The Project Gutenberg eBook of Scott Burton, Forester

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Title: Scott Burton, Forester

Author: Edward G. Cheyney

Illustrator: Norman Rockwell

Release date: June 9, 2018 [eBook #57298]
Most recently updated: June 25, 2020

Language: English

Credits: E-text prepared by Roger Frank and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team ( from page images generously made available by Internet Archive (



E-text prepared by Roger Frank
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from page images generously made available by
Internet Archive


Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See






“Good shot, old man,” he cried to Morgan.




Copyright, 1917, by
Printed in the United States of America

Whose broad-minded views
Have had an ever-present influence on my life




“Hello, Scotty, have you decided yet which one it will be?” Dick Bradshaw called, eagerly, as he ran up the walk to the old Burton home. He had been away for two weeks, and when he left, the selection of a forest school for Scott had been the all absorbing question.

“Yes,” Scott answered, “it was decided a week ago. You know there never has been any doubt in my mind. I picked out the Western college in the first place, but father and mother did not want me to go so far away from home. I persuaded them last week that it was the best thing to do, and they consented.”

Dick’s face fell. “That means I shall not see you for four years,” he growled.

“Oh no, Dick,” Scott answered quickly, “not over three at the most, and possibly not over two. That was what persuaded father and mother to let me go. You see they may give me enough extra credit for that extra high school work and those three years of summer school we took, to enable me to squeeze through in two years. I have sent in my credits, and shall find out when I get there.”

Dick brightened up a little. The boys had grown up together in the little New England village, the closest of friends, and the idea of a long separation was pretty hard, especially for the one who was to stay at home. They had always had the same tastes in books, studies and pleasures. Both were hard students and both preferred long walks in the woods and fields to the games that most boys play. These traits had kept them somewhat apart from the other boys, and thrown them almost exclusively on each other’s society.

“When do you go?” Dick asked.

“Early tomorrow morning,” Scott answered. “You see it takes two days to get there. I was afraid you would not get back in time for me to see you at all.”

“Tomorrow!” Dick exclaimed indignantly. “Why didn’t you pick out Yale? You could have come home once in a while then, and we could have had a great time together there next year.” Dick was planning on taking some special work in biology at Yale the next season.

Scott was stung by the reproach in Dick’s voice. “You know perfectly well I would have done it if I could. Yale has a graduate school and I could not get in. Why don’t you come out with me?”

“Maybe I shall if you find out that it is any good. Why do you want to go to a place that you do not know anything about?” Dick remonstrated.

“But I do know something about it, Dick. I know that it is in a new country that I have never seen, that it has a good reputation, and that a large part of the work is given in camp. What more do you want?”

“Well,” Dick answered, “that camp part sounds good to me and if the biology is taught in a camp I may be out there with you next year. You find out about that and let me know. I have to be going now. I just came up on the way from the train to find out what you had decided. Mother is waiting for me. See you later.” And he hurried down the walk.

“Come over after supper,” Scott called after him and walked slowly into the house. This thing of leaving Dick when he was taking it so hard was the toughest pull of all. He knew Dick through and through, and he suddenly realized that he did not know anything about any of the people where he was going. His intimate knowledge of boys was limited almost entirely to Dick, and he felt a certain timidity in meeting so many strangers.

As he entered the old home where he had always lived he felt that it was dearer to him than he knew, in spite of the fact that he was so eager to leave it. His father was a doctor there in the little village of Wabern, Mass., a man devoted to his profession, which yielded a large amount of work with a small income. He had always taken it for granted that his only child would follow in his footsteps, and for many years he had tried in every way to interest the boy in his work. He had taken him on many a long drive on the rounds of his work and tried to impress on him the beauties of healing sickness and alleviating pain. It was not till Scott was a strapping big fellow of sixteen that the astonished father realized that his boy had drifted hopelessly away from the medical profession.

He had noted with pride Scott’s collection of plants, bugs, small animals and rocks, and the boy’s love for such things pleased him. It came to him as a shock when he discovered that the boy’s point of view was entirely different from his own. For him the specimens were all related in some way to the medical profession; to Scott they represented only the different phases of nature. It was the make-up of the great “outdoors” which interested him, and he longed to be a part of it. It was the opportunity of such a life that first attracted him toward forestry, and his mind once made up he bent all his energies to preparing for the work. His father and mother concealed their disappointment as best they could and helped him along in this unknown line of work.

At last the time had come when a special course at college was necessary, and the question of which school had to be decided. Scott’s lack of a degree barred him from the graduate schools of the East, and in his heart he was rather glad of it. He knew every plant, animal and rock in that section of the country and was eager for new fields to conquer. The greater proportion of actual woods work was a further incentive. With these things in mind he had studied the catalogs of the different schools by the hour, and had finally decided on Minnesota. His parents had objected at first on account of the distance from home but they had finally yielded to his wish.

And now the question was settled. His application had been accepted, Dick had given a grudging approval, and he was actually packing up to go.

In the hall he met his father, a mild-eyed man of fifty, just returning from his daily round of mercy.

“Well, Scott,” he said cheerfully, “you are leaving the old nest and taking a pretty long flight for the first one. See that you fly straight, boy. Your mother and I have done all that we can to develop your wings, and the rest of it is up to you. Let’s go to dinner.”

Mrs. Burton was waiting for them in the dining-room. She was very tired from the work of preparing Scott for his journey, and blue at the thought of losing him, but she smiled her sweetest smile, and did her best to cheer the boy’s last meal at home. There was nothing unusual about the dinner, but Scott felt a certain close companionship with his father and mother, an equality, that he had never felt before. It gave him a new feeling of confidence and responsibility that no amount of lecturing could have done.

Before they arose from the table the doctor said: “Here’s something for you to remember, Scott. You already know that book knowledge is not everything. You know that a great deal can be learned from nature, but there is one important source of knowledge that you must not neglect. You are going where there will be hundreds of young men, men of all kinds and character. They will be a good sample of the men of the world, and it is important that you should know them. Do not do there as you have done here at home, pick one man for your constant companion and be indifferent to all the others. You must know them all. Study some of them for the good traits that you ought to have, and others for the bad traits that you want to avoid. You can learn something from everyone of them. You must learn from them how to take a man’s measure for yourself and not have to rely on the judgment of others. If you learn to judge men truly your success in other things will be pretty certain.

“Just one thing more. You have insisted on taking up work that is different from the life I had always planned for you. Perhaps you think that I am hurt and resent it. That is not true. I want you to feel that I have every confidence in your judgment and ability to make a success of anything you undertake even when you choose something of which I am entirely ignorant. This new work should prepare you to make some use of wild land, as I understand it, and I am going to make you a proposition.

“That ten thousand-acre tract of cut-over forest in New Hampshire that your grandfather left us should be made to produce something. I am willing to give you this tract for your own on two conditions. The first is that you successfully complete your course and pass your Civil Service examinations as a proof of your training; and second, that you show your ability to pick responsible men for your companions. Of the latter I shall have to be the judge. Fill those two conditions and the land is yours.”

For the life of him Scott could not find anything to say. It was the first time his father had ever spoken to him in that way, as one man to another and it choked him up queerly. He could not even thank his father for the offer. He was relieved when Dick Bradshaw came in and went with him to his room to help finish packing and look over his equipment.

The two boys talked till almost midnight over the possibilities of the western country and the new things that would be found there. The necessity of Scott’s catching an early train finally forced them to separate with many a promise of a very active correspondence.

Scott slept like a top till his mother called him at four o’clock. The train was due at five-fifteen, and everything had to be done in a rush. His mother preferred it so. Almost before he knew it he had eaten a hurried breakfast, had hastened to the station, and was looking out of the car window into the hazy morning with the brave tones of his mother’s voice still ringing in his ears, “Good-bye, Scott. Remember how you have lived and write me what you do. As long as you can do that you are safe.”

All day long he sat with his nose almost glued against the windowpane noting every change in topography and speculating on the geological formation. Occasionally he thought of his father’s injunction and tore himself away from the window long enough to notice the people around him. The country outside was of much greater interest to him, but there kept ringing through his brain continuously, “I will give you that ten thousand-acre tract.” Surely no other boy had ever had such a chance as that. It was as big as many a German national forest.

About noon of the second day he passed through St. Paul, and on to Minneapolis. A thrill passed through Scott as he realized that he was actually west of the Mississippi River.

Scott hastened from the train with the rest of the passengers, and pushed his way through the crowded gate into the station. He was burning to see the College he had been dreaming about for so long. He had no idea where it was located but he felt certain that a College which had attracted him from such a great distance must be a matter of pride to all the citizens and very easily found.

He walked to the first street corner and asked a passerby. “Can you tell me the way to the Forest School?”

The stranger stopped abruptly. “The what?”

“The Forest School.”

“To the Forest School,” the man repeated wonderingly. “No, I’m afraid I can’t. I am a stranger here myself. Never heard of it.”

Scott tried another man with a busy up-to-date air. “Pardon me, can you tell me the way to the Forest School?”

The man passed on with an indifferent look and paid no further attention to him.

“Humph,” Scott thought. “City manners seem to be different from ours at home.”

He watched a few people pass by and selected for his next victim an elderly gentleman with a kindly face and a leisurely air.

“Pardon me, sir, can you tell me the way to the Forest School?”

The old gentleman stopped courteously and apologized for not quite catching the question.

Scott repeated it.

The old man shook his head doubtfully. “Never heard of it, my boy. What sort of a place is it?”

Scott was beginning to think that he must have come to the wrong city. However, the old gentleman was exceedingly polite, and the boy tried to explain. “It is a school where they train foresters, sir.”

“Oh,” said the old gentleman in a rather doubtful tone. “Strange I have never heard of it. Let’s ask the policeman.”

They consulted that dignitary, but he had never heard of it and could find no clue in his little yellow book.

Suddenly the old man seemed to have an inspiration. “Isn’t part of the University, is it?” he asked.

“Why, certainly it is,” Scott blurted indignantly. The ignorance of these people was remarkable.

“Oh well, then,” said the old gentleman, “that’s easy. Take that car right there and get off at Fourteenth Street. You can see it from there.”

Scott thanked him and hurried into the car. He felt that his troubles were over at last and he would soon be a duly registered embryo forester. The University loomed up big as he left the car at Fourteenth Street, and the gayly dressed students were wandering everywhere in the idleness of registration day.

Scott tackled an amiable looking fellow and once more inquired the way to the Forest School. The amiable student stopped and grinned at him sympathetically. “Well now, old man, that’s too bad. You are miles off your course.”

Scott’s face fell. “Why, isn’t this the University?” he asked.

“Certainly this is the University,” answered the wise one, “but the Forest School is part of the Agricultural Department, and that is miles away at the end of yonder carline. Take the car back the way you came clear to the end of the carline, and you’ll find the Agricultural College half a mile beyond that.”

“Thank you very much,” said Scott gratefully, “you are the first person I have met in the whole city who seems to really know anything about it.”

“Don’t mention it, old man,” said his new friend with a bow. “You’ll get there in the end all right.”

The ride back to the end of the carline seemed almost endless, but the fact that one of those splendid young fellows had called him “old man,” and the thought that he would soon be one of them cheered him up wonderfully. The car came to the end of the track at last and he walked down the road briskly, eager to be a full-fledged student and swagger like the fellow with the red shoes and the decorated sweater who had talked to him. He could see the buildings on the hill ahead, but was rather surprised to find a high board fence around the grounds; the gate, too, was locked. A man in uniform answered his knock.

“Is this the Agricultural College?” Scott asked by way of an introduction, for he felt sure that it was.

“No, sonny,” the man answered with a broad grin, “this is the County Poor Farm, and you are the fourth man them smart alecks have sent out here today. Now you get back on that car you just left and tell the conductor to put you off at the Agricultural College, and don’t let anybody else steer you.”

Scott thanked him with downcast mien, and trudged dejectedly back to the car. Visions of that gay young sophomore who had called him “old man,” and deceived him so cheerfully floated before him in a red haze. He wondered what his father would think of his judgment. He swore all kinds of vengeance, and it looked for a while as though the whole sophomore class was in danger.

He drew back as the car passed the University for fear the sophomore might be waiting to see him go by. Sure enough there he was on the corner and Scott had a hard time to restrain himself from going out to thrash him then and there. He eyed the conductor suspiciously when he called the Agricultural College to try to detect whether he was in the general conspiracy against all freshmen. He did not feel nearly so sure of the real Agricultural College when he saw it as he had of the County Poor Farm. However, it was the right place at last, and a printed sign pointed the way to the registrar’s office.

Nearly all the students he met on the long winding path leading up to the administration building were carrying suitcases, and most of them gazed nervously about them like strangers in a strange land. Scott threaded his way through the crowds of students grouped idly around the halls and stairway to a place in the long line which was crawling slowly past the registrar’s window. A young man wearing the badge of the Y. M. C. A. approached him and asked if he was looking for a room, but Scott remembered the trip to the county poor farm too vividly to take any more advice from a student, and refused to even discuss the matter with him. The crowd in the line was certainly a mixed one, and from their appearance he concluded that his father was right in saying that they were a good sample of nearly all the different kinds of people in the world. The large proportion of girls worried him a good deal till he found that they were registering for domestic science, an entirely separate course from his own. He had not been accustomed to the idea of coeducation, so popular in the West.

In due time he reached the window and presented his permit.

“Scott Burton,” the registrar read in kindly tones, “of Wabern, Mass. I remember your case. You have a number of advanced credits. Let’s see. Here is the report of your case from the enrollment committee. They have allowed you credit for one semester of mathematics, four of language, four of rhetoric, four of botany, two of geology, two of zoology, and two of chemistry. That leaves you only elementary forestry, dendrology, mechanical drawing and forest engineering to complete the work of the first two years.”

That was a little better than Scott had even dared to hope. He asked eagerly, “Then I can finish in two years?”

“Possibly, you will have to see the Students’ Work Committee tomorrow about that. They may let you take some extra work on probation but you will have to drop it if your marks are not up to grade at the end of the first four weeks. In the meanwhile you will be registered as a freshman. Here is your registration card. See that it is filled in, and your fees paid by five P. M. tomorrow.”

“Thank you,” said Scott. “Can you tell me where I can get some information about a boarding house?”

The registrar gave him one of the printed lists that the student had tried to give him a little while before, and turned to the next student in the line.

With his registration card in his pocket Scott felt more certain of himself again. He was not only a student, he was almost a junior, and if the other students in the halls had happened to notice him they would have seen a very different looking boy from the one who had gone in a half-hour before.


Armed with the list of rooming houses furnished him by the registrar Scott set out in search of a room. His stock of money was limited, and he regretted that his old chum, Dick Bradshaw, was not there to share his room, and incidentally his room rent. For to Scott, who had always lived at home, and never associated very closely with many other boys of his own age, the selection of a roommate was a problem which he considered would require much thought and a thorough knowledge of his intended partner. His New England conservatism kept him from even dreaming of going in with a stranger.

The search proved rather long and tiresome. The upper classmen had picked all the best rooms before they left in the spring the year before, and the assortment now available was not very attractive. Single rooms were hard to find at all and the prices something to inspire awe.

Scott approached a rather attractive little house which stood back in a pleasing yard something like the one at his home. The usual sign, “Rooms to Rent,” was not in sight, but he rang the bell and waited patiently for someone to answer it. Presently the door opened a crack and a silver-haired old lady eyed him curiously. Her face looked kindly enough but the sound of her voice made Scott almost jump.

“What do you want?” she snapped.

“I beg your pardon,” said Scott, “but can you tell me where there are any rooms to rent around here?”

“No.” Like the crack of a pistol.

“They seem to be rather hard to find,” Scott remarked apologetically.

“Yes,” the old lady fired at him as she slammed the door. “I guess the people in this park want to live in their own houses.”

Scott gazed at the closed door in astonishment. “Well,” he thought, “there is one thing sure—I should hate to live in yours.”

He was becoming discouraged, and was turning wearily away from the twelfth house—almost the last one on his list—when he nearly collided with a young fellow who was bounding up the front steps three at a jump.

The landlady took pity on Scott’s weary look, and addressed herself to the newcomer. “Mr. Johnson, do you know of any place where this young man can find a room?”

The young man turned abruptly and ran his eye frankly over Scott. “What’s your course?” he asked.

“Forestry,” Scott answered, wondering what that had to do with it.

“Sure I do,” said Johnson. “Come on in with me. That’s my course and I am looking for a bunkie. Come on up and leave your suitcase and then you can see about your trunk.”

Scott gazed with astonishment at this new species of being who would take on a second’s notice a roommate whose very name he did not know. But that confident and carefree young gentleman was already leading the way up the stairs without a doubt as to the issue. Scott looked at the landlady to see what effect such a sudden proposition had made on her. He expected to find her wide-eyed and agape with astonishment; instead of that she had closed the front door and was disappearing down the hall. He would certainly have backed out if he had known how, but both the landlady and the stranger seemed to be so certain the deal was closed, that Scott, dazed by the swift passage of events and seeing no possible way out, followed helplessly up the stairs.

“Maybe,” he thought, “it’s one of those dens you read about in the newspaper where young fellows are roped in in this way and robbed. If it is they will need more than that red-headed guy to do it. Dick could lick the shoes off of him and Dick never could box. They would not get very much if they succeeded,” he grinned, “the railroads already have most of it.”

When he entered the room indicated he found his new acquaintance already seated in a revolving chair near the table, reading a large poster. Without raising his eyes from the paper Johnson said, “You may have the two lower drawers of the bureau, I already have my stuff in the others, and the right hand side of the closet. Better go back to the registrar’s office and tell them where to bring your trunk; they charge you storage awful quick at the depot.” And he continued to read the poster.

Scott tried to look the room over carelessly as he thought anyone would who was used to renting a new one every week or so. He found that he was still holding his suitcase in his hand. He looked at his roommate to see if he had noticed it, but that indifferent young man was still absorbed in the poster and oblivious to his surroundings. Scott set the suitcase quietly in the corner and took another careless look around the room.

“Well, I guess this will do,” he remarked flippantly. “I’ll go see about the trunk.”

As he was going out the door Johnson called after him, “Hustle back and I’ll take you to our hash house. They are nearly all foresters there and a couple of them are seniors, too.”

Scott hurried to the registrar’s office, left word about the trunk and started back to his newly acquired room and roommate, both of which he had obtained almost before he knew it and was not yet quite certain whether he wanted them or not. However, it was a great relief to feel that he had some place to go, and he rather thought that he liked it. As he was going down the steps a husky, sunburned fellow with a swinging gait and the free air of the woods joined him.

“Getting straightened out?” he asked pleasantly.

“Yes,” Scott answered, with a readiness that surprised himself. “I got a room, a roommate and a boarding house, all this afternoon.” He was beginning to feel a little proud of it.

“You are lucky,” the other said. “Where are you from?”

“Massachusetts,” said Scott, a little proudly. He felt that it was rather a distinction to live so far away. He expected to see some show of astonishment from this stranger, but instead the answer astonished him.

“I expect we are nearly the Eastern and Western limits of the School,” he said quietly. “I am from Honolulu. Not much timber left in Massachusetts, is there?”

Ordinarily Scott would have been very diffident with a stranger who accosted him in this way, especially after such an experience as he had had that morning, but there was a personal magnetism about this tall, dark, gentlemanly fellow that made him open his rather lonesome heart.

“No,” he answered, “nothing much but second growth. How did you know that I was a forester?”

“Nothing very mysterious about that. Your green registration card is sticking out of your pocket. Well, here is where I leave you. So long.”

Scott found his new home and walked in with an independent air of ownership that sent a thrill through him. Johnson was waiting impatiently for him. As soon as Scott appeared in the door Johnson grabbed his hat and started out. “Hurry up, man. You’re late. These hash houses aren’t home. If you are late you get a short ration.”

Scott took a hasty scrub at his car-stained face and hands, and they hurried away to the boarding house. Most of the men were already seated when they arrived. Scott waited for an introduction to the landlady to inquire whether he could stay there, but Johnson jerked out the chair next to his, looked at him curiously, and ordered him to sit down.

“Don’t you have to see the landlady here?” Scott asked.

“Don’t worry,” Johnson laughed. “She’s probably spotting you now through a crack in the door, and you’ll see her pretty regularly every Saturday night at pay time.”

“Humph,” thought Scott, “I’d like to see anyone get into a boarding-house around home without giving his whole pedigree and paying a week’s board in advance.” He added aloud to Johnson, “I should think a good many fellows would skip their board.”

“No,” said Johnson, “there are not many fellows here who try it and most of them get caught.”

When the rush of passing dishes was over Scott had a chance to look around the table. He was surprised to see what a husky, sunburned, independent looking crowd it was. Two of them, especially, seemed to be almost an Indian red, and directed the conversation with peculiar abandon. He was agreeably surprised to see that one of them was the Hawaiian who had walked down the street with him a few minutes before. He caught Scott’s eye and smiled pleasantly.

Johnson caught the salutation and looked at Scott with an air of surprise and added respect. “I did not know that you knew him,” he said in an undertone, but his remarks were cut short by a peremptory command from another sunburned face at the end of the table.

“Johnson, you haven’t the manners of a goat. Why don’t you introduce your friend?”

“Oh,” said Johnson, somewhat abashed. “Fellows, this is my roommate.”

“That’s a fine introduction for him. What’s his name, pinhead?”

Johnson looked wonderingly at Scott for a minute, grinned at the surrounding company, and burst out laughing. “Blamed if I know his name yet, I just got him this afternoon, and we have not had the time to explain the short sad histories of our young lives to each other yet.” Then to Scott, “You’ll have to introduce yourself, I guess.”

“Scott Burton, forester,” he announced with quiet dignity, and the sunburned senior acknowledged the introduction for the crowd.

After dinner he talked for a little while with the Hawaiian and a few of the other men and went back to the room with Johnson.

“How did you get to know Ormand?” Johnson asked.

“Who’s he?”

“Why that fellow you spoke to at the table. Didn’t you know him?” Johnson asked in surprise.

“He walked down the street with me when I was coming from the registrar’s office,” said Scott. “Who is he?”

“Gee,” said Johnson. “He is president of the senior class and manager of last summer’s corporation.”

“What do you mean by last summer’s corporation?”

“Why, when the juniors go up to the woods for the summer they form a corporation and elect one of the class to manage the business for the bunch. He bosses the whole crowd. He’s the biggest man in the College and that other fellow who called me down about the introduction is Morgan, the next biggest. Funny I did not know your name, wasn’t it?”

“Well,” Scott said, “I should not have known yours if I had not heard other people talking to you. What class are you?”

“Who, me?” said Johnson. “Why, I am a freshman like you.”

“Then how is it that you know all these people so well?” Scott asked.

“Oh, I went to prep school here, and knew them all last year. I have credit in a couple of courses,” Johnson added proudly, “and I have field experience to burn. I do not have to take any German this year or mathematics either.”

“Neither do I,” said Scott. “Our high school is ahead of the ones here, and I have taken so much work in the summer that I got credit for nearly all the work of the first two years.”

“Then you’re a junior?” asked Johnson in a more respectful tone. Respect for the upper classes was about the only weakness that Johnson allowed himself in that direction.

“I suppose so,” said Scott; “they told me at the registrar’s office that I was practically a junior, but would be classed as a freshman till I had completed my elementary forestry, dendrology and forest engineering.”

“Been around the country much?”

“No,” said Scott, “that’s one reason why I came out here to College. I’ve seen every rock in the country around home, but I have never been away from there.”

“Then you have never seen a real forest,” exclaimed Johnson.

“Only the woodlots on the farms.”

“What sort of work did you do in the summer there?”

“Went to summer school and loafed.” Scott, like most of the boys in the East, had always considered the holidays sacred to recreation, and had thought himself particularly virtuous for devoting six weeks of it to summer school each year. “Do you work in vacation time?” he asked.

“You bet,” said Johnson. “I’ve worked every summer since I can remember, and every winter, too, for that matter. I’ve paid all my expenses at school for the past ten years.”

Scott gazed at him in open wonder. “What do you do?” he asked.

“What haven’t I done would be easier. I’ve been ‘bull cook’ on a railroad construction crew in Montana, and driven teams on a slusher in Arizona; I’ve picked apples in Washington, and been a ‘river pig’ on the drive here in northern Minnesota; I’ve carried a rod on a survey party in Colorado, and pushed straw in the harvest fields of North Dakota; I’ve tended furnaces, carried papers, and weighed mail, billed express and smashed baggage during Christmas vacation. Some of ’em were tough and some of ’em were cinches, but they have all netted me a good bunch of experience.”

During the careless listing of his roommate’s experiences Scott had slowly settled back in his chair with a feeling of wondering admiration for Johnson and an overwhelming sense of his own helplessness. He eyed Johnson’s thin freckled face, and ran his glance over his slight, wiry frame, and wondered what he himself, with all his strength, would do if he had to tackle such problems. It had never occurred to him that anyone but a born laboring man could do such things. The feeling of contempt which he had at first for Johnson’s roughness gave way to a kind of new admiration for his ability and self reliance.

“Do you play football?” Johnson asked suddenly.

“No, I never cared anything about it.”


“Only a little.”

“Basketball?” Johnson persisted.


“Well, where in thunder did you get that build if you have never worked and don’t do any athletic stunts?” Johnson was searching for something to account for Scott’s five feet ten and one hundred and seventy-five pounds, his heavy shoulders and muscular neck. He had the Westerner’s contempt for the tenderfoot of the East. He was not at all surprised that he could not do anything, but was puzzled at his fine physique.

“Oh,” said Scott, “I got that wrestling, boxing and walking around the country. There was an ex-prizefighter who worked for father and he used to give me lessons in the barn every evening.”

Johnson pricked up his ears. “A boxer,” he thought. “Maybe the man was not so helpless after all.”

“You’ll have to box Morgan,” he said aloud, “and if you can do him, you’ll have to fight for the College on rush day. Will you do it?”

“I’ll certainly try,” said Scott, and the East rose a thousand per cent in Johnson’s estimation.

The two boys talked on till nearly midnight and finally went to sleep with entirely new ideas of each other. Unconsciously the prejudices of generations had been broken down and their views broadened across half a continent.


Scott was gradually settling down in his new surroundings, getting accustomed to his new associates, who had struck him as being so totally different from the men he was used to, and becoming familiar with the routine of the class work.

He found himself at a great disadvantage in competition with the other members of the class. He had been taught by good teachers, but their point of view had been different from that of the foresters who had taught the men with whom he was now thrown. These fellows had been looking forward to a definite end for several years and all their training had been with the ultimate object in view. They had a different view of the subjects from the one he had obtained from the academic men who had taught him. He found that they had a grip of the subjects and could apply them in a way that he could not. Moreover, he had a great deal of extra work to make up and he had been allowed to take it only on condition that if he was not up to the scratch at the end of the first six weeks he would have to drop it all.

Not many men could have carried such a burden, and the chairman of the Students’ Work Committee had told him that he was foolish to attempt it. Most men would have either fallen short or have overworked themselves; but Scott did neither. He had always believed in system in his work. He allotted so much time to his studies and allowed nothing to interfere with them; he made it a point not to study for an hour in the evening after supper, and never looked at a book from Saturday noon to Monday morning. He knew that he was able to accomplish more in the long run in this way. As most of the student sports were scheduled for Saturday afternoon he was able to take in most of them and did not become stale.

He had just closed his book one Saturday morning preparatory to going to lunch when Johnson bounced into the room in high feather.

“Come on, Scotty, let’s go to the football game this afternoon. It’s only Lawrence, and won’t be much of a game, but it will give us a chance to get a line on the team.”

Scott agreed readily, the more readily because he had never seen a big football game. They ate lunch hastily, for it was already a little late and the game was scheduled a little earlier than usual. The car was crowded with people going to the field and when they got off the car they found the streets full of people flocking in the same direction.

Johnson led the way into two good seats where they did not belong and succeeded in holding them against all comers. The stands were full, for though it was not considered one of the big games, it was the first game of the season, and the students all turned out to see their team in action. It was the basis for sizing up the chances for the team in the struggle for the Western supremacy. The stands were a brilliant mass of color and the cheer leaders were performing all kinds of contortions to wring the greatest volume of noise from the crowd.

As they took their seats the door of the Armory opened and a squad of players trotted briskly onto the field. There was a restless movement of the crowd on the big stand and a few scattering cheers from the smaller stand opposite, but no organized yells.

“Is that one of the teams?” Scott asked anxiously.

“Yes,” Johnson answered, leaning eagerly forward to size each man up as he took his place.

“Why don’t they cheer them?” Scott asked in surprise.

“That’s the other team,” Johnson answered carelessly.

“I should think that would be all the more reason for cheering them,” Scott said.

Johnson turned a wondering look upon him, but was prevented from answering by a deafening yell from the whole stand in which they both joined heartily. Their own team had appeared.

“How’s that for yelling?” Johnson asked proudly.

“Rather discouraging for the other fellows,” Scott answered.

“Well, that’s what you want to do, isn’t it? Look there, they are lining up already.”

The referee had called the captains together, decided the choice of goal, and the two teams were taking their places.

“Their ball,” Johnson commented, intent on the field.

The referee blew his whistle and there was a moment of intense silence as the blue line charged forward and the ball sailed far out on the kick-off. It was a splendid kick, clear to the corner of the field and high. It dropped neatly into a pair of maroon arms and the crowd cheered wildly.

“Wasn’t that a dandy kick!” Scott exclaimed.

“Now watch them run it back,” Johnson exulted.

But they did not run it back so fast. One of the swift blue ends was on the man and downed him in his tracks.

“That man’s some fast,” Scott said.

“Yes,” Johnson said, “too fast. They ought to look out for him. They’ll carry it back fast enough now; that line can’t hold them.”

The ball was snapped, and an attempt made at an end run, but the same man who had followed the kick downed the man for a loss. An attempt at center fared no better and the fullback dropped back for a kick. The ball went out of bounds almost in the center of the field.

Then the real surprise came. The Lawrence team formed quickly, and by a series of lightning plays swept down toward the Minnesota goal. Nothing seemed able to stop them. The stand was as silent as the tomb.

“Why don’t they yell?” Scott asked. “Now is the time the team needs it.”

“Who could cheer such an exhibition as that?” Johnson asked in disgust.

Suddenly the stand went wild. A Lawrence runner, rounding the end, far out beyond the other team slipped in a puddle and fell. The ball rolled toward the goal line and a Minnesota player fell on it on the five-yard line.

“That was hard luck,” Scott remarked when the cheering had subsided.

“Hard luck!” Johnson exclaimed. “Who do you want to win this game?”

“Minnesota, of course,” Scott retorted indignantly, “but to win on a thing like that does not do them any credit.”

“Kept ’em from scoring, anyway,” Johnson answered doggedly.

The ball was kicked into safety once more and the Lawrence team started on another rush for the goal. Again they seemed irresistible, and only a fumble on the ten-yard line saved a score. What had started as a practice game had developed into a real struggle for victory with Minnesota continually on the defensive.

At the end of the first quarter neither team had scored. Again and again in the next period, the fast Lawrence team carried the ball through their heavier opponents only to lose it near the goal line by some slip of their own. Not once were they held on downs. But fate seemed to be against them, for the whistle blew at the end of the second quarter with the first down on the Minnesota two-yard line.

No sooner had the teams left the field for the ten minutes’ rest between halves than the big University band formed in front of the grandstand and marched around the field playing lively airs to try to put some heart into the crowd. It did not succeed very well; the crowd seemed utterly beaten and without hope.

