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Title: Woodcraft Boys at Sunset Island
Author: Hoisington, May Folwell, Roy, Lillian Elizabeth
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 "Woodcraft Boys at Sunset Island" ***

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  [Illustration: BILLY’S PRIZE FISH.
   _Woodcraft Boys at Sunset Island._    _Frontispiece._]



  Woodcraft Boys
  at Sunset Island

  BY
  LILLIAN ELIZABETH ROY
  AND
  M. F. HOISINGTON

  ILLUSTRATED

  [Illustration]


  GROSSET & DUNLAP
  PUBLISHERS NEW YORK



  COPYRIGHT, 1919,
  BY GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY


  PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



CONTENTS


   CHAPTER                                        PAGE

       ONE  THE SPORTS OF SUNSET ISLAND             13

       TWO  WHAT THE TRAWL BROUGHT FORTH            32

     THREE  FOGGY DAYS AND WOODCRAFT WAYS           50

      FOUR  COUNCIL THIS AFTERNOON                  67

      FIVE  WINNING THE DEGREE OF SHINGEBIS         84

       SIX  THE PICNIC AT SPRUCE ISLAND            101

     SEVEN  FURTHER ADVENTURES AT SPRUCE ISLAND    121

     EIGHT  THE CRUISE TO CASTINE                  131

      NINE  THE NIGHT OF THE MASKED BALL           152

       TEN  FOR THE HONOUR OF THE BLACK BEARS      170

    ELEVEN  WITA-TONKAN LEFT IN CHARGE             189

    TWELVE  THE PIRATES OF SCILLY LEDGE            212

  THIRTEEN  THIEVES IN THE NIGHT                   234

  FOURTEEN  THE TWENTY-FOURTH FEATHER              253



ILLUSTRATIONS


  BILLY’S PRIZE FISH          _Frontispiece_

                                        PAGE

  THE MOLA, OR DEEP SEA SUNFISH           20

  THE LOBSTER TRAPS                       20

  A STRING OF CUNNERS CAUGHT BY SHELBY    52

  “AND ALL ALONG THE OLD JIB BOOM”        52

  THE WAR BONNET OF THE SAGAMORE          76

  CAP’N, FRED AND BILLY “OILED UP”       148

  OFF FOR BELFAST ON THE MEDRIC          148

  SCRAPING THE SEALSKIN                  228

  BILLY AND HIS PORCUPINES               228

  MOVIES--“THE PIRATES OF SUNSET”        244

  THE OLD WRECK IN CROW COVE             244

  SHINGEBIS IN COSTUME                   256



WOODCRAFT BOYS AT SUNSET ISLAND

CHAPTER ONE

THE SPORTS OF SUNSET ISLAND


“Say! What’s that over there--there near the Cove? Look! There it
is again--sticking its fin out of the water,” cried Billy Remington
excitedly, as, toggle-iron in hand, he stood in the bow of the large
rowboat manned by three other boys.

“Gee! S’pose it’s a shark?” exclaimed Paul Alvord, who, with Dudley
West, was visiting Sunset Island, the Maine resort of the Remingtons’.

“Oo-oh! What if it is? Let’s row over and maybe we can have a try to
harpoon it!” added Dudley, eagerly.

The “white-ash breeze” soon brought them near the spot where the fin
had last been seen and Fred Remington, the oldest of the four boys,
rested upon his oars while scanning the face of the water.

“Look--quick! There it is again!” shouted Billy.

“Let’s try and drive it in nearer shore if we can,” came from Fred, who
was as eager as the other three lads to become better acquainted with
the strange object.

Then began a breathless chase. Four highly excited young fishermen
yelling at each other, or pulling madly at the oars when Fred so
ordered, and cracking muscles to back water when the need demanded--as
was the case whenever the queer hulk of a fish threatened to swim too
near the boys’ boat.

However, the creature was already in too shallow water for its bulk to
swim and it struggled valiantly, if futilely, to make its escape from
the Nemesis in the boat.

“What a whopper!” cried Dudley, while Billy carefully rose from his
seat with the harpoon held in his hands.

“Now! Now, give it to him!” called Fred.

Thus importuned, Billy tried his luck. The small harpoon which had
been prepared for a chance fling at a porpoise, was let fly at the
floundering mass. The aim was true but the iron rebounded as from an
oaken plank.

With gasps of wonderment from the boys, the harpoon was hauled back and
Billy anxiously tried again. But with the same result.

The huge fish was now seen with its back fin clear out of water in its
maddened efforts to swim in the insufficient depth.

“What can it be?” asked Paul, curiously.

“I’m sure I don’t know--certainly not a shark,” replied Fred. Then
turning to Billy, he added, “Here--let me have a try at it.”

Billy passed over the harpoon and the boys rowed the boat quite close
to the greyish mass so that Fred distinctly saw a great eye.

“Steady boys--quiet now!” warned Fred, raising the weapon above his
head.

The big fish lay temporarily resting when Fred launched the iron with
all his strength. An accurate aim at the eye which he rightly judged
might be vulnerable and the harpoon sunk in the target.

The consuming anxiety of the next few moments seemed like eternity to
the boys as they wondered whether they could win out in the mad battle
that began the very moment the harpoon struck in. The water was churned
as if by a great paddle-wheel; the spray flew over everything while the
fish whopped forward, then suddenly backed, then flung itself from side
to side in an agonised and frenzied plunge for safety. The harpoon held
good however, and Fred paid out about thirty fathoms of line before the
victim became exhausted.

It succeeded in gaining deeper water in the frantic battle for life,
and had not the iron held securely, the unwieldy fish would surely have
broken away to its freedom in the sea.

“It really looks like a young whale, don’t you think so, Fred?”
ventured Paul, after the fish had quieted somewhat.

“Nonsense! But it certainly is a queer bunch of hide and bones,”
returned Fred.

It was impossible for the boys to handle their prize as it was so
heavy, but they managed to drag the monster close to the stern of their
boat and then tow it triumphantly in to Saturday Cove where lay a large
schooner. The mate yelled at the boys and Fred looked up to find a
group of men eagerly watching.

“Come alongside and we’ll haul him out fer you!” shouted the mate.

The boys obeyed and the mate ordered his crew to help. “Pass a bo’line
’round his tail and hoist ’im up!”

“Hit don’t seem to have no tail,” complained a sailor.

“Ner head, nuther--it’s all bulk!” laughed another. Fred passed the
harpoon line aboard and the crew tailed on to it. But the combined
efforts of the four husky sailors were insufficient to raise the still
struggling creature clear of the water.

After a time, however, they managed to get a good view, so that the
mate recognised it for a deep-sea sunfish, or mola. He then sent the
sailors forward for the large hook used in catting the anchor. They
hooked the throat-halliards into this and passed it down to Fred who
tried to fasten the anchor-hook in the fish’s mouth. But the beak-like
jaws were too small. Finally he managed to hook it into the mola’s eye
alongside the harpoon. With this powerful tackle the sailors hoisted
the fish out of water.

Visitors and fishermen in every imaginable sort of craft clustered
about the yacht, all intent upon seeing the curiosity and securing a
good snapshot of it. With the others, came the Captain of the power
launch belonging to Sunset Island.

“Hey, boys! What a monster catch!” called Captain Ed.

“It sure is! How much do you reckon he weighs?” asked a man who
overheard the Captain’s remark.

“Looks like half a ton to me--but there’s no tellin’ without scales
handy,” returned the Captain.

“Hoh! We weighed him all right, Cap--by the scales on his back!”
haw-hawed the mate of the schooner.

The joke was an old one with Maine fishermen and the mate resorted to
it without thinking, so the Captain caught him up instantly.

“Naw, yuh didn’t nuther! Cuz he hain’t got no scales--see!”

The laugh that broke simultaneously from the crew was thoroughly
enjoyed by every one, including the mate, for the mola had a very tough
hide but was scaleless. Its apology for a tail was a frill of scallops
opposite the beak-end, while the most prominent features were the
dorsal and ventral fins, each one about a foot and a half in length.

“Whad’ye say ye th’ot he weighed, Cap?” asked the mate of Captain Ed
as soon as the laugh died down.

“Nigh on half a ton, thinks I,” responded the Captain.

That started a new argument among the local fishermen “lying” in those
parts about the weight of the fish. During the discussion, Fred managed
to shove his boat close to the launch from Sunset Island. Then he
hailed Captain Ed.

“Let’s tow the sunfish over home and give father and mother a chance to
look at the queer thing.”

So, acting upon Fred’s suggestion, the Captain helped the sailors
lower the mola into the water again and remove the yacht’s tackle. The
procession started: first, Captain Ed, Billy and Dudley in the power
boat, towing the rowboat with Fred and Paul in it. They in turn towed
the sunfish, the latter at the end of the rope churning up the water as
it careened after the boat.

While the four boys excitedly retailed the capture of their prize,
the launch was making good speed across West Penobscot Bay to a group
of three small islands lying near the fourteen-mile-long shore of
Islesboro, which divides the bay into east and west. The boys’ summer
camp was on the most northerly isle which contained about eight acres
of land, high, rocky, and closely wooded with fir and spruce.

The middle island, called Isola Bella, was some twenty-four acres
in extent and was also high and well wooded. It belonged to Mrs.
Remington’s brother, William Farwell, always known as “Uncle Bill.”

The southerly one of the island trio was very appropriately named Flat
Island because of its nature: Not a tree upon it and shaped like a
skate with a sand-spit for a tail.

The three islands were about a quarter of a mile from each other and
about two miles from the mainland where the boys had just caught the
mola.

Great was the excitement at Sunset Island when the convoy was discerned
through the spyglass. As soon as voices could be heard, and in fact
before that time, the eager watchers sitting upon the rocks of Treasure
Cove were eagerly shouting and waving hands to the approaching craft.

“What did you catch?”

“Is it a porpoise?”

“Where did you get it?”

Mr. Remington was the first to reach the boats and help the boys.
“Well, I declare--a sunfish! Haven’t seen one in a long time. What are
you going to do with it, now that you’ve got it?”

“To tell the truth, we never thought of that,” retorted Fred.

“All we wanted to do was to catch it, and get it over here to exhibit
to you folks,” added Billy.

“I’ve hearn say that th’ hide makes mighty good insides for baseballs,
’count of the rubbery quality,” casually remarked the Captain, with a
twinkle in his eyes.

“Isn’t it a good fish to eat?” questioned Paul.

“Nah! yuh might as well try to eat a meal off of auto tires and chopped
kindlin’ wood served with fish-oil dressin’,” chuckled the Captain.

“Then let’s get Mose down here and fool him into believing he has to
skin and cook the fish for chowder,” proposed Dudley, mischievously.

“So we will!” agreed the other boys, and Dudley ran up the bank to call
Mose.

The brown chef soon appeared on the rocks in front of the bungalow to
see what all the commotion was about and Billy called up to him:

“Bring down your tools to clean this fish, Mose!”

“We’re going to have it for to-night’s dinner ’cause Captain Ed says it
won’t keep,” added Paul.

“You’ll have to slice off the big steaks first, Mose, and chop up the
rest for the chowder,” concluded Fred.

Never doubting the sincerity of the orders given, Mose went back to
find a huge pan and the butcher-knife. With his sleeves rolled up and a
heavy burlap apron tied about his waist, he came prepared to clean the
monster fish.

While every one stood about grinning, Mose started in to cut off the
end where the beak grew; but saw as powerfully as he would, the knife
made no impression on the tough hide.

“Ah d’clar’ t’ goodness, Mis Remin’ton, how you-all eber goin’ t’ chaw
dis elerphant fish?” worried Mose, as he stood up to mop the moisture
from his perspiring brow.

A shout of laughter from the circle of hoaxing islanders made Mose
glance quizzically at them.

“Ha! that was one on you, Mose,” exclaimed Billy gleefully.

“Nem-mine, you Indians! Mose got all summer, yuh know, an’ Ah’m gwine
git eben wid yuh yit!” prophesied the jolly cook, brandishing the
fearful knife as he trudged away toward the bungalow, leaving the
laughing crowd standing by the fish.

“We’ve got to keep it some way until Uncle Bill comes,” suggested Fred,
looking about the cove for a possible place to anchor the mola.

“Why, when is Uncle Bill expected?” asked Elizabeth Remington, Fred’s
fifteen-year-old sister.

“Not for ten days yet, and really, boys, it will be impossible for you
to keep this curiosity near Sunset as long as that! You will have to
tow it out for the tide to carry far, far away for more reasons than
one, before your uncle arrives,” advised Mrs. Remington.

“Can’t we keep it here for a day or two, mother?” begged Billy.

“Not if the flies assemble for a picnic,” retorted she.

“It’s too bad Uncle Tom and Aunt Edith are not at Rosemary yet--he
would just love to see this natural history thing. He’s always so
enthusiastic about curiosities and all such sort of stuff,” added
Elizabeth, gazing at the mola regretfully.

“Well that’s what they miss for not coming to Maine before the first of
July,” declared Billy.

“I nearly missed it too, didn’t I?” said Paul, deeply grateful that he
hadn’t. “If I’d waited as Hilda wanted me to, just to spend the Fourth
with her, I wouldn’t have been here yet, would I?”

The others laughed at such evidence, and Paul added: “Well, I sure am
glad I’m here!”

“So’m I,” declared Dudley. “And I’m goin’ to stay, too!”

Again every one laughed at the positiveness of the two young visitors
who were Billy’s chums at school, and Paul turned to inquire of his
hostess:

“How long do you s’pose we can stay here with you?”

“Just as long as you behave and are not much care or trouble. But it
also depends somewhat on what your parents say,” replied the lady of
the island.

“Oh, they won’t mind us stayin’ and we’ll do just everything you say,
Miss Remington!” quickly promised Dudley.

“You just bet we will, an’ my mother and sister are real glad I can
visit Billy all summer on such a dandy island,” assured Paul.

“Well then, the Sagamore of Sunset Isle has his work all cut out for
him this summer,” laughed Mrs. Remington, nodding at Fred, who was
seventeen and the oldest of all the children.

“Looks like some programme, too!” commented Fred.

“By the time the season is over, Fred will have had such fine training
that he will have to go to Plattsburg for a rest. He will be able
to pass high in the physical requirements, all right,” added Mr.
Remington, who had joined the group in time to hear the latter part of
the conversation.

As Mr. Remington finished speaking the bell rang for luncheon and a
crowd of hungry islanders trooped in to eat every crumb of Mose’s
delicious meal. Then, feeling like a new man once more, Fred announced
his intention of sailing over to Isola Bella to bring his aunt and
little cousins, Miriam and Betty, to Sunset Island to see the deep-sea
curiosity.

In an hour’s time, therefore, Fred landed his passengers at the float
stage, and hurried them over to the place where lay the giant sunfish.

“Oh, I wish Papa could see it!” cried Miriam Farwell, the eldest child
of Aunt Miriam and Uncle Bill.

The energetic islanders finally wearied of admiring the mola and turned
their attention to other things.

“I wish Uncle Bill would offer a prize for the biggest fish caught this
summer--you know he did that last year,” said Billy, the financier of
the family.

“That makes an incentive to catch something larger than your
neighbour’s, it is true, but I wouldn’t scorn to land a big fish even
if there were no prize given me,” said Fred.

“No one would be so foolish as that,” scoffed Paul.

“Captain, how about the trawl this summer?” asked Mr. Remington.

“Oh, yes--and the lobster pots, Captain Ed?” added Billy.

“Well, now, we kin overhaul the trawl and set the pots whenever you
say,” replied the Captain.

“Then the sooner we start the better!” declared Dudley.

“Ef you ketch any lobsters I’ll be s’prised, all right. T’other
fishermen ain’t ketchin’ nawthin’ this year,” said the Captain.

“It’s queer where all the lobsters have gone! They used to be so
plentiful that we could easily catch a mess anywhere. Supplying the
canneries doesn’t explain everything about the scarcity,” commented
Mrs. Remington.

“I’ve noticed another thing that has changed too, since we first began
coming to Maine years ago,” added Mr. Remington. “Do you remember how
rarely kelp was found in this bay then? Now, all the ledges in the
back bay are covered with it--the ledges that used to be covered with
mussels and sea anemones.”

“That’s so, but I never thought of it before,” said Mrs. Remington
thoughtfully, then adding, “The cod and other big fish are now being
caught here in the _bay_ whereas the fishermen used to go way down
below Rockland for them.”

The others had been listening intently to these interesting remarks and
Billy ventured a theory.

“Do you s’pose the kelp has anything to do with the big fish coming to
our bay?”

“I’ve heard some of the natives wonder over the same thing. And the
larger fish being in these waters might explain the disappearance of
the lobsters as it is said that lobster-spawn floats in masses near the
surface of the water at a certain period of its development that it may
be benefited by the sun rays. Of course, the big fish eat millions of
the eggs at one meal, thus eliminating just so many future lobsters,”
explained Mr. Remington.

“It sure sounds reasonable, father,” added Fred.

“Still, that does not compensate us for the loss of our delicious
broiled lobster,” argued Mrs. Remington.

“The sooner we fix up the traps, then, the sooner you can have a treat
of lobster,” laughed her husband.

“Let’s begin right now and put them into working shape,” cried Billy.

“And I’ll act for Uncle Bill this time--I’ll offer a prize for the
largest lobster caught this season,” announced his father.

“Oh good! there are just four traps and each one of us boys can bait
and take charge of one,” decided Billy.

“And remember, boys, besides the prize, there is some form of Honour
in Woodcraft for knowing fish,” reminded their mother.

“Sure enough--twenty-five kinds of fish for a _coup_!” responded Fred.

“And fifty for a Grand _Coup_,” added Elizabeth.

“Hoh, we can never win fifty!” declared Dudley.

“Why not--if a trawl rakes up a hundred different kinds, it’ll be
easy,” bragged Paul.

Then Mrs. Remington said, “You know, boys, we will soon begin our
weekly Councils and you ought to be able to get the low Honour for
twenty-five fish without any difficulty. Dudley, how many do you know
now?”

“Are lobsters fish?” countered Dudley.

“Why, of course they are a sort of fish,” quickly retorted Paul.

“It seems to me that the Woodcraft Manual says ‘vertebrates’ and that
means ‘back-bones’; so lobsters should not be included,” explained Mrs.
Remington.

“Anyway, I know a cunner, a sculpin, and a mackerel--that’s three. And
a salmon, makes four, and a cod and a flounder, that’s six. Now, let me
see--oh yes! a harbour-pollock, and, and--I know lots more too, but I
can’t just remember,” admitted Dudley.

“Ha, ha! Dud, you ought to be named ‘Dub’! What about the very fish we
caught to-day?” teased Fred.

“Gee, that’s so! I clean forgot the mola; guess it was too tiny to
remember,” grinned Dudley.

“And the dogfish, and the skate, too, Dud,” reminded Billy.

“But I haven’t seen them yet--I’ve only known them by their names and
the pictures.”

“Say, father, will you help us set the trawl so we can try for the
_coup_? Just think of all the different kinds of fish we always get
that way,” suggested Fred.

“All right, boys, any time you say,” agreed Mr. Remington, who was
never so happy as when there was something doing.

Captain Ed, too, was most enthusiastic about the idea of a trawl, so
the Sunset Islanders went to their tents that night to dream of hooks
and fins and monsters of the deep, deep sea.

They all met at the breakfast table the next morning, and the talk
waxed so interesting that the usual object of sole attention--the
star-dish of the island, creamed beef and hashed fried potatoes with
soft-boiled eggs on the side--was partaken of in an absent-minded
manner.

Fred and Billy and their boy guests Paul and Dudley, were full of plans
for baiting up the trawl by that afternoon. The girls, Elizabeth and
Edith Remington were anxious to help also.

On the way from the bungalow after breakfast, Elizabeth explained
to the boys. “We can fish all morning and catch enough bait for the
lobster-traps and set the herring-net to get the bait for the trawl
overnight.”

“How many hooks are on that trawl?” asked Paul.

“About five hundred,” replied Fred. “Each one is on a short line called
a ‘gangin’ which is about a foot and a half long. These gangins hang
down every five or so feet along the whole length of the trawl. They
have the hooks at the ends and these we have to bait.”

“Gee! How long is the trawl if there are five hundred hooks?” wondered
Dudley.

“About half a mile long,” returned Fred.

Captain Ed was tinkering with the traps, putting in new heads and
mending broken slats. By the time the boys and girls returned from
their bait fishing, with a lot of sculpins and flounders, the four
traps were ready. In a short time thereafter the traps were baited and
loaded on the largest rowboat.

“I want mine located off Treasure Cove,” announced Billy.

“The Captain says he has picked out some dandy places for Dud’s and
mine,” said Paul, not to be outdone.

“Huh! for Dud and you or for your traps?” joked Billy.

“I guess the boys would make good lobster-bait, Bill, and if we run
short of sculpins we will use them--the lobsters will never know the
difference,” laughed Fred.

This pleasantry caused a rough and tumble scrap on the float-stage but
the Captain interrupted them by calling out the welcome order, “All
aboard!”

What hopes filled the breasts of Paul and Dudley as the boat neared the
spot chosen for the setting of the traps! Mr. Remington had declared
the crustaceans to be scarce, still the boys believed that Fate would
favour their particular traps and attract the lobsters into them.

Luncheon that day was eaten to the accompaniment of various conjectures
as to whether there were enough different kinds of fish in the bay to
count twenty-five for a _coup_; to say nothing of fifty kinds for a
Grand _Coup_ in Woodcraft.

“Fred, you won the fish _coup_, didn’t you?” asked Paul.

“Yes, I had it awarded last year,” replied Fred. “But all the fish I
have been introduced to in this bay were not enough to complete the
required number. I had to draw on some fresh water kinds to help me
out.”

“O pshaw! Then I don’t see how Dud and I can get the _coup_ this
summer,” grumbled Paul.

“You’re one ahead of the number I started with, anyway. You have that
mola and no one ever knows what a trawl may bring forth,” comforted
Fred.

The following morning the baiting of the trawl took a long time and the
boys thought a good day’s work was done when they had finished helping
the Captain and Mr. Remington. Each herring was cut into pieces and
furnished enough bait for three or four hooks.

They set the trawl out in the bay starting off at Flat Island. The
Captain’s dexterous flipping of the trawl-line was the despairing
admiration of the four boys and he did not catch or tangle the long
line once!

“Say, but that’s swell work!” exclaimed Paul.

“I should say so--some class to Captain Ed!” added Dudley.

Mr. Remington and the Captain laughed but, indeed, the performance was
a wonderful feat. The half-mile trawl with its five hundred dependent
hooks had been coiled in a tub with all the baited hooks in the inside
of the coil.

Having attached the end of the trawl-line to the anchored buoy Mr.
Remington and the boys rowed the boat slowly along with the tide, while
the Captain, reaching down with practised hands into the coil in the
tub threw over the baited line with the aid of a stick.

As the tide was on the flood the Sunset Islanders had started at what
would eventually be the southern end of the trawl and they worked up
the bay. The northern buoy was anchored as they finished in the sunset
glow.

Rowing homeward, somewhat wet but happy and ready as usual to replenish
the inner man, they reached the float where Mrs. Remington stood
watching for them.

“Oo-oh! What a mess the boys are in! And it will be worse too when you
‘under-run’ the trawl. Worse still when you clean the fish. Now, boys
there won’t be a stitch of clothing fit to wear about here, let alone
to travel home in, unless you put away these suits and wear some old
fishing togs. I only wish I had remembered to make you change this
morning. Come, and I will fit you out as you should be.”



CHAPTER TWO

WHAT THE TRAWL BROUGHT FORTH


Superbly equipped in various misfits of cast-off fishing clothes
abandoned by former visitors to the island, and some of Fred’s outgrown
trousers, the four boys, shod in rubber boots, could hardly wait for
Mose to finish serving the breakfast the morning after the setting of
the trawl.

Captain Ed and Mr. Remington were found at the float-stage employed in
seeing that the boat was all ready for the trip. The boys soon joined
them and all piled into the big rowboat and pulled away from shore.

The tide was running down so they began at the north end of the trawl
and soon found the floating buoy. Fred began hauling in the line while
the three younger boys craned their necks far over the side of the boat
to see the first hook appear.

“Gee! There’s somethin’ on it!” screamed Dudley, excitedly.

In his mad endeavour to crowd Dudley from his vantage point, Paul
caught the toe of his boot in the thwart of the boat and stumbled,
receiving a flabby skate plumb in his face, as the fish was swung
inboard at the end of the short line.

But no one had time to console the sputtering Paul, nor indeed, did he
complain of the mishap, as the next hook was about to appear above the
surface of the water.

“What’s on that one?” shrilled Paul, not able to see for himself.

“Ugh! only a dog-fish,” grunted the Captain. “Stab him and chuck him
overboard, Fred.”

“No, no--wait a minute, I want to see him first,” cried Paul.

His curiosity for a closer acquaintance with dog-fish was gratified
ten times over in the next few minutes and Captain Ed remarked with
disgust, “Humph! Guess their ain’t nuthin’ else in the bay.”

But even as he spoke, a fine cod rewarded the haul.

“Now, that’s something like!” commended Mr. Remington.

“How much do you s’pose she weighs?” cried Billy.

“Oh, about six pounds, but we’ll do better’n that,” said the Captain.

Then followed hake, haddock, more dog-fish, another skate, and then
three more fine cod--one of them weighing at least ten pounds. By
this time both the boat and the boys were wet and slimy so that Paul
consented to have the dog-fish killed and sent to feed and fatten the
future prey of the trawl. While the younger boys made way with the
skates and other useless fish, Fred and the Captain continued to
overhaul the trawl and rebait the hooks when necessary.

Suddenly, a rebellious thrashing and struggling attended the hauling in
of one of the hooks and the boys saw a wriggling mass of coils being
brought up from the blue-green depths.

“Jiminy crickets! It’s a sea-serpent!” yelled Dudley, his eyes as big
as saucers.

“Is it, Captain?” shivered Paul, deliciously.

“We-ll, I shouldn’t wonder if it was,” answered the Captain, preparing
to help Fred disengage the hook from an immense conger eel.

They tried to perform this operation outside of the boat but the
resistance of the strong wrestler was so powerful that half of its
length slid over the side into the boat even while the Captain and Fred
worked to free it.

The new passenger had things his own way for a time after he shipped so
that Mr. Remington had to join in the fray to assist in dispossessing
the unwelcome stranger.

By the time the conger eel was disentangled from Bill’s legs, Paul
and Dudley had laughed themselves so weak that they sat down upon
the slippery mess of cod and haddock. They had laughed all too soon,
however!

The eel, cut free from the hook, redoubled upon itself and lovingly
entwined the two helpless boys in a close embrace. Well indeed was it
that Mrs. Remington had insisted upon their wearing the rag-tag and
bobtail attire that day!

  [Illustration: THE MOLA, OR DEEP SEA SUNFISH.]

  [Illustration: THE LOBSTER TRAPS.
   _Woodcraft Boys at Sunset Island._    _Page 20_]

The Captain finally succeeded in heaving the eel overboard, admitting
as he did so, “I hate to ketch one of them critters on my hooks--they
are so all-fired ugly!”

When order reigned once more and the boys had washed some of the bloody
slime from hands and faces, Mr. Remington complimented them upon the
stoic manner in which they “took their medicine.”

But when the boatload of some fifty fine fish was landed at Sunset
Island, the surprise of the girls and Mrs. Remington repaid them for
all of their vicissitudes.

“How long do you expect to keep up this trawling, and what do you
intend to do with all of these eatable fish,” asked Mrs. Remington,
overwhelmed when she heard the trawl had been rebaited for another
catch.

“Well, the boys and I thought of a little plan to dry and salt a lot of
fish for winter’s use. Especially as the high cost of meat in the city
has turned our thoughts to a fuller appreciation of the bounties of the
sea,” said her husband.

“Oh, mercy me! Have you stopped to think of the plague of flies--to
say nothing of the horrid smell caused by old fish?” remonstrated Mrs.
Remington.

“And that reminds me,” added she, hurriedly, “that mola _must_ not
remain on the island any longer.”

“Oh, that’s so, we’ll tow it out this afternoon,” promised Fred.

“As for the fish-curing, that won’t annoy you, my dear,” reassured Mr.
Remington. “We intend doing all of that on Flat Island.”

“We’d have taken these fish right down there, mother, but we wanted the
girls to see the haul--we were right near Flat Island, too, when we
finished up the trawl,” said Fred.

“Well, we’re much obliged, Freddy,” said Elizabeth.

“And we’ll take one of the cod up to Mose for supper,” added Mrs.
Remington.

That afternoon, Mr. Remington and the boys took the fish to Flat Island
while the Captain followed in his launch with a load of scantlings and
tools for making fish-flats. The mola was towed behind the launch and
out in deep water it was left to float away.

A tired lot of boys lounged about the bungalow that evening and Billy
was heard to say to Paul, “Say, but it takes a heap of scrubbing to get
clean of fish-smell, don’t it?”

“Yep! I had to scrub with hot water and gold-dust twins before lunch
and then I had to scrub with hot water and kitchen soap before
supper--’cause Edith sniffed at me; an’ now your mother says I’m still
fishy an’ I’d better scrub with more hot water and cashmere bouquet
soap before goin’ to bed so’s the sheets won’t turn sick!” giggled
Paul.

“Ah, I say! It’s too much to expect from a feller in camp,” complained
Dudley.

“Never mind,” consoled Fred. “It’ll soon be warm enough to strip and
take a plunge in the Cove instead of all this penance of hot water and
soap.”

That night as the tide crept stealthily in it bore upon its bosom
a treasure indeed! At last Treasure Cove had won its title. In the
silvery rays of the beautiful moonlight a _mola_ lay glorified upon the
little white beach.

Immediately after breakfast in the morning, the eager boys wanted to
investigate their lobster traps.

“I’ll tell you what, boys! You can attend to that while I take the
Captain and get some salt for our fish. Who wants to go to Saturday
Cove with me?” called Mr. Remington.

“I do! I do!” came the chorus of girls’ voices.

“No sooner said than done--here we go!” laughed their father.

As usual, Mose took this opportunity to hand Mr. Remington a list of
items for the larder. Odds and ends were obtainable at the General
Store and “P. O.” at Saturday Cove although the weekly marketing was
done at Belfast, a goodly-sized town nine miles up the bay.

The boys were a bit discouraged when they found nothing but crabs in
the lobster traps. However, they baited them afresh and brought home
the crabs.

“There’s awful poor pickin’ in these crabs,” admitted Fred. “That’s
one thing Maine falls down on.”

“But aren’t they _some_ good?” asked Dudley.

“Oh, yes, about one mouthful to a crab,” returned Billy.

“Not like the ones down at Old Point Comfort and the Chesapeake!--some
crabs, those!” said Fred, smacking his lips.

The boys came into Treasure Cove but it was noticed that Fred
frowningly sniffed the pungent air with nose held high. And great
was their disgust when the bow of the boat ran into an odoriferous
mola. The hot sun beating down upon it that day had not improved its
condition.

“Gee! another dirty job!” exclaimed Billy, scowling at the prow of the
unconscious boat.

“That came back on the flood last night! Now we’ve got to tow it out
and see what the ebb will do for it,” said Fred.

“Say, d’ye need us to help?” asked Paul. “If not, Dud and me’ll take
these crabs to Mose to have him start boiling them.”

“All right, go along; and if you’re real nice in asking Anna, she’ll
help you pick out the crab meat. She’s a wiz. at that work,” advised
Billy.

So the two boys engagingly won the governess’ promise to pick crab
meat, while Fred and Billy attended to a less attractive duty.

Once more the mola was consigned to the tide, which in this latitude
rises and falls about fifteen feet at the full of the moon.
Comparatively few miles to the eastward of this longitude lies the Bay
of Fundy known all over the world for its hundred-foot tides.

“Say, Fred, wouldn’t it be queer if the tides rose and fell here as
they do up in New Brunswick?” asked Billy.

“Why, the Captain was tellin’ me the other day,” continued the boy,
“that the tide at St. John turns the Falls of the river backward,
making them as high the reverse way as they are in the usual direction.

“Besides, the Captain said the tide runs off of miles of sand-flats
where the pigs go to feed on shell-fish and seaweed. Now listen, Fred!
Do you believe this fairy-tale of the Captain’s? _He said_: ‘When the
tide turns to come in it starts with a booming roar and the pigs know
it by instinct as the death signal. At the first boom they turn tail
and run squealing to high ground and safety.’”

“It may be as the Captain says, but I don’t see how the pigs can
inherit that instinct of danger--the ones that learn of the penalty for
lingering perish in the learning,” remarked the elder brother.

“I’d just like to go there some day and see for myself,” said Billy.
“Now, old mola, even if this isn’t a Bay of Fundy tide, I hope you’ll
be carried high and away for all time.”

“Yes, and good riddance to it!” added Fred, as the tow-line was thrown
inboard and the boat was turned for home.

The next morning Paul and Dudley each had a small lobster in their
traps and Fred consolingly remarked, “Well, that’s proof there’s some
lobsters about, anyway.”

As the boat neared shore Paul jumped up and waved his cap.
“Eliz-zabeth! E-ed-ith! Look--I got a lobster!”

The girls ran quickly to the float and called back, “Oh, hold it
up--let’s see how big it is?”

Paul had watched Billy grasp a lobster in a most simple but effective
way so he attempted to do likewise. Unfortunately, he didn’t take up
the lobster in quite the same place and the air resounded with his
shrieks.

He shook his imprisoned hand so violently that the claw snapped and the
lobster dropped leaving its nipper still fastened in the boy’s middle
finger. However, he was soon released and had to listen to Edith’s
teasing laugh.

“I thought you said you’d caught a lobster! Looks more as if the
lobster caught _you_!”

“All the same, I’ll dare you to pick up one all by yourself!”
indignantly rejoined Paul.

Edith then quickly changed the subject by admiring the star-fish Dudley
had brought back.

“Oh,” cried she, “some of them have ten fingers and some only have six.
I thought they always had five fingers.”

“That six-fingered one must have had ten originally, as you can see
the remaining stumps of the others. Most star-fish do have five points
but there are exceptions. This one must have got in a fight with a
sea-enemy and had its other fingers bitten off,” explained Fred.

“I wish I could send some of them home,” ventured Dudley.

“They’ll keep all right, if you dry them,” said Billy.

“How?”

“Just spread them out smoothly on a board and leave it in the hot
sun--then _go way off_ while they dry. When the smell is dried out you
can ship them home in a box.”

“But be sure you find a sunny spot far, far away from the bungalow,”
laughed Fred.

“Dudley can dry them in the shade, too, if he likes,” said Elizabeth.
“It will take longer but the colours won’t fade out.”

“I guess I’ll make a collection of them and some sea-urchins, too. And
some coral and some--some rocks with the funny little barnacles growing
on them, and--and a whole lot of things,” said Dudley, enthusiastically.

“I’ll help you, Dud, and you can keep them in the Agassiz room of your
school,” added Edith.

“When will we under-run the trawl again, Cap?” called Billy, just then,
as Captain Ed moored the launch at the float.

“Your father said that the girls wanted to go along this afternoon
and watch the fun; so, unless it blows too fresh, I reckon that’s the
programme.”

Then the boys proudly called his attention to the lobsters and the
Captain laughed.

“Why, I guess I’ll have to get the lobster-car ready to hold your
catch. But that feller lost a claw--what happened?”

“Here’s the claw,” admitted Paul.

“S’pose some one takes these two lobsters up to Mose and ask him to
make a nice little salad for mother; she is so fond of it, you know,
and then this claw can be used, too,” suggested Fred.

As they all walked toward the bungalow, Captain Ed said: “We went down
into Dark Harbour this morning to bring up another bag of the coal I
landed there last week, and what do you imagine Mose and I saw?”

By this time every pair of bright eyes was glued on the Captain’s
expressive countenance. A dim glimmer of the truth then suddenly dawned
upon Fred.

“Oh--not that mola!” gasped he.

“_The_ same--and yet, not the same! Kinder ripenin’ up, it were,”
laughed the Captain.

“What _did_ you do with it?” shouted every one.

“Well, as long as I wuz goin’ over to Sat’aday Cove, I tells Mose I’ll
snake this dainty along and lose him in the middle of the bay. So, I
don’t think you’ll ever see him agin.”

Directly after lunch, Edith, who had finished first and hurried out,
ran back to the dining-room in a greatly excited frame of mind.

“Oh, mamma! Some real live Indians are down on our beach.”

