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

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Roy Blakeley's Funny-bone Hike" ***

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ROY BLAKELEY’S FUNNY-BONE HIKE


[Illustration: “OUT I WENT AGAIN WITH ALL OF THEM AFTER ME.”]


ROY BLAKELEY’S FUNNY-BONE HIKE

by

PERCY KEESE FITZHUGH

Author of
Tom Slade, Boy Scout,
Tom Slade at Temple Camp,
Roy Blakeley, etc.

Illustrated by H. S. Barbour



Published with the approval of
THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

Grosset & Dunlap
Publishers         New York

Made in the United States of America

Copyright, 1923
Grosset & Dunlap



                                CONTENTS

         I We Go
        II We Start Back
       III We Go South
        IV We Go North
         V We Keep on Going North
        VI We Move Heaven and Earth
       VII We Reach the Fickle Guide Post
      VIII We Do a Good Turn
        IX We Follow Our Leader
         X We Retrace Our Steps
        XI We Wait for the Boat
       XII We Collect Toll
      XIII We Are Marooned on a Desert Island
       XIV We See a Sail
        XV We Form a Resolve
       XVI We Are Saved
      XVII We Cook the Duck
     XVIII We Meet a Friend
       XIX We Eat
        XX We Make a Promise
       XXI We Keep Still
      XXII We Hear a Voice
     XXIII We Go to the Rescue
      XXIV We Drop Dead—Almost
       XXV We Prove It
      XXVI We See a House
     XXVII We Lose Our Bearings
    XXVIII We Are Dead to the World
      XXIX We Wake Up
       XXX We Figure It Out
      XXXI We Make a Bargain
     XXXII We Become Bandits
    XXXIII We Win
     XXXIV We Start the Parade
      XXXV We End Our Hike
     XXXVI We Demobilize
           Chapter the Last



                     ROY BLAKELEY’S FUNNY-BONE HIKE



                               CHAPTER I

                                 WE GO


This is going to be the craziest story I ever wrote. But anyway every
word of it is true—except a few small words. Even the punctuation is
true. But I have to admit the story is crazy. It’s the craziest story
ever written in this world or any other world. I don’t care how many
worlds there are. The name I call it by is the Funny-bone Hike, but I
should worry what you call it.

When you study first aid you have to know all about the different bones
but the only bone I know anything about is my funny-bone. Anyway I don’t
care so much about first aid—I like lemonade better.

But one thing, I’ve got the Safety First badge. To get that you have to
think up a safety device in your home. I thought of a safety pin. I’ve
got ten other merit badges, too. Next to laughing my specialty is
cooking.

So now I’ll tell you about how all this crazy business started. It
happened accidentally on purpose. Our troop was up at Temple
Camp—that’s where we spend our summers. One morning six of us went down
to Catskill Landing in the bus to get some fish-hooks and jaw-breakers;
I’m crazy about those, I don’t mean fish-hooks.

The six scouts that happened to be along were Bert Winton, (he belongs
out west) and Hervey Willetts, (gee whiz, he belongs everywhere I guess)
and Garry Everson (he lives down the Hudson) and Warde Hollister (he’s
in my patrol and my patrol is the Silver Foxes and they’re all crazier
than each other, those fellows) and Pee-wee Harris (he’s one of the
raving Ravens of our troop) and Roy Blakeley, that’s me, I mean I,
correct, be seated. I was named after my sister because she was named
before I was. I’m patrol leader of the Silver Foxes, but I’m not to
blame, because they were wished onto me. I’m more to be pitied than
blamed.

Now it’s about ten miles from Temple Camp to Catskill Landing. And it’s
about three hundred and forty-eleven miles back from Catskill Landing to
Temple Camp. I bet you’ll say that isn’t possible and I know it isn’t
possible but it’s true just the same.

So this is the way it is. The first chapter of this story tells how we
went to Catskill Landing and the next twenty or thirty chapters tell how
we got back to Temple Camp. You can stay in Catskill Landing if you want
to and not bother with the rest, I should worry. But the book includes
the round trip only it wasn’t so round; it was kind of square like a
circle and rectangular and right-angular and left angular, and every
which way. It was shaped like a lot of wire all tangled up. The way back
was so crooked that we met ourselves a lot of times going the other way.

So if you want to you can call this story The Tangled Trail. But I like
the Funny-bone Hike better. Suit yourself.



                               CHAPTER II

                             WE START BACK


The scout that was to blame for the whole thing was Hervey Willetts.
Believe me, that fellow ought to be kept in a cage. He belongs to a
patrol named the Reindeers but he ought to belong to the tomcats because
half the time nobody knows where he is.

His scoutmaster says he wanders over the face of the earth but, believe
me, he wanders across the head of the earth and down the neck of the
earth; the face isn’t big enough for him. The scouts at camp call him
the wandering minstrel because he goes all over and he’s all the time
singing. It was just a streak of luck that we happened to have him with
us that day. He wears a funny little hat without any brim and with holes
cut in it so his thoughts can get out because they make him top-heavy
when he’s climbing trees.

We were just starting to hike back from Catskill Landing when he said,
“Come on, let’s make it snappy.”

“What do you mean, make it snappy?” I asked him.

“Let’s put some ginger in it,” he said.

“He means gingersnaps,” Pee-wee shouted; “let’s buy some.”

“A voice from the Animal Cracker Patrol,” Warde Hollister said; “here’s
a couple of fish-hooks, and a package of tacks, eat those.”

“Put some ginger in what?” I asked Hervey. “I’d just as soon fill it up
with ginger, only what?”

“The hike back,” he said. “Let’s start something.”

Already that fellow was suffering from remorse because he had sat
quietly for half an hour or so in the bus.

I said, “If I knew of volcanoes or wild animals on the way back I’d lead
you to them, but the only wild animal I know of around here is the
mascot of the animal patrol.”

“Let’s play Follow Your Leader,” Hervey said.

“Not while we’re conscious,” Garry Everson spoke up; “not if you’re
going to be the leader. I have to be home by Christmas.”

Bert Winton said, “I’m sorry, but school opens in a few weeks. Nothing
doing.”

“I’ll follow you!” our little Animal Cracker shouted; “I don’t have to
be home Christmas. I don’t have to be home till my birthday and that
doesn’t come for four years because I was born in leap year.”

“Now we know why you’re so slow growing up,” Warde said.

“You’re a lot of tin horn sports!” Pee-wee shouted.

“I’m game,” I said. “I’ll die for the cause if anybody else will.”

Hervey said, “Listen.” Then he said, kind of sing-songy, so it made me
want to walk:

           Don’t ask where you’re headed for nobody knows,
           Just keep your eyes open and follow your nose;
           Be careful, don’t trip and go stubbing your toes,
           But follow your leader wherever he goes.

Oh, boy, that started us off. We were like horses when they hear a brass
band. Hervey gave me a shove and said, “Go ahead, start off, you’re the
only patrol leader here, it’s up to you.”

“It’s your game,” I said.

“Go ahead, lead,” he began laughing, “and let’s keep it up till we get
to Temple Camp. It’s no fun if you flunk.”

That was just like him, he didn’t care who led as long as he was moving.
That fellow goes off in the woods a lot by himself and he doesn’t care
anything about merit badges himself. He’s a funny kind of a scout but
he’s awful generous. He can’t keep still, that’s one thing about him.
Most scouts are always trying for things but all he cares about is
action—he eats it alive.

So the first thing I knew I was marching along with the other fellows
behind me and they were all singing those verses and kind of marching in
step to them. Gee whiz, we couldn’t get those verses out of our heads.
It was awfully funny to hear Pee-wee shouting them. Even now it seems as
if I have to write them down and I guess there’ll have to be an
operation to get them out of my mind. I lie awake at night and say them.
If you once get those verses in your head, _good night_! Most all the
rest of that day we were singing them. I guess the people in Catskill
Landing thought we were a lot of lunatics. So now I’m going to write
those verses down again But you want to be careful not to let them get
you or you’ll come to be a raving maniac. If you do you can blame Hervey
Willetts.

          Don’t ask where you’re headed for nobody knows,
          Just keep your eyes open and follow your nose;
          Be careful, don’t trip and go stubbing your toes,
          But follow your leader wherever he goes.

          Don’t start to go back if it freezes or snows,
          Don’t weaken or flunk or suggest or oppose;
          Your job is to follow and not to suppose,
          And follow your leader wherever he goes.

          Don’t quit or complain at the stunts that he shows.
          Don’t ask to go home if it rains or it blows;
          Don’t start to ask questions, or hint, or propose,
          But follow your leader wherever he goes!



                              CHAPTER III

                              WE GO SOUTH


When we started that crazy game we were near the landing. Maybe it would
have been better if we had jumped into the Hudson. But instead of that I
started marching up toward the railroad station with all the fellows
after me, singing that song.

I went leap frog over a barrel and the rest of them did the same,
singing, _Follow your leader wherever he goes_. All the while Pee-wee
stuck on the top of the barrel because his legs were so short, but as
long as he was the last one it didn’t make any difference.

“Take a demerit,” I shouted back at him. “What do you think you are? A
statue?”

“He looks like a barrel buoy,” Garry shouted.

“Don’t look back, keep singing,” Hervey called to Garry. “Never mind
what’s behind you.”

“Sure, think of the future,” Warde said. “And follow your leader
wherever he goes.

                           Wherever he goes,
                           Wherever he goes,
                           Wherever he goes.”

I went waltzing into a candy store, and picked up a five cent chocolate
bar and laid down a nickel and kept going in and out around the ice
cream tables. All the people in there started laughing. One girl spilled
a glass of root beer that she was drinking. All of us fellows had small
change, we never have any large change, so nothing happened to block the
parade.

Out I went again with all of them after me, holding the chocolate bar in
my mouth. I took one bite of it and threw it in the trash can. I heard
Hervey do the same, then Bert, and I knew Garry and Warde could be
trusted.

“Keep your eye on Pee-wee,” I said.

“A scout isn’t supposed to waste anything,” the kid shouted, his mouth
full of chocolate.

“None of that,” I shouted back. “How many bites did you take? Throw it
away!”

“I took—I took one bite—in two sections,” the kid said.

“Come on,” I shouted.

          Don’t quit or complain at the stunts that he shows,
          Don’t ask to go home if it rains or it blows;
          Don’t start to ask questions, or hint, or propose,
          But follow your leader wherever he goes!
              wherever he goes,
              wherever he goes——

“Just keep your eyes open and follow your nose,” Warde said.

I kept going round and round a baby carriage till we were all dizzy and
even the baby began to laugh. Then I went staggering in and out and over
a lot of trunks at the station, and crawled under an express wagon and
hopped on one leg along the platform. Everybody was screaming at us. We
were shouting those verses good and loud.

There was an accommodation train standing at the station so we couldn’t
get across the tracks. Gee whiz, I don’t call that very accommodating. I
climbed up into the first car and started going back through the train,
all the fellows after me, singing those crazy verses like a lot of wild
Indians. The people in the cars stared at us. I dropped a cent in the
slot and got a paper drinking cup and took a drink of water and then
started carrying the cup full of water through the train. Along they
came after me carrying cups of water.

All of a sudden, _kerflop_, the water spilled out on my face. That was
because the train had started. I guess it happened to the rest of them
because the people in the seats began to howl.

“Never laugh at another’s misfortune,” I said. “You may get your own
faces washed some day.”

“Hurry up,” Garry shouted.

“What’s the difference?” Hervey said.

Somebody shouted, “The next stop is Alsen.”

“I hope it’s a good stop, we’ve had a good start, anyway,” Bert said.

We might have got out at the end of the car, only it was a vestibule car
and all closed up.

“Now you see what you did,” Pee-wee shouted.

I said, “Don’t you care, you don’t have to get home for four years. We
ought to reach Alsen in about a year and a half.”

“Hurry through to the next platform,” Garry said.

I sprinted through the next car and there was an open platform there but
by that time the train was moving too fast for us to get off. Safety
first, that’s our motto. Crazy but safe.

So then we had a meeting of the board of directors on the platform of
that car till a brakeman made us go inside.

I said, “The plot grows thicker.”

“You’re a fine kind of a leader,” Pee-wee said, very contemptible like,
I mean contemptuous. “What are we going to do now?”

“Be thankful I didn’t lead you onto an airship,” I said; “we’re going to
Alsen, it’s a very nice place, houses and everything. Follow your leader
wherever he goes.”

“We’re supposed to be headed for camp,” the kid said.

“We’re on our way there,” I told him. “We’re going west in a southerly
direction.”

“Alsen is only about three miles,” Bert said.

“How do we know the engineer will see it when he gets there?” Garry
wanted to know.

“Maybe he has a magnifying glass,” I said. “I hope there are some things
in Alsen.”

“What kind of things?” Pee-wee wanted to know.

“Things to do,” I told him.

“Where are we going to end?” he shouted.

“We’re not going to end,” I said.

“Temple Camp is west from here,” he yelled at me, because the train was
making a lot of noise.

“Do you blame me for that?” I asked him. “I didn’t invent the compass,
did I? If you’re not satisfied with where Temple Camp is you’d better
complain to Mr. Temple, he put it there.”

“Oh, look at the big, high tree!” Hervey shouted. “Let’s climb up that
on our way back.”

“Sure,” I said, “and jump off the top. You’d be going leap frog over the
Woolworth Building if you were leader. Be thankful you’ve got a
conservative leader.”

“A what?” the kid yelled. Just then he went backward off the arm of the
seat plunk into a man’s lap.

“Tickets,” the conductor shouted.

I said, “Hey, mister, we’re on a funny-bone hike, and the train started
before we had a chance to get off. We have to go to Alsen. Do you know
if we can get ice cream cones there?”

He just laughed and said he’d have to collect our fares. It only costs
ten cents from Catskill to Alsen.

I said to the fellows, “Well, so long as the engineer’s going to be our
leader for a little while I’ll take a vacation.”

So I sat down and began looking out of the window.



                               CHAPTER IV

                              WE GO NORTH


Alsen is a tenderfoot village. It’s about as big as Pee-wee, only it’s
more quiet. Pee-wee’s size is like Alsen but his noise is like New York.

The train stopped at Alsen and we got off. Right there was a train
standing at the station headed north.

“Talk about luck,” Garry said. “I guess it was waiting for us.”

I said, “I enjoyed my trip south.”

“I was looking forward to hiking from here to camp,” Hervey said.

“Believe me, it’s nearer from Catskill,” I told him. “A train can go a
long way in five minutes.”

“A comet can go billions of miles in a second,” the Animal Patrol piped
up.

“If I see a comet I’ll get on it,” I told him; “follow your leader.”

“That’s one thing I never did; ride on a comet,” Hervey said.

“It’s about the only thing you haven’t done,” I told him. “Come on,
follow your leader.”

I went marching up into one of the cars; Pee-wee tripped on the step.

“That’s a short trip to take,” Warde laughed at him.

“That could happen to the smartest man in the world,” the kid said.

“All right, here we go back again,” I said as we all tumbled into a
couple of seats. Then I started to sing that crazy stuff about the Duke
of Yorkshire:

                  There was the Duke of Yorkshire,
                  He had ten thousand men;
                  He marched them up the hill,
                  And he marched them down again.

                  And when they’re up, they’re up,
                  And when they’re down, they’re down;
                  And when they’re only half-way up,
                  They’re neither up nor down.

“Alsen is a mighty nice place, what I saw of it,” Garry said. “I
couldn’t see it on account of the station. The happiest ten seconds of
my life were spent there.”

I said, “I wish I could have spent a nickel there.”

“Are you going to start for camp when we get to Catskill?” the kid
wanted to know. “I’m getting hungry.”

“I thought you didn’t have to eat for four years, that’s what you said,”
I told him.

“What are you talking about?” he yelled.

I said, “When we get back to Catskill you’re going to follow your
gallant leader in an east westerly direction till we come to the—North
Pole, I mean the clothespole, outside the cooking shack at Temple Camp.
We’re going to reach the pole like Doctor Cook didn’t do. When I hang my
patrol scarf on the clothespole outside the cooking shack that’s a sign
our journey is over. From the West Shore Line to the clothesline, that’s
our motto.”

“We’re starting,” Warde said.

“Get your dimes ready,” Garry said.

“I haven’t got anything smaller than a cent,” I told him.

“You mean you haven’t got any sense,” Pee-wee shot at me.

“I’m poor but dishonest,” I said.

Just then I heard the door at the other end of the car slam shut and a
brakeman came through shouting, “Albany the first stop, the first stop
is Albany.”

“G-o-o-d night!” I said. “The plot grows thicker.”

“It’s petrified,” Warde said.

“We’re lost, strayed or stolen,” Garry began laughing.

We all made a dash for the platform, but it was too late. We were foiled
again. The train was going at about forty-eleven miles an hour.

“Now what?” Pee-wee demanded, very dark and solemn like.

“Answered in the affirmative,” I said; “we don’t.”

“Don’t what?” he said.

“Don’t care,” Hervey spoke up. “We can do some stunts in the State
Capital. We can jump over the seats in the Senate. Albany is only about
thirty miles away.”

I said, “Posilutely; we can get back inside of four years and have a
couple of centuries to spare. Follow your leader wherever he goes. I may
jump over the governor’s head; they pass bills over his head. You learn
that in uncivil government.”

“The more we start for camp the farther we get from it,” the kid said.

“Correct the first time,” I said; “be thankful you’re not on a comet.”

“What are we going to do?” he wanted to know.

“Is it a riddle?” I asked him.

“No, it isn’t a riddle!” he shot back at me.

“Because if it is, it’s a good one,” I said. “It’s about the best one I
ever heard.”

“I like the West Shore Railroad,” Hervey said; “it’s full of pep; it
goes scout pace.”

“You wanted ginger in our trip back to camp,” I said, “and you’ve got
tabasco sauce. Gee whiz, you ought to be satisfied. We’ll go back to
camp by way of the island of Yap.”

“You’re the leader,” Warde said.



                               CHAPTER V

                         WE KEEP ON GOING NORTH


One thing I’ll say for Hervey Willetts and that is that wherever he goes
there is adventure. He carries it with him. He couldn’t just go on a
hike, that fellow couldn’t. He always has to start something.

Garry said, “Well, things seem to be moving.”

“Oh, they’re moving all right,” Bert said.

Warde said, “There are only two directions left to go in.”

“Have patience,” I told him; “we’ll try them all; there are four, east
and west and up and down.”

“And in and out,” Warde said.

“Sure,” I said, “that’s six. I wonder how much the fare to Albany
is—the round trip?”

“It’s not so very round,” Pee-wee said.

“It’s a kind of triangular circle,” I told him. “If we pay our fare both
ways we don’t get any dinner in Albany, we’ll have to walk back. And if
we don’t have some dinner we can’t walk. So there you are; take your
choice. It’s as clear as mud.”

“You’ve got us into a nice fix,” the kid said. “I knew you were crazy
when you made us throw away those chocolate bars. The next thing you’ll
have us in jail.”

“You should worry, you can eat the prison bars,” I told him.

“Let’s see how much money we’ve got,” Bert said.

I had about seventy-five cents and the cap of a fountain pen that I use
for a whistle.

Pee-wee had fifty-two cents and a lot of junk; we had a little over
seven dollars altogether. It was lucky that was enough for our fare to
Albany. But we didn’t get much change. The conductor said the train went
to Albany without change—I guess that’s why we didn’t get much.

“How can we hike back thirty miles to-day, tell me that?” the Animal
Cracker wanted to know.

“That’s easy,” I said; “by doing two miles at a time, that makes
fifteen. Are you getting frightened?”

“We don’t know where we’re going but we’re on our way,” Bert began
singing.

“Maybe it won’t be so far back as it is there,” Garry said.

“Sure, because it’s always shorter going south,” I told him.

“Six of us ought to be able to earn seven dollars in Albany,” Warde
said. “And we can take an evening train down.”

“I’m not going on any more trains,” Pee-wee yelled. “I’ve had enough of
trains. If we come back on a train it won’t stop till it gets to
Poughkeepsie, and then if we come up on another one it won’t stop till
it gets to Montreal. You don’t catch me getting on another train.”

“Follow your leader,” I told him. “Follow your leader wherever he goes.”

Everybody in the train was laughing at us, but what did we care? It
might have been worse, we might have been on the Erie.

“We’ve got enough left to wire to camp, if the worst comes to the
worst,” Bert said.

“It’ll have to be worse than that before _I’ll_ wire,” said Hervey.

“I’ll say so,” I told him. “I’m not worrying, this train knows where
it’s going. If we forget to get out at Albany we’ll get out at Buffalo
and you can follow your leader across Lake Ontario. That used to be in
my geography.”

“I guess it’s there yet,” Garry said.

“Take a slap on the wrist for that,” I told him.

“You all make me tired,” Pee-wee said, very disgruntled.

“Well, you’re having a good rest,” I told him. “We’re on our way to
Temple Camp, don’t worry. We’re only taking a long cut. Our trail is
tied in a knot. We’ll get there when we get there—maybe a little
sooner. All you have to do is follow your leader wherever he goes.”

“Absolutely, positively,” Warde said; “that’s understood.”

“Even if he goes to sleep,” I said; “excuse me while I take a nap. I
expect to have a long walk this afternoon.”

Just then the train began slowing down and the whistle started blowing
very loud and shrill. A brakeman with a red flag came hurrying through
the car.

“I guess there must be a mosquito on the track,” Garry said.

“Maybe the engineer’s going to pick some blackberries,” Warde said.

All of a sudden—bang! the cars knocked against each other, the train
stopped so suddenly. The whistle blew three or four times very quick and
shrill.

In about one second I was on my feet. “Follow your leader,” I shouted.
And through the aisle I went with the rest of them after me all singing
those crazy rhymes that stuck in our minds like glue.