“Is Lawrence a big college?” Scott asked when the music ceased.

“No,” Johnson groaned in disgust.

“They seem to have a mighty good team,” Scott continued.

“You mean we have a mighty rotten one,” Johnson retorted. “They ought to bury Lawrence, and if they can’t they ought to be ashamed of themselves.”

“They are doing the best they can,” Scott said, “and they ought to be supported. They can’t help it if the other fellows are better.”

“That won’t stop them from getting licked,” Johnson growled.

“What difference does it make if they do get licked?” Scott argued. “You ought to give the other people credit—” he began, when there was a half hearted cheer and the teams trotted out on the field again.

“Now let’s see if the ‘old man’ has put a bug in their ear.” Johnson said, leaning forward with renewed hope.

The game started out pretty much as before, but not so fast. The ball was creeping steadily down into Minnesota territory when a poor pass carried it over the head of the Lawrence fullback, he fumbled in trying to recover it, and a Minnesota man got it. The crowd cheered the poor pass wildly.

Scott looked around in astonishment. “What are they yelling for now?” he asked.

“Didn’t you see that pass?” Johnson asked excitedly.

“Don’t see anything to cheer in that, it was just a poor pass such as you could see on any corner lot.”

“Meant ten yards and the ball to us,” Johnson answered shortly. He had made his own way in the world and had usually found the other fellow’s loss to be his gain.

That seemed to be the turning point in the game. The light Lawrence team had expended its strength in the early part of the game. Their substitutes, as in most small colleges, were poor, and the overwhelming weight of the maroon team began to tell. Following up their advantage they carried the ball steadily down the field, crushing the lighter team before them. The crowd went wild with enthusiasm. The yelling was almost a continuous roar.

But the little Lawrence team was game. On their five-yard line they took a brace and would not yield an inch. The big machine which had carried the ball surely, for almost the entire length of the field, lost it on downs, and saw it kicked far over their heads out to the center of the field. The crowd was still in an instant and there was even a slight tendency to hiss, but the better element instantly suppressed it.

The third quarter ended and still there was no score.

The teams changed sides amidst a deathlike silence. The next instant all was wild excitement again. The captain of the Minnesota team had broken away with a clean forward pass, and was speeding away down the field with no one between him and a touchdown but the little Lawrence quarter.

Scott yelled with the loudest of them. “Wasn’t that a corker?” he screamed in Johnson’s ear.

The yelling ended, as suddenly as it had begun, in a groan. The little quarterback agily kept in front of the big runner, followed his every feint, and brought him to the ground with a crash.

“Blame it,” Scott exclaimed. “Wasn’t that a beautiful tackle?”

“Beautiful tackle?” Johnson raged. “I wish he had broken his neck.” This last remark must not be taken to represent the attitude of the majority of the crowd, but it fairly represented Johnson’s attitude in everything but his own actions.

The setback, however, was only temporary. The big team gathered itself together, and carried the ball over for a touchdown. Goal was kicked just three minutes before time was called, and the game ended with a score of seven to nothing in favor of Minnesota.

The big crowd jostled slowly out of the gate and it seemed to Scott that for people who had been so wildly desirous of winning, they were very silent about it when it was accomplished.

“That’s what I call a good game,” Scott said.

“That’s what I call a rotten game,” Johnson retorted. “They ought to have beaten Lawrence thirty to nothing, instead of that they barely succeeded in making seven, and were nearly scored against three or four times.”

“What has that got to do with it?” Scott argued. “It would have been just as good a game if we had not won it at all. The good playing is what you want to see, no matter who does it.”

“Do you mean to say that you would enjoy seeing a good play if the other people made it and it counted against you?”

“Certainly,” Scott answered stoutly. “I enjoyed seeing that quarterback make that tackle though it knocked us out of a touchdown. It would not have been nearly so pretty if he had missed it.”

“That’s one of your Eastern ideas of sport,” Johnson jeered contemptuously. “You can watch the pretty plays the other people make; they look better to me when our own team makes them.”

“If that game had been at home,” Scott continued, “every good play those Lawrence people made would have been cheered the same as our own.”

“Do you call that being loyal to your team?” Johnson asked.

“Certainly. It’s simply giving the other fellow credit for what he does. There is no team loyalty in pretending the fellows they beat are no good, and still less in saying that the team that defeated them was no good.”

That seemed to put the question up to Johnson in a new light. He pondered over it for a minute and then looked up cheerfully.

“I’ll tell you what it is, Scotty. We play to win and let the other fellow look after his credit, but there’s some sense in that last. Can you really see the beauty of the play that goes against you?”


“Well,” Johnson laughed, “wait till I see you praising some fellow’s skill in blacking your eye in some boxing bout. Then I’ll believe you. Come on, let’s walk home. We’ll have plenty of time before supper.”

There was a little talk at the supper table of the football game, most of the men taking the same view as Johnson, that it was a pretty poor exhibition because Lawrence had not been completely overwhelmed, but most of the time was taken up with a discussion of the coming campfire. The upper classmen hinted mysteriously of the sacred rites that had been prepared for the new members.

“Ormand,” Morgan hissed in a stage whisper which could be plainly heard by every one at the table, “did you feed the goat tonight?”

“No,” Ormand answered in the same tone, “he’ll be more savage if he is hungry, and besides, he’ll get plenty of green stuff to eat tonight.

“Johnson,” he continued, “if you and Scotty had taken my advice and paddled each other every night for half an hour for the past two weeks you would be better prepared.”

Scott could not help feeling nervous, but it did not seem to worry Johnson.

“You don’t know that we have not been doing it,” he answered flippantly. “It won’t be the first goat I have ridden, and I don’t believe he can out-butt the old ram I tried to herd in Wyoming one summer.”

“You’ll have a good chance for comparison, anyway,” said Ormand rising. “Come on, Morgan, let’s go prepare the torture chamber at the clubhouse.”

The new men at the table responded with varying degrees of bravado according to their natures, but a very apparent feeling of nervous excitement pervaded everyone except Johnson. Nothing could perturb his cheerful good humor.

“Cheer up, Tubby,” he cried to a stout freshman who sat opposite him. “They may sting you a little but there is no chance of their striking a bone. And look at little Steve over there with a face a mile long. Don’t you know they dasent touch you for fear of breaking your glasses?”

In two minutes he had broken the spell and had them all at ease. The self-reliance he had gained through his life of hard knocks was infectious. He enjoyed the influence that it gave him over the others, and he lorded it over them on all occasions, but always in a way that pleased them.

“Now,” he said with a patronizing air, “all of you kids go home, put on two pairs of trousers apiece, and be at the clubhouse at seven o’clock sharp. Come on, Scotty, let’s go read up a little on the nocturnal habits of that sportive goat.”

Scott recognized the subtle influence which Johnson exercised over his classmates and admired his power. He even smiled at the readiness with which he himself left his dessert half eaten to obey his orders.

The football game had made them late for supper and all those who wished to join the forestry club had to be at the clubhouse at seven sharp. They had little time to spare. Scott was at a loss how to dress to do the proper honor to the rites at the clubhouse and yet be ready for the campfire. Johnson suffered from no such perplexity.

“Believe me, Scotty, you can wear your dress suit if you want to, but the ‘sacred rites’ at the clubhouse can, in my humble opinion, be observed a good deal more appropriately in sweater and overalls.”

Scott finally decided to accept Johnson’s better judgment, relied on that gentleman’s knowledge of his surroundings, and donned his sweater. Johnson was already equipped. He cast a longing glance at a sofa cushion on the couch. “Sorry I haven’t room for you, old fellow, if I had I’d sure take you along. Five minutes of seven, Scotty, just time to make it.”

They hurried to the clubhouse in silence. The front door stood open and a carefully shielded light cast a dim glow on a notice pinned to the door jamb. They read the notice eagerly.

Follow this string.
Speak only when you are spoken to.
Be good and you’ll be happy.
Beware of the Goat.

A thin cord was tied to the door knob and led away up the dark stair. They laid their hands gingerly on the string and started carefully up stairs with nerves on edge. At the first turn on the landing a bright electric light flashed in their eyes for an instant and left them totally blinded in the utter darkness. They groped their way along apprehensively holding to that winding string. There was not a sound to be heard except the noise they themselves made as they stumbled through the rooms littered with all the obstructions that ingenious minds could devise. After what seemed like almost interminable scrambling they mounted another flight of stairs. More winding through obstructed passageways, and down another flight of stairs, then another and another. Scott was beginning to have visions of old medieval dungeons when his wrist bumped into something cold that snapped with a metallic click, and he found himself brought to a stop by a handcuff. It was too dark to distinguish anything, but he could hear the hard breathing of many nervous people. It seemed to him that he had stood there for an eternity with nothing to break the silence save occasionally a cautious step on the stairs which always stopped with the same metallic click.

Suddenly there was a shuffling of many feet and the handcuff led him slowly forward. Much to his surprise he passed through a door directly onto the ground outside—he had thought that he must be at least one story below the level of the street—and found himself in the middle of a long string of men all walking in single file. They were all handcuffed to one long rope. This chain gang was guarded by a line of scouts on either side, and led on by six husky fellows who dragged the front end of the rope.

Slowly the procession marched up the middle of the street, across the campus, through the auditorium where a popular lecture was in progress, and out into the open fields. After a half-mile of winding march in the darkness they entered a black forest. A little farther and the line stopped.

“Prepare to meet your fate,” came from a deep voice immediately in front of them.

More than one man in the crowd trembled so that the links of his handcuffs clinked audibly. Scott, now that the time had really come, felt perfectly calm.

After a few seconds’ pause a long screen of burlap dropped from in front of them and they saw the upper classmen of the club standing in a semi-circle around a small campfire.

Ormand, the president of the club, stepped forward a few paces. “Gentlemen, let me introduce you to the new members of our club. And for you, new members, may your enthusiasm for the club and the College never be less than your surprise at the present moment. Release them.”

The guards quickly unlocked the handcuffs, and the astonished “victims” looked uneasily about them, not knowing what to expect. But the upper classmen came forward to welcome them, and they found themselves really accepted on an equal footing with the rest. Their stunned expression brought forth shouts of laughter.

Johnson was the first to recover. “Well, fellows,” he admitted with a grin, “as I was telling you, I have ridden several goats before and some of them were pretty rough riding, but none of them ever shook me up like this.”

The tension was broken, and the reaction turned the crowd of half stunned men into an hilarious bunch of boys. They danced around the campfire in dizzying circles, and the fantastic shadows flashed weirdly through the surrounding forest. At last they settled down in a contented circle, and the entertainment committee rolled out a barrel of apples, a barrel of cider, a bushel of peanuts and a set of boxing gloves.

They were all hailed with a shout of welcome, but some of the new members looked rather anxiously at the padded gloves. Sam Hepburn, the chairman of the entertainment committee, explained the program.

“Pile in, fellows,” he cried, “and help yourselves. Don’t be bashful. I reckon you all know how to eat, if you don’t, watch Pudge Manning. But we must have some entertainment while we eat. Since we have no orchestra to dispense sweet music, we shall try another form of amusement not unknown to the ancient Gormans. I have here in this hat the names of all the old members. Each new man must draw a slip. In addition to the name each slip has a number on it. Each man must box for two minutes with the man he draws, and the bouts will be pulled off according to the numbers on the slips. I’ll pass around the hat. Each man must draw one and only one.”

The hat was passed quickly around the circle and the drawers examined the slips eagerly to see what sort of opponents they had drawn. There were sighs of relief from some and groans of despair from others.

“Now, fellows,” called Hepburn, “the first bout will start at once. Let the man who has number one come forward and call out his opponent. The ring will be this circle and the bunch the referee. Step lively now.”

A slight youth with a very scared expression stepped timidly forward and called in a very faint voice for Pudge Manning, the biggest man in the junior class. There was a great shout of laughter at the ill-matched pair. Hepburn put the gloves on Manning and Johnson, who had appointed himself the second for all the new members, equipped the frightened little freshman, and tried to brace him up with good advice.

“Kick his shins, son; you can’t reach his face. You have the advantage of him already, you can’t miss him and he will have to be a pretty good shot to land on you. Now go for him.”

Johnson’s advice was in itself as good as a circus. It was hard to tell which was the most ridiculous figure; the huge Manning sheepishly trying to keep from hurting his little adversary, or the trembling little freshman fighting wildly with the fury of desperation. The crowd howled their delight, and when time was called gleefully awarded the decision to the freshman.

Bout followed fast upon bout and the interest never flagged, for the combinations were such that they furnished a plentiful variety. Some were so unevenly matched as to be altogether ridiculous, others were evenly enough matched but so ignorant of the game that the slugging match was wildly exciting, in still other cases science showed its superiority to brute force, but really scientific sparring on both sides was rarely seen.

Johnson drove the crowd almost into hysterics by an exhibition of wildcat fighting against a man almost twice his size. With the agility of a cat he bounded around his big opponent, doing very little damage himself, but continuously maddening the big fellow with ceaseless taunts, and successfully wriggling out of reach of all punishment.

Scott looked on doubled up with laughter. He had not seen any very good boxing, but viewed as a farce it certainly was a howling success. He was well pleased that he had drawn Morgan, the best boxer in the College, for he had not had any practice in a long time, and was eager to measure himself against one of these Westerners who were inclined to look upon the East with some contempt.

Finally his turn came and he called cheerfully for Morgan as he walked over to Johnson to be gloved and given his facetious instructions.

Johnson was more serious with him than with most of the others. “You’re up against the real thing now, Scotty. He can box like a fiend, and has the strength of a moose. Keep your chin in,” he cautioned in a low voice as Scott walked into the ring, “and remember your sporting views,” he chuckled.

The match differed from any that had gone before. Both men were expert with the gloves, and they were fairly matched physically. Morgan was a trifle taller, giving him the advantage in the reach, Scott was a little heavier in the shoulders. They shook hands, stepped back quickly and the fight was on. Morgan had his reputation to sustain, Scott had his to make. The crowd rose in a body to give better vent to its excitement. The two circled rapidly, passing, parrying, sidestepping, dodging; now almost in each other’s arms, now at arm’s length, and occasionally a lightning pass, followed by a sharp spat told of a good blow gone home. Scott found Morgan his equal in out-fighting, but his training with the old prizefighter gave him much the best of the mix-ups.

Suddenly something happened. Scott invited a full swing from Morgan, attempted to side-step, slipped on the damp sod, and received the full blow on the point of his chin. The stars danced merrily before his eyes and he sat down with a thud. He was up almost instantly. “Good shot, old man,” he cried to Morgan, and was boxing again with as much vigor as before.

“By George, he does believe it,” Johnson yelled. No one else knew what he was talking about, but Scott smiled.

When time was called the match was declared a draw. Morgan shook Scott enthusiastically by the hand. “Scotty, you are a winner and it will be up to you to fight in the big fall meet. Why, you are not winded at all.”

“No,” Scott answered quietly, “the old prizefighter who taught me always insisted on each lesson going to ten rounds, and I am used to it.”

“Oh, ho! learned from a professional, did you? That accounts for your not being phased by that blow on the chin, and your strong in-fighting. I should not stand any show with you in a real fight. I’m winded now.”

All the fellows crowded around Scott to congratulate him and forgave him his inability to play football in their admiration of a man who could stand up to Morgan.

“Well, fellows,” Ormand shouted, “that bout was too good to be spoiled by anything else. It’s half past eleven. Let’s put out this fire and march home.”

The fire was soon extinguished, and the crowd filed out of the woods singing familiar songs and yelling fiendishly at every sleeping house they passed. Slowly it melted away as the fellows came to their various rooming houses. When Scott and Johnson turned into their house they heard the singing of the remnant of the band dying away in the distance.

“Scotty,” Johnson said with admiration written in every feature, “you are the new White Hope of the College. When you took that wallop on the jaw and praised the man who did it, I believed what you said this afternoon. Now watch me be your kind of a sport.”


The next three weeks were full of pleasure for Scott Burton, for they brought him hours of his favorite exercise. Ormand, who had considerable influence with the student powers at the University, had made it his business the morning after the campfire celebration to arrange for Scott to represent the freshman class in the heavyweight class in the boxing match held each year to settle the supremacy between the under classes. It was an honor which the foresters had long coveted, and was granted to them only after Ormand had exhausted all his persuasive powers in his effort to show them how totally inadequate all the other candidates were, and how sure his candidate was to win. In his own mind he was not at all certain of the outcome, for the sophomores had a young giant who had won the event without an effort the year before, and held the supremacy in the whole University ever since.

Scott trained like a prizefighter, leaving no stone unturned to put himself in the pink of condition. He changed his recreation hour from the hour after supper to the hour before, and that hour was invariably spent in the boxing room of the gymnasium. Every day he boxed fast and furious bouts with Morgan, Manning, Edwards, Ormand and any of the other big fellows who cared to try it. He could wear them all out one after the other, and he worked incessantly to increase his endurance, for all agreed that it was his best chance to push the fight at a furious pace from bell to bell. For there were other men who were as good boxers as he, but none of them, they figured, with half his endurance or his ability to stand punishment. He was fast on his feet, could close in on any of them at will, and once at close range none of them could compare with him for a moment.

Johnson fussed over him like a mother. He was at the boxing room as regularly as Scott himself, and never left till he could give his charge a good rubdown, and escort him to supper, where he watched his diet with an eagle eye, and ordered away every dessert that Scott really cared for. He domineered to such an extent that Scott more than once threatened to thrash him instead of the sophomore, but Johnson always had his way and tightened up his orders after every encounter.

“Johnson,” he said one day, as he watched a luscious piece of pumpkin pie going back to the kitchen by Johnson’s orders, “when that scrap is over I am going to eat your dessert and mine, too, for a month.”

“You may have my dessert for all the rest of the winter if you win,” Johnson responded earnestly.

“There it goes again,” Scott complained. “What difference does that make? I may put up the very best fight I ever made in my life and get everlastingly licked. Then you would want to do me out of my right to eat your pie simply because the other fellow was too much for me. But if he happens to be a poor scrapper and I win easily you would cheerfully let me eat your desserts for six months. That’s queer logic.”

“Some more of your Eastern sporting views,” Johnson jeered.

“Well you ought to give a fellow credit for what he does, oughtn’t you? If he puts up a perfectly good scrap, give him credit for that. If the other fellow puts up a better one give him credit for that. I am going to eat your dessert anyway, so there is no use in arguing about it.”

They went to their rooms and straight to work. Johnson had wanted Scott to stop his studies for a while, but on that one point Scott balked and insisted on keeping up all his work, for he felt that his ability to handle it at all depended on his keeping it up-to-date. He was working hard on a problem when Johnson announced that it was ten o’clock and time for all prizefighters to be in bed. He emphasized his orders by blowing out the student’s lamp. Scott fired a book at him, which Johnson dodged cheerfully and proceeded to go to bed.

“That’s something else I am going to do,” Scott cried with some spirit. “After the twenty-fourth of October I am going to sit up as late as I blame please.”

“Um-huh,” Johnson answered, unperturbed. “After the twenty-fourth you may sit up all night if you want to, but—after the twenty-fourth. You need not talk too bigity; you may not be able to sit up at all after the twenty-fourth.”

And so it went from day to day. Scott working as never before, and Johnson rigidly enforcing his rules, jollying his way through all the threatened mutinies. In one short week Scott had jumped from an unknown student to the idol of the College. He realized that if he could win that match his position among his fellow students would be established. This idea spurred him on to untiring efforts. Even the girls began to look after him when he passed, and that embarrassed him, for he had always been shy about girls.

At last the all-important day arrived. The morning classes had been dismissed for the occasion. The students assembled on the campus by the hundreds, boys and girls together, crowded around the little open space reserved for the events. For the upper classmen it was a festive celebration to be thoroughly enjoyed. For the under classmen it was a serious contest, and through the good-natured yelling and cheering there ran an undercurrent of antagonism, which broke out in petty scraps and bickerings all through the crowd. The upper classmen were kept busy exercising their police functions to confine the competition to the organized contests.

Finally the crowd settled down with the classes concentrated, each on one of the four sides of the opening. The field marshal announced the cane rush between the sophs and the freshmen as the first event, and called for the representatives of the two classes. The chosen men, forty husky fellows from each class, stepped forward and lined up on opposite sides. All were dressed in the oldest clothes they could find, and looked more like a band of strikers than students seriously inclined toward higher education. The officials brought forward the cane and placed it in the hands of five select men from each class, carefully placing the hands so that neither class had an unfair advantage. The remaining champions were then lined up carefully at equal distances on either side of the cane. When all was arranged there was an instant of intense suspense as the referee took a review of the situation before raising the whistle to his lips.

At the first shrill blast the contestants rushed tumultuously forward on the little writhing knot of men around the cane. Sophomores tugged at freshmen to tear them away from the coveted cane, and freshmen struggled desperately with tenacious sophomores. In an instant they were all merged into one seething mass of humanity. It was practically impossible for those on the outside of the crowd to reach the cane, but they fought as wildly as those in the center. The pressure in the center became so great that one man was squeezed out of the mass like a grape from its skin, and rose head and shoulders above the crowd in spite of his best efforts to stay on the ground. Men on the outskirts vaulted to the heads of the crowd with a running start to crawl over the tightly packed heads and shoulders to the center only to be caught by the feet and dragged violently back to the ground. Frequently tempers were ruffled beyond control, and the consequent slugging matches had to be stopped by the officials. Pieces of wearing apparel littered the ground. Sweater sleeves and pieces of shirts rose high above the crowd. The grim silence of the contestants contrasted strangely with the wild cheering of the spectators. It was impossible to tell where the advantage lay, but that detracted nothing from the enthusiasm. Scott watched the struggle, the first of the kind he had ever seen, with intense interest, and forgot for the time that he would so soon be the central figure of just such another spasm of excitement and frantic cheering. The contestants still fought on with dogged perseverance, but their efforts were becoming weaker, and they were glad to stop at the referee’s whistle.

The upper classmen formed a circle around the ragged crowd, and the judges began their search for the cane. Those on the outskirts were summarily pushed outside the circle till the group was reached who actually had hold of the cane. The hands on the cane were counted, thirteen for the sophomores and ten for the freshmen. The announcement was received with frantic shouting by the sophomore supporters and the heroes were welcomed back to the side lines with wild demonstrations.

But there was not much time for such celebrations. The program was a long one and the officials’ call for the lightweight wrestlers centered the interest of the crowd on a new event. One by one the events passed by and the interest began to flag—for it was a sophomore day and the freshmen seemed wholly outclassed. Decision after decision went to the sophomores, and at the call for each new event the cheers from the freshmen ranks grew weaker. They were becoming overwhelmed by the defeat.

As the freshman middleweight stepped into the ring for the second round of his drubbing, Johnson, who had been pleading with each man in turn to do something for the honor of his class, turned to Scott almost with tears in his eyes. “Now, Scotty,” he said, “you’ll be the next, and you’ve got to win. This bunch of loafers has lost everything for us, and a forester must save the honor of the class. There, that wax figure got knocked down again. That finishes him. Now come on. You’re the last hope between us and a shut out. Show ’em what a forester’s made of. You’ve simply got to win.”

The referee had called for the heavyweights, and Johnson, Scott’s faithful second, was tying on his hero’s gloves. Scott felt a little nervous, but knew that he would be all right as soon as the first blow was struck.

Johnson fussed around his roommate like a nervous mother. “Now, Scotty, everything is ready. He’s a regular moose, but remember the game. Go at him like a tornado from the very start and he can’t stand the pace.”

With these final instructions Scott walked out to meet his opponent. The man opposed to him was indeed a giant; he had never boxed with such a big man, and he saw the last gleam of hope dying in the freshman ranks. That would have taken the courage out of many men, but it only made Scott the more determined to save his class’s honor, and bring everlasting fame to the foresters.

The big fellow shook hands condescendingly with a rather patronizing air, which maddened Scott. In stepping back from the handshake the big fellow took a leisurely and rather contemptuous slap at his opponent’s head, but that was the last chance he had to show his superiority. Scott dodged like a flash and landed a straight punch in the big fellow’s stomach. The ease with which he had lorded it over the whole University for a year had made him careless, but he was a good boxer and he knew that he could not afford to play with this new man. Scott left him no time to think it out. He pushed the attack with a fury that brought the spectators to their feet, and wrung from the freshmen the first real cheer they had had the heart to give since the cane rush was decided. Scott rushed his opponent again and again, each time breaking away with a vicious hook to the short ribs that worked havoc with the big fellow’s wind—none too good at the first. It was not, however, a one-sided fight by any means. The sophomore’s superior reach and weight gave him a great advantage, especially in the out-fighting, and he was not slow in grasping the opportunities. Scott’s rushing tactics forced him to make some good openings and it was only his ability to stand punishment that saved him several times.

During the first round he was rushing in on his opponent when he received a straight punch in the right eye that landed him flat on his back. The hopes of the freshman class fell with him, but Scott was up again like a rubber ball amidst a perfect tempest of cheers, was inside the big sophomore’s guard almost before that gentleman realized what had happened, beat a veritable tattoo on his short ribs and was away clear without being touched. He was fighting as strongly and furiously as ever, while his opponent was laboring heavily.

But Scott still had to be very careful to avoid those vicious swings. Twice he received blows on the chin which sent his head back with a snap, and which would have knocked out a less hardened man. He saw that his man was weakening and gave him no peace. He had rushed him to the ropes and was fighting at close range in the hope of getting a chance at his jaw when the whistle ended the first round.

Johnson received him with open arms, and wrapped the bathrobe carefully about him. “You’ve got him going, Scotty, if you can keep up another round like that you’ll get him easy. Can you do it?”

“Yes,” Scott answered, “ten of ’em, if he doesn’t knock my head off in the meantime. He certainly landed some dandy blows on me.”

“Why don’t you play for his jaw more? You’re just hammering away at his ribs all the time; you can’t hurt him there,” Johnson remonstrated.

Scott laughed, “You don’t realize how tall he is. I can’t reach his face unless I’m in close and then I am afraid to reach up so high; it would give him too big an opening. Those rib blows count in the long run, but I do not believe myself that they will be any good in a two-round fight. I’ll have to risk it this time, I guess.”

Johnson was delighted to see that his hero was not winded in the least, and he watched the heavings of the bathrobe opposite with huge satisfaction. The freshmen were hopeful once more, and answered the taunts of the sophomores with some spirit.

At the sound of the whistle Scott shot to his feet like a jack-in-the-box and met his opponent three-fourths of the way across the ring. He tried some sparring at long range, but found that he was still outclassed, even though the sophomore was plainly showing his fatigue. Several stiff blows about the face showed him that it was not yet safe. Once more he ducked, charged, and pounded the big fellow’s wind. He received a blow on the jaw when he thought he was clear out of reach, but he realized that the old vim was no longer back of it.

Scott decided that the time had come to take the one chance he had of a clean decision. He rushed his man furiously, and tried for an opening to the face, but was driven out again without getting it. He noticed that the sophomore’s breath was coming in labored gasps and rushed him again. With a terrific hook to the stomach he lowered the big fellow’s head and landed heavily on his jaw, but the man was indeed a very moose and withstood the blow though it dazed him a little. Relying on this Scott took his chance. He offered a beautiful opening which his opponent took eagerly, throwing all his waning strength into one mighty full-arm swing for Scott’s unprotected chin.

Few in the audience realized what a risk Scott had really taken in trying to side-step a man like that, but he himself realized it to the full and planned it with the greatest care. He side-stepped with the agility of a cat, felt the glove just brush his cheek, and threw all the weight of his splendid shoulders into a hook to the jaw. The blow went true, and the big man wilted in his tracks. Scott caught him in his arms and was letting him gently to the ground, when he wriggled loose, staggered to his feet and struck at Scott blindly but savagely. Before he could fully recover, however, the whistle blew.

Scott stood patiently in the ring waiting for the decision, but not so the crowd. Yelling wildly the freshmen descended with a rush on the one champion the day had brought forth for them, heaved him on their shoulders, half clothed as he was, and swept across the campus through the crowd of spectators. He remonstrated and fought as hard as he had in the ring, but to no purpose. They carried him clear across the campus and out into the street. Scott would have given anything for even his undershirt. He had objected to stripping to the waist even there in the ring, but now that the match was over to be exhibited in this way to all those girls was intolerable. At last it ended. A hundred and eighty-five pounds is not a light weight to carry even if it is a hero and Scott managed at last to fight his way to the ground. He was wondering how he would ever get back to his clothes, even if they had not been carried off by the crowd, when the faithful Johnson pushed his way forward with them.

“Now get out of the way,” Johnson commanded the throng of admirers, “and let me take him home for a little rest.”

“Scott,” he continued as he hustled him to the car, “now you can go home and sit up all night for the rest of the winter. Yes, and hanged if you can’t eat my desserts for the next six years.”

“Humph,” Scott grunted good-naturedly, “and all just because I won.”


As the boys sat in their room that evening in their pajamas talking over the events of the day Scott was impressed more than ever with Johnson’s strange philosophies, apparently gathered from almost unlimited experience. Johnson was in a very good humor over the results of the boxing match and Scott thought it a good opportunity to get him to tell his story.

“Johnson,” he asked curiously, “where haven’t you been? You don’t look very old but there does not seem to be any place that you have not worked in all the United States.”

“Well,” Johnson answered, “I have never been to the South or East, but there are not many sections of the West that I have not seen.”

“How did you do it?” Scott urged. “You said that I could sit up all night, you know, and I could listen very contentedly to an account of all your wanderings. They must be interesting for I suppose you beat your way everywhere. Come on, let’s have the whole story,” and he settled himself down to listen.

Johnson, who loved to have an audience for his adventures, was in his glory. He had had adventures galore and they lost nothing in his telling of them.

“If you really do not want to sleep for an hour,” he said, “I’ll tell you about them, but there is no use in trying to do it in less. It covers a great many years in spite of my young and boyish face.

“You asked me to tell you about my work. Well, that began when I was six years old. My father was a teamster in Duluth, and I was the oldest of eight children. The old man did not believe in any idlers in the house, and one morning when I was about six he kicked me out the front door and told me not to come back till I had earned something.” Johnson had never been taught any family pride and made no attempt to shield either his family or himself.

“There are a good many things I have forgotten since then, but I remember perfectly well what a pickle I was in that morning. I had had too many of those kicks to try to go back so I paddled away right up to the main street howling like a good fellow. Nobody paid any attention to me till I ran into a newsboy.

“‘Hello, sonny,’ he said, ‘what’s the matter with you? Lost a million on the races?’ I told him my troubles and he handed me a bundle of papers and told me he’d give me a cent for every ten I sold. ‘Don’t quit crying,’ he said, ‘keep it right up. That ought to sell them if anything will.’

“I made five cents out of it that morning and went home happy. The old man came in to dinner, took the money for my board and told me to get some more that afternoon. The newsy stocked me up again and I was such a little kid that lots of people bought from me. Well, I kept at that paper business for a long time, but the old man kept taking all of my money for board and it was not encouraging. At last I got wise enough not to take home all I earned and began to get ahead a little.

“When I was not selling papers I took to running errands and finally became a regular messenger boy. I learned to read the papers while I was selling them. I tell you I learned things on that messenger job. A messenger boy on a night shift sees everything in a town except the inside of the churches. One night about two A. M. I took a message away up town. It took a long time to get anybody up, but finally an oldish man came to the door. He looked at me a minute without taking the message I was trying to give him, and then pulled me into the house by the back of the neck.