In less than a minute every Islander was out of the bungalow. It was
ascertained that the Indians had come to the Island on a venture to
sell some of their sweet-grass baskets. They had been on the mainland
where quite a colony of city folk lived, but did not dispose of all
their wares.

While the girls admired the fragrant baskets, Billy took advantage
of the unusual visit to ply the Indians with all sorts of questions.
Where did they find sweet-grass; how they sewed birch-bark so that it
wouldn’t split; where did they hail from, and did they make their own
canoe, as other Indians did.

One of the Indians being very agreeable answered all of the boy’s
questions, and then turned to invite the Islanders to visit his little
camp on the east-side of Isleboro, near Sabbath-Day Harbour.

“Can’t we go this afternoon?” cried Billy, eagerly.

“We can under-run the trawl to-morrow,” added Elizabeth.

“How about it, Captain?” asked Mr. Remington.

“Just as you say, Mr. Remington. I can set the girls and boys over
to Adams’ Beach an’ its only two-mile walk from there to Sabbath-Day
Harbour. If these men want a tow we kin tote ’em along an’ save time.”

After Mrs. Remington became the possessor of a number of sweet-grass
baskets for souvenirs, the Captain loaded his launch with the young
folks and, lastly, added the two Indians who wisely preferred to tow an
empty canoe.

The walk over Isleboro was an interesting experience. On the way,
Mitchell Webster, one of the Old-Town Indians, showed the Islanders the
sweet-grass pond but warned them that the sweet-grass grew alongside
the ordinary grass and was difficult to recognise.

“Why,” said he, “ruther ’en waste my time pickin’ out th’ spears of
that grass I ups an’ buys a pound from a feller down Old Orchard
beach-way. Paid a dollar fer it, too. Kinder dear fer hay, hain’t it?”

Reaching Webster’s tent, the children found a squaw busily engaged
in dying the thin strips of split ash that they wove into the larger
baskets. Alas! how fallen are the mighty! No more the natural vegetable
dyes used by the denizens of the forest. Instead, the children found
printed labels scattered about with directions for using the analine
colours.

The host told the children that he and his squaw came down from
Oldtown, up the Penobscot River, and camped on Isleboro every summer,
making and selling baskets. The birch-bark baskets, however, were made
in Oldtown during the winter and early spring because that is the time
when birch-bark is more pliable and is easier to peel off of the trees.

The young people did not remain very long, and having purchased a few
baskets from the squaw, they started back for the launch.

On the return walk to Adams’ Beach, having no strangers for companions,
they gave closer attention to the woodland path and its mossy beauties.
On a slight rise of ground, where the trees had been cut away, and the
afternoon sun shone bright and hot, Elizabeth found a patch of curious
russet plants. She stopped to examine them and then called to her
brother.

“Look, Fred, what do you suppose these queer little flowers can be?”

Fred came back but could not identify the hairy round leaves with their
sticky drops shining in the sun like dew.

“Let’s dig one up and you can carry it home in the little birch-bark
basket. To-night we will look up its name in the wild-flower book,” he
proposed, suiting the action to his words.

“Look, there’s a little fly caught in the sticky hairs of one leaf,”
remarked Elizabeth.

Quite a breeze from the south had sprung up during their sojourn on
the land, and now the children had a lively trip home in the launch. A
drenched sextette reached Sunset Island, and had to scramble into dry
clothes in double quick time so as not to be late for supper.

The main dish that evening was flounder, rolled in cornmeal and fried
a golden brown in boiling fat. Mr. Remington served his wife and
daughters first as usual, then the younger boys, and lastly, Fred and
himself.

“These flounders are as good as sole,” said he, approvingly, as he
tasted a bit.

“Don’t jab at your food in that fashion, Billy!” reproved Mrs.
Remington.

“But, mother, I can’t seem to cut the old fish!”

“Mine’s as tough as all get-out!” grunted Dudley.

“Say, what is this slice, anyway?” asked Fred, frowning.

Mose appeared with a plate of hot biscuits and the puzzled boys
appealed to him in injured tones; Dudley especially emphatic in his
demonstration of the toughness of his portion.

“Why, look, Mose, it’s like a brick-bat!”

“Don’ you-all knows yu’ own spechul brand o’ fish-steak? Ah b’lieve
yuh boys caint rekernise dat mola when you’se see him!” And the chef’s
tones sounded plaintive.

“Mose!” came a horrified chorus as plates were pushed away.

“There now, I knew it had a bad smell!” cried Paul.

“But hain’t he nice an’ tendered up now,” continued the wicked cook,
innocently. “Cap’n an’ me didn’ have no trouble a-tall cuttin’ them
slabs dis _mawn_in’. No suh! dat fish, he hed some sof’nin’ influence
a-wohkin on him, come all dis time he’d ben voyagin’ up an’ down dat
bay--ebb an’ flood!”

But Fred noticed that neither his father or mother seemed disturbed at
these truly awful disclosures by Mose, so he began to investigate his
slab of so-called mola.

“Boys,” cried he exultantly, as he exhibited a flat piece of wood, now
scraped clear of fried cornmeal, “the Yanks who make nutmegs of wood
aren’t in it with our Mose!”

“Well! we wouldn’t have thought it of you, Mose,” grieved Paul, who
feared he would have to go without fish.

“You are slick, all right, Mose, ’cause you fooled every one of us
boys,” laughed Billy.

“And what’s more, father and mother must have been in the secret,
or how could father have served the phony fish to the right ones,”
commented Elizabeth, who enjoyed a harmless, practical joke.

Mose now brought in several nice hot flounders for the hungry boys, who
ate with unabated appetites. Indeed, they had so appreciated the trick
that the chef really rose several points in their estimation.

The fake mola had caused such a disturbance that Elizabeth almost
forgot the queer little plant in the birchen case. But supper once
over, she remembered it.

“Look, mother, what do you suppose this is?” asked she.

“Get out your flower-book and see what it says about the sun-dew; this
is the rotundifolia variety.”

“Why, the book says that the sun-dew is carnivorous! So that is what it
was doing to the poor little fly?” said the girl, half shocked and half
amazed.

The boys crowded about at this, to see the little reddish plant which
suddenly became endowed with immense interest.

“Mother, do you remember that story in some magazine--about the giant
carnivorous plants?” asked Fred.

“Yes, and if I remember correctly, the story said they were of the
sun-dew family.”

“But they ate _people_!” added Elizabeth, who had also read the story.

“It said they fairly _reached_ out and grabbed people that came near to
them,” laughed Mr. Remington; “but that was fiction.”

“Anyway, you dreadful catch-’em-alive little sun-dew, you make one more
plant for my flower-list,” said Elizabeth.

Mr. Remington then announced: “Boys, we’ll under-run the trawl
to-morrow, taking all hands along in the extra boats to see the fun.
I wish I had a longer time to stay here with you--there’s nothing I’d
enjoy more, but I must get back to the city ready for business on
Monday.”

“Oh, papa! That’s only two days more!” wailed Elizabeth, echoed by all
of the other children.

“Papa, why do you have to go--can’t you stay here for one summer?”
wondered Edith.

“I certainly wish I could, but ‘where duty calls I must obey,’” quoted
Mr. Remington, patting his little girl on the hair.

“Come, come, children! time for all to be in bed! Now, let me see how
quickly every one can tell me they are fast asleep, so I can turn out
the candles,” said Mrs. Remington, while the youngsters laughed at her
ridiculous speech.



CHAPTER THREE

FOGGY DAYS AND WOODCRAFT WAYS


“Let’s get at that trawl as soon as we can,” announced Fred, as he
entered the bungalow at breakfast time in the morning. “Captain says we
may have a spell of foggy weather.”

“Why, it’s clear enough now,” said Dudley, in surprise.

“But look down the bay, that is not a cloud bank that you see off
Rockland, that’s fog,” said Mr. Remington. “And if that southerly
breeze continues we’ll get it thick.”

“But it is calm up here, so how do you know there’s a breeze down there
and how do you know it’s a southerly?” questioned Dudley, who really
was anxious to learn the “salt-water” wrinkles he perceived were of the
utmost value in Island life.

“Don’t you see that schooner way down there? Look, how she is getting
the wind,” was the enlightening reply from Fred.

“See, Dudley, the northerly wind that was blowing when we got up this
morning, has all died out,” said Mrs. Remington. “And don’t you feel a
curious chill in the air although the sun is still bright?”

  [Illustration: A STRING OF CUNNERS CAUGHT BY SHELBY.]

  [Illustration: “AND ALL ALONG THE OLD JIB BOOM.”
   _Woodcraft Boys at Sunset Island._    _Page 52_]

So, the breakfast was hurried through and the Captain’s launch towed
the big rowboat out to the trawl. On the way, they met Captain Benton
from Isola Bella with three of the maids and the two little girls.
Soon, that rowboat was added to the tow.

“We came over to see if you were going to look at the trawl,” announced
Miriam. “Katy and Tillie want to see the fun so we made Jenny come too,
though she hates a boat and told us she just knew she’d get seasick.”

“Where’s Bridget?” called Billy, who was very friendly with the fat
Irish cook.

“Bridget said that a sight of all those queer fish would turn her
stomach--she said to me, ‘Ye see, me dear, I hev a rale wakeness in
me stomack whin I see sich ungodly craythers.’” Miriam giggled as she
mimicked Bridget.

But it was just as well that Bridget had not joined the party that day
for the trawl outdid itself in the revelations of the vasty deep.

An immense barndoor skate was followed by a sea-toad, or puffer, which
continued to swell like a balloon the longer it was out of water. Then
came some haddocks and dog-fish; suddenly, Fred exclaimed at the weight
of the line and there arose to view a large ungainly monk-fish, or
angler.

“Oh, Captain! don’t throw him overboard until I get a photo of him,”
cried Paul.

So intense was the interest and the fun that only the Captain and Mr.
Remington noticed the fog that had crept stealthily up until the whole
bay south of Flat Island was a blank wall of impenetrable mist.

“Come, come--we must get back now!” And Mr. Remington soon had his
convoy arranged and the launch chugged away for Isola Bella wharf where
it left Benton and his party the richer by several fine haddocks.

The Sunset Islanders reached the float-stage just before the fog shut
them in.

“Make up a good fire in the bungalow,” said Mrs. Remington to Billy and
Dudley. “And every one see that the tent-flaps are close shut to keep
out as much of this dampness as possible.”

The novelty of the fog was at first delightful to the younger boys but
when they realised that they were forbidden to even get into a boat
while the treacherous white veil covered the island, they revised their
judgment.

Elizabeth was a little aggrieved, too. “Just think, Uncle Tom and Aunt
Edith will arrive in the morning and I wanted to go over to Rosemary to
meet them. Now, this old fog will probably last two or three days.”

And so it proved. On account of this white barrier the Captain alone
took Mr. Remington to Rosemary, Uncle Tom’s summer home on the
mainland below Saturday Cove. From there, the Charlton’s motor conveyed
the now transformed Islander to the New York express train at Rockland.

The only blight on the camper’s joy in Maine was the necessity for
“business fathers” to leave their families there and return to the
hot city. But often, an extra week-end was tucked in by both Mr.
Remington and Mr. Farwell. Fate seemed to so arrange it however, that
both men were rarely on their respective islands simultaneously. Uncle
Tom Charlton was more fortunate as his business allowed him a long
continuous vacation which he always enjoyed to the utmost.

“Captain,” said he to the returning launch-man, “as soon as this fog
clears, we’ll be over to see you all. Tell Fred that two young college
boys are going to be my guests for the week-end and I want them to
get a taste of salt-water. They are from Georgia and while they are
out-of-doors fellows they have always lived inland.”

This message was received with interest by Fred and the other campers
and the fog was again appropriately consigned to “Halifax.”

“Never mind,” consoled Mrs. Remington; “use this enforced curtailment
of your liberty by doing some listing up of your Woodcraft work.”

“That’s so! After we have filled the wood-boxes and helped Captain
clean and salt those fish we’ll just look up the Nature _Coups_ and
see how much this Pentagoet Tribe knows about the denizens of the
briny,” said Fred.

“Am I in your Pentagoet Tribe, now?” asked Paul.

“We will formally take you in at our first Council,” replied Fred.

“Me too!” cried Dudley. “That’ll be great! I was wondering how we’d fix
it ’cause I want to be in a Woodcraft Tribe and not by my lonesome all
summer.”

Nature books, pencils and paper, to say nothing of the “thinking caps”
were all called upon that evening to do active service, so the fog was
forgotten. Paul and Dudley triumphantly passed the examination of the
twenty-five different fish they had listed up and identified. The lists
were the same, as the two boys had been together in the pursuit of this
Nature _coup_.

With genuine pride they copied the list on the backs of their official
Honour claims for the fish _coup_.

  Fish _Coup_.

   1. Mola--or deep-sea Sunfish
   2. Cunner
   3. Hake
   4. Haddock
   5. Mackerel
   6. Pollock
   7. Harbour Pollock
   8. Tom Cod
   9. Cod
  10. Skate
  11. Shark
  12. Dog-fish
  13. Monk-fish--or Angler
  14. Toad-fish--or Puffer
  15. Sculpin
  16. Salmon
  17. Flounder
  18. Sword-fish
  19. Halibut
  20. Herring
  21. Shad (Fresh water fish)
  22. Brook Trout (Fresh water fish)
  23. Catfish (Fresh water fish)
  24. Brook Sunfish (Fresh water fish)
  25. Suckers (Fresh water fish)

Elizabeth helped Edith print the names of her list which varied
a trifle because she had gold-fish on her fresh-water list and a
lump-fish on her salt-water list of fish.

“Oh,” cried Edith, “I wish you all could have seen my little green
lump-fish--he was _so_ cute! Just like a little mould of jelly.”

“Like a jelly-fish?” asked Paul.

“Mercy no! It was shaped like a real fish only it was lumpy. Captain
brought it to me in a bucket of water but I let it go again ’cause he
was so little and funny.”

“Say, isn’t it lucky for our lists that we were all down in New London
last summer and saw the fish there before they were cut up for the
market,” said Dudley.

“You just bet! That gave us a good start--that sword-fish and halibut
they showed us there,” affirmed Paul.

“Oh, look, boys! The fog is lifting!” cried Elizabeth.

“Perhaps it will be clear to-morrow,” added Fred.

So, cheered by this hope they all retired to their tents which only the
use of oil-stoves had rendered dry in the dripping moisture of the fog.

The morning was lovely and the brisk nor’wester blew away all memory
of the fog. In spite of the hard pull in the breeze, the boys insisted
upon visiting their lobster pots.

“Oh joy! a lobster to-day for every one of us excepting Paul. But there
are two in Fred’s trap,” counted Billy.

“Yes, and one of them’s big enough to enter for the prise contest.
I’m going to weigh and measure it,” said Fred, steering the boat into
Treasure Cove.

A launch whistle sounded “toot-toot!” while the scales and tape were
being used for the lobster, and there was the Orion bringing Uncle Tom
and the two big boys eager for the sights of the island camp.

Friendships are quickly made under such conditions and when the Orion
returned Shelby Jordan and Henry Pou were left for an over-night visit
with Fred.

“I’ll lend them anything they need and besides, we do not dress up for
fishing you know,” Fred assured his uncle and aunt, as they were saying
good-bye to the boys.

The whole island was explored and one of the things that keenly
interested the visitors was the Woodcraft Council Ring. So many
questions were asked that Fred suggested a Council for that afternoon,
that the boys might see for themselves just how one was conducted.

“Captain says we’re not going to under-run the trawl to-day, as he
wants to put the fish we already have on the flats to dry. He’ll take
us down to Flat Island in the launch and then drop us off at Isola
Bella so we can invite the folks there. Then we’ll come back and hold a
Council here at four o’clock,” planned Fred.

“Take along oil-skins and rubber caps,” warned his mother, “or you’ll
all get wet on the way back.”

The visitors were intensely interested in the fish-drying operations
and asked numerous questions of Captain Ed. The latter had to admit
that the fog had been mighty bad for the “sweet” process of drying.
“But they always smell a _leetle_ anyway, and a few days of good hot
sun will soon cure them now.”

It is doubtful however, if Shelby and Henry manifested the same
appetite for salt-fish after being present at the scene on the flats
where the “perfume factory” was all-sufficient.

The first Common Council was a merry and impromptu affair although
conducted with due form and in parliamentary fashion. Fred was in the
chair as “Island Chief” which was indeed the meaning of his Woodcraft
title of Wita-tonkan.

For the benefit of the visitors he gave a little talk on Woodcraft and
explained why they called the various groups Tribes, and chose Indian
names in recognition of service or prowess.

“You see, we belong to the Woodcraft League which is composed of groups
of young folks and older people, too, who like outdoor life and believe
it helps make better citizens.

“We Woodcrafters prove that sensible exercise in the outdoors,
preferably with some desirable aim in view, prepares us for the
business of life.

“The pioneers of this country learned genuine Woodcraft from the
Indians, and that is one reason why, here in America, we use Indian
ceremonies in our Councils--sort of ”America First“ don’t you know.

“Why should we go back to Greece for examples of runners when the
fleetest-footed Marathoners could have been given points by the village
heralds of an Indian Tribe?

“When we hold a Grand Council we usually try to give it the semblance
of a genuine American Indian affair. Indian costumes and customs are
not necessary at all to Woodcraft but it adds a romantic touch. Looking
up all of these things really teaches one a lot of American history,
too.

“The same training and observation, and what I’ve heard a professor
call ‘Co-ordination of mind and muscle’ with which the sturdy pioneers
conquered the wilderness enables us to get along better in more
civilised times--but maybe we’re not more civilised after all, with
this war in Europe and our share in the savage condition of things.

“Well, to conclude, we boys are the Pentagoet Tribe of Woodcrafters and
the girls, during our life on this Island, belong to us, too. At home,
though, we have separate tribes that we boys and girls belong to.

“Now, brothers, we will begin by singing the Omaha Tribal Prayer which
means, ‘Father, a needy one stands before Thee--I that sing am he.’”

With this, the Chief concluded and Elizabeth read the Tally of the last
summer’s last Council and the Chair appointed her Tally-Chief again for
the current meeting.

The roll-call showed fourteen present, counting visitors, and the
reports of the scouts were confined to the mola and the trawling. But
Billy--or to give him his ceremonial name of Shingebis--was interested
in the prospect of swimming, so he reported on the temperature of
the water in Treasure Cove. In spite of the recent fog it was growing
warmer every day although it never was really comfortably warm.

The first business transacted was the welcoming of Paul and Dudley into
the Pentagoet Tribe, as they were being transferred from the Grey Fox
Band started by Mrs. Remington the previous winter for the Baker boys
and their friends. The two boys did not have to take an initiation
again as that had been attended to at the founding of the Grey Foxes.

Then came the awarding of Honours. The two Georgia boys were quite
surprised by the businesslike way in which the _coups_ were claimed and
joined in the chorus of “Hows” as Wita-Tonkan presented the coveted
_coup_ feathers, symbolic of attainment.

When Edith was called upon she replied: “Oh Chief! I want to claim my
_coups_ when papa is present.”

“So do I, Oh Chief!” asserted Elizabeth, so the entertainment continued
with various challenges--the visitors taking part in hand-wrestling,
tub-tilting, and racing, to their great satisfaction. Shelby Jordan
introduced a new stunt called “Japanese Cane-crawling” and it proved to
be a popular game.

It was nearly supper time when the Council closed and the boys heard
Mose ring the bell. The Isola Bella contingent said good-bye and
were soon on the homeward sail while the Islanders hastened to avail
themselves of the call to supper.

Having two Southern boys present to appreciate his culinary skill, Mose
outdid himself. The spoon-bread and molasses and cocoanut pie vanished
that night like dew before a morning sun.

Two extra cots were placed in Fred’s sibley-teepee and the visitors had
the unusual experience of undressing and going to bed before a little
fire in the centre of the tent: a comfort not to be despised on a cool
Maine night.

On the morrow a little southwest breeze was blowing and the boys all
hurried off to the trawl, Shelby and Henry disguised in old trousers
and sweaters found in the “slop-chest,” as the closet back of the
living-room was termed.

When the boat reached the mooring buoy Shelby asked, “What do you call
that craft?” indicating an old patched-sail lumberman that was tacking
across the water toward Sunset Island.

“That’s a two-masted schooner,” replied Billy. “Isn’t she a beauty?
Guess she’s old enough to vote.”

“Maine hasn’t got equal suffrage yet, or I guess she would have been
voting these many years,” chuckled Fred.

“Say, Cap! Look at her now--she’s trying to run down our Island,” cried
Billy.

For some moments past the Captain had been watching the old schooner
and now he exclaimed: “By Heck! They must all be asleep or dead on
board her. If she clears the south-end she’ll drift down on our
Medric!”

Fear made the Captain turn his launch and make for the little sloop
Medric which was anchored off the float-stage of Sunset Island.

With a booming crash, however, and a terrifying slatting of sails, the
old schooner piled up on the rocks of the little peninsula-point on the
extreme south of the island, named Cape Horn by the Islanders.

Two lank youths were seen scrambling out of the companionway of the
vessel’s cabin and a third was observed aft of the wheel. The breeze
was increasing every minute and the situation of the stranded schooner
was such that it was dangerous to board her from the water. But, it was
nearly high tide and her bowsprit almost touched the grass on the high
bank, or spur of ledge that Billy called Pulpit Rock. Consequently, it
didn’t take long for the trawlers to land and swing themselves aboard
the wreck by means of her jib-sheets and bobstay.

Mrs. Remington and the girls had heard the crash and the shouts from
the schooner and they all ran from the bungalow to see what had
happened; soon, they too joined the others in the unusual excitement of
trying to save a wreck.

The young skipper and mate of the schooner were crestfallen for it
appeared they had been fast asleep after a night of dancing and revelry
in their hometown of Rockport. The third youth was even more disgusted
with himself for he had been steering and had actually stretched
himself out and dozed while he left the wheel in a cleat.

“You’ve only got half an hour of tide to help yuh git floated off,”
called Captain Ed.

“Don’t we know it,” surlily replied the older boy, most likely thinking
of the reckoning with his stern father who owned the Edward Everett.

“Well, I kin set you over to Sat’aday Cove so’s you kin git some one to
tackle this job,” offered the kindly Captain.

“And they ought to do it right away, too, or she’ll break up,” added
Fred.

Without loss of time, therefore, the Rockport crew accepted the
Captain’s offer. Luckily for them, the wind died down toward sunset.
In the meantime, the boys had under-run the trawl and added to their
abundant stock of fish on Flat Island.

The next day the irate father of the luckless mariner arrived with two
small fishing schooners and a load of empty blue barrels which had
once contained “Pennsylvania Fluid.” The men worked hard all morning,
securing the barrels beneath the Edward Everett, then when high tide
came the now leaky old craft was kedged back out of her rocky berth.

“Good-bye, Ned!” cried the irrepressible Dudley, waving his cap at the
departing schooner.

“Boy, you shouldn’t speak disrespectfully of an old grand-daddy
like that, er call him by his first name,” admonished the Captain,
jocularly.

The Orion had appeared in time to watch the old antique craft retire
after her hardy bout with Sunset Island rocks and when the excitement
was all over Uncle Tom called to Shelby and Henry to get their things
together as he was going to tote them back to Rosemary.

The two boys were really sorry to go but they realised that it was Mr.
and Mrs. Charlton they were visiting and at least a single day of the
week-end was due their hosts.

Farewells were said and Elizabeth, who had been wildly scribbling while
the boys were preparing to embark on the Orion, now presented them
with a memento of their visit in the form of a parody on “The Last
Buccaneer” which she entitled “The First Wreck on Here.”

  The winds were yelling, the waves were swelling
    All sunny and fair in the morn,
  When the crew who were adoze, brought the Edward Everett’s nose
    On the ledges of Old Cape Horn.

  Up the ledges ran her keel, and to leeward did she heel,
    Till her jib-sheets flapped on Pulpit Rock;
  And the sleeping Rockport boys awakened by the noise,
    Laid sprawled around by the shock.

  “Oh, from Rockport’s clammy shore, where southerlies oft roar
    With our wheel in a cleat did we steer.
  Above I was asleep and below in slumber deep,
    My comrades were wrapped without fear.”

  Oh, to-morrow shall be borne from the rocks of stern Cape Horn
    A loud cheer and a louder cry,
  As along the old jib-boom, for as many as there’s room,
    Shall the pirates of Sunset Island hie.

  Oh, the Medric, our pride, securely now may ride,
    In the breath of the balsam around,
  “Oh, Captain, there’s no use, to go and cut her loose,
    For the Edward Everett’s aground.”

The next few days passed swiftly by in doing the usual camp-work varied
by Billy’s efforts to run the launch--he was hoping to own one himself
some day; and the other boys’ indifferent success at wood-chopping to
keep the boxes filled, showed the youthful engineer that they wished
they could be with him.

Then came the day set aside by Mrs. Remington for a “laundry party.”
She said she hadn’t the courage to send such awful clothes to the
Islesboro Steam Laundry.

However, the sting of this occasion was removed by the unexpected
promise of the first swim that season when the wash was finished.

While the boys were soaking their trawling duds in hot soapy water,
good-natured Mose brought them a large bottle of household ammonia. As
he drew near the tub he pretended to believe they were preparing a new
kind of fish chowder.

“Yo’ don’ tell me dem are cloe’s yo’ got fermentin’ in dat tub,” cried
he aghast. “Why, dey’s got scales like a fish, an’ dey smells like
a fish, an’ Ah b’lieve yo-all tryin’ t’fix up a new-fangle kin’ ov
fish-soup! It looks lak some ov dat tin-soup broth! Ah spec’s hit’ll
tas’ mos’ de same, too,” and Mose sniffed at the aroma with a true
chef’s expressive disdain.

The boys laughed and Mose hoaxed them until every one was in a good
humour, then the wise old cook went back to his work chuckling to
himself. “Hit all depen’s on how yo’ han’le boys when dey gotta nasty
job on ’er han’s to do!”

Then, how the boys enjoyed their plunge in the sea, even though Paul
and Dudley confided to each other that they were quite sure the
temperature was below zero that day.

Mrs. Remington herded them out in a few minutes and the balance of the
day was spent in trying various athletic exercises to restore the quick
circulation of the blood of youth.

  [Illustration: THE WAR BONNET OF THE SAGAMORE.
   _Woodcraft Boys on Sunset Island._    _Page 76_]



CHAPTER FOUR

COUNCIL THIS AFTERNOON


“Uncle Bill! Uncle Bill! Council this afternoon!” came a chorus of
voices over the stretch of water between the sailing dory and the
Farwell’s launch which had just made a landing at her pier.

“You just got here in time: three o’clock this afternoon,” added Fred,
as he steered the dory closer to the launch.

“Hey! Don’t run me down,” laughingly joked Mr. Farwell. “There, that’s
better! Now, Miriam, come over here and kiss your old father.”

As the dory gently glided alongside the launch, Miriam sprang aboard
and hugged her jolly father.

“Oh, papa! I’m going to win a _coup_ to-day! I’m so glad you’re here to
see me get it. And Paul’s going to have one of the green tassels cut
off his badge, too. Cousin Fred has been training us all.”

“Well, well! Fred has so many _coups_ now, I suppose he can spare you
some, eh?”

“Oh, papa! you _know_ I couldn’t take any one else’s _coups_! I have to
win them myself!” declared Miriam.

“Never mind him, you know he is only teasing you,” said Fred,
soothingly. “But Uncle Bill, Miriam is going back with _us_ as she
has to make out her _coup_ claim properly and she is going to help us
prepare for the Council. Please, everybody come! We just count on you,
Uncle Bill, to liven everything up, you know.”

“Depend upon your Uncle Bill! Now, young ’uns--lively about it, if
you’re going! I’m about starved and nothing will keep me here a minute
longer. If I don’t show up at the house pretty soon, Bridget will think
I’ve had luncheon, and what a calamity that would be! See you all
later--three o’clock sharp!” And Uncle Bill caught up his suitcase,
jumped out on the wharf, and called to his wife: “I’m starved! I’m
starved! Fee fo fi fum!”

Meantime Mrs. Farwell had been talking confidentially to Elizabeth and
Miriam. Then, as she laughed and promised them to keep the secret, they
left her. She watched them climb safely down to the dory again before
she turned to give some orders to the Captain of the Zeus, finally
turning to follow her shouting and singing lord and master up the path
to the house.

The two girls pushed off from the launch, Fred let the sheet run out
and before a light southerly breeze, the little dory soon showed her
heels to the wharf at one island and in about ten minutes was lying at
the float-stage of the other.

While Fred furled the sails of the dory, Billy ran down the cliffs to
meet the sailors. “Say there! You’d just better hurry up! Lunch is most
ready!”

Quiet reigned during the first part of the luncheon as every one was
hungry. But as appetites abated, Billy started a discussion as to some
of the entertainment for the Council in the afternoon. It appeared that
he and Dudley and Paul had a motion picture play of a jitney which they
were anxious to give.

“Have you rehearsed it--do you know if it is any good?” asked Fred,
sceptically.

“You know we don’t want anything below par,” added Elizabeth.

“Well, if you doubt us, we’ll do it right here to let you judge!”
offered Paul, eagerly.

“Guess you’d better,” replied Fred.

So, the three boys left the table and placed three chairs--two side by
side and one directly in front of the other two. Bill played the part
of chauffeur and went through all of the motions of starting a jitney.
No sooner was it running than a passenger (Paul) hailed him to stop.
The chauffeur made the motions of applying brakes, getting out to open
the door and assist the passenger inside, then tried to crank up again.

No sooner had he succeeded in starting the engine again, than a second
passenger (Dudley) hailed the jitney to stop. Billy repeated the same
actions as before but the first “fare” refused to move over in the
seat and the second one tripped over his outstretched feet.

Again the chauffeur cranked and at last they were off! ’Twas the “rocky
road to Dublin” all right, for the luckless passengers swayed and
bumped in their seats, until suddenly the car stopped on a hill. Try as
he would, the poor chauffeur could not start it again.

He came to the door and implored the two passengers to help him push
the machine up the hill. They were indignant but finally consented. The
brow of the hill reached they all jumped in again and down the jitney
coasted. Just as the engine was nicely started again, the car struck a
rut and overturned.

When Billy signalled the overturn, Paul, Dudley and he, tipped over the
chairs and all lay sprawling on the floor.

A chorus of “Hows” greeted the performance and the juvenile contingent
judged it worthy of the Council audience.

“Well, maybe we can improve on this, too, when we once feel the spirit
of the Council move us,” ventured Billy.

“Oh sure thing!” bragged Paul, chestily.

And the others laughed heartily at his manner, but nothing daunted,
Paul added, “Practice makes perfect, you know.”

A quiet half hour was spent in signing up _coup_ claims and looking
over the Tally of the last Council. Then, every one retired to the
tents to dress in ceremonial Woodcraft costumes.

As the last Brave left his tent the chugging of engines was heard and
the launch Orion rounded the south end of Sunset Island, while at the
same time the Zeus arrived from Isola Bella.

The Orion brought Aunt Edith and Uncle Tom from the mainland. With them
were some visitors and Miss Travis, known to the boys and girls as Aunt
Flo-flo. Aunt Edith introduced one of the visitors to the members of
the Pentagoet Tribe.

“This is my little friend Trixie Ashe--she has come to spend several
weeks at Rosemary.”

Trixie was about thirteen but looked older. Being the only child and
always in the society of elders she felt out of her element in the camp
of the young Woodcrafters. Then, too, she was expensively dressed in
apparel more adapted for a house-party than for a rough outing.

Trixie looked around with keen interest at the animated faces of the
boys and girls she had heard so much about during the past few days.
Her opinions, already formed of how such athletic young folks would
look, underwent a sudden change. Before she had quite finished her
survey, Trixie admitted to herself that she had never met a group of
such fine-looking happy young people.

She turned to Aunt Edith and remarked, “You didn’t exaggerate a bit,
Mrs. Charlton, when you told me how picturesque the costumes were and
how very interesting the Island is.”

“I am glad you like it, but really you know, these costumes are for
ceremonial occasions only. No one could run or feel free in them for
actual camp-life. We have a suitable uniform for every-day use,”
returned Aunt Edith.

During this interview, Mrs. Remington and Mrs. Farwell were giving
Bridget with “the secret” (an immense layer cake) into Mose’s charge,
for there were to be refreshments served at the end of the Council.

“Come along now, Woodcrafters--it’s nearly three o’clock,” reminded
Billy, leading the way to the Council place.

The others followed and soon Fred, in full costume, took the Council
Chair and opened the meeting by proclaiming: “Meetah Kola, nayhoonpo
omnicheeyey nee-chopi”--meaning, “Hear me my friends, we are about to
hold a council.”

“Shingebis will now light the Council Fire after the manner of the
Forest Children,” ordered Wita-tonkan, the Island Chief, turning to
Billy as he spoke.

Then Shingebis, “The Northern Diver,” brought his fire-sticks to the
centre of the Council Ring and proceeded to make fire by rubbing the
sticks briskly until an almost imperceptible wisp of smoke curled up
from the tiny heap of black wood-dust that fell into the fire-pan
under the sticks. More and denser smoke followed.

The moment a spark glowed in this powder, the group of Woodcrafters
greeted it with a “How!” and a louder chorus of “Hows” sounded as a
flame burst forth from the handful of tinder which Shingebis applied.

“Now know we that Wakonda hath been pleased to smile upon us,” said
Wita-tonkan, solemnly.

A few moments after the fire was burning well, the Chief took up the
peace-pipe and explained that he was about to perform the peace-pipe
ceremony.

“First I light the cedar bark and kinnikinick, or dried red ozier
dogwood bark, in the bowl of the pipe. Now I offer the peace-pipe to
Wakonda, the Great Spirit and Maka Ina, Mother Earth, imploring their
presence at the Council. The whole Council must answer ‘Noon-way’ or
amen to these prayers.

“Then I proceed to beg each of the Four Winds in turn to do us no harm
from cyclone, cold, rain or heat. All present will please respond
‘Noon-way’ as before.”

The visitors were quite impressed and when the first prayer came,
“Hay-oon-kee-ya” (Be with us) the response was fervent. Then, as
the pipe was presented to the West Wind, and Wita-tonkan cried,
“Hay-oon-kee-oon-ee-ya-snee” (Come not upon us) the chorus of
“noon-ways” was so loud that Mose and Bridget who were now busy in the
bungalow making lemonade, fairly jumped.

“When Ah git done wid dis lemyonade Ah’se goin’ out behin’ dose rocks
an’ watch d’ show,” declared Mose.

“Shure, an’ Oi’ll be wid’ye,” promised Bridget, emphatically.

The peace-pipe ceremony being concluded and the Tally read, Wita-tonkan
suggested that, there being so many visitors present, they make short
work of preliminary business matters and proceed directly to the
claiming of the _Coups_.

“Are there any Honours to be claimed?” called Wita-tonkan.

“Oh Chief!” said Miriam, standing up instantly to show her father
her knowledge of Woodcraft, “I claim an Honour for standing
broad-jump--five and a half feet.”

“Have you the claim properly attested by three witnesses?” asked the
Chief.

“Here it is,” replied Miriam, holding out a paper. “And moreover, my
witnesses are present in Council.”

“Come forward, Miriam,” announced Wita-tonkan, taking the claim from
her hand. He read it aloud to the assembled Council and asked, “You
have all heard this claim, properly made out and witnessed, and now
what is the pleasure of the Council regarding this matter?”

Shingebis stood, saluted and said, “Oh Chief! I move that this Honour
be awarded.”

Paul now stood, saluted and said, “Oh Chief! I second this motion.”

Wita-tonkan then said to the assembly, “This claim has been duly moved
and seconded and now, it is ready for the vote, there being no question
of its validity. The Council will please make its wishes known by
saying ‘How’ for approval, and ‘Wah’ for dissent.”

Then the loud chorus of “hows” brought Mose and Bridget running from
the kitchen to the vantage point back of the boulder.

The Chief, taking Miriam by the hand, congratulated her and presented
her with the _coup_ feather symbolising her attainment. She smilingly
took her seat amid the pleased murmurs of the Pentagoet Tribe.

“Any more Honours to be claimed?” asked the Chief.

“Oh Chief! I have at last completed the requirements for the last rank
in the Little Lodge,” cried Paul, springing to his feet. “I was eleven
years old last month, so I am anxious to do this before I pass into the
Big Lodge.”