             Don’t start to go back if it freezes or snows,
             Don’t weaken or flunk or suggest or oppose;
             Your job is to follow and not to suppose.
             And follow your leader wherever he goes.



                               CHAPTER VI

                        WE MOVE HEAVEN AND EARTH


You can bet we didn’t lose much time getting off the train. “Follow your
leader,” I said.

Garry said, “We’re in luck; we’re only about six or seven miles north of
Catskill.”

“You don’t call that luck, do you?” Hervey said. “Just when I was
counting on a nice trip to Albany.”

“I suppose you’d like to make a mistake and get on an ocean steamer,” I
told him.

“Mistakes?” the kid shouted. “You’re the one that made mistakes famous.”

“Sure,” I said, “and you’re the one that put the wise crack in animal
crackers.”

“The last syllable of a doughnut is named after you,” Pee-wee shouted.

“Always thinking about doughnuts,” I said. “Look on the track, there’s a
friend of yours.” Right plunk across the track, about a couple of
hundred feet ahead of the train was a donkey hitched to a funny kind of
a wagon that was all machinery inside.

“I guess it goes by clockwork,” I said.

“It looks as if it doesn’t go at all,” Bert said.

“It did us a good turn anyway,” I said; “it made the train stop.”

Gee whiz, we had to laugh. The man that owned that outfit was an Italian
and he was yelling Italian at the donkey and trying to make him start. I
guess the donkey didn’t understand Italian.

[Illustration: “I GUESS THE DONKEY DIDN’T UNDERSTAND ITALIAN.”]

A lot of people got out of the train and stood around watching and the
engineer sat in his window looking as if he were very mad at the donkey.
But anyway the donkey didn’t care. When we got close enough we could see
that the wagon had emery wheels in it for grinding knives and scissors
and scythes and things like that and they went by a gas engine.

The man was shouting, “Hey! Whater de mat? You go! Hey, whater de mat?”

I said, “We ought to have someone who can translate Italian. Suppose you
shout at him, Pee-wee; if that doesn’t start him nothing will.”

The man kept jerking the donkey’s bit, all excited, and shouting, “Hey
you, giddup, whater de mat?”

Two or three passengers started pulling and jerking the donkey, and one
tried to push him, but it didn’t do any good. I felt mighty grateful to
that donkey. Anyway he had a will of his own, that’s one sure thing.
About a half a dozen passengers kept tugging at him but it didn’t do any
good. He just braced his legs and let them pull.

I said, “Maybe if we hold some grass in front of him he’ll follow it.”
But that didn’t work; I guess he wasn’t hungry.

Pretty soon Warde said, “I’ve got an idea; let’s move him with the gas
engine. That engine’s about six horse power; it ought to be stronger
than one donkey power.”

“It’s an insulation!” Pee-wee shouted.

“You mean an inspiration,” I told him.

“Hey, giddup; hey you,” the Italian kept shouting, all the time hitting
the donkey with the whip.

I said, “Nix on that, it doesn’t do any good. What’s the use of licking
a donkey when you’ve got a gas engine to move him with? You leave it to
us, we’ll move him.”

The man said, “Mova de donk; hey boss, mova de donk!”

“Sure,” I said, “we’ll move him; we go to the movies and we know all
about moving. Have you got some rope?”

I don’t know where the rope came from; maybe it came from the train and
maybe it came from the wagon. Anyway we fastened it through one of the
holes in the fly-wheel and wound it a couple of times round the shaft.
Then we dragged the rope over to a tree on the edge of the woods, behind
the wagon and tied it there. Everybody was laughing and the Italian was
shouting, “Hey, maka de gas, boss! Pulla de donk!”

We told him to start the engine and let it run very slowly. Goodnight!
Laugh? First there was a kind of straining and creaking, but we knew the
engine was fixed solid because it was bolted right through a heavy
engine bed to the floor of the wagon. The rope was so tight it looked as
if it would snap. Pretty soon the donkey began to feel the pulling
because he braced his hind legs; he looked awful funny.

“I bet on the donkey,” somebody shouted.

“I bet on the gas engine,” somebody else put in.

Everybody was laughing and the Italian was all excited, waving his whip
in the air and running about shouting, “Hey, giva de gas! Pulla de
donk!”

All of a sudden the donkey gave way and back he went after the wagon. He
kept trying to brace himself but it wasn’t any use; the little engine
went ck, ck, ck, ck, ck, ck, shaking and trembling, and back went the
donkey after the wagon, till the whole outfit was off the track.

“He followed his leader all right,” Bert Winton shouted.

“Come on,” I said, “we have no time to be wasting here, let’s thank the
donkey for the good turn he did us and then see if we can find out where
we’re at. We’re probably somewhere.”

“Sure if we’re somewhere we ought to be able to get somewhere else,”
Garry said.

“We don’t know which way to go,” Pee-wee said.

“We’ll go every which way,” I said, “and then we’ll be sure to strike
the right way. One direction is just as good as another if not better.
Come on, follow your leader.”

So off we marched into the woods singing:

           Don’t ask where you’re headed for nobody knows,
           Just keep your eyes open and follow your nose;
           Be careful, don’t trip and go stubbing your toes,
           But follow your leader wherever he goes.

As the train started all the passengers looked out of the windows
laughing at us and waving their hands. Anyway we were more powerful than
that train because a donkey could stop it and we could move him off the
track, so it could get started, and that proves how smart boy scouts are
even when they don’t know where they’re at.



                              CHAPTER VII

                     WE REACH THE FICKLE GUIDE POST


“I’d like to know where we are,” Warde said.

“We’re in the Catskill Mountains,” I told him.

“You might as well say we’re in the universe,” Pee-wee said. “What good
does that do us?”

“You mean to tell me it isn’t good to be in the universe?” I asked him.

“It’s one of the best places I know of,” Garry said.

“Sure it is,” I told him. “Anybody who isn’t satisfied with the
universe——”

“You’re crazy!” Pee-wee yelled.

“Follow your leader,” I said. “Follow your leader wherever he goes.”

“Follow your nose,” Bert said.

“No wonder he goes up in the air so often if he follows that,” Garry
said.

“Do you think I’m going to go marching around the country for the rest
of my life?” the kid piped up.

“Don’t quit or complain at the stunts that he shows,” I said. “You want
to go somewhere, don’t you? Well, I promise to lead you somewhere.
That’s just where you want to go. What more can you ask?”

I kept marching in and out among the trees, touching some and not
touching others, the other fellows after me. Pretty soon I hit into the
road that crossed the track. We were about a quarter of a mile from the
track then. I kept along that road, sometimes walking on the stone wall
and sometimes going zigzag in the road. I knew we were going west and I
was pretty sure that Temple Camp was southwest, but I didn’t know how
far. I thought that pretty soon we would come to a crossroad and that
there would be a sign there.

Pretty soon we did come to one and there was a sign there, all right. I
was glad of that because the road we were on had made so many turns I
didn’t know for certain which direction we were going in. Besides, the
sky was all cloudy so I couldn’t tell anything by the sun.

“There’s a sign post!” one of the fellows shouted.

“Saved!” another fellow yelled.

I didn’t strain my eyes to see what was on the signboard, but as soon as
I saw it I began passing in and out among the trees along the road,
grabbing each tree and going around it. All the while we were singing
those crazy rhymes. So that way I came to the sign post and grabbed hold
of it and around I went, only, good night, the post went round with my
hand.

“There’s a good turn,” I shouted.

“Now you didn’t do a thing but make the plot thicker,” Pee-wee yelled at
me at the top of his voice. “Now you’ve got everything mixed up.”

“I changed the whole map of the Catskills,” I said. “That’s nothing; see
how the map of Europe is changed. I don’t think much of a signboard that
changes its mind.”

“I don’t think much of a scout that changes a signboard,” Pee-wee
shouted.

We all stood there staring at the sign. On the top of that post were two
boards crossways to each other and on each board two directions were
printed with arrows pointing. On one board was printed _COXSACKIE 8 M._,
with an arrow pointing one way, and _ATHENS 5 M._, with an arrow
pointing the opposite way. On the other board was printed _CAIRO 9 M._,
with an arrow pointing one way, and _CLAYVILLE 7 M._, with an arrow
pointing the other way, and underneath that board was a little board
with _TEMPLE CAMP_ printed on it. I guess scouts put that there.

But a lot of good that sign did us because all we knew was that Temple
Camp was in the same direction as Clayville and we didn’t know which
direction Clayville was in.

“Follow your leader and you don’t know where you’re at,” Pee-wee said,
very disgusted like.

“Wrong the first time,” I said. “The poem says follow your nose. Would
you rather believe the guide post than that beautiful poem? The poem
never changes but the guide post moves around. We know where we’re at,
we’re right here; deny it if you dare. We’re smarter than the guide
post.”

“You’re about as smart as a lunatic,” the kid shouted. “If you hadn’t
touched that we’d know which way to go. _Now_ where is Temple Camp?”

“That’s easy,” I told him; “it’s where it always was.”

“You mean _you’re_ like you always were,” he said; “you’re crazy.”

“Let’s move it around again,” Hervey said, “and we’ll say the first
verse and let go the post just as we finish. Then let’s go the way it
says.”

“Good idea,” Warde said; “let’s all agree that we’ll go whichever way
the Temple Camp arrow points.”

“There are four directions,” Pee-wee said. “We’ll stand just one chance
in four of going the right way.”

“There are only two directions,” I said; “right and wrong. Deny it who
can. So we stand a fifty-fifty chance of going right. Anybody that knows
anything about arithmetic can tell that. Come on, follow your leader
wherever he goes.”

I grabbed hold of the sign post and started walking around with the rest
of them after me singing, “Follow your leader wherever he goes.” Some
merry-go-round! We sang the first verse and I stopped short when we got
to the word _goes_.

“Come on,” I said, “Temple Camp is right over that way. Follow your
leader.”

“Trust to luck,” Hervey said; “if it’s wrong, so much the better. Let
the guide post worry. They had no right to put a pinwheel here for a
guide post.”

“Just what _I_ say,” I told him.

“How about others coming along?” Warde wanted to know. That fellow makes
me tired, he’s all the time using sense.

“Now what have you got to say?” Pee-wee yelled. “A scout is supposed to
be helpful.”

“Sure, he’s supposed to help himself to all the cake he wants, like
you,” I said.

Warde said, “As long as we’ve had all the fun we want here, let’s set
the post right before we go.”

“We haven’t had all the fun we want,” Hervey said.

“Sure we haven’t,” I put in. “We haven’t begun to have any yet.”

“I care more about dinner than I do about fun,” Pee-wee said.

“Do you mean dinner isn’t fun?” Garry asked him.

“I’m just as crazy as you are,” Bert said to me, “but we might as well
go crazy in the right direction if we can only find out what that is.”

“Carried by a large minority,” I said; “the board of directors is
appointed to find out the direction, so we can go crazy in that
direction.” Warde said, “The trouble is that other people that pass here
are not so crazy as we are and they’d like to know which way is which.
Some people are peculiar.”

“Some people are worse than peculiar,” the Animal Cracker shouted.

“The compliment is returned with thanks and not many of them, and we
wish ourselves many happy returns of the way. If anybody knows the way
this merry-go-round of a sign post is supposed to stand let him now
speak or else forever after hold his peace.”

“Piece of what?” Pee-wee shouted.

“Piece of pie,” I said; “that’s what you usually hold, isn’t it?”

Warde just went up to the sign post kind of smiling and turned it around
till he got it just where he wanted it.

“What’s the idea?” I asked him.

He said, “Well, there are a couple of ideas.” I said, “I didn’t know we
could scare up as many as that among the whole lot of us.”

“Maybe I’m wrong,” Warde said, “but I think that the side of the post
with dried mud on it should face the road. That mud was spattered by
wagons and autos. And I think the side that isn’t sunbaked faced the
woods where it’s damp and shady. And I think the board where the paint
is faded is the one that faced the sun. And so I think that Cairo is
over _there_, and Athens over _there_ and Temple Camp over _there_.
See?”

“Hip, hip, and a couple of hurrahs!” Hervey Willetts said. “That means
we can cut through these woods and come out at the end of the old
railroad branch. There’s a big apple tree over there, I fell out of it
once. It’s all woods over there and we stand a pretty good chance of
getting lost again.”

“What kind of apples are they?” Pee-wee wanted to know.

“Baked apples,” I told him.

So then I started off with the rest of them after me, singing _Follow
your leader wherever he goes_.



                              CHAPTER VIII

                           WE DO A GOOD TURN


“There ought to be plenty of apples on that branch,” I said, as I went
along.

“What branch?” the kid wanted to know.

“The old railroad branch,” I told him. “Don’t you know that apples grow
on a branch?”

I guess none of us knew anything about that old branch but Hervey
Willetts. That fellow knows about the funniest things and places. He can
take you to old shacks in the woods and all places like that. He knows
all the farmers for miles around camp. He knows where you can get dandy
buttermilk. And he knows where you can get killed by quicksand and a lot
of other peachy places. He says that’s the kind of sand he likes because
it’s quick. He believes in action, that fellow.

I said, “As long as you know where we’re going suppose you be leader for
a little while.”

“I’ll be leader,” Pee-wee shouted.

“Let Hervey be leader,” they all said.

So I fell behind and I was glad to get rid of the job of leading for a
little while. But, oh boy, it was some job following! That fellow swung
up into trees and turned somersaults over stone walls and hopped on one
leg over big rocks—good night, we didn’t have any rest.

“You wanted ginger,” he said.

“Sure, but we didn’t want cayenne pepper,” I told him. “Have a heart.”

Gee whiz, that fellow didn’t miss anything, trees, rocks, fences, and
all the while he kept singing:

                Follow your leader,
                Follow your leader;
                Follow your leader true.

                If he starts to roll,
                Or falls in a hole;
                Or shins up a tree or a telegraph pole.
                You have to do it too,
                    you do;
                You have to do it too.

I can’t tell you about all the crazy things that fellow did. It looked
awful funny to see the rest of us following, especially Pee-wee with a
scowl all over his face. I guessed Hervey knew where he was going all
right because no matter what he did he always came back to a trail.

Pretty soon we came to the old railroad branch. A long time ago that
used to go to some mines. We followed the old tracks through the woods.
Hervey walked on one of the rails and we all tried to keep on it, but it
was hard balancing ourselves he went so fast.

I guess maybe we went a half mile that way and then we saw ahead of us a
funny kind of a car on the track. It wasn’t meant to carry people, it
was meant to carry iron ore, I guess. It was about as long as a very
young trolley car. A long iron bar, a funny kind of a coupling I guess
it was, stuck out from it. It was all open, like a great big scuttle,
kind of. There were piles of stones and earth and old holes all caved in
nearby. Those were the old iron mines, Hervey said.

“Gee whiz,” I told him, “I’ve been to Temple Camp every summer and I
never saw this place before. Christopher Columbus hasn’t got anything on
you.”

“Follow your leader wherever he goes,” he said, and over the end of the
car he went and, kerflop, down inside, all the rest of us after him.
There was straw inside.

That fellow couldn’t sit down long. In about ten seconds up he jumped
and shouted, “Follow your leader.”

I was so tired I could have just lain in that little car till Christmas,
but I got up and so did the others, all except Pee-wee.

“Come on, follow your leader,” I said.

“Not much,” he said; “I’m going to lie here and take a rest. I’ve had
enough funny-bone hiking. If you think I’m going to follow you all over
the Catskill Mountains without any dinner, you’re mistaken. I know the
way home from here, it’s easy. Go ahead and march into the Hudson River
if you want to for all I care.”

“Which way do we go from here?” Hervey asked him.

“We follow the tracks straight along,” the kid said. “That will bring us
to the turnpike and all we have to do is to go through Leeds. _There_,
you think you’re so smart.”

“Righto,” Hervey said; “just climb out of the other end of the car and
keep going, right along the track.”

“Smart kid,” I said.

“Do you think I’m going to be turning somersaults all the way home?” he
wanted to know. “The next time I join a parade it won’t be with a lot of
monkeys.”

“Those somersaults were all good turns,” Bert said.

“This place is good enough for me,” Pee-wee shot back at him.

So we left him there sprawled out on the straw and followed Hervey in
and out of old holes, kind of like caves, and all around and over piles
of earth and everything till pretty soon he stopped and said, panting
good and hard, “What do you say to a plot?”

“I take them three times a day and before retiring,” I said. “What kind
of a plot? A grass-plot?”

“Let’s have some fun with Pee-wee,” he said. “Did you hear him say he
knows the way home from here? He thinks all he has to do is to climb out
the other end of the car and keep going along the track to the
turnpike.”

“Well, isn’t that right?” Warde asked.

“Sure it’s right,” Hervey said; “only it depends on where the other end
of the car is. See? That car’s on a turntable if anybody should ask
you.”

“If it were a dinner table it would interest Pee-wee more,” I said.

“I noticed there was a kind of platform under it with grass growing
through the cracks,” Warde said.

“Come on, let’s see if he’s asleep and we’ll turn it around,” Hervey
said. “The woods look the same no matter which way you go. Follow your
leader.”

He started tiptoeing over to the tracks holding his finger against his
lips and we all did just the same. I had to laugh, it seemed so funny.
He kept singing, _Follow your leader_, in a whisper.

That fellow ought to be in my patrol, he’s so crazy.



                               CHAPTER IX

                          WE FOLLOW OUR LEADER


There was Pee-wee, sprawled on the straw inside the little car, sound
asleep. The funny-bone hike had been too much for him, I guess. Hervey
got a stick and pushed with it against the rail right near the edge of
the turntable. We had to all get sticks and push before we could budge
it.

It squeaked as it went around, the part underneath was so rusty. We
brought it to one full turn so that the car stood with the long coupling
at the opposite side from where it had been before. We thought we might
as well let Pee-wee sleep a little longer so we went to a tree that
Hervey knew about and got some apples. Then we went back and sat in a
line on the edge of the car with our feet hanging inside and started
eating apples. After a little while we began singing, _Follow your
leader_, and that woke Pee-wee up.

He opened one eye, then he stretched his arm, then opened the other eye
and sat up, staring.

“Wheredgerget thabbles?” he wanted to know, rubbing his eyes.

I said, “Here, catch this and eat it.” Then I said, “Scout Harris of the
raving Raven patrol, alias the Animal Cracker, you have been elected by
an unanimous majority to lead the funny-bone hike. What say you? Yes or
yes? Do you know the way to Temple Camp?”

“A fool knows the way to Temple Camp,” he said, very disgusted like.

“And you claim you’re a fool?” Warde asked him.

“I claim you’re a lot of lunatics,” Pee-wee said, sitting there and
yawning and trying to eat an apple at the same time.

“It’s your turn to lead,” Garry said. “Our career of glory is over and
we want to go home.”

“I’m tired of this crazy stuff and I don’t believe anybody here knows
the way to camp,” Bert said.

“This branch crosses the turnpike,” Pee-wee said. “Don’t you know the
little wooden bridge where the tracks cross the road?”

“Oh yes, the dear little wooden place,” I said; “how well I remember
it!”

“You turn left on the turnpike and go through Leeds,” the kid said.

“Ah, but suppose the turnpike shouldn’t be there any more?” Garry said.
“Some strange things have happened since we started in a north southerly
direction from Catskill.”

“That’s because you had crazy leaders,” Pee-wee shot back. “If you’re
sensible and want to go back to camp I’ll show you the way.”

“Oh we’re sensible,” I said.

“You’re the worst of the lot,” he shouted.

Hervey said, “My idea is, just like I said, to follow the track right
along the same way we were going and that will bring us out at the
turnpike.”

“If the turnpike hasn’t been turned around,” I said.

“We’ll be careful not to touch it with our hands when we get there,”
Garry said.

“I’ll lead you,” Pee-wee said; “it’s easy from here; I could do it with
my eyes closed.”

“If you’ll keep your mouth closed I’ll be satisfied,” I told him.

“But it isn’t going to be any funny-bone hike,” he said; “I’ll tell you
that.”

“It’ll be a backbone hike—straight,” I said. “There’s no place like
home.”

“Home is all right, it’s a good place to start from,” Hervey said.

“Well, then, take us home; I’m ready,” Bert spoke up. “I don’t want any
more funny-bone hikes wished on me. Wish-bones are good enough, I’m
hungry.”

So Pee-wee climbed over the end of the car, and started along and we all
followed.

“Follow your leader wherever he goes,” I said.

“He’s going straight home,” Pee-wee said.

“Are you sure you got out of the right end of the car?” Hervey asked
him.

Pee-wee was still kind of half-asleep, and he stopped and looked around.
“Sure, we got in at the end where the coupling is,” he said. “Come on,
follow me.”

“You can’t fool Scout Harris,” I said; “not even with a couple of cups
of couplings. Forward march, follow your leader!” And we started
singing:

                      Where’er we may roam,
                      There’s no place like home.

Pee-wee marched on ahead like a little soldier, munching an apple.



                               CHAPTER X

                          WE RETRACE OUR STEPS


He marched along the tracks for about half a mile, through the woods. As
he went along I remembered what Uncle Jeb said, that the woods look
different when you’re going in the opposite direction from which you
came. He said the way a tree looks depends on where you stand. And it’s
the same with hills and everything. So that’s why the woods only look
familiar when you’re going the same way that you went before. That’s the
reason for blazing trails.

Uncle Jeb says a person looks different front and back and it’s the same
with woods. Pee-wee marched along back the same way we had come, very
bold and sure.

After a while he said, “I don’t know why we don’t come to the turnpike.”

“Maybe it’s because it isn’t here,” I said.

“Are you sure you’re going the right way?” Bert asked him.

