.

Jiminetty, but it was some wild place, all right. We had to go single
file and tear away the brush so that we could get through. Tom Slade
went ahead, because he can find a trail if there is one, and even if
there isn’t he always knows how to go. The farther up we went, the worse
it got. We couldn’t see the road at all on account of the thick woods
below us. Gee, it was so still up there that it was sort of spooky.

“I guess no white man ever trod this solemn wilderness before, as our
young friend Scout Harris observed,” Harry said; “it gets worser and
worser.”

Just then Tom Slade stopped and we all stopped in his path. In about a
jiffy he was down on the ground. Gee whiz, I knew what that meant, for I
knew Tom Slade.

“It’s a footprint,” he said.

Just then we heard a sound right near us, just like branches crackling,
and in a couple of seconds one of those bloodhounds from the Uncle Tom’s
Cabin show came dashing up through the bushes. He pushed Tom Slade right
out of the way and began sniffing that footprint. He was so excited that
he didn’t notice us.



                       XI—A MYSTERIOUS FOOTPRINT


First it seemed kind of as if that bloodhound was just scooping; that
means using something that another scout has found. If I should find a
robin’s nest and then another scout should stalk there, that would be
scooping. Gee whiz, that’s a mean thing to do. Up at Temple Camp a scout
will get himself disliked for doing that. But it’s all right to stalk
the cooking-shack. Pee-wee thinks he’s the only one who has a right to
hang out there—I should worry.

Anyway that has nothing to do with the bloodhound. Tom got out of his
way, and we all stood about while the dog sniffed around the footprint,
awful excited like. There wasn’t another footprint anywhere in sight.

Brent said in that funny way of his, “Well, I guess we’re up against the
real thing at last. I guess old Snoozer here is on the track of Eliza.
Listen and maybe we’ll hear her baby crying. She always carries a baby
with her when she puts one over on the bloodhounds, doesn’t she?”

“You’re crazy!” Pee-wee shouted; “she always crosses the ice. Didn’t you
see that big roll of canvas they’ve got? That’s got ice painted on it.
They spread that on the stage and she runs across it with
har—what-d’ye-call-it—her infant child.”

“Her which?” Harry said.

“I think she takes a thermos bottle, too, and an aluminum cooking set,”
Brent said.

Harry said, “Well, anyway, she has given old Snoozer the slip this
time.”

“That’s a man’s footprint,” Pee-wee said; “there’s a mystery up here.”

“Let’s see it,” Rossie Bent said; “where is it?”

“You make me sick!” the kid shouted. “How can you _see_ a mystery?”

“You smell it, according to Snoozer,” Harry said; “this dog will have a
fit in a minute.”

By that time the dog was pushing every which way in among the bushes and
every few seconds coming back to the footprint.

“He seems to be kind of rattled.” That’s what Harry said.

Pretty soon the dog went running through the bushes out into a big open
space that was just about on the top of the mountain. We found out
afterward that that was why the mountain was named Bald Head. Gee whiz,
he seemed rattled. He’d stop for a couple of seconds and look all
around, then start off all of a sudden, then stop again.

Brent said, “Eliza’s got his goat this time. Look at old Tomasso there;
he’s mad because Snoozer took his job.”

I looked at Tom Slade (because that’s whom he meant) and I saw that he
was kind of picking among the bushes over to one side of the big open
space. So I went over to where he was and I said, “Tom, what do you
think about it? I always thought a bloodhound could follow any trail.
That’s a fresh footprint too, isn’t it? But maybe that dog isn’t a real
bloodhound, hey?”

Tom said, “He’s a real bloodhound, all right, but I don’t think he’ll
find anything.”

I said, “Well, how about that footprint then? It was a fresh one. He
ought to be able to follow that scent. Gee whiz, I never saw a dog act
so funny. He’s all rattled and he doesn’t know which way to go.”

Tom didn’t say anything, only he looked over to the open space where the
rest of the fellows were watching the dog. By that time the dog was
running around and barking, half crazy.

“Eliza fell through the ice,” Brent called over to us.

Harry shouted, “She was very poor, she didn’t even have a scent.
Snoozer’s going to have a nervous collapse in a minute; he’ll require
first aid.”

I said to Tom, “Well, somebody was up here, that’s sure. That’s a new
footprint we found. It’s plaguey funny that a bloodhound can’t follow
that trail; I always thought a bloodhound——”

“A bloodhound isn’t a scout,” Tom said, kind of sober like, in that way
he has; “he followed the trail as far as he could, I suppose. Look
around here; don’t you see anything?”

That’s the way it has always been with Tom Slade ever since he got back
from the war. In scouting, he would never do anything himself, but just
give us fellows a hint that would start us off. “If you make as good use
of your eyes as he makes of his nose, you ought to be able to discover
something.” That’s what he said.

So then I looked all around, and sure enough I could see that the bushes
were broken up toward the top and, _good night_, on one of them was
hanging a little piece of rag.

“Some one has been through here,” I said, all excited; “why doesn’t the
dog come over here? The trail leads over this way.”

Then I began whistling for the dog and calling to the fellows that we
had the trail, and they all started over except the dog. He wouldn’t
follow them or pay any attention to their whistling and calling, only
stayed right where he was running around as if he had a fit.

Before the fellows reached the place where we were Tom said kind of low,
“Don’t fly off the handle, kid; there are some bushes broken here and a
rag. Now what does that mean?”

“It means the trail runs through here,” I said; “and that crazy fool of
an Uncle Tom’s Cabin dog can’t follow the scent across that bare place.
He’s just an actor, that’s all that bloodhound is. All he’s good for is
chasing Eliza.”

Tom just took the rag from me and looked at it. “Well then, if the trail
runs through here, where are the footprints?” he asked me.

“And the dog doesn’t seem to think it’s worth bothering about,” he said.

“You admit somebody went through here?” I shouted at him.

“Oh, somebody went through here, all right,” he said.

“And didn’t leave any footprints and didn’t leave any scent,” I came
back at him.

“Only a rag,” he said.

By that time the fellows had reached the place where we were. “What’s
the big idea?” Harry said. “What have you got there?”

Brent said, “As I _live_, it’s a piece of Eliza’s dress. The plot grows
thicker.”

“There isn’t a footprint here,” I told them.

“She must have slid on the ice,” Brent said.

“I’m going to drag that dog over here by the collar,” Rossie spoke up.

“It’s a mystery,” Pee-wee shouted; “it’s a deep, dark mystery. We’ve got
to solve it—I mean penetrate it.”

Gee whiz, that kid was more excited than the dog.



                            XII—A DISCOVERY


We all just stood there not knowing what to think. I could tell that Tom
Slade had some kind of an idea, but you never catch that fellow shouting
out about anything till he’s sure. Even when he was a tenderfoot in the
troop he was that way.

It seemed mighty funny that we should find just one footprint in those
bushes, but maybe there weren’t any more across that open space because
it was hard and rocky. Anyway, the scent led out into that open space,
that was sure. Then on the opposite side of the open space the bushes
were broken and there was a rag hanging to one of them. Yet we couldn’t
get that dog to go all the way across and take up the scent where we
found the rag. That was the funny thing. It was funny that there weren’t
any footprints under those bushes where the rag was hanging, too.
Believe _me_, Pee-wee was right, it was a mystery.

Pretty soon the dog began following the scent back and Will Dawson went
after him. In about ten minutes he came up again and said that the dog
had followed it as far as a brook where there was a willow tree. He said
the dog got rattled there just the same as he did on the summit. So he
studied the place carefully and saw that there was a branch of the tree
that stuck out over the water and he swung himself across and then back
again by that. So he decided that was probably what the man had done on
his way up the mountain. So you see that trail was cut in two places.

Will said that he left the dog poking around at the edge of the stream.
And that was the last we saw of the dog till we got back to our caravan.
Then we saw that he was under the van asleep. He was resting up so he
could chase Eliza in the afternoon, that’s what Brent said. He chased
Eliza twice every day, that bloodhound did.

Harry said, “Well, as Scout Harris says, it’s a mystery. Somebody was up
here before us, that’s sure. There’s no use trying to dope it out, I
suppose. Let’s send the signal. Our friends down below will think we’re
lost.”

All the while Tom Slade was sort of wandering around that rocky open
space on the top of the mountain. A couple of times he looked over to
where we were as if he was kind of thinking. Most of the time he looked
at the ground and the flat rocks. I knew he had some idea in his head,
all right.

Pretty soon he came strolling over and said sort of offhand like, “Let’s
follow these broken bushes in a ways.”

“Nobody went through here, Tom,” Rossie said; “if they had there’d be
footprints. Let’s get busy with the smudge signal.”

“It’ll only take a minute,” Tom said.

“Every minute is precious, Tommy boy,” Harry told him.

“Sure, let’s go in,” Brent said; “I’m for adventure every time. You
never can tell; come ahead.”

So we all followed Tom in. The brush was awful thick and I kept tearing
it apart down near the ground, hunting for footprints, but I couldn’t
find a single one. The brush wasn’t even broken above, either, after we
had gone a few feet and Tom just pushed around without any signs to go
by, all the while squinting his eyes into the bushes and poking the
underbrush with his feet.

Pretty soon, _good night_, Pee-wee gave a shout. “_I see it! I see it!_”
he yelled. “The mystery is solved! I know why there isn’t any man’s
footprint here. It was an _animal_ that came through! There he is
now—it’s a _zebra_!”

“A which?” Harry said.

“It’s got stripes—wide stripes,” the kid shouted. “Look there! See it?
It’s a zebra! Don’t you know a zebra?”

Brent said, “I wouldn’t know one if I met him in the street.”

By that time Tom had gone ahead of us and hauled something out of the
bushes. It wasn’t a zebra, but it had stripes all right—it was light
colored and it had wide, dark stripes. I bet you can’t guess what it
was, either.

It was a suit of convicts’ clothes.



                     CHAPTER XIII—TOM SLADE, SCOUT


“Didn’t I tell you it had stripes?” Pee-wee shouted. “Wasn’t I right?
Now you see! A scout is observant.”

“If he sees a suit of clothes he thinks it’s a zebra,” Charlie Seabury
said.

Harry said, “Well, you weren’t so far wrong, Kiddo. The stripes weren’t
on an animal; they were on a jail bird. I’d like to know where he flew
away to. This is getting interesting. I knew that clothing was very
high, but I didn’t think we’d find a suit as far up as this.”

“Maybe he was a murderer, hey?” Pee-wee whispered.

“We can only hope,” Brent said in that funny way. Then he said, “I’ve
always felt that I’d like to be a murderer. I thought I was a real
convict when I was held in jail three hours after speeding in my
flivver. But when I look at this striped suit, I realize that after all
I didn’t amount to much as a criminal. Let’s take a squint at those
clothes, will you? It’s always been the dream of my young life to escape
from jail by using a hair-pin or a manicure file or some kind of acid. I
wonder how this fellow escaped.”

“I bet he escaped in the dead of night,” Pee-wee said.

“The question is, where is he?” Harry said.

“He went away in an airplane,” Tom Slade said, awful sober like, just as
if Brent hadn’t been joking at all.

_Good night_, we all just stood there stark still, looking at him.

“What makes you think that?” Rossie wanted to know.

“No one laid that suit of clothes here,” Tom said; “it was _dropped_
here. There aren’t any footprints. Out there in the flat part there are
wheel marks from an airplane. I saw enough of those marks in France to
know what they mean.”

“Tomasso Nobody Holmes, the boy detective!” I shouted.

“The airplane grazed the bushes when it went up,” he said; “that’s why
some twigs are broken off. And part of one of the wings of the machine
was torn, too. That’s because the airman didn’t have space enough to get
away in. He took a big chance when he landed up here, that fellow.”

Harry just stood there drumming his fingers on one of the bushes and
looking all around him and kind of thinking. Then he said, “What’s your
idea, Tommy boy? Do you think a convict escaped and made his way up to
the top of this jungle and that the airman alighted here for him by
appointment?”

“The dog followed the scent out into the open, to the place where the
wheel tracks are,” Tom said. “That’s where the man—that convict—got
in. They didn’t have open space enough to start from there and they
grazed the bushes. I guess it was pretty risky, the whole business.
Anyway, they chucked the convict clothes out. This piece of silk is
waxed; it’s part of the wing of a machine, all right.”

“Tomasso, you’re a wonder,” Rossie said; “no dog could follow a trail in
the air.”

“There’s often a scent in the breeze,” Brent said.

“Didn’t I tell you it was a mystery?” Pee-wee shouted. “Didn’t I tell
you it was a dark plot? As soon as I saw those clothes——”

“You thought they were a zebra,” Ralph Warner said; “a scout knows all
the different kinds of animals.”

“You make me sick!” the kid shouted. “A convict is better than a zebra,
isn’t he?”

“That’s a fine argument,” I told him.

“It’s logic,” the kid shouted.

“Well, let’s not complain,” Brent said; “a zebra would be a novelty, but
a convict is not to be despised. We should be thankful for the convict,
even though he isn’t here.”

“That’s the best part of it,” the kid shouted; “that makes the mystery.
We’ve got to find him.”

We didn’t bother any more about the mystery then, because we wanted to
send the signal and get started again, but you’ll see how that mystery
popped up again and confounded us; I guess you know what _confounded_
means, all right. It means the same as _baffled_, only I didn’t know
whether _baffled_ has two f’s in it or not. But, gee whiz, I used it
anyway—I should worry.

So now while our friends are waiting for us down on the road (I got this
sentence from Pee-wee), I’ll tell you about sending that signal. Signals
are my middle name—signals and geography. But the thing I like best
about school is lunch hour. I’m crazy about boating, too.



                           XIV—PEE-WEE’S GOAT


That fellow, Harry Domicile, he’s crazy. He said, “If you like signals
so much I don’t see why you send them. Why don’t you keep them?”

Will Dawson said, “It isn’t the signal we send, it’s a message; we send
a message by a signal. See?”

Harry said, “But if it’s a good message why should you want to send it
away? Why don’t you keep it? If it’s worth anything what’s the use of
getting rid of it? A scout should not be wasteful.” Then he winked at
Brent Gaylong.

Oh, boy, you should have seen Pee-wee. He shouted, “You’re crazy!
Suppose I keep some-thing—suppose I keep——”

Rossie said, “Suppose you keep silence.”

“That shows how much you know about logic!” the kid yelled. “How can I
keep silence——”

By that time we were all laughing, except Harry. He had the paper with
the message written on it and he said, very sober like, “Well, if this
message is any good at all I don’t see why we don’t keep it; it might
come in useful.”

Pee-wee shouted, “A message is no good at all—even the most important
message in the world is no good to the fellow that makes it——”

Brent said, “Then he’s just wasting his time making it. Before we send
this message we’d better talk it over. If it’s any good we’ll keep it.”

Gee whiz, you should have seen our young hero; I thought he’d jump off
the mountain. He yelled, “Do you know what logic is? You get that in the
third grade. My uncle knows a man that’s a lawyer and he
says—besides—anyway, do you mean to tell me——”

Harry said, “Go on.”

Brent said, “Proceed; we follow you.”

“Suppose I had a piece of pie,” the kid yelled. “If it was good I’d eat
it, wouldn’t I?”

Brent said, “That isn’t logic.”

“Sure it’s logic!” Pee-wee shouted. “The better it is the more I’d get
rid of, wouldn’t I?”

“Thou never spakest a truer word,” I told him.

“And it’s the same with messages,” he said.

I said, “_Good night_, you don’t want to eat it, do you?”

Harry said, “Well, if he doesn’t want to eat it, what’s the use of
chewing it over? Let’s send it.”

I bet you think we’re all crazy, hey? I should worry.

So then we gathered a lot of twigs and started a fire about in the
middle of that open space. While we were doing that, Charlie Seabury and
Ralph Warner got some dead grass and brush and took it down to the brook
and got it good and wet. Then they squeezed the water all out of it so
it was kind of damp and muggy like. It has to be just like that if you
want to send a smudge message. Maybe you don’t know exactly what a
smudge signal is because maybe you think that a smudge is just a dirt
streak on your face—I don’t mean on yours but on Pee-wee’s. That’s
Pee-wee’s trade mark—a smudge on his face. Usually it’s the shape of a
comet and it makes you think of a comet, because he’s got six freckles
on his cheek that are like the big dipper. And his face is round like
the moon, too, but, gee williger, I hate astronomy. But I’d like to go
to Mars just the same.