“‘What are you doing out at this time of night?’ he asked sternly.

“I was sassy and told him that it was his fault for getting a message at that time of night.

“He took my number, and I thought for a while that he was going to have me fired, but he was not that kind. He was a Catholic priest. When he turned up at the office the next afternoon I was scared. He simply collared me and led me away. He took me to one of the big hotels and right up to the proprietor. ‘Here he is,’ he said. Then he turned to me. ‘You’re going to be bellhop here from four o’clock in the afternoon on, and in the daytime you’re going to school. I’ll come here in the morning with you and see that you get started.’

“Well, that suited me fine. I had always wanted to go to school. He started me in in the morning and kept tab on me as long as I stayed there. When my old man found that I had a good job he tried to get me back home, but the priest settled him and I have not been home since. By the time I had reached the eighth grade I had worked in about every job there was in Duluth. But it was in the bellhop job that I got my hunch. A couple of foresters stopped there one evening and sat talking where I could hear them. Their talk showed me what I wanted to do. I talked to one of them and found out something about it.

“That meant that I had to go to the University, and if I went to the University I had to have some money. Then I had heard those fellows say that what a man wanted was experience in the woods and with men. That summer my wanderings started. I learned at the employment agency that they needed men on a construction crew in North Dakota. They booked me and I went. I drove team on a slusher for two months. It was a tough outfit, but they did not have anything on me there, and I learned to handle a team. I had never had anything to do with one before. When the harvest started I skipped the crew and went to hauling water for a threshing crew. They paid twice as much.”

“Had to work about twenty hours a day, didn’t you?”

“Yes, but I did not mind that. That fall I entered the high school. When summer came times were pretty hard and work was scarce. I jumped a freight and beat my way to the Pacific Coast. The brakeman happened to kick me off in the apple region of Washington—I did not have any more money to tip him—and I got a job there packing apples. Paid pretty well, but the Chinks were a dirty lot to work with. When the apples were all packed I beat my way up to the Puget Sound district and got another job in a lumber camp cutting wood for a donkey engine. That was some hard work but I learned a lot about the logging. I had a fierce time trying to get home. I got kicked off so many times that I finally had to pay my fare back from Missoula. Got back a month late for school then.

“Back in school again I still held onto the bellhop job. I knew that if a man was going to get along well he had to be a good mixer. I learned that at the hotel. Gee, it was tough. I had such a poor start at home that every summer I lost nearly all I had gained in the winter. What little manners I have are only smeared on the outside and they keep cracking off.

“The next summer I shipped to Colorado to work in the mines. That did not last long. It paid pretty well, but I had to work on the graveyard shift from eleven at night till seven in the morning, and I could not stand being shut up all the time. So I wandered down into the southwest part of the state, and worked in a lumber camp there. Great sport working up on top of a mesa nine thousand feet above sea-level, trying to swing a five-pound ax when you hadn’t the breath to lift a paper weight. You could puff with all your might there but the air did not seem to be any good; the more you puffed the more you got winded. I got used to it after a while. There were some queer duffers in that camp, ‘lungers’ who had come out for their health. One fellow was a school teacher from Philadelphia. We worked together on a saw crew, and he undertook to teach me Spanish. Before the summer was over he had me chattering like a greaser. I managed to teach him a little Swedish. The combination was fierce.

“I beat my way home through Kansas City, and was a month late for school again. The old priest offered me a job as a sort of secretary. Said it would help to give me a little culture, and as that was what I was after I took it. It was great experience and he saw to it that I was not overworked. He was certainly a dandy. That spring he gave me a letter to some friends of his up north of Lake Superior and I worked on a summer logging job.”

“That was great luck, wasn’t it?” Scott commented.

“Yes, I thought so at first. Those people were very good about giving me a job, but I never came so near earning my money in my life. I was ‘bull cook’ and messenger boy. They had me up at daybreak, which is shortly after two o’clock in that country in the summertime, and kept me going till dark, about ten. I had to cut the wood for the kitchen stove and keep the whole camp supplied with water, sweep out all the buildings every day and do anything else that blamed cook could think of. He had the indigestion so badly he could not see straight—most of those camp cooks have from ‘lunching’ so much between meals—and it had ruined his disposition. The only rest I got was when he sent me out to the woods at noon with the men’s dinner. I usually stayed out most of the afternoon watching the logging. The boss was onto the game, but knew what the cook was and did not kick. The cook did, though. I used to be so sore sometimes when I had been out a little later than usual that I would eat supper standing up. But when fall came I knew something about summer logging, and more about the northern lumberjacks, especially cooks.

“The last year of the high school with the job as the priest’s secretary to help out was a cinch. Everybody knew what a rough kid I had been and helped me along. That summer I made the longest jump of all. There are a lot of people in Duluth who are interested in copper mines in the southwest, and one of them offered me a job as timekeeper. That took me down into Arizona near the Mexican line. The office work kept me so busy that I did not have a chance to see anything, and the thought of being in that new country without seeing things was too much for me.

“I jumped the job at the end of the first month and struck down into Mexico. My greaser talk came in handy then. I finally picked up a job as timekeeper on a railroad construction crew. That was great, for they were just putting the finishing touches on a road, and moved fast. I saw lots of the country.

“I had one pretty strange experience there that scared me badly at the time. One of the engineers who was superintending the job was an American and a dandy fellow, but he was pretty sharp to those Mexicans; used to make them work harder than they liked. One day he kicked a fellow who refused to dig out a grade stake for him. The greaser did not do anything at the time, but when you insult one of those fellows you ought to kill him right there, for he’ll lay for you.

“That afternoon I was asleep on a flat car while the train was running around the side of a mountain to a new work station, when I heard someone jump down onto the flat from a box car. I opened one eye and saw that it was the greaser who had been kicked. He glanced at me, thought I was asleep, and started to climb onto the next box car behind. I didn’t think anything of it till I saw that he had a knife in his hand. That woke me up pretty quick for I knew how they fought. As soon as he was up the ladder I started up after him to see what was going on.

“When I peeped over the edge of that box car there was the greaser sneaking slowly up on the engineer, who was asleep on his back. There wasn’t any time to lose and I yelled like an Indian. I never saw anything so cool as that engineer. He opened his eyes with a jerk, rolled over once to dodge the knife, jumped to his feet, and knocked that greaser off the box car down the side of the mountain with one blow. He did not even look to see where he landed. He saw me staring over the edge of the box car with my eyes hanging out on my cheeks, and said, ‘Good boy, kid.’ With that he lay quietly down on his back again. I didn’t sleep for a week but it didn’t seem to bother him any, or anybody else. There was never anything said about it.”

“Didn’t the courts investigate it?” Scott asked in surprise.

“No, a greaser does not count there.

“When we finished the line we were away down in Southern Mexico; it was time for college to begin and no way to get back. I made my way across country to the nearest seaport and found a steamer just about to sail. A greaser there said she was bound for New Orleans, and I stowed myself away in the hold.

“It was stuffy in that old pit and I thought we would never get to New Orleans. My grub began to give out and I lived on half rations for four days and on nothing for two. I had just finished the last of my water, and had decided to try to get out when we docked and the hold was opened up. I managed to sneak out in the night and hid in the warehouse. I did not know much about what New Orleans looked like, but I did not think so many of the people there were Spaniards. Then I found out that it was Buenos Ayres instead of New Orleans. That pesky ship had been sailing the wrong way.”

“That was certainly a good one on you,” Scott laughed.

“Yes,” Johnson bragged. “Fortune has had many a good one on me, but nobody else has.

“Well, I was too late for college then, so I stayed to work in the warehouse awhile, and took a trip back into the country. The place looked pretty good to me and I came near staying there, but I had been working too long to get to the University to let it go. So I took a job on a sailing vessel and reached New York about February 1. I beat my way West with the idea of entering the University at the beginning of the second semester, but they would not let me.

“You know how I worked around College all last spring, carried a rod in a survey party in Wisconsin all last summer and have been trotting up and down this blooming hill to lectures all fall. Now I reckon I have talked you to sleep, so I’ll go myself.”

Scott did not speak for a minute, but it was not because he was asleep. The very carelessness with which Johnson related his wonderful achievements, and the utter lack of conceit in his almost superhuman efforts to rise in the world, added to the fascination of it. Scott was thinking what a bed of roses his life had been compared with Johnson’s, what a tremendous handicap he had been working under, and yet how little he had the advantage of Johnson. Even that little advantage was temporary, for a man with that experience of life would soon distance him when he finally started his real work.

“By George, Johnson,” he said, starting up suddenly, “you’re a hero.”

But the hero made no answer, for true to his word he was already asleep.

Scott lay awake for a while thinking it over. He wondered what his father would think of Johnson as a chosen companion. Judged on the basis of family as was the custom at home Johnson would be rejected but he felt in his heart that Johnson had certainly earned a place in the world and finally went to sleep convinced that if he could not get his ten thousand acres without discarding Johnson he would go without it.


From the moment that he out-boxed that big sophomore, thus saving the honor of the class and bringing everlasting glory to the foresters, Scott’s reputation was established. From an unknown stranger passing quietly and unnoticed from class to class, he had become the lion of the College and one of the “popular” men of the University. Men he had never known hailed him familiarly on the street and in the corridors; girls he had never met smiled at him frankly. A reporter tried to get an interview with him for a big daily paper. Clubs, societies, associations, fraternities, organizations of which he would never have had any knowledge if it had not been for that fateful boxing match, opened their doors to him and invited him cordially to enter. After the quiet life he had led in the little village, with his limited acquaintance and Dick Bradshaw for his only intimate friend, this new life opening before him thrilled him and tingled through his blood like old wine. He remembered his father’s injunction to mix, to study men and learn human character; his new life would give him the opportunity to do it.

He thought he knew now what his father had meant by “responsible companions,” and felt that the fulfillment of that part of the condition for the ten thousand acres was as good as accomplished.

He accepted many of the invitations, took an interest in many of the student activities opened to him, and began to drift more and more into society. His after-supper hour of recreation stretched to two, three, and even four hours, till it looked as though he would have to carry out the threat he had made to Johnson that he would sit up all night studying after the match. Many of his new amusements were expensive, and he soon found himself exceeding his allowance. At last the theater parties, fraternity dances and other diversions became so frequent that he found it impossible to get in the hours of study he had prescribed for himself.

He wrote to Dick Bradshaw of his triumph in the championship match and the consequent honors and civilities that had been heaped upon him. He wrote to his father of his wide acquaintance, of his active participation in the life of the University as a whole, and the great success he was making. Incidentally he asked for an increased allowance.

In short, Scotty’s head was rapidly being turned by his sudden rise to the position of popular idol. He knew in his heart that he was acting foolishly, and would have condemned his own actions if he had taken the time to think seriously about them, but he was too busy and too hilariously happy to think about them at all.

This had been going on for about a month when an impending examination in a subject that he had been sorely neglecting forced him to put in a quiet evening’s study with Johnson. Such evenings had become exceedingly rare of late, and for the first time in his life he found that intense studying for a long time was irksome, in fact he found it hard to concentrate his mind enough to study intensely at all.

About eleven o’clock he yawned, looked longingly at the bed and closed his book with a bang. What was the use of studying so hard, anyway, the examination would take care of itself, he had never failed in one in his life. Johnson, who had missed Scott sorely in his long lonesome evenings of study had been watching him furtively with an expression, half pitying, half contemptuous. He had come to admire Scott intensely, and he hated to see his hero falling so rapidly, and for the objects he had always considered so trivial. He thought that Scott would probably resent any criticism from him, but he was still loyal. He had trained Scott up to that fight and if possible he was going to train him down again. He was no coward and grasped the opportunity to put the disagreeable business through without delay.

“Quitting already?” he asked casually, as Scott slammed to his book.

“Yes,” Scott answered with another yawn, “I’m going to bed. I’m sleepy and sick of the stuff. Guess I know enough to pass anyway.”

“Scotty,” Johnson asked bluntly, “how much allowance have you?”

Scott looked up in surprise, for it was the first time that Johnson had ever asked him such a question, and he did not see what he was after. But he answered frankly. “Forty dollars a month, but I’m running shy. Did you want to borrow some?”

“No,” Johnson answered somewhat proudly, “I earn all I need. Bronson has five hundred a month, Swanson six, and Edwards all he can use.”

These were some of the men Scott had been going with but he could not see the point of Johnson’s remark.

“What’s that got to do with it?”

Johnson came out with it like a man. “Just this, Scotty. Those fellows all have dollars to your pennies and they are going a pace that you cannot stand. They don’t care whether they get through College in four years or forty. If you try to keep up with them you will soon be in debt up to your ears, and as soon as all your money’s gone they will drop you like a hot cake. You’re not in their class.”

“Not in their class!” Scott answered indignantly. “My family is as good as, or better than theirs, any day and that’s what counts. It does not matter home whether you have money or not as long as your family is all right. You can pick all the millionaires you want for company.”

“It may be all right there,” Johnson answered quietly, “but it won’t work here. If you have money it does not matter whether your father was a garbage man or the President of the United States; but believe me, you have to have the money.”

“It has not worked that way so far,” Scott answered defiantly, “and when it does I guess I’ll know it without being told.”

“And in the meantime you are getting in debt deeper every day and that with your father’s money.”

“Is that your business?” Scott cried angrily. It had caused him some compunction to ask his father to increase his allowance when he knew the poor doctor could ill afford it, and the shot hurt him.

“No,” Johnson sighed, “it’s none of my business, and I knew I should be unpopular for butting in, but I had to warn you. A man who comes from Massachusetts to Minnesota on an allowance of forty dollars per month and takes the amount of work that you are taking to save a year’s expenses is not in a position to run with a bunch of millionaires and flunk in all his studies. If you are behind in a single study at the end of the first eight weeks you’ll have to drop all that extra work, and at the rate you have been going you will be behind in a good deal more than one. I’m through now. Think about it before you get too mad,” and he rose to go to bed.

“I’ve never flunked in a subject yet,” Scott answered haughtily. “I can take care of my studies by myself and I do not consider that you can give me many points on my social activities.”

“If that’s the way you feel about it,” Johnson said with quiet dignity, “you’d better go room with someone your equal. I am neither a millionaire nor a society leader.”

“It’s too late tonight,” Scott said angrily, “but I’ll get out fast enough in the morning.”

“Good hunch,” Johnson said with apparent indifference, though it really cut him deeply. He was not angry. He had foreseen all this before he spoke at all. He knew it was the best thing for Scott and he was willing to swallow all these indignities for his sake. He longed to tell Scott how much he cared for him, but that was out of the question under the circumstances. He knew that Scott would come to his senses and thank him some day, but in any event he felt that he had acted the part of a true friend. He crawled into bed with a deep sigh of regret, nearer to a sob than he had come for many years.

Scott sat before the table for some time, his chin on his chest, and a scowl on his face, sullenly flapping the cover of his notebook. He felt bitter against Johnson, for he knew in his heart that Johnson was right, and the truth always cuts deeper than anything else. He thought how his father, already worried over his request for increased allowance, would grieve if he should fail in any of his studies, and he thought of his mother’s advice. Already there were some things that he did not care to write her.

The flapping of the notebook cover fanned a yellow envelope out from between the leaves. He had taken it out of his post office box and dropped it in his notebook without reading it. He tore it open idly and glanced at it. The next instant he was sitting bolt upright reading with unbelieving eyes the following terse note:

Committee on Students’ Work

Your record for the first six weeks’ work shows that you are behind in three subjects. Report to this office at once or your registration will be canceled.

Scott gazed at the paper half dazed. Coming as it did on top of Johnson’s harangue it brought him to his senses with a sudden jerk. It was the first time in his life that he had ever fallen short in his studies, and his hurt pride rose triumphant over his social aspirations. What Johnson’s loyal advice had failed to do—probably never would have done—this blow at his student’s reputation did instantly. Johnson had only aroused him to stubborn anger; this cold-blooded sentence forced him to think and use his reason.

Where was he going anyway? What did the pleasures and associations which had loomed so big to him in the past few weeks amount to? Why did those men seek his company when he knew that they spoke always contemptuously of other poor men as good as he? His head had been so turned by the flattery that he had imagined it was on account of his sterling qualities.

He viewed it through the glass of cold reason now and the truth dawned on him, burst forth so clearly that he wondered why he had not seen it before. He remembered how one of the men who disliked dogs had paid five hundred dollars for the prize winner at the Minneapolis show and he shivered as he realized the truth. He was the prize dog in the under-class boxing match. The humiliation of the truth, and he knew now that it was the truth, angered him beyond reason at first, and then filled him with disgust at his own weakness.

And how about the responsible companions he had been priding himself on a short time before? He knew that Johnson had judged them aright and he knew his father’s judgment would be the same. Moreover, he recognized in that little yellow envelope the first symptoms of another obstacle that, unless quickly overcome, would put that magnificent chance at a forest estate far beyond his reach.

He realized then the true loyalty of Johnson. He knew how it must have pained Johnson to say what he had said, and how it must have hurt him to have his friendship misconstrued. What one of those millionaires would have done as much for him, the prize pup, or would even have thought twice whether he was disgracing himself or not? He thought how his admiration for Johnson had been slowly dying under the new influences, and remorse almost choked him. He strode quickly over to the bed to apologize, but Johnson slept so peacefully that he did not have the heart to wake him after the pain he had already caused him.

He took up his notebook resolutely and began to study. At five o’clock he slipped quietly into bed encouraged by the feeling that he was once more well prepared for an examination. But sleep did not come at once. He lay for almost an hour wide awake and wondering how he could ever have been so foolish as to let a little flattery run away so completely with his common sense. More especially he longed to apologize to Johnson. Dear old Johnson whom he had so shamefully neglected for the past month. Not only had he neglected him, but had actually begun to look down on him. He saw him in his true proportions again now and longed to tell him how much he looked up to him. Scott was no cad and he was anxious to confess to Johnson the extent of his fall. At last he fell into a restless sleep. Only after an hour of this tossing about did the sleep become profound.

When Scott finally awoke with a start it was to find Johnson gone. He had just time to make his examination if he went without breakfast. He tumbled into his clothes and ran all the way to the recitation hall. He went at his examination in dendrology with his oldtime certainty, and repaired straight to the Students’ Work Committee. He found that he was not by any means alone in his disgrace. The room was crowded, some contrite, some indifferent, some defiant. Case after case was discussed in the chairman’s office and disposed of. At last his own turn came. The chairman looked at him inquiringly.

“Burton,” Scott answered to the implied inquiry and turned red to the very ears.

The chairman picked a card from the case in front of him, glanced over it and looked him in the eye searchingly. “Well, Burton, your record shows that you are behind in dendrology, forest entomology and forest engineering. What’s the matter?”

Scott blushed violently, but confessed frankly. “I lost my head and tried to do too much society. I neglected my studies. I think I have waked up now.”

“A wholesome confession is good for the soul,” the chairman laughed. “Report to me one week from today and remember, if you are below in a single study at the end of another six weeks, you’ll probably have to drop all that extra work and maybe some more besides.”

The chairman rang for the next victim, and Scott blushed his way out through the crowd. He felt tremendously relieved. He knew that he could make good in that work and registered a vow that that committee would never have to call him up again.

This trying ordeal over he hurried back to the room to find Johnson. The room had a rather desolate look and Scott was wondering what was the matter with it when he spied a note on the table. He read it half dazed.

Since you did not carry out your promise to move, I moved myself. I have some self-respect.


It was Johnson’s one great short-coming, lack of tact, and Scott’s longing for forgiveness turned once more to anger. He was blinded to the kindness which had prompted Johnson to warn him and forgot the insults with which he had received it. He could see in it now only an impertinent interference in his private affairs and railed against Johnson as a mucker who would not accept an apology even when he did not deserve it. He forgot that Johnson knew nothing of his change of heart, and felt bitter against him. All thought of apology had vanished.

He was still in this frame of mind when Greenleaf came into the room.

“Hello, Scotty,” he said, “I met Johnson moving his belongings a while ago. Said you and he had a falling out. They have sold the house where I am rooming and are going to turn me out. Do you want a roommate?”

“Sure,” Scott said promptly, “I’ll help you move in now.”

So the door was closed to Johnson’s return. The new arrangement gave Scott little chance to think it over. Had he thought the matter over calmly he would probably have sought Johnson out and apologized to him at any cost to his own pride, but he did not let himself think about it and harbored his unjust bitterness.

Greenleaf was a different type from Johnson. His father was a well-to-do lawyer who could very readily have allowed his son ample spending money and would have done so in the East, but preferred to follow the Western custom and make the boy earn his pocket money. Consequently Greenleaf, although blessed with a comfortable—even a luxurious—home had spent most of his summers working at any kind of a job that he could get. He made a very congenial roommate, but Scott missed in him the breadth of mind and keen reasoning powers which he had admired so much in Johnson.


The days slipped quietly by in the routine of work as of old and Scott was surprised to find how much more he really enjoyed himself than he had the previous month. The satisfaction of work well done more than paid for the loss of the amusements—for every classroom failure had cut him like a knife. His second meeting with the Students’ Work Committee had no terrors for him now. He took to the Committee special reports from all his instructors and they were above reproach. The chairman smiled good-naturedly. “Did some plugging, eh? That’s the business; you’ll find it pays better than society. Plenty of time for that later. Keep it up and you need not come back.”

Thanksgiving was approaching rapidly, bringing to Scott the first pangs of homesickness he had felt. Every Thanksgiving that he could remember he had sat down to a bounteous dinner in the old home and the prospect of celebrating the day in a boarding-house was not very bright. He had had an invitation to go home with Swanson, but had promptly canceled it when he realized that he was invited in the capacity of the prize pup.

He was gloomily thinking over the prospect when Greenleaf burst into the room. He put his foot in Scott’s lap, jumped lightly to the table, and landed in his chair on the other side with a crash. The jar shook the entire house. Scott thought he had gone crazy, but Greenleaf beamed at him in perfect contentment.

“What are you going to do Thanksgiving?” he asked eagerly. “Going to gorge yourself at that millionaire’s?”

“No,” Scott laughed, “I canceled that for fear they might make me eat in the barn with the other prize stock. I am going to gorge myself all I can at the boarding-house, but I hardly expect to injure myself there.”

“Cancel that too. I have a scheme worth ten of that. We have Thursday and Friday off. Saturday we have but one class, which we can cut with impunity. Let’s you and Morgan and Ormand and me, take a hike down the river to Wabasha. Morgan has a dog tent that will hold the four of us if it is put up as a lean-to and we can sleep wherever night catches us, as long as it is not in a town. We can collect all kinds of specimens for dendrology and have a whale of a time.”

“I thought you were going to work,” Scott objected.

“So I was going to work, but didn’t you see me come in just now? I don’t come in that way every night, do I? I just received a check from the state for some fire-fighting that I did so long ago that I had forgotten it, and, by jingoes, I am going to celebrate.”

“That would certainly be a great stunt,” Scott agreed, “and I don’t know of anything I’d rather do. I am crazy to have a look at the geology of that river bottom. Will the other fellows go?”

“Sure, I saw them both and they are in for it. They know the trees, the insects, and the fungi, not to mention some sylviculture, and methods of estimating. You know the rocks and geology, and I know every bird and beast that moves in these parts. I tell you it will be great!”

“Where shall we get our meals?” Scott asked.

“I have a camp frying pan and a teakettle, and we can buy what grub we need at the stores we pass. Maybe we shall have some game, too, Ormand is a dandy with that little Stevens pistol, and may catch something sitting around loose. Tomorrow we’ll get everything ready and the next day we’ll start good and early.”

Scott’s homesickness vanished with the fancied smoke of the promised campfires. He had never really camped and the prospect of a Thanksgiving dinner in camp was very attractive. He hurried out to borrow a pack sack from Manning, and eagerly put in all his spare time the next day in minor preparations. He was tremendously excited, but did not know exactly what to do. Greenleaf was no less excited over his unexpected holiday, but went about the preparations of his kit with the thoroughness of an old prospector. Ormand and Morgan came in the evening to discuss the final plans and hold a consultation over the equipment. They had left the purchasing of the supplies to Greenleaf. Ormand lounged on the bed and Morgan lay comfortably back in the easy chair, while Greenleaf, pencil in hand, read over the list of supplies. Scott felt his helplessness on such an occasion, and sat quietly back in a corner to listen.

“I’ve figured out the supplies for the whole trip,” Greenleaf began, “but I thought we could get just half of it now and stock again at Red Wing.”

“Sure,” Morgan assented. “No use in our carrying any more than we have to. Some of it we might as well get all at once, but we can restock on the heavy stuff.”

“Let’s hear the list,” Ormand grunted from the bed.

“Twelve pounds of flour,” Greenleaf started.

“Cut it out,” came in a chorus from the others.

“We’re not running a logging camp in the backwoods,” Morgan objected. “We can carry bread and save piles of trouble.”

“Well, if you’re really going to camp,” Greenleaf contended, “you ought to cook everything you need.”

“Fudge,” Ormand cried. “We are going out for pleasure, not to see how much work we can do. That would be a freshman trick.”

Greenleaf, overruled but entirely unabashed, proceeded with the list. “Eight pounds of bacon, two of oatmeal; two of sugar; six pints of condensed milk; two quarts of beans.”

“Eight cans,” Morgan corrected, “but it would be great fun to have a bean hole if you would run ahead—half a day to start the fire.”

“Right you are,” Greenleaf conceded. “I forgot that we did not have a cook and a pack mule. Two pounds of butter, one of salt, a quarter-pound of tea. How is that for grub? Oh, yes, twelve loaves of bread for Morgan to tote.”

“Yes,” Morgan said, “I’d rather tote it any day than try to eat your biscuits. Add two pounds of pancake flour and a can of syrup.”

“How about lard?” Scott ventured.

“Don’t need it when you have the bacon,” Ormand objected, “but you’d better add two pounds of cheese and a box of matches. Yes, and you’d better take one can of tomatoes, so we can have the can for a lantern.”

“Now for the dishes,” Greenleaf said. “One frying pan; one teakettle; four tin cups; four spoons; two canteens.”

“One tomahawk,” Ormand added.

“Do you call that a dish?” Greenleaf jeered. “One pair of blankets apiece will be enough for us, and Morgan’s dog tent will complete the outfit.”

“One Stevens pistol and two boxes of cartridges,” Ormand added.

They all thought silently for about five minutes, but could think of nothing else.

“Well,” Ormand said, rolling leisurely off the bed, “you buy the stuff, Greenleaf, and bring it here, this is the nearest place to the carline. We’ll be here at six tomorrow morning, divide up the packs and take the car to the Indian Mounds. Good night.”

The two seniors gone, Greenleaf devoted a few minutes to revising the list and picking out the things for immediate purchase. At last, after many alterations, it seemed to suit him. With one last critical glance at it he bounded out of his chair and started for the door.

“Come on, Scotty, bring your pack sack and we’ll get this grub. Then we’ll go to bed and get a good sleep. If you have never been in camp you probably will not sleep much the first night, and better get all that’s coming to you now.”

With the aid of the list the purchases were soon made at the corner grocery and the “grub” piled in one corner of the room. It looked to Scott like a rather small supply for four men for four days, but he felt that the others knew what they were about, and was satisfied to trust to their judgment. All the other duffel was collected in a heap ready for division in the morning. Then they went to bed.

By a quarter of six they were dressed for the hike, and the other fellows had arrived. The packs were soon satisfactorily arranged and they hurried to the carline. It was a long ride to the Indian Mounds but they reached there by seven o’clock, slipped on their packs and hurried away down the river bank in search of a suitable place to get breakfast. They soon located a place in a small opening where an eight-inch stub had been broken in half by its fall.

Morgan made the fire in record time. With Scott’s help he laid the two pieces of the tree-trunk side by side with about three inches between them. That was the self-burning fireplace. A handful of dried leaves, a bunch of small twigs, a match, and the fire was ready for the kettle. Scott thought it only the beginning of a fire and was busying himself collecting a wagon-load of dried limbs for fuel when Greenleaf came up with the kettle full of water and set it over the diminutive blaze.

“How long do you think it will take to boil there?” Scott asked sarcastically.

“About five minutes,” Greenleaf answered cheerfully, missing the sarcasm.

Scott saw that he was sincere, and decided to time it rather than chance showing his ignorance by disputing it now. In the meanwhile Ormand had unpacked the oatmeal, sugar, a can of milk, the tin cups and spoons.

“How about pancakes?” he called.

“Too late this morning,” Morgan answered, and the pancake flour was left in the pack.

Scott was watching the fire with considerable interest. Greenleaf sat patiently beside it, occasionally poking tiny twigs in between the logs, but never on any account overfeeding it. In a few seconds over the prescribed five minutes the water began to boil. Greenleaf immediately removed it from the fire, dropped into it a small bag containing a heaping teaspoonful of tea, and getting two of the canteens, which Scott had looked upon as superfluous baggage, considering the number of houses they would pass, leaned them carefully against one of the logs with their uncorked mouths up. Five minutes later he fished out the little bag and poured the tea into the canteens, which he corked immediately.

No sooner was the tea out of the kettle than Ormand rinsed it and poured into it a cup of oatmeal and three cups of water which he had already brought to a boil in the frying pan. He put the kettle back on the fire, dropped in a pinch of salt, and proceeded to trim a good stiff, green stick. With this he began to stir the oatmeal vigorously, at the same time feeding the fire with the other hand.

“Anybody want any tea before he has his oatmeal?” Greenleaf asked. They all did. The smoking tea was poured into the tin cups, a can of condensed milk punctured in two places with a nail which Greenleaf produced from his pocket—“I always carry a nail,” he explained, “a round hole is so much easier to plug,”—and the tea was adjusted to every individual taste. Ormand stopped feeding the fire long enough to manage his tea with one hand, but never left off stirring for a second. They all sipped their tea contentedly until Ormand announced that the oatmeal was “done.”

It was then dealt out into the teacups, sugared and plastered with the undiluted milk. The cooking being over Morgan piled some larger sticks on the fire and they sat around it comfortably. Scott was very much surprised to see how very full a cupful of oatmeal made him feel.

Breakfast over, Morgan rolled the two logs apart so that by the time the teacups and the teakettle had been sand-scoured and rinsed out in the little stream the fire was almost out. A pot or two of water on the dying embers, the cups strung on the individual belts, and the party was ready to move. The most astonishing part to Scott was the perfect harmony of all the actions, and the promptness with which each one performed his part when he knew that they were not acting on any prearranged plan. He was to have a still more striking exhibition of this freemasonry of the woods when the little camp was pitched for the night.

Ormand took the lead and the four filed away down the river. Very little was said. Each man was wriggling himself into harmony with his pack and too full of the sheer joy of being once more in the open to care to talk. The houses very quickly ceased to obtrude themselves and Scott was surprised to see how soon they were in practically uninhabited woods. The flat river bottom was here very narrow and the cliffs rose almost at right angles to a height of one hundred and fifty feet. Frequent streams crossed their path, emerging from miniature gorges in the cliffs, and hurrying across the narrow strip of bottom land to the river. Trees there were in plenty, many of them species which Scott did not expect to find at all in such places.

At the end of an hour and a half of steady walking Ormand declared that it was time for a rest, and dropping his pack at the foot of a big elm tree, sat down beside it. All the others followed his example and they were soon comfortably settled in a little hollow protected from the wind.