“Sure I’m sure,” he said; “only it’s longer than I thought it was.”

“Maybe it got stretched,” I said.

Pee-wee just kept trudging along and he said, “Maybe it seems long
because we’re kind of played out.”

“Oh, we don’t care as long as you get us home,” Garry said.

“We trust you implicitly,” Warde told him.

“You’re our guiding light,” Garry said.

Pee-wee just trudged on.

Pretty soon he said, “As long as you’re all so tired, maybe I can
find—I think I know a short cut.”

“Take us the way the raven flies,” I said; “the shorter the quicker.”

“I can see a road over there through the trees,” he said. “That goes
into the turnpike. It’ll be easier walking on the road.”

“As long as you know you’re going the right way,” I said.

_“Sure_ I’m going the right way,” he said; “what’s the use of getting
scared. We’ll be home in twenty minutes.”

“That’ll be nice,” Garry said.

“Won’t I be glad!” said Bert.

“Just you follow me,” Pee-wee said.

“We’re following,” I told him. “We’re following our leader wherever he
goes. We know the animal cracker knows the woods. Have another apple?”

Next he left the tracks and cut over to the left where we could see a
road through the trees. He hit into the road and hiked along.

“Sure you’re right?” Bert asked him.

“Do you think I don’t know the way?” the kid said, very disgusted.

“Don’t start to ask questions, or hint, or propose,” I said.

Pretty soon he came to a crossroad and _g-o-o-d night magnolia!_ Right
there, staring us in the face was the fickle signboard that I had turned
around. Oh boy, you should have seen Pee-wee. The apple he was eating
fell out of his hand and he just stood there staring. He couldn’t even
speak.

“Don’t ask where you’re headed for nobody knows,” Hervey said.

I said, “Have no fear, our gallant leader is with us. Raving ravens do
not get rattled. Trust to Scout Harris. He knows the way. Follow your
leader.”

Maybe that signboard had been a pinwheel, but there it was at the very
same spot where it had been before.

Warde said, “That’s one good thing about scouts, they always come back.”

I said, “Pee-wee led us the right way, only in the wrong direction.”

“Just as you said,” Garry put in, “the turnpike has disappeared. That’s
why I never liked turnpikes, they’re so fickle.”

“There’s something wrong here!” the kid shouted.

“Sure,” I said, “it isn’t your fault, it’s the turnpike’s.”

“I started in the right direction,” Pee-wee shouted, “and I kept going
in the right direction, you can’t deny it. I’d like to know how we got
here?”

“That’s what _I’d_ like to know,” I said.

“I suppose we just walked here,” Bert said; “we followed our leader.”

Hervey started singing:

                The turnpike turned round
                And the trail it got bent,
                We followed our leader wherever he went.

“Anyway, I’m sure I started in the right direction,” the kid said; “I
don’t care what anybody says.”

I said, “Sure, if the right direction changes its mind that isn’t your
fault. Come on, let’s go back. It’s long past dinner-time.”

“Let Warde be leader,” Hervey said; “he’s the only one here who has any
sense.”

So we started following Warde back along the trail till we came to the
railroad tracks and along those to the little iron ore car.

Hervey said, “The best way to find out which way to go is to spin the
car around and call the coupling the arrow-head and go whichever way
that points.”

“You’re crazy,” Pee-wee shouted. “Will you talk sense and let’s start
for camp? We’ve been starting for camp all morning.”

“That’s the right way to do,” I told him; “have a lot of different
starts and if you can’t use one you can use another. Didn’t you ever
hear of having two strings to your bow? A scout should never try to go
anywhere without having two or three extra starts.”

Just then Hervey and Bert and Garry started moving the turntable around
and, _good night_, you should have seen Pee-wee stare. All of a sudden
he went up like a sky rocket.

“Now I know what you did!” he yelled. “You turned this around while I
was asleep—you can’t deny it. You made the right direction the wrong
one!”

I said, “The right direction is just as much right now as it ever was.
You can’t blame us.”

“You’re all crazy!” he screamed. “Are we going to go home to camp and
get something to eat or not? Do you think I’m going to starve?”

“Not while you’re conscious,” I said. “Would you like to lead the way
foodward or shall we elect another leader? What say we all? Shall
Pee-wee lead us to the promised land or not? Answer, _not_. You’re
rejected by a large plurality.”

“Let Garry try it,” Hervey said. “Warde’s all right only he has too much
sense.”

So that time we started in the right direction, following the old tracks
toward the turnpike, with Garry leading us. We kept singing _Follow your
leader_ just the same as before.



                               CHAPTER XI

                          WE WAIT FOR THE BOAT


Now this is the chapter where we’re all so hungry. It’s dedicated to
Hoover. The name of it was “The Famine” only I decided to use another
name. But believe me, in this chapter we’re hungrier than war-torn
Europe. All that morning we had been marching around the country singing
those crazy rhymes and we were having so much fun that we didn’t realize
it was past dinner-time. All we had had was one bite of chocolate each
except the two bites that Pee-wee took. Seven bites isn’t much for six
scouts.

Pretty soon we came out into the turnpike and then we knew the way back
to camp. It was a pretty long hike but we knew the way. All we had to do
was to follow the turnpike south till we came to the blackberry road and
that would take us into the road to camp.

I said, “I hope the camp is still there.”

Warde said, “If we get back in time for supper we’ll be lucky.”

“How about lunch?” Pee-wee wanted to know.

“Nothing about it,” I said; “it just isn’t.”

“Do you think I’m going to walk ten miles with nothing to eat?” he shot
back. “You call this a funny-bone hike, it’s a famine hike, that’s what
it is. They’ll find our skeletons some day marching around through these
woods——”

“Following our leader,” I said.

“That’ll be a funny-bone parade,” Garry said.

“It’ll be a bone parade all right,” I told him.

“Maybe we’ll strike a farmhouse,” Bert said.

Hervey said, “I know a better idea than that. What time is it?”

“Two o’clock,” I told him.

He said, “Good, I thought it was later. Do you like fish?”

“How many fish?” Pee-wee wanted to know.

“Oh just about,” Hervey said.

“If you’re asking me,” I told him, “I could even eat some fish-hooks I’m
so hungry. I could eat a whole school of fish.”

“I could eat a whole university of them,” Garry said.

“Do you like them fried?” Hervey asked us.

“_M-m-m-mm_,” I said; “I can just hear them sizzling now. Lead me to
them.”

He said, “We’ll have to wait for them. Let’s hang out on the bridge and
pretty soon the fishing boat will come along; it always comes up from
the Hudson about this time. I know the men on that boat, I’ve been out
fishing with them. They’ll give us a couple of fish and we can cook
them. You leave it to me, I’ll fix it.”

“What kind of fish do they catch?” Pee-wee wanted to know.

“Smoked herring and salt codfish and canned salmon,” I told him, “and
whales.”

“I could eat a whole whale,” he said.

“Sometimes they catch fish-balls,” Hervey said.

“Fish-balls or footballs or baseballs or masquerade balls, I don’t care,
I could eat anything,” I said.

So then Hervey led the way along the turnpike till we came to the bridge
across the creek. That creek is pretty wide and it empties into the
Hudson. We were feeling all cheered-up on account of the chance of
getting something to eat and we marched along shouting:

          Don’t quit or complain at the stunts that he shows,
          Don’t ask to go home if it rains or it snows;
          Don’t start to ask questions, or hint, or propose,
          But follow your leader wherever he goes.

Then Hervey started shouting:

                     We’re going to have our wish,
                     We’re going to get some fish.

Then Pee-wee began yelling:

                      I’m so hungry that I’m pale,
                      And I’d like to eat a whale.

Gee whiz, just as I told you, we were all crazy, especially Hervey
Willetts; he was even crazier than I was and I was the craziest one
there next to Bert and Warde and Garry. But one thing I’ll say for
Hervey, he knows every place for miles around Temple Camp, and he knows
everybody too, farmers and all.

In about five minutes we came to the bridge that the turnpike goes over.
That bridge is a drawbridge and the creek under it is wide and deep and
you can catch fish there only for one thing and that is that there
aren’t any. There’s a big lever to turn the bridge around with.

“Let’s turn it around,” Hervey said.

“We’ve had enough turning around,” the kid shouted. “I’m not going to
follow my leader any more till he starts eating fish.”

“Oh very well,” Hervey said, “I was just going to give you a free ride.”

“A free seat is good enough for me,” the kid said.

“I second the motion,” Warde said.

“There isn’t going to be any motion,” I said, quoth I. “This is going to
be a case of sitting still.”

“Follow your leader,” Hervey said.

“What are you going to do? Stand on your head on the railing?” I asked
him.

He just vaulted up onto the railing of the bridge and we all did the
same and sat there swinging our legs and waiting for the fishing boat
and singing those rhymes and changing them around. Pretty soon we were
all shouting:

          Don’t fall in the creek for the water’s quite wet,
          But think of the fish that we’re soon going to get;
                       Mm-m



                              CHAPTER XII

                            WE COLLECT TOLL


After about six weeks and ten years the fishing boat came chugging up
the creek. Anyway it seemed as long as that before it came. The chugging
of that engine sounded good.

“Now for the eats,” Garry said.

Hervey said, “They’ll have a lot of perch and some bass and maybe some
soft-shell crabs.”

“Isn’t there anything in this creek?” the kid wanted to know.

“Nothing except water,” Hervey told him. “Anyway we haven’t got any
fishline, have we? Thank goodness we’ve got some matches, we can start a
fire.”

“We’ll fry them brown, hey?” Pee-wee said, all excited.

“Any color will suit me,” I told him.

“They won’t be any color at all when we get through with them,” Bert
said.

By that time the boat was quite near and we could see a couple of
baskets of fish in the cockpit, and there were two men. Oh boy, how I
longed to eat them, I mean the fish. Pretty soon one of the men shouted
for us to open the bridge, so they could pass.

I called, “Hey, mister, will you give us a couple of fish? We’re perched
up here waiting for some perch.”

He laughed and said sure, but that we should open the bridge. Now the
way to open that bridge was to walk around pushing a big iron handle
like a crowbar only longer. It was kind of like a windlass. I guess one
man could do it all right but it took three of us to get the bridge
started. It wasn’t a very big bridge but I’m not saying anything about
that because we’re not so big either except our appetites and maybe one
reason we couldn’t push so well was because we were hungry.

Garry said, “I guess when the creek is nearly empty boats can go under
this bridge all right.”

I said, “Don’t talk about being empty; I’m so full of emptiness it’s
flowing over. Get your hands on this thing and push. If anything should
go wrong now we’ll have to eat the Animal Cracker.”

So then we all started pushing the long iron handle—it was a lever,
that’s what it was. All the while the boat was standing about twenty
feet away from the bridge and one man was keeping her bow upstream with
a big oar while the other man was kind of fumbling in one of the baskets
picking out a nice big fish. Pretty soon he held one up all wet and
dripping and, oh boy, it looked good. I guess it was nearly a foot long.
He shouted, “How will that one do?”

“Mm-m-_mm_!” I said. “Lead me to it.”

“I know where there’s an old piece of tin in the woods,” Pee-wee said,
all the while pushing the big lever for all he was worth; “a scout is
observant.”

“I could eat a sheet of galvanized iron,” I told him. “A little salt and
pepper and I could eat a piece of railroad track.”

“I mean to cook the fish on,” the kid said; “you’re crazy. Don’t you
know how to fry a fish? I’m going to be the one to cook it because I’ve
got the matches.”

“Hang on to them,” I said; “things are beginning to look better. Keep
pushing; think of fried fish and keep pushing.”

Pee-wee began thinking harder and pushing harder; I could just _see_ him
thinking. And with one hand he felt in his pocket to make sure the
matches were all safe. He carries matches in a box like a cylinder that
shaving soap comes in.

It was kind of hard getting the bridge started but once it was started
it kept moving slowly around. The reason you can move a bridge around
like that is because it’s well balanced. But, gee whiz, I’m glad I’m not
so well balanced because I wouldn’t have so much fun. Underneath the
floor of the bridge were rollers on a track that went around in a
circle. So pretty soon we had turned the bridge so that it was
lengthways to the creek instead of across the creek and there was a
passageway on either side of it where boats could pass.

“Marooned on a desert drawbridge,” Bert said.

“Poor, starving natives,” I said.

Garry said, “It’s like being on an island.”

“A merry-go-round, you mean,” Pee-wee said.

“Let’s call it Merry-go-round Island,” Hervey sang out.

Just then the boat came chugging very slowly along one side of the
bridge and one of the men handed me the fish.

I said, “Many thanks and more of them, mister, you saved our lives.”

“Don’t let it slide out of your hands,” he said; “look out, it’s
slippery.”

“If you let it slip out of your hands you’ll go in after it,” Pee-wee
shouted.

Believe me, I kept tight hold of that fish. It was a dandy fish, it was
big enough for about six people to have all they wanted.

The man said, “That will keep you quiet for a while; be sure to scrape
all the scales off and clean him out good.”

“You leave that to us,” I told him, “we’re boy scouts. Cooking fish is
our middle name. There’s only one thing we do better than cooking fish
and that is eating them. We can eat them till the cows come home and
sometimes the cows stay out all night where we live. Believe me, I never
had much use for Henry Hudson in the history books, but I’m glad he
discovered the Hudson River as well as the Hudson Boulevard.”

“That’s in Jersey City,” Pee-wee shouted. “Do you think that’s named
after Henry Hudson?”

“It’s named after the Hudson automobile,” Garry said.

“Sure it is,” I told him, “just the same as the Hudson River is named
after the Hudson River Day Line; you learn that in the fourth grade;
here, take this fish while I help turn the merry-go-round around,
around, around. Then we’ll eat.”

The boat went chugging up the creek, the men laughing and waving their
hands at us. Pee-wee sat down on the floor of the bridge hugging the
fish as if it were his long lost brother. The rest of us started pushing
the lever.

_But, oh boy, it didn’t push._



                              CHAPTER XIII

                   WE ARE MAROONED ON A DESERT ISLAND


“Come on and help,” I said to Pee-wee.

“Suppose the fish jumps off the bridge,” he said. “Do you think I’m
going to take any chances?”

“The strength of an Animal Cracker doesn’t count for much,” Garry said.

“Look out the fish doesn’t jump in the creek with you,” I told Pee-wee.

Well, we pushed and pushed and pushed and braced our feet and kept
pushing for dear life, but we couldn’t budge that lever. Pee-wee held
the fish tight under one arm and helped us but it wasn’t any use. We
just couldn’t budge the lever.

“We’re marooned for fair,” Bert said.

“Boy Scouts Starve on Merry-go-round Island,” I said. “That would be a
good heading for a newspaper article.”

“Merry-go-standstill you mean,” Hervey began laughing. “What do we care?
It’s all in the game. Come ahead, give her one more push; follow your
leader.”

“Do you call starving a game?” the kid fairly yelled at him. I had to
laugh, he looked so funny standing there with the fish under his arm.

We tried some more but—no use. “The merry-go-round has stalled,” I
said. “We’ve got Robinson Crusoe tearing his hair with jealousy.”

“We’re on a desert island in earnest,” Bert said. He was the last to
give up.

“Don’t talk about desert, it reminds me of dessert,” I said.

“I’m not so much in earnest either,” Hervey began laughing. “Come on,
follow your leader.” Then he started to jump up on the railing.

I said, “It’s a very good joke; he, he, ho, ho, and a couple of ha ha’s!
But how about lunch? We can’t start a fire on this bridge without
burning it up and besides we haven’t got any kindling.”

“The only way we can get off the bridge is to burn it up,” Hervey said.
“The boy scout stood on the burning bridge——”

“Eating fish by the peck,” I said. “This is a new kind of a desert
island—1921 model. We made it ourselves. But what care we? We have
food. We care naught, quoth I.”

“What good is the food?” Pee-wee screamed. “You broke the bridge, that’s
what you did! And now we’ve got to go hungry.”

“Go?” I said. “What do you mean by ‘go’? You mean we’ve got to stay here
hungry. Our skeletons will be found on Merry-go-round Island——”

“Following their leader,” Hervey said.

“Along with the skeleton of a faithful fish,” Bert said. “That’s what
happens to young boys when they go around too much.”

“That’s what happens when any one goes around with this bunch,” the kid
shouted. “You’re so crazy that it’s catching; even the sign posts and
bridges go crazy. The next time I go on a funny-bone hike I won’t go at
all, but if I do I’ll bring my lunch you can bet.”

“What’ll we do next?” Hervey wanted to know.

I said, “Let’s have a feast, let’s feast our eyes on the fish. I can
just kind of hear him sizzling over the fire.”

“You can’t eat sizzles,” the kid said, very disgusted like.

I said, “No, but you can think of them. Let’s all think how fine the
fish would taste if we could only cook him. Do you remember how we moved
a lunch wagon by the power of our appetites? Maybe we can move the
bridge that way.”

“You make me tired,” Pee-wee yelled. “If you hadn’t started this
crazy—look at the chocolate bars you made us throw away.”

“I’d like to have a look at them,” I said.

We all perched up on the railing of the bridge, Pee-wee holding the fish
under one arm for fear it might flop off the bridge. Safety first.
Sitting the way we did we were all facing the shore. There were woods
there and dandy places to build a fire. There were twigs and things all
around.

I said, “It would be fine over there. We could just get that piece of
tin Pee-wee was telling us about and gather up some of those nice dry
twigs and start a little fire and let the tin get red hot and then lay
the fish on it——”

“Shut up!” the kid shouted.

“Only the trouble is we’re marooned on a desert island,” I said. “Anyway
there’s one thing I like and that is adventure. I was always crazy to
starve on a desert island.”

“You don’t have to tell us you’re crazy,” Pee-wee said.

“We followed you back to the sign post,” I told him, “and you promised
to cook us a fish. Let’s see you do it. A scout’s honor is to be
trusted, he’s supposed to keep his word—scout law number forty-eleven.”

“How about diving?” Hervey asked. “It’s the only way to get into the
water; there isn’t any way to climb down off this thing; the underneath
part of it is way inside.”

“Where did you expect it to be? Up in the air?” I asked him. “The
underneath part is usually underneath.”

“Not always,” Bert said.

“Well, anyway,” I said, “I’m not going to risk my life diving into water
that I don’t know anything about. Suppose I should break my skull; what
good would a fish dinner be to me?”

“That’s a good argument,” Garry said.

“It’s a peach of an argument,” I told him.

“It’s what Pee-wee calls logic. Gee whiz, but I’m hungry.”

“Same here,” Bert said.

“Same here,” Garry said.

“Same here,” Hervey said.

“Same here,” Warde said.

“I’m as hungry as the whole five of you put together,” our young hero
said. “I heard a story that a man can go forty days without food, but
you can’t get me to swallow that.”

“It’s about the only thing that you wouldn’t swallow,” I told him. “I’m
so hungry I’d swallow any argument I ever heard; I’d swallow any kind of
a story, especially a fish story.”

“There you go again,” Bert said; “what’s the good of reminding us about
it?”

“I’d swallow a serial story,” I told him; “any kind of cereal, oatmeal,
cream of wheat, or anything.”

So we just sat there looking across the creek into the woods, and
swinging our legs, but we were too hungry to sing.

“Let’s look for a sail on the horizon,” Hervey said. “That’s always the
way people do when they’re starving on desert drawbridges. This would
make a good movie play.”

“You mean a good standing still play,” I said; “the trouble with this
hike is there isn’t any action in it.”

“You mean there isn’t any food in it,” Pee-wee piped up.

“Don’t you care,” I told him, “there’s a desert island. What more do you
want? And we’ve got plenty of food only we can’t cook it. That’s better
than being able to cook it and not having any. We should worry.”



                              CHAPTER XIV

                             WE SEE A SAIL


Now after that last chapter are supposed to come about ten chapters
where we don’t do anything except just be hungry. But believe me, that’s
enough. We just sat there swinging our legs from the railing of that
desert island, scanning the horizon for a sail.

I said, “I wonder if there’s any treasure buried on this desert island.
Maybe Captain Kidd secreted some Liberty Bonds here; maybe he hid some
bars of gold.”

“I wish he had left some bars of chocolate here,” Warde said.

“Or some small change, chicken feed, or anything we could eat,” Garry
put in. “I’d be glad to eat a bale of hay or shredded wheat or a
whisk-broom or anything else like that.”

“They’re just about getting ready to cook supper at Temple Camp now,”
Warde said; “Chocolate Drop* is just about beginning to peel potatoes.
Pretty soon he’ll be stirring up batter for cookies. I think they’re
going to have strawberry jam and crullers to-night and—and cheese
and—lemon pie. They’ll be having baked beans to-night, too, on account
of it being Saturday. Oh boy, I can just see that nice slice of brown
pork on top——”

“Will you keep still!” Pee-wee screamed.

“Sure,” said Hervey; “whatever it is, let’s do it. If we’re going to
starve let’s get some fun out of it. I bet I can beat anybody starving.”

I said, “Pee-wee can beat you at that with both hands tied behind him,
can’t you, Kid? Once I read about some men who were going to freeze to
death in an ice cream freezer or somewhere; maybe it was up at the North
Pole. So they wrote a note and stuck it up on a pole, maybe they stuck
it on the North Pole, and they told what had become of them and how they
had died a terrible death so that the world may be able to know about
it. So let’s write a note and say that we starved here because we
couldn’t cook a fish and that we hope our parents will take a lesson
from us and not go round so much when they grow up. I was always wild, I
used to ride on a runaway clotheshorse when I was a kid.”

“You’re a kid now,” our young hero shouted. “You think it’s funny, don’t
you?”