Anyway this is the way you send a smudge signal. When you get the fire
started good and strong you kind of shovel it into a tin can, but if you
haven’t got any tin can, you don’t. Scouts are supposed to be able to do
without things. We should worry about tin cans. Brent Gaylong has a tin
can on wheels—that’s a Ford. My father says it’s better to own a Ford
than a can’t afford. Anyway my sister says I ought to stick to my
subject. Gee whiz, she must think I’m a piece of fly paper.



                         CHAPTER XV—THE MESSAGE


The reason that I ended that chapter was because I had to go to supper.
So now I’ll tell you about the signal. If we had only had a tin can with
some kind of a cover to lay over it, it would have been easy. But we
hadn’t any so this is the way we did. After the fire was burning up we
piled some of the damp grass and stuff on top of it and that made a
smudge that went way up in the air. I guess any one could see that
smudge maybe fifty miles, especially on account of it being up on the
top of a mountain.

I said, “All we need now is a cloth or something to spread over it so we
can divide the letters.” Because you know we use the Morse code.

So Brent said we could have his mackinaw jacket and he sent Pee-wee down
to the brook to soak it in the water so that it wouldn’t catch fire.
That was the beginning of Brent Gaylong’s bad luck. Crinkums, that
fellow must have been born on a Friday—anyway, he was born on a Friday
that day, I guess. But one good thing about Friday, it’s the day before
Saturday. That’s why there are fifty-two Good Fridays.

So then we sent the message. The first word was _Uncle_, so to spell
that we let the smudge rise for just a second, then laid Brent’s jacket
over it for about three seconds, then let it rise for another second,
then waited about three seconds more and then let it rise for, oh, I
guess about ten seconds, maybe. That made two dots and a dash in the
Morse code and it made the letter U good and big, cracky, bigger than
you could make it on any blackboard, as big as the whole sky. Maybe it
wouldn’t mean anything to you, but that’s because you’re not a scout.
But anyway it meant U. I don’t mean it meant you, but I mean it meant U.

After that we made the other letters in the word Uncle—N-K-L-E—I don’t
mean K, I mean C.

Then after we’d waited about a minute so as to separate the words we
spelled T-O-M, and after that there was a big blot on our writing
(that’s what Rossie said), because Brent’s mackinaw jacket burned up. He
said he was sorry, because there were some peanuts in one of the
pockets.

Anyway he said he was willing to die for the cause, so he took off his
khaki shirt and after Pee-wee went down and soaked it in the brook, we
used that to separate the words and letters. Maybe you’ll say that kind
of writing isn’t very neat but we knew that it could be seen for miles
and miles and that if the boy scouts in Grumpy’s Cross-roads saw it and
read it, they’d tell Major Grumpy and he’d say the scouts were all
right. Because that was our idea, we wanted those other scouts to get
the credit.

I guess maybe it took a half an hour to send that message and it didn’t
look much like a message to us. You’ve got to get away off if you want
to read a smudge signal. A smudge signal is no good for a fellow that’s
near-sighted. When we were all finished, this is what we had printed in
the sky:

               Uncle Tom show will be given as announced.
               Deny rumors.

                                   Boy Scouts of America.

Pee-wee wanted to put in something about foiling the railroad strikers,
but Brent said if we made the message any longer he wouldn’t have any
clothes left. Harry said that if the scouts at Grumpy’s Cross-roads got
that message and delivered it to old Grump, that old Grump would
surrender unconditionally. So maybe we had done a good turn for all we
knew. Even if the telegraph operator at Grumpy’s Cross-roads should see
that smudge he’d read the message, all right. But we said that more
likely he’d he asleep and that scouts are always up early because up at
Temple Camp Uncle Jeb Rushmore (he’s camp manager) is always telling us
that the early bird catches the first worm. But, gee whiz, if I were the
first worm I’d stay in bed and then the early bird wouldn’t catch me.

That’s what Pee-wee calls logic. That’s one thing he’s crazy
about,—logic. Logic and Charlie Chaplin. He likes girls, too. He says
they always smile at him. Gee whiz, can you blame them? It’s a wonder
they don’t laugh out loud.



                          XVI—BRENT’S AMBITION


It was some job picking our way down that mountain. We could see the
road and the machines away down below us and the machines looked like
toy autos. Brent and Harry and Pee-wee and I were together and Brent
talked a lot of that nonsense like he always does. Pee-wee had the
convict’s suit rolled up tight and tied with a couple of thin willow
twigs. If you wet them they’re just as good as cord; you can even tie
them in a knot. He carried the bundle on the end of his scout staff and
he had his scout staff over his shoulder. He looked so important you’d
think he had just captured the convict, too.

Brent said, “That’s what I call real adventure; escaping from a prison
and beating it off to some lonesome mountain and being taken away in an
airplane. That fellow has old Monte Cristo beaten twenty ways. Some
convicts are lucky. I’d like to be that chap.” That’s just the way he
talked.

Harry said, “You might forge a couple of checks if you happen to think
of it sometime.”

Brent said in that funny way of his, “If I could only be sure of
escaping and being carried off by an airplane. But it would be just my
luck to—to——”

“Languish,” Pee-wee shouted; “that’s what they do in jails—languish.”

“And just serve out my term studying logic,” Brent said. “But if I
thought there’d be a chance to escape, I think I’d—let’s see, I think
I’d—what do you think of counterfeiting, Harry?”

“Burglary’s better,” Harry said.

“It’s the dream of my life to be a convict,” Brent kept up. “These
little crimes don’t amount to anything; what I’d like to do is to hit
the high spots, get sent up for life, and then escape in a boat or an
airplane. Somebody could send me a file or a saw in a bunch of flowers.
What do you say? This convict is having the time of his life. That’s the
life—being a fugitive.”

Harry said, “Well, I hope you get your wish.”

Pee-wee said, “You’re crazy, that’s what I say.”

I said, “Gee whiz, there’s fun enough making a cross country trip in
four autos and running into a stranded Uncle Tom’s Cabin Company with
bloodhounds and everything, without being sent to jail.”

Brent said, “Well, I can’t help it; that’s the way I feel. I envy that
convict. I long to languish in a dungeon cell and file away the bars in
the dead of night and kill three keepers and escape in an airplane.
That’s living.”

“Good night,” I said, “not for the three keepers.”

Harry said, “Well, all things come round to him that waits. My ambition
is to be wrecked at sea. How about you, Roy?”

I said, “My ambition is to foil old Major Grumpy and make him fall for
the scouts.”

“No pep to it,” Brent said; “a dark and dismal dungeon with rats poking
around on the stone floor, that’s _my_ speed.”

Cracky, that fellow’s awful funny.

“You’d never get any dessert,” Pee-wee shouted.

Brent said, “Who wants dessert when he can get a crust of bread and a
mug of water?”

“I do,” the kid shouted. “I want two helpings.”

That was _his_ ambition.



                            XVII—A SIDE SHOW


Pretty soon you’ll see why I named this chapter “A Side Show.” When we
got down to the road all those show people were sitting around on the
rocks talking and laughing and telling Westy lots of funny adventures
that they had had. Oh, boy, if I wasn’t a boy scout I’d like to be in an
Uncle Tom’s Cabin Company, that’s one sure thing. That’s _my_ ambition.
Jails and dungeons may be all right, I’m not saying, but anyway, I’d
like to be in a show—especially one that gets stranded. They said that
they could see the signal away up on the mountain, and the man that had
to beat Uncle Tom, he was an awful nice man, he said he could read most
all of it because he used to be a telegraph operator. But he said he
liked beating Uncle Tom better. Uncle Tom said he didn’t mind being
beaten once a day but he didn’t like matinees.

Now I’m going to tell you about how we all got separated
together—that’s what Pee-wee said. When we were all ready to go, Harry
couldn’t start the engine of the van. He said, “Brent, I wish you’d take
a squint at this motor; it heats up and the water boils over.”

Brent said, “I think the timer must have been set by Pee-wee’s watch.”
Pretty soon he said he guessed it was just a short circuit.

“Anyway, that’s better than a long one,” Pee-wee shouted.

Pretty soon Brent said he thought the coil was running the battery down.
Harry said he didn’t blame the coil.

Then Brent said there was a leak of current somewhere, but that he
couldn’t trace it. I said, “Let one of Eliza’s bloodhounds try; maybe he
can trace it.” He said anyway the battery was discharging; believe me,
if I’d had my way I’d have discharged the whole engine.

After a while Brent got it started but he said it wasn’t running right
and he guessed he’d have to get two new plugs. So then we looked at our
map to find out if there was a village anywhere near along that road
where there might be a garage. Because Brent said there ought to be more
grease in the differential, too. But mostly, he said, one of the plugs
wouldn’t fire the charge.

Westy said, “If the plug won’t fire it, why don’t you get the battery to
discharge it?”

Now when we looked at our map we found that about half a mile east of
that mountain a road branched off from the road we were on and went
through a place named Barrow’s Homestead. It didn’t bother to stop at
Barrow’s Homestead, that road didn’t, but it went on and formed a, you
know, a what-do-you-call-it, a _junction_, with the other road three or
four miles farther along. It was just a kind of a loop, that road was,
so as to take in Barrow’s Homestead. Only that road was pretty rough.

Brent said, “I dare say we can find a young garage at that place; there
are bandits everywhere in the west. If you say so, I’ll drive along that
road and meet you where the roads join.”

Harry said, “I guess that’s the best thing to do—for the rest of us to
keep to the smooth, short road with the touring cars. When we get to the
junction of the two roads we’ll wait for you there as long as we think
it’s safe to wait. If you don’t show up by ten o’clock, say, we’ll jog
along and meet you at the Veterans’ Reunion at Grumpy’s Cross-roads. We
don’t want to run any chance of not getting these people there on time.
Uncle Tom has got to be thrashed this afternoon at any cost.” Then he
asked Uncle Tom if he wanted a cigarette. That man was awful nice—the
man that played Uncle Tom. He said he had been thrashed twice a day for
three years, except on Sundays. Harry said it would be a good thing if
that happened to a lot of us fellows, especially me. Anyway I’d rather
be Eliza and be chased by ferocious bloodhounds. That’s what Mr.
Abbington called them—ferocious.

Now as soon as it was decided that Brent Gaylong should drive the van
along that other road, up jumped our young hero and shouted, “I’ll go
with you; maybe they sell ice cream sodas at that place.”

As soon as he mentioned ice cream sodas all the other fellows said
they’d go—except I didn’t. Because I’m not crazy about an ice cream
soda. I like three or four of them though.

Harry said, “Well, it looks like a mutiny and I guess we’ll have to lock
every one of you in the van.”

By that time, Pee-wee was up on the seat of the van and he shouted, “I
wouldn’t mute; I’m already here and I’m going to stay here!”

Harry said, “Nobody would ever think of the word mute in connection with
you; stay where you are and we’ll be glad to get rid of you, and Roy
too, if he wants to go.”

I said, “The pleasure is mine, I go where duty calls.”

“You mean you go where ice cream sodas call,” the kid shouted at me.

I said, “Well, for goodness’ sake, chuck that bundle inside the van and
give me a chance to sit down, will you?” Because even still he had that
convict’s suit close by him on the seat as if he was afraid somebody
would get it away from him. “What are you going to do with it?” I said.
“Hang it up in the parlor when you get home?”

So then I climbed up and chucked the bundle into the van through the
little window right behind the seat. Brent sat down between Pee-wee and
me, and thus we started off. That’s a peach of a word—_thus_. For a
little way we could look across to the other road and see the three
touring cars filled with the Uncle Tom’s Cabin people and the other
fellows of my patrol. Mr. Abbington was sitting with Harry and he looked
awful funny with his high hat on.

All of a sudden, _good night_, that bloodhound that had been up on the
mountain with us came tearing across from the other road. I guess he
wanted to go with us. He clambered almost up to the seat and began
sniffing around Brent. I bet he liked him on account of Brent’s being so
crazy about adventures, hey?

Brent said, “You go back where you belong, old Snoozer. Who do you think
I am? Eliza?”

Then Mr. Abbington began calling him and the dog didn’t seem to be able
to decide what to do.

“I hear you calling me,” Brent said; “go on back, Snoozer; we’ll see you
later.”

So then the dog went back but I guess he didn’t want to. Gee whiz, you
couldn’t blame him. Because one thing sure, if you stick to Brent
Gaylong you’re pretty sure to see some fun. Believe _me_, that fellow’s
middle name is adventure. Just you wait and see.



                      CHAPTER XVIII—A SHOWER BATH


Brent said, “I bet Brother Abbington will be pretty hot to-day with that
frock coat of his and that high hat.”

I said, “It’s going to be a scorcher, all right.”

“Lucky for me,” he said, “as long as my mackinaw and my khaki shirt have
gone in the good cause.”

“You should worry,” I told him.

“Only I don’t look very presentable,” he said.

“Don’t you care,” I said; “we won’t meet anybody along this road.”

“It’s the least of my troubles,” he said; “what I’m thinking about is
this pesky engine. It jumps like a bull-frog; I think it’s got the pip.”

Pee-wee said, “Some engines have the sleeping sickness and they won’t go
at all.”

Then we all got to saying how we hoped that Harry and Rossie and Tom
would get the three cars to Grumpy’s Cross-roads in time so those actor
people could give their show.

“Even if we’re not with them,” I said.

“I guess we’ll be able to make connections before they get there,” Brent
said.

“Oh, boy, that’ll be some good turn,” Pee-wee said. “I bet old Grump
won’t be mad at the scouts any more; he’ll see that they’re dauntless
and—something or other.”

“Oh, he’ll see that they’re something or other,” Brent said. “I never
knew a scout that wasn’t something or other.”

“He’ll see that they do good turns,” the kid shouted. Gee whiz, good
turns are his favorite fruit—good turns and doughnuts. Even if he had a
turning lathe he couldn’t turn out any more good turns.

Now maybe you know what a tornado is. Anyway, there wasn’t any that day.
So you don’t need to worry. But all of a sudden dark clouds came and
pretty soon the sky was all black and the wind was blowing like
anything. I guess it was a cyclone, all right, only it decided not to
come that way on account of the road being so bad.

Anyway the wind kept up and blew right in our faces and after a while
Brent said, “Did you bring those old togs along, kid?”

Pee-wee said, “You mean the convict suit? It’s in the van.”

“Well, get me the coat and I’ll slip it on,” Brent told him. “We may not
be able to catch the convict, but I’m blamed sure I’ll catch cold.”

So Pee-wee went around and into the van by the doors in back and got the
convict’s jacket. I guess none of us thought there was anything funny
about Brent wearing it for a little while. Only I said to him, just
joking like, “You wanted to be a convict, now you’ve got your wish.”

“If my mother could only see me now,” he said. “Do I look like a zebra,
Pee-wee?”

We had to laugh, he looked so funny in that striped jacket; but anyway
it was a pretty lonely road and we weren’t likely to meet anybody.

Pretty soon we began passing houses, and Brent took the jacket off and
threw it back into the van through the little window in front. In about
five minutes we came to a village. I said, “Go slow or you’ll run over
it.” The village was almose right underneath the van. The main street of
that village was all black and sticky from tar and oil that they had
been sprinkling on it and pretty soon we came to the sprinkler, standing
still right in the middle of the road, with a couple of men near it.

We had to stop because we couldn’t get past, so we just sat there on the
seat, watching them. The sprinkler wouldn’t work and they were trying to
fix it. One man was sticking a piece of wire into all the little holes
along the pipe that ran crossways at the back of the big tank.

Brent said, “They’ll never fix it that way. Maybe some of those holes
are clogged up, but not all of them.” Then he called down to the man and
said, “What seems to be the trouble? Won’t she sprinkle?”

“Mixture’s too gol darned thick, I reckon,” one of the men called back.

“Well, it wouldn’t clog up all the holes,” Brent said; “probably the
feed pipe is clogged up.”

The man said, “Well, I don’t know how we’re ever going to get at that
unless we take the whole bloomin’ thing apart.”

Then I heard Brent say, under his breath kind of, “I could fix that in
five minutes.”

“Then you have to do it,” the kid shouted; “you have to do a good turn.”

“Look and see if there isn’t a turn cock on the feed pipe,” Brent called
down; “maybe it joggled shut. That sometimes happens on an auto.”

The two men got down under the sprinkler and began looking and feeling
around, but they couldn’t seem to find anything. After a couple of
minutes Brent climbed down and said, “Let’s take a look at this.” I
guess they could see that he was a pretty good mechanic, all right.
Anyhow they stepped out of the way and Brent crawled down under the
sprinkler. He lay on his back part way underneath it and we all watched
him.