Paul had various sheets of paper signed by his witnesses at different
times throughout the past year which he now presented to the Chief.
Wita-tonkan read them aloud to the Council.

“Know one wild bird for each year of your age.”

“Oh Chief! I really know a lot more than eleven birds--I am trying for
the Bird _coup_,” explained Paul, proudly.

Wita-tonkan continued: “Know one wild four-footed animal for each year
of your age.”

“I knew twelve animals my first year in Woodcraft,” said Paul.

“Know one forest tree for each year of your age.”

“I know more than enough for that too; we found so many kinds of trees
at Wickeecheokee Farm last summer when the Little Woodcrafters spent a
week in camp there,” explained Paul.

“Know one wild flower for each year of your age.”

“Oh, I know nearly enough to win the flower _coup_,” boasted Paul,
looking around at the others.

“Know one garden-flower or shrub for each year of your age.”

Paul nodded that he had done this also.

So Wita-tonkan read on to the last of the requirements now accomplished
by Paul, until he read the last one which was: “Know one constellation
for each year of age.”

“Oh, I got that one easy! I only had to know three, but I was so near
twelve years, that I just learned another one to make four for good
measure,” ventured Paul.

“Which is the good measure?” laughed Wita-tonkan.

“I found Orion and know all about him,” declared Paul, then he
proceeded to describe the Hunter with his Club.

Bridget, listening intently to this part of the Council procedure,
gasped at the information vouched for by Paul.

“Mose, shure an’ that hunter must hev been me ancistor--O’ryan! He war
a king ov Oireland, God bliss the old Sod! An’ Oi’m tould that O’ryan
alwiss carried a cloob too: a black t’horn cloob it war!”

Moses looked sceptically at the rotund figure of the Farwell’s cook and
doubted the truth of her imperial descent. But the name suddenly struck
him as being familiar and he remembered where he had heard it so often.

“Agh, shucks! It isn’t yo’ ancestor, Bridget, at all! They be talkin’
’bout th’ Charlton’s motor launch--dat’s called ’Ryan affer a bunch ov
stars!” declared Moses, complacently.

“Shure, an’ don’ ye’se tink Oi don’ know me own fam’ly histry ov all
th’ great men what come from th’ ole sod!” scorned Bridget, turning her
broad back disdainfully upon Mose. “An’ don’t Oi know it war afther me
great-grand-fayther that Misther Cha’ton named his boat ‘O’ryan’!”

While the controversy lasted between the native of the Sunny South and
the descendant of Kings from the Emerald Isle, Paul had the last tassel
of inexperience cut from his Woodcrafter’s Badge and took his seat
with a sense of having accomplished something worth while.

The Chief then found no other Honours to be claimed so he proceeded to
the entertainment of the guests present.

“Are there any Braves eager to challenge each other?” asked he.

“Oh Chief! I challenge Shingebis to a hand-wrestling match!” called
Dudley, known in Council as Wahdago.

“I accept, Oh Chief!” replied Billy, quickly.

Then followed a mortal combat (?) between the two equally experienced
Braves, until both were red in the face and puffing for wind. In the
end, Wahdago lost an opportunity and Shingebis was quick to avail
himself of the mistake. Thus the contest ended by awarding Billy the
victory.

“Any more challenges?” came from the Chief.

“Oh Chief! I challenge Paul to a canoe tilting contest,” called Billy.

“I propose that we defer that contest for the present and watch any
game or match that needs to take place in the circle. We will go down
to Treasure Cove later for the water sports,” advised Fred.

Then Uncle Bill jumped up and raised his hand in salute. “Oh Chief! I
challenge any one present to recite original poetry written for this or
a similar occasion which has not yet been heard by others.”

“I accept that challenge, Oh Chief,” laughed Elizabeth, sending a
knowing glance at her Aunt Miriam.

Thereupon, Uncle Bill drew forth a paper and cleared his throat. Having
made obeisance to the Chief and then to the guests, he read:

Mpret.

  On Albania’s throne
    When the war clouds met
  Shivering alone
    Sat little Mpret.
  Said he to himself
    “As Wilyum of Wied
  There was far less pelf
    But much less need
  Of a quiet nest
    Where a prince might dream
  And sure of his rest
    Let his medals gleam.
  Now this ‘safety first’
    Is good dope, I wot:
  This war is accursed
    I’ll go on my yacht.”
  The throne is empty:
    “It’s the one best bet,
  It will stay that way!”
    Said little Mpret.

Applause greeted the conclusion of this little skit and Uncle Bill
resumed his seat, bowing with a conqueror’s air, as if to say he knew
the laurels were his. But he also knew that he had no mean competitor
in Elizabeth, who now stood up and prefaced her verse.

“Every one here knows that the first sail of the season is not all
joy--particularly if it is choppy, or if there is a heavy sea on
and the wind falls and the craft bobs around helplessly. If you are
not accustomed to the motion and you lose interest in the sights and
sounds, you may also begin to lose other things as well.”

Several of those present began to laugh for they sensed the trend
of Elizabeth’s prologue as referring to a sickly time Uncle Bill
experienced during his first sail on troubled waters.

“My poem is called ‘Sea-sick,’” explained Elizabeth.

  “The mate was sick, the Captain too,
    The passengers and ‘hand’;
  The breeze was strong enough to slew
    The boat around the strand.

  The waves were some unpleasant heights;
    They bumped the trusty boat
  We lay beneath the seats and sights,
    And wished we weren’t afloat.

  A land-loom came into our view,
    A hull-down took from sight,
  The hulls of tugs and steamers blue--
    But we wished it was night.

  A herd of porpoises then came
    And bobbed about our ship:
  We had no wish to see a fish--
    The sky-line seemed to dip.

  We tacked our boat and went ashore
    And had a solid meal.
  We did not want to feel much more
    The way we just did feel!”

When Elizabeth finished, every one cried “How” and Aunt Edith declared
she was deeply affected by the vivid description--it almost made her
seasick!

“Who was mate on that trip?” asked Uncle Tom.

“Fred was mate and I was the ‘hand’ but I won’t tell tales on the
Captain--let him speak for himself,” laughed Elizabeth.

“Well, I was the passenger and I can swear to _my_ feelings,” exclaimed
Billy, looking at his Uncle Bill.

But Uncle Bill returned the look boldly and murmured: “From what you
say, that sure must have been some sail!”

“Wah! Wah!” cried a number of voices and everyone laughed.

The poetry had to be judged for other virtues than mere fidelity of
description, so the “palm” was awarded to the composer of “Mpret.”

Following this verse contest, Billy announced that he and two friends
would produce a moving picture play depicting a jitney in distress. So
many impromptu additions were shown that the rough and tumble “movie”
was highly applauded by the other children.

This over, the Chief stood up. “For a change in the programme, I think
we will call upon Pah-hlee-oh, The Moon Maid, to entertain us by
dancing the Storm Cloud.”

Fred had signalled Elizabeth while the Jitney act was being done, and
she slipped away from the circle unseen by the others. At the beating
of the tom-toms she now appeared from behind a group of trees, holding
a long white veil behind her head. The veil was of chiffon and the
light breeze wafted it gracefully about as the dancer entered the
Council Ring.

The Storm Cloud dance is one of the most graceful of the Indian Dances
and Elizabeth was well-trained so a genuine treat was given the
visitors that day.

Then to the surprise of every one present, Uncle Tom stood and said, “I
challenge Uncle Bill to a tub-tilting match.”

This also proved a great success, for Uncle Bill, always ready to
provoke fun and laughter, did his part with great gusto. The result
was that the exact rules were not followed but far greater sport was
furnished by the two heavy performers in unexpected actions and twists
and ferocious grimaces.

After a Folk Song contest and Character Dances were given, every one
walked down to the Cove to watch the canoe tilting between the two boys
with Captain Ed and Benton as seconds. This was interesting as the boys
were well matched, but Billy came off victorious at last, having upset
his opponent by thrusting the soft-padded pole suddenly in the pit of
his stomach.

Billy and Dudley dressed and then a Talk Fest was started by the Chief
against Dudley; as they finished the victory was accorded Dudley with
the remark, “He’s the fastest talker on the hemisphere!”

The appearance of Mose, carrying a huge tray of refreshments, now
put to flight any other ideas of sport, and when the ever-hungry
Woodcrafters were satisfied, the obliging waiter flopped down in a
kitchen chair and looked wearily up at Bridget for consolation.

“Ah d’clare t’ goodness, d’ way dem fo’kses ack in dat Woodcraf’
bisnis, an’ den go an’ git such empty stomacks, is amusin’ t’ me! Jus’
look at dem vacant plates--would yo’ b’lieve dey had ben piled up high
wid san’witches an’ fixin’s t’ say nuffin of th’ cake an’ lemyonade!”

Bridget had been taxed to the limit by the great demand for lemonade,
and she sniffed disdainfully: “’Twar mesilf ez beat twelve aigs in th’
layer cake! No wonder it melted away like snow in July! Not a crumb fer
the cook, ayther!”

Mose looked compassionately at the defrauded cook and remarked: “Ah’ve
hearn say dat a _good_ chef neveh gits lef’ fo’ a bite! Now Ah’m a
_fust_-class cook so Ah had a good big snack o’ dat twelve aig cake
befoh it passed outen my control!”

Bridget sent Mose a resentful look and flounced angrily from the
kitchen, while Mose shook with silent amusement at his competitor in
culinary arts.

The guests departed in the sunset glow and the Pentagoet Tribe felt
that they had acquitted themselves unusually well, thereby earning a
good night’s sleep.



CHAPTER FIVE

WINNING THE DEGREE OF SHINGEBIS


For the next few days the Island Tribe was busy getting up Swimming
_Coups_. Shingebis made sure he had passed the necessary tests for the
Swimming Degree. He had won the _coup_ for swimming one hundred yards a
long time before but had now to swim with all clothes on. This promised
to be great sport and every one looked forward to the exhibition with
delight.

The morning dawned bright and warm. By eleven A. M. the sun shone hot
upon the calm bay, and the high tide before luncheon was just what was
wanted for the exhibitors.

Miriam and her little sister Betty arrived about ten o’clock and
shortly after, the Rosemary Aunt and Uncle with Trixie came scrambling
up the steps from the floating-stage. Soon the procession of “Annette
Kellermans” in rubber bathing caps of every colour, and the boys
brown-legged and brown-armed, ran down the well-worn path leading to
Treasure Cove, a genuine Island sight.

Suddenly Fred stopped and turned to Billy who unexpectedly collided
with him.

“Say! We forgot the sand bag!” exclaimed Fred.

“Gee! So we have--I’ll run back and hunt one,” offered Billy, starting
for the bungalow to find a bag that would hold the necessary five
pounds of sand.

“I’ll go, too!” called Paul, following Billy.

At the kitchen door, Billy hailed the cook.

“Say, Mose, got a bag that’ll hold five pounds?” asked Billy, looking
about quickly.

“Wha’fo’, Chile?” wondered Mose, suspiciously.

“Oh, I have to do a stunt for a _coup_--a strong white salt bag will
do.”

“Ah reckon Ah kin len’ yo’ th’ cook-salt bag but don’ yo’ go an’ waste
enny salt outen the bag. Ah jes’ got this lot o’ salt an’ its gotta
las’ me a fo’tnight!” As he spoke Mose took the full salt-bag from the
shelf to hand to Billy.

“Pooh! We can’t use your old salt--all I want is the _bag_!” laughed
Billy, rummaging about in the kitchen cupboard.

“See heah, Bo! don yo’ go t’ dislodgin’ m’ pots an’ pans now! Jes’
give Mose time t’ dig out a bag, will yo’?” So saying, the southern
cook yanked a crate out from a corner and lifted a heavy burlap bag
therefrom.

“How’s dis? It’ll onny take a shake t’ dump out th’ rock salt--er kin
yo’ use the hull thing jus’ as it is?”

Billy laughed and Paul declared, “Mose, you’re a numm-skull, sure as
shootin’.”

“You see, Mose,” explained Billy, “before that bag of salt was in the
water very long it would be melted and a cinch for any diver to bring
up from the bottom. I am going to try out the test for diving and we
must have a white bag holding just five pounds of sand. White, so I can
see it under water, you know. The sand will wash out of a loose-meshed
bag like burlap, and it wouldn’t weigh more than two or three pounds by
the time I had it on shore, and that wouldn’t be fair.”

“Sho, nuff! A flour bag is jus what yo’ want--an’ Ah emptied one dis
mawnin’, too. Yo’ kin weigh five poun’s on dis scale, Ah reckon,”
agreed Mose, handing Billy the scale and going for the bag.

“By the way, Mose, aren’t you coming down to watch the fun?” asked
Paul, as they took the bag and started away.

“Ah shore am, Honey! Jes’ waitin’ t’ remove dis pan o’ biskits from d’
oven!”

“Let’s run across to the float and get another boat,” suggested Paul.

“Good idea--we’ll need an extra boat anyway,” approved Billy.

When the two boys arrived in Treasure Cove with the bag and scales,
Fred carefully weighed out five pounds of sand while Billy prepared
himself for the dive.

Paul stood watching Billy heft the bag of sand and became imbued with
the spirit of achievement.

“Ever try it before, Billy?” asked he.

“Lots of times, but never before three witnesses who will attest the
dive.”

“When you finish, guess I’ll do it, too!” said Paul.

“Maybe you think it’s easy, eh?” queried Billy, laughing.

“I’m a good diver now, and grabbing a bag of sand isn’t anything to
do,” said Paul, boastfully.

“Well, just try it!”

Fred had marked off a pole into foot lengths and this he placed in the
canoe. After paddling out to the middle of the Cove he used the pole
to measure the depths and when he had found the depth of eight or nine
feet he called to Elizabeth, who was following the canoe in a boat with
Billy and the bag of sand, for passenger and freight.

“Now lift that bag out and drop it carefully just here where the pole
stands--don’t fall over with it, though,” ordered Fred, watching as his
sister followed his directions.

“Bill, wait a few seconds for the ripples to settle and when you dive
look for the white object right under this spot.”

Billy did as he was told and in a few seconds he was in and almost
immediately after appeared again bringing the bag of sand up with him.
A loud chorus of “Hows” greeted him as he swam in to shore.

“Now I’m going to do it!” cried Paul.

“Why you never tried before,” said Miriam.

“No, but it’s so easy! I might as well pass the test now as later,”
bragged Paul, swimming out to the boat.

Fred had paddled in and now carried the bag out to the same place and
dropped it in but Paul, try as he would, could not find it.

“I know what’s the trouble--Paul doesn’t keep his eyes open. He closes
them tight the moment he strikes the water,” cried Elizabeth to Fred.

So Fred called to Paul, “How do you expect to find an object under
water if your eyes are shut?”

“I’m afraid to open them, it feels awful,” said Paul.

“Well, the sooner you learn to do that the better. No swimmer can
become expert if he dives or swims under water with closed eyes,”
remarked Fred, starting to paddle back to land.

“Oh Fred, while we are here let us try for a test for swimming the
breast, overhand, and crawl, in to shore,” cried Paul, and this was
done very well although Dudley did it better, having had much more
practice at home.

Meantime, Billy had dressed in a complete suit of old clothes--with
shoes, cap and coat--as he proposed to try the test of swimming with
all clothes on.

Wita-tonkan took the measuring tape and fastened it on one end of the
rock that jutted out over the Cove, then Elizabeth paddled the canoe
out to the required distance and waited. Edith, Paul and Billy followed
in the boat and stopped alongside the line of limit.

Every one was watching eagerly as Billy dove off the end of the boat
and swam for shore. Then, as he reached the rocky island and clambered
out, a chorus of “Hows” congratulated him.

“Huh! That was nothing! Now, watch me do some _real_ stunts in
swimming,” laughed he.

“Not to-day, Billy. Go and dress now and leave your fancy swimming for
another time,” advised Mrs. Remington.

Billy obeyed but his face expressed his reluctance.

Meantime Fred was sure that he could overturn a canoe in the water and
right it again if some one would stand by while he tried the difficult
stunt. Captain Ed offered his services.

While Fred was striving to accomplish this deed, some one suggested a
“splashing match” and before a place of dry safety could be reached by
the grown-ups who had been sitting near the edge of the water, every
one was liberally sprinkled by the merry water nymphs. So much noise
did they make indeed, that Aunt Edith called for more quiet.

“Oh, but noise is part of the game, you know!” retorted Billy, who was
watching from the sunny rocks since he could not take part in the fun.

The match ended when Paul ducked Edith under water. As soon as she
could sputter, she wildly denounced him, but Billy and Dudley laughed
heartily as they told her to “get even.”

Paul hurriedly got out of Edith’s way for she had very good muscle
for a girl and Paul had been made aware of its power several times
previously to this day.

Elizabeth was floating serenely when Edith confided to her that she had
kept her eyes open when Paul unexpectedly pushed her under water.

“And it felt so strange that I’m going to try it again.”

“That’s right! No diver is any good until he can see where he is going
or what he really is after under water. Why not get the others to try,
too,” replied Elizabeth.

So they were all trying to dive and keep their eyes open. “The one who
keeps his eyes open the longest while under water will be given an
extra dish of dessert at lunch time,” cried Billy.

“But it feels so funny to have the water biff your eyes,” commented
Paul, who had experimented when the others did.

“Why, I don’t know whether I see anything or not! I tried but couldn’t
see the white sand-bag,” said Dudley.

“Listen to the nutlet!” laughed Elizabeth. “Why, there is nothing _but_
water to see, ’cause the bag is in the boat. Here, hold this white
clam-shell under water about a yard or two away from your nose and
then tell me if you can see it!”

Elizabeth handed the clam-shell to Edith who offered to hold it for
Dudley or Paul. Paul clamoured for a trial and thus attracted Edith’s
attention to him. She had an idea then and there.

The clam-shell was held and Paul dove. The moment he was near enough to
her hand, Edith caught hold of his head and held it under water just as
he had done to her a short time before.

Forgetting his predicament, Paul tried to scream for help and a flood
of water poured into his mouth. Edith soon allowed her victim to come
up again, but he choked and coughed so with anger that every one
laughed at the case of “tit for tat.”

While this affray was going on, the watchers on the rock saw Fred try
in vain to empty the water out of the canoe after righting it, so Mrs.
Remington called out:

“Better desist at present--there are plenty of days to try again--Fred!”

Fred did not want to give in but the tide was running down and he was
nearly opposite the south end of the island at the time, so Captain Ed
helped to empty the canoe and the lad paddled back to the float in a
disappointed frame of mind.

When the visitors were ready to leave, Miriam and Trixie were invited
to remain and visit Elizabeth for a few days. So they gladly remained
stretched out on the rush mats drying their long wet hair in the hot
sunshine.

“Say, mother, isn’t it past time for lunch?” called Fred, as Mrs.
Remington came from the float-stage after seeing the guests off in
their launch.

“Um--that’s what we all want to know,” added Billy.

“Perhaps it is, I’ll go up and see,” replied Mrs. Remington, but the
ringing of the bell just then caused a stampede from the rocks.

The ravenous young folks fell upon the pyramids of hot biscuits and
clam-chowder as if there would never be another mouthful of food that
summer. After three helpings to the soup and many, many slices of
bread, besides the biscuits and crackers, Fred warned them all.

“The flag is up!”

“Where?” questioned Miriam, innocently, whereupon the initiated
Islanders laughed hilariously.

“I see it!” cried Trixie, as she pointed to an American flag draped
over the fireplace of the room.

Again every one laughed, and Miriam thought she knew what it was all
about.

“What--tell us?” demanded the boys.

“It’s the same as F. H. B. Family hold back!”

She had guessed wrong so Billy offered to tell the girls. “It means,
‘Save a place for dessert--it’s _something good_!’”

“Well, who ever thought of that!” exclaimed Trixie.

“Oh, we read a story in a magazine so we adapted it for our own use.
In the tale the folks had a flag stuck on the caster in the centre of
the table. If the flag stood upright it was a sign that dessert was
good, but when the flag was down, it showed there was no need to leave
room unless one wanted to,” explained Elizabeth.

“How could any one see the flag if it was on the centre caster under
the table?” wondered Miriam.

“Ha, ha! Did you think I meant the brass roller on the table leg?”
laughed Elizabeth.

“Didn’t you?” returned Trixie.

Mrs. Remington then explained. “Some people call them cruets. They are
a silver, or plated affair, with revolving holders for bottles. In
the holder are six or seven holes in which glass bottles fit snugly.
They are filled with pepper, salt, oil, vinegar, catsup, mustard or
horseradish. The bottles are raised a few inches above the table-top
and when any one wants a condiment the revolving holder is swung about
until the bottle in need comes opposite the one wishing to use it.”

“Goodness! Did every one reach out and get the bottle he or she
wanted?” asked Trixie, sceptically.

“I saw a queer little thing like that for a doll’s tea-set but I didn’t
know what it was for,” added Edith.

“It is like everything else--things deemed necessary or fashionable
to-day pass into the antiques of to-morrow,” remarked Mrs. Remington.

“Say there, mother! don’t shunt us off on a sidetrack of antiques
when we are maintaining that vacant spot for dessert,” asserted Fred,
vehemently.

“Where is the welcome dish, anyway?” added Billy.

“Patience--Mose will soon appear with it,” said his mother.

Steps were heard shuffling towards the swing door of the pantry then,
and every eye watched the entrance of Mose. He carried a deep covered
pudding dish and several tongues smacked in anticipation.

The dish was placed accurately in front of his mistress before Mose
ceremoniously removed the silver cover.

“Ugh!” came from expectant Islanders and chairs were pushed back from
the table without delay.

“What is it?” wondered Miriam.

“Just some old bread-pudding!” scoffed Edith.

“Bread pudding is healthy, I’ve heard,” ventured Trixie to be polite to
her hostess.

“So are all nasty things to eat!” retorted Billy.

“We might give Trixie our portions, Billy,” suggested Elizabeth, as she
asked to be excused.

“Well, if no one wants this pudding I fear Mose will have to eat it all
by himself,” said Mrs. Remington, laughingly.

“Serve you right, Mose, you know how we hate bread-pudding,” added Fred.

Mose stood behind his mistress’ chair grinning but now he replied to
Fred’s remark.

“Wha’fo’ yo’ all diden’ have dat flag down!”

Every one laughed but Billy, who had gone out by the pantry. Before the
laughter had ceased however, he pushed in past the swinging door and
carried aloft a great blueberry pie.

Fred caught the dish from his brother and balanced it upon his palms in
imitation of a Japanese juggler.

“Friends and fellow Islanders! We have routed the miser who guarded
this treasure and now we place this life-saving device before you all
to help you recover from the recent fatal disappointment. The question
now before the house is, ‘To be or not to be!’”

The pie was placed before Mrs. Remington who laughed and looked at Mose
for a verdict.

“It is to be, of course!” shouted Billy, hugging his mother to show how
much he loved her just then.

“How! How!” yelled the children so that the lady of the house had to
cover her ears.

“Ah wishes t’ offer a sugges’ion!” remonstrated Mose.

“Silence while the proprietor of the pie speaks!” called Fred,
authoritatively.

“Ef yo’ each eats a bit o’ dat bread-puddin’ Ah says, let each take a
slab o’ my blueberry pie!”

“Done! Done!” promised the boys, and every one sat down to swallow
large chunks of the detestable pudding.

“While I am cutting this pie I wish some one would explain why it was
thought that a good dessert was prepared for this noon,” said Mrs.
Remington.

“How does any hungry boy know what is in the pantry?” asked Fred.

“I don’t know, I’m sure,” replied his mother.

“By following his nose, of course! When a feller is famished he
naturally hangs around the kitchen. That’s what we did and so we
smelled something good. By following the trail we saw the deep-dish
pie cooling on the pantry window-sill but we dared not snitch it then
’cause Mose was right there, so we had to come in and take our turn,”
confessed Billy.

Mrs. Remington laughed as she cut the pie but one or two slices were
the fraction of an inch larger than the others, hence the hot argument
that instantly arose to confound her carelessness.

Teeth and lips were well-stained a beautiful blue-black and the
downward track of juicy pie had left telltale spots on the front of
shirts and frocks before Billy stood up and sighed. “I don’t see why it
is that there is always so little of a good thing! Now, look at that
bread-pudding--a great tub of a dish, and such a tiny little pie!”

The others laughed and Mrs. Remington added, “Well, as you had your pie
this noon, there will be no dessert to-night!”

“Say, let’s offer Mose a testimonial for that pie and who knows but he
may be flattered into baking another for dinner,” suggested Fred.

With such a worthy object in view, the young folks drew up a wonderful
set of resolutions and presented it in due form to Mose. Teddy, aged
four, was chosen as the courier while all of the others marched in line
behind the youngest of the family. As the signed vote of thanks was
presented to him, Mose laughed.

“Dis is once when yo’ all get lef’! Ha, ha, ha! When yo’ mah say,
‘Mose, dis bread gotta be used’, Ah says, ‘Yes’m, but dis fam’bly won’t
eat bread-pudding, nohow!’

“Den she says, ‘Mek it fo’ an extry dish an’ serb it fust, Mose, an’ d’
blue-berry pie kin be t’ tempter t’ make ’em eat d’ puddin’!’

“Ah wuz goin’ t’ do dat when Billy gits ahaid o’ me an’ done bring dat
pie in jes’ es ef it wuz so ordered! Ha, ha, ha!”

“Then that pie was for luncheon after all?” cried Billy.

“Shore thing!” grinned Mose.

“And didn’t you make anything for supper?” worried Paul.

“Jes’ peep in dat po’ch cupboard!” ordered Mose.

“Hurrah! That means ice-cream,” shouted Billy, for Mose always placed
the ice-packed freezer out on the back stoop where the melting ice
could drain off to the ground.

After an hour of rest, Fred called a class in First-Aids.

Ladders were placed against the bungalow roof and the Fireman’s Lift
was practised--Dudley being the willing victim who hung limp and
helpless in a faint when the brave fireman found him and carried him
down from the roof to safety.

Then the Shaefer method of resuscitation of a drowning person was
practised upon Edith. Poles were then run through sweaters and an
improvised stretcher made for Paul who was supposed to have been badly
injured in a battle. Billy and Dudley were the Red Cross men who
carried the groaning soldier away and unexpectedly dumped him out upon
the grass.

When serious practice had turned into a frolic, Fred called them all to
sit down and rest, but such a thing was impossible for healthy active
boys. However, they were stretched out upon the flat rock when Paul
asked a question.

“Fred, how long do you think it will take me to swim a hundred yards?
By the end of the month, do you think?”

“If you quit fooling and ’tend strictly to work you may. But we have
not tried to swim much before this, as the water has been too cold. We
can remain in longer, however, as the weather grows warmer.”

“If we would warm up after bathing by running and jumping we could swim
in ice-water without danger,” declared Billy.

“We might try that--and do the ‘Hop, step, and jump,’ for a _coup_ and
see how it will warm us up after bathing,” added Fred.

Mrs. Remington overheard the boys planning and she now interrupted.
“I’ll tell you boys what you might do! You know that bare rocky plateau
on top of the Island where the sun always shines so hot? Well, take
some sun-baths there after you come out of the cold water. Take an old
cot and a spare mattress and leave it there if you like. Besides, you
can always use the canoe cushions. By getting tanned all over you will
harden and fortify your bodies so that a little chill of the water will
not affect you as it is apt to do now.”

This was considered good advice and the boys carried out the plan and
resorted to the rock the very next morning.

“In case any one of you should get the shivers after the bath, run to
the bungalow and have Mose give you a cup of hot soup--it will warm
you through at once,” called Mrs. Remington, as the boys left the
float-stage where the others were talking.

That evening while every one sat about reading until it came time
for bed, Billy suddenly entered the living-room dressed as Charlie
Chaplin. He had not been missed from the family party so the surprise
was all the more genuine. He had on a pair of Fred’s long trousers, a
black coat of his father’s, a gigantic pair of old shoes from Mose’s
wardrobe, and a cane found in the hall-closet. He had cut a small piece
of black fur from the rug and attached it to his upper lip with a
piece of spruce gum.

Billy was an excellent mimic and could appear most serious upon
occasion, and now he threw every one into spasms of laughter by his
mimicry of the famous comedian. Before long, all of the audience wanted
to act too, so the bungalow living-room became a scene for a motion
picture play where fear, joy, sorrow and crime were registered by
villains, hero and heroine.

“Say, wouldn’t it be fun to have a character party,” suggested
Elizabeth, when every one had to stop and rest for a time.

“Oh, yes! Let’s do it!” cried a number of eager voices.

“Children, you _must_ go to bed! Why, it is fully an hour past the
usual time,” reminded Mrs. Remington.

“But we will get together in the morning and plan out some dandy
costumes, shall we?” cried Billy, as they all started for bed.

And that was how the idea started which developed later into the Grand
Masked Ball.



CHAPTER SIX

THE PICNIC AT SPRUCE ISLAND


“Yo ho, ye Sunset Islanders!” called a voice from the doorway of the
bungalow, and there stood the Captain from Isola Bella with a note in
his hand.

“Oh Benton, you’re not going to take me home?” cried Miriam, watching
Mrs. Remington’s face anxiously as she opened the letter.

“No indeed, Miriam--it is an invitation,” said Mrs. Remington. “Listen,
my children, and you shall hear of a picnic planned on Spruce Island
for to-morrow if the day is fine. Uncle Bill says that the tide
will not be quite right--high in the middle of the day and ebb all
afternoon, but we can all go down in the launch.”

“Oh, that will be great!” cried Paul.

“I think Uncle Bill’s a brick!” exclaimed Billy.

“If there’s a cap full of wind I’m going to sail down, mother, and
add to my mileage for the sailing _coup_,” added Fred, quick to take
advantage of such a good opportunity.

“Suppose you can’t sail back?” asked Elizabeth.

“Then we can be towed back--if the worst comes to the worst. Who wants
to sail with me?” said Fred.

So many replied that they had to draw lots with slips of paper and Paul
and Dudley won the prize.

“Oh, won’t that be fine!” cried Paul, dancing about with the winning
slip of paper waving over his head.

“Hurrah, I got a winner, too! You’ll let me help sail her, won’t you,
Fred?” begged Dudley.

“Well, I’ll let you learn if you’ll do just as I say,” replied Fred,
doubtfully.

“Cross my heart, I will,” said Dudley, solemnly.

“Oh, I don’t care if you do sail, Dud, ’cause Benton’s goin’ to let
_me_ steer the Zeus,” bragged Billy, nonchalantly.

“Yes, Sonny, I’m going to prepare you for that launch you told me
you wanted to buy,” agreed the Captain with whom Billy was a great
favourite.

Mrs. Remington smiled at the Captain’s reference to the “phantom
launch” of Billy’s and handed Benton a note of acceptance for the
picnic.

As the Captain backed to the door of the bungalow, he remarked in
farewell, “I must be goin’ across the bay, now, to take an invitation
to your uncle and aunt.”

“I s’pose Mrs. Charlton will take me back home with her to-night, so I
may as well be packing my suit-case,” grumbled Trixie, dolefully.

“Yes, I suppose so! I believe Mrs. Charlton has planned a motor trip
for you,” added Mrs. Remington.

“I wish Trixie could stay with us all summer, mother,” sighed Elizabeth.

“Well, we must have her over again very soon, dear,” replied Mrs.
Remington.

“Oh, I wish you would! But I ought to have a better camp outfit--my
checked skirt is the only suitable article I really have for the boat
or outdoor fun,” said Trixie.

The entire party trooped down to see Captain Benton off and while he
embarked the supper bell rang from the bungalow doorway. Then there was
a race on the course from the float-stage to the table. As usual, when
it was a question of eating, Paul came in first.

That evening, the moonlight was so beautiful that Fred proposed a row
around the Island. Everybody accepted without hesitation and the two
boats were soon gliding through the water in the silvery track of the
moon.

The merry voices of the young singers in the party sounded far over the
calm bay and roused Uncle Bill’s mastiff. No doubt the dog heard and
recognised the voices of his little pals of the Island. The baying of
Nelson then brought the plaintive “baa-baas” of the sheep on Islesboro
and blended musically with the singing.

“Say, let’s call to Nelse!” suggested Billy, about to whistle when
Miriam quickly stopped him.

“No, no! Nelson will surely try to swim over to join us, you know!”
cried Miriam.

“Did Nelse ever swim as far as this?” asked Paul.

“You bet he did, the old rascal!” laughed Billy.

“It was one day when Mamma and all of us from Isola Bella came to a
picnic over here and Nelson was left alone. After he hunted everywhere
for some one to share his watch, he decided to follow after us. We had
all gone to the south end when we heard a crashing through the bushes
back of us. And there stood old Nelse--all in, too, from the long swim
in the icy water,” explained Miriam.

“Gee whiz! Nelson ought to have a Grand _coup_ for that!” laughed
Dudley.

“Well, that’s why Papa doesn’t want him to try it again,” added Miriam,
seriously.

“Why--because he won a Grand _coup_?” teased Billy.

“_Oh_, you know what I mean!” retorted Miriam, while the others laughed
merrily.

“Doesn’t the tide make the island a lot bigger when it is low?”
remarked Paul, looking curiously at the shore line.

“Yes, it adds an acre or two to the area,” replied Fred.

“Do you think the sky looks as if it would be a clear day for the
picnic?” now asked Dudley, anxiously, peering at a cloud as large as
his hand.

“Sure thing! But I think we ought to get back to camp and go to bed so
we can get up bright and early,” advised Fred.

So without further demur the boats were turned toward the float and the
Islanders were soon climbing the path to the tents.

Early in the morning, came a clarion call that hastened the toilettes
of the occupants of tents and bungalow--“Rouse ye Britons, Rouse ye
Slaves!”

Billy sprang out of bed and waved his hand in token of obedience, as he
saw his mother stand calling through the megaphone.

“Hurry up now, we’ve got a lot to do before we’re ready for the
picnic,” advised Fred, pulling Paul out of his cot.

Breakfast was a hurried meal that morning as every one was busily
engaged in getting everything needed to make the picnic at Spruce
Island a success. Elizabeth and Fred were packing the big hamper with
good things while Billy and Dudley were helping Mose and Mrs. Remington.

The wheel-barrow had been loaded three times and the picnic stuff
transported from the commissary department of the bungalow to the
float-stage before all was ready and waiting for the boat.

At the last moment Mrs. Remington saw Edith standing looking about for
any forgotten item. Suddenly she called to the child.

“Oh, Edith! Don’t forget the nature books! You know Spruce Island is
rich in specimens of wild flowers and you Woodcrafters will want to
complete your lists of fifty varieties.”

“Oh, I almost forgot that! And I only have twenty more to get for my
_coup_ for wild flowers,” cried Edith, running indoors.

“Anna, are you quite sure we packed enough sandwiches?” asked Mrs.
Remington, turning to the governess as she came from the house.

Anna laughed. “If the heaped-up loads I saw taken by slow freight via
the wheel-barrow route a few moments ago are all eatables, I should say
we could feed the starving Belgians for a week, at least!”

“Oh, well, Anna, you know how our children _eat_ and then there will be
the Rosemary folks and all of the Isola Bella people, too!” reminded
Mrs. Remington, seriously.

“Even so, won’t they bring hampers?” returned Anna.

“Well, Aunt Miriam is bringing a large freezer of ice-cream and Aunt
Edith said she would bake two large cakes, but I haven’t the slightest
idea of what else they may bring.”

“Judging from past picnics, I should guarantee that each one of the
three families will take enough to last all summer,” remarked Anna,
smilingly.

“Maybe, but it also is a fact that not a crumb is ever found to carry
back home or throw to the fish!”

At this moment Fred appeared on the scene with a plan.

“Mother, Paul and Dud and I want to sail to the Island in the dory. You
see, I want to win my sailing _coup_ for one hundred and fifty miles
this summer, and this opportunity is a good one.”

“But the tide is against you, Fred,” objected his mother.

“That won’t matter so much as there is a nice stiff breeze from the
northwest and the boys have agreed to be good.”

“Well, all right, then,” complied his mother.

By ten-thirty the boys had started and the others were all ready and
waiting impatiently for the first peep at the Zeus which was to take
them to Spruce Island.

“What a boatful! And still more to come,” laughed Billy, as he watched
Captain Benton carefully manipulate the Zeus to bring it alongside the
float.

“Why, where’s Aunt Miriam and Uncle Bill?” cried Edith, missing them
from the group in the Zeus.

“The ice-cream was not quite finished and so Papa sent to ask the
Captain to stop again for them on the way down,” explained Miriam.