“Great day for a hike,” Morgan exclaimed. “Just about cold enough to make it pleasant. The buds are all well formed so that you can identify things, and the leaves gone so that you can see something.”

“Yes,” Ormand agreed, “you can see our Thanksgiving dinner running all around us. Did you ever see so many rabbits?”

Greenleaf produced a bunch of twigs he had collected along the way. “Here’s where you fellows take an examination in dendrology. Of course you know all these species from their buds, or think you do, and now we’ll see about it. Scotty and I are not supposed to know anything yet except the conifers, but we’ll see if you can outguess us. Here, for instance,” he proceeded in the tone of a man with a megaphone on a sight seeing automobile, “is a small twig on which there are five perfectly good buds. Mr. Morgan, you will please elucidate.”

Morgan examined the twig carelessly and handed it to Ormand, who passed it on to Scott.

“Elm,” Morgan announced confidently. The others nodded assent.

“Sure,” Greenleaf jeered, “any jay knows that. But now for this neat little fellow.” He handed over a somewhat similar looking twig, but more slender, and with sharper buds standing well out from the twig. Morgan examined this one much more carefully, bit it, tasted it, bent it, passed it on. The others repeated the performance. When it had completed the rounds Morgan declared himself for white birch. Ormand immediately disagreed with him, and, after considerable hesitation, declared himself for blue beech.

“The buds are too big,” objected Morgan.

Scott was completely at sea.

“Very good, very good, gentlemen,” Greenleaf jeered, “but I broke it off an ironwood tree.”

The twig then went the rounds once more and was readily identified by the green on the buds.

“Humph,” Greenleaf grunted, “seems pretty easy when I have told you what it is.”

This became the favorite amusement at every stop that was made, and all along the line of march the identity of every tree concerning which there was any doubt, was settled to the satisfaction of everyone. Scott soon learned the trees well enough to take part in the discussions, and added to the interest of the stops by quizzing the others on specimens of rock he had collected, or explaining the physiography of the country through which they were passing. On the present occasion the stop was of brief duration. They planned to celebrate Thanksgiving in the usual manner with a big dinner in the middle of the afternoon and no more hiking that day. With this object in view they had elected to camp about two miles below Hastings, which they reached at half past two.

Scott was anxious to see how such a tiny tent as they were packing could possibly be made to accommodate four good-sized men. His curiosity was still further aroused by the eagerness with which the others seemed to be looking for a large fallen tree. A shout from Ormand brought the party to a halt.

“Here she is. Just where we want her, too.” The “she” referred to a large rotten log lying parallel to the river bank and some thirty feet from it.

Ormand began singing out orders like a major general even before he had slipped out of his pack. “Morgan, you build the fire and get the kettle on. Greenleaf, you and Scotty put up the tent and make the beds. I’ll go get the turkey.” And he disappeared in the bushes.

Greenleaf immediately took charge of the operation. “You unpack the tent, Scotty, while I cut the poles.” Scott busied himself with the pack while Greenleaf went circling through the neighboring woods eying critically every sapling he passed. An occasional sound of chopping announced the discovery of the sought-for pieces. In ten minutes he was back with two pieces, each three and a half feet long and forked at one end, a long slender pole, and two heavier poles about twelve feet long.

Scott buttoned the two halves of the dog tent together and watched Greenleaf chopping off the brush and smoothing the ground on the south side of the log. When this was completed to Greenleaf’s satisfaction, and he was very particular about it, he stretched the straight edge of the tent—what would ordinarily have been the front—tight along the log. He then produced from his pocket three twenty-penny spikes which he proceeded to drive through the brass eyelets into the log.

He and Scott stretched the tent out flat in a horizontal position and pushed the two forked sticks into the ground just outside of the front corners. On these two forked sticks the slender pole was laid and the front corners of the tent tied to it, thus keeping the canvas taut. The heavy poles were then pushed butt first through the forked sticks, under the canvass, over the slender pole, over the log, and shoved firmly into the ground behind the log. The flaps which usually form the back of the tent were then extended to their full length and tied to the ends of the heavy poles. In just fifteen minutes the little lean-to was completed and as steady as could be desired.

They collected a big pile of dead leaves, which they spread evenly on the ground under the canvas for a mattress, and spread the blankets over them. In the meanwhile Morgan had built a fire similar to the one they had used in the morning and had the kettle boiling merrily. He had also collected a big pile of green wood for the night fire.

Just as they finished their work Ormand bounded into camp with two rabbits he had shot with his twenty-two pistol. The tea was made as before and another kettle of water put on immediately. Greenleaf was in favor of boiling the rabbits in the teakettle, but Morgan insisted on stewing them in the frying pan. Two cans of beans were punctured and placed in the fire to warm. Scott spread out the other stores and in an hour from the time they had found the log they were seated around their Thanksgiving dinner. Some more critical guests might have found fault with it, but for them it could not have been improved. A bag of apples which Scott had bought on his way through Hastings nobly topped off the feast.

The meal over they repaired to the tent to enjoy themselves. As the evening was rather cold they heaped leaves at the end of the tent to keep out the wind and built a good big fire in front of it. Under that little flap of canvas it was warm as toast. In this cozy little retreat they spent the evening telling yarns and discussing the plans for the rest of the trip. When the last of the apples had been disposed of they remodeled the fire for the night, and rolling in their blankets they were soon lost to the world. In spite of all the predictions for a sleepless night for Scott he was the first one asleep and the last one to wake up in the morning.


Greenleaf rolled the others out in the morning while it was still dark and breakfast was disposed of in short order. It was a repetition of the morning before except that pancakes and bacon were added to the menu. As soon as the dishes were rubbed clean in the sand from the river bed and the packs made up the party was again on the trail.

They made good time the second day in spite of the slight soreness in their necks and backs from the unaccustomed packs, light though they were. By night they had covered twenty-five miles and camped within sight of the lights of Red Wing. Scott was delighted with the active part he was already able to take in the preparations for the night. The wind blowing steadily in their faces all day had made them very sleepy. Within an hour after they had finished their supper they were all asleep in their blankets.

By night they had camped within sight of the lights of Red Wing.

Saturday morning they felt better than ever—for the second day of a walking trip is always the hardest—and started out in splendid spirits. Entering Red Wing just as the grocery stores were opening they tarried only long enough to replenish their food supply. The boys were jealous of every minute they had to spend in town. The cliffs were on the west bank of the river now and they looked far out across the broad bottom lands of the Wisconsin shore to the hills in the distance. Later in the day they came to Lake Pepin and enjoyed the change of scenery. Scott explained the geological significance of the great lake in the course of the Father of Waters and it took on a new interest to them.

In the evening they were well within reach of Wabasha and knew that they could “take it easy” the next day. They lounged around the fire in luxurious ease for several hours spinning yarns before they piled the fire with green wood for the night and turned in.

Early morning found them tramping gaily along the river bank, their packs lightened of nearly all the provisions and their minds happy in the freedom of movement which came with the third day of the walking trip. They felt primed for any adventure and it was not long till they had one which furnished them with more excitement than they had bargained for.

They had stopped to throw stones at a bottle which was bobbing down the current when Greenleaf, who had spent one spring on the “drive” (floating the winter cut of logs to the mill), discovered a couple of logs hung on the shore near them. He had learned after many a ducking, to ride a log in the water, and seizing a pole lying on the shore, succeeded in shoving off the log into deep water and jumping on it. It was a dangerous proceeding for without the long spikes, or driving calks, in the shoes a log is very hard to handle, especially when it has been hung up along the shore for a long time and become coated with a layer of mud. But Greenleaf had had plenty of training in this business and with the aid of the long pole rode the log down the swift current as steadily as though it were a mud scow. The others kept pace with him along the shore cheering vociferously. At last Greenleaf tired of the fun and yielded to the entreaties of the others to let them try it.

Ormand had ridden logs a little the summer before while his class was at Itasca Park and the ease with which Greenleaf rode that particular log piqued him into a desire to show his skill. He knew it was a ticklish undertaking and one not likely to add much to his credit but nerve was not among the things he lacked and he was willing to take the chance. When Greenleaf jumped ashore Ormand grasped the pole boldly and sprang onto the log with apparent confidence. He landed squarely on the center of the log, which, propelled by his momentum, glided smoothly out into the stream. His success astonished him more than it did the others who did not know how little experience he had had. Had the log been straight and had fate not doomed it to strike a snag in the river Ormand might have landed successfully with a brilliant reputation as a riverman. But it was decreed otherwise.

As soon as the log floated out of the eddies near the shore it was caught by the current and turned down stream, but it was still working out toward the center of the river. Ormand did not like this for he knew that his success so far was due almost entirely to luck, and he did not want to tempt providence too far. He began paddling with the pole in an attempt to work the log back toward the shore. He was making a little progress but his work with the pole had a tendency to make the log turn slowly over in the water. He moved cautiously to keep on top and was a little surprised when the log stopped twisting as though one side of it were weighted. The other boys on the shore were cheering and keeping pace with the log, each eager for his turn to come. Just as Ormand was beginning to have hopes of making a graceful landing the center of the log touched a snag which was fast to the bottom of the river. The log twisted slowly a few inches in the same direction as before and then suddenly whirled over like a thing bewitched. Ormand was not looking for the sudden change of speed. His feet were jerked from under him and he fell backwards into the river. A shout of laughter arose from the boys on the shore for they knew Ormand was a good swimmer and considered it a huge joke to see him ducked.

Scott alone had noticed that Ormand’s head had seemed to strike the log as he fell and when he did not see him come up immediately he dived into the river without hesitation much to the surprise of the others. Scott was a splendid swimmer and even encumbered with his heavy shoes and his clothes he covered the fifty feet between the log and the shore in a few powerful strokes.

“Have you seen him?” he called to the boys on the shore.

“No,” yelled Morgan, now thoroughly scared, “he has not come up yet.”

Scott dived beside the snag and came up almost immediately with Ormand grasped firmly by the collar. He swam straight for the shore with his burden.

Greenleaf’s experience on the drive helped him now. “You help them out,” he called to Morgan, “while I build a fire.” He dashed back to the timber at the edge of the grass swamp and collected some wood.

In spite of Scott’s best efforts the current carried him quite a way down the stream. It was hard work and he was glad when Morgan relieved him by grasping the unconscious Ormand and, dragging him out on solid ground, lent him a helping hand. Together they carried the limp body to the fire.

Greenleaf, who had seen several such cases on the river, immediately took charge. “First we must get the water out of him,” he said, and turning Ormand on his face he grasped him around the waist and raised his body.

“Pull his tongue out, Scotty,” he said.

It was not easily done but Scott finally succeeded with the aid of his pocket handkerchief. By gently shaking Ormand, Greenleaf succeeded in getting most of the water out of his lungs.

“Now turn him on his back,” he said, “and we’ll start him breathing.” The boys obeyed feverishly. Greenleaf then placed a foot on either side of the inert body and grasping a wrist in either hand raised the arms slowly to a perpendicular position and then lowering them onto the chest by flexing the elbows pressed them down firmly. He repeated this motion slowly and regularly while the others obeyed his directions to take off Ormand’s shoes and rub his feet. Five minutes passed in this way—it seemed hours to the anxious boys—and still there was no sign of life.

“Fellows,” Morgan sobbed imploringly, “he can’t be dead, can he?”

Before anyone could answer the question a little shiver passed through Ormand and he heaved a gasping sigh. Morgan and Scott were so delighted that they wanted to throw themselves on him.

“Get out of the way,” Greenleaf commanded sternly, “and heat up a couple of those blankets I put there by the fire.”

Both of them grabbed the blankets, eager to be of some help.

Ormand looked around in a dazed way and groaned, “What’s the matter with my chest, Greeny?” he asked feebly; “it feels as though somebody was sticking a knife in me.”

“You’re all right,” Greenleaf said cheerfully, “but you had a pretty narrow squeak. Be quiet now while we wrap you in these hot blankets.”

Together they rolled Ormand in the hot blankets and Greenleaf fed him spoonfuls of hot tea that he had kept from lunch in his canteen.

For a while it did not seem as though Ormand realized what had happened to him, but after a while he raised his hand slowly to the back of his head and a light broke over his face.

“Now I remember,” he said. “I fell off that log and broke my head on the way.”

“Yes,” Greenleaf said, feeling the bump gently, “you cracked it on the way, all right, but you cracked it a good deal harder on the log.”

The reaction from the strain they had all been suffering brought a laugh out of all proportion to the joke.

“I can’t see what threw me so quick,” Ormand said; “it was turning so slowly that I thought I could control it.”

“Didn’t you know she was crooked?” Greenleaf asked in astonishment.

“No,” Ormand said, “I did not notice it.”

“Well,” Greenleaf exclaimed, “you sailed out there into the stream so well that I thought you were an old hand or I would have told you. She was as crooked as a dog’s hind leg and floated pretty solidly belly down. When you started paddling it turned the bowed part way up and she stayed that way till she struck that snag. That forced the bow clear over and she went down the other side with a whoop. Those crooked ones are the deuce to ride; even the old hands seldom tackle them.”

“I don’t know much about it,” Ormand confessed, “but you did it so well, Greeny, that I wanted to show off. It would probably have fixed me if it had not been for you fellows. Well, I feel all right now,” and he tried to get up.

“No you don’t,” Greenleaf said determinedly, pushing him back into the blankets, “you were pretty nearly drowned, and unless you are careful you’ll have pneumonia, and you must not leave those blankets till you are plumb dry.”

“Was I really that near it?” Ormand shivered.

“Seemed to me you were unconscious about an hour,” Scott said.

“Scotty was the only one who had sense enough to know that you were hurt,” Morgan said. “He dived right in as soon as you went overboard while the rest of us were laughing our heads off.”

Ormand looked his thanks to Scott and shivered again to think how near to death he had been.

In about three hours all the clothes were dried out and Greenleaf consented to let his patient move slowly with two assistants. They made their way to Reeds Landing, which was close by, and took the train back to the city. Their pleasure trip had narrowly escaped a very tragic ending, but even Ormand, after a few days, declared it had been a grand success.


Once more settled into the routine of college work the time passed rapidly. Scott began to wonder what he would do with himself during the Christmas vacation which was now close at hand. He had for some time imagined that some of the fellows who lived near there would take pity on him, a stranger from a distant land, and invite him to spend the holidays with them. He knew he could rely on that at home. But the time was now close at hand and no such invitation had materialized. The reason for it, when he found it out, astonished him more than ever. He found that none of them had any idea of spending that time loafing at home. The senior class was going to the lumber woods the day after Christmas, and all the others, rich and poor alike, were going to work at some job or other.

The thought seemed ridiculous at first, but as he noticed the self-reliance and independence of the men around him and recognized their ability to care for themselves anywhere, at any time, it began to look more reasonable; instead of looking down on them for their eagerness to earn money he began to admire them for their dignity. It occurred to him that it would be a novel experience to try a job for a while himself. He was ashamed to think how ignorant he was of such things and how helpless he should be if he were really suddenly thrown on his own resources where he would have to find a job for himself. Any of his classmates could find a dozen jobs while he was trying to think where to look for one. He was about decided to try his ability to support himself, when this problem, like most of the practical problems which had confronted him since he left home, was settled for him by his roommate.

That young gentleman sauntered into the room one afternoon about three days before the holidays began and seemed to be in a particularly cheerful mood. With considerable show he pulled a strip of paper from his pocket, stretched himself luxuriously in his chair with his feet protruding from under the opposite edge of the table and cleared his throat loudly. “Now, young man,” he began, in as deep a voice as he could command, “what do you intend to do this Christmas vacation? Are you going to work for an honest living or loaf and grow fat ignominiously?”

“Well,” Scott responded, falling in with his humor, “I was going to ask your advice about that, sir.”

“Very good. Then my advice to you is that you work. If you loaf you will have to loaf alone, which will soon become more tiresome than working, unless you want to fall back on your old friends, the millionaires, which would be degrading. Work during the holidays and buy a canoe for Itasca with the earnings. How’s that?”

“Fine,” Scott exclaimed. “Do you think I could earn enough for that? I am pretty green, you know.”

“Never mind about your color,” Greenleaf assured him; “most of the men who work extra for the holidays are more or less of that shade. You won’t be noticed. That point settled, now let’s see what kind of a job I can give you. I have been looking into the matter a little, and have a list of vacancies here from which we can choose something agreeable.”

Scott was very curious to see what the nature of the jobs would be. In his own mind he had pictured such positions as temporary clerkships in a bookstore, a bank, or wholesale house; private secretary to a railroad president, or some kind of investigational work for some ambitious professor. There his imagination had failed him.

“First,” Greenleaf continued, eying his list, “there is an extra salesman wanted at the Palladium.”

Scott gasped audibly.

“That,” Greenleaf said critically, doing the choosing for both of them, “we’ll not consider, because they pay only a dollar and a half per day and keep you standing up half the night.

“Next there is the job of carrying extras for the postman. That is no good because they do not pay any more than the other and it is likely to run out before the holidays are over. Cold job, too.

“Then there is a billing job in the express office. That is some fun and they pay two-fifty, but there is only one opening there and it is inside work.

“Next, writing tracers in the freight office, two-fifty, but a dog’s life and too much brain work.

“Next. Working on the sewer gang. Two dollars but too many ‘hunyacks’ to work with. Too hard work any way when you are not in training for it.

“Next. Work here at the Station at fifteen cents per hour. See too much of the place now. I want a change of view for my holiday.

“Last. Trucking in the transfer shed at twenty cents. That looks to me like the best shot. Outside work, plenty of exercise, a chance to work extra if you want to, and we can both work together. How does that strike you?”

Between the character of the jobs, so different from what he had imagined, and the marvel of wondering how Greenleaf ever got in touch with so many different lines of work, Scott was too astonished to give an immediate answer.

“Not much variety in the winter time,” Greenleaf apologized. “Oh, here’s another one. Driving an extra delivery wagon for the Kings’ Palace. Two-fifty, but that’s probably gone by this time. Mean job, anyway, especially in the winter, and too long hours. No, I’ll go down and telephone the transfer shed to hold two jobs. Are you game?”

“Sure,” Scott answered faintly, and Greenleaf popped out on his errand. While he was gone Scott spent his time in wondering what kind of a job he had gotten into, for he had never heard anything about a transfer shed, and had no idea what Greenleaf had meant. Before he had been able to figure out any satisfactory solution Greenleaf returned.

“It’s all right,” he cried; “they said they’d save us two trucks, and said we could come down Friday morning at 7 A. M. I tell you we’ll get some lively work there.”

Scott, who was ashamed to confess his ignorance, kept a discreet silence except to confirm any of Greenleaf’s statements which seemed to need confirmation. He turned the matter over continually in his own mind, but having nothing to work on never came to any conclusion.

At last the vacation began and the two boys presented themselves, or rather Greenleaf presented them both to the foreman at the shed. They were assigned to a westbound gang and directed to study the signs on the platform till it was time to begin work.

The transfer shed was located in an enormous freight yard amidst a network of forty or fifty tracks. The shed itself consisted of a large warehouse with offices on the second floor and, extending from either end of it, a covered platform some twenty feet wide and about a hundred yards long. Its floor was of heavy planking, the splintered condition of which seemed to indicate heavy traffic of some kind. It was on a level with the floors of the box cars which were standing four rows deep on either side of it. Iron skids were laid from the platform to the car-sills, forming a gang plank.

Stuck in the posts nearest the gang planks on one side of the platform were four tin signs bearing the names of the cities in the West, or such mystic signs as “1st Div. Way,” “Valley Way,” “East Local,” etc. Scott noticed that all the cars on that side were empty, while those on the opposite side of the platform seemed to be loaded to the roof with every conceivable kind of freight. He had not yet figured out the significance of all this but he studied hard and soon had a pretty good idea of their general location on the platform. He had also mastered the fact that when he found there were four signs connected with each skid, that the top sign referred to the car on the first track, the lowest one to the fourth, etc.

Just then there was a great rumbling noise in the direction of the warehouse and a swarm of men, each pushing a two-wheel truck, burst out onto the platform and assembled in little knots around the doorways of the loaded cars. One man with a tally board in his hand stepped out of a car some distance down the platform and beckoned to them.

“You belong to five,” he shouted. They nodded assent.

“Get two trucks out of the warehouse, and get a move on you,” he growled, as he turned again to the gang of men who were loosening the tangle of freight in the doorway of the car. The tone of voice rather galled Scott, but he had chosen his job and knew that he must accept its conditions. Some of the trucks in the warehouse were pretty badly battered up, but the boys soon found two with smooth handles and easy running wheels. When they came out the work had started in earnest, and men were dodging in and out of the cars, some with loads, some with empty trucks. All seemed to be in a tremendous hurry.

As they approached the car where gang five was working the man with the board asked them if they were old hands. They said that they were not and asked what they should do.

“Take things where I tell you and keep on the jump. Hang the ticket I give you on the nail to the left of the door where you leave the stuff, and be sure it’s the right car. Those tickets are collected from time to time—Fargo [he yelled at a passing truckman, and handed him a small slip of paper]—and if you’ve left anything wrong you’ll be stuck for the freight. You’re six,” he said to Greenleaf, “and you’re seven,” to Scott.

Scott took his place in the line and soon found his truck loaded with small boxes piled mountain high.

“Fifteen for Moorehead,” the loader called.

“Right,” came the echo from the check clerk, the man with the board. He was seated beside the car door, and as Scott passed him screamed “Moorehead car,” and shoved a slip into his outstretched hand.

Scott found that the management of a two-wheeled truck was a good deal more difficult problem than he had ever imagined it to be. If he let the handles get an inch too low the burden became almost beyond his strength and twice he raised them so high that he was lifted bodily from the ground in spite of his violent efforts to stay down. It was a question of balance, and some of the men around him seemed to have mastered it perfectly. Some walked steadily and easily along with a load that would have filled a horse-cart, others tore past with a barrel or large box not only perfectly balanced but carrying them along with one foot on the axle of the truck and their bodies suspended from the truck handles by the armpits. The trucks seemed to shoot here and there, even almost at right angles into a car door, without any effort on the part of the truckman or without his so much as touching his foot to the floor. Every time Scott’s truck ran over a chip or struck the edge of a skid, his handles showed an almost uncontrollable tendency to throw him in the air, and several times he narrowly escaped spilling his load in that way. When he finally reached the Moorehead car safely a storeman met him and showed him where to dump his load. He stuck his slip on the nail with the others and ran back to the car. He found that by continually running with his empty truck he could just about make up for his slowness on the outbound trip, and maintain his turn in the gang. It was a disgrace to lose a turn.

Greenleaf had done a little trucking in the warehouses around Duluth and in half an hour was racing with the best of them, and was on joking terms with every man in the gang, except the gruff check clerk, who had been raised to that position temporarily, and was afraid to joke for fear of losing his dignity.

It was marvelous to see the way these men could handle loads of any weight and any shape on those little two-wheeled trucks. Nothing seemed to be too heavy, nothing too cumbersome to be balanced on a truck and wheeled away by one insignificant man. Hogsheads of tobacco weighing twenty-six hundred pounds were wrestled onto a truck by five or six husky men, and, once on securely, were trotted out unassisted by one consumptive looking Austrian.

At last Scott thought they were stuck on a crate of glass some ten feet long, four feet high and six inches thick which stood on edge against the wall and seemed too heavy to be moved by human force, but, he soon found, to his own humiliation, that he was mistaken. The loader, or caller, broke up with his steel freight-hook the cleats which held it, sized up the situation and called to Scott: “Break that out of there.”

Scott knew what that meant from watching the others. He stepped forward and with his foot on the axle of the truck drove the sharp blade deep under the edge of the crate. He then threw all his weight on the handles in an attempt to raise the load on the blade. The crate bobbed up a little but dropped back with a bump and jerked Scott violently up in the air like a cork. He tried three times with all his might but never got the box more than an inch from the floor.

At this point the caller interfered in a most humiliating manner.

“Better put some bricks in your pocket, boy,” he jeered. “Get out of the way and let a man get hold of that truck.”

That was a pretty hard thing to bear quietly from a man twenty pounds his inferior in weight, but Scott thought he would soon be vindicated because he did not believe that any man could budge that crate.

The caller drove his hook into the side of the car by way of hanging it up, grasped the handles of the truck and with a few quick jerks moved the crate out a foot or more from the wall. He then blocked the wheels with a chip of wood, placed his foot carefully on the axle, and grasping the handles tightly threw himself far forward over the crate. For one second he poised there and then threw himself violently backward with every ounce of impetus his muscles could summon to his aid. The handles went down within two feet of the floor and there seemed to hang in the balance. It was against the ethics of the shed to help him and all the men watched him struggle slowly and laboriously up between the handles at the same time keeping them down. With one final wriggle he gained the ascendancy and forced the handles to the floor.

“Here, Ole,” he called, “run your truck under there and get her balanced.”

Ole placed his truck, two men helped the caller let his handles slowly up and the great crate balanced serenely on the other truck.

“Here’s your truck, kid.” Then seeing the chagrined look on Scott’s face, “You’ll get on to it some day; it takes practice.”

Scott’s boxing training and endurance stood him in good stead. He was able to put in three hours of extra work even the first night. Later on as he learned the tricks of the trade the work became easier, and he began to enjoy it. There were all classes of men and all nationalities represented in the ten gangs at the shed, Swedes, Norwegians, Austrians, Finns, Poles and one gang of real Southern negroes. It was a problem worth while to study the characters of these different races; to compare the slow sullen plod of the Scandinavian with the carefree cheerfulness of the negroes, to see the contempt of the Irish foreman for all the races of slower wit. It was a liberal education in itself.

He soon learned the workings of the shed and became interested in its methods. The cars rolled in there from the Eastern cities loaded with all kinds of merchandise for all the points of the northwest. The waybills for these cars were sent to the office in the second story of the warehouse where the clerks abstracted them, and wrote out on large sheets of paper the names of consignor, and consignee, and descriptions of the consignments. These abstract sheets were then taken by the foreman as fast as the cars came in and placed on the clips on the platform. Here the check clerks took them in charge.

A gang usually consisted of a check clerk, a caller and five truckmen. The caller read the directions on the freight and loaded it on the trucks, always selecting for any one load boxes which went into the same car. The check clerk checked them off on his abstract and told the truckman where to take it. It was the duty of the check clerk to know every point in the territory and how to reach it.

Scott had started the work with the idea that any educated man had an advantage over any other man not similarly educated, and could excel him at his own work. One day’s experience on the truck handles had very effectually shown him his mistake. He began to realize that a man who had spent several years rolling a truck was quite as much of an expert in his line as a doctor was in his, and that no man could tell him much about it. It was depressing at first, but as he became more expert himself he began to find that he could outdo these men in many ways on account of his better head work. He soon began to enjoy the work in the capacity of a master workman.

All this was extremely interesting to Scott and he felt that he was acquiring invaluable experience. Christmas passed almost unnoticed save that Scott’s box from home furnished them many a grateful lunch when they returned to their rooms at night tired but happy in thrashing over the day’s doings.

But that was not all. There was plenty of fun and humor at the shed as well as elsewhere. One afternoon Scott thought he noticed some freight in the Willmar car which did not belong there. It was the mistake of the check clerk or the caller. No one liked the check clerk, but the caller was popular, and Scott decided to tell him about it.

“Charlie,” he said when he returned to the car, “I think you called some of that stuff wrong. I saw some of your stuff up there in the Willmar that I did not think belonged there.”

Charlie was master of a rough-edged sarcasm and he spared no one. Work was a little slack and he settled down to rub it into Scott.

“You think I made a mistake. You think it don’t belong there. What right have you got to think? Don’t you know that there is a man upstairs who is paid eighteen hundred dollars a year just to sit at his desk and think? He does all the thinking for this place. You just flap your ears like a little jack-ass and push that truck.”

The sally was met by howls of laughter and Scott was obliged to join in them. All the rest of that day whenever he looked at all pensive Charlie broke into his meditations with, “Say, boy, you been thinking any more lately?”

Another source of amusement which originated with the darky crew, but soon spread to the whole shed, was the popular method of settling all disputes and rough houses. No sooner did two men start to tussle than some enthusiast in the crowd, sometimes one of the combatants if he felt sure of victory, would yell, “Get a board.” That was the invariable war cry. There were always plenty of people to carry it out and as if by magic a husky man would appear with a bed slat. The presence of that bed slat reversed the ordinary methods of wrestling completely. It was no longer the object to come out on top, for the top man got the full benefit of the bed slat laid on with no gentle hand. The agonized expression and bodily writhing of the victim who saw that descending bed slat out of the corner of his eye were the delight of the crowd. The man who could stay underneath with the seat of his trousers glued fast to the platform was the successful combatant in the eyes of all concerned. It was not a position easily maintained, for the exertions of the other man under the stimulus of the bed slat became almost superhuman.

Scott had been anxious to try his strength at this game with some of these strong laborers, but he had been slow to make their acquaintance. The day before he left the shed he had his opportunity thrust upon him. There was a big Swede there, the bully of the shed, who was acknowledged to be the “best man” at the bed slat game. He was consequently always looking for trouble and had gotten the better of nearly everyone there at some time or other. Scott had often wondered what his skill could do against this man’s strength.

The clash came unexpectedly. Scott shot out of a car door with his empty truck just in time to crash into a truck loaded high with small boxes. The impact dumped the top-heavy load, and fifty cobbler outfits were scattered the width of the platform. Almost before he knew what had happened he felt himself raised bodily from the ground and the big Swede was bellowing the war cry in his very ear. He felt absolutely helpless in that iron grasp. Hardly had the echo of the war cry died away when there was a swish and the inevitable bed slat landed with a crack like a rifle.

The tears sprang to Scott’s eyes, but all the feeling of helplessness was gone. With one frantic wrench he freed himself from the big Swede’s arms. He dodged the next blow of the menacing slat, grappled his opponent around the knees and brought him to the ground with a crash. He had downed his man, but with the wrestler’s instinct, and unmindful of the rules of this new game, he had fallen on top of his opponent. Crack came the relentless slat. There was no time to lose. He was free and could have ended the scrap by leaving his opponent but that would have been to acknowledge defeat, which he was not willing to do without a fair trial. With one wild dive he secured a crotch and body hold on his untrained opponent; but the man was too big—he could not turn him over. Just then the bed slat descended again with a vicious spat. That gave him the needed strength. One agonized heave toppled the big fellow heels over head and Scott fell neatly under him. Flat on his back with the big Swede pinned helplessly above him he listened to the cracks of the slat mingling with the yells of the crowd and smiled as he foiled the heavings of the mighty frame with his skill.

A half dozen cracks were enough. The big fellow howled for mercy, and Scott arose the hero of the shed. The forty-five dollars he earned that vacation was the pride of his life, but if he had been given his choice he would have preferred to repeat that triumphant moment when he lay on his back on the platform and listened to the tune of that slat.


Of all the Christmas vacations which Scott could remember he recalled none that had left him such real sensations of pleasure as that three weeks of hard labor in the old transfer shed. It formed almost the only theme of conversation between the two boys for the next two weeks. A month ago Scott would have laughed at the idea of his being able to learn anything at such a place, yet hardly a day passed now that he did not feel that he had been helped by his experience. Moreover, he took a very different interest in the laboring men he saw and seemed to look at everything from a different point of view.