“He’ll find the trouble,” Pee-wee said to the man; “he’s head of a scout
troop, he is, and he’s resourceful. A scout has got to be resourceful.
Don’t you worry, we’ll do you a good turn, all right.”

The men kind of smiled, and one of them said, “All right, sonny. So yer
fer doin’ good turns, hey?”

“Sure,” Pee-wee said; “that’s one of our rules. If anybody’s in trouble
we’ve got to help them out—no matter how much trouble it is. You see a
scout can always help you out, because he’s resourceful.”

One of those men said, “Oh, that’s it, is it?”

“Sure,” the kid shouted; “all you have to do is come to us. Even Uncle
Sam came to us when he wanted to sell Liberty Bonds; we helped him out.”

The man said, “I bet he was tickled to death.”

I said to Pee-wee, “Shut up; don’t be shouting so much about good turns.
Actions speak louder than words.”

“Words speak loud enough,” the kid yelled.

“_Good night_, you said it,” I told him.

“Even now we’re doing a good turn,” the kid shouted; “we’ve got three
more autos over on the other road and we’re taking some Uncle Tom’s
Cabin actors to the Veteran’s Reunion. We should worry if the railroad
trains don’t run.”

Jimmies, I don’t know how much more he might have told them, he’s a
human billboard for the Boy Scouts of America, that kid is; but all of a
sudden, _zip goes the fillum_, that black tarry stuff came shooting out
from all the holes in the sprinkler and Brent came crawling out from
underneath it with his trousers and his shirt all black and sticky and
his hair all mucked up with the stuff and with a big streaky smudge all
over his face.

“_Good night!”_ I shouted. “What happened?”

“I found it,” he said; “it had joggled shut, just as I thought. If you
happen to have a few feathers handy, you can tar and feather me. I did a
good turn, only I didn’t turn over and get out quick enough.”

Oh, boy, that fellow was a sight!



                        XIX—BRENT GETS HIS WISH


One thing about those men, they weren’t very good scouts, I’ll say that
much. The only good turn they did was to turn around and drive away.
Maybe the Union wouldn’t let them do good turns; Unions have got no use
for good turns.

First we decided that we’d stop at the nearest house, but one thing
about scouts, they don’t like to ask for help unless they have to. But
if you offer them something to eat it’s all right for them to take it.

I said to Brent, “Well, you were crazy for an adventure, now you’ve got
one.”

He said, “I don’t care about such a sticky one. I’m not exactly what you
would call crazy about tar shower baths.”

“You’ll have to cut your hair off, that’s one sure thing,” I told him;
“you’ll never be able to get that stuff out of your hair.”

“I’d like to sit down, too,” he said; “but if I did, I could never get
up again. I think the sooner I’m fixed up the better. Let’s run the van
alongside the road and get inside and see what we can do. Our friend’s
suit of clothes is still in there. After boasting about my dreams of
adventure it seems rather tame to go into somebody’s back kitchen for
repairs. I’m afraid Harry would indulge in a gentle smile.”

“He’d indulge in a gentle fit if he saw you now,” I told him.

“I say let’s not go to anybody for assistance,” Pee-wee spoke up. “We
can get gasoline out of the tank, so you can wash the tar off your face,
and I’ve got a folding scissors in my scout knife. I’ll cut your hair
for you.”

“How would you like to have it cut?” I asked him, just kidding him.

“I think I’d like it cut dark,” he said.

I said, “Well, we’ll cut it short and then if you don’t like it we’ll
cut it longer.”

So we decided that we wouldn’t depend on anybody but would act just the
same as if we were on a desert island where there weren’t any barbers
and bathtubs and things, because Columbus and Daniel Boone didn’t have
barbers and bathtubs and things.

“They depended upon their own initials,” Pee-wee said.

“You mean initiative,” I told him.

He said, “What’s the difference?”

So then I ran the machine over to the side of the road right close to a
kind of a grove and we got some gas out of the tank and Brent and I went
inside the van. We told Pee-wee to stay outside so as to keep people
from opening the doors or fooling with the car, because we were in the
village and we thought maybe people would be hanging around.

There was only one thing to do with Brent’s hair, and that was to cut it
off, because the tar was so thick there that the gasoline wouldn’t melt
it. I made a pretty good job of it with the little folding scissors in
Pee-wee’s scout knife. We managed to get most of the tar off his face
with the gasoline, but it left his face kind of all black and sooty
looking.

He couldn’t sit down or lean against anything on account of the tar all
over his clothes, so he took them off and I handed them out to Pee-wee
and told him to throw them in the grove. Then Brent put on the convict’s
suit, and he looked awful funny in it with his dirty face and his hair
all cut short.

He said, “At last the dream of my young life has come true; I am a
criminal. The only thing is I haven’t committed my crime yet.”

I said, “Oh, you needn’t be in any hurry about that.”

He said, “But it seems sort of _false_ for me to be wearing a convict’s
suit when I haven’t committed any crime. It seems like deceiving people.
It troubles my conscience. And I haven’t really escaped either. What
would you do if you were me? I don’t want to disgrace the uniform I
wear. I wish I could think of some nice easy crime. I feel nice and
clean in these things, anyway. But my conscience is black. Do you
suppose there’s a bank in this burg, and a jail? I was thinking if I
could just let myself down by a rope. Only it would be just my luck to
have a cell on the ground floor.”

I said, “The best cell for you is right in this little old van, at least
till we get out of town. You leave the rope business to Douglas
Fairbanks. If anybody in this place should see you, _good night_, Sister
Anne! And it isn’t any joke, either. Now you’ve got your wish, you’ll
see it isn’t going to be as much fun as you thought it was.”

Brent sat down on an old grocery box that we had inside the van, and,
jiminetty, I had to laugh, he had such a funny way about him. He looked
awful tough, sort of, without his hair. He said, “Well, I appoint you my
keeper. I hope I’m not such a cheap sort of a criminal as to try to
escape from a delivery van. A stone dungeon or nothing for me.” Gee
whiz, that fellow’s particular.

Just then the plot grew thicker—oh, _boy_! One of the doors of the van
opened and Pee-wee squeezed in. He had a big piece of paper in his hand.
He said, “I went up the road a little way—shh!”

I said, “I thought it was kind of quiet outside.”

He said, “Shh, look at this; it was tacked to a tree. We’re in desperate
peril——”

Brent said, “In which?”

“Read this,” the kid whispered. “I didn’t see it till after I threw the
clothes away and they floated down the brook. Dangers thicken—look at
this.” He got those words out of the movies, _dangers thicken_.

Brent and I read the printing on the paper and this is what it said:

                      ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS REWARD

    Offered for information leading to the recapture of Mike
    Donovan, alias Rinky, escaped from Indiana State Prison. Was
    serving term of fifteen years for burglary and child murder.
    Slender of stature. Five feet nine inches in height. Is supposed
    to have relations in the east. Age about nineteen. Is known to
    be a desperate character, having served terms in New York and
    Pennsylvania for burglary and highway robbery.

There was some more, about who to notify and all that, but I can’t
remember the rest. Brent took the paper from me and sat there on the
grocery box in the dim light with the doors closed, reading it. It
seemed awfully dark and secret, kind of, in there.

He said, “Larceny, child murder, burglary, and highway robbery. That
isn’t so bad, is it? That’s really more than I expected. I haven’t lived
in vain.”

“You’ll live in a jail, that’s where you’ll live,” Pee-wee whispered.
“What are we going to do?”

“You ought to know,” I told him, “a scout is resourceful.”



                 CHAPTER XX—WE CONSIDER OUR PREDICAMENT


                       (THAT’S PEE-WEE’S HEADING)

I said to Brent, “Now you’ve killed a child and highway-robbed people
and broken into houses, I hope you’re satisfied.”

“And larcenied,” the kid shouted.

“Shut up,” I told him; “do you want the whole town to hear you? It’s bad
enough as it is; suppose somebody should come walking into this van.”

Brent said, in that crazy way of his, “Boys, this is the end of an evil
career. This is what comes of getting mixed up with the boy scouts. See
where it has brought me. Never again will I do a good turn.”

“You’re crazy,” Pee-wee shouted.

“Shh,” I told him; “have a heart. Do you want to get us all pinched?”

“It was about the best turn I ever did,” Brent said; “I turned the
stop-cock all the way open. And here I am a prisoner in a dry goods
delivery van with boy scouts for keepers. I’d be ashamed to look an
honest burglar in the face.” Honest, that’s just the crazy way he
talked. He said, “Now the question is to escape. I want to escape in a
way that’s full of pep.”

Pee-wee said, “You make me tired. Do you mean to say that good
turns——”

“Will you shut up about good turns, and listen?” I said.

“I mean to say that a good turn is the cause of my downfall,” Brent
said; “and I wish I had a cigarette. Boys, take a lesson from my
terrible example and don’t ever do a good turn.”

“What are you talking about?” the kid shouted.

“Shh,” I told him; “keep still, will you? The first merry-go-round you
see you can get on it and do all the good turns you want, only keep
still and give us a chance to see where we’re at, will you?”

“It’s printed on the National Headquarters’ letterheads,” he said, “to
do a good turn——”

“It’s bad advice to give a young boy,” Brent said.

I said, “Keep still, you’re worse than he is. Give me a chance to think,
will you?”

“Roosevelt’s name and Taft’s name are on that letterhead,” the kid
began, “so that shows——”

“I’m surprised that they should give such advice to young boys,” Brent
said. “I wonder if I could escape from this van with a file and let
myself down with a rope?” Then he picked up a can opener and said, “Ha,
ha, just the thing.”

I said, “Will you please keep still a minute, both of you? Maybe you’ve
heard the scout motto, ‘Be Prepared.’ That’s just as important as good
turns. How are we going to get away from this town? That’s the question.
You and your crimes, and Pee-wee and his good turns, make me tired.
We’ve got to look facts in the face.”

Brent said, “I’m ashamed to look even a fact in the face.”

“Well,” I told him, “you’ll be looking a sheriff in the face if you
don’t talk in a whisper, and maybe you’ll find it isn’t so pleasant
being arrested.”

Brent said, “I’m not thinking about being arrested, I’m thinking about
escaping.”

“Well, you can’t escape from a dry goods van,” I told him.

He said, awful sad, kind of, “I know it. Oh, if I were only Eliza and
could be pursued by ferocious bloodhounds.”

I said, “Well, you can’t have everything. You’ve done pretty well so
far.”

“Sure you have,” Pee-wee whispered; “there’s one of those notices tacked
up in the Post Office, and everybody is talking about that fellow
escaping. I told them that often boy scouts find missing people. I was
telling them about good turns, and I said we’d be on the lookout.”

“I hope they won’t look _in_” Brent said.

“What else did you tell them?” I asked him, good and scared. Because I
knew that if our young hero had been able to round up an audience in the
Post Office, most likely he had given them the whole history of the Boy
Scouts of America and a lot of other stuff besides.

“I was telling them about good turns,” he said. “There was an old lady
there and I carried a big bundle out to her carriage for her.”

“And that’s all you told them?” I asked him.

“I told them we were going to the Veterans’ Reunion at Grumpy’s
Cross-roads,” he said.

I said, “Did anybody ask you any questions?”

“Sure,” he said; “a man asked me if I liked gumdrops. He gave me a bag
of them. Want one?”

“Well,” I said, “the best thing for us to do is to get out of this place
as quick as we can. When we once strike open country, we’ll be all right
and when we meet the rest of the crowd we can scrape up some civilized
duds.”

“I wonder how I’d look in Brother Abbington’s plug hat just now,” Brent
said.

“You should worry,” I told him; “you look bad enough already.”

“Speaking of plug hats,” he said, “don’t forget we have to get a couple
of plugs for the motor. What place is this, anyway?”

“It’s the place we were looking for,” Pee-wee said; “it’s Barrow’s
Homestead. There aren’t any scouts here, but I told the people all about
them. They’re going to start a troop.”

I said, “Well, it’s time to start this troop if we don’t want to get
into trouble. This is a pretty risky business.”



                          XXI—GETTING STARTED


As soon as I heard that Pee-wee had been in the Post Office talking, I
decided that we had better get away from that place just as soon as we
possibly could, if not sooner. Even Brent said he guessed the best way
to escape was inside the van; he said it was more comfortable and
convenient. He said the good old times when people used to escape from
towers and be pursued by ferocious bloodhounds weren’t any more except
in the movies. He said he was discouraged.

Gee whiz, when I looked at him sitting there on that grocery box with
his face all grimy and his hair cropped and that striped suit on him, I
just had to laugh. I have to admit he’s awful funny, that fellow is.

I said, “Well, one thing, it’s mighty lucky I know how to drive a car
and I can get us out of this village. And another thing, it’s mighty
lucky we’re still just where the village begins; if we weren’t we’d be
surrounded. If we can get past the Post Office, we’re safe.”

So then Pee-wee and I tore down the signs we had outside the van about
going all the way from Klucksville to New York, because people would
wonder at fellows our age doing that when there was no big fellow with
us. Safety first, that’s what I said.

“If they think we’re only going as far as Grumpy’s Cross-roads,” I said,
“I guess nobody’ll be suspicious.”

Pee-wee said, “Yes, but how about Jolly & Kidder’s name, and New York
printed all over the sides of the van?”

“A scout is resourceful,” I told him; “let’s tear down the canvas from
inside and be quick about it.”

Now inside that van was lined with canvas to keep things from getting
scratched, I guess. Brent said it was a padded cell. So we took that
down and tacked it up outside on both sides so that all the printing was
covered. After we did that we closed the doors of the van and locked the
padlock and Pee-wee took the key. Brent called out to us that we should
take a lesson by his terrible example. Then we could hear him kind of
muttering, “I will escape; I will foil you all yet.” Honest, he’s crazy,
that fellow is.

Pee-wee and I sat down on the back step for about half a minute to make
up our minds what we should say if any one stopped us and asked us
questions. “Anyway,” he said, “that canvas on the sides will make people
suspicious with no printing on it.”

I said, “Well, we’re not going to print any lies on it, anyway.”

He said, “We don’t have to print lies. Truth is stranger than
fiction—that’s what it said in a movie play I saw.”

Then, all of a sudden he out with a piece of chalk that he always
carries so as he can make scout signs and he sprawled all over one side
of the van,

                               BOY SCOUTS
                      EN ROOT TO SOLDIERS’ REUNION

                              Our Mottoes:

                              BE PREPARED
                          DO A GOOD TURN DAILY

I said, “That isn’t the way to spell en route. What’s the matter with
you?”

I guess he was thinking about root beer, hey?



                             XXII—SILENCE!


I said to Pee-wee, “Now all we have to do is to go straight about our
business and keep our mouths shut and we’ll get out of this burg all
right. Just keep silence. Nobody’s going to stop us as long as people
don’t get suspicious. I can drive the car till we get out of town and I
don’t think any one will stop me. All _you_ have to do is to keep
silence.”

“How long do I have to keep it?” he wanted to know.

I said, “Oh, keep it till it’s all used up, and then I’ll give you some
more. Believe me, you can’t have too much of it just now.”

“We’ll have to use up a lot of it, hey?” he said.

“More than _you_ ever used before,” I told him.

“Anyway,” he said, “an innocent man has nothing to fear.”

“You got that out of the movies,” I told him. “An innocent man with his
hair cropped and a convict suit on has a whole lot to fear.”

“Innocence is a shield,” he said; “it’s in my copy book.”

“Yes?” I said. “Well, an enclosed van is a better shield.”

“Our lips will be sealed, hey?” he said. I guess he got that out of the
_Dan Dauntless Series_; he eats those books alive.

I felt kind of shaky driving that van, but I knew I had to do it, and if
a scout has to do a thing he does it. Gee whiz, I like things that are
hard—except licorice jaw breakers. You get three of those for a cent.
Even I can eat those if I have to, but I like marshmallows better. I
like peanut brittle too. But anyway that hasn’t got anything to do with
driving a car.

For maybe an eighth of a mile there weren’t any houses, because where we
stopped was really on the edge of the village. Anyway that village
didn’t have much of an edge to it. Pretty soon the houses began to get
near together. I guess they were always just as near together but
they—you know what I mean.

Pee-wee didn’t say a word; he just sat straight up beside me like a
little tin soldier. It was a shame to see him wasting so much silence.