Captain Ed had just started the power-dory that was to carry the
commissary and Mose to Spruce Island, when Billy, watching, gave vent
to a loud sigh.

“What’s troublin’ you, sonny?” asked the Captain.

“Ah gee! I wish I had a launch and you know as well as I where there’s
a peach I could get at a bargain!”

“Maybe, if you’re a good boy something will happen about the time of
your birthday,” hinted Mrs. Remington.

“Oh, mother! I’d be willing to go without my allowance and add all my
Christmas money to it, too, if I could have that launch now!” exclaimed
Billy, eagerly.

“Well, never mind now, but try to behave and earn the launch that way,”
advised his mother.

Arrived at Isola Bella the mariners found Uncle Bill making a great
to-do about moving the heavy ice-cream freezer over on the wharf. Aunt
Miriam and two lady visitors stood giving him superfluous advice as he
did things his own way, after all.

After the freezer was safely shipped, a large hamper of goodies
followed, and then the ladies were assisted aboard.

“Hurrah! We’re off at last!” cried Uncle Bill, as they rounded the
south end of Isola Bella.

“And I can see the Orion with all on board! Blow the whistle, Billy,
and salute them,” added Mrs. Remington.

An answering whistle came from Uncle Tom, and soon his launch carrying
the second party slipped along after the Zeus on its way to Spruce
Island.

“How about a chantey!” shouted Uncle Bill, for he had been very quiet
for at least two minutes.

Without a second’s delay, Billy started up and the rest joined in the
song.

RIO GRANDE

  “I’m bound away
    This very day
      Away you Rio
  I’m bound away
    This very day

  And I’m bound for the Rio Grande.
    And oh, Rio, away you Rio, I’m bound away
  This very day, and I’m bound for the Rio Grande.”

By the time this swinging song was concluded Uncle Tom started one from
the Orion and the passengers of the Zeus joined in.

FLYING-FISH SAILOR

  “I’m a flying fish sailor
  Bound down from Hong Kong
      Blow, blow, blow, the man down--
  I’m a flying-fish sailor
  Bound down from Hong Kong
      Give us a chance to blow the man down.”

  “Blow the man up to me
  Blow the man down
  Blow, blow, blow him around.
  Blow bullies blow,
  Blow the man down
  Give us a chance to blow the man down.”

Having arrived at Spruce Island, a brigade was formed to carry boxes,
hampers, and wraps from the boats to the picnic spot in the shade of a
clump of firs.

The younger element in the party wanted to start at once on an
exploration of the island, which contained nearly two hundred acres,
thickly wooded with fir trees and white birch overhanging the rocky
bluffs of the shore.

“See here, boys, if you go alone on this quest, you must promise to
stick together. We have never been all over the island and there may be
danger spots that we know nothing of, you see. With a crowd there is
comparative safety, but should one of you straggle away and get into
trouble it might be difficult to help,” admonished Uncle Bill.

The very seriousness of the habitually jolly man made an impression
on the boys so that Fred promised for all of them. “And we’ll be all
right, folks, never fear,” added he.

“I don’t see why we girls can’t go with you,” pouted Trixie.

“That isn’t it, but I really do not approve of the boys going alone, to
say nothing of you girls going too!” remonstrated Aunt Miriam.

The boys made quick work of getting away for fear of being called back
by one of the troubled mothers while the girls were soon engaged in
finding new specimens of flowers for their books.

“If we gather them now we can identify and arrange them after lunch
this noon,” suggested Elizabeth.

The boys had covered many acres of the island and were feeling like
genuine explorers when Billy suddenly spied a fish-hawk’s nest high up
in a tall spruce.

“Great Scott, Bill! _What_ a chance to get a snapshot of that osprey’s
nest,” called Fred.

“It’s lucky that I brought my kodak, isn’t it?” added Paul.

“The tree looks kind of risky to climb,” ventured Dudley.

“Oh, no, I can climb it easy enough,” boasted Billy.

“Bill’s climbed higher and worse trees than this one,” added Fred.

“Well, seein’ he’s the best climber in the bunch I’ll let him use my
kodak if he wants to shinny up and try for a close-up picture,” offered
Paul.

“That’ll be great! and I can add another one to my list of wild-bird
photographs,” said Billy, delightedly.

“For me too,” said Paul.

“Why, no, it won’t count for you unless you climb up and get it,”
remonstrated Dudley.

An argument followed that made Paul sulky but Billy paid little
attention to him as he took the kodak and climbed up the giant spruce.

There was a thick tangle of undergrowth all about the tree and the boys
had had to break through this before reaching the spruce. So intent
were Fred and Dudley in watching Billy go higher and ever higher, that
they failed to note Paul’s absence.

Paul, with his impatient and stubborn nature, felt so piqued at the
idea of not being able to claim the coup after offering the use of his
kodak, started away from the boys in a huff. The boys never dreamed
of his anger or envy over the _coup_ winning so did not trouble to
look over or beyond the jungle of brush. While Paul, be it said to his
credit, forgot all about Uncle Bill’s admonition and the promise made
not to wander away from the others.

He finally reached a small promontory of land that jutted out into the
sea. As he walked out on the upthrust, a white strip of sandy beach was
found to be lying snugly at the bottom of the bluff. About a hundred
feet across from the place where the boy stood, another large finger of
high-land ran out from the shore actually making a secluded little cove
of the beach.

“My, what a dandy little place for a swim! I can undress down between
these two high rocks and have a dip, then get back into my clothes
again before Billy gets through with that nest!” said Paul to himself
as he slid down the steep bank to the beach.

Once on the smooth sand the boy looked about. He was well-screened all
right, and not a thing could he see beyond the high banks behind him.

“Just like a bath-house. Two rock walls, with some trees right behind
and a peachy beach in front! No one’d ever dream of finding sand on
this island of rocks and fir-grown boulders,” remarked Paul to himself,
as he started to walk to the water’s edge.

“I’ll just see how far out this little sand strip runs--it may stop
short just beyond and then drop down suddenly.”

As Paul bent over the sparkling water the better to scan the distance
the sand ran out under the waves, he felt himself slowly sinking down
to his ankles in the sand.

“Huh! This is funny. Never felt anything like it before,” murmured he,
chuckling at the queer sensation of being sucked down.

By the time his legs were in to the shins, he started to wonder
seriously, not yet dreaming of danger, however.

Not entirely liking the grip the sand seemed to have taken on his feet,
Paul tried to back away but found he could not tear his feet out of its
clutch.

“Let go! Let me get out, I say!” growled Paul to the quicksand, as he
twisted and struggled to climb out of the mire.

The boy had not enough experience to know what to do in this emergency
and being too far away from the other boys to be seen by them, he felt
that he must manage to get free of the quagmire that was drawing him in
deeper every moment.

By the time he had sunk to the calves he was thoroughly frightened and
endeavoured wildly to throw himself out of the engulfing sand. The more
he struggled and squirmed the quicker he sank and then, desperate with
his danger and horror, he screamed at the top of his lungs.

He gazed frantically about, but the only sign of habitation was a
deserted-looking camp some distance away on the bluff.

Again Paul yelled “Help! Help! Help!” and ended in a terrific cry that
curdled the blood in Billy’s veins just as he was about to push the
button in the kodak.

“What’s that yell, Bill?” called Fred from below.

Frightened Billy looked around carefully and located a human speck down
near the water. From the manner in which it was tossing about its arms
it seemed to be in dire need of help.

None of the boys were aware of Paul’s desertion but expected to find
him fooling with bugs or flowers on the other side of the brush. So,
Billy thought some one unknown to them needed help.

“Some one’s having a nasty time over there near the water--I don’t know
who or what is wrong, but I can make out that whoever it is wants help.
Hustle over and see, Fred!” called Billy.

“Where--which way and direction?” shouted Fred, looking up at Billy.

“Off in that direction--straight through that opening of the firs!”
came down from Billy, who had started to descend the moment he took the
bearings.

“We’ll run ahead, you follow, Bill!” called Fred, turning to tell
Dudley and Paul to come with him.

“Where’s Paul?” cried he, suddenly missing the boy.

“Wh-hy-I don’t know. I was so busy watching Billy I didn’t see him
leave us,” replied Dudley, frightened and running after Fred as fast as
he could go.

Billy reached the ground and started to tear after the other boys when
he heard the familiar whistle generally given as a signal from Uncle
Bill when he was in search of any one.

Billy signalled in return and soon Uncle Bill came from the fir-woods
and crossed the small clearing that lay between the firs and the spruce
where the hawk’s nest was located.

“Hurry--come with me and help!” cried Billy, catching hold of his
uncle’s hand before anything could be said.

On the way he breathlessly explained what he had seen from the
tree-top, and where Fred and Dudley had gone.

“Must be a quicksand. If all you boys are O. K. who can it be? I
thought no one was on the island besides ourselves?” cried Uncle Bill.

“I saw a sort of a hut near there when I was up in the tree!” added
Billy.

“Perhaps it is some one from the hut; but then they ought to know of
the danger I should think! Anyway we ought to have a rope to throw,”
said Uncle Bill now thoroughly anxious, dragging his nephew along to
keep up with his running strides.

“I’ll run over to the camp and see if I can find a line or rope,” said
Billy, as they reached the edge of the grove near the bluff.

“Yes, and if any one lives there get them to come and help with a board
or plank!”

Billy ran along the edge of the bluff toward the camp he could see some
distance away, while Uncle Bill came out to the sheltered strip of
beach where he saw Fred and Dudley striving to save Paul’s life.

It needed but a glance to make the whole situation clear, and in wild
leaps the man reached the frantic group on the sand.

“Keep still, don’t move!” shouted Fred to the struggling Paul.

“The more you squirm and fight the deeper you go!” added Dudley, as
Uncle Bill ran up behind them.

Fred was lying on his stomach trying to shove an old fence rail out to
the boy. As he carefully guided it so that the end of the rail would
slide over the sand and possibly be worked under the arm of the victim,
he encouraged Paul with advice.

“When this rail comes near you, try to get your arm over it so it can
be used as a brace for you. Then, I’ll try to work another out for your
other arm.”

“Here, Fred, let me do that job while Dud and you run and get some more
rails wherever you found these,” cried the welcome voice of Uncle Bill.

Both boys showed signs of great relief and confidence as they gave
place to the man, and started for the rails of an old fence they had
found while crossing the clearing near the bluff.

Meantime, Billy reached the camp but found no one there. It appeared to
be a deserted fisherman’s hut but some old rope still hung coiled upon
a hook driven in the side of the door-post.

When he reached the spot where Uncle Bill was working to help Paul,
Billy was shocked to recognise the victim.

Fred and Uncle Bill managed to worm the rails out so that Paul slid
his arms up over them and this acted as a resistible brace against the
suction of the mire. Then, with practised hand the coil of rope was
flung and as it fell it formed a loop over Paul’s head.

“Now, work that noose down over your shoulders, and when both arms are
over it give the word so I can pull you out,” ordered Uncle Bill.

Once more on terra firma Paul was congratulated at his narrow escape
but the pallor of his face was sufficient punishment then, so that
Uncle Bill refrained from scolding him.

“The next thing for us to do is to scrape Paul. We ought to get him
over to Mose where he can undress and wrap himself in a shawl until
this mire is washed from his clothes,” said Uncle Bill.

“We must keep this a secret from the girls, you know,” warned Fred.

“If they smell a rat we’ll say Paul slipped into a pool of mire, which
is the truth,” laughed Dudley.

“I think some one ought to set up a danger sign at that awful spot,”
said Paul, still shivering at the thought of it.

“Yes, Paul’s right. We’ll go back afterwards and fix up some sort of
warning for others,” approved Fred.

“I’ll tell you how! When we go back for the picture of the fish-hawk’s
nest this afternoon, we can sneak down and stick up that Turkey
red cushion top from the launch. That will mean danger, you know,”
suggested Billy.

“And maybe you can find a can of paint or some other stuff at that
shack so I can mark a warning on the boulder of rock alongside of the
sand,” added Uncle Bill.

Paul and his rescuers reached Mose’s camp and were fortunate enough to
find everybody gone on a flower quest. Mose alone kept solitary vigil
of the clam-chowder cooking over a good camp-fire. In a moment, he was
eager to help poor Paul in his “mire” need.

“Heah, Chile, tak’ dese two sweaters an’ use ’em fo’ a go’fing costume.
Clim’ inta th’ sleeves ov one sweater wid yur feet an’ pull de’ odder
down obber yo’ haid. Strap bof’ togedder about yo’ middle wid’da
rope--lik’ dat, now!” And Mose assisted Paul in dressing as he advised.

When the boy emerged from back of the bushes where he and his valet had
retired, the other boys laughed at the sight the sweaters made of Paul.

Mose gathered up the miry clothes and started in to scrape them as
clean as possible before washing them.

“Say, Bo, yo’ don’ ever expec’ t’ wear deses again, do yo’?” questioned
he.

“Can’t they be washed clean?” wondered Paul, anxiously.

“Ah kin wash ’em but dis clam-mud ain’t neber goin’ t’ let go fer good!
One thing sure, dough, it’ll mek’ th’ coat thicker an’ warmer fo’ nex’
winter!” grinned Mose.

“Oh, go ’long, Mose, we all know you’re foolin’!” laughed Billy,
leading Paul away from the teasing cook.



CHAPTER SEVEN

FURTHER ADVENTURES AT SPRUCE ISLAND


Before Mose had quite finished washing out the muddy clothes the flower
hunters returned. Elizabeth was highly elated because she had found
enough new varieties to complete her list of fifty for the Wild-Flower
_coup_, while Miriam’s and Edith’s lists had reached thirty different
kinds.

As the girls ran over to the group of boys to tell them about their
successful hunt, Trixie stood still and gasped. The others turned to
look in the direction that she was staring and a burst of merriment
sounded from them all.

“Good gracious, Paul! Where did you find the upsey-downsey suit of
clothes--are you masquerading?” cried Elizabeth.

Paul mumbled but looked annoyed and uncomfortable.

“Doesn’t he look like one of those double-headed dolls? You hold them
one way and they are Mammys, and you turn them up the other way and
they are something else,” said Trixie.

“What ever put it into your head to dress that way, Paul?” persisted
Elizabeth.

“Well, you see, he thought you girls would like clams on the half-shell
so he found a spot where he tried digging. But he dug so deep while
trying to catch a big fat juicy clam, that he fell into the hole and
pulled the hole in after him. We had all we could do to pull him out
again, but when he finally did come out, Lo! he pulled the hole out
too!” explained the irrepressible Uncle Bill.

“So, that’s why Mose is giving his clothes a Turkish bath,” giggled
Billy.

Mrs. Remington and Mrs. Farwell looked hard at Uncle Bill but forbore
saying more at that time.

Mose soon completed the task given him and then sounded a tin pan
for the call to luncheon. A grand scramble ensued and there was much
confusion and advice before every one was comfortably settled on
cushions and rugs about a large cloth spread out upon the grass.

The three hostesses had been very busy unpacking and arranging the
contents of hampers and boxes but now that the result of their efforts
and work was finished the hungry picnicers enjoyed the wonderful meal
thoroughly and the viands disappeared like magic.

Wide and well worn was the trail made by Mose as he tracked back and
forth from famished eaters to the chowder kettle and when Billy called
for a fourth bowl of the delicious soup, the distracted chef turned
the pot upside down in silence to prove that not a drop remained
therein.

Directly after luncheon, Uncle Bill proposed a hike around the island
stopping at the tall spruce tree to retake the snap-shot of the hawk’s
nest and also to place a signal on the beach of quicksand.

“Ah! Now I know how Paul delved for that clam!” murmured Mrs.
Remington, nodding her head wisely.

“Oh, by the way! maybe Billy has requisitioned too much chowder to be
in trim to climb that tree!” said Uncle Bill quietly, the moment he
recognised the blunder he had made.

“Oh, no, you don’t, Bill!” laughed Mrs. Farwell. “You’re fairly caught
this time and we demand knowledge of that clam-digging feat!”

However, Uncle Bill was not to be caught napping again, so he began a
long, tiresome story of clam-digging until every one told him to “cut
it short!”

Having succeeded in taking a picture of the fish-hawk’s nest and
rigging up the red banner for a signal to unwary hikers, as well as
painting a warning on the front face of the rock in white lead, the
entire crowd continued the hike over the island.

After many adventures they came to a small beach at the north end of
the island where the winter storms washed ashore all sorts of debris.
Paul spied a gleaming white section of a skeleton and he ran excitedly
over calling as he went:

“Come on, boys! See what I’ve found!”

The others followed and soon were examining a number of vertebra of a
whale.

“By the Great Horn Spoon! Is a remnant of that old whale here yet!”
cried Uncle Bill, in surprise.

“What old whale--do tell us the story!” begged Billy, scenting an
exciting adventure of Uncle Bill’s youth.

“Well, when I was about your age, my brother and I took a sail one
day and landed for lunch at this island. We intended to spend the day
fishing for cod and then start home about sunset. Just about the time
we were ready for lunch, the wind veered and brought the most dreadful
odour to our nostrils.

“We looked at each other, while reaching the same conclusion--something
unusual had been washed ashore!

“Say, Bill, folks say ‘follow your nose’--shall we?” asked my brother.

“Sure thing--come on!” said I, and we ran down to this beach and right
here we came upon a young whale which yet was ancient of days!

“Even in death the strength of the whale was more than our lusty powers
of resistance so we both returned to that lunch minus an appetite. The
fire was smothered and we sadly resumed our cod-fishing, but strange
to say, it had lost its zest for us and the boat seemed very wobbly.
We returned home quite early that day and took relief in a mad game
of tennis. That evening we felt better and could partake of slight
nourishment!”

Every one laughed at Uncle Bill’s experience and Dudley made a
suggestion. “Let’s take home the vertebra for souvenirs!”

“It won’t have the same effect now as it had years ago, that’s
certain,” said Uncle Bill.

So each boy loaded himself with the whitened bones of the whale while
the elders slowly retraced their steps. At the clearing where the
picnic was held, Mose was found taking advantage of the peace by
enjoying a well-earned snooze.

The chef was roused by the noise made by the returning explorers and
Billy eagerly showed him the souvenirs.

“Whale bones, Mose--the same one Uncle Bill found when he was a boy.”

“What! Whalebones! Yo’ don’ mean t’ tell me dat dem things is what
dey puts in ladies co--yo’ know, dat--dat--well, yo’ all knows what
Ah means! Dem articles what d’ ladies wear t’ mek ’em look slim,”
delicately hinted Mose.

Every one ha-haed at the manner of Mose’s questioning, and Uncle Bill
explained that the whalebone of commerce and corsets came from the rows
of screen plates that are so arranged in a whale’s mouth that all of
his food is strained out from his sea-water soup.

“Jus’ lak’ es how it woul’ be ef yo’ took a mouf-ful ov chowder en’
shet yer teeth t’ keep in d’ clams whiles yo’ squirt out all d’ water,
eh?” asked Mose, eagerly.

“Just so, only more so!” laughed Uncle Bill.

After a light supper on the picnic grounds, haste was made to embark.
The tide was ebbing and there was no wind so the dory was filled with
the boxes and baskets and towed behind the launch.

As the mariners came out from the shadow of the overhanging bluffs of
Spruce Island the moon, still in its last quarter, shone silvery white
in the heavens and the stars sparkled with unusual brightness. The
Woodcrafters gazed at the blue dome overhead, and started talking about
the constellations.

“Who can show me where to find the Pole Star?” then asked Uncle Bill.

Instantly many voices replied to this question.

“Paul, now’s your chance to point out the four constellations you
boasted about when that last tassel was cut from your badge,” teased
Uncle Bill.

“I will,” returned Paul. “The Pole Star’s in the Little Bear, and
there’s the Dipper, or Big Bear. Way over in the west is Arcturus--I
know him by the big star, see? Then, that one up there in the northeast
is Cassiopaeia--it looks just like a ‘W.’ That makes four!”

“Good for you! Now, who else can name any?” said Uncle Bill.

“I can!” cried Elizabeth. “Directly over our heads you will find Vega,
in Lyra. And--oh, Paul, you forgot to mention Orion in your’s!”

“Ha, ha! That’s one on you, Elizabeth, because you can’t see Orion
until early morning up here,” laughed Fred.

“Why there are the Pleiades and Orion is near them,” argued Elizabeth.

“But those _aren’t_ the Pleiades, although I’ll admit it looks like
them,” protested her brother. “That’s Job’s Coffin.”

“Well, I never! I’ve always said they were the Pleiades even though I
thought they appeared a bit strange to me,” said the surprised girl.

“What are those stars near Job’s Coffin?” asked Billy.

“That is Aquilla,” answered Mrs. Remington.

“Now let me get these down straight,” came from Billy. “First, that
‘W’ is Cassiopaeia. Next to her--what are those four big stars like a
square?”

“It is called the Great Square of Pegasus,” replied Mrs. Remington.
“Then comes Aquilla and Job’s Coffin, and above us you find Lyra.”

“Look! What is that large star in the northeast--it is low down on the
horizon but it is rising fast?” cried Dudley.

Every one turned to gaze at the beautiful twinkling star that seemed to
sway in the sky. In fact Billy denied it was a star.

“Any one can see with half an eye that that’s a fire-balloon!” argued
he.

However, it proved itself to be a star and finally, Mrs. Remington and
Fred identified it as Capella and the atmospheric conditions near the
horizon accounted for its gyrations.

“But, mother, it is moving _east_!” cried Elizabeth.

“It _is_ a fire-balloon, ’cause no star travels that way,” added Billy.

Here Uncle Bill offered an explanation of the marvel.

“It’s a star, all right, Billy, and it really is moving east to us
because we are so far north that we see it below what is ordinarily the
horizon! Watch carefully now, and soon you will see it move west and
behave as all other well-trained stars do.”

This proved to be so and before the party quite reached home Capella
had risen high in the heavens to join the orderly procession of
westward moving stars.

“Do any of you know the Algonquin name for the Big Dipper?” asked Mrs.
Remington.

Aunt Miriam demonstrated her knowledge of the zodiac at this point and
told the story of Ojeeg-Annung, the Fisher Star.

“Ojeeg-Annung was a mighty hunter--he lived with his wife and little
son on the shores of a great lake. They always had plenty to eat
because Ojeeg was so skilful in the chase. But at that time it was
always winter in the land--the sky people kept the Birds of Summer
shut up in cages in the Fields of Heaven.

“The little son complained of the continual cold, especially when his
hands were stiff and aching so that he could not use his bow and arrow
on the squirrels and rabbits.

“One day when he cried with the cold, a squirrel hopped up and told
him, ‘Keep on crying and complaining no matter what your parents offer
you for consolation, and at last your father, who is a magician, will
promise you anything you want if you will only stop crying. Then ask
him to make Summer in the land!’

“The boy followed the squirrel’s advice and it happened as he said it
would.

“Ojeeg called all his fellow-chiefs together and they made strong
medicine and started off to climb to Heaven.

“Finally they reached the top of a high mountain and from there they
could jump into heaven, by breaking through the celestial floor.

“Before the sky-people could stop them, Ojeeg had cut open the cages
and freed the Birds of Summer. They flew quickly down through the hole
in heaven and so we now have summer and warmth and flowers.

“Poor Ojeeg was overtaken by the sky-men and, although he changed
himself into his totem animal, the fisher, he died from an arrow-head
in the tip of his tail--the only spot that was vulnerable. As he died,
he exclaimed: ‘I am satisfied to die because I have done such good,
not only to my son but to all who come hereafter.’

“There he is in the sky as a remembrance. What we call the ‘Dipper’s
Handle,’ the Indians call Ojeeg’s long tail with the arrow sticking in
the end.”

“What is the fisher like?” questioned Paul.

“It’s like an otter or a sable or a marten,” replied Billy, the hunter.

“This marten story makes six different names I have heard the Dipper go
by, and I suppose there really are others,” remarked Elizabeth.

“Six!” exclaimed Paul in surprise. “What are they besides the Bear and
the Dipper and this Fisher Ojeeg?”

“Why, there are the Seven Plough Oxen, The Seven Rishis, or Wise Men,
and the Persian Heft Aurang or Seven Thrones,” explained Elizabeth, the
lover of poetry and romance.

But the stars were soon forgotten after the Woodcrafters landed and
wearily sought their cots. A full and happy day in the open made most
of them sleepy and glad to stretch out for the night.



CHAPTER EIGHT

THE CRUISE TO CASTINE


“Mother, if we’re to have that masked ball that all of you were talking
about, it ought to be given this week so’s to have Uncle Bill with us.
You see, he starts back to the city next week,” said Fred, one morning
soon after the picnic.

“Aunt Miriam and I were discussing that very thing last night and we
have decided to hold it in Fudge Attic, at Isola Bella, some night this
week.”

“Haven’t you determined upon any special night?” asked Fred.

“As far as we can tell now, it will be Friday.”

Elizabeth had entered the room as they were speaking, and stood holding
a note the Captain had brought her from Isola Bella. At her mother’s
words she smiled delightedly.

“Oh, that is just fine, ’cause Miriam has invited Trixie and me to
visit her for a few days this week.”

She handed her mother the note and waited until the verdict was given.
Of course, Elizabeth knew she would be permitted to go but she had no
thought of accepting, or planning for the visit without her mother’s
knowledge and consent.

“Be sure and take everything you may need for the ball. If your
suit-case isn’t large enough to hold what you will need let Anna find
you a suit-box for the costume,” advised her mother.

“I’ll sail you over if you like, Elizabeth,” offered Fred. “I’ve only
done half of my hundred and fifty miles for the sailing _coup_ and I
want to get in as much as I can every day.”

Billy sauntered in at this juncture wondering where his big brother
could be.

“What’s up--Eliza going away?” he queried, hearing Fred’s offer and his
sister’s smiling acceptance.

Mrs. Remington told him about the invitation and Billy chuckled.
“That’s good! Then you won’t be here to see how we are going to be
togged out for the ball, and Trix and Miriam won’t have any one to tell
them who we are.”

Turning to his brother after having delivered this speech, Billy added,
“Say, can’t you let me take the sail with you?”

“Sure--if you want to come.”

“Boys, why don’t both of you take a cruise and cover a lot of ground at
one time--I mean a lot of water in one day!” suggested Mrs. Remington.

“Oh, mother, can we?” cried Billy.

“I’d like to, if you think it’s all right, mother,” added Fred.

“If the weather is good and you make careful plans I see nothing to
hinder your trying it,” smiled Mrs. Remington.

“Bully for you, mother dear! Fred, when can we start!” shouted Billy,
tossing his cap up to the ceiling.

“We can start to-morrow; Captain Ed says we are in for a good spell of
fine weather now,” replied Fred.

So as soon as the two boys returned from escorting their sister to
Isola Bella, they began preparing for the cruise. The kindly Captain
helped with the outfitting of the little dory, and remarked that if
they got an early start in the morning they could have the flood-tide
to help them up the bay and then have all of the ebb to come back on.

“I’ll keep a lookout about sunset and if the wind flushes out, I’ll
come after you with the launch,” concluded he.

Mose willingly agreed to cook an early breakfast for the two boys and
he also tipped a wink to Billy to come to the pantry and take a look in
the cake-box.

Billy needed no second invitation and when he beheld the
delicious-looking cake reposing there for appreciative cannibals, he
sighed and asked, “Oh, Mose! That for us!”

“Ef yo’ don’ say nuffin about it! Ah’m gwine t’ see dat he is tenderly
wrapped up an’ shet away in a box fo’ you’-all. But don’ go an’ get
Pore Mose in bad at supper t’night when they ain’t no dessert--onny
preserves!”

And that evening a number of those seated about the supper-table noted
how obediently Billy ate his dish of prunes. Paul grumbled and said he
hated prunes and Dudley pushed back his plate full with a wry face.
Both boys then looked for some other dessert but looked in vain!

“Prunes are awful good for one, aren’t they, mother? We ought to eat
plenty of prunes to be healthy!” said Billy, virtuously.

Paul and Dudley stared at their chum in amazement.

“Humph! Some folks get good all of a sudden!” sniffed Paul.

Mrs. Remington had to control her face behind her napkin, and to change
the subject, she said: “Where have you decided to go on your cruise
to-morrow?”

“Up to Castine and back again,” replied Billy.

“We expect to start about seven in the morning,” added Fred.

“Oh, _can’t_ we go with you?” cried Dudley, coaxingly.

“No indeed!” answered Mrs. Remington, decidedly. “You know nothing
about sailing, and the dory is too small for a day’s sail for more than
two people.”

The two youngsters were inclined to dispute this decision but Fred cut
short their grumbling by offering a salve in form of an invitation to
spend the day on Captain Ed’s farm. The Captain lived on the mainland
and made periodical trips across the bay to bring back butter and eggs
from his farm. This idea of going with the Captain pleased Paul and
Dudley so that they went to bed in an amicable frame of mind.

Early the next morning every one was up to see the boys off on the
cruise, and breakfast was eaten in much excitement. It was a perfect
day that seemed made to order for the sailors. A light southerly wind
was blowing and soon the tide would begin to flow and that would help
them along materially.

Paul and Dudley, still yearning for the joys of a cruise watched the
dory leave the float-stage and then they ran to the north end of the
island just to see the last of the little craft and the two boys they
so heartily envied that morning.

But no time was wasted in vain regrets when once the dory was out of
sight. The two boys hurried back to the float to wait for Captain Ed
who was to carry them away for a glorious day on his farm.

On the way over to the mainland, the Captain said: “I’ve got a young
colt that needs a brave broncho buster to ride him.”

“Oh, Captain! let me try and ride it, will you?” cried Paul.

“I can ride better’n Paul, Captain!” urged Dudley.

“No you can’t, neither! Ah now, Captain, _please_ let me ride her?”

“Well, she’s young and gentle all right, but full of fire--like most
young things. So I don’t see any objection to both of you boys riding
her if you’re careful.”

“And Paul, we’ll draw lots for the first ride!”

“The colt is a great pet and she may show a little fear of you two
Indians at first, but she’ll get used to you if you give her some
sugar,” advised the Captain.

It was a scant mile’s walk from the Cove to the farm but a friendly
neighbour’s “jigger” was found going their way, and the three had a
lift as far as the cross-roads.

“Did you ever see such a funny axle--it’s got a broken back!” exclaimed
Paul, curiously.

“It looks to me more like a crankshaft,” said Dudley.

“Well, a jigger’s a mighty handy thing for haulin’ heavy loads,”
explained Captain Ed.

“But it hain’t no pneumatic cushions for sore bones,” chuckled the
neighbour.

“No sir-ee! nor no ”C“ spring buggy, neither,” laughed Captain Ed.

Before the boys reached the farm their breakfast was well jounced down
so that the home-made cake and milk offered them by the Captain’s wife
was most welcome.

“We came to ride your colt,” declared Paul, between bites.

“Oh, no! We came to visit you, Mrs. Blake, but the Captain told us
we _might_ ride the colt,” hurriedly corrected Dudley, with great
diplomacy.

Paul stared and Mrs. Blake laughed understandingly but she immediately
invited the boys to come with her to the pasture. She carried a bridle
over her arm and when they reached the lot Brownie was coaxed to come
over and nibble a lump of sugar from her mistress’ hand. While doing
this, the colt kept her eyes on the two strange boys. But it is safe to
say that Brownie would not have submitted to the bridle had it not been
for the extra sugar the boys gave her.

While Mrs. Blake held the colt by the forelock and bridle, Paul, who
had won the prized slip of paper, tried to mount. The boy had taken
short rides at home on Billy Remington’s pony, but this was an entirely
new proposition. After a number of trials and failures to mount, Dudley
laughed and cried to him:

“Hey, there! Come over and mount from this stone wall!”

So Mrs. Blake led Brownie over to the wall while Paul scrambled on top
and in that way managed to slide over on the colt’s silky bare back.

The moment Brownie felt a strange burden on her back she grew
unmanageable and tried in every way to dislodge it.

“Grip her sides with your knees, boy!” called Mrs. Blake.

The moment Brownie felt the restraining hand removed from her bridle
she started off on a lope for the pasture gate. The boys had left it
open as they entered and through it the colt shot and made down the
lane, Paul dinging to her with might and main, knowing it was now a
case of “stick or flick.”

Just as both of them began to feel better acquainted and hopes for
enjoyment rose in Paul’s breast, the horn of a passing motor tooted on
the main road at the end of the lane. The awful blast startled Brownie
so that she wheeled and tore back to her home in the pasture.

Oh what a race that was! Over hummocks and swales of fern! then
suddenly the colt stopped short by bracing her fore-feet and humping
her back. And as suddenly, Paul became an aviator. Luckily, he landed
in comparatively soft sod so that the only injury he sustained was a
loss of wind.

“I never knew Brownie to act like that before,” commented the Captain’s
wife, as Dudley and she stood watching.

“Oh, Paul isn’t experienced like me! I can manage her all right, you
will see!” bragged Dudley, fearing lest Mrs. Blake might decide to give
Brownie her freedom.

However, the colt had to be caught before Dudley could ride, and both
boys as well as Mrs. Blake grew hot and tired in their endeavours.
Finally, Brownie was beguiled by some young tender carrots, and Dudley
climbed upon her back while Mrs. Blake fed the colt the delicacy.

“Run and shut that pasture gate, Paul!” shouted Dudley.

Paul did as he was bid and then sat upon the top rail to watch the
boastful rider.

At first it seemed as if Brownie, too, was tired and willing to be
guided in the way she should go, so Dudley began to have confidence and
bravado.

“Look, Paul, this is the way to make them wheel!” called he, digging
his heel into the colt’s flank.

Wheel Brownie did, all right! She was off in a jiffy, circling around
the pasture, jumping the familiar hummocks in her way, and finally
sailing over the low stone wall, then racing lickety-split down the
lane.

Dudley had no objections to thumping over the soft sod of the lane
as it really was preferable to the boulders in the pasture. But the
colt became vexed with the boy’s close clinging and with a tossing of
her mane resorted to an equine trick--that of trying to brush off an
unwelcome rider.

Try as he would, Dudley could not prevent Brownie from passing
under the low-hanging branches near the end of the lane. Believing
“discretion to be the better part of valour” the boy slipped off before
he was “sawed” off by the neck.

The moment the colt realised her pest was gone she kicked up her heels
and snorted with derision.

Paul hugged himself in wild delight when he saw Dudley carefully
limping back to the pasture, but their troubles were soon forgotten by
hearing the Captain call for aides in catching some chickens that were
needed on Sunset Island.

The milder delights of rural life--chickens, pigs, cows, yea, even
sheep, came in for fervid attention after that.

Then, early in the afternoon, well laden with baskets full of fresh
vegetables as well as the broilers, eggs, and butter, the three
mariners sailed the seas again to Sunset Isle.

About five o’clock there came signs of a gathering storm and the
sky grew black in the north. The wind had changed and blew from the
northeast in increasing violence. The Captain became anxious but saying
nothing to Mrs. Remington, trained the spyglass in the direction from
which the two boys and the dory should first be seen.

A few moments’ scrutiny showed a tiny speck gleaming white against the
darkening waters. Soon, with the naked eye, he was able to discern
the little craft about two miles north of the island. Then he went in
search of Mrs. Remington.

“Well, the two boys are piling home double quick--they’ll be here in a
few minutes,” said he, with relief.

The mother was secretly relieved also, as she had felt concerned over
the delay of the boys and the approaching storm.

“Let’s run up and see ’em come around the north end!” shouted Dudley,
excitedly.

“Let’s all go,” said Paul, looking at Mrs. Remington invitingly.

Without parley they started for the nearest point which the boys would
make before running into the lee of the island.

By the time the eager Islanders reached the north end the dory was
almost there.

“She’s carrying too much sail! They ought to’ve reefed her,” exclaimed
the Captain, trying to make himself heard above the roaring of the wind.

“Well, they’re here now,” sighed Mrs. Remington.

While every one on shore strained eyes to watch the dory manœuvre as
she approached the narrow passage between the ledges of rock leading
to safety in the lee, an extra squall rendered the over-rigged boat
unmanageable. Over she went!

Quick as a flash, the two sailors were out on the centreboard keel!
She righted, but was full of water. Billy ran down the sail while Fred
chucked ballast overboard.

In the meantime, the watchers on shore gasped and every face went
white, but Captain Ed, finding the boys would be comparatively safe
because of the airtight compartments making the dory unsinkable, ran
swiftly to the float-stage and got his launch.