“I know which is north and which is south,” I said, very sarcastic, “and
anyway, I stay awake while I’m turning around. Do you think Cruson
Robsoe got mad just because he was on a desert island? All he had was a
footprint in the sand and we’ve got a fish—to look at. Isn’t he pretty?
I bet there’s nice white meat inside of him, and a lot of bones. I
wonder if he has a funny-bone? As long as we can’t get away from here
let’s each tell our favorite dessert. I say let’s die bravely, like boy
scouts, hungry to the end.”

All of a sudden, _good night_, Garry nearly fell off the railing; he was
waving his hands and shouting, “A sail! A sail!”

“What kind of a sale?” Bert asked him. “A special sale or a cake sale or
what? If it’s a cake sale lead me to it.”

Garry just kept shouting, “A sail! A sail! A sail on the horizon!”

“I don’t see any horizon,” I said. “Where is it?”

“Along there through the woods,” he said. “A sail! A sail! We are
shaved!”

“What are you shouting about?” I said. “That isn’t a sail, it’s a Ford
car! Hurrah! Hurrah! And a couple of hips!”

-----

* The darky cook at Temple Camp.



                               CHAPTER XV

                           WE FORM A RESOLVE


We all started shouting, “We are shaved! We are shaved! A Fraud car! A
Fraud car on the horizon!” I guess the driver of that Ford car thought
we were crazy.

“I hope he’ll stop before he runs into the creek,” Warde said.

The car was coming along the turnpike at the rate of about a half a
million miles a year and I shouted, “Hey, mister, whoever you are,
please stop before you get here; it was raining last night and the water
is wet.”

“Stop your fooling,” the kid said.

I said, “Do you think I want that car to come plunging into the creek?
Suppose that driver is blind.”

“She’s coming under full sail,” Garry said.

“Hurrah!” they all shouted.

“She’s missing in one cylinder,” Bert said. Then we all started
shouting, “Saved! At last we are saved!”

Just then, _good night_, that Ford car turned off into a side road and
we couldn’t see it any more.

“Now you see what you get for fooling,” the kid shot at me. “If we had
shouted ‘help’ all together as loud as we could he’d have come straight
along. You think it’s fun being imprisoned here with nothing to eat; you
make me tired. Maybe you don’t know that not much traffic comes along
this old turnpike; that’s why they don’t have any bridge-tender here.”

“They have tenderfoot bridge-tenders,” I said.

“Maybe no one else will come along all night,” Pee-wee said, “and then
what are we going to do? Suppose a wagon or an auto should come along
after dark and we didn’t see it coming; it would plunge to death and
then I hope you’d be satisfied.”

“That’s right,” Warde said, kind of serious, “we haven’t even got a
lantern to swing. How could we warn anybody?”

“We can’t even shout if we don’t get something to eat,” the kid said.

“Sure,” Bert said, “we’ll be so weak we won’t even be able to lift our
voices.”

“We’re in a desperate predicament,” Pee-wee said, very dark and serious
like. I guess he got those words out of the movies.

“Maybe we could tie a note to the fish and throw him in the water,” I
said. “When someone catches him they’ll find out we’re in distress.”

“No you don’t,” the kid yelled, hanging onto the fish while I tried to
take it away from him.

“If we could only send up a signal,” Warde said. “It’s all very well
joking but if it gets dark it will be mighty bad with this bridge open
and no one standing guard at the ends of the road.”

“There’ll be a tragedy,” the kid said.

Gee whiz, when I heard Warde speak that way I realized that it might be
pretty dangerous there after dark. And I was a little scared about it
because it seemed that no one came along that road very much and maybe
it would be night before anyone came.

I said, “Well, if it gets toward night and no one comes either way I’ll
take a chance and dive and swim to shore. One of you fellows will have
to dive and swim to the other shore too.”

“I’ll do that,” Hervey sang out.

“But we’ll wait till it’s necessary,” I said.

Now maybe you think that because we are scouts we should have been able
to get to shore easily enough, and if it were only a case of swimming
that fish wouldn’t have anything on us. But we couldn’t get from that
bridge into the water except by diving and diving is dangerous when you
don’t know the water you’re diving into. Especially near a bridge it’s
dangerous because there are apt to be piles sticking up under the
surface of the water. So that’s why we have a rule never to dive unless
we know about the place where we’re diving. But, gee whiz, if it’s a
case of an auto plunging into the water or taking a chance myself, I’ll
take the chance every time. And I know that Hervey Willetts would dive
into the Hudson River from the top of the Woolworth Building if anybody
dared him to do it.

“Anyway, let’s not lose our morale,” I said. “We’re here because we’re
here. Scouts are supposed to be resourceful; let’s sit up on the railing
again and think.”

“As soon as the sun goes down I’m going to dive,” Hervey said. “Do you
see that big maple tree in the woods? As soon as I can’t count the
leaves on that top branch any more I’m going to dive. I don’t know how
deep it is or what’s under the water, but I’m going to stand guard down
the road a ways. What do you say?”

“Are you asking me?” I asked him.

“I sure am,” he said; “you’re the only patrol leader here.”

I just said, “Well, if you want to know what I’m going to do I’ll tell
you. I never broke up a game yet. I’m going to follow my leader wherever
he goes. I’m going to take care of the other side of the road. I’m not
going to ask where I’m headed for nobody knows. And I’m not going to
weaken or flunk or suggest or oppose. And I’m not going to start to ask
questions, or hint or propose. There are some scouts here that are not
so stuck on this crazy game. But, believe me, it’s more of a game than I
thought it was. You were the one that started it. No people are going to
lose their lives on account of us. I’m going to follow my leader
wherever he goes. So now you know.”

“Do you call me a quitter?” Pee-wee shouted in my face.

“Look out for the fish,” I said.

“I don’t care anything about the fish,” he yelled. “I’m not hungry. I’m
in this funny-bone hike and I’ll follow Hervey Willetts if he—if he—if
he—stands on his head on top of a bonfire—I will. So there!”

“He wouldn’t do such a thing, don’t worry,” I said. “He couldn’t keep
still long enough. Pick up the fish before he flops off the desert
island. Safety first, that’s our motto. Hey, Hervey?”

“That’s us,” Hervey said. “Let’s tell some riddles.”



                              CHAPTER XVI

                              WE ARE SAVED


So then we all sat on the railing of the desert island and sang _Follow
your leader_, and Pee-wee joined in good and loud. He kept the fish
under his arm. When it comes to a showdown Pee-wee is loyal. He can even
be loyal to a fish.

Maybe we sat there for as much as an hour and Hervey was telling us
about all the crazy things you can do on a Follow your leader hike. All
of a sudden Garry shouted, “A sail! A sail! Another sail on the
horizon!”

“Is it the same horizon?” I asked him.

“It’s a red sail,” he said.

“It’s a red cow, you mean,” I told him.

“We are saved!” they all started yelling again. “A cow! A cow! A red cow
with white spots! She is coming to our rescue!”

“Maybe she’ll give us some malted milk,” Hervey said.

Oh boy, I had to laugh. There, away way down the road a cow was coming
along, waddling from one side to the other and as she came nearer we
could see how she was swishing her tail.

“She’s making about ten knots an hour,” Garry said; “she’s coming
straight for us. She is bringing milk to the starving castaways. Watch
and see if she turns into that side road.”

“She has passed it!” Bert yelled. “She is coming straight for us under
full sail. Hold the fish up as a signal of distress. She is a hero, I
mean a shero.”

It looked awful funny to see that old cow lumbering along, and every
time she stopped to eat a leaf or something we thought she was going to
turn into a side lane.

“There’s a little girl right behind her,” Bert said. “She’s carrying a
big whip; she’s driving the cow.”

That little girl was about half as big as Pee-wee. She had on a big
sunbonnet and a kind of a gingham apron and she came hiking along behind
the cow with that great big whip over her shoulder. She looked awful
little.

“Do you think I want to be rescued by her?” the kid shouted.

“I’d let a mosquito rescue me, I’m so hungry,” I said.

Pretty soon the little girl and the cow were right at the end of the
road where the end of the bridge belonged. The cow didn’t seem surprised
but the little girl did. The cow just started to eat grass as if she
didn’t care whether she got across or not.

“Road closed on account of a desert island,” Bert called.

“You have to take a detour around through the Panama Canal,” Garry
shouted. “Don’t be frightened, we won’t hurt you.”

I said, “Hey, little girl, would you be kind enough to go to the nearest
house and tell the people that some boy scouts are starving on this
bridge on account of it being open?”

“Why don’t you close it,” she asked us kind of just a little bit scared
and surprised.

“Because it doesn’t work,” I said. “See, we’ll show you. It’s on a
strike.”

So then we all started pushing the big lever and she began to laugh.

“Do you think it’s a joke?” Pee-wee shouted at her.

“You’rrre dunces,” she said, rolling her r’s awful funny. “Do you think
you can push it arraound like a trreadmill churrrn?”

“I don’t know what a treadmill churn is,” I told her, “because I’ve
never been marooned on one——”

“Don’t you even know how to make butterrr?” she said.

“We know how to eat it,” I said, “and that’s enough.”

“You’rrre trying to turrrn it raound,” she called. “It daon’t go all the
way raound, it goes _back_. Lift that plug in the floorrr and put the
leverrr in therrre and then push; it’ll go back the same way. It only
goes half-way and back—Mr. Smarrrty.”

“_G-o-o-d night!_” I said. “I thought it was a merry-go-round.”

“Did you think you werrre ter th’ caounty fairrr?” she asked us.

She just stood there staring at us as if she thought we were escaped
lunatics from Luna Park.

I said, “Pardon us, but we never studied drawing so we don’t know
anything about drawbridges. Do you mean this thing in the floor that
looks like the head of a bolt?”

“Right therrre at yourrr feet,” she said.

On the floor about three feet from the lever was a kind of a round iron
plate that looked like the top of a big bolt. It was just a kind of a
plug and it lifted out. All we had to do was to haul the lever out and
put it in there and push. There was a kind of reverse gear that made the
bridge go back. And all the while we had been pushing and pushing and
trying to make that pesky old bridge keep going around like a
merry-go-round. But that wasn’t the way it worked. The end of it that
belonged at the north had to go back to the north; the bridge only went
half-way around.

It wasn’t hard closing it again when we got it started. It moved back
very slowly until the ends of it fitted the ends of the road. The little
girl just stood there kind of disgusted with us. Pee-wee didn’t say a
word.

As soon as the way was open the cow started across, the little girl
after her. She looked back two or three times as if she didn’t know what
to make of us. Once the cow looked back, kind of puzzled like; that’s
the way it seemed to me.



                              CHAPTER XVII

                            WE COOK THE DUCK


“Rescued by a brave, heroic little girl,” I said, as we went tramping
off into the road.

“Let’s be sure that we’re headed in the right direction,” Warde said.
“After what happened I don’t trust myself at all. Is this the end of the
bridge we got on at, or is it the other end?”

“It’s one end or the other,” I said.

“One end’s as good as the other if not better,” Hervey said. “Come on,
follow your leader——”

“Have a heart,” I said; “wait a minute. Let me collect my senses.
_That’s_ north and _that’s _south, and the Hudson is over that
way—east. This creek flows into the Hudson. All right, we’re supposed
to go in the opposite direction from the direction that little girl is
taking. We’re on the right end of the bridge.”

“Right,” Warde said.

“That means that the piece of tin that Pee-wee saw is across the
bridge,” Bert said.

“I’ll go back and hunt for it,” said Pee-wee. “Here, hold the fish.”

“At last we’re going to have something to eat,” I said; “I’m so hungry I
could eat the piece of tin and all.”

“You’re not going to tell them at camp that we were saved by a little
girl, are you?” Pee-wee wanted to know.

“Yes, and I’m going to tell them that a cow laughed at us,” I said.
“Hurry up, go and hunt up that piece of tin; I’m starving.”

You see how it was, we were at the north end of the bridge and our way
was north. I’m telling you because everything was so mixed up on that
crazy hike that maybe you don’t know where you’re at. This is chapter
Seventeen and it’s called, “We Cook the Duck” but you can’t always go by
names. Don’t get worried, if you lose your way just follow me.

After that terrible adventure the principal thing about us was that we
were hungry; we were a kind of a walking famine. I don’t know if that
fish shrunk, but anyway it didn’t look as big as it had looked before. I
guess it was because our appetites were bigger.

Pee-wee started back across the bridge to hunt for the piece of tin he
had seen in the woods, and the rest of us began gathering twigs and
pieces of wood for a fire. Oh boy, but that fish looked good! He was
dead by that time but he was good and fresh just the same. We ran a
forked stick through his gills and hung him in the water where it was
cool and sat around waiting for Pee-wee. We had everything all ready to
start the fire.

Pretty soon along came our young hero with the piece of tin, tiptoeing
across the bridge, very excited and mysterious.

I said, “What’s the matter now? Are we supposed to follow your lead when
you do that? Wait till we have something to eat first.”

“Don’t talk about anything to eat,” he whispered; “we’re going to have a
feast, we’re going to have a banquet, we’re going to have roast duck.
Shh! Here, take this tin. Look over there in the marshes. See? Almost
under the end of the bridge? Do you see that streak of white? Shh!
That’s a duck. He’s caught in the branches of that—shh!”

We all tiptoed very softly about half-way across the bridge and leaned
way over the railing at the place that he pointed out to us under the
other end. There was an old fallen tree there and some of its branches
were sticking out of the water. In among them was a duck. I guessed he
must have been caught there. It seemed as if he didn’t see us or hear
us, so I thought he must be caught there in some way because ducks are
so suspicious.

“Mm-mmm!” I said. “I can just taste him.”

“Looks good to me,” Garry said.

“Talk low,” said Bert.

“Go back and wait, I’m going to get him,” the kid said. “I was the one
to discover him.”

“I don’t care who gets him as long as I can eat him,” I said.

“We’ll roast him, hey?” the kid whispered. “Go back and wait.”

“Look out you don’t scare him away,” Warde said; “even if he’s caught
there he might break loose. Go easy and stalk him.”

“You leave it to me,” the kid said. “You go back and have everything
ready. Maybe you think just because Roy and Hervey can lead us in a lot
of crazy stunts that they’re the only scouts here. But you have to thank
me for roast duck, so you see?”

“You’re so smart you can even find a sign post——”

“Shh-h!” he said, starting off.

“If there’s any cranberry sauce down there bring it along, too,” I said.

He waved his hand behind him for us to keep still, and went tiptoeing
back across the bridge. We went back to the place where we were going to
make our fire. We could see him take off his khaki shirt (so he wouldn’t
get it wet, I suppose) and hang it over the railing of the bridge.
Pretty soon we could see him down below, across the creek, crawling over
that fallen tree.

Warde said, “This will be a big feather in Pee-wee’s cap.”

“It will be a big helping on my plate you mean,” I said.

“What do you mean, plate?” Bert wanted to know.

“Look! What do you know about that? The little codger’s got him!” Garry
shouted.

“Mm-rn!” I said. “We’ll fry the fish and eat him while we’re waiting for
the duck to cook.”

“Let’s not bother with the fish,” I said: “Luck seems to be coming our
way at last.

“Have you got him?” I shouted to Pee-wee as he climbed up over the
railing at the other end of the bridge.

“Yop,” I heard him say.

“We’ll only have to clean the fish and scale him,” Warde said, “and
it’ll be a nuisance. Let’s fry the duck instead. There’ll be plenty for
all hands because that’s a good big one. Fish only makes you thirsty,
anyway. I’m not so crazy about fish—not when there’s duck. Mmm!”

“We should worry about the fish,” I said, and I went over to the water
and threw the fish into the water, stick and all. “He only brought us
bad luck anyway,” I said.

“Sure,” Garry said; “give me duck any day. Look at the size of that one,
will you?”

“I think it’s a goose,” Bert said.

“I think it’s a swan,” Hervey said.

“It’ll be much easier to eat a duck without any plates or knives or
forks,” I said; “we should worry about fish. We can just take the duck’s
legs and wings and—oh boy—we can just pick them dry.”

“Hurry up with the duck,” Hervey called to Pee-wee; “we’re not going to
bother about the fish. Come on, we’re hungry.”

By that time Pee-wee was about half-way across the bridge. “It’s a decoy
duck,” he panted out; “it’s—it’s—just made of wood——”

“What?” I shouted.

“What are you talking about?” Garry hollered at him.

“This is no time for joking,” Hervey said. “Hurry up.”

Pee-wee just came along with a kind of a shamefaced look, and I could
see that the duck didn’t hang limp.

“It’s made of wood, it’s a decoy duck,” he said.

None of us spoke, we just looked at him.

“Here, take it and see for yourself,” he said to me.

I said, “Scout Harris, alias Raving Raven, alias Animal Cracker, you
have done one good turn. You have brought your starving comrades a
wooden duck just after they threw the fish into the creek. You have done
your worst.”

“What are you talking about?” he yelled.

“It is true,” I told him; “the plot grows thicker. This is a funny-bone
hike and nothing happens right. Sit down and starve with us. Here, give
me the wooden duck. If we should catch a pig on this hike it would turn
out to be pig iron. If we caught a cow it would turn out to be a
cowslip. Don’t blame me, blame Hervey Willetts, he started it.”

[Illustration: HERVEY WAS IN THE CREEK, SWIMMING FOR DEAR LIFE.]



                             CHAPTER XVIII

                            WE MEET A FRIEND


All of a sudden, _splash_, Hervey was in the creek, swimming for dear
life. We all stood on the shore watching him.

“A marathon race with a fish,” Bert shouted.

“Follow your leader,” I yelled at Hervey.

“Leave it to me,” Hervey spluttered, “I’ll get him.”

Down the creek we could see a stick bobbing. Pretty soon Hervey caught
up with it and grabbed it.

“Hurrah!” we all shouted.

“I tell you what let’s do,” Pee-wee said.

“Animal Cracker,” I said, “a boy scout is supposed to be polite. He’s
not supposed to kill a brother scout. But if you make any suggestions or
promise us any more eats you’re going to die a horrible death.”

“Was I to blame because it was made of wood?” he shouted at me.

“I’ve tasted tougher ducks than that,” Warde said.

“Let bygones be bygones,” Garry said. “Thank goodness we’ve got our fish
back. It was a narrow escape.”

“I’d like to know——” the kid began.

“You don’t need to know, it’s all right,” I said.

“You’re so smart——” he started again.

“We’re so smart,” I told him, “that we——”

“Will you let me speak?” he screamed.

“No, what is it?” I said.

“My shirt fell in the water and we haven’t got any matches,” he said.
“So what good is the fish? I’ve been trying to tell you that for five
minutes.”

I didn’t say anything, I just lay down on the ground. The rest of them
did the same. “Follow your leader,” Garry groaned.

“This is too much,” I said; “let me die in peace.”

“What’s the matter?” Hervey asked, climbing out of the water with the
precious fish.

“Oh nothing,” I said, “except Pee-wee’s shirt fell in the water over at
the other end of the bridge and we haven’t got any matches. Don’t worry,
they’ll find our bodies here; lie down, it’s all over. Pee-wee wins.”

So there we all lay sprawled on the ground, the kid sitting up watching
us.

“We did our best to eat and live,” I said, “but the West Shore Railroad
and turntables and sign posts and drawbridges and wooden ducks were too
much for us. Come on, I’m going to die, follow your leader.”

“There’s a way to kindle a fire without a match,” the kid said.

“Yes, and it sounds nice in the handbook too. But did you ever try it?”
I asked him. “Don’t talk to me. Tell my patrol that my last thoughts
were of them. Tell Westy Martin he can have my dessert at dinner; tell
him to think of me while he’s eating.”

All of a sudden somebody shouted, “A sail! A sail! A sail on the
horizon!”

“Same old horizon,” I said. “What kind of a sale is it now?”

All of a sudden up jumped Pee-wee. “Good turns are like chickens,” he
said.

“Don’t talk about chickens,” I told him; “have a heart.”

“They come home to roast,” he said.

“When we haven’t any matches?” I said. “That’s very kind of them. Can’t
you let me die in peace?”

“It’s the Italian with the donkey,” he said; “the donkey we pulled off
the railroad track with the gas engine, and he’s smoking a pipe——”

“Who? The donkey?” I asked him.

“The man,” Pee-wee said; “so he must have matches. Hurrah!”

We all sat up at once and stared up the road. And, oh boy, as sure as
you live, there was that old scissors-grinding wagon coming toward us,
and the donkey should have been arrested for speeding, because he was
going about two inches a year. Up on the seat sat our Italian friend,
smoking a pipe.

“Hey, Tony!” I shouted. “Have you got any matches or sandwiches, or
sawdust or spaghetti or old scissors or pieces of leather or rye bread
or peanuts or steel nuts or pie or anything else we can eat? We’re
starving.”

“Hey, boss, how you do?” he shouted. He was smiling all over.



                              CHAPTER XIX

                                 WE EAT


That man had a lot of lunch, pickles and bologna and a pail of spaghetti
and bread and everything, and there was only one thing that we didn’t
like about it, and that was that he had already eaten it about an hour
before. So it didn’t do us much good. It only made us hungrier when he
told us about it. He said, “Badda luck, hey, Boss? Spagett, ah, what
d’you call it, _nice_. You lika, huh?”

Warde said, “We don’t like spaghetti that’s already passed into
history.”

“We don’t like history, anyway,” I said. “But have you got any matches?”

The man said, “Hey, sure, boss, plenty de match.”

So he gave us some matches and about half a loaf of shiny looking bread
that he had left from his own lunch and then he went along across the
bridge. We asked him how business was and he said, “No biz.”

After that we got our fire started and we cooked our fish on the tin
that Pee-wee had found and, yum yum, but that lunch tasted good. Maybe
if you were ever a starving mariner shipwrecked on a desert island,
you’ll know how that lunch tasted.