Pretty soon we came to the Post Office. There were a lot of people
standing around the Post Office and they were talking about the railroad
strike. I knew that if we once got past the Post Office we’d be all
right. Because post offices in the country are where sheriffs and
constables and other people that haven’t got anything to do hang out. It
wasn’t much of a post office. I guess they called it a post office
because there was a post out in front of it. There was one of those
signs tacked to that post.

I said to Pee-wee, “This is a young reviewing stand. Look straight
ahead, keep your mouth shut, and look kind of careless—you
know—carefree.”

_Good night_, you should have seen the look he put on!

“Is that what you call care free?” I whispered to him. “You look like an
advertisement for tooth powder.”

“That’s the scout smile,” he whispered.

Honest, you’d have laughed to see him; he was looking straight ahead and
grinning all over his face.

“Look natural,” I whispered to him. “Look as if there wasn’t a convict
in the van. Look as if you never saw a convict.”

“How can any fellow look as if he never saw a convict?” he whispered.
“Most everybody has never seen a convict.”

“Well, look like them, then,” I told him. “Look the same as a person
would look if he wasn’t helping a convict to escape.”

He put on another kind of a smile and then he whispered to me, “I bet
now those people will say I’m not helping a convict to escape, hey?”

“Sure,” I told him; “you look as if you were on the track of an ice
cream soda. Keep still and the worst will soon be over.”



                            XXIII—FIXING IT


As we went past the Post Office I felt pretty shaky, because there were
a whole lot of people there and some of them were women, and there were
a lot of children, too. The women said, “Isn’t he cute?” They meant
Pee-wee.

Everybody stared at us as we went by, and read the printing on the van
and said how the boy scouts were all right. It didn’t seem as if anybody
was suspicious at all. Some of them waved to us and we waved back and I
heard a man say that we were lively youngsters. Gee whiz, nobody ever
accused us of being dead, that’s one sure thing.

One lady said how she had seen Pee-wee in the store and how he had told
her all about good turns. She said it must be great to be a boy. Gee
whiz, she said something that time.

“Now you see,” Pee-wee whispered; “it’s good I was in that store. It’s
good I told them all about the scouts, because now they’re not
suspicious. They think it’s all right for kids to be doing this, because
I told them scouts are resourceful.”

“Did you tell them how we have plenty of initials?” I asked him.

“Do you know what safe conduct is?” he asked me.

“I know that yours isn’t always safe,” I told him.

“It means when a general promises not to interfere with anybody, even an
enemy. He gives them safe conduct; that means that they can go ahead and
not worry about being pinched, see? These people gave us safe conduct
and they’re not bothering us, because they know the scouts are all
right. It’s on account of the way I talked to them. I came along first
like a kind of a—you know—a what-d’ye-call-it——”

“I don’t know _what_ to call it,” I said.

“A herald,” he blurted out.

“Well,” I said, “you look more like the funny page in the Journal to me.
Don’t talk too loud, the danger isn’t passed.”

By that time we had got about fifty yards past the Post Office and I was
feeling kind of nervous, but just the same I knew the danger was over.

Pee-wee said, “Do you mean to tell me that those people would let a
couple of kids like us go by driving a big van, and never ask them any
questions, if they didn’t know that we were all right? I fixed it all
right, while you and Brent were worrying your lives out in the van. Now
we’re safe.”

I said, “Oh, you’re the little fixer, all right.”

Just then, _good night_, one of those men came running after us calling,
“Hi thar, wait a minute, you youngsters!”

Oh, boy, a cold shudder ran down my back. I said, “We’re pinched. I knew
it was too good to be true.”

I stopped the car and when the man caught up with us he said, all out of
breath, “What’s this here talk one of you youngsters were givin’ us
’baout good turns? Allus ready ter do a favor, as I understand?”

Oh, bibbie, wasn’t I relieved.

“That’s our middle name,” Pee-wee said.

“Wall then, haow abaout doin’ one naow?” the man said.

By that time there were about a dozen people standing around in the road
and I gave Pee-wee a nudge and said, “Watch your step; let me do the
talking.”

But he didn’t pay any attention to me. Off he went with a lot of stuff
out of the handbook and wound up by saying how scouts were supposed to
help strangers. “Sure, we’ll do anything you want,” he said; “all you
have to do is to ask us.”

“Wall then,” the man said, “here’s a lot of folks wantin’ to go to the
reunion at the Crossroads and we was thinkin’ as haow you might pack ’em
inter this here van of yourn as long as the trains ain’t runnin’.”

_Jumping jiminies!_ I nearly fell through the seat.



                        XXIV—SNOOZER SETTLES IT


That was a home-run all right I said, all flabbergasted. “You see, the
only trouble is I’m not an experienced driver and these are—they’re
pretty rough roads—and—eh—”

“That’s one thing about us,” Pee-wee piped up; “we’re not as smart as we
look. Maybe it seems as if we could do most anything, but we can’t.
That’s one thing about a scout, he has to admit it if he doesn’t know
everything. He has to—he has to—eh—he has to safeguard the lives of
others. See? Suppose we ran into a ditch and upset the car and everybody
got killed. They wouldn’t thank us, would they?”

One of the ladies said, “Oh, isn’t he just too funny for anything!”

The man said, kind of slow and drawly like, he said, “Wall, yer could
drive slow en’ thar ain’t no ditches.”

“Even one ditch would be enough,” the kid said. “Isn’t there just one?”

Jiminetty, I could hardly keep a straight face. There were all those
people crowding around the van and saying how nice it would be if we
would take a group to the reunion and how we had plenty of room. I
thought of Brent sitting on the grocery box inside, and I bet he was
laughing.

I said under my breath to Pee-wee, “All right, you got us into this with
your good turns; now you can get us out.”

Then a man said, “A couple of boys who are going to have an eye out to
recapture a convict, like this here little feller says, they ought to be
smart enough and kind enough, I reckon, to give some of these here
disappointed souls a lift. Jest you boys open these here doors and let
the youngsters pile in, so they can go see Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

“That—that show isn’t going to be much good,” Pee-wee said; “and I can
tell you one thing, it’s pretty stuffy in that van. That’s one thing
scouts believe in—fresh air.”

By that time he was fidgeting around on the seat and some of the people
were laughing and some of them looked surprised.

“That’s just it,” Pee-wee said; “if you were boy scouts and you were
going to try to capture a criminal, you wouldn’t want a lot of children
along, would you? And ladies? Ladies are a-scared of criminals; gee, I
don’t blame them.”

Somebody said, “Oh, I guess the hounds they got on the trail will find
the convict, all right, so you boys can jest consider if you’re goin’ to
live up to your words or not ’baout doin’ good turns.”

Oh, boy, that was a terrible moment in Pee-wee’s life. I guess _Dan
Dauntless_ never had so much to worry about. But that kid has some
sense, anyway, and that’s more than that story fellow has. In a couple
of seconds I noticed that he was wiping his face with his handkerchief
and I saw that he was getting the key sort of rolled up in the cloth at
the same time. Then he made believe to put the handkerchief in his back
pocket, but really he dropped it through the little window into the van.
You couldn’t even hear it drop inside.

Then he said, “The trouble is that this van is locked and we haven’t got
the key.” That kid would never have said that while he had the key,
because it would have been a lie. And scouts don’t lie, that’s sure.

Jiminy, I don’t know what those people thought; anyway I felt pretty
mean. The ladies said anyway they were just as much obliged to us. The
men looked kind of as if they didn’t have much use for us, but they
didn’t say anything and I had to admit that Pee-wee had got away with it
all right.

Then, _good night, Sister Anne_, what should I see but our old college
chum Snoozer from the Uncle Tom’s Cabin show. There he was, right among
all those people, pushing them out of the way and sniffing around as if
he was half crazy. Pee-wee and I jumped down and pushed past the people
who were all crowding around the back of the van, and, _good night_,
there was that pesky actor dog with his feet on the step, sniffing and
sniffing at the doors and barking and yelping for all he was worth.

“Chop down them doors!” I heard a man say. “That’s somethin’ wrong here.
This here dog is an official bloodhound, and, _by gum_, he’s tracked
that thar convict. That chap paid these youngsters to help him escape,
that’s what he has—by thunder! Somebody get an axe out of the Post
Office and chop down these here doors. Don’t either one of you
youngsters try to run or, by thunder, you’ll drop in your tracks. Good
turns, eh? So them’s the kind of good turns you do, hey? Get an axe
somebody—quick!”



                XXV—BIG EXCITEMENT AT BARROW’S HOMESTEAD


I was kind of excited, but I said to Pee-wee, “Don’t get scared; all
they’ll do is arrest him; he’ll get off.”

Then one of the men came up and said to us awful loud and gruff, “Naow,
you kids, aout with that key, hand it over!”

I said, “Didn’t you hear my chum say that we haven’t got the key? It
shows you don’t know much about scouts if you think they lie. If you
want to know where the key is, it’s inside.”

“Wall then, yer better crawl through that little winder up thar in front
and git it,” he said.

“I don’t have to get it,” I told him; “go and get it yourself if you
want it. You must have been reading dime novels if you think that boys
like us help convicts to escape. If you tear down those doors you’ll put
them up again, I’ll tell you that.”

Just then along came a man with a brass badge on about as big as a
saucer. I said to Pee-wee, “Look what he’s hiding.” He had an axe, too.
There were a lot of people crowding all about him. One of them said,
“It’s a pretty desperate attempt, Constabule.” The man said, “I’ll have
him behind the bars in about a jiffy. These boys is accessories, that’s
what they are.”

“Accessories are things that come with motor-boats,” the kid whispered
to me.

I said, “Well, we’re the kind of accessories that come with motor vans.
This is some circus; Brent will get his wish and go to jail, all right.
There’s no use getting scared.”

By that time everything was excitement. People came running out of
houses and crowded around the van and stared at Pee-wee and me. Gee
whiz, I don’t know where all the people came from. All the while the dog
kept clawing at the doors of the van and barking and yelping. I wondered
how Brent felt inside the van. In about five minutes the whole town was
out, gaping and talking, all excited.

The constable said to us, “Naow then, you youngsters, you been
compoundin’ a felony, that’s what you been doin’. Now who’s inside that
van? Who yer hidin’? Somebody, hey?”

“I’m not denying anything,” I told him. “All I say is we didn’t break
any law.”

“Wall, yer admit yer concealin’ somebody in thar, ain’t yer—huh?” he
shouted.

I said, “I’m not denying it, but I’m not scared of you.”

He said, “Yaas? Wall, we’ll soon see. We’ll have him under lock and key
for sartin, if that’s what he likes.”

“That’s his favorite pastime,” I said; “you don’t know him.”

“Surraound this here wagon, you people,” the constable said, “and keep a
watch on these kids; they’re pretty slippery.”

So then the constable and another man began chopping down the doors.
“It’s up to them,” I said to Pee-wee; “we should worry.”

“What do you suppose Brent will do?” he said.

“They’ll lock him up till the whole thing is explained,” I said; “they
won’t take our word for anything. He’s got troubles of his own at last;
I hope he’s satisfied. He wanted bread and water, now he’ll get it.”

“They’ll lock us up, too, won’t they?” the kid said, good and scared.
“That man is keeping his eye on us.”

All the while the dog kept yelping and clawing at the doors and the
people crowded closer around so as to see better. Gee, I felt kind of
sorry for Brent, because I saw he was up against it.

All of a sudden down came one of the doors and the bloodhound sprang
inside and came out again. The constable poked his head in and said,
“_Well, I’ll be jiggered!_” Pee-wee and I looked inside and, good night,
that van was as empty as an ice cream soda glass when Pee-wee is through
with it.

“Well—what—do—you—know—about—that?” I stammered under my breath to
Pee-wee.

“His dream came true,” Pee-wee whispered to me; “he kept his vow, he
foiled everybody, he _escaped_. He—he—he what-d’ye-call-it—he hasn’t
lived in vain—hey?”

“He hasn’t lived in the van very long, that’s sure,” I whispered. “He
has put it all over these people and us too. Can you beat that fellow?”

“He defied locks and bolts and dungeons like Houdini,” the kid said. I
guess he saw Houdini in the movies.

“Sure, he’s a real hero at last,” I said; “but he’s got _me_ guessing.”

The constable and a couple of other men were stamping around inside the
van and he called out, “Thar ain’t no clew here, nothin’ but this here
can opener.” And then he came out with the can opener in his hand.

Gee whiz, I just couldn’t help shouting right out in front of everybody.
I said, “That clew explains the whole mystery. There was a can of baked
beans in that van, and he must have opened it and emptied them out and
secreted himself in the empty can. When we threw the can away, he
escaped.”

The constable said, “What’s all this talk? I want to know who you kids
is, anyway. And I want ter know what you’re doin’ here, runnin’ this big
van all by yourselves.”

I said, “I’m Sherlock Nobody Holmes, the boy detective. This is my
trusty pal, Scout Harris. We’re on our way to kidnap Major Grumpy in
this van and hold him until he gives up one thousand dollars to the Boy
Scouts of America. Can you tell us where we can buy a couple of spark
plugs?”



                           XXVI—TO THE RESCUE


All of a sudden the plot grew thicker. I thought we’d have to thin it
with gasoline, it grew so thick. For a few minutes Pee-wee and I just
stood there wondering what had become of Brent and laughing at the
constable who was holding his axe in one hand and our can opener in the
other, and all the people stood around staring at us as if they didn’t
know what to make of us.

The constable said, “I daon’t like the looks uv this here, I don’t. You
allowed there was somebody in that van. Now whar is he?”

I said, “I didn’t allow anything, I just didn’t _deny_ anything. What’s
the use of blaming us because you half chopped the van to pieces? All
you’ve got is a can opener—we should worry. You seem to trust the dog;
if you want to ask any questions you’d better ask _him_. The only person
he knows how to track is Eliza, because that’s his business.“

“He’s on the stage,” Pee-wee piped up.

“You mean he’s in the van,” I said.

The constable said, “Wall, I reckon you youngsters’d better tell yer
story ter Justice Cummins. It’s mighty funny two young boys travelin’ by
theirselves in a big van.”

“I’ll recount our adventures to him,” Pee-wee piped up. “Where is he?”

For about half a minute the constable just stood there staring at us. I
guess he didn’t know what he’d better do. All the rest of the people
stood around, staring. I guess it was the biggest thing that ever
happened in Barrow’s Homestead. Inside the van a couple of men were
holding the bloodhound by the collar. Some excitement.

All of a sudden, zip goes the fillum, along the road came an auto,
pell-mell! It came through the village from the direction we were going
in.

“Look!” Pee-wee said. “Look who’s in it; it’s Harry; who’s that with
him?”

Before I had a chance to say anything, the car was close up to us and
Harry and another person were stepping out. Harry was laughing all over
his face, but he was in a terrible hurry, I could see that. I gave one
look at the person who was with him and began to roar.

“It’s—it’s Brent—Gaylong,” Pee-wee whispered.

I said, “Don’t make me laugh any harder or I’ll die of shock.”

Honest, even now when I think of it I have to laugh. He looked like
Charlie Chaplin only more so. And he had such a funny way about him
too—kind of dignified. He had on a great big straw hat like a farmer
and a black coat like a minister, only it was all in shreds. It was his
trousers that made him look like Charlie Chaplin. Laugh! They were about
a hundred times too big and a mile too long, and every time he took a
step he stumbled all over himself and had to hoist them up. His big hat
was pulled way down over his ears and—oh, I just can’t tell you about
it. He was a scream. And all the while he had a very dignified, severe
look on his face, even when he tripped all over himself.

Honest, I just howled. I didn’t hear Pee-wee laugh; I guess he must have
fainted. Harry came along behind Brent, trying not to laugh but every
time Brent’s feet caught in his trousers I could see Harry’s face all
twisted up just as if he was trying as hard as he could not to scream.
Every step Brent took I thought he’d go kerflop on the ground. The
people were all giggling, but he didn’t notice them at all, only kept on
looking very sober and stern—oh, boy, it was a scream.

He said, “What is all this?” And then he fell all over himself and gave
his trousers a hitch. “Who is interfering with these boys in the
performance of their duty? Stand back, everybody!” And he went
staggering against a tree and gave his trousers a good hitch up. “Who is
the leader of this motley throng?” That’s what he said, and, gee whiz, I
thought he’d skid and land on his head. You couldn’t see his hands, his
sleeves were so long. “Who dares to stand—” he said, and, good night,
he went kerflop on the ground and got right up again. I had a headache
from laughing.

Harry Donnelle just sat down on the step of the van and shook and shook.