He buckled down to his work with a better will than he could have done after a period of idleness and had the satisfaction of seeing his extra courses rapidly coming to a successful close. The mid-year examinations came bringing terror to the unprepared, but Scott took his Saturday afternoon and Sunday off as usual, and waded through the examinations in the regular routine of his work. He came out of them with flying colors, and found himself a full fledged junior with the privilege of taking part in all the activities of the class.

The most important of these class activities at this time was the formation of the famous Junior Corporation for the management of the camp at Itasca. A camp meeting was called at which Ormand and Morgan, the officers of the last year’s Corporation, explained its organization and workings. Ormand explained the object of the Corporation.

“You see, fellows, it’s like this. That camp is twenty-seven miles from the railroad. There is no boarding house within striking distance of the place, so somebody has to run the cook shack. If an outsider came in to run it he would have to charge big money in order to make any profit; if the school ran it the fellows would always be kicking on the grub; if the fellows run it themselves they can make it cost what they please and have nobody but themselves to kick if they don’t like it. It has always worked out first rate. We kept board down to two dollars and eighty cents per week last summer, had good grub and entertained lots of company.

“Of course it means some work. The school supplies a good cook shack and all the equipment. You will have to elect some good man manager to attend to all the business, and another good man secretary to keep the books, pay the bills and help him out generally. Then the rest of you must back them up in everything they do. Hire your own cook, buy your provisions wholesale and buy your own cows.”

Morgan then explained the organization of the camp crews and the rules of the game as well as he could.

With this information as a guide the new officers were quickly elected and the organization completed. Merton was elected manager and Scott, secretary. Before his experience at the shed Scott would have been afraid of this responsibility, but he had more confidence in himself now and welcomed the experience.

The next few weeks were indeed full ones for the new officers. They levied an assessment of twenty-five dollars from each member of the class to meet the immediate expenses, held long conferences with the former officers, making up grocery lists and collecting details of information which would aid them in handling the various contingencies which might arise in the course of the summer. They signed a written contract with the director of the College defining their duties and privileges. They carried on an extensive correspondence in an effort to locate a suitable cook and find two cows which would answer their purpose. After holding a protracted meeting with the representative of a wholesale grocery company they placed an order for what seemed to them an inexhaustible supply of provisions.

In the bustle of preparation various lines of private enterprise were brought to light. One man had constituted himself a special agent for a certain shoe concern and took orders for all styles of boots, puttees and moccasins. Another was appointed to purchase compasses and all other needed equipment of a like nature; while still another canvassed the class for sweaters, flannel shirts, mackinaws, and riding breeches. Scott added to his official duties the selection and purchase of a canoe which he paid for with the money he had earned at the shed. It was a busy time for everyone and the fever of expectant excitement pervaded the entire class. The tang of spring was in the air and these young savages were yearning for the freedom of the woods.

Two days before the appointed day of departure came the annual banquet of the Forestry Club to speed the parting juniors. It was regarded somewhat as a sacred rite because it was the last meeting of the year when all the classes could be together. By the time the juniors would come down from the woods the seniors would be scattered to the four corners of the country and there was no chance of getting them all together again after that. It was also the time when the embryo orators of the different classes aired their wit in after-dinner speeches. Men had been known to keep jokes secret for a whole year for the sake of springing them publicly at the banquet.

A committee of the Club had made all the arrangements. A hungry crowd some forty strong assembled at the hotel and, as is customary on all such occasions, starved for almost an hour waiting for the banquet to be served. It was a very good banquet and tasted all the better for the delay—maybe that is the reason all banquets are delayed—but everyone was more interested in what was to come afterward than in the dinner itself.

The professor of engineering was in the chair as toastmaster, the director of the College was present and so were all the popular professors. It was rather an honor for a faculty member to be invited if he was not a member of the Club—for it was an independent organization and invited none out of mere politeness. This was pretty generally understood and few who were invited failed to appear. One or two outsiders who had earned the friendship of the Club were also there.

As the last waiter closed the door behind him the toastmaster arose and solemnly proposed that they should all sing “Minnesota.” Every man was on his feet in an instant, for it was traditional that the “Foresters had more spirit than all the rest of the University put together,” and they never neglected to show it at every opportunity. The song had the desired effect; it struck fire which melted all formality and welded the crowd into one homogeneous whole. There were no longer any class distinctions; the faculty were stripped of their dignity. The toastmaster grilled everyone unmercifully. The faculty told all the jokes they could think of on the students and on each other; the students “slammed” the faculty unrestrained. Everyone had the best kind of a time. When the toastmaster finally resigned his seat it was close to eleven o’clock, and there were many under classmen among those present who were already looking forward to the meeting of the next year. There was more than one senior who went home rather sadly thinking that it was the last of its kind for him.

It had been a revelation to Scott. His relations with the faculty had been wholly of the classroom, and he had formed the students’ usual opinion of them as a type. That night he had seen them act like human beings and he began to wonder if some of them were not almost human after all.

The fifteenth of April, the day set for the departure, arrived at last. The train left the Union Depot at nine in the morning, and the boys were eager to reach the depot. The car stopped and they hurried into the station where they found a wild and woolly looking group assembled in the corner of the waiting room. They could not wait to get to the woods and were nearly all attired in true lumberjack fashion, only the pallor of their faces betraying them. They hailed the new arrivals with that exaggerated hilarity that only a crowd of college boys can display. And that hilarity instead of subsiding grew steadily with the arrival of every new addition. They joked each other continually, riled the grouchy baggage man almost to madness and “joshed” every porter who showed himself.

When the train came in from St. Paul the crowd surged boisterously forward sweeping everyone before it. Most of the people recognized the joyous buoyancy of youth, and knowing how useless it was to oppose it, yielded good naturedly enjoying it by a sort of reflected pleasure, but a few resented it wrathfully, thereby making themselves ridiculous. On they rushed across the platform and took possession of the smoking car.


That trip to Park Rapids was a memorable one to the boys, as well as to everyone else on the train. Most travelers consider it a dull and tiresome ride but the boys seemed to find a source of never-ending enjoyment in the sameness of the little towns along the road and the long stretches of prairie, broken here and there by patches of jack pine. The almost unbroken series of practical jokes which they played on the trainmen and on each other made the miles slip pleasantly by for the other passengers. It was all done in a good-humored spirit of abandon that angered no one.

The dinner which they devoured at Sauk Center amazed some of the invalid ladies who watched them, but it was only a vague foreshadowing of the meal which they would eat in that same room on the downward trip when their appetites had been whetted by four months of strenuous work in the woods. With a cheer for the town which had fed them so well they boarded the little branch train which was to take them to their destination and resumed their old amusements. At Wadena they welcomed wildly a stray member of the class who had come across on the N. P. to join them. They immediately proceeded to work off on him all the gags which had been developed earlier in the day.

As they neared Park Rapids the spirit of restlessness pervaded the crowd. No sooner had the wheels stopped turning than they boiled out onto the platform amidst the crowd of citizens who had made their regular daily pilgrimage to see the train come in. They lost no time at the station, the baggage could be taken care of in the morning, but swarmed away up the street to the hotel. They selected a cheap hotel—for no matter how much money a man might have at home it was part of the game to keep down the expenses of that trip to the minimum.

Their duffel disposed of, Merton, as manager of the corporation, hurried away to interview the storekeepers to arrange for a shipment of eatables by the stage in the morning and to make an agreement with them for such emergency supplies as they might require through the summer. Scott, with a feeling of pride in his new responsibility, searched the livery stables for two teams, one to haul the baggage and another the groceries they had shipped tip from St. Paul. The others scattered in all directions to explore the town, to sound its resources and locate some amusement for the evening. They returned to the hotel for dinner, a little disappointed, with nothing to report but a moving picture show and a bowling alley.

The whole party was early afoot in the morning to take advantage of the 6:30 breakfast, for there was a big day’s work ahead of them. The former classes had established the precedent of walking to and from camp, and no class now dared fall short of that standard. A twenty-eight mile walk was a big undertaking for men fresh from the classroom, but it had to be done to maintain the class prestige. The people of the town expected it of them and even the stage driver, who had become reconciled to the loss of the fares, took a certain pride in their independence and recited the exploit times without number to the summer boarders who later chanced to be his passengers.

It was found that three of the boys had set out the night before to spend the night at the Fairview Hotel at Arago, half way out, and complete the journey in the morning. Three of the others, inexperienced and not yet imbued with the spirit of the thing, waited for the stage. Four of the remaining ones took the road immediately after breakfast, while Merton and Scott hurried away to get the wagons started. By seven-thirty the two wagon-loads of duffel and groceries were on the road, and the two boys walked gayly on ahead, full of the joy of the open. It was also a precedent that the walkers should reach the camp ahead of the stage and they swung to their work with a will.

The twenty-eight mile walk, such a marvel to those who never walk themselves, was uneventful. At the Lodge, on the south end of Lake Itasca, Scott and Merton overtook the other four walkers, and the six then finished the journey together.

“So that is Lake Itasca,” Merton observed rather thoughtfully, as they followed the road along the hills on the east shore, “the source of the Father of Waters. I remember seeing pictures of it in my geography.”

“Sure thing,” Bill Price answered quickly. “So do I. I recognized it as soon as I saw it.”

“Well, this is something like a forest,” said Scott, admiring the dense stand of pines stretching down the hill to the water’s edge. “I began to think down there below Arago that the whole country was just covered with brush.”

“I wonder where the stage is?” Merton mused looking back over his shoulder, and they quickened their pace perceptibly.

“No matter now,” Scott answered. “We could outrun him from here if we had to.”

“Be easier to pay him to stay behind us,” Bill suggested.

In this way the last three miles passed rapidly and a sudden turn in the road brought them in sight of the camp not more than two hundred yards away. They had heard so much of it from the seniors and seen so many pictures of it taken at all possible angles that they recognized it at once.

“There’s the cookshack up on the hill,” Merton shouted, “and there’s smoke coming out of the chimney, too. That looks good to me. I could eat a porcupine right now, quills and all.”

“There’s the library straight ahead,” said Scott. “I wonder where the other buildings are?”

“There’s the barn,” Bill called, “and here’s the foreman’s house right beside us. Gee, doesn’t that lake look fine from here? I wish it was warm enough for a swim.”

A shout showed that they had been sighted from the camp and they answered with an Indian whoop. They piled eagerly down across the campus and were welcomed enthusiastically by their classmates who started out the night before and by Professor Mertz, who had come up the previous week to get the place in shape.

They all sat down on the library porch and made a preliminary survey of the campus. The lake shore, not over a hundred feet away, stretched north and south; across a quarter-mile of shining water the opposite shore, part birch, part swamp, part pine. The roof of the boathouse peeped over the bank directly in front of them, the big log bunkhouse loomed up to the north, and hidden in the trees to the south were the four small cabins of the faculty. It was a beautiful picture even then, but nothing to what it would be when the trees were in leaf and all the vegetation green.

“Looks pretty fine,” Merton said, “but, what’s more important, how do you like the looks of the cook?”

“Fine,” came the chorus; “he moved in as naturally as though he had always belonged here and has a hand-out waiting for you now.”

“’Nough said,” cried Bill, and they all arose as one man. “Let’s go see the cookshack.”

The cook, who had held despotic sway over many a lumber camp, was waiting for them in the doorway and greeted them cheerily. It was hard to realize that he had never seen any of them before.

“Not much in the way of chuck, yet,” he apologized, “but I got some flour at the store, and there’s bread and butter and cheese and the teapot is on the stove.”

The newcomers dropped into the benches without more ado and ate ravenously.

“Looks like five dollars a plate to me,” Morris chuckled between bites. “I could die eating like this.”

“Chances are pretty good that you will,” Bill purred, “you put in more time at that than anything else.”

“When’s the grub coming?” the cook asked anxiously.

“There is enough on the stage for a couple of meals,” Merton answered, “and a good two-horse wagon-load will be here a little later.”

The cook looked immensely relieved, “Good, there ain’t nothing makes me nervous like an empty pantry.”

They had just finished eating when the stage hove in sight. It was a good three-quarters of an hour behind them. Of course the three boys on the stage had to have a “handout,” so they all ate some more.

Merton pulled out his list of groceries and consulted with the cook. “Jansen, here’s a list of the stuff we have coming on the wagon. You’d better look it over and see whether we have forgotten anything. If we have we can send for it tonight and have it on the stage tomorrow. There are only eggs, and a little butter to get. I want to arrange with some of the settlers tomorrow about supplying us with those things. Have to have some potatoes, too, and we have a couple of cows coming tomorrow.”

Jansen looked the list over with approval shining in every line of his face. “Fine,” he exclaimed, “we can live high on that, but you’d better order some beans pretty soon and some more ginger. I’m strong on beans and ginger bread. You can’t run a camp without ’em.”

“Come on, fellows,” Price called from the doorway, “let’s go have a look at the bunkhouse. I want to select my suite.”

They all trooped down the hill through the pines and across the tennis court towards the bunkhouse.

“This tennis court looks good to me,” said Morris. “I expect to put in many a good hour here.”

“All right,” Merton answered cheerily. “We’ll appoint you a committee of one to smooth it up, patch up the backstop and mark it out. There’s nothing like having work that interests you.”

“Gee,” exclaimed Burns, “those big upper porches look cold enough now, but I’ll bet they make dandy places to sleep this summer. You can lie right in your bunk and watch the moonlight on the lake.”

They filed through the door and stood looking admiringly around them. The whole ground floor, twenty-four by thirty-six feet, was one big club room with a big fireplace opposite the door and plenty of windows. The furniture was built of pine two by sixes, crude but massive and well suited to the log building. In the city the place would have looked rough enough, but there in the backwoods it looked like a castle and the fellows immediately adopted it as such.

“Isn’t this great?” Scott said. “When we get a good big fire whooping up that chimney and our library here, it can rain all it pleases.”

“Yes,” Bill said, “and I’ll bet more than one mosquito will dull his bill trying to bore through those tamarack logs. I’m going to file my claim on this big morris chair right now, and I’ll put on those gloves there on the wall with any man who wants to dispute it.”

The crowd wandered upstairs. It was the same as the downstairs save that there was no fireplace and the only furniture was some twenty steel bunks with wire springs. Big double doors on each end opened onto twelve-foot screened porches.

“Me for the outside, right now,” said Merton, proceeding to drag one of the bunks out onto the north porch.

“Well,” said Scott, “I’ll join you. It may be a little cold at first but we get the pick of the locations if we get out now. There’ll be a rush for it the first warm night. Better take the west end, the sun will not get in on you there so early in the morning.”

“Long head,” Merton answered, dragging his bunk across. “Get a better view of the lake, too. Isn’t that great? There’s the post office up there and the ‘town site’ the fellows used to laugh about. Let’s go see Professor Mertz and find out what there is to be done.”

But they did not have to look for Professor Mertz; he was downstairs waiting for them. He smiled at their enthusiasm over their new quarters.

“Well, fellows,” he began sociably, “I see that you recognize the possibilities of this place for having a good time, and you are not mistaken in it. You’ll have the time of your lives. But I want to call your attention to some of the other features. You must remember that this is the University and everyone will judge the University by what you do here. Think every time before you do anything, what effect it is going to have on the school. Its reputation here depends on you entirely.

“There are five boats in the boathouse; three of them are for your use; two of them, the cedar ones, are reserved for the faculty. The scow is for general use, but no one runs the engine except Professor Roberts, Mr. Sturgis or myself. The old tub of a sail boat you can rig up if you want to. It is not much good, but the fellows usually manage to get some fun out of it. Whether you are in a boat or swimming, be careful. You may think that you are too old for that warning, but two men have been drowned in that lake in the past four years, and they were both as old as you are. Never go swimming alone and never ‘rough-house’ in a boat.

“Next, be careful about fire, both around the buildings and the woods. The woods are very dry now and a match thrown down carelessly may mean a fire which will cost several hundred dollars to put out. You will probably have a chance to fight one somewhere before long and then you’ll understand. Never throw down a match until it is out completely.

“Another thing. Don’t peel every birch tree you see. It will be a big temptation at first to get bark for postal cards, etc., but don’t peel the trees along the roads or trails. It destroys the looks of the woods and is disgusting to woodsmen. When you want some bark find a tree in some out-of-the-way place—there are thousands of them—chop it down and peel the whole of it. This is a park, you know, and we do not want to be accused of vandalism.

“Lastly, remember that you are responsible for the camp. We furnish you with a good equipment and it is up to you to see that the camp is kept in shape, the buildings clean and everything orderly. We’ll help you all we can, but remember that it is your camp.

“I won’t preach to you any longer. You can have tomorrow to get things straightened out and get your bearings. The next day we’ll have a dendrology excursion to catch these trees here before the leaves come out. If you want me you’ll find me in that third cottage.”

The professor chatted awhile before he walked away to let the boys adjust their own affairs—for it was the policy of the camp to interfere with them no more than was absolutely necessary; it helped to develop their independence. On this particular occasion chance deprived them of very much choice in the matter, for hardly had they started a discussion of detailed organization than a rattling of wheels announced the arrival of the wagons with the supplies.

“Talk about your quiet places in the backwoods,” Morris exclaimed, as he ran out with the rest of the crowd, “there’s something doing every minute. You no sooner finish one thing that you have never done before than another turns up.”

“Yes,” Bill retorted sarcastically, “always something new. You’ll have to unload a wagon and then the first thing you know you’ll be eating supper.”

With so many zealous workers the baggage was soon unloaded and stowed away in the bunkhouse; the provisions were neatly arranged under the cook’s directions on the shelves of the little storeroom in the back of the cookshack.

Scarcely had they finished admiring their work when a terrific din broke forth on the other side of the building, a vibrating, metallic clatter that must have startled the deer a mile away. When they tore around the corner to investigate they found the cook grinning from ear to ear, belaboring with an old ax a four-foot circular saw, which was hung from the corner of the building on an iron pipe.

He stopped, panting. “There, I’ll ring her like that fifteen minutes before mealtime and then just three hard taps when the meal is ready.”

It was certainly an effective gong. It had first been used in that neighborhood as an instrument of torture, by a crowd of settlers in a charivari party for a newly married couple some two miles to the north. The distinctness with which it was heard on the school ground on that occasion had been sufficient proof of its efficiency and it had straightway been appropriated by the students.

The ravenous boys forgot their lunch of only two hours before and did full justice to the supper with a will that did the old cook’s heart good. Then as the night was pretty cold they adjourned to a roaring fire in the bunkhouse and soon to a welcome bed.


All the next day the boys were busy as badgers making garden, sawing wood for the cookshack, fixing up the tennis court and putting the camp in shape generally. The gangs were well organized for so early in the season and did their work quickly. Merton and Scott, who had scoured the country to the northward in search of eggs and butter reported a supply sufficient for the first half of the summer at least. They also brought back with them two cows which they had purchased through correspondence with the foreman. Night found them feeling very much at home, with much of the preliminary work completed. Professor Mertz had kept a friendly eye on them all day, showing them better methods in their work, running the gasoline engine for the woodsaw and helping them out of difficulties at every turn, but interfering very little with their plans.

The rest of the week was devoted to their real introduction to the forest. At eight o’clock in the morning with their lunches on their belts they set out with Professor Mertz, sometimes on foot and sometimes in the scow, but always with the assurance that they would get all the walking they wanted before they returned to camp. Occasionally a road or trail would take them where they wanted to go, but more often they plowed through the untracked forest, through densely tangled alder and hazelnut brush, across spongy tamarack swamps or grass meadows, into the fragrant thickets of balsam second growth or over the open pine ridges, skirting the shores of lakes or clambering over piled up windfalls. The only rests were when Professor Mertz waited for some of the stragglers to come up for general consultation on some new species, often one with which they had all been familiar in the classroom, but failed to recognize in its new surroundings. Hour by hour these strangers became less frequent and they greeted old friends enthusiastically. It was fascinating work, and led them on mile after mile almost without realizing how far they were going till they found themselves at four in the afternoon some five or six miles from home, with a race for supper ahead of them. Most of them were well used to walking but they had done the greater part of it on roads or pavements, and they found this cross country work a very different thing. It was only pride and nerve which kept them up with the long strides of the professor as they “hiked” back to camp; they all admitted being tired.

When Scott thought that the park was little more than twenty thousand acres in extent, and that all their hikes had covered but a very small portion of it he began to realize what a really princely estate he would have if he could only fill those conditions.

Among the other things that they had seen on their trips, especially when they were on the lake, were the numerous columns of smoke, thin gray lines in the early morning expanding toward mid-day into great black storm clouds which fanned out over the whole sky and cast a gloom over everything. To the inexperienced boys the columns seemed always to be in exactly the same location, but the woodsmen could see them advancing, retreating, sidestepping, like trained fighters, and, knowing the country as they did, could explain almost every movement. They watched the fires unceasingly, for it was so dry that only a high wind from the right direction was needed to bring any one of them down on the park with a terrific sweep that would be hard to stop. The older men prayed for rain to relieve the unheard of drought and put a stop to the fires, but the boys longed for a chance to try themselves against those great smoke-breathing monsters.

One evening when they had returned late from a long tramp, Scott was thoughtfully watching a great black formless mass standing out against the western twilight and thinking regretfully that it must be ten miles away. There was no wind and the great wavering column boiled upward till it seemed lost in space.

“Fire, fire, everywhere,” he murmured, “and not a spark to fight.”

“Yes,” said Morris, “and from the way the fellows talked last year you’d think that they did nothing else but fight fire.”

The foreman, who was passing by the porch, heard the remark and stopped, leaning up against the screen.

“Don’t you worry yourselves about not getting any fire-fighting experience,” he said. “Two of the patrolmen ’phoned in this afternoon that the fires in the north and west were bad ones. If the wind comes up from those directions they’ll need all the men they can get.”

“Do you think there is any chance of a wind?” Merton asked, eying the sky inquiringly.

“If we don’t have one in the next three or four days,” the foreman answered, “it will be the first chance it ever missed.”

“Three or four days,” Scott grumbled in disgust; “the fires may all be out by that time.”

“Don’t you fool yourself,” the foreman answered him. “Those fires are not in the habit of going out of themselves even in three or four weeks. Nothing short of a week’s rain or an army can put them out now.”

“I’ll bet if it does blow it will be from the south,” Bill grunted; “there’s a conspiracy to do us out of part of our rightful education.”

As the foreman moved off chuckling, he called back over his shoulder:

“The wagons are all packed ready to start, and I’ll bet pop for the crowd that we’re on the fireline somewhere in thirty-six hours.”

“Done,” yelled a half-dozen voices at once.

“Better sleep while you can,” the voice called back, “you won’t get much at the fire. Good night.”

“Good night.”

“Sort of a poor bet,” Bill mused, “because he is the man who can order us out; but I’m willing to pay up all right for the chance, if we have to go ten miles to find the fire.”

“Well,” Morris yawned, “I guess he’s right about the sleep, anyway, and I’m going to turn in.”

Everyone else seemed to be of the same opinion and they filed off to bed. In half an hour the chorus of snores rolling up from the upper porches bore witness to the fatigues of the day’s hike and complete loss of interest in the fire situation. The stillness of the forest—really made up of the countless small noises of the insects, birds, and roaming night-walkers of the animal world—settled over everything. Not a leaf stirred. Even the columns of black smoke which rolled up incessantly on the horizon thinned out to a wavering gray streak as the dampness of the night cooled the ferocity of the fires.

In spite of the stillness and the favorable prospects of a peaceful night a faint light still glowed in the office and the foreman, ready dressed, slept on a couch beside the telephone. About midnight the lonely call of a timber wolf brought an answering hoot from an old owl in a neighboring swamp, and as though in recognition of these gruesome sounds of life a shiver passed through the leaves of the aspen trees. It must have penetrated to the marrow of their limbs for they continued to shiver more and more violently long after the reverberating echoes of the night calls had died away. Here and there little ripples appeared on the surface of the glassy lake. A dull roar to the southward, like the groan of a mighty monster would have caused the city man to murmur “Thunder,” and roll over for another nap, but to the foreman who sat up wide-eyed in his couch at the first rumble, it spoke of the winds in the pines and no gentle breeze at that.

“If there are any fires in the south, Jones will have his hands full. And so will we,” he added, “if this wind keeps up and they don’t get her blocked before morning. Well, I’m glad that it’s not from the north or west.” And with that, after a long look out of the window behind him he went back to sleep.

Already those menacing columns of smoke were answering to the call of the wind. They no longer wandered hesitatingly upward in hazy fashion, but bent sharply to the northward, stretching their covetous arms over the doomed forest. The smoke rapidly increased in volume and blackened the whole sky, while here and there a dull red glowed fretfully on the horizon. The dew was keeping down the flames, but the wind was fanning the glowing coals to a fury which needed only the help of the drying morning sun to cause them to leap away like a cyclone over the whole ill-fated woods. Under ordinary conditions such a wind storm could only precede a rainstorm, but the drought had lasted so long that every particle of moisture seemed to have dried from the atmosphere and the dry wind seemed only to evaporate the dew and make the ground more dry.

Scarcely had the foreman picked up the lost thread of his dream when the telephone bell rang long and violently. He was on his feet in an instant.


“Yes—Oh, hello, Long.”

There was a long pause as he listened. “Coming around east of Brown’s, is she? That’s bad, isn’t it?—Can we head her north of Mantrap?—Think we can. Well, I have the wagon here all loaded and we will leave here in half an hour with fifteen men. We ought to be down there in two hours. You scout her out till we come.

“Yes, I’ll bring ’em, good-bye.”

He hung up the receiver and slipped across the hall to call his wife. “Come, Mamma, the fire is coming in at the southeast corner and we’ll have to go down. You call the men and get the grub ready while I go call the boys.”

His wife was too accustomed to this sort of thing to be surprised; in fact, she had been prepared for it for several days. Sturgis, leaving the house as she started to call the men, hurried over to notify the boys and Professor Mertz, who inquired the particulars and promised to join them at once.

A few minutes later a prolonged, “Tur-r-r-r-rn out” almost raised the boys from their beds. A medley of answers came from all parts of the upper regions of the bunkhouse: “Aye-aye, sir,” “What’s up?” “Who is it?” “What happened?” “Is it a fire?”

“Yes, it’s a fire at the southeast corner of the park, and I want every man I can get. The wagon will leave in fifteen minutes. Some of you go up to the cookshack and bring the grub you find there down to the barn.”

He knew from the cries of joy and the general bustle that there would be no delay on their account. He grinned to think what a different reception his call for the next fire would meet. He hurried away to the cookshack where he found Mike, awakened by the shouts, already up and waiting for him.

“Where is she?” Mike asked cheerfully.

“Southeast corner,” Sturgis answered briefly, “and the whole outfit will have to go. We’d better take all the bread and cooked stuff you have on hand and they’ll probably want some more by tomorrow night. We’re liable to be down there some time if this wind keeps up.”

“Aye-aye, it’s a bad one,” Mike assented, with a glance at the clear sky, “and no sign of rain.”

“No,” Sturgis answered dolefully; “looks as though it had forgotten how. Some of the boys will come up for that stuff,” he added as he moved away.

The boys were so eager for the “fun”—as they called it—that they lost no time in arranging niceties of dress. Some of them were already scrambling up the hill towards the cookshack.

“This is some wind,” Scott grunted, as he panted up to the cookshack door. “I wonder what they can do with a fire on a night like this? Hello, Mike, when did you get up?”

“I got up with the wind,” Mike answered. “You can’t fight fire without grub, so I knew they would be after me. There’s the stuff on the floor.”

“We may come back sometime, Mike,” Bill said reproachfully, looking at the small mountain of provisions.

“Yes,” Mike said serenely, “some of you will be back here tomorrow afternoon for more grub. I fought forest fires before you were born, and I know how much good victuals they can burn up. The wagon will be leaving you if you stand here talking too long.”

By that time most of the boys had assembled. They took the hint, also the supplies, and hurried to the barn in wild excitement. At the wagon they met Professor Mertz who looked over the group with a grin.

“What have you with you?” he asked.

“Grub,” was the prompt answer.

“Well,” Professor Mertz continued, “all of you go back to the bunkhouse and get your sweaters, coats, blankets and hats—soft felts if you have them. I know that you want to travel light and think that because you are going to a fire you’ll be plenty warm but if you do happen to get a rest down there it will be cold. You may be gone a week and what little sleep you get you’ll want to be comfortable.”

When the boys came back Professor Mertz hauled out a bag of lemons and tossed one to each. “Here’s where we hand you each a lemon,” he said, “but most of you won’t know how big a one it is till you get home. Keep those till you need them. If you get dry when you can’t get to water try a suck. It’ll taste pretty good then.”

They all clambered into the two wagons—one of them had just arrived from the post office in response to a telephone call—and the expedition started.

The boys were in fine feather and sang lustily every song they could think of. For a long time after they had started, broken fragments of the songs floated back on the high wind. When they passed the Lodge they set up a mighty shout which made the few summer boarders who had ventured into the woods so early in the season, think that they were about to be the victims of an Indian massacre.

The thing which impressed all the boys most was the apparent lack of hurry. They were used to seeing the fire engines tear up the city streets at full speed and the slow plodding of the work horses seemed the height of foolishness. Merton took advantage of his position on the seat with Sturgis to inquire into the matter.

“Couldn’t we make better time walking?” he asked.

“Oh yes,” Sturgis answered, “you could make quicker time, but you’d better save yourself for work later on.”

At last there came an exultant shout from the boys. A long line of fire was visible on a ridge to the southward. The singing ceased and all was suppressed excitement which one moment expressed itself in silence, the next turned into a babel of wild speculations. The fire had appeared to be very close when they first sighted it, but as they mounted hill after hill and obtained new views it seemed to get no closer till a man suddenly appeared in the road to tell them that they had arrived.

The air was loaded with smoke which made the eyes smart uncomfortably but there was no other sign of the fire. The smoke intensified the darkness so that in spite of the breaking day an object could not be distinguished ten feet away. The boys piled out in the darkness eager for orders and were somewhat disappointed when Sturgis told them to build a fire and sleep if they could. “We’ll size up the fire and be back as soon as we can tell what to do.”

There was a murmur of disgust from the crowd and Bill voiced the general sentiment. “Humph, I thought we came down here to put out a fire, not to build one.”

The three men moved off into the woods, the lanterns bobbing weirdly over the uneven ground. The boys watched them dolefully out of sight.

“They say Diogenes hunted for an honest man with a lantern,” Bill mused, “but that’s nothing to those three guys going out to look for a fire. It must be a whale of a fire.”

The forest was full of strange noises which would have spoken volumes to an old woodsman. Every few minutes a sharp rending sound followed after a pause by a dull boom told of some old dead stub, the lonely silent sentinel of two or three centuries, undermined by the fire and hurled crashing to the earth by the wind, triumphant at last after so many defeats. The roar of the wind through the waving needles told of the violent struggle which the growing pines waged continuously with that same wind which would in the end hurl them down as it had just hurled down the deadened stub. A hissing roar like great skyrockets occasionally painted a vivid picture of a noble spruce turned into a torch for the sport of the flames. Violent snapping of the twigs and brush told of some woods creature driven from its home, and in its confusion making short terrified dashes broken by long intervals of shivering, startled listening. All in between these strange noises the absence of the insects silenced by the wind and smoke, seemed to produce a weird, unnatural stillness.

The boys had shivered around the fire for more than an hour when Sturgis appeared suddenly. “Well, I guess we’ve found her. Jones reports that she has already jumped him to the east of here and we’ll have to hustle to head her off. She’s in the park by now.”