We were good and tired so we sprawled around in the woods near the creek
and jollied each other, especially Pee-wee.

Warde said, “The next time anybody mentions a funny-bone hike to me——”

“What do you know about funny-bone hikes?” Hervey shot back. “You’ve
only seen the beginning of one. What we’ve been doing up to now is just
a demonstration.”

“Good night, have a heart,” I said.

Hervey just lay there on his back with one leg up in the air, catching
that crazy hat of his on his foot and trying to kick it back on his
face—honest, that fellow’s a scream. All the while he was singing:

                  The land is very funny,
                    And the water’s very wet,
                  We’ve been everywhere,
                  But up in the air;
                    And we haven’t done anything yet.

I said, “Sure, maybe if we’re patient we’ll have some mishaps. While
there’s life there’s hope.”

“Trust to Hervey,” Bert said.

Pee-wee said, “I could do without the mishaps if I had some more food.”

“When you’re hungry you’re supposed to eat a little at a time,” I told
him. “Don’t you know when a man is starving they give him one spoonful
of milk to begin with? You have to get used to eating.”

“I’m used to it already,” our young hero shouted.

Warde said, “You’d better look out; did you ever hear about the
fish——”

“There isn’t any more fish,” I said.

“He was in a globe,” Warde said, “and the man that owned him took a
spoonful of water out of the globe each day until that fish gradually
learned to live on dry land.”

“What are you talking about?” Pee-wee screamed.

“I knew that fish personally,” Warde said; “and one day the man took him
out for a walk and the fish fell into a pond and was drowned.”

“That’s nothing,” Hervey said. “I knew a snake that lived in the tropics
where it was very hot and he came to New York on a visit, and he fell
into a furnace and froze to death.”

“Do you expect me to believe that?” Pee-wee yelled.

“Sure,” Hervey said, “if I believe it you’ve got to believe it, because
I’m your leader. From this time on we’re going to play the game right,
if I’m going to be leader.”

“We have more fun doing things wrong,” I said.

“Sure,” he said, all the while kicking his hat; “the things may be wrong
but we’re supposed to do them right.”

“Now I know you’re crazy,” Pee-wee said.

“Are you all willing to play the game right?” Hervey wanted to know.

“Anything you say,” I told him; “we’re prepared for the worst.”

“You needn’t think I’m going without supper and breakfast,” the kid
said.

Hervey just lay there on his back putting his hat onto his foot and
trying to kick it onto his head.

“Are we supposed to do that?” I asked him.

He said, “This is intermission, this is lunch hour. But when I jump up
and say, ‘Scrhlmxmi’——”

“What?” Pee-wee yelled.

“It’s a Greek word, it means ‘we should worry,’” I said.

Hervey said, “I’ll tell you how it is if you want to play the game
right. You’re supposed to follow your leader in _everything_. If he
laughs, you must laugh; if he keeps still, you must keep still; if he
has a headache, you must have a headache.”

“Do you think I’m going to have a headache just to please
you?” Pee-wee shouted in his face. “How about toothaches,
and—and—appendicitis—and——”

“Follow your leader,” Hervey said.

“Yes, and where will we be at supper-time?” the kid wanted to know.

“There’s another verse that goes with that game,” Hervey said. Then he
began singing all the while trying to balance a stick on his nose while
he was lying on the ground. Gee whiz, I had to laugh, he looked so
funny. This was the song:

          On a funny-bone hike you don’t get in a rut,
          The best kind of leader is one that’s a nut;
          Just keep your feet moving and keep your mouth shut,
          And the shortest way home is to take a long cut.
            And go north,
              And go south;
                And go east,
                  And go west;
          The wrong way to get there is always the best.



                               CHAPTER XX

                           WE MAKE A PROMISE


After we were all rested, all of a sudden Hervey jumped up and started
off, the rest of us after him singing _Follow your leader wherever he
goes_. For a while he kept singing and we all kept singing. Sometimes he
would go zigzag on the road and we all did the same. For a little way he
held one of his legs in his hand and hopped till he fell on the ground
and the rest of us fell all over him. He did all kinds of crazy things
and whatever he said we said it after him. Pretty soon he turned off the
turnpike into another road.

“The wrong way to get there is always the best,” he said.

“The wrong way to get there is always the best,” I said.

All of us said the same sentence. Gee whiz, it sounded crazy.

Pretty soon we met a farmer and Hervey he said, “Hey, mister, can you
tell us the wrong way to the scout camp?”

I said, “Hey, mister, can you tell us the wrong way to the scout camp?”

Bert said, “Hey, mister, can you tell us the wrong way to the scout
camp?”

The others said the same and the man looked at us as if he thought we
were lunatics.

“You’re going the wrong way now,” he said.

“Thanks very much,” Hervey said, and off he started again.

“Maybe he’s mistaken, maybe it’s the right way and we’re going all
wrong,” I said. “Suppose he misdirected us and we get somewhere?”

Bert said, “Trust to Hervey, we won’t get anywhere. He knows where he’s
not going.”

“Sure, he has a fine sense of misdirection,” Garry said.

“We’ll end in Maine,” Pee-wee said, “that’s where all the maniacs
belong. The nearer we get to Temple Camp the farther off it is.”

                   “We’ve been everywhere,
                   But up in the air;
                   And we haven’t done anything yet.”

Warde began singing.

All of a sudden Hervey turned around and looked very severe and held his
finger to his mouth.

“Silence,” I said; “Play the game. Can’t you keep still? If you can’t
keep still, keep quiet.”

So then we followed him not saying a word. It was fine to hear Pee-wee
not talking.

Pretty soon we came to a place that I knew. They call it New Corners. It
isn’t exactly new, it’s kind of slightly used. It’s a village. There’s a
sign that says New Corners; that’s so you’ll know it’s there. It’s about
as big as New York only smaller.

Hervey turned around and said, “Let’s buy some gumdrops. Intermission;
you can all talk.”

We had about fourteen cents altogether and we bought some gumdrops in
the post office and divided them. There was a big pole outside the
barber shop that locked like a peppermint stick and we wished that we
could eat that. When we started off again, Hervey held his hat out on
the end of a stick (he always carries a stick that fellow does) and
threw a gumdrop into his hat.

“Follow your leader,” he said.

I threw a gumdrop into my hat the same way, and he said, “No, you don’t,
you’re supposed to follow your leader. Each one throw a gumdrop into my
hat.”

Oh boy, you should have seen our young Animal Cracker go up in the air.
He yelled, “What do you think I am?”

“Play the game!” Hervey shouted. “You’re charged with insubordination.”

“I don’t care what kind of a nation I’m charged with,” Pee-wee shouted.
“If you throw it into your hat that means I have to throw it into my
hat. Do you think I’m throwing away gumdrops? I’ll follow my leader,
but——”

Just then Hervey threw a gumdrop into Pee-wee’s hat.

“Maybe you’re right after all,” the kid said; “you know the rules about
the game——”

“Now listen,” Hervey said. “Who’s got a watch that’s right?”

“I’ve got a watch that’s right,” I said, “and it’s the only thing here
that is right.”

“That’s because it goes around and around just like we do,” Hervey said;
“it never gets anywhere but it keeps going. You can depend on a compass
because it always points one way, but a watch keeps changing, you can’t
depend on it. One minute it says one thing and another minute it says
another thing. That’s what I don’t like about a watch.”

“A watch would have to go some to keep up with you,” I said.

“You couldn’t carry a watch,” Pee-wee said, “because it would fall out
of your pocket. You’re upside down half the time.”

“You’re more like a speedometer,” I said. “What do you want my watch
for?”

“Can’t you guess?” he said.

“What do you want his watch for?” Pee-wee shouted, his mouth all the
while full of gumdrops.

“To find out what time it is,” Hervey said.

“It’s just exactly four o’clock,” I told him.

“All hold up your hands,” he said. “Have the watch hold up its hands
too. We’re going to play this game right.”

He said, “Not one of us is going to speak another word till we see
Temple Camp. When we see it I will be the first one to speak.”

“I’ll be the next,” Pee-wee shouted.

Hervey said, “The first one to speak before I do agrees to stand in
front of the bulletin board at camp to-morrow with a sign on him saying
I AM A QUITTER AND A FLUNKER, and if I speak before I see Temple Camp
I’ll do the same. How about it? Do you agree?”

“Posilutely,” I said. “Silence is my favorite outdoor sport.”

“Put me down,” Warde said; “I’m playing the game.”

“I’ll be just as if I were asleep,” Garry said.

“I talk in my sleep,” Pee-wee piped up.

“Not one word till we see Temple Camp,” Hervey said; “how about it.”

“I’ll die for the cause,” Bert said.

Hervey said, “All right then; _ready_——”

“Wait a minute,” Pee-wee said. “Wait till I think if there’s anything I
want to say before I shut up.”

“Say it and forever after hold your peace,” I said.

“What’s your last word?” Garry asked him.

“My last word is that I’m hungry,” the kid shouted.

“All right, shut up, everybody,” Hervey said, “and

           “Don’t ask where you’re headed for nobody knows,
           Just keep your eyes open and follow your nose;
           Be careful, don’t trip and go stubbing your toes,
           But follow your leader wherever he goes.”

After that you couldn’t hear a sound.



                              CHAPTER XXI

                             WE KEEP STILL


Now in this chapter not a single word is spoken. I bet you’ll say,
“Thank goodness for that.” My sister said this will be the best chapter
of the whole book because all of us keep still. I should worry about
her. One thing, I’m glad on account of not having to use any quotation
marks—I hate those things.

But anyway just because our tongues weren’t going that doesn’t mean our
feet weren’t going. And I’ll tell you this much, something terrible is
going to happen. Believe me, there are worse things than talking. Maybe
it’s all right to keep still, but it got us in a lot of trouble and I’m
never going to keep still again as long as I live. Pee-wee says he isn’t
either. Hervey says it’s actions that count, but words are all right—I
like words.

Now I don’t know whether Hervey knew where he was going or not. That
fellow knows all the country for miles around Temple Camp. He made
believe he was lost. He says no matter where you are you can’t really
get lost because you’re some place and if you just keep going you’ll
come to some place else and he says anyway one place is as good as
another. So even if you’re home maybe you’re lost.

Anyway he kept going along that country road that branched off from the
turnpike. It was uphill and pretty soon we came to Old Corners only
there wasn’t anything left of it except an old church. I guess the rest
of the village must have rolled down the hill and started up in another
place.

Gee whiz, I like it up there on the hill but you never can tell what a
village will do when it gets started. I was just going to say that maybe
it was on a funny-bone hike only I happened to remember about keeping
still. It was nice and quiet up on that hill—no wonder.

Up there were three or four old houses with nobody living in them and
they were falling to pieces. The church was ramshackle, I guess it was
good and old. There was grass growing between the wooden steps and there
was moss all around on the stone step. All the windows were broken and
there was a great big spider-web across one window. There were old
shingles on the ground too, that had blown off the roof. There were
initials cut in the railing of the steps. There was an old ladder
standing up against the steeple.

“L-l-l——” Pee-wee started to say, and just caught himself in time.

Hervey walked straight for the ladder and up he went, with the rest of
us after him. The steeple wasn’t so high but it was pretty high. The
ladder stood against a little window maybe halfway up. Hervey crawled in
through the window and so did the rest of us. He kept looking back
holding his finger to his mouth; he looked awful funny.

In there was a kind of a little gallery around the edge and you could
look down in through the middle. It smelled like dried wood in there; it
smelled kind of like an attic. It was terribly hot. I saw something
hanging that I thought was an old dried rag and when I grabbed it,
_swhh_, just like that it gave me a start, and I let go pretty quick
because it was a bat. We threw it out through the opening. There were a
couple more there but we didn’t bother them. They looked just like rags
that had been hung up wet and got dry hanging there—stiff like.

[Illustration: “I LET GO PRETTY QUICK BECAUSE IT WAS A BAT.”]

None of us said anything but just did what Hervey did as near as we
could in a little, cramped place like that. We didn’t lean on that old
wooden railing around the gallery—safety first. Down through that open
space hung a rope; it went almost to the bottom. There was a floor down
there; I guessed it was the vestibule of the old church.

Up above us it was quite light because there were openings on the four
sides. There were a lot of beams braced all crisscross like, every which
way and there was a big bell hanging from them. The rope hung down from
above that bell.

We could look right up into the inside of the bell, and there was a big
spider-web across it and a great big yellow spider there. The rope up
there was frayed where it touched the edge of the bell when the bell
swung. Hervey tried to reach out to the rope but the railing creaked and
I pulled him back. If we could have talked it wouldn’t have been so bad,
but it seemed kind of spooky with no one saying anything.

There was a little ladder fastened tight against the side going up to
that place above. I guess nobody ever went up there except maybe to fix
the bell. Hervey started up. It was hard because the ladder was tight
against the wall and we didn’t have much foothold. But I wouldn’t admit
he could do anything that I couldn’t do and I guess the other fellows
felt the same about it.

There wasn’t any place to sit or stand up there except the beams. It was
kind of like being in a tree. We perched in them the best we could. The
wood was awful dry and every time we touched it with our hands we got
splinters. But one thing, we could see out all over the country; we
could see hills and woods and trees and fields with stone walls that
looked just like lines. It was pretty hard to keep from speaking. Away,
way off I saw a kind of blue strip and I knew it was the Hudson River. I
was just starting to say “Some bird’s-eye view,” but I caught myself in
time.

Hervey was looking down out of one of the openings and he caught my arm
and pointed. I looked down on the road. It was a crooked, rocky road,
but it looked all even and nice from up there. You could see it away,
way off just like a fresh place made with a plane, sort of.

Going along the road was an old hay wagon with oxen and a man with a
great big straw hat driving them. On the wagon, sticking away out at
both ends, was a ladder. I looked straight down below and the ladder was
gone from against the steeple.

I was just starting to shout after the man when Hervey clapped his hand
to my mouth and with his other hand he wrote the word QUITTER on the
wooden sill and put a question-mark after it. By that time we were all
crowding at the opening but none of us said a word. Hervey just pointed
to what he had written and looked at us. None of us called after the
man. There wasn’t any sound at all except the beams creaking when we
moved.

It was good and spooky up there, I know that.



                              CHAPTER XXII

                            WE HEAR A VOICE


Hervey just held up his finger to remind us, but anyway the man had gone
too far to hear us.

All of a sudden Pee-wee set up a shout, “I see Temple Camp! I see Temple
Camp!”

“Where?” I asked him, all excited.

“I can see the pavilion!” he shouted. “I can see the lake! Hey, mister,
come back with the ladder!”

“I guess you’re right,” Hervey said; “that’s the camp, all right.”

“I discovered it! I discovered it!” Pee-wee yelled. “Hey, mister, come
back with that ladder! I can see Temple Camp! Come back!”

But it wasn’t any use; the man was too far away and the breeze was the
other way, and there we were and we couldn’t do anything.

“Why didn’t you shout sooner?” Pee-wee wanted to know, all excited.

“You were the one to discover the camp,” Hervey said.

“Why didn’t you shout as soon as you saw the man?” he shot back.

“Because I made a solemn vow,” Hervey said.

“Now we’re up against it,” the kid said.

“We’re _up_, all right,” said Warde. “Nobody can deny that.”

“How are we going to get down?” Pee-wee wanted to know. “That’s what you
get for making solemn vows. Solemny vows are all right but they don’t
get you any supper. I can see the smoke going up from the cooking shack.
Do you see it? Away, way off there?”

I could see it all right, and oh boy, it looked good. I could see just a
little dab of blue, all sparkling, and I knew it was Black Lake. I could
see a speck of brown and I knew it was the pavilion. It looked as if it
might be about ten miles off. All around, no matter which way we looked,
were woods and mountains.

“Some panorama,” Warde said.

“You can’t eat panoramas,” the kid shouted.

“Sure you can,” I told him. “Didn’t you ever eat an orama? They fry them
in pans; that’s why they call them panoramas; they’re fine.”

“Yes, and we’ll be marooned here all night too,” he piped up. “There
isn’t anybody for miles around. A lot of good the view is going to do
us. This is the loneliest place I ever saw, I bet it’s haunted. I bet
that’s why everybody moved away.”

Bert said, “I don’t believe any ghosts would stay here, it’s too lonely.
Besides, where would they buy their groceries?”

“Ghosts don’t eat,” the kid said.

“I hope you’ll never be a ghost then,” I told him.

“We’re lucky,” Hervey said. “You ought to thank me for bringing you up
here. We can see just where Temple Camp is. We don’t have to depend on
sign posts that change their minds and turntables that send us back to
where we came from or anything. We can see Temple Camp with our own
eyes. Now we know which way to go.”

“Only we can’t go there,” I said.

He said, “That doesn’t make any difference.”

“Sure it doesn’t,” I said. “As long as we know where camp is we’re not
lost any more. We know where we’re at. And when we get to a place where
we know where we’re at it’s a good place to stay. Deny it if you dare.
I’d rather be up here and see the camp and not be able to get there than
to be able to get there if we knew where it was but not to know where it
was.”

“Do you call that logic?” Pee-wee yelled. “It makes it all the worse to
see it.”

“Well, look the other way then,” I told him.

“There’s only one place we haven’t been to so far and that’s under the
ocean,” he said.

“Don’t get discouraged, leave it to Hervey, he’ll take us there,” I
said. “There’s a nice breeze up here. Watch out for an airplane, maybe
we’ll be rescued.”

“Were you ever in a well?” Hervey asked us.

“No, is it much fun?” I said.

He said, “It’s too slow, quicksand is better, it’s quicker. I’d like to
have a ride on a shooting star.”

“Comets are pretty good,” Garry said.

“I was never on one of those,” I said.

Pee-wee said, “The night is coming on. What are we going to do? I’m all
stiff from hanging onto this beam.”

“Let’s get down on the platform again,” Hervey said. “Follow your
leader.”

He scrambled over to the ladder and went down and we all followed him to
the gallery below. Looking out of the little window there we could see
the sun going down; it was all big and red and it made the woods all red
too away over to the west. That was where Temple Camp was. It began to
seem kind of spooky in that steeple on account of the sun going down and
everything being so quiet. The old, ramshackle houses below us, with
their roofs falling in and their windows all broken made it seem even
more lonesome where we were. Gee whiz, the woods aren’t lonesome, but
places where people used to be are lonesome.

All of a sudden Garry said, “Listen—shh.”

“It’s just those timbers creaking above us,” I said.

He said, “It sounded like a voice.”

“Well if it’s a voice up there where the bell is,” Warde said, “it
hasn’t got any body to it. I can see all around up there; I can see
inside the bell.”

Pee-wee just stared at us, “What did I tell you?” he whispered. “Voices
without bodies, those are the worst kind. I’m not going to stay up here
after dark, I’m——”

“Shh—listen,” Warde said.

“You mean away off there in the woods?” I said. “I hear that.”

“No, not that,” he said; “right above us. Listen. Hear it?”

“Kind of like murmuring?” I asked him.

“Right up there by the bell,” he said.

We all stood stark still, listening. Maybe that bell was thirty or forty
feet above us. Just as plain as could be I could hear a sort of
murmuring up there. I can’t tell you what it was like, but anyway it
wasn’t the timbers creaking or anything like that. It was like a voice.
But nobody was up there. It was kind of like _H-l-l-l_.

Gee whiz, it gave me the shudders to listen to it.



                             CHAPTER XXIII

                          WE GO TO THE RESCUE


Oh boy, I have to admit I was scared. Even Hervey didn’t start joking
about it, but just listened. Away, way off somewhere I could hear
something like a voice, but it wasn’t that that we heard above us.

All of a sudden Hervey said, “I’m not going to hang around here any
longer, you can bet. I don’t like this place. I don’t want to spend the
night here. Come on, follow your leader, take a chance.”

Before I had a chance to grab him he had reached out across the railing
into the open space and got hold of the bell rope. It was beyond his
reach so he had to sort of jump for it. I guess it was his jumping and
his weight both that made the rope go down, but anyway it went down
enough to rock the bell sideways.

It was the creaking that made me look up, and then I saw the bell
standing that way. It didn’t ring because there wasn’t any tongue in it
but just as plain as could be, I could hear a voice in that bell say,
“_Help._” It just sent a kind of a shudder through me to hear it. Then
the bell swung down again because Hervey’s weight on the rope wasn’t
enough to hold it up that way. In a few seconds I could hear Hervey
dropping from the end of the rope to the ground down below, and calling,
“Follow your leader wherever he goes.”

But just the same none of us moved.

“Coming down?” he called. But we didn’t answer him.

“What is it?” Bert asked in a whisper.

“You heard it,” I said. “You know as much about it as I do. There’s a
spook here.”

“The place is haunted,” Pee-wee whispered, all excited.

“Let’s go down,” Garry said. “I’d rather take a chance on that rope than
to stay up here. Listen.”

We all listened but the voice above us didn’t call again.

“It’s a spirit in the bell, that’s what it is,” the kid said. “It’s a
voice without any body to it—in the bell.”

None of us wanted to stay up there, I guess, but just the same none of
us wanted to move. It just seemed as if we _couldn’t_ move.

Pretty soon Warde said, “Wait a minute, let me get hold of that rope.”

He climbed over the old wooden railing and held on with one hand while
he reached out with the other one. Then, all of a sudden, he was
swinging on the rope and as sure as I live, just in that minute the
voice above called, “Help.”

We just stood there, all trembling. Pee-wee’s eyes were starting out of
his head.

All of a sudden I heard Warde call, “Wait till I get down and then come
down after me. Don’t be scared. There isn’t anything in the bell, it’s
some one in the woods. The bell throws the voice down when it’s pulled
up sideways. It’s a reflex echo, if you know what that is. Come ahead
down one at a time. You should worry about spooks.”