Brent pointed at the sheriff with the floppy end of his sleeve and said,
“You and your minions are charged with trespassing upon the property of
Jolly & Kidder, Inc., New York. Wait till I roll up my sleeves so I can
point better. Who _dares_ to stand in the way of the Boy Scouts of
America?”

“Thar’s a convict missin’ from araound these parts,” the constable said;
“who are you, anyway, and your friend thar?”

Brent said, “We represent the Archibald Abbington Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Company who are touring the country, drawing laughter and tears with
their excruciating and heart-rending drama, and I am in search of one of
our ferocious bloodhounds. We are in partnership with the Boy Scouts of
America and any one attempting to interfere with our noble effort to put
an end to slavery will be punished to the full extent of the law. When
we have an opportunity we will endeavor to find your convict for you.
Please stand aside, everybody, and allow the procession to pass.”



                    CHAPTER XXVII—ANOTHER DISCOVERY


Brent stumbled up the step and stood in back of the van, holding his
trousers up with one hand and waving the other hand in the air.

“Free ride to the Veterans’ Reunion at Grumpy’s Cross-roads!” he began
shouting. “Children and veterans free! We take you but do not bring you
back. No connection with criminals and convicts! Free ride to the
carnival. Veterans welcome! All aboard for the carnival! Hail to the
Grand Army of the Republic and the Boy Scouts of America. Hurrah for
Jolly & Kidder, New York’s great cash store! Step inside, veterans!”

Pretty soon an old man with an old blue army cap came hobbling out of
the crowd, and Harry helped him up into the van. That was a starter. Men
began bringing boxes from the Post Office and putting them in the van
for seats. Most of the mothers wouldn’t let their children go because
there wasn’t any way for them to get back, but the veterans didn’t seem
to mind that. We got three veterans in Barrow’s Homestead and then
started out. I don’t know what the constable thought, but we should
worry about that. All the people cheered us and gave us a fine send-off.
Pee-wee said they were stricken with remorse—I guess he got that out of
a movie play.

We stopped for a couple of spark plugs and to get the timer of the van
adjusted, and a lot of the kids followed us as far as the end of the
town.

Harry drove the van and Brent drove the touring car, and Pee-wee and I
sat with Brent.

I said, “I wish you’d tell us about your adventures, you crazy Indian. I
thought we were in for a lot of trouble in that village. You’ve got me
guessing. Anyway you escaped like you said you were going to do. But I’d
like to know where you came from and where you got that bunch of rags.”

He said, “You should never laugh at honest rags. Beneath these rags
beats a noble heart. Boys, I am sick of crime and I am going to reform.”
That’s just the way he talked, the crazy Indian. He said, “I have had my
fondest wish, I have been a convict—a villyan. I have languished in a
dark moving van, I have foiled the shrewdest people in the world, the
boy scouts—not. Would you like to hear the story of my evil career? I
began life as an honest boy. I never stole but once in my life and that
was when I stole second base in a ball game.”

I said, “Will you stop your jollying and tell us what happened?”

He said, “Posilutely I will. There were two boy scouts sitting on the
step outside the Jolly & Kidder state prison. I was inside in my
convicts’ stripes.”

“Were you languishing?” Pee-wee piped up.

Brent said, “No, I was eating a banana. I said two scouts, but really it
was only about one and a half. They were supposed to be alert,
observant, resourceful.”

I said, “That’s right, rub it into us.”

He said, “While they were arguing on the back step I stood upon a
grocery box and crawled through the little window in back of the front
seat. I was _free_, like Monte Carlo—I mean Monte Cristo—”

“You mean Monticello,” I told him.

“You mean Montenegro,” Pee-wee put in.

“The world seemed bright and new,” Brent said.

“You’re crazy,” I told him; “go on, where did you get those clothes?”

He said, “Shh. Can I count on you never to breathe a word? The man I got
these clothes from lies dead in yonder swamp.”

“Who put him there?” Pee-wee wanted to know.

Brent said, “Shh, I did. The man was innocent. He was standing in a
field beyond the swamp. He was doing no harm. I approached him, crawling
through the grass.”

“What was he doing there?” Pee-wee wanted to know.

“He was scaring away crows,” Brent said.

“_He was a scarecrow_!” I blurted out.

“A harmless, innocent, hard working scarecrow,” Brent said. “As I think
of it now——”

[Illustration: BRENT CAPTURED A SCARECROW.]

“You make me tired!” Pee-wee yelled. “Why didn’t you say so?”

Brent said, “His trustful, happy, carefree face haunts me now. He was
only scaring away the crows——”

“You give me a pain!” the kid shouted. “You’re crazy.”

Brent said, “But I thought of my dungeon in the Jolly & Kidder van and
of my brutal keepers, those two boy scouts—asleep on the back step. I
said to myself, ‘I will never return whither——’”

“You mean thither,” Pee-wee said.

“I said to myself, ‘They will have to kill me to take me alive,’” Brent
said.

“Anyway, you killed him?” I asked him.

He said, “I killed him in cold blood—anyway it wasn’t more than
lukewarm. I tore him to pieces and took his clothes and concealed my
telltale convict stripes under a weeping willow. It was weeping its eyes
out.”

“It’s a wonder it wasn’t laughing,” I told him.

He said, “The poor fellow was as thin as a stick; his arms were made of
a cross stick, I think it was a broom stick. He lies under the marsh
grass in yonder swamp. And I am free!”

“You’re crazy too,” the kid shouted.

“I said I would escape and I did,” Brent began to laugh. “I decided that
I would escape from the very people who claim to be the most alert and
wide-awake—the boy scouts. You say I’m crazy. Very well, even a crazy
person can foil the boy scouts. I suppose that’s what you call logic.”

“That’s what you call nonsense,” Pee-wee yelled.

“I hope you boys had a good nap while I was escaping,” Brent said. “It
was a shame to do it, it was so easy. I tried to leave good plain
footprints, I did all that an honest convict could to help you, but in
vain. I doubt if the boy scouts could trail a steam roller. As for the
authorities of Barrow’s Homestead ... but I’ve seen enough of crime and
its evil results.” That’s just the way he talked. “Henceforth I mean to
be honest.”

“You’re a nut, that’s what you are!” Pee-wee shouted.

Brent said, awful kind of heroic like, he said, “Ha! Sayest thou so?
Then glance at this paper.”

I said, “What is it? Where did you get it?”

“I got it out of the inside pocket of this old coat,” he said; “and it
means mischief. _Shh_, no one has seen it but Harry Domicile; he agrees
with me that it has to do with a dark plot.”

“You mean you found it in the scarecrow’s pocket?” Pee-wee asked him,
all excited.

“I found it in the scarecrow’s inside pocket,” Brent said. “I don’t
think the scarecrow knew it was there. It is very mysterious. I think we
are on the track of a new mystery. That anybody who wore a black frock
coat should have had such a paper in his possession is very strange. It
is no wonder the crows shunned him.”



                   CHAPTER XXVIII—A MYSTERIOUS PAPER


Brent handed me the paper and Pee-wee nearly pushed me off the seat
sticking his head way over and trying to read it. I have to admit it was
mighty interesting what was on that paper. The more Pee-wee stared at it
the bigger his eyes got, and it had _me_ guessing, too.

All the while, Brent just sat there driving the machine as if he wasn’t
interested in the paper at all. He said, “You seem to like it. I pick up
papers like that every day. If you don’t care for that one, just say so
and I’ll dig you up another; I’ll find you German spy maps, lost patent
papers of wonderful inventions, mortgage papers stolen by villyans,
anything you say; just say the word.”

“If you don’t care for this one, don’t be afraid to say so. I know where
there are some documents about a dark anarchist plot. Do you care about
anarchist plots? Some people like them and others don’t; it’s just a
matter of taste.“

I said, “_Good night_, this will do for me.”

Pee-wee said, all excited, “Maybe it means millions of dollars; maybe it
means bars of gold. We’ll solve the mystery, hey?”

“Oh, just as you say,” Brent said; “you know my stand on mysteries and
adventures; I eat them raw.”

That paper was all old and yellow and when we opened it I had to hold it
on my knee, because it tore where the creases were. I guess maybe it was
as old as ten years. It looked as if it had been torn out of a
memorandum book and the writing was made with a lead pencil and it was
kind of blurred, but anyway, this is what it said:

    Snake Creek. North shore from Ohio R. to Skeleton Cove, Top of S
    Cove. Follow line due north from willow. Cons to west. Stake.
    Measure ninety-two feet along north line, then follow line due
    NW through T.W. Stake. Treasure at HW limit, indicated at AN
    Stake. Follow S line south to pie.

Pee-wee said, very mysterious like, “What da you think it is? It tells
where there’s buried treasure, doesn’t it?”

“Sure it does,” I said. “It sounds just like the directions in the _Gold
Bug_ by Edgar Allan Poe.”

“It sounds just like _Treasure Island_,” Pee-wee put in.

Brent said, “Well, I don’t know. I was thinking about it and I decided
that it’s a bill of fare.”

“A what?” Pee-wee shouted.

“You see it’s got stake and pie on it,” Brent said.

“You make me tired!” the kid fairly yelled. “That paper shows where
buried treasure is hidden.”

Brent said, “Well then, that scarecrow must have been a pirate in his
younger days. He had an evil past and I’m glad I killed him.”

“You seem to think it’s a joke,” I said; “but it tells where there’s
buried treasure, that’s one sure thing. You can’t make anything else out
of it—can you?”

Brent said, “Buried treasure’s good enough for _me_—gold or stakes or
pies, I don’t care. I’d like to dig up a few buckwheat cakes just now.”

“Do you know what you are? Do you know what you are?” the kid began
shouting. “You’re a Philippine—that’s what you are!”

I said, “You mean a philistine—that’s a person that makes fun of things
and doesn’t believe anything.”

Brent said, “The only time I ever went after buried treasure I was
_foiled_ by the boy scouts. Never again. They wouldn’t chop down a tree
under which the treasure was buried because they loved trees.”

“This isn’t under a tree,” Pee-wee said; “it’s in a cove—on the end of
a line due north. That’s different. That’s always the kind of a place
wkere treasure is—in a cove. You can tell by the names that there’s
treasure there—Snake Creek and Skeleton Cove and lines due north and
willows and everything. It says _treasure_, doesn’t it? What more do you
want?”

“Only where’s the place?” Brent said.

“We’ll find it,” Pee-wee said; “we’ll find it if we, if we—drop in our
tracks.”

Brent said, “That’s something I’ve always longed to do—drop in my
tracks. I’d like to be rescued by a St. Bernard dog.”

I said, “_Good night_, have a heart. There are dogs enough in this
series of thrilling adventures.”

Brent said, “Well anyway, this is the only story of adventure that has a
scarecrow for a villain. What d’ye say?”



                        XXIX—THE MYSTERY DEEPENS


Brent said, “Well, as long as you like my little mystery, we might as
well take a peep into it. We may have a couple of hairbreadth escapes,
you never can tell. By rights, we ought to quarrel over the treasure
after we have found it, and all kill each other. That’s the way they
usually do.”

“They don’t do that way any more,” Pee-wee said; “they divide it up.”

Brent said, “No, I insist on quarreling over it.”

He folded the paper and put it back in his pocket. It seemed funny for a
paper like that to be in an old black frock coat like ministers wear. I
had to laugh at Brent on account of the sober way he tucked it back into
the pocket.

I said, “It’s got _me_ interested, that’s one sure thing. But how are we
going to find out where that place is?”

He said, “Well, the proper way would be for us just to fit out an
expedition and go in search of it like old what’s-his-name who hunted
for the soda fountain down in Florida.”

Pee-wee said, “Ponce de Leon, he hunted for the Fountain of Youth.”

“But the best way,” Brent said, “if you’re really interested, is for us
to get hold of a map of the Ohio River when we hit Indianapolis. We
cross the Ohio at Wheeling and if that old creek is anywhere in our
neighborhood we’ll see if we can hoe up a few nuggets. That’s the proper
thing, isn’t it—nuggets?”

“Nuggets and pieces of eight,” Pee-wee said, very serious.

Brent said that we had enough on our minds then, with the Uncle Tom’s
Cabin people and the Veterans’ Reunion, and that we’d better get along,
especially as Harry with the van had almost caught up to us.

But one more thing happened before we got very far from Barrow’s
Homestead, and it threw some light on the mystery—that’s what Pee-wee
said. A man in a pair of overalls came along the road and Brent stopped
to ask him a couple of questions. While the machine was standing there,
the van passed us. Gee, there were a lot of people in it and on it and
all over.

Harry said, “Do you want us to tow you? Come on, hurry up, you’ll be
late for the show. We’ve got Sherman’s march through Georgia beat a
hundred ways.”

Brent said, “Don’t bother us, we’re chasing after nuggets.” Then he said
to the man, “You don’t happen to know who owns that land beyond the
marsh down at the other end of town, do you? Before you get to the Post
Office? There’s a big cornfield there.”

I whispered to Pee-wee, “Keep your mouth shut, now, and don’t tell him
about good turns.”

The man said, “Yer mean swamp acres? That’s part o’ th’ old Deacon
Snookbeck place.”

Brent said, “Yes. Who’s he?”

“Wa’l, he ain’t,” the man said, “but he was. Th’ best thing I can say
abaout that ole codger is, he’s dead.”

Brent rested his arms on the steering wheel and talked kind of careless,
sort of. He said, “I was just wondering if the place was for sale. So he
was a queer ole codger, the deacon, hey?”

The man said, “Yes, en’ more’n that as I’ve heared tell. I guess young
Snookbeck ain’t calc’latin’ on sellln’ th’ place. I reckon nobody raound
these parts is wantin’ ter buy it, neither. Yer see thar was a kind of a
mystery ’baout ole Ebenezer. Some folks even say his haouse is haunted
by a chap he murdered. But I reckon he wasn’ as bad as all that.”

Oh, boy, you should have seen Pee-wee! He just sat there staring, his
eyes as big as dinner plates. He didn’t say a word, only just stared.

Brent said, “House of mystery, hey? The Frock-coated Villyan! That would
be a good name for a photoplay, huh?”

That man leaned his elbow on the side of the car and said, kind of
friendly like, as if we were special friends of his, he said, “Wa’l,
’baout, let’s see, nigh onter ten year ago, thar was a couple of young
chaps wearin’ khaki like you chaps, come out this way en they wuz
rootin’ raound on th’ deacon’s farm. They weren’t plantin’, that was
sure; and they weren’t no farm hands. Nobody seemed jest able ter find
out ezactly what they were, ’cause they never talked ter nobody. Aunt
Josie Anne, daown th’ road a piece, asked one uv ’em who he thought he
was. He said he thought he was Santa Claus, but he wasn’ sure. They wuz
kind o’ comics, both uv ’em. Wa’l, I ain’t ashamed ter tell no man who I
am.”

Brent said, “You’re right,” just sort of to encourage him to talk.

The man said, “Wa’l, they stayed at th’ deacon’s house ’n’ one night
they wuz out with a lantern in the middle of the night, under the big
tree near th’ deacon’s haouse. Steub Berry, he ’laowed they wuz buryin’
treasure thar. Some folks had it them two strangers wuz Mexican spies
’n’ others reckoned they wuz army deserters. Th’ ole deacon, he jes’
laughed and said we couldn’ guess. He wouldn’ deny nuthin’. All of a
sudden, _ker-bang_, they disappeared jes’ like that ’n’ some folks said
th’ deacon murdered both uv ’em ter git th’ treasure. My wife, she allus
had it, they come off some ranch or other with a lot uv stealin’s. Wa’l,
’twas a nine days’ wonder ’n arter that folks kinder fought shy of th’
deacon.”

Brent said, “And he’s dead now?”

“Oh, deader’n a mummy,” the man said. “When the world war come some
folks said as haow that pair might a been German spies all th’ while,
kind uv studying ’raound. But young Snookbeck he says if old Ebenezer
had anything hid it would be in his Bible, en’ ’s long ’s ’tain’t thar,
’tain’t nowhere. But that’s treasure hid somewhere, I say, ’cause them
wuz mighty funny doin’s of them strangers. Yer goin’ ter th’ reunion
over t’ ’he Cross-roads?”



                     CHAPTER XXX—WE MAKE A PROMISE


As soon as we had started, Brent said, “Well, it doesn’t look half bad,
does it?”

“Do you know who those fellows were? Do you know who those fellows
were?” our young hero fairly screamed.

“I think they came from Mars,” Brent said; “that’s the way it looks to
me.”

I said, “You can joke but it’s pretty serious.”