But quick as he was, the two sailors were more than half a mile away,
blown by the fury of the wind. He just managed to catch up with them
before they were wrecked on the Isleboro shore. During this flight
before the storm the boys had not been idle. One bailed madly while the
other tried to keep her head on to the storm.

It was a long hard tow for the little launch in the teeth of the gale
with the half-filled dory dragging drunkenly behind. When at last, the
boats came in the lee of the island, the nerves of those afloat as well
as those on shore suddenly relaxed and made every one feel and act
foolish from relief.

Fred and Bill were rushed up to the bungalow for a change into dry
clothes, while Dudley and Paul heaped wood upon the roaring fireplace
in the living-room. Mose got busy with an unusually good hot supper and
soon after, every one was hailed to sit down for the belated meal.

As Mose brought in a great platter of broiled chicken with hot waffles
he remarked hypocritically:

“Ah don’ know wedder ders any flag up fo’ dessert t’ night, cuz Ah
ain’t done gone an’ made none!”

“Oh Mose! What do you call waffles?” laughed Fred.

“Oh, de’s jus’ chicken fixin’s!” grinned the southerner.

“Well just give me a pile of those same ‘fixin’s’ and a jug of maple
syrup and you can wave the flag sky-high as far as I’m concerned,”
remarked Billy, the connoisseur.

“How, how, how!” echoed from the circle around the table.

That night when dinner had been cleared away, the family grouped itself
in front of the drift-wood fire and prepared to hear the tale of the
cruise. The storm was howling and raging without but the great tongues
of purple and green flame that shot up the chimney from the drift wood
suffused a cheery feeling to the Islanders.

“We had a cinch getting up to Castine, with a flood-tide and that nice
southerly,” began Fred; “it didn’t flush out until we got inside the
harbour.”

“You know that little Nautilus Island, mother?” asked Billy. “Well, we
ran in back of that and over to a fine little cove. We took out the
fishing lines and in fifteen minutes we had a mess of tom-cod.”

“Say, maybe tom-cod and bacon isn’t the food for the gods! eh what,
Bill!” remarked Fred, smacking his lips at the memory of his savoury
feast.

“You bet! We landed after catching enough fish and made a good fire to
broil them. Then we ate lunch. We wound up on that cake Mose sneaked
into our hamper last night.”

Paul and Dudley exchanged looks that said as plainly as words, “_Now_
we know why Billy preferred prunes!”

“You know, mother, we always wanted to explore the Bagaduce River;
well, this was a swell chance with the tide still running up, so we
up-anchored and started off. We’d have been home long before the
storm came if we hadn’t gone so far up the river. But it was worth the
trouble, wasn’t it, Bill?”

“Yeh! There’s the place where old Baron Castine and the Tarratine
Indians camped when Maine was first settled,” added Billy.

“Then when the wind changed this afternoon, we were up that river
eating the last crumbs of cake. It began to look a little squally so
we considered we’d better make tracks for home. And we sure did make a
track--all froth and foam. It didn’t get to be a real storm you know,
until about five o’clock, so that’s why we hadn’t reefed the sail,”
explained Fred.

“We went along fine for a time. I never knew the dory to go so fast
but finally we realised that we needed that reef,” Billy continued.
“We would have run down the sail and put in the reef out in the open
bay but Fred said, ‘Oh, half a minute more will see us in the lee of
the island.’ We would have been all right if that nasty little squall
hadn’t caught us just half a minute too soon!”

“Boys, you knew you ought to have a reef in the sail, and hereafter,
don’t wait that half-minute too late to put it in. The cause of
accidents and loss of life is that same excuse--‘oh, we’ll be all right
in half a minute!’” warned Mrs. Remington.

“How does it feel to climb out on the centreboard in a gale?” asked
Dudley, curiously.

“Didn’t stop to diagnose the feeling!” laughed Fred.

“I just guess not!” added Billy.

“I bet you were glad there were air-tanks in your dory, all right!”
declared Paul.

“I just bet we were too!” sighed both adventurers.

And Fred added: “We knew we’d be all right if we just got out the
ballast, even though she was full of water.”

“But all the same, we were glad to see the Captain heave in sight
through the spray, and then when we got near the island it kinda felt
good to see you all waiting to welcome us,” smiled Billy.

“I never saw anything drift so fast in all my life--even though the
wind and tide were working together,” said Dudley.

Advice is most uninteresting to youth and when Mrs. Remington began to
advise the reckless sailors, Fred quickly changed the subject.

“Well, Dud--what did you and Paul do at the farm to-day?”

Both boys plunged into the story of the broncho busting each one giving
high-coloured account of the other’s inexperience in riding a colt.
Then as they arrived at the relation of the quieter sports of feeding
the livestock and catching chickens, they looked at each other and
finally doubled up in laughter.

“What’s the joke--tell us, too!” wondered Billy.

“How did you like the broilers to-night?” asked Paul.

“Why, they tasted good as usual--why?” wondered Fred.

“Because, we’ve heard that the flavour of a chicken has to do with the
way it is killed. How do you like your chickens killed--heads chopped
off or necks wrung?” asked Paul.

“All the same to me as long as I get it,” replied Billy.

“Well, how do you s’pose they’d taste if they were suffocated to
death?” persisted Dudley, and both Paul and he laughed again.

“You didn’t do that, did you?” cried Edith, horrified.

“Well, two of the tender chickens we had to-night were suffocated by
Dud and me, but not intentionally,” admitted Paul.

“You see, it was this way: We had been catching chickens for the
Captain and these two got away and hid under the haystack outside the
barn.

“The Captain started chopping off heads and I got one chicken as it
flounced around without its head, and chased Paul with it. Just when
Paul doubled in his tracks, I was swinging the chicken about holding it
by one leg. He ran plump into it and then said I lammed him with it!
Ha, ha, ha!” chuckled Dudley.

“Well, you did, too, Dud! You were just going to swing it at my head
anyway when I turned to dodge you! But I got even!” interrupted Paul.

  [Illustration: CAP’N, FRED, AND BILLY “OILED UP.”]

  [Illustration: OFF FOR BELFAST ON THE MEDRIC.
   _Woodcraft Boys at Sunset Island._    _Page 148_]

“Paul ran me in the barn and chased me up into the hayloft but I jumped
out on this big haystack to get away from him. He followed right after
me and both of us slid down the side and landed on top of each other.
One wild squawk from the chickens underneath us told how we had landed
on top of them. They died so quick they hadn’t time to make a will to
dispose of their heads,” laughed Dudley, at the remembrance.

“We carried the two chickens back and told the Captain of their
unexpected end, and he said, ‘That’s a new form of capital punishment.’”

While the children talked over the rural sports of the Captain’s farm
Mrs. Remington seemed absent-minded. When they had worn the subject
threadbare however, she made a remark.

“I’ve been thinking about the masked ball--you should have been
planning long before this as to the costumes you intend wearing.”

“How do you know that we haven’t been planning?” asked Fred, smilingly.

“Oh, I’m glad if you have, but I haven’t heard about it,” said she.

“Haven’t you heard a weird tincan sound coming from the direction of
the pump-house lately?” queried Fred.

“Why, yes--I believe I have! What is it?” quizzed his mother.

“That’s the secret of my costume. Nobody will ever guess what it is to
be so I won’t tell beforehand,” returned Fred.

“I’m going as Red Riding Hood!” exclaimed Edith.

“Dud was going to be a pirate but Billy told him of some other good
idea so I’m going to use the pirate’s things,” said Paul.

“Yes, Bill and I are going to be a pair but we need you to help us make
the things, Mrs. Remington,” added Dudley.

“What is it?”

“Why, mother, Dud and I want to be bears--a white polar bear for me and
a cinnamon bear for Dud, and we need some old blankets for the suits,”
explained Billy.

“I wouldn’t want to spoil any good blankets by cutting them up for
suits but Anna has some white cotton flannel for the polar bear and I
think I know where there is some brown material that will do for the
other and you can sew the bear rug on the back of it,” suggested Mrs.
Remington.

“And maybe you and Anna can cut out and stitch up the suits--that will
be all, you know. Dud and I will do all the rest,” wheedled Billy.

“There isn’t anything else to do after that, is there?” laughed Anna.

“To make two bear skins seems a large order, Billy,” said Mrs.
Remington. Then thoughtfully, added, “Maybe we can use the pattern of
the sleeping suits that have feet and mittens attached! And we have
the sewing machine that will run up the seams quickly.”

“Of course! It will be dead easy!” said Dudley.

“And be sure you leave enough room when you cut out the stuff, to give
us a chance to stuff pillows in front. We’re going to be big fat bears,
you see,” added Billy, with concern.

Every one laughed, but Fred had an idea which he mentioned. “Bill, you
ought to rig up some strings that connect with the inside so that you
can wiggle the ears and stumpy tail.”

“That’s what I will! Won’t it be fun?” laughed Billy.

After that conversation, the time was given to the making of costumes
for the masque, Fred still jealously guarding his secret work going on
in the pump-house while every one expressed the wildest conjectures as
to what he could be making!

The first time the two bears tried on their costumes, Mose was heard
singing his favourite revival hymn, “Swing low, sweet chariot, goin’
fo’ t’carry me home,” while he worked in the adjoining room.

Mischief uppermost in his thought, Billy whispered to Dudley: “Say,
let’s hide in Mose’s tent to-night and when he goes to bed we’ll growl
like bears and jump out on him!”

“Great! But don’t let any one know or they’ll stop us,” replied Dudley.

The tooting of the Orion’s whistle just then, interrupted any further
planning and every one rushed out to meet the visitors. Mr. and Mrs.
Charlton had a plan to propose to Mrs. Remington, so the eldest went
into a secret conference from which the children were excluded, but
now and then a word sounded from unwary speakers. Words like “Boston,”
“Manage if they will all co-operate” and “See Uncle Bill about it,”
made the boys curious.

When the conclave ended, the children besieged Miss Travis to tell them
what every one was going to wear to the ball.

“Indeed we won’t tell!” said she, emphatically.

“Not much!” added Uncle Tom.

“Humph! Do you mean you’re going to wear bathing suits, or cannibal
costumes?” laughed Billy.

“Oh, a little more material than those take, I hope!” laughed Aunt
Edith, while appreciating her nephew’s quick wit.

“Wish we had thought of bathing suits--we could have saved much expense
and time,” said Uncle Tom, regretfully.

“I think you ought to tell us what you are going in!” persisted Billy.

“Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies!” retorted Uncle Tom,
and there the matter rested.

That night the wild uproar in Mose’s tent testified to the time the two
bears attacked him. The rest of the family rushed affrightedly over to
rescue the valuable cook, but found him upon the floor of his tent
writhing in convulsions of fear with two savage bears thumping on top
of him.

A veil must be drawn over that harrowing scene, but Mrs. Remington
wondered whether her chef was quaking in a fit of terror or only
shaking in laughter--especially as he had seen Anna sewing on the two
costumes for the bears.



CHAPTER NINE

THE NIGHT OF THE MASKED BALL


The night so anxiously anticipated came at last. As there was no moon
everything lay in velvety blackness. This was considered opportune as
it helped to hide the maskers when the launches landed them on the
wharf of Isola Bella.

Fudge Attic presented a bright contrast to the darkness out of doors,
for it was gay with lights and coloured bunting and the paraffine waxed
floor all ready waiting for impatient feet. Bridget, stationed just off
the landing of the stairway, queened it over a huge punch-bowl filled
with lemonade, while the laundry had been transformed into a buffet
given in charge of Mose.

The music was furnished by the two captains, one with his fiddle and
the other with a concertina. As it was impossible for both to play and
keep time together, they alternated in the demonstration of their art.

Lanciers and quadrilles were the popular dances with the captains,
so they tuned up for a grand march to begin with. The maskers, in
couples, waited to take part although “every couple was not a pair.”

A Grand Pasha with a diamond sunburst in the front of his turban led
a Red Cross nurse around the attic; following came a Knight in (tin)
armour with a Gypsy Maiden. Then came a Happy Hooligan and a Girlie
Girl; next, Little Red Riding Hood and a Pumpkin Clown and directly at
their heels ran the two bears on all fours, sniffing eagerly at the
basket carried by their prospective victim.

The Trail of the Lonesome Pine came stately and slowly all by
herself--the branches taking up such a spread of room. After her danced
the Yellow Kid with the Spanish Maid who shook a tambourine tinkling
with bells. A bewitching Japanese consorted with a well-filled Laundry
Bag and the News-of-the-Day came with a Breton peasant carrying a
swaddled babe. Last but not least the Pirate of Penzance marched with a
Pierrette.

With an excruciating wail from the fiddle, the march ended and a
breathless instant ensued when every one tried to pierce the disguise
of the others. No one would speak for fear of being identified by “next
friends.” The two bears could growl of course, and this they did to
their own great satisfaction.

Captain Ed shouted in his most nautical voice, “Take yer pardners for
the lanciers!”

In feigned tones cavaliers invited Nurse, Bag and Jap to step the light
fantastic with them, while Bears clung to a Pine and Red Riding Hood
until the sets were all made up.

At the command “Salute pardners!” heads bowed low and the two bears
swayed bearfully from side to side. Then at the call “Swing corners!”
both bears tried to hug the little Jap girl so closely that she cried
out to the Pasha for help.

During this lively dance the Lonesome-Pine Flo-Flo left much of her
Trail upon the floor and Mose found it necessary to hurriedly sweep up
the branches with a broom.

Before the lanciers ended most of the maskers were identified and
therefore were known by their Christian names. The Pasha, however,
insisted upon the deference due his rank and resented the familiar
appellation of “Uncle Bill.”

Suddenly, from the admiring circle drawn up about the Grand Pasha,
Miriam’s voice piped forth: “Why, papa! You’ve got on mamma’s sunburst
of diamonds!”

“S-sh--you impertinent Jap! Don’t you know that Girlie Girl hasn’t
discovered my decoration? Let me bask in its rays while I may,” came
from the Pasha in wary accents.

At that moment the Tin Knight rattled up while the Polar Bear growled
out, “Listen to the Ford Car approaching.”

As Red Riding Hood turned to watch the Knight in Armour trying to keep
his tin-can plates in order, a revelation came to her and she cried,
“Oh, _now_ I know what all that hammering in the pump-house was for!
But where did you find all the old empty cans, Fred?”

The concertina now squawked out to its full length and caused every one
to choose a mate for the dance. Captain Benton bawled, “All ready for
a polker,” and started the musical atrocity wheezing. At the same time
his body swayed and pitched like a ship in a storm, keeping time with
every long-drawn out extension of the bellows. As his vivid imagination
pictured the old-time dances he used to step so merrily with his
best girl, the faster sounded the wails from the concertina and more
erratic grew the time, until finally, the dance ended in a wild riot.

Uncle Bill decided this was the time to calm excitement by refreshing
the inner man, particularly as the little tots had to go to bed. So
every one trooped down to the well-filled laundry table where Mose was
kept busy handing our refreshments. Then once more back in the attic,
the fun waxed fast and furious until Uncle Tom called for attention!

“I am now about to distribute slips of paper for each one to write down
the name of the costume considered the winner. Whoever receives the
most votes will be presented with a prize. The one considered having
the funniest or oddest costume will also receive a prize.”

This announcement was received with loud acclamations of satisfaction
and surprise, for it was not known before. During the comparative quiet
while all were pondering the merits of the costumes, a loud “Boom!
Bang” came like a blast from the back bay.

Every one rushed to the eastern windows of the attic and Captain Ed,
being there first, yelled, “Fire! Fire!”

The others gazed wildly from the windows as a long sheet of flame
forked up into the darkness of the night.

“Boom! Boom! Bang!” came again and a mighty Fourth of July display
glittered back of the dark firs fringing the shore. By this time, the
Pasha, grabbing a large fire-extinguisher, tore down the stairs and
went headlong down to the beach. The rest of the maskers were not slow
to follow so that before the third explosion sounded they all were near
enough to see by the reflection of the flare that a blazing launch was
stranded on Isola Bella and already, like a torch, one of the fir trees
was burning fiercely.

The danger was evident to all for even the youngest Islander knew that
if once the firs caught fire, the entire island was doomed; not only
the trees and buildings but also the peat-like soil would burn off of
the rocks.

The frantic Pasha, minus turban and sunburst and with only one Turkish
shawl trailing from his shoulders, plied the chemicals incessantly
while the Tin Knight and the dusky Major-Domo of the buffet tore down
blazing fragments of neighbouring trees and the erst-while musicians
bravely exerted their muscular strength in pushing off the burning
launch from the wharf. And they finally succeeded but at the cost of
hair and hands. Uncle Tom, Yellow Kid and the Two Bears quickly formed
a bucket brigade of all the other maskers, and with their aid the last
spark burning on the island was deluged and extinguished.

After the terrific battle and excitement with the fire had calmed down
a forlorn group were discovered huddled on the rocks near the wharf.
The owner of the doomed launch gazed hopelessly at the burning boat
while his wife cried pitifully by his side.

Their story was soon told. The man was returning from Belfast with
three barrels of gasoline on board. The gasoline caught fire--how, he
could not tell.

Uncle Bill concluded that a back-fire from the engine ignited the fumes
from a leaky tank and of course it took but a moment to wrap the entire
launch in flame.

The man and his wife had taken to their small boat as soon as the fire
burst forth, knowing of the awful danger incurred from the presence of
the three barrels of gasoline. Even though they had escaped before the
explosions, both of them were burned, the man’s hands being severely
blistered.

It was long after midnight before the burns and blisters had been given
first-aid treatment; then a smudged and frazzled Masquerade Party were
free to go to bed.

The water-soaked Yellow Kid escorted a smoke-streaked Pierrette and a
skeleton Pine--nothing now but a few threads and sticks left of the
green plumes--to the Orion and home. Thankful indeed, were they that
the fire had left them the Orion in which to go home.

As for the Sunset Islanders: they were so excited that no thought of
sleep was entertained. It was nearly dawn before the last whisper was
silenced in their tents. And then, Bill was heard to say, “Let’s go
over to Isola Bella the first thing in the morning and have a look at
the wreck!”

And his mother called, “If you boys don’t go to sleep there won’t be
any morning, because you’ll sleep into the late afternoon.”

However, boys never fail to wake up early if there is a circus or some
other great excitement to be enjoyed, so all of the Island boys were up
and ready to start for Uncle Bill’s the moment breakfast was over.

Their intent was to view the wreck and take pictures of the charred
remains, but once having landed on the wharf they found Uncle Bill with
downcast expression--a most unusual thing.

“Boys,” said he, taking them into his confidence, “you remember the
Pasha’s diamond sunburst of last night?”

Yes, they all did.

“Well, somehow, the Pasha in his undignified exit from the ball-room
lost his turban. Of course the sunburst was with it. The turban has
been found but no sunburst!”

“Gee! What did Aunt Miriam say?” cried Billy, sympathetically.

“Well--she is annoyed!”

“We’ll help you look for it, Uncle Bill,” instantly volunteered the
boys from Sunset Island.

“Start right in now--the sooner the quicker for me!” replied Uncle Bill.

But the most careful and minute search by the boys failed to locate
anything like a brooch. Finally, every one on Isola Bella was enlisted
in the campaign, but without success. Several old croquet balls, some
tennis balls, a lost doll of Betty’s and other valueless miscellany
were combed out from the tall ferns but no diamonds.

Then Bill yelled with joy. “I’ve got it! Here is the bunch of sparkles!”

Every one ran swiftly to be in “at the death,” but it turned out to be
a bit of broken cut-glass that lay hidden in the dew-covered green moss.

The indefatigable work of the hunters had to be rewarded whether the
pin was found or not, so all were invited to sit down to a well-laden
table for lunch.

They sat discussing all possible and impossible places where the
diamonds might be, but Aunt Miriam refused to be comforted and Uncle
Bill seemed quite unnatural in his rôle of penitent.

“Well, Miriam, you may have lost the diamonds but still you are more
fortunate than that poor man and his wife who lost their launch
last night,” remarked Uncle Bill, surprised at his wife’s unusual
persistence in harping on her loss.

“But _I_ didn’t lose it--you are the guilty one!” said she.

“If I had that blamed old sunburst in my hand to make you happy again,
I’d help stake that poor old duffer to a new launch! I swear I would!”
declared Uncle Bill, recklessly.

Quietly then, Aunt Miriam rose from her chair and came around the
table to lean over his shoulder. He thought she was about to pat him
consolingly on the head and say, “Never mind, dear.”

So he raised his hand to clasp hers in token of her ready sympathy when
his fingers closed over something that gave him a sharp jab.

“Ouch--by heck! That pesky pin!”

He held it out and looked hard at the cause of his recent generous
offer while every one laughed freely at his predicament.

“Oh, thou false and treacherous woman! Had I back once more the salty
tears I shed o’er yon ferns while seeking for this glittering bauble!
Moved by your pretended distress we have wasted the golden moments of
this glorious day for naught!”

The Islanders laughed again while Aunt Miriam smiled.

“But it was not wasted time nor loss of tears--for both impelled you to
act the Good Samaritan,” said his wife.

“Boys, how much do you suppose I’ll _have_ to donate now, to ease off
my conscience regarding that launch?” asked Uncle Bill.

Opinions varied. Billy, taking the part of his namesake thought the
man deserved little because of his evident carelessness in carrying
gasoline in barrels on his launch.

Fred suggested that every one chip in to help, but Fred had a larger
allowance than the younger boys, so Paul, Billy and Dudley made no
reply to this plan.

Then, as usual, the feminine contingent carried the vote in the
interests of charity and Uncle Bill was mulcted a goodly sum.

“But what I want to know is, ‘Where did Aunt Miriam find that
sunburst?’” queried Fred.

And amid appreciative smiles, that fair lady told how, amid the excited
rush from Fudge Attic the night before, she had found the diamond
brooch sparkling on the floor. She had quietly retrieved it but had
no thought of playing any joke on the Pasha until she saw his very
preoccupied manner and his avoidance of conversation with her. She was
not supposed to have missed the jewel and he was postponing the evil
time as long as possible.

After lunch, several games of tennis were enjoyed and when it came time
to return to Sunset Island Elizabeth said, “I may as well sail back
with you, I suppose.”

“Yes, ’cause we’re all going to Belfast in the morning to replenish the
commissary department,” answered Fred.

“Who’s going?” demanded Paul, eagerly.

“Everybody who wants to--we are taking the Medric and expect to spend
the day.”

“I suppose you’ll see us up there too, then, as we are going to Belfast
to shop before Uncle Bill goes away--he expects to leave here next
week, you know,” said Aunt Miriam.

“Oh, won’t we have fun in Belfast--all together!” cried Miriam.

Billy seemed to be thinking of a plan formed the moment he heard Uncle
Bill would be in Belfast the next day. So now he turned to ask a
question.

“Say, Uncle Bill, you know, one time father said I could have the old
engine that was taken from the launch he sold two years ago. Do you
think you could help me sell that engine in Belfast and get enough for
it to help mother think she can afford to add the rest of the price for
a launch?”

Uncle Bill’s eyes twinkled. “Well, not a brand new launch exactly,
but it will help buy that old one you’ve had your eye on for the past
month!”

“How much does the owner want for it, Billy?” asked Fred.

“Sixty dollars--and every one says it’s the biggest bargain at that
price!” exclaimed Billy, eagerly.

“That’s a good business idea of yours, Billy--about the old engine.
Suppose you take it with you to-morrow and we will see how much we can
raise on it,” responded Uncle Bill.

“Thanks, awfully, Uncle Bill!”

When it came to trading the old launch engine the next day Uncle Bill
and his namesake proved themselves to be almost as good Yankees at
bargaining as the man who bought it. And the fifteen dollars paid Billy
looked mighty good to him as it meant that he was so much nearer the
goal of his heart’s desire.

The chief reason for the Islanders being so eager to go to Belfast was
soon revealed after the arrival of the boats. An earnest pilgrimage
started at the ironmonger’s the moment the trade of the engine was
consummated, and continuing up the hilly street ended at the ice-cream
soda-fountain of the drug store.

The proprietor made his own syrups and cream and the cooling beverages
he dispensed were like nectar. The adults of the party appreciated this
fully as much as the juveniles.

Much to Teddy’s joy, they all happened to be in Belfast the day which
was the one advertised by the druggist offering a balloon to every one
who made a ten-cent purchase. Thus it came to pass that the downward
trail of the Sunset Islanders was marked by shreds of exploded rubber
“Zeppelins.”

Loaded down to the gunwales so that the “lee-scuppers ran with blood”
of beets, tomatoes, corn, onions and other fruit (?) the Medric turned
her prow to the south and Sunset Isle.

A peaceful calm brooded over the members of the party--the lunch at the
Belfast tea-room had been supplemented by many extras in the grocery
store so that no one missed Mose’s generous midday fare.

“Say, Billy, got any more of them cocoanut jumbles?” asked Dudley,
wistfully, after a silence.

“No--I only got a dozen. Ask Edith for some of her ginger-snaps.”

“I’ve got a bag of peanuts--Virginia Jumbos. Want some?” asked
Elizabeth.

“Children, _do_ remember your poor weary stomachs! They will be crying
for rest if you don’t!” sighed Mrs. Remington.

And the ever thoughtful children, wishing to allay their mother’s sighs
and fears, rather than limit their gustatory joys moved forward where
the Captain stood with Fred steering the boat.

“It’s a lucky thing for us that this Belfast trip only happens once in
a while,” remarked Anna, meaningly.

While cracking and chewing the two quarts of hot peanuts offered by
Elizabeth, the Islanders bethought them of one of the Captain’s stories.

“Say, Captain, how about those pirates that sailed the seas--any up
around here in olden times?” hinted Billy.

“We-ll, I’ve hearn tell of some. They do say that Cap’n Kidd plied his
trade in these waters, too. But the worst feller ever known was Manum.
Why, he was so wicked there’s a song about _him_! And my father said it
didn’t half do the pirate justice, either!”

“Oh, do let us hear it, Captain!” urged the children.

With deprecatory coughs and some clearings of the throat the Captain
began singing in a nasal tenor the ballad of Bold Manum, a curious
rhyme with a salty flavour:

BOLD MANUM

  Bold Manum went to sea one day
    And it was dreary too,
  The dreariest day that ever was seen--
    All in the foggy dew.

  Oh, we spied a lofty sh-i-ip,
    To the leeward of us she lay;
  “And it’s up with our main-topsails, lads,
    And after her away.”

  Oh, we bore right down upon her,
    And sheered up ’longside;
  And with a speaking tru-um-pet,
    “Where are you bound?” he cried.

  “Where are you bound,” cried Manum,
    “Be sure you answer true,
  For I have lost my longitude
    Way back a day or two.”

  “Oh, we are the ‘Fame of New York,’
    To Lisbon we are bound;
  Our captain’s name is R. D. Craig,
    A native of that town.”

  “You lie, you lie,” cried Manum,
    “For such a thing can’t be;
  Come lower your top-sails on your caps
    And fall down under my lee.”

  Oh, these bold and thirsty pirates
    With their swords right in their hand
  They leapt aboard the merchant man
    And murdered every man.

  Oh, these bold and thirsty pirates,
    They ransacked everything,
  Until they found a fair damsel,
    Aft in the waist cab-ing.

  She sat playing on her ha-a-rp,
    Right merrilie did she sing:
  “Home, Home sweet ho-o-me,
    There’s no place like home.
  I followed my true lover
    Which caus-ed me to roam.”

  Oh, some they cursed, and some they swore
    They’d have her for a wife:
  When up stepped Bold Manum, saying,
    “Oh, I will end all strife!”

  Oh, he rushed upon that fair damsel.
    Without any fear or dread,
  And catching her by her long fair hair,
    He slivered off her head!

Captain Ed sang the pirate’s song with such vivid interpretation and
dramatic gesticulations that his audience felt a delightful shiver run
along their spines. When he finished, a wild applause rewarded his
effort.

Then Elizabeth was stirred to emulate the Captain’s donation to music
so she offered to sing another old-time sailors’ song called “Strike,
Strike the Bell.”

This was a favourite with Fred and Billy so they joined in and soon
every one took up the refrain:

STRIKE, STRIKE THE BELL!

  Forward is the lookout man walking on his beat
    Up and down the fo’castle with cold hands and feet.
  Thinking of his father, and mother as well,
    And wishing you would hurry up, and strike, strike the bell!

  Refrain:

  Strike the bell now, second mate, and send the watch below,
  Look away to windward and you’ll see it’s going to blow.
  Look in the glass and you’ll find it as well,
  And a-wishing you would hurry up and strike, strike the bell!

  Aft is the steersman a-standing at his wheel
    Tapping now at his toe now at his heel;
  Thinking of his true-love who in her home doth dwell
    And wishing you would hurry up and strike, strike the bell.

  Refrain:

  Strike the bell now, second mate, and send the watch below,
  Look away to windward and you’ll see it’s going to blow.
  Look in the glass and you’ll find it as well,
  And a-wishing you would hurry up and strike, strike the bell!

The song ended, the peanut bag was emptied, and the crackers all
gone, when the Medric came to glide up close to the float-stage. The
passengers jumped off and rushed up to the bungalow calling for Mose.

“Supper most ready, Mose? We’re all as hungry as wolves!” cried each
and every one of the young Islanders; but Anna exchanged looks with
Mrs. Remington, who shook her head over the ever-recurrent question:
“Are the stomachs of young people lined with a metal that never wears
out?”



CHAPTER TEN

FOR THE HONOUR OF THE BLACK BEARS


“Who wants to sail over to Rosemary and bring back some burlap bags
of hay?” called Fred, one rather cloudy morning when every one felt
undecided about doing anything on account of the weather.

The three younger boys hastily volunteered and were told to get ready.

“Say, this is a case of sou’westers and oilskins, boys,” called Fred,
when he saw them coming from the bungalow with caps and sweaters.

“Why do you need hay--we haven’t a horse or cow to feed?” questioned
Dudley.

“Never mind,” replied Billy; “who knows what sort of a wild animal may
be prowling around the island pretty soon.” As he spoke with a certain
air of knowledge he buttoned a sou’wester strap high under his chin.

“Say--I bet I know!” laughed Paul, eyeing Billy, then Fred carefully.

“What?” demanded Dudley.

“We’re going to stuff a bear for the Mishi-mokwa game, aren’t we, Fred?”

“Right you are! We will, if Elizabeth will help us with the sewing of
the burlap,” replied Fred.

“Oh, is that why you picked over that iron junk in Belfast and bought
all those sharp-ended rods for spear points?” added Paul.

“When can we make it and have our first game?” asked Billy.

“The sooner we get started the sooner we will have the bear finished,
and the rest depends upon that!” replied Fred.

When Uncle Tom heard about the project he willingly donated the burlap
bags and hay. Trixie, very curious as she stood in the drizzle in her
checked skirt, begged the boys to tell her all about the bear-spearing
game.

“You’re going to be invited to the next Council and then you’ll see how
to do it,” replied Billy.

“When will that be?” asked Trixie.

“Next Thursday afternoon at three o’clock,” said Fred.

“And then the Honour of the Black Bears will be upheld!” declared Billy.

“Now what do you mean by that,” again asked Trixie.

“Just come to the Council and find out,” was all Billy would say.

But Fred explained. “You see, Billy and I really belong to the Black
Bear Tribe when we are home so we are going to challenge all of the
members of the Pentagoet Tribe here and the visitors to a Bear Spearing
contest. You can join the others if you like and try to beat our score.”

Trixie followed the boys to the shore and waved farewell until they
were out of sight in the misty morning. Then she sat on the steps
oblivious alike of her damp skirt and the drops of moisture that
sparkled on her curls, longing for a camp-life and the simple fun of
the Woodcrafters. Finally she realised she was becoming thoroughly wet
from the fine rain so she went dolefully back to the house.

At Sunset Island, all hands watched Fred construct the bear. He found
he would not need Elizabeth’s help for the sewing as his practice with
sailor’s palm and needle came in good even if the stitches were uneven.

What a ludicrous creature it was when completed! A loop of rope for
a tail, another for a nose, and a third on the middle of the back.
Billy and Paul helped to swing the beast from between two tall birches
and Dudley took the first fling of a spear at it. Dudley had occupied
himself in trimming into a wooden spear one of the small standing dead
firs that crowded the underbush of the island.

This gave Fred an idea.

“Say, boys, each one of you can make a lot of those kind of spears and
we might use them for practice.”

“That’s right! The old bear will last longer than if we used the iron
spears on him,” added Billy.

As night came on the fog shut in again and Fred called the boys from
their spear-making to look after their tents for the night. That
evening the bungalow fire made a cheery spot to gather about, for the
dampness out-of-doors was chilly and unfriendly.

“Do you think it will be foggy all day to-morrow?” asked Dudley.

“I don’t think so, but we musn’t kick if it is, as we have had fine
weather right along,” replied Fred.

“I know of a fine game to play in foggy weather!” hinted Mrs. Remington.

Instantly, she had every one’s attention--as she knew she would.

“The wood-boxes need a new supply and so many valiant Woodcrafters
about here ought to be valiant woodchoppers for a change!” said she.

“Oh piffle! what a game!” sniffed Paul.

The others all laughed at his disgusted look but Fred said, “We’ll do
it, mother! Of course it’s a great sacrifice of valuable time, but we
would throw it away recklessly for _you_!”

“I am happy to have such generosity shown me, seeing that I am the only
one who ever sits before the big fireplace!” laughed Mrs. Remington.

As she seldom had time to sit down with the others when they told
stories and played games before the great fire, the children
appreciated the sarcasm. And the following morning every available
container was filled full of chopped wood.

The morning was foggy so, the wood-boxes attended to, the boys fished
off the float-stage for lobster bait. Sculpins and flounders were
caught and by this time the mist began lifting. The Captain thought
they might row out to the traps to bait them and before the last
lobster trap was baited and heaved over the side of the boat, the sun
shone out. A little breeze from the west soon scattered the remaining
curls of fog and the day turned out to be dazzlingly bright.

For all their patient working the boys found nothing but crabs and
star-fish in the traps that morning, and they began to fear that the
lobster supply around Sunset Island had been exhausted.

“I’ll tell you what we’ve got to do, we’ve got to change the traps and
put them over towards the Isleboro side,” said Dudley. “I saw a lot of
trap-buoys over that way.”

“Don’t you know those fishermen would gladly set their traps here if it
wasn’t for us being on the island?” asked Billy.

And the Captain added: “Bill’s right; and some of these men say they’re
goin’ to come and set their traps here anyway.”

“You’d think that all the refuse from fish that we’ve been throwing out
from our fish-drying work would have attracted the lobsters long ago,
wouldn’t you?” ventured Billy.

“They’re queer critters, all right,” admitted Captain Ed.

“I guess it will be clear for the bear-spearing to-morrow, after all,”
Paul said, looking at the blue sky.

“I’ll finish my last iron spear-head to-night and be all ready for it,”
added Fred.

Supper over that evening, Fred worked on the spear-head while the
other boys tried various ways of tying knots. As the Captain was a
master-hand at that craft, he was appealed to and when the boys had
been taught to tie some sailor-knots he showed them several trick knots
which caused great interest. Then, Mrs. Remington showed them how to do
the string trick called “Throwing the Fish Spear.”

The following day was clear and sunny and the usual attendance at
Council was counted upon by the Islanders. But they were in for a
surprise.

When the guests began to arrive, a number of strange launches were
seen in the wake of the Orion. It was then learned that neighbouring
cottagers of Aunt Edith’s had heard of the fun and entertainment
provided at a Woodcraft Council and had begged permission to be invited
to the next one held on Sunset Island.

A hearty welcome was extended the visitors and the Council opened.
When the tally of the last Council was read the guests laughed at the
account of the poetry contest. Then came the call for report of scouts.

Billy saluted. “Oh Chief! I have to report that being desirous of
obtaining a photograph of a young fish-hawk, or osprey, in a nest on
Spruce Island, I climbed the tree carrying Paul’s kodak on my back. I
found the young osprey dead, hanging dismembered upon a branch below
the nest. I could not determine whether this was due to an accident or
not. Evidently the bird had been dead some time. I found the tails of
seven flounders in and about the nest, also the remnants of other fish.”

“I also found a piece of bamboo netting woven into the nest. I managed
to climb above and snap a photograph of the nest and dead bird but I
regret to say that it was a failure. The film was returned with nothing
but blurs on it, so I think I made a mistake in focussing properly.”

A discussion ensued over the possible cause of the death of the osprey
and the suggestion of accident was decided to be the plausible one.