We didn’t hear the voice every time one of us swung off on the rope.
Maybe the voice away off didn’t call just at the right time or maybe not
all of us were heavy enough. But once or twice we heard it again. It
sounded good and clear. Bert came down. He was the last one and he was
the heaviest.

Now that’s just the way it was—the way I told you. That’s the nearest I
ever came to a ghost in my life. When the bell swung up sideways it
swung toward the west. Warde explained just how it was. So if you don’t
believe me you can ask him. There was a voice somewhere that we could
hardly hear. But when the bell swung up it caught the voice _inside it_
and when it swung down it threw the voice down; it kind of brought the
voice down and dropped it out. And because the bell was hollow and made
of metal it made the voice louder and stronger.

That’s the only way I can tell you, but it’s true and echoes like that
are called reflex echoes, only I guess nobody heard of a reflex echo
exactly like that before. In echoes like that you hear the echo when you
can’t really hear the voice. When that bell was hanging the sound waves
(that’s what you call them) struck the outside slanting part of the bell
and were reflected _up_. But when the bell swung it caught the sound
inside it and just sort of tumbled it out on us.

So if you ever go to Old Corners you’ll see a sign on that old church
that we put there and it says ECHO CHIMES. Then it tells you just
exactly where to go in the woods in order to make an echo like the one
that scared us so. Maybe you wonder how we found out just where to go in
the woods. So that’s what I’m going to tell you in the next chapter.
Because it was a real voice away off somewhere in the woods that was
calling for help. The funny part of it was that we heard the reflex echo
but we didn’t hear the voice. I bet you’ll say I’m smart when you read
all this but, gee whiz, I guess you’d call it reflex smartness because I
got it all from Warde Hollister.



                              CHAPTER XXIV

                          WE DROP DEAD-ALMOST


We crossed the road and hit into the woods going straight west. We knew
which way to go because it was when the bell swung up that we got the
echo, and because it swung toward the setting sun.

Every little while one of us had to climb a tree to see where the sun
was. Lucky for us Temple Camp was in that direction, and beside the sun
we had the smoke from the cooking shack to guide us. We took turns
climbing the trees.

We didn’t play Follow Your Leader because our minds were on rescuing
that person who was calling for help.

“I’m glad Temple Camp is in the same direction,” Warde said, “because
I’m good and hungry.”

“I’m going to eat dinner and supper all in one when we get back,”
Pee-wee said.

“I could eat hardtack or upholstery tacks or carpet tacks or gilt-headed
tacks, I’m so hungry,” I said.

“I’d like to have—one—big—chunk—of chocolate cake,” said Garry.

“I’d eat a cake of soap,” I said.

Pee-wee kept trudging along, not saying much; he was thinking about
supper, I suppose. He was in a better humor because he knew for sure we
were headed for camp. Hervey kept going ahead of us and shinning up
trees till he could see the smoke at camp. Every little while we all
shouted together but no voice answered.

“The breeze is the other way,” Warde said; “maybe he can hear us even
though we can’t hear him. Whoever it is he’s probably lost and rattled.
Let’s shout to him to stay where he is. We don’t want both parties
moving around, it only doubles the work.”

So we stopped and all crowded together so as to make our voices as much
like one voice as we could and shouted “Stay—where—you—are—
we’re—coming.”

We listened for a few seconds and then we could hear a voice, very thin
and far off. It sounded like R-i-i-i. We guessed it meant “All right.”

We cut through the woods faster after that and pretty soon we called and
the voice answered, and so we didn’t have to bother any more climbing
trees. We were pretty tired and hungry but I guess we all felt good.

“They’ll never believe all the adventures we had,” Pee-wee panted,
“because we can’t prove them. The best way is always to bring back some
proof, hey?”

“Did you expect us to bring back the turntable and the sign post and the
drawbridge and a couple of West Shore trains?” I asked him.

“In my patrol you have to prove all tests,” he said.

“That’s easy,” I told him, “because no one in that patrol ever passes
any tests. All they know how to pass is the eats. Some of them don’t
even know enough to pass the time of day.”

“You think you’re so smart,” he said. “Which is better? Some crullers or
a scout?”

“Is it a riddle?” I asked him. “Why is a raving raven like a cruller?
Because he’s twisted. Ask me another. What’s that got to do with taking
tests?”

“When you took Test Four for a second-class scout,” he said, “you
tracked half a mile and took a scout with you. I went alone. I tracked
half a mile to Johnson’s Bakery and bought ten cents’ worth of crullers
for proof. A witness might lie but crullers don’t lie.”

“How many witnesses did you have in the paper bag when you got back?”
Garry wanted to know.

“Every test I ever took I brought back the proof,” the kid said. “I
don’t bother with witnesses, I don’t.”

I said, “Sure, when he had to tell the points of the compass he went and
brought home the North Pole and the South Pole and the East Pole and the
West Pole to prove it.”

“Silent witnesses are best, that’s what our patrol leader says,” the kid
shouted. “That’s the way we have to do in our patrol.”

“Listen to who’s talking about silence,” I said. “Don’t make me laugh.
We should have brought the reflex echo home with us to prove we were up
in that steeple.”

“Maybe we’ll take the original voice home with us, that’s better, hey?”
Warde said.

That reminded us to call again, and that time the voice answered good
and plain.

“Sit down and take it easy, we’re coming,” Garry shouted.

Pretty soon we could see a brown hat in among the trees.

“It’s a scout,” Bert said.

“He must be a tenderfoot to be lost five or six miles from camp,” Hervey
said. “All he had to do was to climb a tree.”

“I know who he is!” Pee-wee started shouting; “it’s Willie Cook. He’s
the new member of my patrol. He comes from East Bridgeboro.”

“You ought to tie a cow-bell around his neck the next time you let him
roam around in the woods,” Bert said.

I said, “Sure. Why don’t you make him play in the backyard? Safety
first. He’s a raving Raven, all right; he’s lost and he can _prove _it.”

“He isn’t trusting to witnesses,” Bert said; “he’s lost and he knows
it.”

I said, “That’s one thing I like about the raving Ravens; they’re always
sure of themselves. When one of them gets lost he knows it.”

“You make me tired!” Pee-wee yelled. “He’s a tenderfoot. He’s going to
be the best scout in my patrol——”

“That’s easy,” I said. “Maybe he isn’t the best scout in camp, I’m not
saying, but he’s the best scout that’s lost in the woods. A scout is
thorough. He’s some scout all right; when he gets lost he gets good and
lost.” Then I shouted, “What’s the matter, Kid? Lost, strayed or
stolen?”

The poor kid just stared at us and smiled as if he thought we had saved
his life.

“I’m—I’m mixed up,” he said; “I started and I came back to the same
place and I don’t know where I am. Are you—did you come from camp?”

I said, “No, we’re on our way there. Calm down, you’re all right. The
camp is about six miles west. What are you doing here, anyway?”

“I’m—I’m doing a—a test,” he said.

Hervey Willetts just rolled on the ground and screamed. All the rest of
us started to laugh except Pee-wee.

“These fellows are crazy,” the kid said; “don’t you mind them.”

“I’ve—I’ve got to cook some food,” the little fellow said, all kind of
confused.

“What? Where?” I shouted.

“Lead us to it!” Bert yelled.

“What do you mean—_food_?” Garry said.

“I—I come first!” Pee-wee shouted, all excited. “He’s in my patrol!
Where’s the food?”

“I’ve got to cook it and take it home for a proof,” the kid said.

Just then we all fell on the ground. I guess he thought we were dead.



                              CHAPTER XXV

                              WE PROVE IT


When I recovered from winning the laughing badge I said, “What’s the
idea, Kiddo? Did you think you could win the forestry badge by being
lost in the forest?”

“Don’t listen to him, he’s crazy,” Pee-wee shouted at Willie Cook.

I said, “The next thing you’ll be trying to win the electricity badge by
being struck by lightning.” Our young tenderfoot hero, Scout Cook, said,
“If I can do Tests Five and Eight I’ll be a second-class scout. It’s all
right if you give them good measure, isn’t it?”

I said, “Sure, but I wouldn’t give them a whole world tour for a two
mile hike in these days of the high cost of hiking. Test Five says you
must hike a mile and back. You must have hiked about a dozen miles. What
are you going to do now?”

“Are you sure I’m a mile away from camp?” he asked me.

“Positively guaranteed,” I told him. “You’ll find out before you get
back.”

“I’m going to do two tests at once,” he said.

“Boy, but you’re reckless,” Garry said. “What’s the other test?”

He said, “It’s Test Eight. I’ve got to cook this meat and these
potatoes. See? And I’m going to put my initials on a tree to prove I
hiked this far, and I’m going to take the food back to prove I cooked
it. Because you have to prove things, don’t you?”

“Ask Scout Harris,” I said; “he’s in your patrol. He knows all about
laws and food and everything.”

Gee whiz, I knew those two tests well enough—Five and Eight. One says a
scout must go a mile—scout pace he’s supposed to go. The other says he
must cook a quarter of a pound of meat and two potatoes without any
cooking utensils. That kid had about a dozen potatoes and a couple of
pounds or so of meat, ready to cook.

“Where did you get all this?” I asked him.

“I bought them at a butcher’s in Berryville and if I cook them and take
them back will I be a second-class scout?”

“Positively guaranteed,” I told him. “The more you take back the more of
a scout you’ll be. Ask Scout Harris.”

“They’re all crazy,” Pee-wee told him; “don’t pay any attention to them.
We’ll cook the things and eat them. You’re supposed to be generous,
you’re supposed to help a fellow scout. Anyway, all you need to take
back is a quarter of a pound of meat and two potatoes, but you don’t
even need to take that much because I’ll testify that you cooked them.
All these fellows will testify.”

“Yes, but you said they’re all crazy,” Willie Cook piped up.

“A—eh—a crazy fellow can testify, can’t he?” Pee-wee shouted. “Anyway
if I testify it’s enough; everybody at Temple Camp knows me. Unwrap the
bundle and let’s cook the stuff; we haven’t had anything but one fish
and a bite of chocolate each since breakfast——”

“Two bites,” Garry said; “and don’t forget the roast duck.”

Oh boy! Laugh? I just stood there shaking. There stood poor little
Willie Cook holding his greasy bundle behind him and backing away so
Pee-wee couldn’t grab it.

“Are you going to be generous and help a fellow scout or not?” he was
shouting. “Don’t you know a scout is supposed to save life? You
get—a—a gold medal for that. We haven’t had anything to eat——”

“Except roast duck,” I said.

“Will you keep still!” he yelled.

Willie Cook just looked at me, kind of scared, and he said, “I’m going
to do what this fellow says because he’s a patrol leader. I heard a
scout at camp say so.”

“Bully for you, Kid,” I said; “you just follow me and you can’t go
right! Can he, Hervey?”

“Except by accident,” Hervey said.

“Sure, and we don’t have that kind of accidents,” I told the kid.
“You’re right. Proof is more important than appetites. Isn’t it, Garry?”

“Will you stop your crazy nonsense and let’s cook the food?” Pee-wee
screamed. “You all make me tired! Here’s a lot of food—All he needs to
take back, anyway, is about one potato and a little piece of meat——”

The little fellow looked at Pee-wee and then he looked at me as if he
didn’t know what to do.

I said, “If he had only hiked one mile it would have been all right to
go back with one potato, but he’s been roaming all over the woods, miles
and miles, and so he needs to take back more proof; he needs all the
proof he has. He’s a good Raven. Come on, Kid, cook the things and put
your initials here and then we’ll all go back to camp and show them the
stuff. When the raving Ravens see those nice brown potatoes and that
meat cooked just as if you were the chef of the Waldorf Castoria they’ll
hand you the second-class badge. Won’t they, Scout Harris?”

“Do you think it’s smart getting him all mixed up?” Pee-wee just yelled.
“You think you’re funny with all your crazy nonsense. Don’t you know Law
Three says a scout must be prepared at all times to save life, and don’t
you know we’re nearly starving? Do you think I’m going to funny-bone
hike all around the Catskill Mountains just to please you and never eat
anything? I’m not going to go another step till I have something to eat,
I can tell you that!”

“The handbook——” I began saying.

“Do you think I can eat the handbook?” he shrieked at me. “You and your
crazy talk! Come on, let’s get a fire started. I’ll see that he gets his
badge all right. You leave it to me.”

“Just the same as you got us a roast duck,” I said.

“Do you deny that you’re hungry?” he yelled.

“I admit it,” I said, “but duty calls——”

Just then the poor little tenderfoot handed me his precious bundle; I
guess he thought it would be in safer keeping. And in about two seconds
the whole six of us were scrambling for it. And in about a half a minute
we had a fire started.

I said, “Kiddo, proof is all right, but the proof of the pudding is in
the eating. Pee-wee is right and I’m wrong as he usually is. If the
testimony of five scouts and a half isn’t enough to prove what you did
all the meat in the Chicago stock markets wouldn’t do it. Don’t worry,
leave it to us; you’ll get the second-class badge all right. Testifying
on merit and class tests is our middle name. There’s only one thing we
do better than that, and that is eat. And we’re ready to give you the
PROOF, hey, Hervey?”

“That’s us,” Hervey said. “I just thought up a new way to get lost on
the way back. If we don’t look out we’ll bunk into Temple Camp.” That
poor little tenderfoot looked from one to the other of us as if he
thought we sure were crazy. I guess he was right. We should worry.



                              CHAPTER XXVI

                             WE SEE A HOUSE


So then Willie Cook cooked his meat and potatoes and as long as he was a
tenderfoot and didn’t know much about scouting we showed him how scouts
eat. We let him keep one potato and about an ounce of meat to take back
to camp for evidence to show to the raving Ravens. After that we felt
pretty good so we sprawled around and rested a while.

Scout Cook said, “Are you going straight back to camp?”

“Not straight,” Hervey said, “but we’re on our way there. If it’s where
it was this morning, we’re going to go to it. I suppose it was there
when you left, wasn’t it?”

“It’s usually there,” Bert said.

“Don’t pay any attention to them,” Pee-wee said to his new member;
“they’ve been acting like that all day. They’ve been going around and
around and around like a chicken with its head off. Hervey Willetts and
Roy Blakeley are the worst of the lot.”

“Sure, we’re each worse than the other if not more so,” I said. “The
question is, where do we go from here?”

“We go straight west to Temple Camp,” Pee-wee shouted; “we’re not going
to, what d’you call it, deviate.”

“Call it whatever you want, I don’t care,” I said.

“And we’re going to go pretty soon, too,” the kid said; “we’re going to
go while the column of smoke from the cooking shack is still going up.
We can’t see the sun any more; we haven’t got anything to follow but the
smoke.”

“Wrong the first time,” I said. “We’ve got Hervey Willetts to follow.
I’d rather follow him than the sun; the sun always goes to the same
place; he goes every which way. There’s no pep to the sun. Is there,
Scout Cook?”

I guess the poor little kid thought we were a pack of lunatics. He
didn’t know what to say.

“What time did you leave camp?” I asked him.

He said, “About one o’clock; just after the bus came with a lot of new
scouts. There’s a big troop coming to-night and Uncle Jeb has got to
send them to Bear Mountain Camp because there aren’t any more tents or
cabins to put them in. I’d rather stay at Temple Camp, wouldn’t you?”

“The only place I like to stay at is nowhere,” Hervey said; “and I don’t
care to stay very long even there. Why didn’t the bunch in
Administration Shack let that troop know before they started, I wonder?”

“The troop sent a telegram,” Willie Cook said.

“What do you say we hike to Bear Mountain to-night?” Hervey said.

“Are there bears there?” Willie wanted to know.

I said, “No, they call it Bear Mountain because all the scouts go round
in their bare feet up there. Give me Temple Camp every time; there’s
only one thing I don’t like about it, and that is going home from it.”

“If you like it so much it’s a wonder you don’t go there,” Pee-wee
shouted. “You’ve been going there all day and none of us are there yet.
Pretty soon the smoke will die down and then what? You know yourself you
can’t trust signboards or anything up here. We know that column of smoke
is in the west because that’s where the sun went down and we know that
Temple Camp is the only place that sends up a big column of smoke like
that. Are you going to stop your nonsense and follow it or not?”

“We don’t need the smoke,” Warde said. “See that roof right in line with
the smoke? All we have to do is to follow the roof——”

“We’ll climb over it,” Hervey said.

“Let the smoke die down. What do we care?” Garry said. “The roof won’t
die down; that’s a sure beacon.”

All of a sudden Hervey jumped up. “Follow your leader,” he said.

So off we started with little Willie Cook coming along behind and trying
to keep up with us while we sang:

           Don’t ask where you’re headed for nobody knows,
           Just keep your eyes open and follow your nose;
           Be careful, don’t trip and go stubbing your toes,
           But follow your leader wherever he goes.



                             CHAPTER XXVII

                          WE LOSE OUR BEARINGS


The kid shouted, “Are you going straight to camp or not? Are there going
to be any more detours?”

“Not exactly detours,” Hervey said; “just a few small scallops to vary
the monotony. We’re on our way home. We’re following the smoke and we’re
headed straight for the cooking shack; follow your leader. The way I
figure it out we ought to land on the stove.”

“We ought to land in the zink,” Garry said.

“The zink would do just as well, follow your leader,” Hervey said. “I’m
aiming straight for the dishpan full of cookies. Have courage, follow
your leader wherever he goes, don’t weaken or flunk or suggest or
oppose——”

Gee whiz, I can’t tell you of all the crazy things that fellow did,
singing all the while. He swung into trees and went round and round them
till we were all dizzy and didn’t know what we were singing. He kept
going in and out around two trees till he had us all staggering and
singing:

                Don’t ask where you’re opposed,
                But follow your nose wherever supposed;
                N’ snows n’ suppose wherever goes.

“Wait a minute!” I shouted. “Where’s that roof? I don’t see it.”

“It’s still there,” Hervey said. “Don’t start to whrrrever yr leader
suppose in the toes when it starts to suppose.”

“Be careful don’t stub and go flunking your nose,” Pee-wee shouted.

“N’ flow—flow—yr—flunked—wrvr—goes,” poor little Willie Cook sang.

“Have a heart,” I said.

“Do you see the roof?” Garry asked.

I just sank down to the ground. “I see forty-eleven roofs and
eighty-nine col-ol-ol-ums of smoke—oke,” I told him.

“We’re get—tet—ing there,” Hervey said.

We all just sprawled on the ground for about ten minutes, dead to the
world.

“Sure, we’re nearly there,” I said.

After a little while Scout Harris sat up and set up a howl.

“What’s the matter now?” I asked him.

“The smoke! The smoke!” he shouted. “It isn’t in line with the roof any
more! Look!”

I sat up and looked.

“Temple Camp has moved away or something,” he yelled.

I said, “That’s very funny, the smoke must be blowing.”

“You’re crazy,” he said, all excited. “You can see the chimney even, and
the roof isn’t in line with it!”

I said, “All right, don’t call me crazy, call the smoke crazy. I didn’t
do it, did I?”

“Just the same that’s mighty funny,” Warde said.

“Sure,” I said; “if it wasn’t funny it wouldn’t be here.”

“Don’t get rattled,” Hervey said, “_we’re_ here; we’re just where we
were. Don’t lose your morale.”

“I lost my potatoes,” Willie Cook piped up.

“Pee-wee’s eating one of them,” I said.

There sat Scout Harris, with black all around his mouth, munching a
roasted potato and staring off to the west with eyes as big as saucers.

I have to admit it was funny. When we had first seen that roof it was
between us and the smoke from camp, maybe half-way. It seemed as if it
might be on the road at the western edge of the woods.

Across that road were more woods and in those farther woods was the
camp. Now the smoke was rising to the _left_ of the roof. It might have
been partly on account of the smoke blowing and partly on account of our
being dizzy, that’s what I thought.

So I said, “We should worry. I’ve been to Temple Camp every summer for
several years and it’s always stayed in the same place. It’s not like we
are. All we’ve lost are our bearings and one potato. That roof is in a
bee-line with Temple Camp. When we get to the road where the house is I
know the way to camp all right without any smoke beacons. There’s a
trail through the farther woods. Let the smoke die. What do we care? The
boy scouts will live forever. Let’s take a good rest and sort of get
sobered up so we’re not seeing things and then let’s make a bee-line for
that house. If Hervey will lead us to that house I’ll lead the party to
camp from there.”

“Come on, follow your leader,” Hervey said. And with that he rolled over
and laid his head on his arm. All the rest of us did the same and pretty
soon we were fast asleep. No wonder.



                             CHAPTER XXVIII

                        WE ARE DEAD TO THE WORLD


Now in this chapter we are all asleep so nothing happens. If anything
happened I don’t know about it. Anyway I’m not to blame for what the
landscape does. I never had any use for geography, anyway; I never
trusted it. And I’ll never trust it again as long as it lives.

So that’s why this chapter is so short, because we’re all asleep.



                              CHAPTER XXIX

                               WE WAKE UP


Now there’s going to be something doing again because we woke up. While
we were asleep the smoke from the cooking shack died. I guess they were
all through cooking supper at camp. The sun had gone down too. The part
of the sky where it had gone down was all bright—red kind of. So we
knew that was the west.

The roof we had seen wasn’t in line with it, but you can’t exactly say a
thing is in line with a bright part of the sky. The column of smoke had
been right behind that little roof, maybe two miles from it, so we
decided to use that roof for a beacon. That would take us to the road
and from there I knew the trail through the other woods.