“They were _smugglers_ that’s what they were,” Pee-wee shouted.

“They were either smugglers or book-agents,” Brent said. “In either case
they deserved to be murdered. Maybe they were introducing a new kind of
soap——”

“You make me sick,” Pee-wee yelled; “there’s treasure somewhere and
we’re going to find it! It’s at HW limit, it said so, HW means something
about _hollow well_, I bet you.”

Brent said, “Maybe it means hot waffles; there’s a whole table d’hote
dinner in that paper. Maybe it means Hamburger wheat cakes. Anyway, the
Ohio River is a long way from Barrow’s Homestead.”

Then Brent got kind of serious, not _very_ serious, but kind of
serious—as serious as he could. And he said we should promise him that
we wouldn’t think any more about that dark, mysterious paper, or talk
about it to the other fellows until we got all through at Grumpy’s
Crossroads and reached Indianapolis so he could get hold of a map.
Because if we couldn’t find any stream named Snake Creek running into
the Ohio River, he didn’t want the fellows to be disappointed. He said
there was no use of our going on a wild goose chase.

You can bet we kept our promise to Brent, but I guess Pee-wee didn’t
have any more sleep till we reached Indianapolis. But anyway, he had a
pretty good appetite. He buried some treasure every night—ice cream
sodas at the reunion.

That’s one thing I like about slavery. Because if there hadn’t been any
slavery there wouldn’t have been any Civil War, and if there hadn’t been
any Civil War there wouldn’t have been any Veterans’ Reunion, and if
there hadn’t been any Veterans’ Reunion, there wouldn’t have been any
ice cream sodas there. See?

Gee whiz, I never was in the Civil War, or the uncivilized war or any
other kind, but I got a black eye once. Anyway, I killed four sodas when
I got to that reunion.

I did it for my country’s sake.



                 CHAPTER XXXI—WE REACH OUR DESTINATION


Now maybe you’ll say it was a long time since we left those other cars
and the rest of the fellows, but it was only about an hour. Only a lot
happened in that hour—it was condensed, like. That’s the way I like
things. Only I don’t like condensed milk. But I wish they had condensed
ice cream. Pee-wee’s a condensed scout. I’d like to have condensed
lessons, too. Anyway my sister likes pickles—gee, I hate them. She says
even a postage stamp can stick to its subject better than I can. I
should worry. I told her you could send an animal by mail, because once
I saw a letter with a seal on it. She’s all the time sending notes to
Harry Donnelle, she is. She gets awful mad when I jolly her. She plays
the mandolin.

Let’s see, where was I? Oh, yes, now I know. Pretty soon (she likes
bonbons too), pretty soon the van and our car came to the place where
the two roads what-d’ye-call-it—converge—that means come together.
And, gee whiz, we had a young reunion right there. Mr. Abbington was
awful nice, but, oh boy, he could hardly keep that other bloodhound from
chewing Brent all to pieces. I guess he thought he was a tramp.

Harry said, “Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce the Scarecrow
of Barrow’s Homestead. The only one in captivity. We intend to exhibit
him at the reunion for the small sum of a dime, ten cents—three cents’
war tax. He used to be an escaped convict, but now he’s reformed and
he’s a respectable scarecrow, the only real scarecrow ever exhibited.
The crows drop dead when they see him.”

Gee whiz, you ought to have heard Miss Ophelia and Topsy laugh. Even
little Eva, _she_ laughed. I guess she forgot that she was going to die
and go to Heaven. Anyway, she was awful happy. Gee, Brent made them all
laugh.

I bet you think it was a crazy procession that started off for Grumpy’s
Cross-roads, but what cared we? Gee whiz, if you don’t like it you know
what you can do.

There was Harry driving the van that was chock full of veterans, because
they had picked up some along the road, and those veterans couldn’t even
have gone if the railroads had been running, because they lived too far
away from stations and they had never been to things like that before.

Harry made all the Uncle Tom’s Cabin people wear their costumes and when
we got near to Grumpy’s Cross-roads he had the cruel villyan stand on
top of the van cracking his whip. But anyway Uncle Tom sat beside me,
eating peanuts, and he should worry. Brent looked awful funny, driving
one of the touring cars, but that only made it funnier.

After about two hours more we came to Grumpy’s Cross-roads. They were
pretty cross, all right, because there was a sign that said:

                   AUTOMOBILE LAWS STRICTLY ENFORCED

Oh, boy, you just ought to have seen us. The big van went first, with
the man with the whip up on top, holding the ferocious bloodhounds. Next
came Rossie’s car full of veterans and then the other two cars full of
those actor people all dressed up for their play.

We rolled into the Main Street and a band that was there, just getting
ready to go to the parade ground, I guess, marched in front of us and
played “Peggy.” Inside of ten seconds there were people crowding all
around us, but Harry told them to get out of the way, he didn’t care who
they were—constables, sheriffs, judges, or anything.

“Where’s the parade ground?” he shouted.

A man called, “Who are you, anyway? Whar do you come from?”

Gee whiz, it gave me a good thrill when I heard Harry shout back, “We’re
the Boy Scouts of America, that’s who _we_ are! Friends and comrades to
the boys who were chased off the parade ground. And the show opens at 3
P. M. sharp, so get your tickets and buy your peanuts! We’re here! And
not all the railroads in the country can stop us. _On the job_, that’s
our motto! Get from under if you don’t want to be run down. There’s only
one man in this whole country we’ll take any orders from and that’s
Major Grumpy!”



                 CHAPTER XXXII—SURRENDER AND INDEMNITY


Gee whiz, we reminded ourselves of General Pershing coming home. Just
before we drove into the parade ground, a little fellow about as big as
Pee-wee came running up and called to us. He was all excited. He
shouted, “We read your signal; we saw it way up on the mountain. People
said it was just the woods on fire but we knew what it meant; we read
it. We’ve got a signaler in our patrol. But Major Grumpy said it was
just the woods on fire.”

Harry shouted down to him, “Climb up on the band wagon and be quick
about it if you want to be in at the finish. Where’s the rest of your
bunch?”

Pee-wee said, “_Troop, not bunch_; don’t you know anything about the
scouts?”

Harry said, “Excuse me, I mean gang.”

That kid said that most of them were peeking through the fence of the
parade grounds, because they had been chased out. He said one of them
went in to tell Major Grumpy about the smudge message and that he had
been chased out again. He said they had dandy ice cream cones in there;
he said the ice cream went way down into the point. Oh, boy, that’s the
kind I like. He said that one of them had enough ice cream in it for two
fellows; gee, I’ve never seen any like that. But I’ve seen fellows that
have room enough for two cones.

Poor little kid, he didn’t have any scout suit or anything—only just a
scout hat.

Harry said, awful nice and friendly sort of, he said, “Well, you just
climb up here. So you read that message, hey? Well, you and your outfit
are all right, Kiddo.”

“Not outfit!” Pee-wee yelled.

Harry said, “Excuse me, I mean sewing circle.”

I guess that kid thought Harry was crazy; anyway we don’t need anybody
to tell us we’re crazy, because we admit it.

That kid said, “Have you got tickets to get into the grounds?”

“Tickets?” Harry said. “What do we want tickets for when we’re going to
roll up the parade ground and take it home with us. Who are you for? The
Grand Army or the Boy Scouts? We don’t want any hyphens here.”

Poor little kid, he looked more like a period than a hyphen. He was kind
of scared of Harry, I guess.

Harry said, “We’ve got six scouts, about a dozen veterans, two
bloodhounds, nine actors and one scarecrow. Do you think we’re afraid?”

“Surrender! That’s what we’re here for,” Rossie said.

“Surrender with indemnity,” Harry said.

Poor little kid, he looked all around from one of us to another and then
kept staring at Brent. I guess he didn’t know what to make of him. Maybe
he thought Brent was a camouflaged cannon, hey?

When we got to the parade ground there were autos and wagons standing
around and lots of people going in. There was a sign up that said there
wouldn’t be any show on account of the railroad strike. And there were
about a half a dozen poor little codgers peeking in through cracks in
the fence; honest it made me feel sorry just to see them. Two or three
of them had on scout hats, but most of them only had scout badges.

Gee whiz, Harry Domicile didn’t care about anybody; all the people, even
the doorkeepers, began staring at us but he should worry. He shouted to
those kids, “Fall in line, you; reenforcements are here! Two companies
of war-worn veterans, one Uncle Tom’s Cabin troupe, two bloodhounds, six
boy scouts, and a scarecrow! Climb aboard. On to victory!”

“And a popcorn bar!” Pee-wee shouted. Jiminies, already he had bought
one of those sticky things and he was all gummed up like a piece of
fly-paper. He had to hold one of his hands out flat with the fingers all
apart, it was so sticky. “We’ll take all the lemonade booths and candy
counters and everything!” he shouted. “We’ll show no mercy, hey?”

I said, “Shut up, you Hun! Already that popcorn bar looks like Rheims
Cathedral.”

He shouted, “I’ve got a chocolate stick, too, and I’m going to devastate
that!”

Talk about frightfulness!

I guess those poor little kids thought we were crazy. Brent stood up on
the seat of his car and made gestures so as his long sleeves flopped
every which way. He shouted, “Every new recruit report to the commissary
general and receive six rounds of peanuts and three rounds of licorice
jaw-breakers. Step up!”

Oh, boy, you should have seen those veterans laugh; they just
chuckled—you know the way old men do. One of them said he had fought at
Gettysburg but that he had never seen anything like this before; oh,
boy, didn’t he chuckle!

I don’t know when Brent got them, but anyway, he had the pockets of that
crazy old coat full of bags of peanuts, and he handed them around to all
those little fellows. He made those kids stay in his car, too. They all
started eating peanuts, but just the same they looked sort of scared, as
if they didn’t know what was going to happen.

Harry climbed up on top of the van and began shouting to all of us who
were in the touring cars; gee, but those cars were crowded. About a
hundred people were crowding around us too, just staring and laughing;
you couldn’t blame them. But what made me laugh most of all was to see
those veterans—_good night!_ Even when they were getting wounded in the
Civil War, I bet they didn’t have nearly as much fun.



                           XXXIII—MOBILIZING


This is the speech that Harry made to his troops, because my sister made
him write it out for me, because she said it would go down in history.
Brent Gaylong said he hoped if it went down it would never come up
again. Last term I passed seventy-two in history, but, gee, I hate
dates—I don’t mean the kind you eat.

This is the speech that Harry made. He said:

    My brave soldiers:

    Lieutenant Harris will please take the candy out of his mouth
    and listen.

“I don’t listen with my mouth,” Pee-wee shouted.

“Well then, close it,” I told him, “and listen to your superior
officer.”

Harry said:

    We are outside the Parade Ground of Grumpy’s Cross-roads. We are
    here to demand an unconditional surrender. A courier will go
    within under the protection of a white flag.

“I’ll go, I’ve got some popcorn; that’s white,” Pee-wee yelled.

    If Major Grumpy refuses our terms, then we will storm his
    stronghold with every peanut that we hold. We shall demand
    indemnity.

“Demand the territory where the lemonade counter is,” Pee-wee shouted.

Then everybody began hooting and yelling, and Brent stood up in those
crazy old rags and began flapping his sleeves to keep us quiet and the
old veterans shook—kind of like a Ford car.

Then Harry read us a note that he said should be delivered to Major
Grumpy in person.

“I’ll deliver it,” Pee-wee shouted; “I want to get a frankfurter,
anyway.”

This was the note:

    Major Grumpy, Commanding Officer,
    Veterans’ Reunion:

    You are hereby informed that the allied forces, consisting of
    Boy Scouts, Civil War Veterans, scarecrows, and scout
    reinforcements from your own town, offer you the choice of
    unconditional surrender or complete extinction. As hostages we
    hold Uncle Tom’s Cabin troupe scheduled to appear at your
    reunion. Ten minutes will be given for an answer. We shall
    advance against your stronghold immediately.

One of the veterans said it would be better to say, “I purpose to move
immediately against your works,” because those were the very same words
that General Grant used. So Harry put it that way.

Then he said, “Let us have peace,” because that was what General Grant
said, too. Pee-wee thought he said, “Let’s have a piece,” so he chucked
a licorice jaw-breaker up and it struck Harry, kerplunk, on the face.

That was the beginning of hostilities.

Pee-wee fired the first shot.



                       CHAPTER XXXIV—TR-R-AITORS!


That was the only shot in the whole war. It was a punk war. Harry said,
“Let the bloodshed cease; who’ll volunteer to go in as a courier?”

Pee-wee shouted, “I will.”

So Harry gave him the note and told him to stick a white popcorn bar on
a stick for a flag of truce. Honest, if you could have seen that kid
start off with the note in one hand and that popcorn flag of truce in
the other and his mouth all stuck up with licorice candy, you’d have
laughed till you cried.

We waited for about ten minutes but still he didn’t come out, so Harry
called for another volunteer and Westy went in, because he said he could
remember just what was in the note. _Good night_, he didn’t come out
again, either.

[Illustration: “WE’RE MAKING A DESPERATE CALVARY CHARGE,” SHOUTED
PEE-WEE.]

Harry said, “This is very strange; they’ve either deserted or they’re
being held as prisoners.”

Then Charlie Seabury said he’d go in, so he pinned a marshmallow onto
his buttonhole and went through the admission gate. But he didn’t come
back, either.

Pretty soon five of the fellows had gone in—all the fellows in my
patrol except myself. And none of them came back. We decided that they
were all being held as prisoners.

Harry said, “This is not civilized warfare at all—not to respect a flag
of truce.”

I said, “Gee whiz, I never heard of a fellow that wouldn’t respect a
marshmallow or a popcorn bar. Even I respect gum drops.”

Brent said, “Well, the only thing to do is to enter the grounds and
seize the rifles in the shooting gallery. If we can surround the dining
pavilion and seize all the sandwiches, we can cut off their base of
supplies and force a surrender. What say, comrades?”

Harry said that was the only thing to do so he paid fifteen cents
admission for all of us on account of that being civilized warfare. Then
we drove in, and I bet that gatekeeper thought that we were from an
insane asylum, especially when he took a good look at Brent.

And, _good night, Sister Anne_, excuse me while I laugh! What do you
think we saw when we got inside that place? About a couple of hundred
feet away was a merry-go-round, and riding around on it were our young
hero and those other four fellows, and they were all holding on to the
brass rods with one hand and eating frankfurters with the other.

“I got the brass ring! I got the brass ring!” Pee-wee shouted. “I get an
extra ridel I’m promoted from the Infantry, I’m in the Cavalry! We’re
making a desperate cavalry charge!”

Can you beat that kid?



                   CHAPTER XXXV—PEACE WITH INDEMNITY


I said, “We should worry about the cavalry; the only thing that this
cavalry can surround is the organ on the merry-go-round.”

“I can surround a frankfurter,” Pee-wee shouted. Believe me, he could.

Harry said, “The cavalry will dismount; you’re all court-martialed and
ordered to be shot at sunrise in the shooting gallery. Fall in line.”

Jiminies, I had to laugh to see that bunch trotting along after the
autos, all the while munching frankfurters. I guess we were the craziest
looking parade that ever was; but you can have a lot of fun being crazy,
that’s one thing sure. All the people stopped what they were doing and
followed after us. Most of the things that they were doing were eating.
I wouldn’t stop doing that for anybody, I wouldn’t.

All around were veterans in old blue coats and they were sitting in
groups talking; they were talking about Gettysburg and Richmond, and
General Grant, and things like that. One of them was talking about Sugar
Loaf Mountain and Pee-wee kind of slowed up so as he could listen. I
guess he thought it was some kind of candy, hey? Harry looked around and
shouted, “Attention!” And the kid jumped about a foot in the air.

Pretty soon we came to a little tent and there was a sign on it that
said, “_Administration Tent_.”

Pee-wee shouted, “Go on, till we come to the commissary tent.”

I shouted back to him, “You’re a whole commissary in yourself. You’re a
nice looking sight to demand a surrender. The first thing you want to
seize is a wash basin!”

Sitting in front of that tent were several veterans and one of them was
kind of cross and severe looking and he had a bald head. His head was so
bald that I guess he didn’t know where to stop washing his face. You
couldn’t even tell where his face was unless he put his hat on. He
looked as if he was used to bossing people around. Anyway, I knew he was
a Union soldier, because he had a telegram in his hand and it said
_Western Union_ on it.

We all stopped right in front of the tent and Harry got down and made a
salute; it was awful funny. He said, “Major Grumpy, I believe?”