Uncle Tom made a report on the presence of porcupines in his
apple-orchard and asked the help of some brave hunter to help
exterminate them. Billy instantly volunteered and was accepted,
providing he came alone. Mr. Charlton knew that Billy was perfectly
trustworthy with firearms, but accidents can easily happen when a
number of boys are taken along.

“Oh Chief! I have an offer to lay before the parents and guardians
here present. I will train the boys in target-shooting and offer a
prize to that one who excels at a given time,” now added Uncle Tom.

“How, How!” echoed around the Council Ring at this news.

The vote was unanimous on the part of the younger faction so Fred put
it to a motion.

“Oh Chief! I move that a committee be formed of parents to deliberate
over this plan,” said Mrs. Remington.

“Second the motion!” added Mrs. Farwell.

On the final vote the motion was carried that the mothers form a
committee to report later--not necessarily to the Council but to Uncle
Tom or Fred.

The time devoted to the granting of honours now arrived and Elizabeth
sprang to her feet.

“Oh Chief! I have a claim to present in behalf of another.”

“Present the claim,” said Wita-tonkan with dignity.

“In behalf of Wita-tonkan of the Black Bear Tribe, I, Pah-hlee-oh of
the Apamwamis Tribe, claim low honour for constructing a bear, for the
Bear Spearing Game according to the standards in the Book of Woodcraft,
edition of 1915,” stated Elizabeth.

“Witnessed by Edward Blake, Dudley West, and William Remington,”
concluded she, proudly looking at her brother Fred.

This was indeed a surprise to Fred as he really had forgotten that
his recent work on the bear constituted and counted for a _coup_.
Nevertheless, he announced as usual,

“You have heard this claim: it is properly witnessed and moreover will
soon be demonstrated at this Council--what is your pleasure?”

The decision was unanimous for granting the _coup_ and the visitors’
attention was drawn to the burlap bear swinging between the trees just
beyond the Council Ring.

Then the Chief announced: “Friends and members of the Pentagoet Tribe,
you may not know that Shingebis and I are old Woodcraft Indians of the
Honourable Tribe of Black Bear. To-day we wish to appear as Black Bears
in our allegiance and introduce some of the customs of our Tribe. One
of these is the challenging for scalps.

“Each Black Bear wears a black scalp-lock when he is in Council. Here
is mine,” and Wita-tonkan held aloft a long strand of black horsehair
with a loop of thong attached.

“This represents our life! When we challenge for scalps we stake our
life. If we lose we have to remain dead until the Tribe votes us alive
again.”

Advancing to the Council Fire Wita-tonkan, in the name of Shingebis and
himself challenged the Pentagoet Tribe or any visitors present, to a
Bear Spearing Contest for scalps!

Paul jumped up and cried, “We accept!”

And a chorus of “Hows!” showed that every one present was brave and
daring.

“Oh Chief! How can we pay up if we have no hirsute adornments similar
to the Black Bear scalps?” asked Uncle Bill.

“Every one who enters this contest must agree to forfeit a scalp like
this or similar. _They can be procured!_” sternly answered Wita-tonkan.

A babel of voices then arose and finally it appeared that Wita-tonkan
and Shingebis had twenty opponents arrayed against them in the contest.

“Gee! If the Black Bears win we won’t be able to see them--they will be
so covered with scalps,” cried Dudley.

“Oh Chief! that reminds me! What happens should the two Black Bears
lose? How can two scalps be divided among so many Pentagoets?” inquired
Uncle Tom.

“Why, we each get a lock of hair from their two heads!” laughed Uncle
Bill.

“I should say not! We each have one life to lose and we give what we
have, one life apiece,” retorted the Chief.

“Then, _who_ will get your two scalps?” persisted Uncle Tom.

“No one--the Black Bears will get _yours_!” boasted Fred.

Every one laughed at that but the Chief added seriously: “Our two
scalps, _should_ we lose, will become the possession of the two Braves
opposing, who make the highest scores of individual hits out of the
five shots allowed each contestant.”

That was plain and just so they all filed over to the burlap bear.

What a fight that was! The children and inexperienced spearsmen were
soon cleared off of the field of action. Paul made a hit but it counted
for little as it was not near the red-painted heart of the bear. Dudley
scored in the same manner. Elizabeth hit the bear twice but alas! only
one spear stuck in so she only scored once. Then they all shouted for a
Black Bear. Shingebis stepped forward to try his skill.

The bear was swung erratically but impartially by Captains Ed and
Benton. Billy chose his time well and took careful aim. Two of his
spears dangled from the bear’s body, one in the very rim of the heart’s
circle thus counting ten for his score and the other counting five,
making a total of fifteen for his side.

“How! How!” shouted a chorus of voices.

“For the Honour of the Black Bears!” said Billy solemnly.

“Now, watch your Uncle Bill!” cried that worthy, and kerplunk went a
spear! It struck the ground below the clumsy beast.

Every one yelled but Uncle Bill had four more trials. In these he
netted his side fifteen, which with the three hits of Elizabeth, Paul
and Dudley, totalled the Pentagoets eighteen against fifteen of the
Black Bears.

Uncle Tom now tried and amid great excitement made a hit near the
heart-circle, counting five.

“Hurrah!” shouted Paul, dancing wildly about.

“Twenty-three for our side!” yelled Dudley, throwing a rock out to sea
in order to give vent to his pent-up frenzy.

“Beat it, Wita-tonkan--for the Honour of the Black Bears,” urged Billy,
anxiously.

“Never fear!” spoke the Island Chief with confidence. “Have I speared
the Bear at Wyndy-goul and at Lake Peequo for naught?”

And his boast proved good!

The three hits made by Wita-tonkan raised the Black Bear score, first
to sixteen, then to twenty-one and finally to thirty-one.

“Scalp! scalp! Let’s dance the scalp-dance!” screamed Billy shrilly,
with overwrought nerves.

“How! How!” came from the others as they participated.

“Now pay up your scalps!” ordered Fred.

“But, this is a serious matter. Here! All you Pentagoets and
visitors--don’t you know we’re all dead ones!” cried Uncle Bill in a
sepulchral tone.

Thereupon, without further warning, he fell to the ground, dragging
Edith, Miriam and Paul down with him in the death-struggle.

The other losers of scalps failed to realise their demise in such a
dramatic manner, and contented themselves with laughing heartily at
Uncle Bill and his three wriggling understudies.

“Where can we procure scalps?” asked Aunt Edith.

“Why, at any harness store. Get the horsehair dingle-dangles that we
use as a substitute for the Black Bear brand,” replied Elizabeth,
laughingly.

“I’m going to get a bright red one to show my heart’s blood!” exclaimed
Paul.

“Then you’d better get another to use after the tribe votes you alive
again,” advised Billy.

“All right, then I’ll get a blue one for that.”

As there were so many dead Indians about, the Council of the living
reconvened and voted the dead hunters alive again. Bill was sent out to
bring them in, and then the Council closed by singing the Zuni Sunset
song.

Every one stood in a semi-circle facing the red glow beyond the western
mountains, the light fading perceptibly as they sang.

From the launches that bore away the visitors, the good-byes floated
back to the group on shore. And loud and long was the chorus that came
from Trixie and the Islanders on the float-stage, for the girl had been
invited to remain and visit Elizabeth for a few days, and the young
people were all delighted to have her with them.

The weather was very unsettled for the next few days, but that did not
interfere with Trixie’s enjoyment. She sailed with Fred, fished with
the others, and entered into all of the Island sports with an energy
that quite won the admiration of the boys.

“Say, Trix, are you going to wear that checked skirt again to-day? I
bet that’s what hoodoos the weather!” said Bill, one morning, seeing
that the sun failed to shine.

“Yes, I am!”

“Then, we’ll postpone our walk on Isleboro, for every time you wear
that skirt it rains,” continued Fred, teasingly.

“How ridiculous!”

“Nothing of the kind! If you just try another skirt for our sakes, I
bet the sun will shine!” asserted Dudley, who saw the look exchanged
between Fred and Bill.

“Well, I don’t believe in signs and hoodoos but to please you boys I
will wear my short corduroy skirt--and it’s better anyway for walking
through the woods,” admitted Trixie.

The boys knew it would be a fine day, and the mist that hid the sun
would soon be dispelled, so they chuckled to themselves that Trixie
would believe it was her change of skirt.

The walk on Islesboro was for the purpose of completing the tree and
flower _coups_ of the Pentagoet Tribe and incidentally the sail over to
Crow Cove would be enjoyable and add mileage to Fred’s sailing.

“How many miles have you made now, Fred?” asked Paul.

“Just one hundred and one miles.”

“Oh, he’ll do it all right,” said Dudley.

“I intend to,” added Fred, quietly.

“Let’s sail over to the old ‘wrack,’” laughed Billy, in imitation of
Maine sailors.

“Maybe there will be enough water under her stern so’s we can sail
close under and climb aboard if you want to,” suggested Fred.

This met with approval for every one wanted a good chance to see what a
“dead-eye” was and this was an old-timer; though everything removable
had long since been taken, the rows of “dead-eyes” stuck up along her
sides empty for years of the shrouds they formerly secured.

“What queer names things on boats have,” commented Trixie.

“You will admit that dead-eyes are appropriate in their connection with
shrouds,” laughed Elizabeth.

“I never thought of that,” chuckled Billy.

“And why is that rope you are holding called a ‘sheet’?” wondered
Trixie.

“Because it is fastened to a corner of a sail,” replied Fred. “Sheet
came from the old word meaning something that stuck out, or shot out.
Shoot and shot are related words, you know. And as corners stick out a
corner of the sail was first called a sheet-line and then the name was
applied to the line itself leading from the corner.”

“Well! Where did you find all that out?” said his sister, surprised.

“In the encyclopedia; you see, I too thought the name a queer one so I
looked it up.”

“Maybe sheets for a bed were called that because they had corners,”
ventured Paul.

“Yes, the book thinks so,” returned Fred. “And the big anchor that was
depended upon for safety was called a ‘sheet-anchor’--not because it
had corners but because it was shot out into the water. The whole word
means a mixup of things but all we need remember is that the sheet here
is the line and not the sail.”

“I brought my camera to take a picture of the wreck,” said Paul, as
they saw the vessel.

“Wait until I get on her and then take me too, will you, Paul?” asked
Billy, eagerly.

“Of course he will, Billy, and we will name it ‘The Two Wrecks,’”
laughed Dudley.

When the mariners were once more sailing the seas, Paul remarked, “I
wonder if Trix knows the sun is shining!”

“Why, so it is!” cried the girl.

“See there! We told you that checked skirt was the hoodoo,” teased Fred.

“Don’t tell me you believe it would have rained had I worn it?” scoffed
Trixie.

“Why not? It brought rain every other day!” laughed Billy.

“Pooh! Elizabeth told me that to-day promised fair, so I know you were
only trying to tease me.”

The walk through the woods was enjoyed by all and the boys were
delighted to find that they could add enough trees to their lists to
make the twenty-five required for a _coup_. With beech, mountain-ash,
aspen-poplar, white-cedar, and three kinds of birches and moose-leaf
maple to add to the fir, spruce, and pine found on Sunset Island they
were able to finish their collection begun with chestnut, catalpa, and
various oaks, found in more southerly latitudes.

That evening, as Fred read aloud the list of trees for a Grand _Coup_,
Elizabeth, the poetess, turned them into rhyme. Trixie watched her
scribble and when through, took it and read it aloud to the circle in
the living-room.

THE GRAND COUP FOR TREES

  I want to know the trees that grow, they’re interesting, you see;
  Besides, a woodcraft honour high it may bring now to me.
  Don’t blame the dog-wood for this verse, though doggerel it be,
  Its flowers are much more beautiful than any lines from me.
  I’d like to tell you all about the trees both great and small;
  ’Twould keep me very busy to even name them all!
  The pine tree--that fine tree! the elms and the oaks,
  Make wood enough and good enough for any sort of folks.
  The beech tree, the peach tree together on the strand;
  The pretty girls the “peaches” love the “beaches’” shining sand.
  The palm tree, the balm tree, the bamboo, the teak;
  And others from the Orient if we go there to seek.
  The orange tree, whose blossoms be much loved on wedding days;
  The lemon and the grape-fruit, too, are kin in many ways.
  The apple and the apricot, the plum tree and the pear;
  The fruits of these are sure to please somebody, anywhere.
  The cedar and the hemlock, the fir and pine and spruce,
  Are members of one family with wood for any use.
  The cotton-wood, the willow for canoes and Indian beds;
  The aspen and the poplar that rustles o’er our heads,
  The hickory, the walnut, the pecan, now are all
  Nut bearers in the autumn to feed us in the fall.
  Mulberry trees, wild cherry trees; the mango and the date;
  The last you see must be the tree that keeps some men out late.
  The sycamores--yes by the scores they line the river’s brim.
  We know these trees afar, with ease, by mottled bark and limb.
  Persimmon and the chinquapin sound good and nice and sweet;
  We one and all late in the fall enjoy their fruits to eat.
  The china berry is a very charming, flowering tree.
  It grows down south, in spite of drought--up north it cannot be.
  The pendant locust blooms look good; the tree is fine for shade;
  For posts that last ’tis better wood than any other made.
  The butternut, the chip-munks’ friend, the wood is soft and dark;
  We know it by its frond-like leaves as well as by its bark.
  The maple is a staple tree, its syrup very sweet
  Its wood is good for floors you see; in its shade we like to meet.
  The hazel bush might raise a blush if called a tree, ’tis true;
  (The rhyme is fierce but in a rush we stop at nought--do you?)
  The chestnut is the best nut, its wood is very good;
  ’Tis easy to split and easy cut; the nuts are good for food.
  The basswood’s wood is fine for trunks, when bound with duck
    or leather.
  Saw up tree trunks in boards, not chunks, and fasten them together.
  The elder and the alder much delight in swamps to grow.
  The cedar also likes the touch of water at its toe.
  The sweet gum and the cypress are in Dixie’s forests found.
  Live oaks their mossy beards hang far to canebreaks on the ground.
  The evergreen and long-leafed pine lift high their spreading arms;
  Spring now endows their plumey spines with new and pleasing charms.
  In May old dark green needles show a bushy background there--
  While new light shoots upstanding, grow like Christmas candles’ flare.
  Of beauty out-of-doors in Spring, of trees like these, and more,
  Of flowers and birds that mate and sing, old Earth has still full
    store.



CHAPTER ELEVEN

WITA-TONKAN LEFT IN CHARGE


At breakfast, Sunday morning, Mrs. Remington announced a startling
piece of news.

“Friends, children, and Sagamore-in-the-making! I have to surprise you!
Aunt Edith and I are going to Boston on a visit. While I am away you
girls are to stay with Aunt Flo-Flo at Rosemary. Anna and Teddy are
going to Isola Bella, and you boys are to remain with Fred in charge of
the Island. How do you like the plan?”

A mixed chorus arose: “Oh, don’t go!” and “Fine! fine!” “We’ll be
good!” and “How long will you stay?”

Mrs. Remington laughed but waited to hear from Fred. He rose and
keeping an eagle eye on his future vassals, proclaimed: “Order shall
be kept, or I, Wita-tonkan, will perish in the attempt! Wough! a Black
Bear has spoken!”

“When you are in charge, you can really earn your title of ‘Island
Chief,’ Fred,” remarked Elizabeth.

“When are we going to Mrs. Charlton’s?” asked Trixie.

“I suppose you girls can wait and see me off. You can pack your
suit-cases for a week or ten days and the Captain can set you ashore
at the Rosemary landing after leaving me at the steamer wharf. We are
going by the Boston boat you know--it is much cooler.”

What a bustle there was during the two days that ensued.

On Monday, Aunt Flo-Flo and Mrs. Charlton came in the Orion to visit
the Islanders.

“I thought it best to come over and take an inventory of my ready-made
family,” laughed Aunt Flo-Flo.

“Oh, we’ll be good as saints if you’ll only take us on enough
motor-trips to last a month!” exclaimed Elizabeth.

“Maybe the boys would like to sail over for a day’s trip, too,”
suggested Aunt Edith, but the boys had disappeared from the porch. Fred
had given them the high sign for a pow-wow to be held in his tee-pee
immediately!

That evening the girls begged to be told what was the cause of the
serious and animated pow-wow. Portentous looks were all the answer
returned while Mrs. Remington remained in the room.

“Say, who wants to walk to the south end of the island and watch the
tide come in in the moonlight?” asked Fred, when it was found that his
mother expected to remain in the room.

Every one declared they wanted to see such a sight, and soon the room
was vacated and quiet--Mrs. Remington being occupied with her written
orders for Mose during her absence.

Once down upon the little beach, Fred announced that he and the others
planned to do lots of things that his mother wanted done. Such as
blasting out a big rock in the middle of Treasure Cove, raising a big
new flag-pole, and making a pebble walk around the little log-cabin
which was Mrs. Remington’s sanctuary when she was driven to retirement
from the “madding crowd.”

“She will love that!” exclaimed Elizabeth.

“Oh we intend doing lots of other things, too,” bragged Billy.

“We’re going to cook our own meals over a camp-fire!” declared Dudley.

“That’s to save Mose the work while you girls are away!” added Paul.

“Listen to him! Why, you boys eat twice as much as all of the Islanders
together!” scorned Edith.

“Besides, I don’t believe you younger boys can cook a thing!” came from
Elizabeth, doubtfully.

“I wouldn’t want to eat the stuff you cook!” said Trixie.

“Fred and Bill know a lot about camp-cooking and they are going to show
Paul and me,” admitted Dudley.

The idea of having the boys do something to surprise and please
Mrs. Remington upon her return, made Trixie and her girls wish to do
something for Mrs. Charlton. So a conference was held in Elizabeth’s
room to which Anna was invited.

“What _do_ you s’pose Aunt Edith would like most?” asked Elizabeth
after all were seated.

“I know!” cried practical little Edith.

“What?”

“Her flower beds weeded and all that wild grass dug out of the paths.”

“Oh!” was the disappointed reception of the commonplace proposition.

“I can wear old gloves, you know,” ventured Trixie.

Her hearers laughed as Trixie’s nails still showed the result of the
earnest efforts of a city polish, of which she was quite proud.

“Well, we may consider Edith’s plan as a side-work,” grudged Elizabeth,
when no other inspiration seemed on tap.

Mrs. Remington was not permitted to forget her promise to take
everybody on the Medric for a last farewell to her at the Camp Grounds
where the Boston boat stopped for passengers. Whether it was the
farewell, the sail, or the fun on the mainland that was the inducement,
she wisely refrained from questioning.

“What if it rains!” wondered Edith.

“Oh, we can wear clothes that won’t be damaged by a drop of rain,” said
Elizabeth.

“Trixie can wear her checked skirt if it’s rain you want,” plagued
Billy.

“Now then, I’ll wear it just for spite!” retorted Trixie. “I’ll prove
to you by the sunshine that the checks are not a rain jinx!”

Tuesday dawned clear and sunny, therefore proving Trixie’s statement to
be true. The merry party set out directly after lunch as Mrs. Remington
remarked that the Boston boat was very early at odd times--especially
so, if one happened to be a little late.

The Medric’s engine helped her “buck” the tide while Bill remarked, “We
sure have got a favourable puff!”

It was almost low water when they reached the wharf and the Medric had
to be anchored off the landing while her passengers were set ashore in
the tender.

The moment feet were on _terra firma_, the owners started for the post
office and general store where candy and cake were sold; but, on the
way a tin-typer’s caravan was found resting by the side of the main
road from the wharf, and the diversion was invaded and well patronised
that day.

The meagre delights of the Camp Ground were soon exhausted and time
hung heavily upon the hands of the active Islanders. Then Mrs.
Remington announced that the Boston steamer would be an hour late that
day.

“Oh, why did we leave our happy home?” wailed Billy.

“Think of all the fun we are missing!” added Paul.

“There are certain joys in a lingering farewell but I say that some of
them are drawn out much too long!” remarked Fred.

“How! how!” laughed the other boys, and Mrs. Remington joined even at
the expense of her own feelings.

“The question still remains before us--what to do with this extra hour
the gods bestowed?” mourned Elizabeth, who had had visions of Rosemary
in the sunset glow.

“I’ll run over and ask that jitney man who is watching us as if we were
outlaws,” said Fred, starting off across the road.

The man was very communicative for he had nothing else to do at the
time.

“Thar’s a merry-go-round back over that hill--it was runnin’ all
mornin’ an’ I guess it’s thar still.”

“Just the thing!” replied Fred, thanking him.

The suggestion met with instant acceptance and every one started
for the hill designated. But a disappointment awaited them. The
merry-go-round was deserted with the sole exception of a small
tow-headed boy.

However Fred was equal to the emergency. “‘Come one, come all, these
steeds shall run around this track ’til set of sun,’” shouted he,
beckoning wildly.

But Mrs. Remington would not allow him to tamper with the engine or
carousel, so she questioned the small boy who turned out to be the
proprietor’s son.

“Now, you run and find your Daddy and tell him we want two dollars’
worth of rides!” promised Mrs. Remington.

At the munificent offer the bare-footed urchin showed a swift and
dusty pair of heels to the would-be riders, and soon returned with
both father and grandfather--the latter being the patriarch of the
money-till.

“Isn’t this fun! I’ve always wanted to ride on a merry-go-round!” cried
Trixie.

“Maybe you won’t think it fun after a ride!” said Paul.

“You just watch me and see!” boasted Trixie, smiling.

“I’m going to climb on the animals while we’re waiting for the man to
start up the engine,” proposed Billy.

“Me for the lion!” shouted Dudley, as he mounted the king of beasts.

“Paul, let’s ride the white horses side by side and pretend we’re
running a race,” suggested Trixie.

“Bet’che a cookie I’ll beat!” laughed Paul.

“You wouldn’t beat me if these were real horses! I can ride
anything--even a colt!” teased Trixie.

“Oh, well, that colt of the Captain’s was green and full of fire--the
Captain says so!” said Paul, defendingly.

The carousel began to turn slowly by this time and with many a wheeze
and groan, it gathered momentum. Every one laughed at its slowness
at first but the urging on of their steeds must have infected the
merry-go-round for it soon whirled at a surprising speed.

Mrs. Remington sat near the old white-bearded ticket chopper, watching
the different expressions on the children’s faces as the carousel went
round.

When the first slow circle was made Trixie had laughed merrily and
cried, “Oh, this is a real joy-ride!”

When it went somewhat faster, she remained silent, and as she spun
around on the horse, passing Mrs. Remington at rapid intervals, her
face looked grey and her eyes seemed fixed.

“Oh! we surely are going too fast!” gasped she, finally.

“Oh, no! We’ll go faster than this--just hold on!” cheered Paul.

“Oh, I’m sure I’m slipping off--oh, oh!” wailed Trixie.

“You’re all right--just stick on!” laughed Paul.

“O-oh--Paul--I’m getting so dizzy! I’ll fall!”

“I’ll steady you; here, grab hold of the horse with your knees and hang
on to the iron pole in front!” advised Paul.

“There goes my hat--and oh! the old thing has shaken out all my
side-combs!” came from Trixie, weakly.

“Never mind that--just hold on!”

“I ca-an-t hold ano-oth-er m-m-min-ute!”

“Keep a stiff upper lip, now, Trix! We’re slowing down!” encouraged
Paul, throwing an arm about the girl as she swayed uncertainly.

And indeed, the awful whirl did slacken and in a few more moments, with
one last “yawp” the hurdy-gurdy gave up the spirit--of music.

Then a very pale and shaky Trixie was lifted from the race-horse and
helped over to a seat beside Mrs. Remington.

“Oh, wasn’t it _awful_!” gasped she, shuddering.

“Awful! Why, it was great!” cried Dudley.

“I should say so! Look, I got the brass ring Trixie! Want it for
another try?” asked Billy, generously.

But Trixie thought “discretion to be the better part of valor.” She
knew from actual experience what a merry-go-round meant so she sat
contentedly by and watched the others whirl.

When even Billy had been sated with the dervish delight Mrs. Remington
led her escorts back to the wharf where they found Aunt Edith and Aunt
Flo-Flo had arrived from Rosemary by land.

When it was suggested that the girls start back with Aunt Flo-Flo at
once, there was a chorus of protests.

“We’re going to stay as long as anybody--and say good-bye,” retorted
Elizabeth, fearing she would miss some fun.

The two chiefly concerned in saying farewells thought this persistence
worthy of a greater if not a better object. But they consented to
the delay of the return party and in its own good time the “City of
Rockland” bore down upon the landing. Then the young folks had the
gratification of positively _knowing_ by evidence of their own sight,
that their guardians were well out of the way for a time.

“Oh, _gee!_ we won’t do a _thing_ while we’re boss!” sighed Billy, with
a great sense of the time before him.

“Some fun--I should say!” ejaculated Paul, while Dudley whistled a
medley of many tunes and fox-trots and tangos.

“But the Island Chief rules! Remember!” threatened Fred.

While on the way to Rosemary, the Islanders discussed the fact that
fine weather broke the hoo-doo of Trixie’s rain jinx.

“But it hoo-dooed her in another way--my! but she was green on that
carousel!” laughed Billy.

“I never thought Trix could look so sick!” added Dudley.

“I wasn’t sick a bit! I was only dizzy--only my head!” defended Trixie,
valiantly.

The boys laughed teasingly and Elizabeth looked off at the horizon
while groping for her poetic medium.

Finally, she turned to Trixie. “It’s a shame to wreck a perfectly good
poem for I love Tennyson dearly, but the aptness tempts me beyond
measure, so here goes!”

THE JINX THAT PURSUED TRIXIE

(With apologies to Tennyson)

  Like souls that balance joy and pain,
    With smiles and cries for help again,
  Fair maiden Trixie flies with rein
    Upon her good steed’s wooden mane.
  The tin-pan music full of cheer,
    Her friends’ loud laughter came between,
  And far in ticket-box unseen
    The Grey-beard gathered in the green
  From Wita-tonkan there.

  At times the organ piped its song,
    What time ’twas loud, her seemed it long;
  Sometimes her courser wheeled along,
    Hushed all her cries of bitter wrong:
  By laughing friends, with fuller sound,
    In curves the wooden racers ran;
  Her drooping head to bob began
    Upon the Merry-go-round.

  As in the boyhood of the year
    Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere
  Rode thro’ the converts--Pauly dear,
    And Trixie galloped--she in fear,
  She seemed apart from her steed’s spring!
    A gown of fated check she wore,
  Buckled with silver clasps before,
    A light straw hat embroidered o’er
  With woolen bird a-wing.

  Now this way leaned she, now she let
    Her fear the better of her get,
  And more and more unsteadier yet,
    Her nervous grasp Paul’s shoulder met!
  And fiercer now she grasped the mane
    Than she whose elfin courser springs
  By night to eerie warblings;
    While all the while that music rings,
  And dins into her brain.

  As she fled fast thro’ sun and shade,
    The happy winds upon her played,
  Loosing the ringlets from the braid;
    She looked so helpless as she swayed,
  Her hat one side a-tip,
    Pauly had all that he could do
  To keep himself from falling too;
    He needed all the strength he knew,
  To save her should she slip!

The classic thus converted by Elizabeth was hailed with loud acclaim
by the boys, but Trixie said never a word! How the poetess made her
“separate peace” was never told but Trixie was as friendly as ever the
next time the two appeared together.

Wednesday morning at the earliest permissible tide the Captain and the
boys were busy drilling into the ledge of Treasure Cove. The boys were
deeply interested when they realised that before another tide flowed
over that ledge a blast could be set off. In the meantime, they went
fishing and soon had a fine mess of cunners for their camp-lunch.

Knowing the extent of the boys’ appetites, Mose’s tender heart ached
in dread of empty stomachs and a raid on his pantry when he was not at
hand to defend the fort! So he brought a large pan full of biscuits
and “fixin’s on th’ side” to the cooks. The “fixin’s” comprising a
hearty meal by themselves.

“Oh, Mose, you needn’t to have taken this trouble--we’re just going to
live a simple life while mother’s away,” said Billy.

“Yes, you see, Mose, we’re now serving our toasted bread and baked
potatoes. Sit down and have some with us?” urged Paul.

Mose eyed the charred bread and half-cooked potatoes and winked at the
Captain. “Ah don’ b’lieve Ah will pa’take ov dis munifercence to-day!
But, t’ank yo’ all d’ same!”

The Captain felt very grateful for Mose for his additions to the menu,
so he added, “Oh, do sit down and be friendly, Mose.”

“Yes, Mose, I’m just cookin’ the cunners! They’re fine!” added Fred.

“Well, seein’ ez Ah fetched a bit from m’ own domain, Ah don’t min’ ef
Ah tas’ some cunners!” sighed Mose, who was fond of this fish.

As Fred served him a delicious slab of the broiled fish Mose remarked,
“Does tas’ kinder good t’ eat some odder chef’s cookin’. No t’anks,
Billy, Ah don’ guess Ah’ll have any pertates.”

The boys each took a potato and did their best to enjoy them but it was
not to be! The potatoes were more than half raw.

“Lemme tell you-all,” said Mose, after the potatoes had been replaced
on the fire, “taters take a heap o’ cookin’. Speshully when dey’se big
and not cut up.”

“Bring them here, boys, and I’ll show you what to do with them,”
offered Fred, taking the frying pan and dropping a chunk of butter in
it.

Then the boys watched and soon learned how to fry good potatoes--an art
many cooks lack.

“Now for the blast!” cried the Captain, when the dishes and pans had
been cleaned with sand and water.

“You boys watch Captain and me fix the fuse and then when we yell you
must run way up on the porch of mother’s retreat and stand there,”
ordered Fred.

The three boys were greatly surprised to see Captain Ed cut the
dynamite with his knife as if it were a cheese.

“It looks just like a roll of yellow plasticene!” said Dudley.

“It won’t act like one!” laughed Billy.

“You know last year, Captain and Fred blasted out the boulders for
our Council Place and we had to cover the rocks with logs and things
to keep them from flying through the air and smashing the windows,”
explained Billy, for Paul’s and Dudley’s benefit.

“Oh, did you blast for that Ring?” wondered Paul.

“I should think we did! We have to blast for everything! There isn’t a
level spot on the whole island. Did you think the pebbles grew so level
and smooth on that Council Place?” laughed Fred.

“I thought it had to be filled in where any hollows happened to be but
I didn’t know you had to blow off the bumps!” said Paul, in defence.

That made the Captain laugh, and he now turned and said: “Run to cover
now, boys! I’m goin’ to light th’ fuse!”

So the boys scrambled up the pathway while Fred and the Captain lit the
fuse and then ran to hide behind a big spruce. But Paul, curious to
note the effect of that harmless looking cheese, lingered behind the
other boys, thus hoping to get a closer view of the explosion.

Just as the terrific blast rumbled, Fred sighted the tardy boy. He
dashed out, grabbed him roughly, yanked him back to safety, and then
pitched into him.

“Don’t--you’re hurtin’ me, Fred!” whimpered Paul, with a better
realisation of his danger as the rocks began raining down upon the spot
where he had just stood.

“You ought to be hurt--good and plenty, too! Just so you’ll never do
such a fool thing again! I’m Chief of this Island, I’ll have you to
know, and you’ve _got to obey orders_!”

Billy and Dudley ran to see what had caused the quarrel and the
Captain, who had seen the rescue, came over to tell Paul a story as a
warning in the future.

“You boys know the light-house just down off Spruce Island? Well, last
year, ol’ Captain Ball was blastin’ out some rocks in the road near his
barn. He got keerless like at the last and stood too near--right out
in the open. And by heck! a chunk of rock as big as my two fists come
plumb down on top of his head and killed him then and thar! Not a minit
t’ think of what he wanted done ’bout things!”

After an impressive silence the Captain added with a certain feeling
of satisfaction: “But he had a grand funeral! The finest ever given in
these parts. One of them Dark Harbour millionaires lent the widder his
big private yacht to carry the remains to Metinicus, where the Cap’n
hailed from.

“Seein’ she hadn’t got to pay any costs for shippin’, Mrs. Ball put all
that money in a casket and it was so fine that it seemed like a shame
to put all them silver handles and satin puffs in the ground.

“Widder Ball invited _everybody_ to make the trip with the Cap’n an’
most every one accepted the invitation, too. Thar would have been room
on that yacht fer a few more--it was that big.

“Yes, sir! That was one grand funeral--what with red plush curtains and
willow arm-chairs everywhere! And a dining-room fixed up with painted
dishes and sparklin’ glass! I sometimes wish how old Cap’n Ball oughter
know about that trip--he would have felt better where he is, I’m sure!”

The boys had listened to the sudden ending of Captain Ball’s career
without due respect for dynamite and Captain Ed, finding Paul had not
been thoroughly frightened by his tale, drove it well home.

“But _you_ wouldn’t have a good time like Captain Ball! You’d be sent
home in a box and no yacht and crowd of folks to sail to your funeral!
So, just keep behind a tree after this!”

Paul suddenly realised how lonely he must feel if he was instantly
killed by a rock and freighted all the way from Maine to New Jersey,
and he felt contrite and humble for a full hour after the incident
closed.

The rest of the afternoon was given to preparing an old spar for the
flag-pole. It was about thirty feet in length so that all the boys
worked at the same time in sand-papering and polishing the wood.

“Next time I go over to the Cove I’ll have the blacksmith make a collar
to go around the mast-head, and then we’ll have it all ready for the
raisin’ bee before your mother comes back.”

“We want everything done and waiting so all we have to do when she
comes is to hoist the flag,” added Billy.

The following day Uncle Tom came over and announced that he was ready
to start the rifle-range and teach the boys how to handle a gun.

“Did they say we could?” asked Paul, eagerly, his desire to obey in
certain ways, tinctured by the tale about Captain Ball.

“Yes, the committee reported favorably providing that I would keep
watch of you all and never let you get reckless!”

So, the boys painted a large target on a packing case and set it up
against a rock where a clear range could be had. Uncle Tom chose a
spot where no danger to passing boatmen could be incurred.

The spy-glass was trained upon the target and each boy was allowed five
shots each turn. The use of the glass obviated the many tiresome trips
to and from the target to count the score for every boy.

Only between the turns did the Captain go to the board and put a dab of
paint on the marks made by each boy. During these intervals no one was
allowed to load or handle a gun.

Captain Ed made a splendid score with Fred’s Marlin 38-55 but Paul
and Dudley took a long time to get the proper range and sight. Their
bullets cut into the ledges right and left so that the Captain laughed
heartily.

“When we need more blastin’ done there’s no use wastin’ money for
dynamite--we’ll jus’ ask you two boys to aim at Treasure Cove and your
fire will blow off the top of the ledges!”

The others tittered but were too much engaged to care much whether the
Captain joshed them or not. Then, Fred, who stood at the spy-glass
called, “A hit for Paul!”

That spurred Dudley to better work so when it came his turn to try
he took great pains to aim carefully and was rewarded by seeing the
splinters fly from the packing-case.

Evening came all too soon for the joy of firing real rifles was
intoxicating to the boys. They begged Uncle Tom to be sure and come
over every day, as early in the morning as he could get away.

“Oh, but I’m scheduled to take the girls out on some of these days,” he
protested. “However, I’ll try to get in some regular practising hours
with you boys.”

The rifle-range was almost forgotten the next morning when Captain Ed
brought in the mail. An answer from Mr. Remington to Billy’s plea for
the launch, authorised him to “Go ahead and get it if the Captain says
it is all right!”

As that necessitated an immediate exodus from the island, an eager
pilgrimage started for the little landing near Saturday Cove, where lay
the coveted craft at her moorings.

To the disinterested eye she seemed old and shabby, to say nothing of
dirt. To Billy, however, she was a vision of beauty and a promise of
joy. The ex-owner took the lad for a trial spin so that he could learn
the tricks of the little engine.

Billy disdained the tow offered by Captain Ed and insisted upon
returning under his own power. Not for nothing had he watched and
helped for weeks with the Captain’s engines, hoping for the day when he
should be captain of his own launch.

That same night, as they lounged about Fred’s teepee, the Chief made a
suggestion.

“Now that Cap’n Bill has a launch suppose we make an aqua-plane? We
might start it to-morrow.”

The idea was met with delighted “Hows!” and in the morning all started
on the carpenter’s job.

The plane completed, the boys felt such a pride in the work that they
longed for some one to admire it. Besides, they had to have an audience
when they aqua-planed. So it came about, that all of the girls and Aunt
Flo-Flo were invited to a bathing party with aqua-planing on the side.