I have to admit we were all about ready to go home by then. We were all
pretty tired after that crazy day. If they would have to send a new
troop away on account of there not being accommodations, that would mean
the bus would go down to Catskill again and I wanted to get to camp in
time to send a letter home. I didn’t like to think about a troop being
sent away but it served them right for not writing beforehand. Every
tent and every cabin was crowded that summer.

I said to Hervey, “If you want to be the leader all right, but from now
on we’re going straight for camp. I admit you’re too much for the rest
of us. You ought to live in a volcano or a cyclone or something like
that. I’m good and tired. See if you can make a bee-line to that little
roof and then we’ll know we’re going straight for camp.”

“And when you get to camp stop there,” Warde said.

“I hope he bunks into the pavilion, that’ll be the only thing to stop
him,” Garry said.

“This time, it’s positively guaranteed,” Hervey said; “I’m going
straight west till I bunk right into that house.”

“Keep your eye on the roof,” Bert said, “because that’s the only way we
can be _sure_ we’re going right.”

“Ready, _go”_ Hervey said.

That time we kept going straight ahead without any nonsense—right
straight for that roof.

“I’d like to have a picture of our travels to-day,” Warde said.

“It would look like the trail of a snake with blind staggers,” I told
him. “After to-day I’m going to have some sense.”

“Not if you follow Hervey Willetts,” Warde said.

Hervey said, “I know a better game; it’s called the flip-flop sprint.
Did you ever try the razzle-dazzle roam? You have to keep going east
while you keep your west eye shut. The hole-in-the-ground hop is a good
one too. When shall we try it?”

“We’ll try it day after yesterday,” I said; “think of the west and keep
your eye on that roof.”

“Absolutely, positively,” Hervey said; “we couldn’t go wrong now if we
tried.”

“Don’t try,” Pee-wee shouted.

“Be sure that the right way is always the best,” I said. “I don’t care
what that song of yours says.”

Pretty soon we got to where the woods were not so thick and we could see
the road ahead. We couldn’t exactly see it because it was sort of in a
hollow but we could see the hollow, and by that time we could see the
rest of the house, or most of it.

“We’ll cut right through the woods in back of it,” Warde said.

I said, “Thank goodness, we’ll be home in fifteen minutes.”

“Follow me and you can’t go wrong,” Hervey said. “I’m aiming straight
for my place at the mess-board.”

“Don’t aim for mine,” Pee-wee shouted at him. Then Hervey began singing:

                 Some scouts prefer to hike around,
                       We don’t,
                 And cover miles and miles of ground,
                       we don’t.
                 And roam and roam and roam and roam,
                 And roam some more and roam and roam;
                 And never _never_ go back home,
                       we don’t.

“Look!” Pee-wee yelled at the top of his voice. “The smoke! Look! It’s
way off there!”

We all looked and _g-o-o-d night_, there was the column of smoke away,
way to the north of us, and there, as sure as I’m sitting here writing,
was that little house right straight ahead of us, about fifty yards off.

“The plot grows thicker!” I said, just leaning limp against a tree.
“We’ve been going farther and farther away from camp all the time.
Chocolate Drop must be burning up refuse. Where are we at, anyway?”

“The world is upside down!” Garry said.

“It’s inside out,” Bert shouted.

“That house right in front of us was in direct line with camp,” Warde
said.

“The Catskill Mountains are crazy!” Pee-wee shouted. “Remember the way
they did with Rip Van Winkle? Everything is crazy! Where are we at? The
nearer we get the farther we go. This country is haunted.”

“Search me,” I said. “The sun must have set in the east, that’s the only
way _I_ can explain it. That house there was _in a bee-line with the
camp when we started_. I’ll leave it to Hervey.”

“Don’t leave it to him,” Pee-wee shouted; “you’ll only make it worse. Do
you think I want to land on the moon?”



                              CHAPTER XXX

                            WE FIGURE IT OUT


I said, “Let’s sit down and think it over and figure it out by geometry;
let’s not get excited. Three things were in a bee-line, the cooking
shack and the house and we ourselves. Deny it if you can. The smoke died
and we hiked straight for the house. Didn’t we? Now here we are almost
at the house and the smoke is there again, and it’s the same chimney and
it’s way out north of us and we’ve been hiking southwest. What’s the
answer?”

“It’s all because Hervey Willetts is leading us,” Pee-wee shouted. “If
that fellow started to go across the street he’d end at—at—at South
Africa—he would.”

“Are we going to get lost again?” little Willie Cook piped up.

“Again?” I said. “Excuse me while I laugh. We’ve got the babes in the
woods beaten twenty-eleven ways. I wish we had a compass.”

“I wouldn’t believe one if you had it,” Pee-wee shouted.

“Let’s hustle and follow the smoke while it’s still going up,” Warde
said.

“It’s dying down!” Pee-wee shouted.

“Let it die,” I said. “I’m going to find out what happened. If the earth
is off its axis we ought to know it.”

“We’ll have to hike to the North Pole,” Hervey said.

“Oh sure, start off,” I told him; “we’ll follow you.”

“I want to know how a bee-line got bent,” Bert said.

“I never knew Temple Camp to do such a thing before as long as I’ve
known it,” I said. “I’m surprised at Temple Camp. I don’t understand it.
It’s trying to escape us.”

“We’ll foil it yet,” Hervey said. “When it comes to hide-and-seek that’s
my middle name. I intend to go to Temple Camp now just for spite. We’ll
each go in a different direction and surround it and close in on it.
What do you say?”

“Suppose we start east again?” I said. “Maybe that’ll take us there
because Temple Camp is north. We’ll make a flank move.”

Pee-wee said, very dark and determined like, “I’m going to follow that
chimney. The rest of you can go where you want to.”

“First let’s go to the house and get a drink of water,” Warde said.

So then we went on till we came to the road, and _g-o-o-d night_, there
we stood on the edge of the embankment, staring.

_“Well_—_what_—_do_—_you_—_know_—_about_—_that_?” one of the
fellows just blurted out.

“I knew it all the time,” I said; “that house is not to be trusted. I’ll
never trust another house as long as I live, I don’t care if it’s a
Sunday School even. I wouldn’t trust a public school.”

The rest of them were laughing so hard they just couldn’t speak. There
in the road just below us was a great big wagon with a kind of a trestle
on it. And on that wagon was a little house. There were four horses
hitched to the wagon and a funny looking man was driving them. He wasn’t
driving them exactly because they were standing still. One of the wheels
of the wagon was ditched alongside the road. That house had been pulled
quite a long way south along the road while we were asleep. Take my
advice and never use a house for a beacon.

I called, “Hey, mister, where are you going with the house?”

We all sat on the high bank and looked at it. The horses were straining
and trying to pull the wagon out. The house was so wide it filled up the
whole road.

“It’s a portable garage,” Warde said.

I said, “Hey, mister, is that a portable garage?” The man called back,
“No, can’t you see it’s a load of hay?”

“No sooner said than stung,” I said.

“Maybe you don’t know we’ve been following that house,” I said.

The man said, “Well, if you follow it you’re not likely to get far.”

Hervey said, “Oh we don’t care, we’d just as soon be here as anywhere.
It’s all the same to us.”

“We’re glad you didn’t get any farther with it,” Warde said. “We’ve been
trying to go west by following the roof of that thing while it was going
south.”

The man said, “I’m sorry if I led you astray. I seem to have reached the
end of my journey.”

“You’re lucky,” I said. “We’ve been going around and around like the
mainspring of a watch all day.”

The man said, kind of laughing, “You seem to be wound up.”

“Sure, we go for eight days,” Garry said. “What are you going to do with
the garage?”

“Well, I’m going to sell it for a chicken-coop if you must know,” the
man said. “Pretty soon you’ll know as much as I do, won’t you?”

“Where did you come from?” Pee-wee shouted down.

“I came from Ireland,” the man said.

“I mean to-day,” Pee-wee called back.

The man said, “Oh, to-day I came from Gooseberry Centre.”

“I don’t blame you,” Hervey said; “I was there the other day. If I were
a garage I wouldn’t stay there; not if I were a portable one.”

“The land I had was sold over my head,” the man said.

“You mean under your feet,” Pee-wee shouted.

The man just looked up kind of laughing and he said, “Well, since you
seem to be so smart and clever maybe you can think of a way to get me
out of this hole.”

“Sure we can,” Hervey said. “Where do you want to go?”

I called, “Just say where you want to go and he’ll take you somewhere
else.”

“Anyway,” Pee-wee shouted, “do you claim that chickens are as important
as boy scouts?” Gee whiz, I didn’t know what he was driving at.



                              CHAPTER XXXI

                           WE MAKE A BARGAIN


The man said, “I should have kept out of that rut; now I’m in a nice
pickle.”

“Don’t you care,” I said, “we’ve been getting into the wrong places all
day and we’re happy.”

“Pickles aren’t so bad,” Pee-wee shouted; “I wouldn’t mind being in a
whole barrel of pickles. We’ll help you out, only if you’re not charging
too much for that garage we’d like to buy it if you’ll cart it to Temple
Camp. We’ll give you more than the chickens will give you. There’s a
troop up at camp that haven’t got any accommodations and they’ll be
coming along in the jitney bus pretty soon. Hey, mister, will you sell
us the garage? We’ll give you fourteen cents deposit on it right now.”

“Sure,” I said, “you can take a mortgage for the rest; good idea.
Pee-wee, you’re a brick.”

“It’s an inspiration,” Pee-wee said; “we’ll wind our funny-bone hike up
with a crazy good turn, hey? We’ll furnish accommodations. Troops don’t
have to go to houses because the houses come to them. Everything is the
other way round. While they’re on their way back to Catskill Landing
they’ll meet a house and we’ll put them in it and send them back to
camp.”

“Good idea,” Hervey shouted; “accommodations delivered while you wait;
take your house home with you. Let’s all climb up on the top of it.”

“Wait a minute,” Warde said, “this man thinks we’re crazy. Do you mean
what you say? If you do I’ll talk to him.”

“We mean a good deal more than what we say,” I said; “that’s a good
suggestion of Pee-wee’s and I say let’s follow it. No troop shall leave
Temple Camp on account of a house. If they come along the road they
shall not pass. We’ll put them in the house and send them back. We defy
everything and everybody. What do we care about the housing shortage?”

Warde said, “Well then, keep still a minute and let me talk to the man.”
He has a lot of sense, Warde has, I’m glad I’m not him.

He said, “Hey, mister, we’re boy scouts and we belong at Temple Camp
that’s over there in the woods near Black Lake. This road goes around
through Hink’s Junction and around through Pine Hollow to the camp. We
were going to take the short cut through the woods but we followed this
house instead. So now we think we’d like to buy it and we’ll take it to
Temple Camp.”

“We’ll take turns carrying it,” Garry said.

Warde said, “Will you keep still so he’ll know we’re in earnest?”

“It’s a business proposition,” Pee-wee said; “shut up and let Warde
talk.”

Then Warde said, just as if he really meant it, he said, “We’d like to
buy this portable garage if you’ll sell it to us and take it to Temple
Camp. We’ll get you out of the ditch all right when the jitney bus comes
along. How much do you want for it?”

The man said he was carting it to Pine Hollow because a farmer there
said he would buy it. But he said if we really meant that we wanted it
he’d sell it for fifty dollars. He said we’d have to pay him ten dollars
more for hauling because Temple Camp was farther than Pine Hollow.

“The house will have a good home as long as it lives,” Bert said. “There
are plenty of fresh milk and eggs and everything at Temple Camp.” The
man said he guessed there were plenty of fresh scouts there too, if the
rest of them were like us. He said he didn’t care much about the garage
anyway and he was only taking it away because the land where he lived
had been sold and nobody wanted it in Gooseberry Centre.

I said, “Maybe they don’t know there are such things as automobiles.”

So then we got serious and we told him that we’d like to have that
garage at camp because when we went on hikes we always brought back
souvenirs and anyway because there was a cabin shortage there. We told
him that we’d take up a collection when we got there and that if we
didn’t get enough money that way we’d give a grand show and charge
admission and that he could stay at camp till we gave him the money.

He said, “Will I have to go to the show?”

“Not unless you want to,” I told him.

So then he began asking questions about Temple Camp and he said he liked
scouts because they were lively and he didn’t care who he sold the house
to only he was afraid on account of it blocking up the road. He said he
had more interest in scouts than in chickens because once a scout had
done him a good turn, but he never knew a chicken to do a kind act.

So we made the bargain with him and he kept laughing all the time, and
he said he’d like to go and see Temple Camp, only what was worrying him
most was that he was blocking up the road.

“You leave that to us,” Pee-wee said.

I said, “Don’t worry about that; the road is as much to blame as the
house is. If we can’t get the house out of the way we’ll get the road
out of the way, but anyway we’ll get the house to camp. All we have to
do is to wait for the jitney bus to come along and we know Darby Curren
and he’ll pull you out all right. We used a gas engine to move a donkey
to-day. I guess we ought to be able to move a house with one.”



                             CHAPTER XXXII

                           WE BECOME BANDITS


That’s always the way it is with Pee-wee. All of a sudden he springs a
big idea. Mr. Ellsworth (he’s our scoutmaster) says Pee-wee’s good turns
are planned on a large scale. They’re masterpieces, that’s what Mr.
Ellsworth says. And this one I’m telling you about was especially good
because it was kind of crazy.

Hervey said, “That’s just what we want, a good climax for this
funny-bone hike. We’ll wind up in a blaze of glory.”

“The end of a perfect day,” Bert said.

The man said he guessed we must have had a lot of fun.

“We’ve got a lot left, too,” I told him; “we’ve got enough to last a
couple of weeks. We never knew when we started out how many dandy
misfortunes there are. I bet we had more fun starving than anybody else
ever did.” Then I said; “Hey, mister, what’s your name?”

He said his name was Goobenhoff but he wouldn’t tell us his front name
because we couldn’t pronounce it.

I said, “Tell it to us without pronouncing it.”

He said, “When you go on a hike it’s good to have a destination.”

Hervey said, “Sure it is, because then we know where not to go. We never
start out without taking a destination with us.”

After a little while the jitney bus came along from the other direction
and we all set up a shout. Darby Curren was driving it and scouts were
sticking their heads out of the windows. Gee whiz, maybe what we were
going to do was crazy, but when I saw the faces of those fellows I said,
“Crazy things are all right; as long as a thing is a good turn it
doesn’t matter.”

Gee, I didn’t blame the Camp Committee because they couldn’t help the
camp being crowded, and troops are supposed to fix it up about their
cabins a long time ahead, but just the same it seemed funny as long as
scouts are all brothers that those fellows should have to go to another
camp, because _believe me_, there’s only one place and that is Temple
Camp. I guess you know yourselves what fun we have there.

I said to the fellows, “This funny-bone hike is going to end in
something worth while or else the whole day is lost.”

“Let it be lost,” Hervey said; “there’s a lot of fun being lost.”

I said, “Pee-wee, this is your job, go to it.” The kid stepped right out
into the middle of the road, very brave and daring. All the while he was
pulling up his stocking; it was awful funny to see him. Mr. Goobenhoff
just laughed and laughed. I guess he was having a lot of fun too.

Pee-wee held up his hand like a traffic cop and shouted, “Stop! In the
name of the funny-bone hikers of the Boy Scouts of America, _stop!_ Wait
a second till I fix my garter.”

Darby shouted, “Hello, Scout Harris; what’s the matter with your face?”

“It’s supposed to be invincible,” the kid shouted. “Stop where you are!”

“Your mouth is all black,” Darby said.

“I was eating a roasted potato,” Pee-wee said. “Who have you got in that
bus?”

“Is this a hold-up?” Darby wanted to know. “I haven’t got anything with
me but a cheese sandwich.”

“Give it to me,” the kid shouted.

“Give it to me,” Garry said.

By that time Mr. Goobenhoff was laughing so hard he just shook, and
Darby was laughing too. In a couple of seconds about seven or eight
scouts came pell-mell out of the bus to see what all the fuss was about.
There was a man with them, he was their scoutmaster, and he was smiling
and looking kind of surprised.

I guess it must have seemed funny when they saw that garage and saw us
standing there in the road. We were all kind of dirty and shabby after
our adventures and Hervey Willetts had on that funny hat he always wears
with holes cut in it and advertising buttons all over it. It was cocked
away over on the side of his head and he was balancing a stick on his
nose.

Pee-wee shouted at him, “Take that stick down. Don’t you know how
bandits act? You’re supposed to look savage.”

I gave one look at poor little Willie Cook trying to look savage, and
then I doubled up. Pee-wee had black all around his mouth and he was
swinging his belt-axe; he looked awful funny.

He stood right in front of the bus and shouted, “Who are you and why? We
captured a portable garage! Do you think we can’t capture a jitney bus?
Nobody can pass this spot. We’re here to do a good turn whether you want
us to or not. We’re wild and savage, we live on fish and milk chocolate
and we were starving on a desert drawbridge. Hold up your hands and make
the scout salute. To-night you sleep at Temple Camp. Has anybody got a
piece of string? My garter’s busted.”



                             CHAPTER XXXIII

                                 WE WIN


That scoutmaster said, kind of smiling, “We think we’re scouts and we’re
glad to make you the salute. What can we do for you?”

“Where are you going?” Pee-wee shouted.

The man said, “Why, if you must know, we’re going to catch a train for
Bear Mountain. They’re crowded up at the camp. We might have stayed till
morning, but the sooner we’re settled the better.”

“You’re settled already,” Pee-wee shouted; “I settled you! We’re the
funny-bone bandits and we own the Catskill Mountains. Do you see this
little house? It’s a garage. It’s going to Temple Camp and you’re going
back with it. You’re going to bunk in it. We’re going to pull it out of
this ditch and take it to Temple Camp. That’s the kind of good turns we
do up here!”

The man said, “You’re very kind but——”

“Don’t talk about catching trains,” I said. “We’ve been catching trains
to-day and see what it’s brought us to. Take my advice and don’t get on
a train. A portable garage is better. We used to be regular scouts like
you, with uniforms and clean faces and everything, before we got on a
railroad train. We belong at Temple Camp and we’re going back there and
so is this little shack and so are you.”

The scoutmaster said, “You’re very kind but——”

“There isn’t any _but_ about it,” I told him. “If you think we’re going
to have anybody interfering with our good turns you’re mistaken. You
didn’t know the woods were infested with wild scouts, did you? So now
get out of the way while Darby Curren pulls us out of the ditch, and
then do what we tell you. All you’ve seen so far are the tame scouts up
at camp; we’re the wild, outlaw scouts. This is Hervey Willetts, the
human squirrel—I’m the nut. We run Temple Camp, don’t worry, leave it
to us. The road to Temple Camp is a one way street and don’t you forget
it! So get out of the way, you’re blocking the traffic.”

Gee whiz, I guess they didn’t know what to think. The scoutmaster just
looked around smiling, and all his little troop were staring and
laughing. I could see they wanted to go back.

The scoutmaster said, “I hardly know what to think about this.”

“Don’t think about it,” Pee-wee said, “just do it.”

“Do the way we do,” Hervey said; “don’t go to the place you started out
to go to; go the other way. Do the thing you didn’t expect to do, then
you’ll have more fun. That’s what a funny-bone hike is. Get mixed up
accidentally on purpose. Just keep going, any old way. One place is as
good as another, only Temple Camp is better than all of them. Come ahead
back, you just leave it to us. We’ll get the truck out of the ditch and
we’ll start a parade to Temple Camp and I’ll go first and tell them all
about it. We had a lot of fun to-day just on account of a song. So now
will you join a parade with us and follow your leader? Listen.

           “Don’t ask where you’re headed for nobody knows,
           Just keep your eyes open and follow your nose;
           Be careful, don’t trip and go stubbing your toes,
           But follow your leader wherever he goes.”

Oh boy, you should have seen those fellows look at Hervey; they just
stood there laughing and staring and kind of clustering around him.
That’s always the way it is, fellows fall for him right away.

“Are there any more verses to that song?” one of them wanted to know.

“Sure,” Hervey said, “we’ve been singing them all day, and we’d like to
go marching into camp with this outfit singing them, too. We want the
craziest part to come last.”

“Let’s do it,” one of those fellows said.

“I want to go back,” said another.

The scoutmaster, he looked kind of as if he couldn’t make up his mind.

Then Warde said, kind of sober like, “There isn’t anything to prevent.
They haven’t got even a tent left at camp and that’s the only reason
they can’t have you stay. Do you think we don’t know what we’re talking
about when we say it would be all right? The camp people will say it was
a good turn, so why should you prevent us from doing it? We’d like to
end the day up with a good turn, because it’s been a kind of a funny day
and we’ve been away from camp ever since morning. It’ll make a kind of a
good ending if you’ll only help us out.”

“The end of a crazy day,” I said.

The scoutmaster just said, “You don’t forget your good turns when you’re
crazy, do you?”

“Crazy good turns,” I said. “What’s the difference?”

“No difference,” the scoutmaster said.

“It’s all a part of the game,” Warde said; “good turns and all. We
jumble everything all up together.”

“That’s a good way,” the scoutmaster said.

Gee, those scouts just kept looking at their scoutmaster, waiting,
anxious like. And all the while Hervey, with his hat on the side of his
head, sat straddling the peak of the garage, humming:

             Don’t start to go back if it freezes or snows,
             Don’t weaken or flunk or suggest or oppose;
             _Your job is to follow and not to suppose_.

He said that last line good and loud.

Then, all of a sudden, that scoutmaster said, “Well, scouts, I wish
everyone were crazy in the same way you are. If our job is to follow and
not to suppose, lead on, and we’ll follow. We’ll take a chance and
follow our leader——”

“That’s me,” said Hervey Willetts, and down he came, sliding off the
slanting roof of the garage.

Oh boy, you should have seen those new scouts look at him.