“That is my name, sir,” the old man said, very stern, kind of like a
school principal.

Harry said, “I am Lieutenant Donnelle and these are my allied forces. We
come here under the protection of a white—eh, a white popcorn bar. Hold
up the popcorn bar, Private Harris.”

“It’s all gone,” Private Harris piped up.

Harry said, “I’m very sorry that our flag of truce has been eaten by one
of our starving troopers. We are here to demand the surrender——”

“Scouts are supposed to say _please_” Will Dawson piped up.

Harry said, “Right. Scouts are polite even amid bloodshed and the roar
of cannon.”

Major Grumpy said, “You look as if you had just taken the city of
Frankfort, judging from your rear guard.”

Harry said, “Major Grumpy, your official report that Uncle Tom’s Cabin
will not be given here to-day is not true; it is a garbled report. Allow
me to tell you that, thanks to the boy scouts whom you sneer at and
evict from your property, Eliza will be chased as per schedule, Uncle
Tom will be thoroughly beaten, and little Eva will die and go to heaven
as announced.”

Major Grumpy was kind of surprised. First he looked us all over, and
Brent took off his hat and flapped his long sleeves at him, awful funny.
Then the major said, “Who put you off this property?”

Then Harry said, “What you do to a boy scout, you do to every boy scout
in the United States, including Mars and Grumpy’s Cross-roads and all
outlying sections. When you put these little townsmen of yours out of
that shady grove over there, you put _us_ out. Do you know that? Even
Uncle Tom, who gets whipped six times a week, not including Wednesday
and Saturday matinees, says he never heard of such treatment. You call
the Grand Army a kind of brotherhood, but let me tell you, Major, that
we’ve got that name _brotherhood_ copyrighted, all rights reserved. When
you put these little fellows off your land, you put half a million
scouts off your land, and that’s a bigger army than the Grand Army ever
was.

“We sent up a signal to say that we were coming and that message was
delivered to you and you thought it was a lot of nonsense.”

The major said, “So you were responsible for that column of smoke, hey?”

Harry said, “You’re kind of old fashioned, Major, on signal corps work.
That was us, all right, and these little neighbors of yours gave you the
message and you laughed at them. Well, here we are with the goods,
Little Eva weeping her eyes out, Topsy ready to cut up, and Simon Legree
with his whip; here we are just as we said we’d be—Johnny on the spot.
We’ve brought with us every veteran between here and Barrow’s Homestead
and they’re with us to the last ditch. Field Marshal Gaylong here is
feared by every crow in the west. Now what are you going to do about it?

“We purpose, Major, to cut off your base of supplies; it’s either that
or surrender. We want that shady little grove over there as indemnity.
If we don’t get it we’re going to seize all the ice cream, all the soda
water, all the lemonade, all the candy, all the popcorn on this bloody
battlefield and starve you out. The Grand Army will look like Grand
Street, New York, when we get through with it.”

“And frankfurters too!” Pee-wee shouted.

“There won’t be a frankfurter left to tell the tale,” Harry said; “this
peaceful land will run red with red lemonade. Now what do you say?”

Gee whiz, I wouldn’t accuse Harry of being a traitor, but just the same
I saw him wink at Major Grumpy, and Major Grumpy began to smile, and
then he offered Harry a cigarette.

That was giving aid and comfort to the enemy, all right.



                    CHAPTER XXXVI—SCOUTS ON THE JOB


So that shows you how this story has a happy ending, only that isn’t the
end of it. Oh, boy, the worst is yet to come. A lot of terrible things
happen after a war. Now we come to the reconstruction period. And,
believe me, Major Grumpy reconstructed his opinion about the scouts. He
said that poor little patrol that was just starting could have the grove
to build a headquarters in and he gave them some money to build it, too,
He said that before we got there he thought that smoke away off on the
mountain was just a forest fire, but when he found out that we could
make smoke talk, good night, he was for us, all right.

But anyway, he said he liked to hear Pee-wee talk better. I said, “Yes,
but it would be nice if he’d go off on a lonely mountain and talk, like
the smudge fire.”

We spent the rest of that day at the Veterans’ Reunion, and we saw the
Uncle Tom’s Cabin show, too. Only one of the bloodhounds wouldn’t chase
Eliza, and Rossie Bent had to give her a frankfurter, so he’d chase her.

Most of the time that we weren’t at the ice cream counter, we were over
in the grove with those Grumpy’s Cross-roads scouts. They said they were
going to name their patrol the Crows, after Brent Gaylong. Harry said it
would be better to name it the Hot Dogs, after Pee-wee.

Once Major Grumpy came over and sat down on a stump and talked with us
and asked us a lot of questions about the scouts. He told those little
fellows how they ought to build their shack and he said he’d find a
scoutmaster for them. Most all the veterans came over and visited us,
and we did lots of good turns for them, carrying their luggage and all
like that. One of them was overcome by the heat but we fixed him up, all
right, with first aid.

Uncle Tom came over, too, and talked to us between the shows. He asked
us if we could dress the marks that the ferocious bloodhounds made on
Eliza’s arm. Those marks were painted. He was awful funny, Uncle Tom
was.

That reunion lasted three days, but we only stayed one day, because we
had to get started for home. Anyway, I’m glad all the soldiers in the
Civil War didn’t get killed, because you can have a lot of fun at
reunions. One thing I’m sorry for and that is that I won’t be a kid when
the soldiers who were in the World War are old veterans, I bet there’ll
be a lot of lemonade and things then, hey? But anyway there’ll be scouts
then, and it will be lucky for them there was a world war. Anyway,
reunions are my favorite outdoor sports—reunions and hikes.



               CHAPTER XXXVII—THAT MYSTERIOUS PAPER AGAIN


We started away from that reunion at about five o’clock at night and
everybody was sorry to see us go. Those scouts, and the Uncle Tom’s
Cabin people, and a lot of old veterans, all crowded around us to say
good-by. They said we were a wide-awake bunch, but if they could have
seen us about four hours later they wouldn’t have said so.

We made a camp alongside the road, and I cooked supper, and then most of
us slept in the van. While we were sitting around our camp-fire, Brent
took out that mysterious paper that he had found in the scarecrow’s
pocket, and he kind of winked at Harry as if he was going to spring a
great surprise on us. He looked awful funny in the light of the fire;
just like a real live scarecrow—I mean a dead one.

He said, “Scouts of the victorious legion, while we are resting after
the bloody battle of Grumpy’s Cross-roads, I have a dark communication
to make to you. Excuse me while I get in a better light.”

“I thought you said it was a _dark_ communication,” Pee-wee shouted.

Brent said, “Well, it’s a kind of a dim communication. Only two scouts
and our trusty leader know about it. They have kept their lips sealed. I
wish now, by the light of this camp-fire, to ask you one and all, if you
are ready to undertake an enterprise that is fraught with mortal peril?”

“Is it fraught with anything to eat?” Will Dawson wanted to know.

“Isn’t mortal peril good enough for you?” Pee-wee shouted.

Gee whiz, some fellows are never satisfied.

Brent said, “Comrades, when I put an end to the career of that miserable
scarecrow and, with a single stroke, made millions of crows happy, I
found in the pocket of his frock-coat a mysterious paper. More than
that, I know who that frock-coat belonged to before he had it. It
belonged to Deacon Snookbeck of Barrow’s Homestead! _Ha, ha_,—and a
couple of _he, he’s_!”

“Read the paper!” they all began shouting,

He said, “Silence. While traveling with Scout Harris, and patrol leader
Blakeley, I met a stranger who told us that several years ago Deacon
Snookbeck had two mysterious visitors in his house. Whether this paper
that I am about to read to you has any connection with those strangers,
I cannot say. I am not skilled in high grade mysteries, being only a
plain, ordinary burglar and thug——”

“You larcenied!” Pee-wee shouted.

Brent put his hand on his forehead and said, awful funny, “Don’t remind
me of my crimes.”

“Read the paper,” Rossie Bent said.

So then Brent read the paper, and I have to admit that it sounded pretty
mysterious and I guess, after all his fooling, that he thought so
himself.

    Snake Creek, North shore from Ohio R. to Skeleton Cove. Top of S
    Cove. Follow line due north from willow. Cons to west. Stake.
    Measure ninety-two feet along north line, then follow line due
    NW through T.W. Stake. Treasure at HW limit, indicated at AN
    Stake. Follow S line south to pie.

_Good night_, you should have heard the fellows when he finished
reading. I mean you couldn’t have heard them, because nobody said
anything; they all just sat there gaping.

Then Brent said, awful funny, he said, “It seems, scouts, that by
following S line south we shall come to a pie. Whether it is a pumpkin
pie or a mince pie I cannot say——”

Harry kind of cut him off short and said, “Brent, putting all fooling
aside, now that you read that paper over, it sounds pretty good to me.”

“I was always fond of pie,” Brent said.

Harry said, “Well, I was always fond of buried treasure and that paper
has the true ring to me, hanged if it hasn’t. Skeleton Cove sounds as if
it meant business. So does ‘_treasure at HW limit_’ I like the sound of
that. I never gave two thoughts to that paper until just now when you
read it, but I’m hanged if I don’t think it means something. What do you
say, Tom Slade?”

Tom said in that slow way of his, “It’s got the word _treasure_ in,
that’s sure.”

Then Brent said with a sober face, “As an expert, Pee-wee, what would
_you_ say? Is a pie a treasure?”

“Good night,” I said, “he’s buried enough pies, he ought to know.”

“It means buried treasure, that’s what it means!” Pee-wee shouted. “And
I’m with Harry; I say let’s go and find it.”

“Where?” Brent said.

“You said we could get a map,” the kid shouted.

All the fellows were with Harry; they were just crazy to go after that
treasure. Tom Slade didn’t say much, but he never does. I went around to
the side of the fire where he was sitting and I said, “You were always
so crazy about adventures; what do you think it means if it doesn’t mean
buried treasure?”

“I haven’t got anything to say,” he said; “it’s got the word treasure in
it, and that settles it. I say let’s go, if we can find the place.”

I shouted, “Tom Slade is with us, he believes in it. I say let’s go
after it.”

Harry was sitting on the back end of the van, swinging his legs and
looking in the fire. I knew his thoughts were kind of serious, all
right. He’s crazy about adventures, that fellow is. Brent took my scout
knife and held it between his teeth and glared into the fire, very
fierce and savage, just like a pirate. He did it to make Harry mad. But
all the fellows were with Harry, anyway, and they were all crazy about
the thing—even I was crazy.

Harry said, all the while looking into the fire kind of dreamy like, he
said, “Brent, why may not this be true?”

Brent said, “You mean the Pirates’ Secret or the Mystery of the Hidden
Pie?”

“Don’t you mind him,” Pee-wee shouted to Harry; “he’s a Philippine!”

“That’s just what you are, Brent,” Harry said; “you’re a Philistine. You
have no romance. Just because you live in the twentieth century you
think nothing can happen. But the world war happened, didn’t it? You
have it from a man you met that two mysterious strangers visited the old
gent who once owned that coat. You found this paper; in that
coat—didn’t you?”

Brent said, “Alas, yes.”

Harry said, “Well, you can laugh——”

Brent said, “I’m not laughing, I’m weeping and gnashing my teeth; that’s
true sixteenth century stuff, isn’t it?”

“Well, how do you explain the writing on that paper, then?” Harry wanted
to know.

“Sure, how do you explain it, then?” Westy piped up.

“He _can’t_ explain it,” Tom Warner shouted.

“Sure he can’t!” Pee-wee yelled.

Brent said, “I seem to have an overwhelming minority.”

Harry said, “You’re always shouting about real adventures, but when we
stumble on the real thing, when we’re told on black and white to follow
a line due north from willow—what does that say?”

“It says _follow a line due north from willow_,” Brent said, all the
while reading the paper. “It says _cons to the west_. It says _stake_; I
don’t know whether it’s a porterhouse or a sirloin. It may be a
Hamburger. It says by following the S line south we’ll come to the pie.”

Harry jumped down and looked over Brent’s shoulder and he said, “What
does it say about the treasure? We’ll find it at HW limit—there it is
on black and white. Boys, we’ll get a map in Indianapolis and find out
where Snake Creek is if we have to study that map all night. We’re on
the track of pirates’ gold, by thunder! Here’s a _real adventure_ handed
to us by fate! If old Grouch Gaylong isn’t with us, we’ll send him home
in a baby carriage, that’s what!”

Brent said—gee whiz, I had to laugh the way he said it; he said,
“Comrades, I will follow where you lead. Take me to the treasure and I
will dig it up. But if that scarecrow has deceived me, I will never
trust man again. As a criminal I have been a failure. I wanted to escape
from cruel jailers, I escaped from two boy scouts. I wanted to plunge
from the window of a dry goods van. I wanted to kill a fellow being; I
murdered a scarecrow. My life has been a failure.”

Gee whiz; honest I almost felt sorry for him.

He said, “But I have not lost hope. Boys, I will go with you. I will
follow the line north from the willow. I will measure ninety-two feet
along something-or-other. I will follow the S line south to the pie, be
it pumpkin, apple or mince. I will eat the stake. But if I am deceived,
if my hopes are again dashed——”

“We’ll send you to the insane asylum,” Harry said; “that’s where you
belong.”

Brent said, “I have always longed to be thrown into a mad-house.”

Gee whiz, you can’t help laughing at that fellow.



                      CHAPTER XXXVIII—THE ONLY WAY


The next afternoon we got to Indianapolis and Harry treated us all to
sodas. Then we bought a map that showed the Ohio River. We made a camp
about ten miles east of Indianapolis and had a dandy camp-fire. While we
were there we studied the map and, good night, there was Snake Creek as
plain as day running into it from the north. It ran into it about
fifteen miles north of Wheeling.

Harry said, “That’s enough for us; the treasure is ours.”

Pee-wee said, “I’m sorry now we didn’t get some more sodas as long as
we’re going to be rich.”

Harry said, “Never mind, we’ll have sodas and ice cream and things in
every town between here and Wheeling; I’ll advance the money. What are a
few dollars against maybe several millions?”

Pee-wee said, “Sure, and we can afford some jaw-breakers, too.”

“All you want,” Harry said.

“Won’t it spoil our appetites for the pie?” Brent wanted to know. But
just the same he was interested.

Now there’s no use telling you about our journey from Indianapolis to
Wheeling—that’s about eight or nine hundred miles, roughly speaking;
only scouts don’t speak roughly. They have to be polite. On that journey
we passed through Springfield and Columbus and a lot of other big
places, and all the people stared at us. Every night we camped in the
country, because we didn’t like staying in cities.

Gee, I thought we’d never get to Wheeling but after a few days we got
there, and then we put our machines up to get all greased and have some
repairs made. I don’t mean _us_, I mean the machines.

Then we hired a big launch and started up the Ohio River. About ten
miles up, Snake Creek flows into it. It flows in through the north
shore. Up Snake Creek about ten miles is Skeleton Cove, I bet you’re
getting awful anxious, hey?

Harry said, “Boys, the fun isn’t in getting money; the fun is in finding
treasure. Why wouldn’t it be a good idea to send a couple of thousand,
say, to those little fellows back at Grumpy’s Cross-roads?”

“Let’s give five thousand to the Boy Scout drive,” I said.

Brent said, “All I want for myself is the pie; I’m hungry.”

Now when we got to Skeleton Cove we saw it was all shady and spooky,
like. The water was black and the place was dark just like a cave. It
was awful still in there. I bet you’re crazy to know what comes next,
hey?

Over against the shore was the wreck of an old motor-boat; I guess it
got smashed by the rocks there. We chugged over to where it was and Tom
Slade climbed out and stepped across it.

Harry said, “What do you think it means, Tommy boy?”

Tom was kneeling on the old deck and looking over the edge. All of a
sudden he said, “Now I know; I was a fool not to think of it before. The
name of this boat is the _Treasure_.”

Harry said, “What?”

I said, “What?”

Will Dawson shouted, “On the level?”

“On the bow,” Tom said.

Pee-wee piped up, “What do you mean?”

Brent said, “Dear me; foiled again.”

Tom said, “Now I know what it means. The boys from the Geological Survey
were here. All that had me guessing was the word _treasure_. A pie is a
topographic mark; it shows where government land ends. Cons means
contours. They staked their measurings. They were just measuring this
cove and the creek so as to make government maps. T.W. means tide
water.”

Harry said, awful funny like, “If it wouldn’t be asking too much, will
you please tell me what it means where it says, ‘Treasure at HW limit
indicated at AN stake.’ Can you answer that?”