The boys drank greedily of the admiration freely poured out by the
girls as they stood about the plane. Finally, the girls were invited to
try it.

“Isn’t it awfully hard to manage?” asked Trixie.

“Not much harder than that wooden horse on the merry-go-round,” teased
Paul.

“Even if you should fall off you can swim, you know,” added Billy.

“I’ll let Elizabeth try it first,” generously allowed Trixie.

Elizabeth was a splendid swimmer and nothing on or in water could daunt
her, so Billy was soon towing her along after his launch.

“Gee! That’s pretty good, Lizzie--for a girl, I mean!” conceded Billy,
as he admired the way she stood upright and managed the plane.

“You needn’t have added that last--‘for a girl’; just remember please,
that I learned to swim at a much younger age than you ever did!”
retorted Elizabeth, ruffled at the hated nick-name.

Then, when every one had tried the aqua-plane Aunt Flo-Flo had
something to say. “Won’t you boys come over to Rosemary and hold a
Council for some friends of mine?”

What with rifle shooting, aqua-planing, and other intense delights, the
boys were not as enthusiastic as usual.

“We’re going to have piles of ice-cream and delicious cakes--to say
nothing of other good things,” hinted Elizabeth, her superior knowledge
of boys standing her in good stead.

“We-ll--seeing that you all want a Council so much, maybe we can
manage,” said Billy, looking at the other boys.

“All right--when?” hastily accepted Aunt Flo-Flo.

“I s’pose Mose will freeze some cream for us as usual on Sunday and
Thursday so we’d better say Tuesday, as that gives us ice-cream on an
off day,” interjected Paul, before any one could decide.

“All right! Then we can go marketing to Belfast on Monday, and spend
Tuesday at Rosemary,” said Fred.

The Tuesday for the Council was a lovely day and Paul took a snap-shot
of Aunt Flo-Flo and her visitors. The Nature _coups_ were claimed by
Elizabeth and the three younger boys. Then Trixie formally presented
a red scalp to the Black Bears and Elizabeth followed suit. Paul and
Dudley also paid their forfeited locks so that Fred and Bill had a
number of brilliant trophies hanging from their belts.

Finally, the much-longed-for ice-cream was brought and the pyramids
piled up on the boys’ plates received sincere applause and attention.

Among the cakes passed around were certain cookies that the boys
preferred to any others. So good were they, that Billy remarked, “My!
But these are the best ever!”

“Who do you think baked them?” asked Trixie, eagerly.

“Not you, anyway!” laughed he.

“Well, Smarty, _we_ did! Elizabeth and I made the batter and Edith cut
them out and put them in the pans.”

“Hoh! That’s nothing! _We_ cook whole meals at our camp!” exclaimed
Paul.

“Yes siree! Say, boys, how about that breakfast yesterday, eh?” boasted
Dudley.

“Umph! You ought to have tasted _that_! Billy went over to Islesboro in
his launch and shot five red squirrels. We skinned and broiled them for
breakfast and maybe they weren’t good!” said Fred, abetting the younger
boys.

“What else did you have?” queried Elizabeth.

“Fred baked some pancakes and we ate, and ate, and ate!” asserted Paul,
looking at his companions.

“I never saw any one eat so much as they did, except at our
clam-bakes,” said Fred.

“Well, maybe you _baked_ the pan-cakes but Mose was there to advise
and start that breakfast going!” asserted Trixie.

“Who told you so?” cried a number of voices.

“We just went over to get something Elizabeth wanted from the Island
and you were all gone to Adamses for milk. Mose told us about the
squirrels and the funny mistakes you boys made while experimenting on
them. And he told us of the towers of pancakes you boys made way with,
too.”

“Do you know, we haven’t had our annual clam-bake yet?” hastily
declared Billy.

“That’s so! As soon as mother comes home we must try and get it
started,” added Fred.

“Oh, Trix, we have the most wonderful time at these bakes!” exclaimed
Billy, rolling his eyes and patting his stomach.

So, in talking and planning for the clam-bake, the thin ice of
camp-cooking was forgotten and the character of the boys for being
first-class chefs was not completely ruined.



CHAPTER TWELVE

THE PIRATES OF SCILLY LEDGE


“Say, Fred, did you see the Boston steamer go past this morning?” asked
Billy, wonderingly, one day.

“Come to think of it, I didn’t!”

“Neither did I,” said Dudley.

“Nor I,” added Paul.

“It gets to be such a habit when the boats go past--up in the morning
and down at night--that their absence is quite noticeable,” said Fred.

But the boys forgot about the failure of the big white steamer to put
in her appearance as usual. That afternoon, they were out with the
Captain when a fisherman from Saturday Cove hailed them.

“Hey! Cap’n! Th’ Ol’ Katahdin’s gone ashore on Scilly Ledge, this
mornin’!”

“You don’t tell!” cried the astonished Captain.

“That’s why we didn’t see her go by!” said Billy.

“Can they get her off?” Fred shouted after the informer.

“Nah--they tells me she’s a total wrack!”

The boys looked at each other while the same desire sprang up in each
heart--to visit that wreck!

“Can’t we go down and see her, Captain?” asked Billy.

“Well, it’s purty far out to sea--off Monhegan; and, besides, the
ground swell’s bad there,” hesitated Captain Ed.

“Captain, if Aunt Miriam will lend us the Zeus and Benton goes along,
don’t you s’pose it will be all right!” urged Fred.

The Captain had hard work hiding his own desire to go, being stirred by
inherited beach-combing tendencies. Hence, he agreed to the exciting
plan.

Without the loss of any time, the boys sailed over to Isola Bella and
in a pleading manner broached the subject to their aunt. They must not
seem too eager or the trip too exciting or she would refuse her consent.

Rumour had travelled swiftly so that Captain Benton had heard and also
was stirred by the spirits of his ancestors to visit that wreck! Hence,
he thought it was perfectly safe and a most delightful excursion for
the boys to take!

Early the next morning, therefore, the launch set out for old Scilly
Ledge. Down past Camden, around Owl’s Head, through the narrow Mussel
Ridges Channel, past White Head and out to open sea, steered the
Captain of the Zeus!

Well for the boys that the big launch was the seaworthy craft that she
was. Before they caught sight of the doomed steamer the ground swell
had gotten in its deadly work. Three seasick lads lay limply on the
cushions feeling that the Zeus was going down never to climb again, as
she dropped into the hollows between the swells.

Soon, however, as she rose on the crest of each great wave, the
stirring sight of hundreds of craft converging with the Zeus to a
common centre, revived the drooping spirits of the boys and the “green”
sensations gradually disappeared.

“She must be abandoned, all right!” remarked Captain Ed.

“’Tain’t curiosity what brings all them craft here,” hinted Captain
Benton.

The boys pricked up their ears. What did the Captains mean?

“I always knew them Metinicus an’ Isle of Holt fellers were pirates at
heart!” sneered Captain Ed.

“Well, you see, it ain’t stealin’--not exactly, you know!” argued
Benton.

“Oh sure not! Flotsam and jetsam’s anybuddy’s pickin’s, and she’s all
ensured anyhow,” conceded Captain Ed.

“You don’t mean to say that all these folks are here to grab something
from that steamer?” cried Fred, aghast.

“That’s just it!” replied the Captain.

“Oo-oh! if that isn’t stealing in the eye of the law, why can’t we
pick up something too--just a souvenir, you know!” ventured Billy,
breathlessly.

By this time, they were drawing closer to the wreck. Careened over,
rolling and crunching in the heavy swells, the Katahdin was too
dangerous for close quarters, and in fact, that was the only thing that
kept the circling boats at a distance from her.

The greed of the watchers was stimulated by the stray bits of wreckage
that were seen swashing around, and so contagious is the desire to get
something for nothing, especially when the law smiles leniently upon
the pirate, that the boys and Captains in the Zeus otherwise peaceable
law-abiding Americans, now felt the maddening frenzy to secure a prize,
too.

Suddenly, a fiercer gust of wind and a seventh wave struck the hapless
boat at the same time raising her up only to crash her down amidships
on the back-bone of Old Scilly. With a rending and splitting heard
above the roar of the breakers, the steamer broke in two and began to
vomit forth her cargo.

After that pandemonium reigned. The boys could never tell just when
they, too, turned into lawless pirates!

In the wild scramble for the floating cases from the hold of the
steamer, many a launch and boat had the bows stove in. Free fights
ensued and the butts of oars were used with telling effect on the heads
of others. Of course, the Zeus did not engage in this warfare, but she
soon was piled high with a miscellaneous freight.

As for the prizes contained in that cargo, it wasn’t a time to pick and
choose, but a case of “grab and get” before it sank from sight.

A crate floated near the boys and piercing squeals from the inside drew
the attention of the pirates of the Zeus to it.

“It’s a pig!” cried Dudley.

“Oh, let’s rescue it before it drowns,” called Paul.

When the captains and Fred Anally succeeded in hauling the heavy crate
inboard, poor piggy’s squeals had ceased.

“Let’s use ‘first aid’ on it!” exclaimed Billy, eagerly.

“He’s a fine-looking shoat, all right,” commented Benton.

“Let’s wrench off the slats on top and get him out He’ll take up less
room uncrated,” suggested Captain Ed.

“We can try ‘first aid’ on him, then,” giggled Paul.

As the crate was opened and piggy removed, Billy said: “I bet he was a
prize pig for the Belfast Fair.”

“Here, Captain, let us look at the address on the crate and see where
he was going!” exclaimed Fred.

But no ink mark was left on the case and the tag that had been tacked
to the wood was soaked off by the water. So the rescuing party were
none the wiser after the examination.

“Well, roast pig ain’t to be sneezed at, anyway,” said Benton.

But just then, piggy revived and slipped from Benton’s hold. He started
a circus in the launch with all hands trying to catch him, and more
than once, the boys very nearly fell into the water in their mad
scramble to grab him. Finally, the unruly passenger was cornered and
“hog-tied.”

“We’ll give him to Uncle Tom, because none of us Islanders can use
him,” suggested Fred.

And so piggy was destined to find a temporary resting place on the farm
at Rosemary.

It had taken three hours to sail down to Old Scilly Ledge and it was
long past lunch-time before the excited pirates thought of anything so
commonplace as eating!

A large broken box of fancy biscuits reminded them that they could feel
hungry now that the first excitement was over, and the sandwiches Mose
had packed in the lunch soon disappeared. The erstwhile seasick boys,
being hollow clean down to their toes, caused the lunch to melt away
like ice in a hot sun. Then followed the slightly soggy and salted
crackers.

With sighs of regrets, the two captains then suggested that they turn
for the homeward trip,

“Oh, just one more haul!” cried Billy, spearing for a floating case
near at hand.

“Where can you find room to stack any more?” asked Benton.

“Oh, this is a case of biscuits--fancy mixed, too!” exclaimed Billy,
having guided the prize to the side of the launch.

Without demur, the case of crackers was brought inboard and then Fred
called out: “There’s a little box floating away from us--‘precious
goods come in small packages,’ you know, so we ought to get that!”

“Another feller’s after it--quick--hurry up!” cried Paul.

The pirates on the Zeus won the race and the small half-submerged box
was carefully lifted aboard.

“_Now_, I insist that we start home!” declared Captain Ed.

“Even as it is we won’t get there until after dark!” added Benton.

“Never mind, we’ve done a big day’s work!” chuckled Fred.

“I should say so! Gee! pigs, crackers, and whatnot!” added Billy,
gloatingly.

“Ed, I bet those vultures won’t leave a stick on that boat--why, every
little shack down the bay will have one of them red-plush chairs
from the saloon, and every one on Metinicus will be sleepin’ on good
mattresses--after they’re dried out,” grumbled Benton.

On the way home the boys investigated their treasure trove. The small
box that had caused such a lively race was found to contain a gross
of Ingersol watches. But most of them were utterly spoiled from the
salt-water bath. The better ones, packed individually in small
close-fitting cases, proved to be in fairly good condition.

Oh, what joy to the hearts of these mariners! To hear the ticking of a
watch on every passenger of the Zeus--a watch that might be consulted
as often as one liked without regard to the others!

“Here’s the last one of the good lot; what shall we do with it?” asked
Dudley.

“Tie it around the porker’s neck!” laughed Paul.

“Oh, no! Let’s take it home to Mose; he will be tickled to pieces with
it,” exclaimed Billy.

So the little box was tucked in Billy’s pocket to be given to the
appreciative cook. Then the boys turned over another case.

“Here boys!--don’t open up anything else, or the clutter will choke the
engine!” begged Benton.

They laughed at that but promised to wait for landing before
investigating any further.

That night, the Islanders passed a delirious time amidst the contents
of the cases picked up from the Katahdin.

The first case opened was found to be packed with woodenware--bread
boards, chopping-bowls, potato mashers, and such.

“Great Scott! Here’s enough wood to build a house!” said Paul.

“I’ll tell you what! These oval and round bread-boards’ll make dandy
totems for every one!” cried Billy.

“That’s what they will; and the mashers will do for the tom-toms when
we hold Council,” added Dudley.

“Now don’t be silly--you know there wouldn’t be any drum head left
in the tom-tom if you boys beat time with one of those wooden
potato-mashers,” said Fred, trying to pry off a slat.

“Where’re you going?” asked Paul of Billy, who had piled an armful high
with wooden dishes.

“Give ’em to Mose--he needed some new kitchenware!”

At that, Paul and Dudley each caught up a wooden bowl and a wooden
masher and marched after Billy, beating time for his steps.

“Hey, Mose! Here’s your answer to prayer! I heard you, last week,
saying that you hoped the good Lord would send you some kitchen dishes
mighty quick!” laughed Billy.

“Ah no--’deed no, chile! Mose neber prayed no wicked pray’r lak
dat--mebbe dat wreck coul’ be laid t’ de doah ov such a pray’r! And
Mose sure ain’t guilty of _dat_! But, what Ah did say was ‘Ah wisht de
dear Lord woul’ take pity on poor Mose an’ sen’ him some dishes mighty
quick! Dere’s a heap ov diffrunce,” explained the devout cook.

“Well, forget the prayer that caused the wreck, and come in to see what
else we got,” teased Dudley, at last.

Mose was only too pleased to be invited to assist at the prize
packages but he looked askance at the debris that covered the floor of
the bungalow.

“Why diden’ yo’ all wait f’ mornin’ to unpack dis mussy stuff out on d’
groun’?”

“Wait! My goodness, we could hardly wait to get through supper!”
exclaimed Billy.

While they were talking the Captain brought in another case which he
had wheeled up from the launch. This case must have been consigned to a
hardware merchant or some poultry man as it was filled with wire nests
for chickens.

“This sure is a lottery,” laughed Fred.

“Yes, and we lost out on this draw!” chuckled Captain Ed.

“Well, these can’t be used anyway, ’cause we never keep chickens on the
Island,” said Billy, regretfully.

“You might take them over to your Uncle Tom,” ventured Paul.

“He won’t need more than three or four--and look at all of these,”
replied Fred.

“How many do you s’pose there are,” wondered Dudley, and Billy began
to unwire one bundle. As he took out one after another of the closely
packed wire frames the boys counted until they found there were
twenty-five in a pack.

“Say, for pity’s sake don’t unwire any more--there’s twenty bundles of
them in all,” laughed the Captain.

“That’s five hundred wire baskets! Gee! We’d be swamped all right!”
added Billy.

“We’ll give all the farmers on the mainland and Islesboro some,” said
Paul.

“We might make a good trade on them for eggs and butter!” remarked the
business man of the crowd.

“Ha, ha! Mose allus said Bill woul’ be a milyunair some day,” laughed
the cook.

“I tell you what we might do with some of ’em!” now suggested the
Captain, thoughtfully. “Last summer, I had some old ones that I threw
out and my wife filled them with moss and loam, and then planted some
sorts of ferns in ’em. When they were wired and hung up on the porch,
they looked mighty fine, I can tell you!”

“Great! That’s just what we’ll do for a surprise. We’ll hang them all
around the bungalow for mother!” cried Billy.

“And make a lot for Aunt Miriam for lending us the Zeus,” added Fred.

“We can go to Sprague’s Cove and dig up some of those swell ferns--and
there are whole carpets of thick moss there,” said Billy, eagerly.

“Then we’ve found a use for the nests!” sighed Paul, who feared to find
any stock on hand valueless.

The next case was filled with stationers’ assorted goods. Alas!
the briny had done its worst here. The pens, knife-blades and wire
paper-holders were already rusting and besides that a peculiar
glutinous slime covered the articles in the case. It was this same
sour odour that, coming from the inside of the case had first attracted
the boys’ attention to the box when the Captain brought it in.

“Wire baskets! Gee, do we need any more?” asked Dudley, sarcastically.

“What’s all this gooey slime!” wondered Paul, disgusted with the mess
he got all over his hands as he tried to pull out a package.

As the boys delved deeper into the case and brought out boxes and
stationery all patterned by red and blue and black ink which had soaken
through from broken bottles, they found the horrid smelly jelly diluted
by salt water, to have mixed in with everything else.

“Ah! the mystery’s solved!” cried Fred, lifting a broken carton of
paste-powder from the case.

“Agh! It’s got ready-made in the ocean and spread itself wherever it
was not wanted!” said Paul, with disgust.

“Lemme take care ob dat goo-case!” offered Mose. “Ah kin clean ’em all
out in d’ mawnin’ an’ mebbe fin’ a heap of paper so’s Paul an’ Dudley
kin write home every week, reg’lar!”

“All right--let Mose do it!” laughed Billy.

“But Ah’m tellin’ yo’ right heah--ef Ah see a nice pen-knife wid a
white pearl han’le Ah sure will tek it fo’ pay!”

“Anything you find, Mose! Go as far as you like!” promised Fred.

Mose left the cutlery in kerosene over night thereby cleaning off the
rust and polishing up the items. The paper and other passably good
articles he cleaned off fairly well and kept them on hand for the
children to use.

The last of the cases contained dire disappointment. The groceries
therein were discovered to be utterly ruined--salt, sugar, cereals,
coffee and other foodstuffs.

“Now I’m glad we stopped and got that last case of crackers,” declared
Dudley.

“So’m I!” added Paul, hiding a wide yawn behind a case.

“Is this all now!” demanded Billy.

“All for to-night, I guess,” said Fred.

“Gee! but I’m glad! I’m dog-tired!” sighed Billy.

“We all are--let’s get to bed!” cried Paul.

The next day, the Isola Bella and Rosemary contingent came early to
hear all about the piratical raid on the seas about Scilly Ledge; and
the boys relived again their thrilling adventures in relating them to
their interested audience.

The story told, Mose appeared with lemonade and crackers.

“Oh, just the thing! Ladies, won’t you partake of our Pirate’s Prize
brand of biscuits? Sultanas filled with ocean currents and genuine
Saltines fresh from the Katahdin!” joked Fred, bowing.

Of course the ladies laughed and while they all munched the crackers
the boys spoke of the hanging baskets they expected to have ready soon.

“Oh, and by the way, boys, Uncle Tom told me to be sure and thank you
for the pig although he was quite overwhelmed at first. Fancy, having a
nice fat pig fished out of the ocean for you!” exclaimed Aunt Edith.

“He’s going to keep it, isn’t he?” anxiously asked Paul.

“Oh, certainly--for a time, anyway. We have called it Katahdin, for it
proved its undisputed right to the name by making such free use of the
last syllable in the name!”

This amused the boys tremendously and they felt relieved to find that
Uncle Tom had gladly accepted the foundling.

“Speaking of fern baskets--where are you going for the ferns?” asked
Elizabeth.

“We thought of going to Sprague’s Cove for them,” replied Fred.

“Oh, do take us with you then,” cried Miriam.

“Yes, Fred, do! Then I can go off on a little hunting trip by myself?”
said Billy, eagerly.

“As long as you don’t shoot anywhere near us, it will suit me,” warned
Fred.

“Oh, I’ll keep a mile or more away--anyway, you know I am not Paul or
Dudley, who hit a mark at right-angles to their target!” teased Billy.

So the girls were permitted to go on the cruise and help dig up some
of the beautiful ferns and wonderful moss found at Sprague’s Cove. A
keg full of leaf mould was also taken for the nourishment of the roots
of the ferns.

Meantime, Billy planned to land at Adams’ Beach and hunt for rabbits
and red squirrels, but before he quite reached the shore he saw a black
dog-like head glide through the water. It dove! But it reappeared again
and Billy stopped the engine of his launch.

Quietly he waited, for he knew the curiosity of the seal would draw it
nearer and perhaps, in range of his rifle. He took great care not to
show the gun and thus stood waiting.

His knowledge of the habits of the Harbour seal proved to be correct
for the smooth dark head popped up quite near the bow of the launch.

He fired but the seal sank, leaving a pool of blood on the surface of
the water.

Billy knew that he had lost his prey unless it was lying in shallow
enough water for him to retrieve it: for a dead seal sinks like lead.

He slowly motored over to the place where the red tinge was now
mingling with the water, and sounded carefully with an oar.

“Oh, joy! I guess I can get him!” cried Billy to himself as the oar
touched bottom at about six feet depth.

“It’s high water now, too, and that’s lucky for me!” he soliloquised.

  [Illustration: SCRAPING THE SEALSKIN.]

  [Illustration: BILLY AND HIS PORCUPINES.
   _Woodcraft Boys at Sunset Island._    _Page 228._]

When the water had cleared, Billy plainly saw the dead seal lying on
a ledge. He pondered the situation well, then decided to wait and
watch the seal, for he feared that with the wash of the ebb-tide he
would never find it again if he left the place. When the returning
“moss-backs” came in sight with their launch he would hail them to come
and help him.

Finally, the chugging of the engine was heard and Billy hailed the
Captain and Fred.

“I’ve got a seal--come and help me get him!” yelled Billy,
contradictorily.

With the Captain and Fred aiding, Billy used the oar to push a
slip-noose under and around the seal’s tail and hauled it up to the
surface. With considerable labour it was pulled on board but its
bleeding head was left hanging over the side of the launch.

Once at the Island the seal was hauled up on the rocks and Billy
started in to skin it. Uncle Tom came for the girls before this work
had been completed and they waved hands at the busy boy, shouting as
they left the float-stage:

“Good riddance to the seal! We’re not sorry to leave that awful smell.
Why, the whole Island is permeated with it!”

“’Tis rather sickenin’, isn’t it?” grinned Billy, standing up to
stretch his lame back. “It’s just as well mother isn’t here now!”

The next few days were devoted by Billy and Fred to the curing and
tanning of the seal-skin. It was no easy job, either! The scraping
alone occupied many hours but nothing seemed like too much trouble for
such a trophy!

“Billy, did you know there’s a bounty on the Harbour seals?” asked
Captain Ed, one morning. “If you just take the chin whiskers to the
Post Office at Sabbath Day Harbour they’ll give you a dollar for them.”

“Me for that dollar!” declared Billy. So that afternoon Captain Ed
handed Billy a written statement for evidence that the boy caught the
seal.

The next day the boys made another trip to Islesboro and much to the
young Nimrod’s satisfaction the dollar was forthcoming without delay.

“There won’t be any seals left a few years from now,” remarked the
elderly postmaster to Billy.

“Wall, they come near to ruin’ the salmon-fisheries and somethin’ had
to be done about ’em,” added a sailor-man.

“Yes, sir!” said a fisherman who lounged near the door. “I’ve seen a
salmon-weir just hung full of salmon-heads--all that them seals left
the fishermen!”

“But I always kind’a liked the seals and it’s a pity they has to be
killed off,” said the postmaster sympathetically.

A scornful glance from the fisherman and a sniff from the sailor were
the only answers vouchsafed the remark.

Fred and Billy finished the work on the seal that day, and the next
morning the Captain said he had the collar ready for the flag-pole.

The boys helped him with the work and when all was ready the snowy
staff was successfully raised. Now, every one was eager to see the
flag wave from the top but they had agreed to wait for their mother’s
home-coming. To divert their attention, the Captain made a suggestion.

“Who’s goin’ to help me whip the ends of the new cable for the Medric,
sailor-fashion?”

So they worked gaily at this for a time, but what boy can handle a fine
piece of rope and resist the excitement of having a swing?

“Captain, lend us your new rope for a while?” asked Billy.

“What for?”

“I have a plan for a dandy swing and besides, it will take the ‘lay’
out of your cable,” replied Billy, diplomatically.

The Captain chuckled and consented--indeed, he offered to help the boys
secure the ends but they knew they could manage.

The swing proved to be all Billy had hoped for it. In fact, so
thrilling was the experiences of that swing, that the Captain regretted
his co-operation for he felt there lurked too much risk to life and
limb while it was being used. Hence, he claimed the right to take it
the following day for the Medric. But how the boys did enjoy it while
it lasted!

Billy demurred vehemently as Captain Ed said he had to use the cable
so the Captain craftily hinted: “You ain’t been over to Rosemary after
them porcupines, yet? I s’pose your Uncle Tom’s orchard is near about
spoiled by now!”

“Gee! That’s so! I ought to go after them at once!”

“I have to go over to the Cove for supplies--Mose is forever wantin’
a yeast-cake, it seems! You might go with me and stay all night at
your Uncle Tom’s and come back to-morrow with a fine quill-pig, eh?”
continued the subtle Captain.

Mose stood by watching the boys swing and he heard the conversation. He
grinned for he knew the Captain’s tactics well. But he took a certain
pride in the looks of his Islanders.

“Chile, yo’ sure mus’ change dem old duds ef yo’ goin’ to mek a visit!
Ah ain’t goin’ t’ low you’ Maw’s son t’ look lak a sure-’nough tramp!
Yo’ ha’r needs trimmin’, too!”

“Oh pshaw, Mose, what difference does it make? It will be night and I’m
going huntin’ so no one will see me!” argued Billy.

“Hush yo’ complain’ now, Bill! Come in an’ min’ yo gardeen!” laughed
Mose, encouragingly.

“Go on, Billy, you know he’s right! Rosemary is not a camp and who
knows who’ll be visiting there? You’d disgrace us and your relations if
you were seen in the duds that came out of the ‘Ark’!” declared Fred.

Billy realised he was in the minority on this vote so he submitted to
Mose’s barbering but with much grumbling.

“Such a lot of fussing for a hunting trip!” he observed, but the
hair-cutter paid no attention to the complaint just then as he had his
mind full of other plans.

“Whiles Ah’ve got m’ ban’ in th’ barber business all yo’ boys come
along t’ dis ha’r-dressin’ parloh--lates’ style cuts!”

“Ouch! that was my ear. Darn your latest style cuts!” cried Billy
impatiently.

“Wuz dat yo’ eah, Chile? Shore ’nuff-dey seems to grow jus’ lak yo’
ha’r! Ah disremembered dey wuz so big, an’ dat ho’come Ah teched ’em
wif d’ shears!”

A laugh followed this joke on Billy and that young man departed to
dress in a ruffled frame of mind.

The next morning about nine o’clock Paul discovered the Captain and
Billy coming toward the Island in the chugging boat. He called to the
other boys and they all ran down to Treasure Cove to meet the two
sailors.

On the launch stood Billy grinning his widest and holding aloft a
porcupine. As he came within hearing he shouted: “Oh, it’s a cinch to
catch porcupines! Never got anything so dead easy! Uncle Tom shot one,
too,” grandly.

After coming ashore, the Captain handed Fred a letter which bore the
Boston post-mark and began “How Kolah Wita-tonkan.”

The others stood at hand to hear any possible news from Mrs. Remington,
and Fred hastily perused the pages.

“Well! I’ll be bliffed! Mother writes that she met Mrs. Baker and Mrs.
Hubert in Boston and they are all going to take a motor trip from their
camp up through Maine.”

“Are they coming here?” queried Billy, eagerly.

“Later, maybe. Mother says she invited them all to come and spend a day
with us on the Island, and they seemed quite taken with the idea.”

“Does she say whether any of the girls or boys will be with them on the
trip?” asked Dudley.

“Maybe my sister Hilda will be with them!” added Paul.

“I don’t know, because mother merely says they were attending a
suffrage convention in Boston--you know what ardent members both Mrs.
Baker and Mrs. Hubert are? And they had a nice long talk, but nothing
more is said in this letter,” said Fred.

“I wish the doctor would come--he’s awfully good fun!” said Billy.

“We won’t know until mother gets home, then she’ll tell us all about
it.”

“Then we could have that swell clam-bake, eh?” said Paul.

“Do you know, we’ve got ten big lobsters in the car now! I’ll bet we
will have a lot more by the time mother gets home,” exclaimed Billy.

This hope spurred the boys to even greater efforts to bait the traps
enticingly, and “tend out” for results.



CHAPTER THIRTEEN

THIEVES IN THE NIGHT


Billy had a habit of waking about dawn and stepping out of his tent to
look around and gauge the weather for the day. So, it happened about
three o’clock one morning, that he indulged in his usual nocturnal
survey.

The bay was calm in that still dark hour before dawn. Bill was about to
retire after making his prognostications when the muffled chugging of a
motor-launch and the sound of a boat bumping against something in the
back bay off the float-stage, instantly rendered him alert.

He knew the Islanders were wrapped in slumber so he investigated,
creeping down under cover of the firs to a vantage point near the shore.

It was too dark to see anything, but the muffled sounds convinced Billy
that somebody was “monkeying” with their precious lobsters.

Quietly he stole back and woke the Captain and the boys. With many
cautions for silence, they slipped into trousers and sweaters, thrust
feet into sneakers, and rushed to surprise the marauders--Billy not
forgetting his rifle.

The unavoidable sounds made by the Islanders in leaving the float-stage
were warning enough, so before they were well off in Billy’s launch the
strange craft was flying toward the south.

“It’s up with our main-topsails, lads, and after her away,” sang Billy
in his glory as he gave the engine more gas.

They could not seem to lessen the distance between the escaping thieves
and their own boat, however, even though the pursuers, knowing the
local waters well, were able to take some short cuts.

“Well, their launch is a lee-tle speedier than mine,” wofully admitted
Billy.

“But they’re not gaining much, Bill! Let’s keep it up to the finish!”
urged Fred.

Down through Gilkey’s Harbour, out past Job’s Island, and into East
Penobscot Bay, the thieves led the chase.

“Say, Cap’n, can’t I fire a shot across their bows?” begged Billy.

“Might as well, son,” replied the Captain.

But the thieves paid no attention to this nautical command to stop.

“They must be headin’ fer Pulpit Harbour, on North Haven,” declared the
Captain, taking his bearings.

Billy simply couldn’t stand the thought of their getting away. “Oh,
Captain, just let me take one shot at their boat!”

The Captain hesitated too long, for silence gives consent. So Billy,
quick to take advantage of it, aimed for the engine of the fleeing
launch.

“Gee whiz! you hit it!” yelled Paul, excitedly.

“You winged her all right!” admitted Captain Ed, with a grin of
satisfaction now that the deed was done.

After that they drew up on the crippled boat and were close behind when
she dashed in behind the big rock that marks the entrance to this blind
harbour on North Haven.

Then the thieves beached their launch and took to the woods. When the
Sunset Islanders landed and examined the deserted launch, they found
she was nearly out of gasoline as well as having had one of her spark
plugs shot away.

“Guess she just had to put in here--she couldn’t go much further,” said
Fred.

“I don’t believe they’re any Pulpit Rock fellers--I know all the folks
’round here ’cause my wife’s a North Haven woman, you know,” remarked
the Captain.

“Oh, joy! Here’s our lobsters!” shouted Dudley, with great relief.

“And what’s this?” cried Paul, holding up the cushions and steamer-rugs
from Uncle Billy’s launch.

“Well, I swan!” breathed the Captain amazed. “Lobsters is one thing,
but when it comes to taking _chattels_--that’s another!”

“What’re we going to do now, Cap’n?” asked Billy.

“I’m awful hungry!” hinted Paul.

“Guess it must be most noon,” ventured Dudley.

The Captain and Fred laughed and assured the boys that it couldn’t be
more than six or seven o’clock. The sun was shining gloriously and
being up so early made the boys think it was ages since the hurry-call
for the chase.

“We’ll have breakfast at my father-in-law’s,” was the Captain’s welcome
announcement, indicating a white house that showed above the trees on
the point.

“Let’s take out our spark-plug as well as the one left in the other
launch,” advised Fred, acting upon his suggestion.

Captain Jotham, Captain Ed’s father-in-law, was a jolly old man with a
fringe of white whiskers framing his apple-red face, while his upper
lip was carefully shaven.

“Well, well! hain’t seen ye since a month o’ Sundays!” was his hearty
welcome to his son-in-law. “Come in--come in and set!”

Then the old Captain’s motherly wife appeared and soon after, the
hungry mariners were “stokin’ up” on coffee and doughnuts, with two
kinds of pie cut in generous triangles.

The boys exchanged looks of intense delight--the dream of their
lives come true! They had heard about New Englanders eating pie and
doughnuts for breakfast, but they had deemed it a legend for they
had never had an opportunity to test the truth. Now, they found they
were quite equal to the fact, although Mrs. Remington would have been
horrified at her boys eating such a morning meal!

When the story of the get-away and pursuit of the thieves was finished,
Captain Jotham planned with Captain Ed how to capture the marauders.

“Anyway, Ed, I’m the Consta_bule_, you know!”

“Sure ’nough! And you’ll be doin’ your duty to nab them rascals,”
assented Captain Ed.

So, armed with an old Winchester, Constable Jotham Heald left the house
followed by the rest of the party--Billy also armed with his trusty
rifle. Hearing the exciting story, one neighbour after another joined
the posse in the quest.

“Say, Jotham!” bawled an old salt just back from Rockland, “Bet’cher
them fellers air the same es is wanted fer other things than lobsters!”

“That’s right, Jotham! I heared tell thar war a launch stolen down
Camden way--thar’s a reward out fer news of the thieves and the
launch--shoulden’ wonder but what this is it!” added another hearty
fisherman, as they passed the thieves’ craft.

The hope of reward added to the zest of the pursuit and before they
left the shore every active or able member of the settlement had joined
the posse and had spent that reward!

Meantime, the thieves had reached a remote part of the wooded shore and
fearing capture had hidden in a natural cave. Here, they collected a
heap of stones to use for ammunition and provided heavy clubs in case
of attack.

They had not anticipated such an army, however, but had intended
“rushing” the boys, figuring that the single rifle of the offensives
could be rendered useless by the sudden surprise.

The trail grew clearer to the “home defenders” as they neared the
granite cave; even Paul could see that cobble-stones had recently been
removed from the ground.

The two fugitives, hearing a babel of many voices, peered from the
gloom of the cave. When they saw the crowd headed by a constable (as
was distinctly shown by the badge of office shining resplendent from
his flowered suspenders) with a gun, they looked at each other in fear.

“In the name of the law, surrender!” bawled Captain Jotham, aiming his
Winchester at the dark opening of the cave.

With the actual cowardliness of the unarmed criminal, the two men
sneaked out holding up their trembling hands in token of submission.

“Where’s them bracelets, Ed?” shouted the constable.

And the two men were handcuffed while the crowd looked on in intense
satisfaction. It was the first time the boys had ever seen handcuffs
used and it had a most subduing effect on their plastic minds.

It was high noon when the posse dispersed before the Heald homestead,
and hunger added to fatigue had so quieted the Islanders that they
presented quite a contrast to the eager rush and hullabaloo of the
morning.

Captain Jotham’s wife, accustomed as she was to hearty appetites, had
provided amply for the demand. Hot biscuits, jam, honey, preserves, and
more pie fraternised on the checkered red-and-white table cloth, while
smothered haddock and boiled potatoes provided pyramids of delicious
if humble provender. And full justice was done that meal by the
Representatives of the Law!

The topic of conversation centred about the reward and Captain Jotham
promised to take charge of the division so that the Islanders would
receive their exact share.

“But don’t set your hopes too high, boys--you won’t be millionaires on
that reward--if we get it!” said the constable.

“Why, the whole launch ain’t wuth more’n a hundred, or even less!”
added Captain Ed.

That morning, Mose had been awakened by the noise of Billy’s launch
as the boys started in pursuit of the thieves. By the time he was
half-dressed, however, and down by the float only a chugging of the two
engines could be heard by the nonplussed cook.

The morning passed without sight or sound of the Islanders so Mose
became worried. He tramped back and forth from Treasure Cove to the
float-stage and then down to the South End, dragging the spy-glass with
him.

He _almost_ forgot to eat so deserted and worried was he. Then, late
in the afternoon, when it seemed to him that he was doomed to remain a
Second Robinson Crusoe and Man Friday combined in one, he heard a faint
echo over the water, and anxiously glued his eye to the spy-glass.
There were familiar forms approaching in Billy’s launch!