They tumbled into the wagon again, and the big farm horses, whipped into a lively trot now, jangled back up the road the way they had come. Even yet no great amount of fire was visible.

At a sharp turn in the road where there was a considerable clearing, a scene was revealed that stunned them with a realization of the true state of affairs. The clearing was bounded on the east by a wall of flame, a bloody red, streaked here and there by the black resinous smoke. The brush was burning violently with a dull roar, and every few minutes the flames rushed with a hiss to the tops of the scrubby jack pines. At the north end the smoke streamed out under pressure of the wind almost parallel with the ground, a sooty black slashed here and there with disconnected tongues of red flame which leaped far ahead of the main body of the fire and licked eagerly at the resinous tops of the pines. It was a sight to send cold shivers up the back of the bravest man, and the boys gazed at it in awestruck silence.

On the left side of the road and within the park another fire crackled and snapped across a half-mile of front. It was seemingly entirely separated from the other fire a quarter-mile to the eastward, but a careful observation revealed a narrow trail of blackened stubble where an offshoot of the original fire had skimmed a corn row, jumped the road and started another conflagration in the dense brush within the park. Already it was beyond any hope of immediate control.

Sturgis drove into the brush beside the road and stopped. He waited for the crew to assemble before giving his simple directions.

“Here’s where you have to do it, boys. That fire has to be stopped today or this whole park will be wiped out clean. We cannot do much with it in the daytime without backfiring and we can’t backfire till we get a fireline to work from. I figure that we have enough lead on it now to make a break across the front of it before it gets here. It will be due here before very long. Every man must do exactly as he is told or he will run the chance of being burnt up. We’ll start in here at this road and run a trench to those lakes. Franklin has already gone across to see how far west it reaches. From the other end of the lakes we’ll have to trench on around it. It means many hours of hard work and it’s up to you fellows to show what you’re made of. We’ll eat a little lunch and start in.”

The lunch was hastily pulled from the wagon and gulped in silence. The boys were at last convinced that something serious was really going on. In ten minutes they picked up their tools ready to start. Sturgis strung them out rather close together on a line leading to the lakes and himself disappeared into the brush to the westward.

For a while the boys worked in silence digging their little trenches and spreading the dirt on the leaves on the side toward the fire. When no immediate signs of the fire appeared they began to relax a little and call to one another.

“Do you really believe that fire can burn clear up here by this afternoon?” Scott called to Merton who was working next to him.

“Search me,” Merton called back. “Sturgis and Dan seem to think so and they must know. Doesn’t seem possible, does it?”

“No, not if we can judge by the way it was traveling this morning. Still, it was going some on the other side of that clearing.”

They had just about finished the ditch assigned them when Sturgis appeared again with Dan and two of the men.

“You haven’t any time to lose, fellows. Start the backfire there right at the edge of the trench. Then watch it like a hawk to see that no sparks blow over on you.”

He lighted a handful of leaves with a match and thrust them into the litter to start the fire in the brush. It was not a difficult task. The dry leaves and brush ignited readily and the fire spread rapidly. By picking up bunches of burning leaves and carrying them a little farther along the line the fire was soon spread over the entire distance from the road to the lakes. It ate back slowly against the wind and sparks were continually jumping the narrow space across the little break. Nor were they as easily handled as they had been in the early morning. Every spark which landed started a fire immediately and several times fires were started in dead pinetops which required the whole force to put them out. Dan and the men aided in the work where they were needed.

The boys found it hot and exciting work. The lack of sleep the night before, the ride in the springless wagon and the early morning work were beginning to tell on their untried muscles. Gradually as the front of fire crawled back farther from the trench fewer sparks were carried across and they were enabled to devote part of their time to putting out the dead stubs and wiping out every trace of inflammable material in the burned area.

The backfire had burned some hundred feet from the trench and yet there was no sign of the approach of the main fire other than the thick pall of smoke which the wind drove down close to the ground. It irritated their nostrils and stung their eyes, especially the smoke from the hardwood brush in the backfire, till the tears streamed down their faces.

Scott found himself enjoying a few minutes rest near Dan. “It seems as though this backfire would burn up more of the forest than the other one. Couldn’t you start it closer to the main fire?” he asked.

“You ain’t any too far away from it now,” Dan answered. “Listen.”

The crackling of the backfire near at hand made it hard to distinguish more distant sounds, but Scott could hear a dull roar which seemed to dominate everything like the base viol in an enormous orchestra and it was apparently growing rapidly louder. The dull boom of falling trees became more and more frequent. Suddenly, as he listened, this indistinct roar swelled to a terrific burst of thunder. It was like to nothing he had ever heard before, and yet in it he recognized the elements of a great fire, the same sound that he had heard in a big fireplace, but magnified so tremendously that it was almost beyond comprehension. His instinct was to run, run anywhere, no matter where, but he stood there too terrified to move.

His instinct was to run ... but he stood there too terrified to move.

“Ain’t she going some now?”

The calm voice close beside him brought him to his senses and the sight of Dan gazing unmoved at the opposite hill reassured him. He shuddered to think how near he had come to disgracing himself and laying himself open to the everlasting jibes of Bill Price. He felt the blood coming back into his pale face and was thankful for the soot which covered it. He tried to look unconcerned, but the frequent bursts of ever increased fury on the other side of the hill made him start in spite of himself.

“Will that little line of burned brush stop such a fire as that?” he asked as calmly as he could.

“Nothing would stop it up there,” Dan answered, “but she’ll slow up some when she gets to the top of that hill. How about starting the backfire a little closer to it?” he grinned.

Before Scott could answer the taunt the fire burst over the entire length of the ridge in front of them with one mighty, deafening roar and the red flames shot a hundred feet in the air. It was a sublime sight, those red flames shooting wildly up through the dense pall of black smoke but Scott would have felt more comfortable a mile or two away. The scant two hundred yards to the top of that ridge seemed as nothing in the face of that raging conflagration. A deer maddened with fright and blinded by the smoke, bursting through the backfire and dashing close to him in its flight, almost threw him into a panic.

“Poor chap,” Dan murmured, looking after the fleeing deer, “he’s safe now, but the wolves will be eating many a roast partridge and quill pig back in there about next week.”

The rush of the fire died as suddenly as it had started. Only for a few minutes the flames raged furiously along the brow of the hill, then it dropped down to the ground and became a mere brush fire, crawling slowly down the slope to meet the backfire which was already creeping close to the foot of the hill. Ominous crackling, snapping and booming told of the destructive work going on beyond the ridge, but the mighty initial rush of the flames was over. The blast of hot air made the sting of the smoke almost unbearable, and it hastened the burning of the backfire. It swept up the hill with a speed and roar which would, a few minutes before, have seemed marvelous but now in comparison with that fury of the main fire driven by that furnace heat seemed but a paltry bonfire. The fronts of the two fires met, consumed whatever was within their reach and died away to a few smoldering logs.

Sturgis appeared once more, this time from the direction of the road where he had been scouting to the eastward to see what progress the fire was making outside of the park. He addressed himself to Dan.

“That fire that just came up over the hill crossed the road from the eastward just north of Alcohol Lake away ahead of the fire we saw in the Park. Good thing we did not try to head it farther down. The fire on the other side of the road is still a half-mile south.”

“What made her go so much faster inside?” Dan objected.

“Don’t you remember that tangle of dead brush and slashings between here and Alcohol?” Sturgis asked. “That’s what did it. They have been burned up on the outside. You take Pat and Phil and see that the fire does not cross the road behind us. Let Phil take the teams up to the Lodge. I think maybe you can stop that outside fire at the turn of the road. It’s four o’clock and she’ll begin to run a little slower before long.”

“Leave that to us,” Dan answered confidently; “she’ll never get in behind you.”

“All right,” said Sturgis, “I’ll get the boys together over there at the lake for lunch and by that time Franklin ought to be back.”

Scott went out with Sturgis to the wagons to get the lunch and they carried it over to the little lakes, collecting the fellows as they went. It was a tired, hungry crew that sat around the campfire and swapped adventures.

“When I saw that fire this morning,” Bill Price said, “I thought those fellows last year were telling us some fairy stories, but when I heard them feeding the lions over back of that ridge and saw the fireworks on top of the hill I concluded they had never been to a forest fire. How did you fellows feel over there in the brush when that little inferno stunt was pulled off?”

Scott did not mind telling his sensations as long as he had not yielded to them and he found most of the others had felt about the same way.

“Strange,” Bill said, “all you fellows felt like running. Such a thing never occurred to me, but,” he added, with a grin, “I pulled up a four-inch sapling trying to keep from jumping in this lake.”

“I wonder if we’ll be going home now?” Greenleaf asked, as he stretched wearily out on the flat of his back.

“No,” Scott said, “Sturgis sent the wagons up to the Lodge just before he came over here.”

“I suppose we’ll have to patrol this line all night,” Spencer grunted. “Where’s Sturgis now?”

“Went west again.”

“Holy mackinaw!” Bill exclaimed. “That man has walked just one thousand miles since morning. I’m going to sleep.”


But just then Franklin came in with Sturgis.

“Pretty dry out that way,” he grinned, helping himself to an enormous slab of bread and a big hunk of cheese.

“How far west does the main fire extend?” Sturgis asked.

“Within about forty rods of Deming Lake.”

“Deming Lake!” Sturgis almost shouted. “That means that it may get on to section thirty-six.”

“Almost there now,” Franklin answered cheerfully. “We can stop it on that row of lakes if it just don’t come around from the southeast on the other side of them. That’s going to be the big trouble.”

“We’ve got to stop it,” Sturgis gritted between his clenched teeth. “If that fire ever gets into that young growth on thirty-six Professor Roberts will never forgive me.”

“The only way you can do it,” Franklin assured him cheerfully, “is to clean things up here tonight so that you won’t have to waste men on patrol and fight her face to face down there in the morning.”

“I guess you’re right,” Sturgis assented, “and we’d better be getting at it. You take the boys and start cleaning up from the south end of the lake here and I’ll go see what Dan is doing with the fire across the road.

“We’ve stopped the first rush now and there is no more danger tonight, but the wind is a little southeast and if the fire gets around us to the west and breaks away in the morning we’ll be worse off than we were before and all our work wasted. Now we have to clean up the edges of this fire for two miles. Bury the fire along the edges, cut down all the stubs which may throw sparks, and throw back into the fire all burning logs and rotten stuff.”

“Two miles,” Bill Price exclaimed, “and here I’ve been dreaming of home and mother. Come on, boys, for every one that dies there’ll be one more vacancy for the under classmen.”

They filed away around the lake and were soon scattered along the front of the fire intent on their gruelling work. The wind had gone down and the fire no longer ran readily, but it burned too fiercely to permit of close approach and they were forced to resort to the slow, tiresome process of trenching and allowing the fire to burn up to it. It was comparatively easy to keep it from crossing. Then they were able to go back and complete the cleaning up. As each man cleaned up the little patch assigned to him he passed on to another ahead of the foremost man. And so they worked one weary hour after another, slowly crawling along that crooked line. It became so dark and the line of the fire was so crooked that the boys had no idea where they were or where they were going. Each man was practically isolated in the darkness. Occasionally it happened a man toward the end of the line who had been delayed by some refractory stubs found himself deserted and became completely lost, unable to find the other workers.

At last at one o’clock they were allowed to rest and they fell asleep by the campfire like one man. At three o’clock Sturgis called them again.

They had to be shaken individually, some even required repeated applications, to bring them to their senses. Slowly they scrambled to their feet, still half asleep, groaning with the aches and pains which shot through their wracked bodies. They saw the men up and going silently about the morning preparations, realized that they had been favored with all the extra time there was for sleep, and choked down their troubles in silence. No one seemed to have anything to say, not even Bill Price, but it was the dogged silence of determination, not sullenness. The meager breakfast was soon over for they were running short of provisions, and they were ready to work once more.

“Are we working again or yet?” Bill asked musingly.

“Sorry I could not let you sleep longer, fellows,” Sturgis apologized, “but we can cover rods now to the feet we can make when the sun gets up. Dan will keep the men here to make breaks between the lakes and backfire as soon as it’s dry enough. The rest of us will go down to the south end of Josephine and see what we can do there. It’s a race for the north end of Niowa and we must win.”

The wind was already on the rise. On the rise and from the east, the worst possible direction. Sturgis placed his scattered line of workers, urging them to greater efforts, and took the trail he had come down that morning to rob Dan of two of his small force. They had already completed their short breaks across the narrow necks and were waiting for an opportunity to start the backfires.

“Can you do it with one man, Dan?” he panted. “It’s a race down to Nimashi Lake, and every man counts there.”

“I can try it,” Dan answered simply.

With his two recruits Sturgis hurried south once more, harried the poor weary workers to frenzied efforts and took up his own position at the south end of the line. Already the wind had fanned the fire to a heat that made close work impossible and they had to resort to the slow work of trenching and backfiring. There were still two hundred yards to go. Slowly the men began to come around from the rear to take up the new positions in front, and the gap was narrowed. Even at that it looked as though it would be impossible to head it at the lake, but at the last minute five men came up from the rear, Scott among them, and under Franklin’s lead fought the fire face to face. Clothes were burned and eyebrows singed, but they fought desperately. They beat the fire out of the last grass strip between the hill and the lake in one grand triumphal rush.

For the time that fire was safe. The reaction on the overworked boys was almost immediate. With one accord they lay down wherever they happened to be and went to sleep. Sturgis looked at them enviously. He had worked harder than they, and on considerably less sleep, but he knew that their apparent victory over the fire could be turned to a complete defeat by the passage of a single unwatched spark across that narrow fireguard. Only a weary patrol of the entire fireline for the rest of the day would make it safe.

He turned away with a weary sigh. “I guess it’s up to you and me and Dan, Franklin, to patrol this thing. I never saw a better working bunch of boys, but they are not used to it, and they are all in.”

“Well,” Franklin grinned, apparently as fresh as when he started, “the fire’s almost all in, too, and I guess we three can handle it.”

They had just started to trail away northward over that weary stretch of line, leaving the boys asleep where they were, when Professor Mertz, who had gone home the night before, strode over the brow of the hill with a big pack sack on his back.

“By George, Mertz,” Sturgis cried gratefully, “you’re the best-looking man, with that pack on your back, that I’ve ever seen.”

“How’s the fire?” Professor Mertz asked anxiously.

“It’s all over but the shouting,” Sturgis assured him, “if we can just keep awake long enough to patrol it for the rest of the day. It was pretty hot down there by that lake, but the boys fought like good fellows and stopped her. It can’t get by below.”

“Where are the boys?”

“Sound asleep right where they dug the last shovelful of dirt. They hit the ground and were snoring before the dirt fell.”

“Pretty tough one for a starter,” chuckled the professor. “You fellows look pretty tired yourselves. I brought five men down with me and put them to patrolling above here. Guess they can handle it all now. Dan was in a pretty tight hole back there.”

The strain relieved and the necessity for keeping at it removed, Sturgis and Franklin sat down with a thud, and would probably have joined the boys if the sight of the pack sack had not kept them awake. The professor soon had the coffee boiling and the supplies spread out temptingly. Getting the boys awake was a harder task, but the mention of something to eat aroused even the most weary and they fell to with a will.

It was agreed that the fresh men should be left to maintain the patrol until six o’clock that night, and all the rest should go back to camp in the wagon. It was a tired crew, but they kept their spirits buoyed up by the feeling that they had won a great victory and made good. They tuned up for the Lodge and sang lustily in answer to the cheers of the summer boarders who turned out to see them go by. The songs heralded their approach long before they reached the camp, and all the non-combatants were out to welcome them. They presented a begrimed and bedraggled spectacle, but they were supremely happy.

“Do I win that pop?” Sturgis called after them as they trailed away to the bunkhouse.

“You sure do,” Bill Price shouted back, “and I’ll bet you another case that I can sleep till tomorrow noon without waking up even to eat.”

Scott remembered how the fire swept roaring up that hill and dreamed all night that he was fighting just such fires sweeping up the mountain slopes of his own forest in New Hampshire. The fact that he might never get that forest made them seem none the less real.


For the next few days the adventures of that fire were the sole subject of conversation. Hazen, the official historian, devoted all his spare time to writing up the details in the official scrapbook and they lost nothing of their vividness in the process. It was wonderful, now that it was all over, to see how they had enjoyed that gruelling work on the fireline. Scott wrote home an account of the fire which perfectly confirmed his parents in their belief in the woolliness of the West, but left them undecided as to whether the fire had been a catastrophe narrowly prevented by almost superhuman efforts or a harmless scheme devised for the amusement of the students. Such were the views of the fire, now that it was past history and the frequent rains precluded its repetition, but it was a notable fact that throughout the remainder of the summer no one was heard to wish for another.

The ground had thawed out sufficiently for the nursery work and the boys were spending their days busily in the seed beds.

The novelty of the work in the nursery had made it interesting at first, but otherwise it was not very fascinating, and on the fourth day it was getting monotonous. Each crew of two had thoroughly spaded up a bed four feet wide by fifty feet long and had bordered them with boards on edge, which Professor Mertz required to be set with excruciating exactness. The boys declared that he could smell the slightest deviation in one of those boards.

The beds thus prepared had then to be covered with a layer of carefully prepared manure and that in turn covered with a layer of well sifted sandy loam. The dirt sifting soon became monotonous and monotony in that crowd necessitated some side line to keep up the interest. Fourteen ingenious minds were looking for some opportunity to put a little spice into the mechanical labor.

Morris straightened his long angular frame stiffly, stretching his tired arms over his head and gazing straight into the zenith in his effort to relax every muscle he had been straining over that sand sifter. The action exposed very prominently a leather thong attached to the ring of a large silver watch. The chance for a joke seemed slight, but it was no time to neglect the slightest opportunity. Bill Price grabbed the thong with the quickness of a cat and was surprised to find how easily the watch slipped from Morris’s pocket to his own.

Several saw the transfer and prepared to elaborate the joke. Hazen, working on the next bed, took a stretch. “Gee, but this is a long day. What time is it getting to be, Morris?”

Morris felt confidently in the accustomed pocket for his watch. His fingers fumbled there persistently for a minute before he realized that the watch really was not there. At the mention of the time all within hearing had looked up: they were all interested in the time.

Morris felt doubtfully in his other pockets. He was the legitimate butt of many of the camp jokes, and a wink from Price told all the others that something was up.

“I don’t know,” Morris answered hesitatingly, “I’ve lost my watch.”

“Lost it?” Price exclaimed. “When did you have it last?”

“Looked at it just a little while ago.”

“Haven’t been away from here, have you?” Hazen asked.

“Only down to the dirt pile.”

“Must have fallen out of your pocket when you were leaning over the bed,” Greenleaf suggested.

“Don’t see how it could fall out on this bare ground without my seeing it,” Morris objected. “There is nothing around here to hide it.”

Bill Price was equal to the occasion. “Perhaps you covered it up in the beds. You’ve been sifting sand over them. Might have dropped right under the sifter,” he suggested.

“Yes, that might be,” Morris acknowledged, ruefully looking over the broad expanse of beds. “It’ll be pretty hard to locate it.”

“I should think you could hear it,” Merton said, “it can’t be covered more than half an inch.”

Morris grasped at the possibility. “By George, that’s right,” he said.

“You’ve only sifted these four beds, haven’t you?” Price asked encouragingly.

“Yes,” Morris answered after thinking a minute, “only these four here.”

While the rest of the fellows gagged themselves or rolled ecstatically in some out of the way corner, Morris jack-knifed his gaunt length over the bed and, with his ear close to the ground, occasionally scooping up a little loose sand, weaved his way slowly up the long bed. The lowliness of his head and the extreme length of his thighs caused him to present a most remarkable figure. This queer position coupled with the set expression of intent listening threw the boys almost into convulsions.

Slowly he went up one bed and down the other without varying his tiresome procedure in the least.

“Reminds me of a spring robin looking for worms,” Merton said. “You’ll see him pull one up in a minute.”

“If you can’t hear that watch there,” Bill Price called sympathetically, “go out in the brush and hear a wood tick.”

“Why don’t you give him that watch, Hazen?” Greenleaf called across from another bed. “He’ll break his back in a minute.”

But Morris was not the man to leave a thing half done. He covered those four beds conscientiously, and rose with a groan only when he was sure that the beloved watch must be hiding elsewhere.

“Seems queer where it could have gotten to,” he mused. “It ticks pretty loud, and I could have heard it if it had been there. The only other place it could be is in the sand pile. You fellows be careful how you shovel in that pile.”

He returned to his job of sifting dirt over the bed, but kept an eye on the sand pile and shouted wrathful warnings every time anyone went near it. Of course they all took occasion to go there as much as possible and jabbed the shovel around recklessly.

Price was working with Morris. One of them brought the dirt from the pile while the other sifted it onto the beds. They shifted frequently, for the sifting work was very tiresome. Price watched his opportunity, slipped the watch into a shovelful of sand and dumped it carefully into the screen. Everyone stood at attention. Two or three shakes of the screen and the silver twinkled through the sand.

Morris’s face beamed at the sight of it. Amidst profound silence he examined the watch minutely. “Not a scratch on it,” he announced innocently. “I don’t see how it escaped, the way you fellows have been jabbing around that sand pile. I remember feeling it drop now, but I did not realize what it was at the time.”

For a moment it looked as though there would be a general outburst, but the fellows all changed their minds and decided to keep it for the next year’s banquet.

That joke livened up the crowd and before the effects of it had worn off Professor Roberts arrived to take up the work of forest mensuration. The boys welcomed the change because it took them into the woods on all day expeditions. They packed their lunches, slung them on the back of their belts, and felt that they were good for all day no matter where they were called upon to go. Sometimes they traveled all day on foot, more often they took the scow to some distant point on the lake before striking into the woods, but no matter how they started they were always certain of new adventures.

One day as they were returning pretty tired from section 36 a fox terrier that had joined the camp as a volunteer was poking busily around all the bunches of brush looking for excitement. Scott watched him in disgust as he ducked into one clump after another with undiminished energy and rose frantically on his hind legs in his vain efforts to follow some little chickadee into a neighboring tree.

“That dog makes me sick,” Scott remarked to Price in deep disgust. “He’s been trying to fly all day and he hasn’t been three feet off the ground yet.”

“Couldn’t do much better yourself,” Bill answered drily.

“Well,” Scott retorted, “I should at least know it by this time. Why don’t he hunt something his own size instead of chasing those pesky little bunches of feathers? If he were any good he would scare up some real game instead of wasting his energy on those things.” The dog had picked out Bill for his temporary adviser, as far as a fox terrier permits himself to be advised by anyone, and Scott was attempting to use him for a club to get a “rise” out of Bill.

Just then the dog made two or three stiff-legged bounces in the brush as though in an apparent endeavor to see something on the ground beyond.

“By George,” Bill exclaimed, “if he tackles that porcupine he’ll have something more than his size. Come here, you crazy Jehu, and let that pincushion alone.”

“Don’t worry,” Scott assured him, “no animal will touch one of those things.”

But a fox terrier is governed by no laws, natural or otherwise. The porcupine had chattered his teeth defiantly and the dog, heedless of the warning shouts, flung himself upon the first game he had found that could not fly. The porcupine uttered a plaintive whimper, turned his back on the dog with astonishing agility and struck him full in the face with one blow of his powerful tail. The dog did not wait for more. With one astonished yelp he jumped into the brush regardless of direction or obstacles and continued his course due east at a terrific pace as far as they could see him.

“Running a pretty good compass course,” Bill remarked. “He ought to be showing up over there in the west pretty soon; it won’t take him long to go around the earth at that rate.”

“Poor little chap,” Scott muttered. “I wonder if any of those quills got him in the eye? There must have been a dozen of them in his face.”

“A dozen,” Bill exclaimed. “Ask him. I’ll bet he thinks there are a thousand.”

“If he comes back to camp we can pull them out for him,” Scott said.

“Yes, but if he runs like that for an hour it will take him a week of ordinary travel to get back.”

In the meanwhile the porcupine had turned quietly to his own peaceful pursuits, chattering and whimpering up a young pine tree and stopping for a nibble or two at the bark as he went. He had apparently forgotten the existence of the dog and cared not a rap of his prickly tail for anything else alive.

But the dog had by no means forgotten him.

When the boys arrived in camp a half-hour later they discovered a white patch lying beside the pump in a puddle of water.

“Look there,” Scott exclaimed, “there’s the dog. He looks sort of tired.”

“Probably ran a hundred miles,” Bill commented. “Let’s see if he has shaken all those quills.”

The dog, lying in a position of exhausted prostration, paid no attention to them. Tired out as he was he held his head wearily up from the ground.

“Gee, look at those quills,” Scott cried excitedly.

“Has more in his head than the porcupine,” Bill said. He stepped forward and tried to pull out one of the quills. With a yelp of pain the dog snapped at him viciously. “They won’t pull out and they must hurt him worse than tight shoes. I wonder how we can get them out?”

Just then Professor Mertz appeared with an armful of gunny sacks and a pair of pliers. “Do you fellows want to take a hand in a surgical operation?” he asked.

“Sure,” Bill said. “We saw how he got ’em in, and now we’d like to see how you get ’em out.” He told the story of the brief, one-sided battle.

“He certainly has his share of them,” said the Professor. “His eyes seem to be swollen shut, and it is little short of a miracle if there is not a quill in them. We’ll do our best for him, but he’ll be a pretty sick dog even if it does not kill him.”

As Professor Mertz talked he slipped several layers of sacking under the dog’s body and wrapped him in it, securely binding his legs to his body. The dog, seeming to realize that someone was trying to help him, submitted quietly.

“Now you fellows wrap a lot of this sacking around your hands so that he cannot bite you and hold him as still as you can while I try to get at those quills. He’ll probably fight pretty hard.”

When the dog was securely pinioned Professor Mertz cautiously fastened the pinchers on a quill in the dog’s nose and pulled. With a yelp of pain the dog snapped wildly and made a desperate struggle to get away. The boys were surprised to see how hard the quills pulled till a careful examination showed the dozens of little barbs turned viciously backward. The operation was repeated again and again. A close examination discovered an almost innumerable number of quills. Some of them pierced the under jaw and protruded into the mouth, some which struck the roof of the mouth poked their vicious points through the skin on top of the nose, still others pierced the lips and tongue, while countless others stuck up in the face and ears like pins in a crowded cushion. Overcome by the pain the dog ceased his struggles and only emitted a plaintive whimper as the venomous little barbs were drawn.

“Don’t you know that hurts?” Scott said, as he watched how the skin was drawn to a point on the extraction of each quill. “I don’t see how he can stand it.”

Price was silently counting the quills. “Ninety-six,” he announced as Professor Mertz drew the last visible barb. “Just think of it. Ninety-six in that little space, and with one slap of that clumsy tail.”

By that time most of the boys had come in and were standing around in a wondering group listening to the oft-repeated story of the encounter, and marveling at the number of quills. The poor dog seemed to have given up completely. He no longer made the slightest move or demonstration. He apparently had no interest in anything. His face was swollen till his eyes were completely shut and the blood trickled freely from the dozens of little punctures. Professor Mertz bathed the fevered head and gently carried the patient over to a quiet corner of the shed.

“Now,” he said, “you boys want to be careful how you touch him for a week or two. I have pulled out all the quills in sight, but there are probably some others in his flesh which will gradually work to the surface and if you should happen to strike one of them in patting him he would probably bite you—for they make a nasty sore.”

For the next week Bobs was a pretty sick dog, and seemed to take very little interest in life. For a while they thought he must die, but he gradually improved and when it was possible to examine him carefully it was found that both his eyes had escaped injury. The boys were very careful of him. As Professor Mertz had predicted, every now and then during the next three weeks a gingerly inspection brought to light the points of quills in locations which showed that they had worked mercilessly through the flesh for some considerable distance. It was at least a month before he became once more his old light-hearted self and even then Bill Price could throw him into a violent fit of trembling by chattering his teeth like a porcupine.


The thirteenth of June found everything running smoothly at the camp and the boys having the time of their lives. The crews were well organized and taking good care of the work assigned to them. Of course there had been many cases of neglect and carelessness but they had been overcome in one way or another and the boys felt quite proud of their management. The cows were milked regularly, the woodpile replenished to the satisfaction of the cook, the camp kept in good order and the class work zealously performed.

All of these things were of importance, for on them depended the annual trip to the White Earth Indian Reservation. The former classes had all gone and no one wanted to see the custom broken. The president of the corporation had made formal application to Professor Roberts for three days’ absence for the whole class and preparations for the trip were busily under way. Pack sacks were being stuffed with all the necessary provisions and bedding, and through it all a running discussion of the plans for the celebration made the whole camp vibrate with heated argument. Lacking other forms of amusement an argument was always welcome. Many a time an argument on predestination, or some other equally abstract question, developed oratory which could be heard half a mile away.

The object of the trip in question was the annual celebration of the Peace Festival on the White Earth Indian Reservation, commemorating the treaty of peace between the Sioux and the Chippewa tribes. Years ago the forests of northern Wisconsin and Minnesota had been the hunting grounds of the Sioux till the Chippewas, driven westward by the warlike Five Nations (who had in turn been driven out by the Whites) forced them out into the open prairies. For years the Sioux, returning to the forests to avoid the severity of the winter on the plains, had clashed savagely with the Chippewas. Finally a treaty of peace had been made and every year they celebrated that peace at White Earth with horse races, canoe races, war dances and other festivities.

“Have you fellows decided yet how you are going?” Merton asked, stopping in the door of the lecture hall, where a half-dozen fellows were fussing over their preparations.

A confused babel immediately broke forth. “No,” Bill announced complacently, “nobody has decided anything but me; I’m going to stay home to take care of the ‘caows.’”

“Well,” Merton continued, “I’m going to start right after lunch, and I’ll be glad of all the company I can get. The rest of you may decide what you please.”

“When do you expect to get there?” Bill asked.

“Tomorrow noon,” Merton answered confidently.

“Yes, you will,” Bill answered contemptuously. “It’s fifty good country miles.”

“Yes,” Merton said, “fifty-five of them. I’m good for it.”

No one was willing to back down, so no one answered him, though each one had his own private opinion about it.

True to his word Merton wriggled into his pack sack immediately after lunch and called for volunteers. Scott was the only one ready to join him at once, and those two swung off up the road, leaving the others still hovering around undecided.

“Good-bye, fellows,” Merton called back to them. “We’ll see you at White Earth if you ever get there.”

“Don’t you be sarcastic,” Greenleaf called after them, “we’ll be there to welcome you.”

The two boys trudged on steadily; not very fast—for the road was too long ahead of them—but at a pace which would land them many miles on their road by nightfall.

“If we only knew the road,” Scott said, “it would not be so bad; but there is no telling how far we shall have to walk to get there.”

“No, and they say there are no settlers in that country except Indians. They could tell us the way, but most likely they won’t.”

“Someone was telling me,” Scott said, “that there is a lumber camp over there somewhere with a logging road running where we want to go. I hope we can strike it.”

“That would help some.”

They had no trouble for the first eight miles. The road lay straight, though exceedingly rough, before them; but at that point they came to the first obstacle, a fork in the road.

“The more traveled one ought to be it,” Merton suggested, and they took it without more ado—for there was no use in wasting time in choosing when they had no possible way of determining the right course. For half a mile they had followed the rough winding road when they came to a tumbledown cabin and there the road stopped.

“Might have known that if we’d stopped to think about it,” Merton growled, as they immediately retraced their steps. “This fellow makes all the travel there is on that road, going to the store.”