Tom said in that sober way of his, “I think it means something about
this boat, the _Treasure_ being at high water limit as indicated at
anchorage stake. I can’t tell just exactly what that memorandum means,
because I never worked in the survey, but I guess the survey boys
weren’t doing any harm out at Deacon Snookbeck’s. They were probably
lining up the contours on his farm. Anyway, all they were doing here was
taking the contours and the water lines for the government maps. The
only thing that puzzled me was the word treasure.”

“And there is no pie here?” Brent said.

“A pie is a government mark,” Tom said; “it means the government owns
the land to that point—where the pie is. See?”

Oh, boy, Harry didn’t say a word. None of the rest of us said a
word—only Brent.

He said, “Then I have been deceived by a scarecrow! This ends my quest
of adventure; I am through. I am going home and to the only refuge where
real adventure can be found—the movies. I am through with the boy
scouts. Perhaps with William S. Hart or Douglas Fairbanks I can find the
life I crave. There I can find cliffs to jump off, roofs to leap from,
people to kill who are worthy of being killed—not scarecrows——”

“And floods to get caught in!” Pee-wee yelled.

Brent said, “Yes, and jails to escape from——”

“And ships to get wrecked in!” the kid shouted.

“I know all about the movies I’ll go with you! I’ll go with you——”

Gee whiz, but that kid is a scream.

                                THE END



                            This Isn’t All!

    Would you like to know what became of the good friends you have
    made in this book?

    Would you like to read other stories continuing their adventures
    and experiences, or other books quite as entertaining by the
    same author?

    On the _reverse side_ of the wrapper which comes with this book,
    you will find a wonderful list of stones which you can buy at
    the same store where you got this book.

                      Don’t throw away the Wrapper

    Use it as a handy analog of the books you want some day to have.
    But in case you do mislay it, write to the Publishers for a
    complete catalog.



                         THE ROY BLAKELEY BOOKS

                        By PERCY KEESE FITZHUGH

                Author of “Tom Slade,” “Pee-wee Harris,”
                          “Westy Martin,” Etc.

                Illustrated. Picture Wrappers in Color.

                    Every Volume Complete in Itself.

In the character and adventures of Roy Blakeley are typified the very
essence of Boy life. He is a real boy, as real as Huck Finn and Tom
Sawyer. He is the moving spirit of the troop of Scouts of which he is a
member, and the average boy has to go only a little way in the first
book before Roy is the best friend he ever had, and he is willing to
part with his best treasure to get the next book in the series.

                 ROY BLAKELEY
                 ROY BLAKELEY’S ADVENTURES IN CAMP
                 ROY BLAKELEY, PATHFINDER
                 ROY BLAKELEY’S CAMP ON WHEELS
                 ROY BLAKELEY’S SILVER FOX PATROL
                 ROY BLAKELEY’S MOTOR CARAVAN
                 ROY BLAKELEY, LOST, STRAYED OR STOLEN
                 ROY BLAKELEY’S BEE-LINE HIKE
                 ROY BLAKELEY AT THE HAUNTED CAMP
                 ROY BLAKELEY’S FUNNY BONE HIKE
                 ROY BLAKELEY’S TANGLED TRAIL
                 ROY BLAKELEY ON THE MOHAWK TRAIL
                 ROY BLAKELEY’S ELASTIC HIKE
                 ROY BLAKELEY’S ROUNDABOUT HIKE

                GROSSET & DUNLAP, _Publishers_, NEW YORK



                        THE PEE-WEE HARRIS BOOKS

                        By PERCY KEESE FITZHUGH

                 Author of “Tom Slade,” “Roy Blakeley,”
                          “Westy Martin,” Etc.

               Illustrated. Individual Wrappers in Color.

                    Every Volume Complete in Itself.

All readers of the Tom Slade and the Roy Blakeley books are acquainted
with Pee-wee Harris. These stories record the true facts concerning his
size (what there is of it) and his heroism (such as it is), his voice,
his clothes, his appetite, his friends, his enemies, his victims.
Together with the thrilling narrative of how he foiled, baffled,
circumvented and triumphed over everything and everybody (except where
he failed) and how even when he failed he succeeded. The whole recorded
in a series of screams and told with neither muffler nor cut-out.

                 PEE-WEE HARRIS
                 PEE-WEE HARRIS ON THE TRAIL.
                 PEE-WEE HARRIS IN CAMP
                 PEE-WEE HARRIS IN LUCK
                 PEE-WEE HARRIS ADRIFT
                 PEE-WEE HARRIS F. O. B. BRIDGEBORO
                 PEE-WEE HARRIS FIXER
                 PEE-WEE HARRIS: AS GOOD AS HIS WORD
                 PEE-WEE HARRIS: MAYOR FOR A DAY
                 PEE-WEE HARRIS AND THE SUNKEN TREASURE

                GROSSET & DUNLAP, _Publishers_, NEW YORK



                     GARRY GRAYSON FOOTBALL STORIES

                           By ELMER A. DAWSON

             Individual Colored Wrapper and Illustration by

                            WALTER S. ROGERS

                    Every Volume Complete in Itself

Football followers all over the country will hail with delight this new
and thoroughly up-to-date line of gridiron tales.

Garry Grayson is a football fan, first, last, and all the time. But more
than that, he is a wideawake American boy with a “gang” of chums almost
as wideawake as himself.

How Garry organized the first football eleven his grammar school had,
how he later played on the High School team, and what he did on the Prep
School gridiron and elsewhere, is told in a manner to please all readers
and especially those interested in watching a rapid forward pass, a
plucky tackle, or a hot run for a touchdown.

Good, clean football at its best—and in addition, rattling stories of
mystery and schoolboy rivalries.

              GARRY GRAYSON’S HILL STREET ELEVEN;
                or, The Football Boys of Lenox.

              GARRY GRAYSON AT LENOX HIGH;
                or, The Champions of the Football League.

              GARRY GRAYSON’S FOOTBALL RIVALS;
                or, The Secret of the Stolen Signals.

              GARRY GRAYSON SHOWING HIS SPEED;
                or, A Daring Run on the Gridiron.

              GARRY GRAYSON AT STANLEY PREP;
                or, The Football Rivals of Riverview.

                GROSSET & DUNLAP, _Publishers_, NEW YORK



                          THE TOM SLADE BOOKS

                        By PERCY KEESE FITZHUGH

               Author of “Roy Blakeley,” “Pee-wee Harris,”
                          “Westy Martin,” Etc.

           Illustrated. Individual Picture Wrappers in Color.

                    Every Volume Complete in Itself.

“Let your boy grow up with Tom Slade,” is a suggestion which thousands
of parents have followed during the past, with the result that the TOM
SLADE BOOKS are the most popular boys’ books published today. They take
Tom Slade through a series of typical boy adventures through his
tenderfoot days as a scout, through his gallant days as an American
doughboy in France, back to his old patrol and the old camp ground at
Black Lake, and so on.

                 TOM SLADE, BOY SCOUT
                 TOM SLADE AT TEMPLE CAMP
                 TOM SLADE ON THE RIVER
                 TOM SLADE WITH THE COLORS
                 TOM SLADE ON A TRANSPORT
                 TOM SLADE WITH THE BOYS OVER THERE
                 TOM SLADE, MOTORCYCLE DISPATCH BEARER
                 TOM SLADE WITH THE FLYING CORPS
                 TOM SLADE AT BLACK LAKE
                 TOM SLADE ON MYSTERY TRAIL
                 TOM BLADE’S DOUBLE DARE
                 TOM SLADE ON OVERLOOK MOUNTAIN
                 TOM SLADE PICKS A WINNER
                 TOM SLADE AT BEAR MOUNTAIN
                 TOM SLADE: FOREST RANGER
                 TOM SLADE IN THE NORTH WOODS

                GROSSET & DUNLAP, _Publishers_, NEW YORK



                    Jerry Todd and Poppy Ott Series

                             BY LEO EDWARDS

        Durably Bound. Illustrated. Individual Colored Wrappers.

                    Every Volume Complete in Itself.

Hundreds of thousands of boys who laughed until their sides ached over
the weird and wonderful adventures of Jerry Todd and his gang demanded
that Leo Edwards, the author, give them more books like the Jerry Todd
stories with their belt-bursting laughs and creepy shivers. So he took
Poppy Ott, Jerry Todd’s bosom chum and created the Poppy Ott Series, and
if such a thing could be possible—they arc even more full of fun and
excitement than the Jerry Todds.

                          THE POPPY OTT SERIES

                 POPPY OTT AND THE STUTTERING PARROT
                 POPPY OTT AND THE SEVEN LEAGUE STILTS
                 POPPY OTT AND THE GALLOPING SNAIL
                 POPPY OTT’S PEDIGREED PICKLES

                          THE JERRY TODD BOOKS

                 JERRY TODD AND THE WHISPERING MUMMY
                 JERRY TODD AND THE ROSE-COLORED CAT
                 JERRY TODD AND THE OAK ISLAND TREASURE
                 JERRY TODD AND THE WALTZING HEN
                 JERRY TODD AND THE TALKING FROG
                 JERRY TODD AND THE PURRING EGG
                 JERRY TODD IN THE WHISPERING CAVE

                GROSSET & DUNLAP, _Publishers_, NEW YORK



                     Football and Baseball Stories

        Durably Bound. Illustrated. Individual Colored Wrappers.

                    Every Volume Complete in Itself.

THE RALPH HENRY BARBOUR BOOKS FOR BOYS

In these up-to-the-minute, spirited genuine stories of boy life there is
something which will appeal to every boy with love of manliness,
cleanness and sportsmanship in his heart.

                          LEFT END EDWARDS
                          LEFT TACKER THAYER
                          LEFT GUARD GILBERT
                          CENTER RUSH ROWLAND
                          FULLBACK FOSTER
                          LEFT HALF HARMON
                          RIGHT END EMERSON
                          RIGHT GUARD GRANT
                          QUARTERBACK BATES
                          RIGHT TACKLE TODD
                          RIGHT HALF ROLLINS

THE CHRISTY MATHEWSON BOOKS FOR BOYS

Every boy wants to know how to play ball in the fairest and squarest
way. These books about boys and baseball are full of wholesome and manly
interest and information.

                          PITCHER POLLOCK
                          CATCHER CRAIG
                          FIRST BASE FAULKNER
                          SECOND BASE SLOAN
                          PITCHING IN A PINCH

                 THIRD BASE THATCHER, By Everett Scott
                GROSSET & DUNLAP, _Publishers_, NEW YORK



                          THE FLYAWAYS STORIES

                          By ALICE DALE HARDY

                    Author of The Riddle Club Books

        Individual Colored Jackets and Colored Illustrations by
                            WALTER S. ROGERS

A splendid new line of interesting tales for the little ones,
introducing many of the well known characters of fairyland in a series
of novel adventures. The Flyaways are a happy family and every little
girl and boy will want to know all about them.

THE FLYAWAYS AND CINDERELLA

    How the Flyaways went to visit Cinderella only to find that
    Cinderella’s Prince had been carried off by the Three Robbers,
    Rumbo, Hibo and Jobo. “I’ll rescue him!” cried Pa Flyaway and
    then set out for the stronghold of the robbers. A splendid
    continuation of the original story of Cinderella.

THE FLYAWAYS AND LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

    On their way to visit Lillte Red Riding Hood the Flyaways fell
    in with Tommy Tucker and The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. They
    told Tommy about the Magic Button on Red Riding Hood’s cloak.
    How the wicked Wolf stole the Magic Button and how the wolves
    plotted to eat up Little Red Riding Hood and all her family, and
    how the Flyaways and King Cole lent the wolves flying, makes a
    story no children will want to miss.

THE FLYAWAYS AND GOLDILOCKS

    The Flyaways wanted to see not only Goldilocks but also the
    Three Bears and then took a remarkable journey through the air
    to do so. Tommy even rode on a Rocket and met the monstrous Blue
    Frog. When they arrived at Goldilock’s house they found that the
    Three Bears had been there before them and mussed everything up,
    mich to Goldilock’s despair. “We must drive those bears out of
    the country!” said Pa Flyaway. Then they journeyed underground
    to the Yellow Palace, and oh! so many things happened after
    that!

                GROSSET & DUNLAP, _Publishers_, NEW YORK



                          THE TOM SWIFT SERIES

                           By VICTOR APPLETON

         Uniform Style of Binding. Individual Colored Wrappers.

                    Every Volume Complete in Itself

Every boy possesses some form of inventive genius. Tom Swift is a
bright, ingenious boy and his inventions and adventures make the most
interesting kind of reading.

                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS MOTOR CYCLE
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS MOTOR BOAT
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS AIRSHIP
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS SUBMARINE BOAT
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS ELECTRIC RUNABOUT
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS WIRELESS MESSAGE
                 TOM SWIFT AMONG THE DIAMOND MAKERS
                 TOM SWIFT IN THE CAVES OF ICE
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS SKY RACER
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS ELECTRIC RIFLE
                 TOM SWIFT IN THE CITY OF GOLD
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS AIR GLIDER
                 TOM SWIFT IN CAPTIVITY
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS WIZARD CAMERA
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS GREAT SEARCHLIGHT
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS GIANT CANNON
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS PHOTO TELEPHONE
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS AERIAL WARSHIP
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS BIG TUNNEL
                 TOM SWIFT IN THE LAND OF WONDERS
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS WAR TANK
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS AIR SCOUT
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS UNDERSEA SEARCH
                 TOM SWIFT AMONG THE FIRE FIGHTERS
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS FLYING BOAT
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS GREAT OIL GUSHER
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS CHEST OF SECRETS
                 TOM SWIFT AND HIS AIRLINE EXPRESS

                GROSSET & DUNLAP, _Publishers_, NEW YORK



                         THE DON STURDY SERIES

                           By VICTOR APPLETON

         Individual Colored Wrappers and Text Illustrations by

                            WALTER S. ROGERS

                    Every Volume Complete in Itself

In company with his uncles, one a mighty hunter and the other a noted
scientist, Don Sturdy travels far and wide, gaining much useful
knowledge and meeting many thrilling adventures.

DON STURDY ON THE DESERT OF MYSTERY

    An engrossing tale of the Sahara Desert, of encounters with wild
    animals and crafty Arabs.

DON STURDY WITH THE BIG SNAKE HUNTERS

    Don’s uncle, the hunter, took an order for some of the biggest
    snakes to be found in South America—to be delivered alive!

DON STURDY IN THE TOMBS OF GOLD

    A fascinating tale of exploration and adventure in the Valley of
    Kings in Egypt.

DON STURDY ACROSS THE NORTH POLE

    A great polar blizzard nearly wrecks the airship of the
    explorers.

DON STURDY IN THE LAND OF VOLCANOES

    An absorbing tale of adventures among the volcanoes of Alaska.

DON STURDY IN THE PORT OF LOST SHIPS

    This story is just full of exciting and fearful experiences on
    the sea.

DON STURDY AMONG THE GORILLAS

    A thrilling story of adventure in darkest Africa. Don is carried
    over a mighty waterfall into the heart of gorilla land.

                GROSSET & DUNLAP, _Publishers_, NEW YORK



                         THE RADIO BOYS SERIES

                            By ALLEN CHAPMAN

                 Author of the “Railroad Series,” Etc.

               Individual Colored Wrappers. Illustrated.

                    Every Volume Complete in Itself

A new series for boys giving full details of radio work, both in sending
and receiving—telling how small and large amateur sets can be made and
operated, and how some boys got a lot of fun and adventure out of what
they did. Each volume from first to last is so thoroughly fascinating,
so strictly up-to-date and accurate, we feel sure all lads will peruse
them with great delight.

Each volume has a Foreword by Jack Binns, the well-known radio expert.

                 THE RADIO BOYS’ FIRST WIRELESS
                 THE RADIO BOYS AT OCEAN POINT
                 THE RADIO BOYS AT THE SENDING STATION
                 THE RADIO BOYS AT MOUNTAIN PASS
                 THE RADIO BOYS TRAILING A VOICE
                 THE RADIO BOYS WITH THE FOREST RANGERS
                 THE RADIO BOYS WITH THE ICEBERG PATROL
                 THE RADIO BOYS WITH THE FLOOD FIGHTERS
                 THE RADIO BOYS ON SIGNAL ISLAND
                 THE RADIO BOYS IN GOLD VALLEY

                GROSSET & DUNLAP, _Publishers_, NEW YORK





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