Mose was so relieved to find them all safe at home that the unusually
wide grin on his generous mouth almost met at the back of his round
head and elicited a warning from the Captain:

“Take care, Mose, the top of your head will come off!”

The whole thrilling tale of the adventure was told Mose while they all
sat about the supper-table, and many were the interruptions in the
telling as one or another boy remembered a detail of that chase and
capture.

While waiting for dessert, the boys nodded and dozed, and finally, Fred
yawned and got up from the table.

“Say, Mose, I’m so tired my jaws won’t move! Keep my dish of pudding
for breakfast.”

When the other boys followed Fred’s action, Mose could hardly believe
his eyes and ears--not wait for their favourite pudding!

The next morning Anna appeared with her charge, Teddy. “I got a letter
from your mother yesterday that she’ll be home soon, so I thought I’d
better come over and help Mose clear away the too-apparent traces of
your ‘bachelor-hall.’”

Although the boys would not admit it, they were glad to see little
Teddy and Anna again, and Fred picked up his brother and carried him
off for the time the governess was occupied in helping Mose.

As they worked, Mose remarked: “‘Deed Ah t’ink it’s high time d’ Missus
is comin’ home. Ah tek notice dat none ob dese ’ructions ob bein’
pirates er shootin’ thieves happen when she’s heah!”

“I agree with you there, Mose, but I think we’re lucky to have any
Islanders sound and alive to meet her at the homecoming,” added Anna,
with a sigh.

The day the Lady of the Island was expected, the boys started for
Rosemary to meet her there. Everything had been left in readiness
at the foot of the flag-pole so that Mose could hoist the flag when
the signal came from the returning launch. At that signal, the young
Islanders were to sing “My Country ’tis of Thee” and “Our America,”
while the flag was hoisted and waved from its position on the big rock
of Treasure Cove.

  [Illustration: MOVIES--“THE PIRATES OF SUNSET.”]

  [Illustration: THE OLD WRECK IN CROW COVE.
   _Woodcraft Boys at Sunset Island._    _Page 244_]

Everything went off as planned, and Mrs. Remington was greatly pleased
at the demonstration of patriotism shown by the young folks.

“I don’t know how it happened that your father and I never had the
broken flag-staff replaced this summer, but so much takes place
every time he is with us, that it naturally was left for a time when
there was nothing else to do and that never happens!” explained Mrs.
Remington, in apology for the neglect. Then added:

“Now, however, we have a far better staff than the old one and I want
to thank you for the forethought and labour.”

“You must thank Captain Ed, too--he helped a lot!” said truthful and
loyal Billy.

“Indeed I do, and he knows it! And for all his care of you,” said his
mother, taking Captain Ed’s hand in hers.

At the earnest words of appreciation the Captain’s memory reviewed
recent events--piracy and posse were hardly to be considered as acts of
care-taking, and the conscientious Captain’s sense of justice rebuked
him in accepting the gratitude.

“Oh, well,” thought he to himself, “‘all’s well that ends well’ and no
one got in trouble!”

Elizabeth and Edith had accompanied their mother home and were glad to
be back on their dear old island, although they had enjoyed their visit
immensely.

The morning following Mrs. Remington’s return, Elizabeth said, “Mother,
we want our annual clam-bake and it can’t be postponed much longer
’cause Trixie is going back home!”

“Well, Uncle Tom is coming over to-day to give the boys another lesson
in target-shooting and we will give him the invitation to carry to the
Cove people, and we can tell the Isola Bella family about it when we go
there to dinner to-night!”

“Gee! I’m glad we got those lobsters of ours back again!” murmured
Billy.

During the next few days every one worked hard to have this clam-bake
surpass those of former years. Clams were dug, fish were caught, the
Captain’s broilers were requisitioned, while Rosemary and Isola Bella
promised to supply the ice-cream and cakes.

The day before the fête Elizabeth was brooding deeply while assisting
her mother with candy-making. Suddenly, she said, “Oh, dear! I do wish
father could be with us to-morrow!”

Her mother smiled and said, “Well, wish hard enough and see what
happens! We used to say ‘If wishes were horses all beggars might ride,’
but _you_ might change that to say ‘If wishes are motors our father
will arrive!’”

Elizabeth eyed her mother suspiciously and saw a look that caused her
to clap her hands.

“Oh, _mother!_ goody-good! I know he is coming!”

And away flew Elizabeth to spread the wonderful news to all on the
Island.

“Say, that’s the best yet!” cried the boys.

“There’s no one can broil lobsters like father!” declared Billy.

“And we want him to award that prize he offered for the biggest one,”
added Dudley.

“That’s right. He said ‘in a month’s catch,’ and the time is up,”
admitted Fred.

Eleven A.M. of the great feast-day found Mr. Remington at Rosemary, the
little plan of the extra week-end visit having been found possible of
fulfilment.

Fred and Billy met their father in the new launch. On the trip to
Sunset Island, Billy proudly displayed its speed and his efficiency in
managing the motor.

Fred regaled his father with a very full account of the pirates and
the chase of the thieves to Pulpit Harbour. As the elder of the trio
listened to the story he chuckled and thought to himself, “Chips of the
Old Block.”

But, very seriously he remarked, “Boys, what did your mother say to all
this?”

“Oh, father! We haven’t told her all we told _you_!” gasped they.

And by the time Mrs. Remington did hear most of the details of the
exploits, the flight of time had shed its halo about the daring and
possible dangers her boys had incurred.

That noon, the sun shone down upon a fleet of visiting craft loaded
with eager and hungry clam-bakers. Not only were the Rosemary and Isola
Bella families fully represented but many guests also accompanied them.

Mr. Remington broiled lobsters, Captain Ed steamed clams, the boys
dished fish-chowder and Mose broiled young chickens until it seemed the
world would be feasted that day. But all disappeared as if by magic and
still the clam-bakers found out-of-way corners where cake and ice-cream
could be stored!

At last, at peace with all earthly things, the visitors sat down to
enjoy the entertainment about to be furnished by the Woodcrafters.

“Our first number on the programme will be A Moving Picture Drama of
‘The Katahdin Pirates,’” announced Fred.

And a realistic scene took place in which one of the male visitors was
dragged out and became a helpless victim of piracy as practised by
Sunset Islanders. The production was one of Fred’s first attempts at
play-writing, and received due applause as such.

Little Red Riding Hood was then acted but the wolf looked suspiciously
like the cinnamon bear of the masked ball on Isola Bella. The
wood-chopper played his part so enthusiastically that it brought an
encore, and so Edith was once more swallowed in the steamer-rugs of her
grandmother’s bed, and once more disgorged.

After this, Mr. Remington very seriously announced that the prize
offered by him for the largest and heaviest lobster came near to being
twins. The only point that saved this awful monstrosity was the fact
that a claw on one was larger than those of the other! Thus, Paul was
recompensed for his encounter with a lobster’s claw during the first
“catch” of the season.

Paul was so delighted with winning the first prize that he went about
showing each guest the claws of the fine lobster he had caught--and
promising Trixie a print of the photograph he had taken of it the day
before.

Dancing in the Council Ring helped digestion and the victrola Uncle Tom
brought over that day furnished music.

Among other farewells that evening, Trixie’s were especially prolonged
as she was to leave Rosemary on the morrow.

During his unexpected visit of three days, Mr. Remington took an active
interest in the target practice and the boys received many important
and wise advices.

With target-practice, fishing, canoeing, and other sports, the days
flew by, while weekly councils in the Ring marked the attainment of
Woodcraft Honours.

The outdoor life had tanned and hardened Paul and Dudley so that they
were a credit to the Island. Moreover, the boys were now of real
service in camp life, having learned to row, be of help in sailing,
expert in swimming, knowing something of first aid, and being able to
cook a simple camp meal.

Then came a letter in the morning mail one day and upon reading it
Mrs. Remington announced: “Mrs. Baker says the trip is all arranged.
The girls of Wickeecheokee Band and the boys of the Grey Fox Band are
crazy to come with Dr. Baker and Mr. Hubert when they motor to Maine.
So she has changed her plans of coming with the doctor.”

“Oh, that’s too bad! I know she would have enjoyed a visit with you,
mother,” said Elizabeth.

“What will they do, then?” asked Billy eagerly, trying to hide his
pleasure at hearing that Fiji and Bob Baker would accompany the doctor
instead of Mrs. Baker.

“Why, Mr. Hubert will take the big touring car and take Janet, Zan
Baker, Nita Brampton, Elena Marsh and Paul’s sister Hilda--the original
five who started Wickeecheokee Band of Wako Tribe, while Dr. Baker
will use his new seven-passenger car to carry Fiji and Bob Baker, Jack
Hubert, Harold Everett and the luggage.”

“Why, Jane and Jack Hubert are with their mother at Woodchuck Camp in
the Adirondacks!” exclaimed Elizabeth.

“Yes, but Mrs. Baker and Miss Miller are going from the city to the
Hubert Camp and visit there while Jane and Jack take the two places in
the cars to come on here with the other Woodcrafters,” explained Mrs.
Remington.

Wild expressions of delight came from every boy and girl present and
then Billy quieted them with a practical remark.

“Say, those Bands won’t let us put anything over on them in a Grand
Council, I bet!”

“That’s right! We ought to put on steam and show the Grey Foxes what
_we_ have done this summer!” cried Dudley.

“Fiji Baker told my sister that they meant to ‘saw wood’ on the farm
this summer, so’s they could show ‘_some_’ work at the Grand Council in
New York in the fall,” added Paul.

“What’s more, they must have known of this visit some time ago, and
been hitting it up to show off when they get here,” suggested Fred.

“Say, boys, wouldn’t it be great fun to hold one mighty Council with
the Pentagoet Tribe as host together with the girls of The Big Lodge of
Wako Tribe, and their Little Lodge where Paul, Edith and Teddy first
started in Woodcraft Work?” volunteered Elizabeth.

“Don’t forget the Grey Foxes, too!” added Dudley.

“Oh, yes, let’s! I want to show Hilda how I have improved this summer,”
urged Paul.

The others smiled encouragingly at the boy in whom there surely had
been miracles wrought since he joined Woodcraft. In place of the
whining and discontented ways he had acquired a happy optimism; the
shirking of duties was now a forgotten habit, the irregular eating,
oversleeping, prevarications and other undesirable qualities were now
gone for good. And good normal ideas and character-forming exercises
took their place.

“Mrs. Baker said, that the doctor has been so over-worked that he needs
a change, so Mr. Hubert planned this outing to entice him. They will
motor from the Adirondacks in easy stages and then spend the third
week-end of August in Camden, so that we can have them over to visit
the Island for a day at least!” said Mrs. Remington, looking again at
the letter from Mrs. Baker.

“If we hold that last Grand Council when the visiting Tribes are here
why not let that occasion be used to crown Fred a Sagamore? He has
just won his twenty-fourth feather with the sailing _coup_,” suggested
Elizabeth, eagerly.

“That is a splendid idea, Lizzie!” cried Billy, using that tabooed
nickname for his sister.

“We can have some grand water sports as well as other fun,” instantly
quoth Fred, to cover the too evident pleasure he felt at the
proposition.

“We can have a ‘Spearing the Sturgeon,’ a canoe tag, and a tub-tilting
contest as well as a Talk Fest and other fun!” said Dudley, anxious to
add his quota.

“Say, don’t you boys go and forget we girls are in on this Council!”
warned Elizabeth, with a menacing look.

“Of course!” responded Paul, magnanimously.

“And we’re going to claim Honours for different things, too! I’m going
to finish my Hostess and Shingebis Degrees as well as my Handicraft
_coups_,” continued Elizabeth.

“I guess those girls of Wako Tribe will have some stunts to show, too,”
added Edith.

“I think I will plan a programme that will give each Woodcrafter time
and opportunity to show what he or she has done this summer,” suggested
Mrs. Remington.

“Yes, mother, do that!” came a chorus of voices, so the Lady of the
Island produced an elaborate programme that later was entered in the
Tally Book as one of the Grand Councils--and the best ever held on the
Island.

From that day until the time the expected tourists were to arrive, many
hours were given to finishing up the lists for claiming _coups_ and
Honours.

Birds, flowers, insects and fish were catalogued and learned by every
one until the required number for each _coup_ or honour were secured.

Athletics and Camp Crafts were displayed to the necessary witnesses
until Fred declared that he would demand the pay for the office for
Recording Secretary if the writing kept up much longer.

But all mundane things have an end and so has the waiting for an
important event.

Uncle Bill and Mr. Remington met at last on their ‘insular plane’ just
before the arrival of the guests at Camden. They proved to be of great
assistance when it came to arranging the rules and regulations of the
water-sports planned.

Then the day the touring cars arrived at Rosemary, every Islander was
up and ready to jump into the launch immediately after breakfast. They
intended to act as escort for Uncle Tom’s power-boat which would convey
the visitors.

The Council Ring had been elaborately decorated with totems painted on
the round and oval bread-boards salvaged from the wrecked Katahdin, and
flags waved in the breeze--the glorious Stars and Stripes evident above
all.



CHAPTER FOURTEEN

THE TWENTY-FOURTH FEATHER


Early in the morning of the festive day, Mose came to Mrs. Remington
with a question expressed in his troubled eyes.

“We ain’t got dishes enough, nohow, fer de big crowd yo’ all is
expectin’,” said he.

“Why, Mose! What about all those shooks of wooden plates salvaged from
the wreck--and the other wooden things?” said she.

“Oh, Ah diden’ know yo’ all woul’ want t’ use dem fo’ Noo Yoak
comp’ny,” apologised Mose, who wanted to put “the best foot foremost”
with expected strangers.

“You know, it isn’t the dishes they’ll notice, Mose, but what’s on
them!” declared Mrs. Remington wisely.

“Ah s’pose so!” conceded the half-convinced cook.

The Great Convocation having safely arrived on Sunset Island, the
morning was devoted to all sorts of athletics and water-sport contests.

The Grey Fox boys acquitted themselves admirably for such young
beginners in Woodcraft, and they seized the chance in the presence of
so many witnesses to win _coups_ for “chinning the bar,” “hop, step,
and jump” and other games.

The canoe-tag was a laughable affair--naturally, the contestants wore
bathing suits. Uncle Tom and Uncle Bill loaned their canoes to the
visitors for the day.

“Tell you what, boys, this makes me feel young again!” exclaimed Uncle
Bill, as he laughed at certain tricks.

“Why, Uncle Bill! You’re not old,” defended Billy.

“No indeed, he is just as young as any of us!” said Fred.

“About as young as Teddy, for instance,” laughed Mrs. Remington.

“Yes, as young and as foolish,” added Aunt Miriam.

And Uncle Bill quickly diverted every one’s attention to a beautiful
schooner ploughing through the waves of the bay.

That day the luncheon was a picnic affair, for all of the Rosemary and
Isola Bella relatives brought huge hampers of food. Immediately after
the lunch a cleanup brigade got rid of the debris before the final
preparations were made for the Grand Council.

Then, the boys’ and girls’ tents were filled with excited Woodcrafters
adding the finishing touches to their ceremonial costumes. For,
whatever else was lacking in the suitcases of the Wako Girls and Grey
Fox Boys, it was not the tiniest or bulkiest item of their Woodcraft
Council Robes! No indeed!

Three o’clock found a goodly company completely circling the Council
Place. Besides relatives and families of the captains present other
visitors had arrived after luncheon.

Wita-tonkan opened the Council and called upon Fiji, the Chief of the
Grey Foxes, to make the ceremonial rubbing-stick fire, also appointing
Zan Baker, Founder of Wickeecheokee Band, Tally Keeper of the Council,
thus conforming to the conditions of courtesy and co-operation.

When the Chief of the Council called for reports of Scouts, a surprise
was afforded the Pentagoets.

Captain Ed rose, saluted, was recognised, and began in an official
Woodcraft manner:

“Oh Chief! I have to report that Consta_bule_ Jotham Heald sent word
that $15 reward awaits at the Camden Police Station for you boys’ share
of the money paid by the owner of the recovered launch.”

After the excited applause had subsided, Billy sprang up, saluted, and
inquired earnestly, “Oh Chief! I would like to ask the Captain if we
aren’t going to get anything for helping capture those thieves?”

Every one in the Council laughed at Billy’s mercenary tendencies.

“Oh Chief! I will answer the young Brave’s question!” cried Uncle
Bill, now jumping up. “We all admire and value the astuteness of this
young detective’s work and I fear that my namesake has had his hopes
buoyed high from having read of the exorbitant rewards obtained by
city “tecs”; however, let me assure him that most of those sums are
press stories and the ‘long green’ is seldom seen by the hard-plugging
officers whose families have to live according to the ‘low-cost menus’
furnished by some philanthropic magazines--on two and a half cents a
day!”

Billy’s face had gradually been changing its expression of eagerness to
disappointment, so the Captain explained:

“The talk of a reward for the thieves was mostly just talk! In fact,
the launch-owner added an extra five to the five dollars reward for
catching the rascals. But we were quite a posse, you know, so it only
amounted to thirty-seven cents a piece, when divided.”

Fumbling through his pockets, the conscientious Captain finally brought
forth a yellow cotton bag once filled with “cut plug” but now elevated
to the position of a bank.

“The constabule” had made an exact division of spoils grading down to
some odd pennies, and this was counted out upon the desk of the Tally
Keeper.

The boys were slightly disappointed at the sudden collapse of the
financial investments they had dreamed about, but they were good losers
and insisted that Captain Ed share the reward with them.

When order was once more restored, Uncle Tom made his report on target
practice. Amid prolonged applause, the first prize was a pocket-rifle
and was awarded to Billy. The second prize was a sheath-knife which
went to Dudley.

Under the heading of “unfinished business” Wita-tonkan called upon the
Pentagoets and visitors present at the Black Bear Day, to deliver the
rest of the scalps still due the victors in that contest.

Uncle Bill rose and said: “Oh Chief, I permitted my hair to grow all of
the time I was away from here. Now, behold, the result!”

As he spoke, he held aloft a magnificent pendant brush of long shining
hair which he had had made to order. This truly royal trophy was then
solemnly hung on the Black Bear totem-pole back of the Chief’s chair.

In turn, the rest of the scalps were hung beneath it, Uncle Tom and
some of the visitors having provided variegated locks: crimson, yellow,
green, purple, and blue tassels of horsehair.

“How! How!” sounded amid laughter in the Council Ring.

“Any Honours to be claimed?” questioned the Chief.

Fiji and Bob stood up and presented the signed papers for a canning
_coup_ each. They had joined a Government Canning Club and at
Wickeecheokee Farm that summer had canned twelve quarts each of
strawberries, cherries and raspberries, making the three dozen
necessary for a _coup_.

“When will you give a demonstration of your club-work? I’d like to be
one of the judges and chief taster,” asked Uncle Bill.

This gave the Woodcrafters an idea for a Thanksgiving exhibition which
they really carried out the ensuing winter.

Then, Dudley, Paul, Billy and Fred claimed the _coup_ for catching and
salting fish, each having more than the twenty-five to their account.

Wita-tonkan having awarded these _coups_ a question was raised as to
the fitting person to award the Honour to him.

“A Chief must receive Honours from another Chief,” announced Zan, the
Tally Keeper.

“Will the Grey Fox Chief award this Honour to the Chief of the
Pentagoet Tribe?” added she, turning to her brother.

Fiji acquitted himself with dignity, although it was the first time
that he had been called upon to act in this capacity.

Various Nature and Handcraft _coups_ were claimed by both girls and
boys, and Elizabeth, representing her home tribe of the Apawamis, was
awarded the Degrees of Hostess and Sister Craft.

Edith, Dudley and Paul, each claimed a _coup_ for knowing twenty-five
fish; the two boys announcing that, before they left the island that
summer, they hoped to have their Grand _Coups_ for sleeping out of
doors sixty successive nights.

  [Illustration: SHINGEBIS IN COSTUME.
   _Woodcraft Boys on Sunset Island._    _Page 256_]

“If I hadn’t had to go to Rosemary and sleep in Aunt Edith’s house
when mother went to Boston, I could have won that Grand _coup_, too!”
grumbled Edith.

Some one wondered why Wita-tonkan wore only his plain head-band at this
important Council and it was now explained.

Billy arose and said, “I, Shingebis, of the Black Bear Tribe, in behalf
of Wita-tonkan of the Black Bear Tribe, claim _coup_ for sailing
without expert help, one hundred and fifty miles in a season. Witnessed
by Captain Ed Blake, Moses Jackson, and Elizabeth Remington.”

A pause was broken by Shingebis, who gazed solemnly at the circle
of attentive faces and said impressively: “This is Wita-tonkan’s
twenty-fourth _coup_ and entitles him to the Sagamore ship!”

Fiji, slightly overwhelmed at the duties devolving upon him, was again
called forward to do service to a Brother Chief.

Zan and Elizabeth handed the Grey Fox Chief the Sagamore’s war-bonnet
and the twenty-fourth symbol. Fiji reverently inserted the feather,
then, holding aloft the coveted plumes he called upon Elizabeth to read
aloud to the Council, the exploits symbolised by this Sagamore’s Crown.

With a feeling of great pride in her brother’s achievement,
Pah-hlee-oh, the Moon-maid, read as follows:

   1. The Swimming _Coup_
   2. The Grand _Coup_ for sleeping sixty successive
      nights out of doors
   3. The Rubbing-Stick _Coup_
   4. The Match-Fire _Coup_
   5. The Grand _Coup_ for butterflies
   6. The Grand _Coup_ for fish
   7. The Flower _Coup_
   8. The Grand _Coup_ for trees
   9. The Hop-Step-and-Jump _Coup_
  10. Chinning the Bar _Coup_
  11. The Herald _Coup_
  12. The Peace-Messenger _Coup_
  13. Grand _Coup_ for Making Willow Bed
  14. _Coup_ for Weaving Rush mat
  15. Grand _Coup_ for knots
  16. Star-Gazing _Coup_
  17. Axe-Man _Coup_
  18. The Cooking _Coup_
  19. The Catch and Salting Fish _Coup_
  20. Grand _Coup_ for Walking Five Miles in
      Sixty-three Minutes and Forty-one Seconds
  21. Grand _Coup_ for Moths
  22. Grand _Coup_ for Putting Up Dumb-bell
  23. _Coup_ for Making Bear for Council Game
  24. The Sailing _Coup_.

As the long salvo of “Hows!” died away over the water, Fiji
ceremoniously placed the Crown upon the new-made Sagamore.

Every Woodcraft boy and girl present then in turn saluted the Sagamore
Wita-tonkan, which salute was his due every time he entered any Council
thereafter.

In a few words of intense feeling, Wita-tonkan thanked the Chief of the
Grey Foxes and the Council, then took again his place in the Chair.

The full programme was given that day. The Wako Tribe rendering the
Corn Dance in a finished and graceful manner. Fiji and Bob stood off
Billy and Paul in contests of tub-tilting and then the Pentagoet Tribe
gave a good account of themselves in singing and movies.

Just before the close of that Grand Council Uncle Bill, Uncle Tom, and
Mr. Remington made a momentous announcement.

“We have persuaded Dr. Baker and Mr. Hubert, acting as chauffeurs for
these Woodcraft visitors, to pronounce the two automobiles out of
condition for an immediate departure. Therefore, they have agreed to
extend the visit,” said Uncle Bill.

“Yes, the Grey Foxes are going to be the guests of the Sunset
Islanders, while the Wakos will visit Isola Bella,” continued Mr.
Remington.

“And the doctor and Mr. Hubert are to remain with me at Rosemary where
we three can chaperone the unruly cars,” added Uncle Tom.

But long before the third announcement was finished a babel started in
the Council Ring and could only be subdued by the Sagamore jumping up
and shouting wildly:

“Three cheers and a tiger!”

The order was obeyed with a vim that deafened all those present, and
echoed as far over to Isola Bella so that Bridget came out of her
domain and stood with hands upon her ample hips, remarking to herself:
“Some more av thim Injun fussin’s Oi s’pose.”

Oh, the joys of the next few days! Fishing, sailing--for the visitors
preferred sailing to any other sport--and exploring the islands; a
visit to the old wreck in Crow Cove, an impromptu clam-bake, and dances
in Fudge Attic of evenings where Uncle Bill made good his boast to the
members of Wako Tribe--that he was strong for the ladies!

On the morning of the last day, however, Dr. Baker and Mr. Hubert
silenced all petitions for a longer visit. So, the launches were
boarded and the visiting Woodcrafters and all of the Islanders were
soon carried over to Rosemary where the well-chaperoned cars had been
waiting.

“Say, Fiji, while the folks are admiring Uncle Tom’s garden s’posing we
show you boys the farm,” asked Fred.

“And we’ll show you the little pig we saved from the Katahdin wreck,”
cried Billy.

This idea was acted upon and soon the boys and girls were laughing at
the antics of the pig, now in an excellent condition owing to the
generosity of the Rosemary refectory.

As they all stood near the pen, Fiji began whistling a medley beginning
with Yankee Doodle, when, to the amazement of the children, piggy
instantly reared up on his hind legs and danced about, keeping very
good time with the whistling.

“Well, did you ever!” gasped Zan, turning to look at the others.

The boys and girls of the Island were as surprised as she, however, and
stood speechless, looking at the object of their unbelief.

“Say, that’s no fool of a pig! I’m going to try him again!” exclaimed
Fiji.

Katahdin had dropped to all fours when the musician had stopped
whistling and now came snuffling close to the fence for an accustomed
apple.

“I’ll run to the orchard for some apples!” cried Billy, while Fiji
started to whistle again.

Piggy again danced around and around causing the audience to shriek
with laughter.

“I bet you anything that’s a trick pig!” cried Fred.

“And it was crated for the County Fair--yes sir!” added Paul.

“Let me try some other stunts,” suggested Fiji, climbing over the fence.

Bob handed his brother a stick of wood while the other children waited
breathlessly to see the results of the experiment.

Fiji ordered in a commanding voice “Down, Piggy, down!”

Immediately, the pig lay down upon the ground.

“Dead dog, Dead!” now called the excited boy, forgetting for the moment
that he was not training Wickee, his collie dog.

But Katahdin cared naught for the error of names, and meekly turned
over on his back with all four short legs sticking stiffly upward.

A scream of laughter greeted this performance and an apple was fed the
eager pig.

“Fiji, see if he can play soldier like Wick does?” now said Bob. So,
the stick Fiji held was carefully placed in the crotch of the upright
pig’s foreleg. The pig was so tame that it showed absolutely no fear of
the children but stood obediently waiting for a command.

Whistling Yankee Doodle again, Fiji shouted “March!”

Katahdin ambled clumsily along carrying the stick for a gun, and the
children shouted wildly in their frenzy of delight. They felt that they
had saved the seventh wonder of the earth!

“Halt!” called Fiji, and the porcine performer obeyed.

“Present arms!” but the pig must have been accustomed to a different
act for it instantly grounded arms.

Uncles, aunts, and other adults were now hailed to come and witness
the great surprise. So piggy was once more put through his “steps” to
the wonderment of the grown-ups.

“I believe this is a valuable pig, children, and perhaps his master was
on the Katahdin also, and now is mourning the loss of his pet,” said
Mrs. Remington.

“Suppose we write the Eastern Steamship Company to ascertain who the
owner is, or just why this pig was shipped on the Katahdin,” suggested
Uncle Tom.

“Of course, the address was on the crate but was soaked off that day on
Scilly Ledge,” said Paul, regretfully.

“I think Uncle Tom’s plan the best--will you write at once, please?”
said Billy.

“This very day!” vowed Uncle Tom.

“Oh, do let us hear from you, will you, Mr. Charlton? and tell us
what you find out about Katahdin?” cried Zan, eagerly, as they walked
towards the waiting automobiles.

“Indeed, I will! The Sunset Islanders saved piggy’s life from a
watery grave, but the Grey Foxes saved him from the butcher’s blade!”
exclaimed Uncle Tom.

Then, amid shrill whistles, waving of caps and hats, and other forms
of farewell, the two cars started away carrying a pleased party of
visitors out of sight.

A week passed without a reply to Uncle Tom’s letter and every one began
worrying lest they would have to go back home without having found
Katahdin’s rightful owner.

Then came a bulky letter from the company. It contained letters written
to a man in the Rockland hospital and his replies. They all pertained
to the pig. After reading them, Uncle Tom smiled and started for Sunset
Island with the information.

“Well, Islanders! What to do about that pig?” asked he.

“Goodness me! Haven’t you had _any_ word, yet?” worried Paul.

“I’ve been thinking that I’d better hand him over to the Captain, if we
have to go without finding another owner,” said Uncle Tom, pretending
not to hear Paul’s question.

This caused a disquieting silence although the boys were very fond of
Captain Ed; still each one had secretly hoped to take the pig home
himself, if no other home had been found.

Uncle Tom laughed heartily for he read their thoughts correctly, and
felt that he had taken an unfair advantage of them. So, he took the
bundle of letters from his pocket and motioned the children to be
seated.

The letters proved that the owner of the trick pig was the only
passenger injured when the Katahdin was wrecked, and if he had
not tried to save the life of his beloved pet--his only source of
livelihood, he would have been spared some broken ribs. But, upon
hearing the frightened squeals coming from the pig that was kept in a
crate, the poor man endeavoured to drag the box on deck and thus was
struck by a falling spar.

The crew carried him to the lifeboat but he wanted to go back for his
pig! They held him fast, however, and sent him to the hospital for
attention. In his delirium he called and called for his pig, ordering
it to perform or calling it by endearing names when an act was well
done.

The nurses noted this and reported to the doctor and the kindly doctor
in turn reported to the authorities. Then, after hope had almost gone,
came the letter from Uncle Tom. To say the poor man felt joy and relief
at hearing that his pet was alive and so well cared for, was putting
it mildly. The letter he sent Uncle Tom was simply overflowing with
gratitude.

Before the Islanders left Maine to return to their city home, Uncle Tom
came for them to hurry back with him to Rosemary and meet the owner of
Katahdin.

Here, the pale but happy man shook hands with the children and thanked
them repeatedly for what they had unconsciously done for him.

“You see, when I first went on that boat, I wanted Pico--that’s his
right name--in my state-room with me but the steamship company wouldn’t
allow it, so they put him in a crate and put the poor thing down in
the room with the freight! Ah, me! How Pico must have suffered from
fright that time when the ship hit those rocks! And after, when he was
in the sea!”

The young pirates could have testified to the fear the poor pig felt as
shown by his wildness and squeals that day on the Zeus, but it would
not have helped the still weakened man to hear that story so nothing
was told him about the rescue.

The Islanders stood watching the happy owner strap the new crate on the
back of the buckboard he had hired, and when he drove way, turning now
and then to wave to the children, they sighed.

“Say, do you know what?” exclaimed Billy, suddenly.

“No, what?” demanded the others.

“Of all the adventures we’ve had at Sunset Island this summer, I’m not
so sure but that saving Pico for this lonely man isn’t the deed to be
recorded in our Tally as being of the most value and importance!”

And every one seconded Billy’s heartfelt motion.

The last days on Sunset Island came all too soon and after such
a wonderful summer of freedom and pleasures, the spectre of
school-lessons looming up with the limitations of city-life, created a
zeal to crowd in all possible sport.

As they all sailed for the last time over the bay to the Camp-Ground
landing where they expected to take the steamer, the three younger
boys thought with regret that they might have accomplished more than
they really had, but Wita-tonkan felt the glow of satisfaction that he
had realised one of his ambitions of life--that of being crowned the
Sagamore of Sunset Island.



EVERY BOY’S LIBRARY

BOY SCOUT EDITION

The books in this library have been proven by nation-wide canvass to be
the one most universally in demand by the boys themselves. Originally
published in more expensive editions only, they are now re-issued at
a lower price so that all boys may have the advantage of reading and
owning them. It is the only series of books published under the control
of this great organization, whose sole object is the welfare and
happiness of the boy himself.

  Adventures in Beaver Stream Camp,
    Major A. R. Dugmore
  Along the Mohawk Trail,
    Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  Animal Heroes,
    Ernest Thompson Seton
  Baby Elton, Quarter-Back,
    Leslie W. Quirk
  Bartley, Freshman Pitcher,
    William Heyliger
  Billy Topsail with Doctor Luke of the Labrador,
    Norman Duncan
  The Biography of a Grizzly,
    Ernest Thompson Seton
  The Boy Scouts of Black Eagle Patrol,
   Leslie W. Quirk
  The Boy Scouts of Bob’s Hill,
    Charles Pierce Burton
  Brown Wolf and Other Stories,
    Jack London
  Buccaneers and Pirates of Our Coasts,
    Frank R. Stockton
  The Call of the Wild,
    Jack London
  Cattle Ranch to College,
    R. Doubleday
  College Years,
    Ralph D. Paine
  Cruise of the Cachalot,
    Frank T. Bullen
  The Cruise of the Dazzler,
    Jack London
  Don Strong, Patrol Leader,
    W. Heyliger
  Don Strong of the Wolf Patrol,
    William Heyliger
  For the Honor of the School,
    Ralph Henry Barbour
  The Gaunt Gray Wolf,
    Dillon Wallace
  Grit-a-Plenty,
    Dillon Wallace
  The Guns of Europe,
    Joseph A. Altsheler
  The Half-Back,
    Ralph Henry Barbour
  Handbook for Boys, Revised Edition
    Boy Scouts of America
  The Horsemen of the Plains,
    Joseph A. Altsheler
  Jim Davis,
    John Masefield
  Kidnapped,
    Robert Louis Stevenson
  Last of the Chiefs,
    Joseph A. Altsheler
  The Last of the Mohicans,
    James Fenimore Cooper
  Last of the Plainsmen,
    Zane Grey
  Lone Bull’s Mistake,
    J. W. Shultz
  Pete, The Cow Puncher,
    J. B. Ames
  The Quest of the Fish-Dog Skin,
    James W. Schultz
  Ranche on the Oxhide,
    Henry Inman
  The Ransom of Red Chief and Other O. Henry Stories for Boys,
    Edited by F. K. Mathiews
  Scouting With Daniel Boone,
    Everett T. Tomlinson
  Scouting With Kit Carson,
    Everett T. Tomlinson
  Through College on Nothing a Year,
    Christian Gauss
  Treasure Island,
    Robert Louis Stevenson
  20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,
    Jules Verne
  Under Boy Scout Colors,
    J. B. Ames
  Ungava Bob,
    Dillon Wallace

GROSSET & DUNLAP, Publishers, NEW YORK



Football and Baseball Stories

  Durably Bound. Illustrated. 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 the love of manliness,
cleanness and sportsmanship in his heart.

  LEFT END EDWARDS
  LEFT TACKLE THAYER
  LEFT GUARD GILBERT
  CENTER RUSH ROWLAND
  FULLBACK FOSTER
  LEFT HALF HARMON
  RIGHT END EMERSON
  RIGHT GUARD GRANT

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. Every young American who has ever tried
to stop a grounder or put one over to first will enjoy them and want to
own them all.

  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 TOM SLADE BOOKS

By PERCY KEESE FITZHUGH Author of “Roy Blakeley,” “Pee-wee Harris,”
“Westy Martin,” Etc.

Illustrated. Individual Picture Wrappers in Colors. 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 SLADE’S DOUBLE DARE
  TOM SLADE ON OVERLOOK MOUNTAIN
  TOM SLADE PICKS A WINNER
  TOM SLADE AT BEAR MOUNTAIN

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK



THE ROY BLAKELEY BOOKS

By PERCY KEESE FITZHUGH

Author of “Tom Slade,” “Pee-wee Harris,” “Westy Martin,” Etc.

Illustrated. Individual 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

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK



Transcriber’s Note:

Punctuation has been standardised. Spelling and hyphenation have been
retained as they appear in the original publication except as follows:

  Page 15
    unweildy fish would surely _changed to_
    unwieldy fish would surely

  Page 118
    as a resistable brace against _changed to_
    as a resistible brace against

  Page 146
    lamned him with it _changed to_
    lammed him with it

  Page 147
    wild squak from the chickens _changed to_
    wild squawk from the chickens

  Page 155
    I I know what all that hammering _changed to_
    I know what all that hammering

    more eratic grew the time _changed to_
    more erratic grew the time

  Page 186
    I know you were only only trying _changed to_
    I know you were only trying

  Page 255
    from having read of the exhorbitant _changed to_
    from having read of the exorbitant





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