They soon reached the main road again—if such it could be called. Scott blazed a tree with his tomahawk and wrote the directions on it. “Might as well save them the trouble,” he explained, “even if it does help them to catch up with us.”

For nine miles more they jogged on steadily and were beginning to think that things were not as bad as they had been painted when they came to another fork where the road split up into two indistinct tracts, neither one of them sufficiently plain to justify anyone in following it with the hope of ever reaching a town however remote. They had not seen a soul since they left camp and there certainly seemed very little chance of their meeting anyone on either of those roads.

“Neither one of them looks good to me,” Merton grunted. “Let’s eat some lunch and then toss up for it.”

It seemed the only thing to do, and in a few minutes they were eating hungrily. They had brought a canteen with them, and it was well that they had—for they had not passed anything, even at the tumbledown cabin which looked like good drinking water.

“There is one thing sure,” Scott said; “we have been traveling pretty steadily westward and must be north of where we want to go. Then we want to take the south road.”

“Yes,” Merton assented, “and if we get out there five miles or so before we find that we are wrong we’ll beat it across country to the northwest till we strike the right road instead of coming back here. We can’t lose much that way.”

“No,” Scott agreed, “nothing but ourselves.”

“Well,” Merton said, looking apprehensively down the road, “let’s be going. We don’t want those other fellows to catch up with us here and think we’re stumped on this fork in the road.”

They scrambled to their feet and set out briskly, for, as Scott explained, if it was the wrong road they wanted to find it out before dark, as it would not be very easy to travel across country through the woods in the night. The road did not get any better or any worse, nor give any other signs of its ultimate destination. They had been traveling in this way for two hours when they heard a dog barking ahead of them, and soon they spied a small shack.

“Now for some Indian talk,” Merton exclaimed disgustedly.

He was not disappointed. In the doorway of the rickety old shack sat an old man, smoking an old blackened clay pipe, his eyes fixed on them in watery indifference. He must have been very old, Scott thought he looked at least a thousand. His face was a mass of deep-cut wrinkles forming the precipitous cliffs and mountain valleys of a bold relief map. His palsied head shook violently and his scanty white locks fluttered nervously against the high cheek bones. No one but an Indian could have looked so old.

Merton addressed himself to the old man but had little hope of getting an answer. “Can you tell us whether this is the road to White Earth?”

The old man’s expression changed not a particle, but he gurgled almost inaudibly, an incoherent stream of Chippewa. It did not enlighten them much, but it produced some effect, for a girl suddenly appeared in the doorway behind him and looked them over curiously. As Scott looked at her his poetic visions of beautiful Indian maidens faded away.

That’s not Minnehaha,” he mumbled; “that’s a cinch.”

She was thin to emaciation, and unspeakably dirty. One eye was apparently closed with a loathsome disease, giving her face a sinister, leering expression. She did not look like a promising subject, but Merton tried her.

Bojou, bojou,” he used the greeting of the old French coureurs des bois. “We are trying to get to the Peace Celebration at White Earth. Can you tell us whether this is the road?”

The old man mumbled some more Chippewa. The girl stared at them sullenly. Scott took out half a dollar and looked at it thoughtfully. The girl’s good eye caught the gleam of the silver instantly. “Frazee camp, ten mile. Straight trail,” she exclaimed, pointing to a faint track leading on westward from the house, and thrusting her hand eagerly over the old man’s shoulder for the money. Scott dropped it into her hand quickly, lest she should touch him, and with another exchange of “Bojou” they took to the trail again. Anybody but an Indian living in that unfrequented place could not have resisted the temptation to watch them on their way, but the girl turned indifferently into the cabin and the old man did not so much as turn his eyes to look after them.

“It’s about ten to one that she’s stringing us,” Merton said cheerfully, “but this is about as near right as we can go now and it will be great luck if we do strike that camp.”

“It’s only half past eight,” Scott said, “and we ought to make the camp tonight if it is there. There’s a good moon. Wasn’t that girl a fright?”

“That’s the way most of them look around here. They nearly all have trachoma. I have seen some pretty ones, but mighty few. Let’s hit it up a little. We don’t want to get to that camp too late, or we can’t get in.”

The pace became too hot to permit of further conversation, and Scott amused himself revising his Indian ideas and speculating on what the Celebration would be like. The spectacle at the cabin had changed his expectations. The long June twilight made the road plain before them till ten o’clock and by that time the moon was high in the heavens. By eleven o’clock they were beginning to think that the sight of that half dollar had led the “beautiful Indian maiden” to invent a lumber camp for the occasion, when they heard the snort of a locomotive at no great distance ahead of them.

“There, by George!” Scott exclaimed. “She was honest, if she was homelier than sin.”

“The next question,” Merton said, “is that locomotive going or coming?”

The sound had ceased, and they hurried forward to investigate. They found that it was only the “swipe” cleaning out the engine. They could see his figure flitting here and there around the engine in the dim light of a lantern. He heard them coming and stopped to see who it was—the camp had been asleep for two hours. When he saw their packs he took them for lumberjacks looking for a job.

“Nothing doing here,” he growled, without further greeting. “The camp’s full up, and the boss has a waiting list.”

“He’s lucky,” Merton commented. “We’re not looking for jobs. We’re trying to get to White Earth. Will there be any train out in that direction in the morning?”

“Five o’clock,” the man growled, “if I can get this old teakettle cleaned out by that time. Where did you come from?” In the daytime he would probably have ignored their existence, but the loneliness of the night and his curiosity made him sociable.

“Itasca Park,” Merton answered. “How near will the train take us to White Earth?”

“Some hike,” he said, ignoring the question. “Going to the Peace Celebration, I suppose?”

“Yes, we just want to see the doings. How near did you say the train would take us?”

He seemed loath to answer them. “’Bout eight miles,” he finally answered. “Reckon you fellows must be tired if you have hiked from Itasca. You can sleep there in that shack if you want to. I’ll call you in the morning.”

It seemed to the boys that they had hardly closed their eyes when they were awakened by the engine and found it broad daylight. The man had forgotten to call them, and they had just time to crawl onto the caboose when the train pulled out, lurching along over the uneven track. The little Shaw engine with its upright cylinders and geared connections made a noise which would indicate a tremendous speed, but the train barely crept along and they were an hour and a half going the fifteen miles to the junction where they had to walk once more. As they had eaten their breakfast in the caboose they started out at once on the road the brakeman showed them, and by nine o’clock they came within sight of the Peace Celebration.

A small rolling prairie lay before them, completely surrounded by forest and surrounding a very pretty little lake. The festivities had not yet started, but it was a lively scene, nevertheless. The tepees and wigwams of the Indians were scattered over the whole plain in most picturesque fashion. Indian braves in full regalia strolled leisurely about or sat smoking contentedly in front of their tepees, while here and there the booths of the squaws displaying all manner of Indian baskets, beaded belts and moccasins presented bold patches of color. Many visitors thronged the camps, bargaining for souvenirs and asking foolish questions of the Indian chiefs who never answered them. It was a peaceful scene, and would have served as a model in point of order for many a white man’s fair. The Indian policemen did their work well, patrolling the camp continuously on their moth-eaten little ponies.

“Well, Scotty,” Merton cried. “Here we are, at nine o’clock in the morning. We sure were lucky. Those other fellows can’t get here before noon, anyway, and they’ll be all in. That train was the clear stuff.”

“Yes,” Scott said, “fifteen miles is a pretty good lift, even on a train like that. Let’s pick out a place for a camp and fix things up.”

They selected a site on a little knoll on the shore of the lake, where they soon had their dog-tent up and were sitting as comfortably in front of it as any chief in the tribes. They commanded a pretty good view of the whole field and could tell from the movement of the crowd what was going on.

As they learned from one of the policemen that the program would not open till the afternoon with pony races, foot races, canoe races and a big parade, they decided to content themselves with a general view that morning and wait for the other fellows.

At eleven-thirty they saw them coming straggling in along a road from the north and hurried to meet them.

“Where have you been all the forenoon?” Scott called tauntingly.

“I suppose you have been here all of five minutes,” Morris sneered, “or are you on your way home?”

“No,” Merton said, “we’re not quite ready to go home, but we have been here two hours. We came over from the lumber camp on the logging train. What time did you leave the camp?”

“We did not see any camp,” Morris answered sullenly. “We have not seen a soul since we left home.”

They had taken the north fork of the road, which carried them north of the camp, but had the virtue of being five miles shorter. They had put up for the night in a deserted log cabin on the edge of a swamp, where they had been eaten up by the mosquitoes, and had been walking since five o’clock that morning. It was a rather peevish crowd, and the luck of the others in getting a lift on the logging train did not improve their temper. While they talked they walked over to the camp, put up the rest of the tents and cooked dinner. An hour’s rest set them all up, and they were ready for anything the afternoon might bring forth.

The program opened with the grand parade. It was quite an imposing sight. There were some three hundred Indians of the two tribes. They formed at opposite ends of the grounds, rode solemnly forward till the columns met, and joined forces in one big parade. The two oldest chiefs rode side by side at the head of the procession, decked in all the extravagance of paint and feathers that the savage mind could invent. To them it was a solemn occasion—for they could remember the times when they had opposed each other in bitter strife—and they sat their ponies in stately dignity. The lesser chiefs followed, and the young bucks brought up the rear. They slowly circled the entire grounds amidst the cheers of the onlookers.

The procession finally came to a halt on a little knoll which commanded a view of the lake on one side and the level race track on the other. Here the chiefs seated themselves solemnly in a large circle supported by a larger circle of braves. One of these brought the ancient peace pipe, lighted it at the fire in the middle of the circle and handed it to the oldest chief. The old man puffed solemnly a few times, and handed it on to his neighbor. At last the circuit was completed and the sacred rite was ended. The far-away look in the eyes of the older chiefs showed that their thoughts were wandering back to the bloody scenes of their early days and that they were counting again the scalps they had taken in those relentless fights.

These rites ended, the young men hurried away to prepare themselves for the contests to come. As an athletic exhibition it was really pathetic. The competitors were in miserable physical condition; the half-starved ponies ran in a listless way, and the foot racers would have stood very little show in a high school track meet. The canoe races were slow, for the men who took part in them were so accustomed to letting their squaws do the paddling that they made a poor showing.

“It takes all the glamour of romance to throw any interest into that,” Scott remarked. “We enjoy it because they are real Indians, but I’ll bet they would not stand a ghost of a show in our Fourth of July Celebration.”

“We ought to have brought along one of the oxen and entered him in the horse race,” Steve whispered.

They had wandered down one of the streets to look over the baskets and bead work when an unearthly hubbub broke out on the knoll they had just left.

“Something doing now, fellows,” Merton yelled, as he led the crowd back in the direction of the sound at full speed.

“Sounds like a cross between a dog fight and a heron rookery,” Bill muttered, as he slowly overhauled Merton in the race. Their dash had caused a veritable stampede of all the visitors in the street, and long before they reached the scene of the disturbance they were leading a fair-sized mob.

At the edge of the knoll they stopped short and gazed on the scene in amazement. Everything was peaceful enough, but prancing around the fire with a weird, halting step were the braves of the tribe, daubed with war paint and chanting their wild war song. It was a most monotonous performance which went on unceasingly without the slightest change, but there was a certain fascination about it which kept everyone silent for some time. Unconsciously the onlookers rehearsed in their minds the scenes of Butler’s raid and imagined these savages lashing themselves in this way into blood-thirsty fury. Or possibly some of those old chiefs looking on so grimly were in the force which destroyed Custer’s little troop. The same people watched and watched and then came back to see it again.

All evening as the boys wandered from booth to booth bargaining with the squaws for beaded moccasins and belts, or danced in the pavilion they could hear that monotonous “Ki yi, ki yi, ki yi, ki yi,” pervading everything. And late in the evening when they went to bed in their little camp that dull drone which had at one time caused so many sleepless nights put them to sleep.

In the morning they continued their shopping. It was a good-natured crowd composed of people from all over the country with some from the cities, and two troops of boy scouts. The boys found the squaws shrewd bargainers, with a thorough knowledge of the value of money and a pretty good idea of the white man’s craze for Indian trinkets. Nor were they all as ugly as the one Scott and Merton had seen at the little cabin. Some of them were strikingly handsome and their richly beaded, bright colored garments added much to their barbaric beauty. It was a good deal of fun arguing with them.

Immediately after lunch the boys packed their duffel and started for home, for Merton had learned that the logging train went east about three o’clock. Their trip home was uneventful. They spent the night at the lumber camp and came in sight of the school about three o’clock in the afternoon.

“Well, boys,” Bill called in a fatherly tone from a comfortable seat on the front porch, “how did you enjoy the circus?”

Fifteen miles back up the road the opinion might have been different, but now that they were home they all declared it great, and as time went on it became “greater.”


If any of the boys had come to camp that summer with the idea that times would be dull there they were beginning to find out how badly they had been mistaken. As Bill Price said, “there was something doing every minute and no time to sleep in between.” They had scarcely recovered from the trip to White Earth when there was more excitement and it started from an old familiar cause. When they were working in the nursery one morning about ten o’clock they heard a wild yell down toward the turn in the Park Rapids road.

It was impossible to determine who it was at that distance, but someone was swinging jauntily along and commanding them in stentorian tones and no uncertain terms to get to work. It was impossible long to mistake that manner and Greenleaf shouted, “It’s Johnson.” They all trooped down to welcome him, for his sunny disposition and free comradeship had made him a favorite with everyone.

“Good,” he called as he saw them approaching. “Coming out to welcome the president, are you? Where are the keys of the city?”

“Glad to see you, freshie,” Merton said grasping his hand warmly. “Where did you blow in from? We thought you had given up the idea of coming up.”

“From the city of Arago. Hello, Greenleaf. Morris, you’re black as a nigger. Look at the mustache on Steve. All of you look sort of black and hairy. You are sure a hard-looking bunch. You see I walked out to the hotel at Arago last night and completed the trip this morning.”

“What are you going to do here?” Merton asked.

“Me? Oh, I’m going to work for the State Forest Service as special patrolman. Have to report to the ranger at Park Rapids tomorrow. Thought I’d pay you a visit.”

They had been walking up the road and now walked onto the campus by the library. All of them were interested in the news from the outside.

“Look at that old lake,” Johnson exclaimed eagerly. “Looks good to me. Good swimming?”

“Fine,” Bill said, “you’ll have plenty of chances to try it. Come on down and see the boathouse. Scotty has a fine canoe, and there’s a bunch of good boats.”

They moved down the steps and out onto the long dock. Then it happened. Without a word being spoken Johnson suddenly found himself hanging back down with four grinning huskies holding his hands and feet while another trained a camera on him.

“One,” the crowd shouted as he swung out over the water.

“Two,” the swing was more rapid and he felt that he was gathering momentum.

“Go as far as you like, fellows,” he shouted irrepressibly.

“Three,” and with arms and legs spread wide he circled gracefully far out over the water like a huge heron. He landed with a tremendous splash, disappeared for an instant, and swam laughing back to the dock amidst shouts of side-splitting laughter. Professor Mertz was standing on the bank fairly choking.

“What’s the next stunt?” Johnson asked, laughingly shaking hands all around again. “You put one over on me that time. I suppose you fellows have been lying awake nights preparing a warm reception for me. But come to think of it, you did not know that I was coming.”

It was hard for anyone who did not know the complete harmony existing in the camp to realize that the whole scheme was conceived on the spur of the moment and carried out perfectly without a word. But such was the case. It had occurred to the whole crowd as to one man and they had carried it out spontaneously.

“Well,” Merton said, “you took it like a man, so that is all for the present. The rest depends on you.”

As they came up the slope Scott came tearing down across the campus. When he came out of the cookshack the whole crew had disappeared from the nursery. While he was wondering what had become of them he heard the shouting at the dock but had arrived just too late to see the fun. At the sight of Johnson dripping from every angle and squirting water from his boots at every step he stopped short. “What under the—” he started.

“Oh, yes,” Johnson cried in mock sarcasm, “I suppose this is a great surprise to you. You probably will be asking me next how I got wet.”

They shook hands heartily. They had not been on intimate terms since Johnson moved out of his room, but here in the woods everything seemed different. Everyone was intimate with everyone else there.

“Well, how did you get wet?” Scott asked.

“You see in me, my friend,” Johnson orated, striking an imposing attitude, “the victim of mob violence. A peaceful citizen martyred to the ancient and dishonorable custom of compulsory immersion. I was duly baptized in my infancy, but your honorable associates here thought that it did not take and repeated the dose. In plain language, they threw me in the lake.”

Johnson had the happy faculty of making capital out of everything that happened to him and he now moved gayly away with the crowd as solidly a member of the “gang” as though he had been there all the summer. He inspected the premises with the air of a proprietor and by evening was familiar with every detail of the camp. He jollied the cook, made friends with all the children on the place and arranged a four-day fishing trip with the postmaster a mile up the lake, because, as he explained to the other fellows, that gentleman had the only supply of angle worms in that section of the country.

That evening around the campfire he threw the crew into convulsions with a dramatic account of the conversation he had heard in Park Rapids between the express agent and an irate fisherman.

“I tell you there isn’t anything for you,” said the agent.

“But I tell you there must be,” the fisherman retorted. “They were shipped from Wadena two days ago.”

“Was it a box?” the agent asked, looking over the waybills once more.

“Yes,” snapped the fisherman, “and if it has been lost I’ll sue the company. I’m not going to have a week’s pleasure spoiled for nothing.”

“Well, there’s nothing here,” the agent answered doggedly.

“I would not have lost them for fifty dollars,” the fisherman raged angrily. “Nothing is safe with this company any more.”

“What was in it?” asked the agent.

The fisherman almost exploded with excitement. “Seven dozen angle worms,” he screamed.

“That’s the reason I got next to the postmaster up here,” Johnson explained, when the laughter had subsided, “the agent said he had some planted.

“I expected to come up here the first of June,” he continued, “but some bloated millionaire out at Minnetonka wanted his forest park trimmed up and I could not resist the temptation to help him out at five dollars per.”

And so he ran on detailing the news of the cities and bringing the camp up-to-date on the doings of the rest of the University. He was perfectly at home. Everyone recognized in Johnson the quick-witted, steady nerved, natural born leader of men. Scott’s old admiration for Johnson grew as he listened to him and his conscience hurt him when he thought that he had never apologized for the boorish manner in which he had received his friendly advice. He longed to grasp his hand now and apologize—he knew Johnson would forgive him with undeserved readiness—but he could not do it before all the fellows and an appointment with Greenleaf to try the trout stream kept him from doing it that night.

But he made a solemn resolution that he would make full reparation to Johnson, and to make sure that it would not be overlooked he stored it away in his memory with the determination to win the ten thousand acres. He felt that the accomplishment of those two things was essential to his happiness.

Scott and Greenleaf hated to miss the news but had to leave the campfire early in order to make the camp near the trout stream, where the firebreak crew was located, before dark. They had planned to sleep at the camp and fish early in the morning.

The other boys all made fun of them because the trout stream had the reputation of being the worst mosquito hole in the park. It was a walk of only two miles and a half, and they soon located the camp on a little knoll near the beautiful spring which formed the source of the trout stream.

The men were smoking around the campfire preparatory to going to bed, for they kept early hours, especially on Friday night, that they might start an hour earlier Saturday morning to get off an hour earlier that night. They were delighted to see the boys, for they had little company, and doubly delighted at the prospect of trout for lunch.

“You boys did not bring a bear trap along with you, did you?” Dan asked.

“Have you seen a bear?” Greenleaf asked eagerly.

“No,” Dan said, “we didn’t see him, but he stole a dozen eggs and two pounds of bacon out of the cook tent last night.”

“Why don’t you lay for him?” Scott asked.

“Can’t touch him here in this park,” Dan answered.

“He’s probably ten miles away by this time,” Greenleaf said carelessly. He thought it was a scheme cooked up to try to scare them.

“No,” Pat said confidently, “he has stolen something from us nearly every night for a week.”

It never occurred to Scott to doubt the story and he wondered at Greenleaf’s indifference, but Greenleaf was very cautious and dreaded being taken in. Dan saw that he did not believe it.

“Do you know a bear track when you see it?” he asked.

“You bet,” Greenleaf answered confidently.

“He left plenty of those visiting cards around here,” Dan said.

Rising he led the way to the cookshack and showed them the claw marks in the butter tub, and then to the garbage heap where the soft ground was covered with tracks like those made by a barefoot man.

“No mistaking those,” Greenleaf exclaimed excitedly. “By George, let’s catch him tonight.”

“What are you going to do with him when you catch him?” Dan asked. “You can’t kill him, you know.”

“We’ll cage him and take him down to camp. Where are the shovels, Dan?”

Dan produced the shovels and sat down to watch the performance. Greenleaf was all enthusiasm.

“Come on, Scotty,” he cried. “We’ll dig a hole right here beside the garbage heap. This seems to be where he comes most.”

The boys worked so energetically that the hole grew apace. They worked in ten-minute shifts and made the dirt fly. It was almost pure sand with just enough clay to make the sides stand up, the easiest kind of digging. The men soon caught the spirit of the thing and volunteered to take their turns at the shovels. In an hour the pit was completed, five by five and six feet deep, with perpendicular sides.

“There,” Greenleaf said, clambering out on the end of a shovel Dan extended to him, “if Mr. Bruin tumbles into that he’s our meat.”

“Yes,” Dan laughed, “he’ll be our meat, but the next thing will be to cure the meat.”

“We’ll shovel this garbage into the pit to lead him on,” Greenleaf said. “Now where is the brush you cut when you built this camp? He won’t be as apt to suspect that as he would fresh cutting.”

“There’s a pile of it up there by the bull pen,” said Pat.

They brought down two or three loads of it and built a weak cover over the pit, strong around the edges but exceedingly weak in the center. This was accomplished by placing many small limbs with the heavy ends resting on one side and the tips on the other, using enough of them for the butts to make a fairly strong thatch all around the edge.

“Now,” Greenleaf said, “where is something we can use for bait?”

“I thought you put the garbage in there for bait,” Scott suggested.

“No, that was just to prevent him from making a meal off of it without getting near the pit at all. Besides, he’s been smelling that every night for a week. We want something real tempting.”

They canvassed the resources of the cook tent and finally decided on the lid of a pork barrel with a piece of bacon on it. This Greenleaf placed carefully in the center of the brush covering.

“There,” he exclaimed, “that ought to get him if anything will. Now let’s make all those things in the cook tent safe so that he cannot get a meal in there.”

Everything was made shipshape for the night and they went to bed—for it was already much later than the men had intended to sit up.

“Gee,” Greenleaf whispered to Scott as he wriggled into his blanket, “isn’t this great? It beats fighting fire, and I’ll bet you tomorrow’s breakfast we have that bear before morning.”

It was not easy to go to sleep with the prospect of catching a bear any minute, but they finally made it and dreamed of whole droves of bears eating at the breakfast table with them. The hard day’s work, the sighing of the breeze in the jack pines and the great stillness of the woods made them sleep soundly. No unusual noises disturbed them; the hours slipped by uncounted. It was half past four when an excited shout from Dan aroused the whole camp.

“By George, fellows, we’ve got him. He’s in there.”

He did not have to call twice. Greenleaf almost tore a hole in the side of the tent getting out and the others were close behind him. Sure enough there in the bottom of the pit was a yearling black bear, bouncing wildly around and digging furiously at the walls. He made frequent springs at the edge of the pit and several times succeeded in clawing the top. He had evidently been very little concerned by his fall until disturbed by the awakening of the camp—for he had eaten the bacon and picked the garbage over very thoroughly.

“Ha, ha, my boy,” Greenleaf called to him, “you will steal our eggs, will you? You’ll make exhibit ‘A’ in our menagerie now for a little while till we finish with this camp.”

The bear resented the taunts with renewed efforts to escape and he was clawing down so much dirt from the sides that it was evident he would soon have enough pulled into the bottom to enable him to jump out. Every jump he made brought him a little nearer to the surface.

“You fellows put some poles across the top of this pit,” Greenleaf directed, “good heavy logs, to keep him from getting out and I’ll go down to camp to get Sturgis to build a cage for him. Don’t let him get away, whatever you do. Knock him in the head first if you have to.”

With that he was gone. It was only half past five when Sturgis went out to milk, and saw Greenleaf puffing up the road. He thought the mosquitoes had probably chased him out as they had several former fishermen, and he rather wondered at it—for he thought him a better sticker than that.

“Where are the fish?” he called as soon as Greenleaf was within hailing distance.

“The mischief with the fish,” Greenleaf panted. “We’ve caught a bear.”

“Caught him,” Sturgis laughed. “Where is he, following you home?”

“Not this trip. I haven’t got him trained yet.”

Greenleaf explained the capture, and suggested that they build a cage to keep him in till the work on the east line was finished. It seemed the only thing to do, and they set to work immediately to build a substantial cage of two by fours and a piece of woven wire hog fence. They loaded the crude cage on a one-horse wagon and started out for the camp.

“Won’t those fellows be surprised,” Greenleaf chuckled, “when we bring them in a bear for breakfast instead of a trout?”

They were soon back at the bear pit, where they found things pretty much as Greenleaf had left them. The bear had dug down considerably more dirt but had tired himself out and was lying quietly in the bottom of the pit. They carried the cage over to the edge of the pit with the open end close to the edge.

“Little fellow, isn’t he?” Sturgis said, peeping down between the poles. “We oughtn’t to have much trouble with him.”

“If you had seen him bouncing around in there a while ago,” Dan said, “you wouldn’t be so sure of it.”

“Well,” Sturgis answered, “we’ll try him, anyway. Pat, you get that light logging chain while we take these poles away.”

The removal of the logs seemed to give the bear renewed hope, and they soon found that he was only resting, and not nearly so exhausted as he looked. He sized them up sullenly for an instant, and then made a vicious lunge at Dan which brought him head and shoulders above the edge of the pit. He clung desperately to the rim and only the crumbling of the sides kept him from getting out. He fell heavily on his back but recovered himself instantly, sprang again with a vicious snarl, and a furious blow of his paw laid the leg of Greenleaf’s trousers open for a foot. Once more the crumbling dirt threw him back.

As Pat came running up with the chain, tying a slip noose in it as he ran, the bear made another desperate spring and obtained a firm hold with his front feet, balanced a second and drew up one hind foot to the solid ground. In another instant he would be free from the pit, an ugly customer to handle in his infuriated condition. Greenleaf sprang forward with the intention of pushing him back into the pit with his hands at the infinite risk of falling in with him, but Dan was ahead of him and struck the bear a heavy blow on the head with the flat of an ax. The blow knocked the crazed animal back into the pit just as he had all four feet on the surface.

“I hate to do it, old man,” Dan said, “but I ain’t crazy to hug you.”

The bear was dazed by the blow and wandered aimlessly around the pit, snarling horribly. He was not ready to give up yet.

“He pretty near had us that time,” Sturgis said, “but don’t hit him too hard. Run that noose end of the chain through this far end of the cage, Pat, out of the open end there and down into the pit. Then if we can get the noose around his neck we can pull him right into the cage and hold him there while we nail him up.”

Scott took charge of the noose and attempted to lasso the bear. It was a difficult trick. Every time he had the noose nearly on the bear would grab it and bite it savagely. At last he saw his chance. The bear sat up on his haunches for a better view of his tormentor and Scott dropped the noose neatly over his head. The noose refused to tighten and Dan reached down with a shovel to slip it along. The bear slapped it a blow that tore it out of Dan’s hands and sent it rattling up against the side of the pit, but his temper proved his undoing. He pounced savagely on the fallen shovel, the only thing he could reach, and the lunge tightened the noose.

“Now will you be good?” Scott shouted triumphantly.

“Get on the end of that chain, boys,” Sturgis directed, “and keep it tight while I dig down this side of the pit so that we can drag him out.”

The edge of the sandy pit was soon broken down to an easy slope and the protesting bear was dragged relentlessly into his new home. The hog wire was quickly fastened across the end of the cage and the chain loosened. For a few minutes the bear resented its captivity desperately, tore furiously at the wire, threw itself violently against the side of the cage, and growled savagely. But it did not last long. The tremendous exertions in the pit, the heavy blow on the head and the utter futility of the attacks on the cage had broken his spirit, and abandoning all hope he lay quietly down in the cage, wholly indifferent to everything.

“That’s the way, old boy,” Greenleaf said soothingly, “take it easy. We are going to take you to a nice place where you will get more to eat than you have ever had before in your life.”

They brought the wagon over to load the cage, but found a new difficulty. The horse had no idea of hauling a bear. The instant he scented the brute he became almost unmanageable and it required the combined efforts of the whole crew to keep him from getting away. He trembled violently and snorted with fear.

“Take him out,” Dan said, “and I’ll get the oxen. They haven’t sense enough to be afraid of anything.”

Dan did not like the oxen, but he knew their possibilities. When the change had been made they set out for the school, Greenleaf leading the procession on the rebellious horse.

The news of the capture had spread rapidly around the campus. Two or three of the boys met them a mile down the road, the others were all assembled near the library, students, professors’ families, visitors, workmen and all, awaiting the arrival of the mighty hunters. Some were awaiting the further development of what they considered a joke; others were prompted by genuine curiosity to see a real, live, wild bear.

Greenleaf looked a little anxious at the waiting crowd and then at the cage. “I wish he’d perk up a little,” he said, riding as near the cage as the horse would consent to go. “Can’t you twist his tail a little, Scotty? Bill Price will be saying he was dying when we found him.”

“He hasn’t a great deal of tail to twist, so far as I can make out,” Scott answered doubtfully, “and nothing seems to arouse him at all. I wonder if he is going to die after all?”

The crowd cheered loudly as the wagon pulled slowly into the yard and pushed close around the wagon to inspect the prize.

“You need not be afraid,” Greenleaf assured the ladies, “Dan had to knock him on the head with the flat of an ax and it has dazed him a little. He’ll be all right in a little while.”

“What did he hit him for? To loosen him from the ground?” Bill Price drawled. “You must have had a hard time dragging him into the cage, Greeny.”

“Never you mind,” Scott retorted, “if you had seen him trying to get out of that pit and ripping Greenleaf’s trousers nearly off, you’d have thought he was a pretty lively corpse.”

“In a pit, was he?” Bill asked quietly. “I supposed he was dead but why do you suppose they tried to bury him?”

“Never mind, Greeny,” Scott consoled him, “Bill would not have had the nerve to catch a dead one.”

“Cheer up, fellows,” Greenleaf grinned as he helped carry the cage over to a shady spot, “we’ve got the first bear ever caught in the park, if he is a dead one, but if you all live to grow up you may catch one yourselves some day. Who can tell? Bears are dumb brutes.”

Scott looked eagerly around for Johnson but he had already left for Park Rapids, and Scott had to harbor his troubled conscience for many another month. It was beginning to hurt. He little dreamed then how splendidly he would some day square the account.


The bear recovered from the crack it had received on the head, thrived in its new mode of life and became one of the curiosities of the park. It became quite tame, permitted a favored few to scratch its head, and only occasionally hurled itself at the wire with an ugly snarl when strangers approached the cage. Different people tried a great variety of food upon it, but nothing seemed to satisfy it so well as the blueberries and fish; of these it never tired.