                             CHAPTER XXXIV

                          WE START THE PARADE


“Let’s form a parade with the garage for a float,” Bert shouted; “Hervey
will lead the way, next will come the funny-bone division with all the
veterans, next will come the portable garage with Willie Cook sitting on
top, and behind that will march the new troop.”

“Only remember that the garage can’t climb up trees,” I said to Hervey.

“You leave it to me,” Hervey said.

“And Darby Curren and the scoutmaster and Mr. Goobenhoff can sit on the
driver’s seat,” Warde said.

The scoutmaster said, “Well, as long as we’ve all joined hands in this
doubtful enterprise and agreed to stand and fall together, we may as
well know each other. My name is Warren and these scouts form the First
Troop of Columbus. Columbus is proud of her scouts.”

“Columbus was a man,” Pee-wee shouted.

“He discovered Columbus Avenue,” I said. “He used to hang out in
Columbus Circle near Central Park.”

“Don’t you believe him, he’s crazy,” Pee-wee shouted.

“You’re all wrong,” Garry piped up, “Columbus was named after
Christopher Street, he was named after the Christopher Street Ferry.
These fellows with me don’t know anything about history.”

“We make a specialty of geography,” I said.

“And law,” Pee-wee shouted. “I know a lot about laws. I know a fellow
that lives in Columbus, his name is Smith. Did you ever hear of him?
Once I passed Columbus.”

“Columbus was lucky,” I said.

“I had lunch there,” Pee-wee shouted.

“He has lunch everywhere,” I said. “Wherever he goes there’s a food
shortage the next day.”

“Well what are we going to do?” Warde said. “Are we going to jolly
Pee-wee or start a parade?”

“Answered in the affirmative,” I said.

By that time all those fellows were laughing and Darby Curren said to
them, “These boys are the moving spirits of camp, they are; especially
that Willetts youngster.”

“Sure, we always keep moving,” I said. “Every day is moving day with us.
I hope you’ll like us when you don’t know us so well.”

“We like you already,” one of those Columbus scouts piped up.

“You mean you like lunatics?” Pee-wee shouted at them.

Mr. Warren said, “Oh yes, we like lunatics. Suppose we get started as
long as we’re in for it. I’m a little anxious to know our fate. We’re
trusting to you boys. I’ll feel a little shaky till——”

“That’s because you drink milk shakes,” Garry said. “Don’t you worry,
you’re going to have a roof over your heads and everything will be all
right.”

“It’s more fun on top of the roof,” Hervey said.

Mr. Warren said, “Are you scouts all one patrol?”

I said, “No, I’ll tell you how it is. We belong to different patrols but
we go around together and they call us the Vagabond Patrol. We’re
insane, but we’re harmless. See? My patrol is the Silver Fox Patrol and
Warde, that’s this fellow, he’s in my patrol. Bert Winton is in a troop
from out west and Pee-wee Harris is in the Raven Patrol; that’s in my
troop, and this little fellow belongs in that patrol, too. He’s more to
be pitied than blamed. That other fellow, Garry, he comes from down the
Hudson and that fellow with a crazy hat, that’s Hervey Willetts, he
belongs in a troop from somewhere or other, I should worry. He’s an
Eagle Scout, that fellow is. Maybe you wouldn’t think so to look at him.
He drinks nut sundaes and he doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s the one
that put the fun in funny-bone. He’s a regular Cook’s Tours in himself.”

Mr. Goobenhoff winked at Mr. Warren and they both winked at Darby Curren
and then Mr. Goobenhoff said, “Well if I’m to get this garage off my
hands we’d better be about it. How far is it to Temple Camp by the
road?”

“We have to go all the way around Crampton’s Hollow,” I said, “but
usually we don’t bother with roads because most of them go to places.”

So then we fixed a rope from the end of the shaft to the front of the
jitney bus and Darby put his shift into reverse, and the four horses
strained as the jitney backed up and pretty soon we were ready to start.

Gee whiz, if you want to go on down to Catskill Landing in that empty
bus with Darby Curren, go ahead, I can’t stop you. But if you want to
join the parade all right. I guess you know by this time that wherever
we go something happens. It isn’t our fault, it’s the fault of the
things. So then we started off along the road.

Some procession!



                              CHAPTER XXXV

                            WE END OUR HIKE


That was the long way around to Temple Camp, but we couldn’t help it,
because we had to follow the road.

“That’s better than following a crazy leader,” Pee-wee said.

Mr. Warren said, “The last turn is a good turn.”

“Every kind of a turn is a good one,” Hervey called back.

“They’re all better than each other, only some are more so,” I said.
“We’ll take you on some hikes all right. That’s one things I like about
Columbus, Ohio, he didn’t turn back, not till he saw the Statue of
Liberty.”

_“Columbus saw the Statue of Liberty?”_ Pee-wee screamed.

“Listen to the mocking bird,” I said. “I never said he saw the Statue of
Liberty; I said he didn’t turn back till he saw it, and he never turned
back, did he? That shows how much you know about botany.”

“Jolly him some more,” one of those Columbus scouts said, kind of
bashful like.

“I can’t now,” I told him, “we’re coming to Stillman’s Hollow and we
have to be very still there because the natives are all asleep. We have
to go on tiptoe through the village. Shh!”

So then Hervey started going on tiptoe, holding one finger up to his
mouth, awful funny. All of those Columbus scouts did the same and their
scoutmaster laughed, but just the same he seemed kind of thoughtful
like. I guess he wasn’t sure how the management at camp would take it
about his coming back, but it didn’t bother us any, because we were
bringing a shack back for that troop, and anyway we have Uncle jeb (he’s
camp manager) eating out of our hands. Whatever we say at Temple Camp
_goes_. I don’t say where it goes to, but it _goes_.

We tiptoed through Main Street in Stillman’s Hollow and some summer
boarders stared at us and laughed and a lot of people on the porch of
the post office laughed. I guess we must have looked pretty funny.

Pretty soon we came to the end of the village and Hervey said, “All
right, you can all talk at once now.”

“I’ll all talk at once first,” Pee-wee piped up; “I’ve got something to
say.”

“Begin at the end, then you won’t have so far to go,” I said.

“Let’s dump the garage down near the road,” he said, “then it’ll be away
from the main part of camp all by itself; it’ll be kind of like an
outpost.”

“That would suit us to a T,” Mr. Warren said.

“I thought of it,” Pee-wee shouted. “Then we can come up there and visit
you. I’ll be up every day.”

“Have a heart,” I said. “Do you call that a good turn?”

Mr. Warren said, “If they’re kind enough to let us stay and camp in this
odd little house you may be sure the funny-bone hikers will always be
welcome.”

“You bet they will,” two or three of those fellows chimed in.

“Set us down anywhere you choose,” Mr. Warren said.

Hervey said, “You don’t have to spend much time in your shack. The
Catskill Mountains are big enough for anybody.”

“Except you,” I said. “If you follow him,” I told those fellows, “you’ll
land on the island of Yap.”

Hervey didn’t say anything, he just started singing, and going zigzag in
the road; I guess maybe he was trying to make the horses do that, too.
He sang the whole song, and before he was finished every fellow there
was singing and imitating all his motions.

Gee whiz, I can just see him now, the way he reached up and grabbed
branches and hopped on the stones and threw his hat up in the air and
swung it on a stick and walked lame and with his eyes shut, never
looking back at all just as if he didn’t care whether we were there or
not. Reckless, kind of; you know how he is.

And even now when I’m home in Bridgeboro, whenever I get to humming that
song I think of Hervey Willetts. Even my sister Marjorie hums it and
Margaret Ellison caught it from her and her sister caught it from her
and if it ever gets into the school, _good night_, they’ll have to close
it up.

If you once get those crazy verses in your head, goodby to history and
geography, and physics and arithmetic. But I don’t know, kind of it
doesn’t seem natural except when Hervey Willetts sings them. I don’t
know where he ever got them nor all the other crazy stuff he knows.

There’s only one Temple Camp and there’s only one Hervey Willetts.



                             CHAPTER XXXVI

                             WE DEMOBILIZE


I guess I don’t have to tell you that it was all right about bringing
those scouts back and a shack for them to bunk in. Uncle Jeb said he was
only thankful that Hervey didn’t bring back the West Shore trains and
the drawbridge. He said he was thankful Hervey came back at all.

When he heard that all Hervey brought back was a new troop and a
portable garage and all the rest of us safe and sound including the
animated Animal Cracker, he said, “That thar kid is losing his pep, he
daon’t seem ter hev no gumption no more.” Because usually Hervey brings
back tramps and organ-grinders and all people like that. Once he brought
back a fat man from a circus. So gee whiz, a portable garage was nothing
for him.

Now I’ll tell you what we did. We put that portable garage on the edge
of camp, away up near the road. And we sold lemonade and scout
tenderflops to auto parties until we made enough money to pay Mr.
Goobenhoff. He said he wasn’t in a hurry and he’d trust us. And that’s
where those Columbus scouts spent the rest of the summer and that’s
better than Bear Mountain, I don’t care if all the bears hear me say so.

And one good thing, Pee-wee was up there most of the time so we had some
peace down at camp, but we could often hear his voice.

The trustees wanted us to call the garage Good Turn Cabin, but we
wouldn’t do it because we wanted to call it Funny-bone Shack. And it’s
our shack, it belongs to the outlaws, or the vagabonds, or the
funny-bone hikers, or whatever you want to call us—we don’t care. And
every summer we let some poor troop go up there and stay in it. And it’s
all on account of that crazy song.

So now I’m going to bed, because I’m going to play tennis to-morrow and
I’ve got to mow the lawn early in the morning, because my sister’s going
to have a lawn party in the afternoon and she’s going to have icing cake
and I’m going to be there.

Now when you finish reading all this crazy stuff if it makes you so you
can’t get to sleep and you keep lying awake, just begin saying to
yourself:

          Don’t ask where you’re headed for nobody knows,
          Just keep your eyes open and follow your nose;
          Be careful, don’t trip and go stubbing your toes,
          But follow your leader wherever he goes.

          Don’t start to go back if it freezes or snows,
          Don’t weaken or flunk or suggest or oppose;
          Your job is to follow and not to suppose,
          And follow your leader wherever he goes.

          Don’t quit or complain at the stunts that he shows,
          Don’t ask to go home if it rains or it blows;
          Don’t start to ask questions, or hint, or propose,
          But follow your leader wherever he goes!

And the first thing you know you’ll wake up and find yourself fast
asleep and you can thank Hervey Willetts.



                            CHAPTER THE LAST


Now as long as that hike was so crazy, on account of us all being crazy,
we decided that it was best to call our remodeled garage the “Good Turn
Cabin.”

In about four hours and forty-two minutes, those Columbus scouts were
almost as crazy as we were, or rather are.

“Say, fellows, let’s go over to the ‘Good Turn,’ and show the boys this
wild country!” said I.

“Suits me,” said Hervey.

“Let’s serenade them,” said Pee-wee.

“Sere what?” asked Westy.

“Oh you know what I mean,” said Pee-wee.

“Is it a new kind of drink?” asked Warde.

By this time we had almost reached the campus of the “Good Turn.”

I said, “Hello, there, everybody happy?”

“I’ll say so,” said a chorus of voices.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” said I, “we’re here——”

“Because we’re here,” finished the Columbus scouts.

“Right,” said I. “We’re here because we’re here, but that’s not all.
Pee-wee wants to give you some serenade, or something like that.”

“What kind of ade?” asked one of the boys. “If it’s something like
lemonade, you’re welcome.”

“You think you’re so smart,” said Pee-wee.

“Are you going to stand here like a couple of dunces, or are we going to
show these boys what we know about this part of the mountains?”

“Pee-wee’s right,” said Warde. “Roy, do your bit.”

“Ahemm,” began I. “I have come, attended by my bodyguard, or faithful
followers, to find out whether or not we may have the pleasure of your
company at dinner to-day, we——”

“Oh shut up,” said Pee-wee. “Gee, you haven’t any brains at all. _I’ll_
tell them. We want to take you boys around and show you the woods and
the lake, an’ I know where there’s a peachy bird’s nest; I’ll show it to
you,” said the good-natured little fellow.

“Pee-wee’s right,” said I.

“I’m sure we’d love to come, but some of the fellows are gone to the
post office, so that leaves just a few of us left,” said one of the
boys.

“But _we’d_, be delighted to come,” someone said.

It happened that this fellow came from Maine. That made him a special
friend of Hervey and me, because he’s a Maniac.

“All right, let’s go,” said I. And we did go.

“This is the place where we trailed that convict, isn’t it?” asked
Westy.

“Wait till you see my little nest,” said Pee-wee.

“Your which?” asked the Maniac.

“Shh, we’re near it now,” said Pee-wee.

“Boys, hold your breath, don’t breathe or talk, we are now about to
enter the land of mystery,” said I.

“There it is, in that bush that comes down low like. Don’t touch it
though,” said Pee-wee.

“We wouldn’t harm a hair on its little head,” said the Maniac.

“That’s nothing,” said I. “Let me show you where the daisies grow.
_Then_ you’ll see something nice.”

“Are you going to take us to the land of nod?” the Maniac asked.

“Oh, you’re going to do more than nod,” I promised. “Wait ’til you get
there! Just _wait_.”

“Let’s go up the hill,” suggested Westy.

“By the old haunted farm house?” asked Warde.

“Nothing doing,” said the Maniac. “I’m scared of such places. If you
promise to take me by the hand and shield me from all danger, I might
think it over. Otherwise, I’ll go home and finish my knitting!”

“We promise,” said Westy.

Now I’ll tell you all about this haunted farm, so that you won’t be
frightened. In the first place, it’s not haunted at all. That is _I_
don’t think so, but the people that lived there _did_ think so, ’cause
they moved out and left the farm just as it was. (When I get married I’m
coming up here and start farming, there’s enough tools and things.)

“Gee, you can have lots of fun here,” said Pee-wee. “I like the apple
trees and the big swing. You can see way over Overlook Mountain and
Black Lake when you’re eating an apple.”

“What? Do you mean to tell me they have magic apples up here? That’s
some record,” said the Maniac. “I know you can see stars, when you’re
hit over the head or something like it, but seeing mountains and lakes
when you’re eating an apple, beats anything I’ve _ever_ heard.”

Westy said, “Didn’t you hear Roy say we’re about to enter the land of
mystery? You should listen.”

“Sure,” I said, “if you eat enough apples you can look right through the
Woolworth Building.”

“Swingin’ of course, oh you fellows know what I mean——” began poor
Pee-wee.

“Sure we do,” said the Maniac. “You mean if you take an apple and a cup
of hot water before retiring, you’ll never get a puncture.”

I wish you could have seen that yard. It was a dandy place for a picnic.
The grass was so soft and green. Gee, it was a dandy farm.

“How can anyone ever accuse this place of being haunted?” asked the
Maniac. “I think it’s a picture.”

“Let’s go up to the hay loft,” said Pee-wee. “I can see lots of hay
through this big door.”

“Be careful, that’s all I’ve got to say,” said Westy.

“I suppose it’s all right for us to climb up, we’re not hurting
anything, or breaking anything, what do you think, Roy?” asked Warde.

“I think it’s all right, we’re just having some fun, or honest pleasure,
(oh what’s that saying again?) and I don’t think anyone’s mean enough to
begrudge us our fun.”

“You’ve got a good line, Roy,” said Warde.

“Come on, we’re going to invade this barn, with you as our gallant
leader,” said the Maniac.

“Who, me?” said I. “Let Pee-wee lead us. Why to-morrow the whole town
will know about the brave scouts; when Mr. Oltiemer reads his paper, he
will know how the brave scouts, or rather how the charge of the light
brigade swept the country side, how it invaded the poor old defenseless
barn, with brigadier-general Harris leading his brave regiment through
all sorts of falls and somersaults!”

I wish you could of seen that kid. There he was, at the top of the
ladder, ready to climb over to the loft, when _good night_, he stumbled.

“Going down, Pee-wee?” asked the Maniac.

“No stops ’til we reach the ground floor!” said Warde.

And with a soft thud, Pee-wee landed on the bottom of the barn, hay and
straw fairly sprouting from him. He was a picture no artist could paint.

“Ooohh,” was about the only answer we could get from him.

“Why, Walter, don’t you know how to eat straw and hay?” asked one of the
Columbus scouts.

“Ooohh,” Pee-wee said once more. “Why don’t you fellows try it? It’s
great. Only it’s not so very great when your mouth is full of it and you
can’t talk.”

“All rightie,” said I. “We’ll try anything once, we’re brave, we can
face the ‘Perils of Pauline’ without flinching or moving a muscle of our
mouths.”

“We ought to leave that up to Pee-wee. He can handle that situation
better than any of us,” said Warde.

“Thank goodness we’re not on a funny-bone hike now,” said Westy.
“Falling down hay lofts won’t even count as adventures, will they,
Hervey?”

“Follow your leader, wherever he goes,” replied Hervey.

“Don’t, please have pity, if you start those verses again, we’ll all get
crazy again,” said I.

“That’s all right,” said the Maniac, “if it wasn’t for those verses, we
wouldn’t be here to-day. I’ll stand up for those verses whenever I get a
chance, so there.”

“Let’s climb the apple tree,” said Pee-wee.

“Do you want to eat again?” asked Warde.

“Yes, let’s go over there,” said the Maniac. “I want to see Broadway.
You’re all right, Pee-wee, your eyes should be called an academy,
because there are pupils there.”

“Say you’re pretty good for a new one, when you get back to Maine,
you’ll go back as bad almost as Roy Blakeley,” said Pee-wee.

“Ah, you have given me hope, that I may be so clever!” said the Maniac.

“Clever?” said Pee-wee scornfully.

“Hey, you fellows, come on over and see what I have found.”

“What is it?” someone asked.

“That’s the joke, _what_ is it?” I answered.

“It’s an old use to be buggy,” said Hervey.

“I should think it is buggy,” said I.

“Gee, we ought to have some fun with it,” said Westy.

“Let’s take it up to the hill, in back of the barn and ride down in it,”
suggested Hervey.

“No sooner said than stung,” said I.

“Just make believe we didn’t have fun rolling up the hill with a use to
be buggy, that was very buggy!”

“Roy, grab hold of this end,” said Hervey. “We’ll soon have her in
high!”

I said, “Say, Hervey, would you like to steer this buggy buggy?”

“We didn’t have quite enough thrills on our hike,” said Warde, “so
please take the wheel and let’s have it over with.”

“Wheel? Just try and find a wheel,” said Hervey. “You’d stand a better
chance of taking the reins.”

“Taking the reins? I should worry as long as the rains don’t take us!”
said I.

“Will you stop your fooling, Roy,” asked Warde, “and get started?”

It’s really a shame how they pick on poor little me.

Well, we finally got the thing all set ready to go.

“Say, Roy, we ought to have a speech in honor of the first ride with the
Boy Scouts!” said the Maniac.

“Speech, speech,” cried several boys.

“Let’s sere—I mean christen it,” said Pee-wee.

“Yes,” said Hervey, “we must do this thing right and spare no expenses.”

“K. O.,” said I. “Here, cutie, run to the pump and fill up this bottle
with the best sparkling water there is; spare no expenses, as Hervey
said.”

The poor bottle did the best it could, with a certain amount of pensive
resignation, for it had undoubtedly seen better days.

“Let’s do it in a different way. Let’s all get in and just as soon as
Roy is finished with the toast, (at which Pee-wee started) we’ll start
off,” said Hervey.

We always did anything Hervey suggested because we knew that it would be
crazy, so we didn’t hesitate this time.

“Hey, wait a minute,” yelled Pee-wee, “think I’m going to stand here and
watch you go down?” Oh that kid, just as he said that, he gave a jump
and hopped on the buggy. The jar was so great that the buggy buggy went
buggy, and started off without even waiting for my speech.

Honestly, it seemed as though everyone was falling over each other, as
the buggy went down and down. Upside down and inside out. Oh you should
of seen it.

There sat Hervey and the Maniac, holding up the shaft, (at least what
was left of it) and even then, as we bumped into a rock, the rest of it
broke off. I had forgotten that I still held the water, until Pee-wee
jumped up and threw the bottle from my hand.

“Say, do you think I look as though I need a cold shower? I’m not afraid
of water, but when it comes to people spilling it right and left, I
object,” said Warde.

“Gee, I only have a few drops left, a scout’s supposed not to waste
anything, he——”

I didn’t get a chance to say any more, for just then we heard a long
drawn moan, as though someone was in agony, and we were just in the
center of the hill, and couldn’t stop, or it would never have happened.
Another jolt, something like a turn in the Virginia Reel in Palisade
Park, and we were good for scrambled eggs.

“W-w-what was that?” asked Pee-wee.

“Only one of the wheels came off,” said Hervey. “Long as we don’t get
hurt, we should worry if the whole thing comes apart.”

I guess the buggy didn’t want to go without its wheel, for it headed
towards a ditch, and each time the other wheels went around, it knocked
us all over. Laugh, I thought I’d die.

“Gosh, if it would only stop,” said one of the boys, “I’d like to get my
breath again. This is great, but every time I get it, another jolt
t-t-takes it aw-w-way again.”

With a final bang, we hit the side of the hill, and went sprawling for
the last time, gee, I was sorry.

While we were lying there, undecided whether to get up or not, Pee-wee
saved the day.

“D-d-do you hear that?” fairly screamed Pee-wee. “Do you know what that
is? If you don’t, _I_ do, and I’m going to answer it——”

_It_ was the mess call, even if it took Pee-wee to hear it first, _we_
heard it now, and once more we dropped everything, for important things
come first. And as usual, Hervey started it again.

“Come on, fall in line,” he said, and “Follow Your Leader.”





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