The capture of the bear had opened up a new field of interest to Scott. He knew the geology of the country thoroughly—could trace the origin of almost every type of pebble to be found in the glacial drift; his dendrology and botany had brought him in touch with all the trees and plants, but the great field of animal life he had completely overlooked. The bear furnished a point of contact, and he grasped the new lead eagerly. He undertook the responsibility of feeding the bear regularly and enjoyed studying his diet and habits. There were many good books on natural history in the library and he soon obtained a pretty good idea of bruin in all his relations to man and beast. He was surprised to see how many new points of interest this study brought out and still more surprised to find how many traces of bear he could find in the woods now that he knew enough to look for them.

Naturally to such an active mind as his, the study and observation of one animal could not help but be an introduction to the other forms of animal life. The deer, wolves, minks, lynx, wild cats, skunks, otter, coons, porcupines, woodchucks, squirrels, chipmunks, frogs, fish, nutes, salamanders, snakes, birds and a host of others he had never dreamed of crowded upon his attention and filled the woods with a new interest. Now that his eyes were opened he could not walk a hundred yards without seeing something to attract his attention. He was beginning to realize how the old woodsman with his knowledge of woods’ life could live for months without human company and never feel lonely.

Greenleaf had long ago discovered this secret, and could help him greatly in his observations. Almost every Sunday when the other fellows were enjoying themselves with the girls at the Lodge these two were canoeing around the lake or tramping through the woods investigating some of the denizens.

As Greenleaf expressed it: “There’s plenty of time to rush the girls when you are cooped up in town and can’t get at the other animals.”

It came about very happily that just at the time when Scott was beginning to get interested in the animals a naturalist came to visit the camp and a geologist came to give the boys some field work. Scott’s thorough knowledge of geology let him out of the class work and enabled him to put in a large part of his time with the naturalist. The trips he made with this interesting man lent him an enthusiasm and gave him many practical hints which carried him easily over the preliminary stage which is apt to be rather discouraging to the uninitiated. It carried him to a point from which he could easily go on alone.

This new friend, Dr. Barnes, was a man of deep reading and wide observation, a Chautauqua lecturer, and a most interesting conversationalist. He had camped all over the north woods studying the habits and watching the antics of the woods creatures. He was as delighted to find a fellow enthusiast no matter how green a beginner, as Scott was to profit by his experience and they became great chums.

The special attraction which had brought Dr. Barnes to that particular place at that time was an opportunity to study the beaver, of which there were a great many in the park. Two pairs placed there ten years before had increased until they populated dozens of lakes and had built some dams of remarkable size. The evidence of their work was everywhere but the beavers themselves seemed to possess a wonderful faculty for keeping out of sight, and Scott was astonished when he tried to look them up in the books to find how little seemed to be known about them.

“Well, Scotty,” Dr. Barnes called to him one morning, “suppose we paddle down to the beaver dam on the west arm and reconnoiter a little? I want to look over the situation there and see if there is an opportunity to stay down there some night and watch them work—for I believe they work at night.”

“Very well, sir,” Scott replied, “I am free today, and shall be delighted to go wherever you suggest.”

“I suggest,” said the doctor, “that we take lunch, explore the place thoroughly, and, if we find it practicable, go back after supper to spend the night.”

They were soon ready to start, and armed with a camera and two axes they paddled swiftly down the west arm. Two deer, standing knee deep in the water, half hidden by the reeds, watched them curiously as they paddled past, but they were bent on rarer game, too intent to turn aside.

“They say the dam is up that little creek; it’s a cedar swamp,” Scott said, “but I don’t know how wet it is.”

“Well, let’s land on that high point just this side of the swamp and we can work in from there. The dam must touch that dry land somewhere.”

“There. The canoe is safe. Shall we take our lunches?” Scott asked.

“Certainly,” the doctor replied emphatically, “one of the first rules of the woods; never get separated from your lunch.”

They climbed the steep bank to a bench which marked a former level of the lake. It had been covered by a good stand of popple, but most of it was now down, apparently thrown by a windstorm. Suddenly Dr. Barnes spied a stump.

“Can it be—” he began excitedly running over to examine the stump. “Yes, sir, that one, that one, that one, everyone of them gnawed down by the beaver.”

He was trotting hurriedly from stump to stump. Scott hastened to examine one of them and found it very distinctly marked with the print of teeth, as though it had been cut off with a series of gouges with a concave chisel. It was a very neat job.

“Just about two acres cleared clean,” he said, as the doctor puffed up from the swamp. “I did not know they cut down such big trees.”

“Big trees!” the doctor echoed. “There’s a stump down there on the edge of the swamp fifteen inches in diameter. We must have some pictures of this.”

While the Doctor busied himself with the pictures Scott scouted around.

“Look here,” he shouted excitedly, “here are some regular skidways and logging roads.”

The Doctor came on the run. “Yes, sir, well planned ones, too. You see they cut down the tree simply to get the twigs and smaller branches. The latter they haul down these skidways, float to their pond near the house and keep under water so that they can peel them in the winter time. Now let’s go look for the dam. There ought to be a beaver trail down to the swamp.”

He was right. A well beaten trail led them down to the swamp and right to the end of the dam. It was a queer looking structure; a low embankment of dirt and sticks winding away across the swamp, which was dry below the dam and covered with a foot of water above. They walked along the top of the dam pacing the distance as they went. As they neared the stream the dam increased in height to about six feet backing up a corresponding depth of water.

“Two hundred and forty feet,” the doctor said, “isn’t it wonderful?”

“What is it for?” Scott asked.

“You see they had to build it so long on account of the swamp. If the banks of the stream had been steep the dam would have been short. They build it to keep water always around the house, which is built in the pond above the dam. The entrance to it is under water. The wolves can’t get into it. Besides that it gives them a chance to get under the ice for their sticks in the winter. See that big pile of sticks out there in the pond? That is the house. Let’s see if we can get out there.”

By walking fallen trees and wading shallow bars they finally reached the house. It was some fifteen feet across and protruded about four feet above the water. It was built of sticks—all of them providently peeled beforehand—from an inch to three inches in diameter, the whole plastered thickly with mud. It seemed perfectly solid. There were a few tracks in the mud and a whimpering such as might be made by small pups came from the inside, but no beavers were to be seen. They retraced their way to the dam.

“Right there,” the doctor said, pointing to a mound of comparatively dry moss, “we could spend the night quite comfortably. I believe that if we break a hole in the dam so that they can hear the running of the water they will come to fix it up.”

They made their way down the stream. There were several other dams which had apparently been abandoned, all short, but one of them higher than the new one. Just before they reached the lake Dr. Barnes was delighted to find an old abandoned house.

“Now,” he exclaimed excitedly, “we’ll see what it’s like inside.”

The solidity of the structure was wonderful, but by dint of considerable hard work with the axes they cut away half of the house, showing the interior in cross section. It was some time before Scott had a chance to inspect it himself for the hole was no sooner opened than the doctor crawled into it head first; spasmodic wriggling of his legs and a series of muffled exclamations alone told of the state of his emotions. He stayed so long that Scott began to fear that he had moved in there to live. He finally wriggled out very red in the face, and very jubilant.

“Why don’t you look in there?” he asked. “You can see just how they live.”

Scott did not waste any time explaining why he had not looked in, but crawled eagerly into the muddy opening. Much to his surprise he found the floor of the house well above the level of the stream and perfectly dry. The roof of the house was arched up with great skill leaving an opening in which a good-sized man could curl up very comfortably. On two sides there were tunnels leading down to small dirt landings almost on a level with the surface of the water. From these the beaver could slip conveniently under the water, still within the house, and swim out through a submarine passage. It was certainly a very ingenious arrangement—for they had all the advantages of living on land and at the same time were protected absolutely from the attacks of all land animals. The floor was covered with fish bones, which Scott learned later had probably been left there by the mink who had made use of the house after its abandonment by the original inhabitants—for the beavers themselves do not eat fish.

No sooner had Scott wriggled out than the doctor crawled laboriously in again with a pencil and envelope in his teeth to draw a sketch of the interior. This completed and several photographs taken of the house from all angles, they ate lunch, traced out the boundaries of the cuttings on both sides of the swamp and paddled home to prepare their outfit for a night in the wet moss. Dr. Barnes was all enthusiasm.

The other boys had no desire to share in the expedition, but they were immensely interested in a way and shouted bits of advice and sarcastic sympathy after the canoe as long as it was in range.

The long twilight gave them plenty of time, and they sneaked the canoe along the edge of the lily pads in hope of catching some of the beavers out foraging—for it was the time of day when they were most often seen. As they approached the cedar swamp they observed a green popple branch moving mysteriously and swiftly across the surface of the lake. Closer observation showed that it was being vigorously pushed along by an energetic beaver. They gave chase to see what he would do. He was evidently loath to give up the prize, for he only swam the faster, throwing quite a swell like a small tug boat. Finally the pursuit became too hot for him and he abandoned the branch, diving under the surface with a splash. Several times he came up to reconnoiter, diving again almost instantly. Each time he dived he struck the water a blow with his broad flat tail which sent his head under with a jerk and made a report easily heard a half-mile away over the still water.

They paddled the canoe over toward the shore again to see if he would recover the branch. After several false starts he took it in tow once more and disappeared with it up the creek. When the canoe was still some distance from the shore they spied another beaver dodging around the lily pads. He was so intent on his own business that he did not seem to notice the silently moving canoe. He was evidently making his evening meal off of the yellow lily buds. Rising head and shoulders above the water, he would devour a bud with great relish, sink silently into the water and come up alongside of another juicy bud. They followed these maneuvers for some time before he took alarm, dived with a loud splash and was seen no more.

They scouted around cautiously but failed to find any more night marauders.

“We’d better go ashore now,” the doctor suggested, “and fix things up for the night. It may get dark before we are ready.”

They pulled the canoe up on the marshy shore and made their way up the stream to the spot they had picked in the morning. The mound of moss proved to be none too large, but the blankets were finally arranged so that they thought they could spend the night in comparative comfort.

“Now for a hole in the dam,” the doctor said, with suppressed excitement. “Where’s the ax?”

They soon found that a pick would have been more effective. The dam was built even better than they had thought. The sticks were woven together and plastered with a solidity that astounded them. A breach some three feet long and a foot deep was finally made, and the water came pouring out with a rush which must have appalled the beavers.

“There,” said the Doctor panting from his exertions, “that ought to bring them all to the rescue. We must keep very still and wait patiently.”

“Do you think they can smell us here?” Scott asked anxiously. “We are pretty close to the break.”

“No, I don’t think so; most of these water animals rely more on sight and hearing than on smell. They may be suspicious for a while, but they will have to fix it for fear of having their pond drained.”

It did not take the beavers long to discover the break in the dam. The watchers had scarcely settled themselves on their blankets when they heard the distant plunk of a diving beaver in the pond. There was a moment of tense silence and then another plunk nearer.

“Here they come,” the doctor whispered excitedly. “Keep quiet.”

The approaching beaver evidently wanted to investigate the leak, but had no idea of being drawn into an ambush. He circled cautiously around at a distance, diving nervously at short intervals, till, finally assured that there was no danger, he swam boldly up to the breach and nosed around it. They could see the faint glimmer from the little roll of water he pushed along in front of him and once he passed so close to them that they could hear his heavy breathing. Then he swam quietly away.

“That must be the watchman sent to reconnoiter,” the Doctor explained. “He has gone back to report on the break.”

He must have made a very lengthy report or had some trouble in convincing the others, for it was a full hour before they heard anything from him. Then once more they heard the distant “plunks.” Much to their disappointment he came alone. He repeated the same performance as before and disappeared once more.

“He must have forgotten some of the details,” Scott muttered.

Another hour of waiting and he came again. He seemed worried over the escaping water but showed no inclination to repair the dam.

The next hour it was the same thing. “He must patrol this place all night,” Scott suggested. “Do you notice that he strikes the hour almost to the dot?”

“Yes,” the doctor murmured, a little sleepily. “They must come to repair that dam pretty soon. We ought to have made the hole deeper.”

It grew cold in the swamp and each hour seemed colder than the preceding one. The dismal squawk of a night hawk or the honk of a passing blue heron sounded occasionally above the monotonous flowing of the water. An owl seemed to be hooting fun at them from a neighboring tree—for he always started up just after the sentinel had made his round, and along toward morning the occasional scream of a coon just returning from his night’s marauding, pierced the stillness. The crowded quarters on the little mound of moss were very hard on cramped muscles and the lack of industry on the part of the proverbially busy beavers was thoroughly disappointing. Scott was beginning to feel his enthusiasm in the beavers oozing away.

The dawn, that chilling interval between night and morning, was stealing upon them and soon the streaks of light began appearing in the eastern sky.

The Doctor stretched himself as much as he dared without getting his feet in the water and sat up shivering. “I guess we have seen about all we are going to see this trip,” he said despondently. “We might as well go down here on dry ground where we can stretch ourselves and cook breakfast.”

“Don’t you suppose they are going to fix that blooming dam sometime?” Scott asked in disgust.

“Surely they’ll fix it,” the doctor replied confidently; “maybe they work in the daytime. We’ll come back again sometime, break the dam wide open, and hide on a platform in the trees. Maybe that would get them.”

Scott made a mental resolve that he would not make one of the party in the tree, but the little doctor’s ardor was so little dampened by the failure that he soon felt ashamed of himself.

“After all,” the doctor said reassuringly as they paddled back to camp, “we did not fail altogether. All scientific facts are collected slowly, one by one, and each new one is so much added to the sum of human knowledge. We have seen a beaver patrolman on his beat—even had some water splashed on us by him—and that’s more than any other scientist I know can say.”


It was Saturday evening and the boys had gathered around the campfire on the lakeshore—for the breeze was rather chilly as it often was even in those summer months. Most of them had been working all day and were now content enough to lie idly by the fire listening lazily to the three-days-old baseball news or throwing gibes at Higby and Porter who were preparing for their nightly canoe trip to the Lodge.

“Gee,” Greenleaf said, “I wish something exciting would turn up.”

“Caught any more sick bear?” Steve asked sarcastically.

“That bear was the liveliest corpse you ever saw,” Greenleaf retorted. “The bears have not bothered any more lately, but I found a peach of a partridge nest this afternoon. Eleven eggs in it. And on the way home I found a mallard duck’s nest away up on the hill back of the dining hall. There were eleven eggs in that, too. You better get some pictures of them in the morning, Morris.”

“How will those ducks ever get down to the lake?” Morris asked.

“March down,” Greenleaf answered. “The day after they hatch every one of them will be in the lake. You ought to have seen that old partridge when I found the nest. She fluttered right across my feet twice, playing at a broken wing, and when I went away she ran after me hissing and whining like a pup. I reckon she thought she scared me out.”

“Probably did,” Bill Price insinuated.

Before Greenleaf could retort Sturgis came around the corner of the library and called him.

“I wonder if he is going to spoil my evening?” Greenleaf growled, but he jumped up cheerfully enough. He was doing some extra work clerking for Sturgis.

The two disappeared around the library, and the desultory discussion around the fire continued. In a few minutes Greenleaf walked back to the fire alone. He stood there talking casually until he had caught Scott’s eye, when with an almost imperceptible raising of the eyebrows he beckoned him away. He walked off whistling toward the bunkhouse and Scott soon followed him.

“What is it?” Scott asked eagerly, when he had overtaken the loitering figure, for he had caught something in Greenleaf’s eye which showed excitement.

“What is it?” Greenleaf repeated excitedly. “It’s something that will make capturing that bear look pretty tame.”


“Catching a man,” Greenleaf said mysteriously.

Scott was burning up with curiosity. “Well, why don’t you tell a fellow what it is instead of mooning around like a hero in a dime novel? Who is the man? Where is he? What has he done?”

“We don’t know who he is,” Greenleaf answered, with exasperating deliberation, “and you mustn’t talk so loud about it. There is no telling who may be in with them. It would not do to have them warned now.”

Scott gritted his teeth. “If you don’t want your neck broken you’d better explain this thing. What’s it all about, anyway?”

Greenleaf looked around suspiciously and drew Scott out into the open tennis court. “Sturgis has a hunch,” he whispered, “that those men who are working on the north road are trying to snare deer in the park. He wants us to help him catch them. It’s against the law, you know, and he’s a game warden.”

“Whereabouts are they?” Scott asked eagerly.

“He thinks the snares are over in Hubbard ravine. We’ll go over there tonight and try to catch them in the early morning when they come to look at the snares.”

“Gee,” Scott chuckled, “that will be something worth while. Are we going to start now?”

“Sturgis said he would wait for us at the corner of the pasture. We’d better take our coats with us; it’ll be cold waiting.”

A few minutes later the three had met and were hurrying out the old road toward the ravine. The boys were eager with suppressed excitement. They felt the primitive thrill of the manhunter.

“How did you hear about it?” Scott asked.

“One of the men heard them talking,” Sturgis said, “and saw them hanging around the ravine one evening when he was going home.”

“How many are there?” Greenleaf asked.

“Two men and a boy up there, but probably we cannot get more than one of them. They will not all come to see the traps.”

“Do you think they’ll fight?” Scott asked eagerly.

“No,” Sturgis said, “I doubt if they will fight much, but they’ll probably put up an awful run for it. There’s a hundred dollars’ fine.”

They walked on for a while in silence, each one figuring out his tactics for the coming battle. It was a very dark night. Only the blacker outline of the trees against the dark sky indicated the opening of the road ahead of them. Now and then they heard some night prowler rustling through the brush, or the swift short rush of a frightened rabbit. Once they came dangerously near stumbling over an indifferent porcupine who refused to give them the road. It made them a little more careful how they picked their steps.

“We’ll have to leave the road here,” Sturgis said, stopping at a trail which would have been entirely invisible to anyone not thoroughly familiar with the woods at night. “They may be looking for tracks in the road in the morning and we don’t want to scare them off.”

It was slow work picking their way along that crooked trail. It wound through a dense stand of young jack pine, and the darkness was absolute. Again and again Sturgis had to wait for them, for it was necessary that they be in touch with each other if they were to stay together. It seemed to Scott as though they must have gone miles and miles, but he knew that it could not be far. The steep side slope on which they were traveling told him that they were on the edge of the ravine. The whir of frogs in the hollow told of a shallow lake. They left the side hill trail to avoid the gullies and then wound here and there to keep out of the denser brush. Scott no longer had the slightest idea where he was or which way he was going, but Sturgis evidently had his bearings, for he turned abruptly down the hill across a narrow neck between two swamps. On the opposite edge he stopped to listen.

“Those fellows are camped right up there a quarter of a mile,” he said. “Don’t make any noise, because they may have a dog in camp.”

Scott was astonished to find that they were on a road, but it was grass-grown and would tell no tales. Once more they turned from the road, this time into an open stand of Norway pine free from undergrowth. They had gone just far enough to be out of the way of any stragglers from the road when Sturgis stopped. “We’ll wait here,” he said. “It’s a pity we cannot light a fire, for it will be cold.”

“Why did we start so early?” Greenleaf asked. “They are not likely to come before morning.”

“No,” Sturgis said, “they won’t come before morning but I don’t know just where that runway is. The moon will be up after a while, so that we can find it and pick out a good place to hide.”

“What sort of a trap do they use?” Scott asked.

“They don’t use a trap,” Sturgis said, “they use a snare. Bend down a sapling, attach a wire loop to it, and fasten it down with a trip. You don’t want to get into it for it may be a good-sized tree and it would jar you some.”

They waited in silence for two hours. It was too cold to sleep. Scott tried it once, but he soon woke up shivering. After that he tried to keep warm by deep breathing and straining one muscle against another. The darkness was beginning to seem interminable when the moon, coming slowly above the horizon, cast a faint shimmer of light through the clouds. As the light grew stronger Scott distinguished the steep declivity close in front of them leading down to the swamp and recognized the trout stream which the bear had kept him from fishing. The tangled swamp looked in that half light like a pretty poor place in which to catch a man, but he tightened his shoe lacings at the mere thought of the race and the blood tingling through his veins soon warmed him.

“Now let’s see if we can find that runway,” Sturgis said, rising stiffly. “Look out for that snare.”

They crawled slowly along the edge of the hill, searching for the deer-trail and taking great care not to leave a trail themselves—for as Sturgis had said, men who were running the risk of a hundred-dollar fine would be mighty suspicious of the least sign of an intruder. They had not gone over forty rods when they came to a very plain trail leading down into the swamp. “This must be the trail,” Sturgis said, “and this little clump of young popple is a good place to hide. They ought to come from this side.”

Once more they took up the silent, weary watch. It seemed to Scott as if he must get crosseyed looking down that narrow trail. Occasionally his eyes would become so blurred that he had to take a general survey of the surrounding country to relieve his strained muscles. There was not a sound in the woods. It was that period which is a sort of “no man’s land” in the daily program, the time when life seems at its lowest ebb, when the sinister noises of the night have ceased and the songs of the morning have not yet begun.

Slowly the sky began to pale and the birds began to move restlessly in the trees. Almost before they could fully realize it the world was wide awake. The light grew stronger and stronger till the real sunlight was visible spreading fanlike up from the eastern horizon.

“Well,” Sturgis said nervously, stretching himself, “if they are coming it is pretty near time for them to be here.” He peered out through the bushes toward the camp and immediately jerked his head back violently. “By George, there comes Newman, now,” he exclaimed excitedly. “Don’t make a sound, whatever happens.”

From their hiding place in the bushes they could see a man making his way rapidly up the hill. He was coming almost directly towards them. It seemed as though he must feel those burning eyes, for on the brow of the hill he stopped and looked suspiciously around him. His eyes traveled searchingly over the ground.

Suddenly there was a crash in the swamp below, followed instantly by a cry like the bleat of a frightened sheep. It so startled the tense nerves in the bushes that they surely would have been betrayed had it not affected the newcomer so much more. At that sound he threw caution to the winds and bounded down the hill, crashing through the brush like a moose.

“What was that noise?” Scott whispered.

“A deer in the snare,” Sturgis said. “Come on. Don’t make any noise unless he runs, and then after him.”

They crept stealthily down the hillside, keeping under cover as much as possible but relying mostly on the deer’s occupying the poacher’s attention. They did not have far to go, for the snare was not over a hundred yards from their hiding place. Before they had covered half the distance they could catch glimpses of Newman through the brush vainly struggling with the deer. The noose had caught it around the body just in front of the hind legs and suspended it clear of the ground. It was thrashing the air violently with its front feet and blatting in the frenzy of despair. Newman tried at first to cut its throat, but found it impossible to get past those murderous feet. He was just turning to cut a club when he saw his pursuers not over thirty yards away.

The boys in their tennis shoes had easily distanced Sturgis. When they saw that their approach was discovered they bounded ahead with an exultant shout. Each picked his own way through the swamp, and neither thought of anything save the flying figure ahead of him. They were both good runners but fear lent wings to the feet of the fugitive and he knew the swamp better than they. They fell through holes in the sphagnum and went sprawling. Had Newman stuck to the swamp he might have out-distanced them, but at the north boundary he took to the firebreak and started eastward over the ridge. The boys came out on the solid ground fifty yards behind him.

“Now we’ve got him.” Scott hissed between his teeth, and he shot away over the hard ground at a terrific pace. Greenleaf’s breath was coming in gasps, but Scott’s endurance was standing him in good stead. They closed on the poacher at every jump and were already within twenty yards of him when a frightened glance over his shoulder told him that he had no chance in the open road. He turned suddenly into the dense brush and dodged like a jack rabbit. Greenleaf caught his toe on a fallen log and went crashing out of the race.

Finding only one man behind him and that man almost within striking distance Newman turned at bay. But he was so exhausted that he could hardly stand. He waved his knife threateningly, and tried to warn Scott off, but his hot breath choked him.

He waved his knife threateningly, and tried to warn Scott off.

“Better give it up, old man,” Scott said, eying him coolly. “You’re all in.”

The man swayed unsteadily, and gasped what was meant to be a threat.

“Come,” Scott commanded, taking a step forward, “drop that knife and be sensible.” He snatched up a stick and advanced resolutely. The man still waved the knife sullenly. With one quick blow of the stick Scott sent the knife flying and almost at the same instant felled the man with a left to the jaw. Greenleaf came up panting, and the man showed no further signs of fight. Scott secured the knife as a trophy of the chase.

“Now get up and come along sensibly,” Scott commanded.

Neither Greenleaf nor the poacher had sufficient breath left to talk and they made their way out to the road in silence. It was not till then that either of them noticed that Sturgis was not with them or even in sight on the road.

“We certainly could not have lost him,” Scott exclaimed.

“Maybe he twisted a leg in that swamp,” Greenleaf suggested. “I came near it several times.”

As they hurried along they were surprised to find how far they had come. They had covered a good half-mile after they left the swamp.

“No wonder I was so pesky winded,” Greenleaf said, as they made their way slowly along the hillside. “That’s the farthest I have run since the bear chased me in Montana. Here’s that deer trail. We can cross the swamp now.”

The swamp was very narrow and before they had gone four rods Newman stopped with a gasp. The boys followed his frightened stare and horror almost paralyzed them for an instant. Then they burst into roars of laughter in which Newman joined maliciously. There, only a short distance ahead of them, was Sturgis, suspended by one foot from a deer snare so that only his head and shoulders rested comfortably in the soft moss. They were afraid at first that he was badly hurt, but the sheepish look of humiliation was too much for their gravity. Ten feet beyond, the deer was still struggling on another wire.

“Are you—” Scott began, but burst into another uncontrollable fit of laughter. “Are you hurt, Sturgis?” he managed to get out between the explosions.

“Nothing but my feelings,” Sturgis answered dryly. “Bend that sapling down a minute. There. I see now why you set two of these things, Newman,” he added as he waved his leg cautiously around to see if it would work.

“Why didn’t you yell?” Greenleaf asked.

“Well, at first I was too astonished to yell and then I was afraid that if I did you would stop and let Newman get away. I wanted you pretty badly anyway, Newman, and I wouldn’t have had you get away after this for twice the fine.”

Even the mention of the fine could not suppress the grin on Newman’s face. When they had sufficiently recovered they turned their attention to the deer. It was no easy task to get him down. He was somewhat tired by the long struggle but still promised an awful punishment to anyone who might try to touch him.

Newman had become resigned to his fate and was beginning to enjoy the situation. “I put him up there,” he chuckled, “now let’s see you get him down.” He sat down on a log to see the fun.

Greenleaf came to the rescue as usual, “I’ll climb the tree and cut off the top. Then we can handle him.”

Cutting off the top was a simple proposition but the “handling” was more complicated. For a moment it looked as though there were at least twenty deer. The air seemed to be full of them and it was not safe to go near. Greenleaf could not even get down out of the tree. But such violent antics could not last long in the dense brush. In a very few minutes the deer was completely tangled up in the wire and lay panting in a clump of alders unable to get up. Cautiously Sturgis sneaked up from behind and unfastened the wire loop. Scott, venturing a little too close had his trousers slit from the knee to the ankle with one vicious blow of that delicate front foot.

For an instant—and only an instant—the deer did not realize that it was free. Then with one bound it landed squarely on all four feet, cleared the clump of alders as lightly as a puff of smoke, and bounced away up the ridge the white tail waving defiance.

The progress home was slow—for Sturgis’ leg was rather badly wrenched—but they managed to get there just as the boys were coming down from breakfast and their advent into camp was, if possible, more triumphant than when they had captured the bear.


The days in camp had come to an end, come insensibly to an end, for time had glided so swiftly from one event to another that it was almost impossible to believe that those four months, which had seemed so long in the spring, had actually gone.

It was about seven o’clock in the morning when the canoes put out slowly from the boathouse, one by one, and assembled in a little compact fleet just outside the swimming raft ready for the seven-hundred-mile trip down the river. When the last had joined the fleet there was a mighty wholehearted yell for the old camp, before they all shot away together toward the river. The yell was answered by the one lonely scream of a loon.

There was many a lingering backward look as long as the camp was in sight, but once in the shallow river they were soon too busy to think of it. The river was low, and the mighty Father of Waters was in many places unable to float the little fleet. They frequently had to resort to towlines and it was noon before they passed the mouth of Sucker Brook and La Salle, where they had comparatively deep water. Even then progress was slow, for the lumbermen had blocked the river in many places with splash dams to enable them to drive their logs. Night caught them less than half way to Bemidji.

“And that,” Bill Price said as he looked back up the narrow river of shallow water, “is one of the largest rivers in the world. It certainly looks as though it would have to grow some.”

Ten miles above Bemidji the next afternoon they ran onto the remnant of the spring drive and had to pick their way through the bobbing logs with care. It was slow work and not over safe, but they persevered till late in the evening and finally camped on the shore of Lake Bemidji.

From there on the going was better. The paddlers changed places every half hour to utilize the third man, the portages became less frequent and the little line of canoes slipped rapidly down the river and into Cass Lake. In the center of the lake they saw a beautiful pine-covered, star-shaped island which they recognized from the stories they had heard of it. They stopped there for lunch and had a look at the pretty little lake in the center of it believed by the Indians to be the home of the Windigo, or Indian devil. No one of the native Indians would for any consideration consent to spend a night on the island. Whatever the character of the Windigo he certainly knew how to pick out a beautiful home.

Early the next morning they came to the entrance of Lake Winnibigoshish only to find themselves blocked by an unexpected obstacle. The stiff breeze had lashed the shallow water into a tangle of white-capped waves in which a canoe would have led a very precarious life even if there had been no other danger. But the rough water was only a very small part of it. The lake had been very greatly enlarged by a high government dam which had caused the backed-up waters to spread over several square miles of forest. This flooding had killed all the trees in the overflowed area and left half the lake dotted with dead stubs, some rising high above the surface, others lurking treacherously just out of sight. This made it absolutely unsafe for any boat except on a perfectly quiet day and even then a sharp lookout was necessary.

It was very exasperating to see that great expanse of water, looking to them like a broad parade ground, after the crooked lane of the river, and yet not be able to venture across it. For two days they lolled around camp waiting impatiently while the wind blew steadily.

That evening Merton was goaded to desperation. “You fellows can do as you please,” he said determinedly, “but I am going to cross that lake tomorrow at sunrise. It ought to be smooth at that time of day, but I am going if she is standing straight on end.”

“Well,” Bill said suavely, “of course it does not matter much about your drowning yourself, but it would be a pity to smash up that canoe.”

“It’s an old one,” Merton laughed, “and I’ve used it long enough.”

“I’ll go with you,” Scott announced resolutely; “that’s no place for a man to go alone.”

“Oh, I am not going alone. Our whole boat is agreed on it.”

“Then we’ll all go,” Bill said, “you fellows have no monopoly on the sand in this lake.”

So it came about that the rising sun found the five canoes threading their way cautiously out among the sunken trees toward the open water. The sea was a little choppy, but the boys figured that they could make it across before the wind came up. Once in the deep water they drove steadily ahead, eager for the shelter of the opposite shore. It was a tremendous lake and seemed, now that they were in the middle of it, larger than it had before.

At nine o’clock the wind began to rise perceptibly. They were still some miles from shore and getting into the submerged timber again. There were many narrow escapes, but the light canoes seemed to bear charmed lives and grazed impudently past those cruel black stubs.

The boys had missed so many of them that they became indifferent to the danger. Suddenly there was a vicious rending sound as a sharp dead tamarack pierced the bottom of Morris’s boat as though it had been an eggshell, narrowly missing Bill Price, who was third man in that boat. Quick as a flash Bill broke off the stub with one savage kick and pressed a tent fly tightly down on the break.

“Need help?” Merton called as the other canoes closed in.

“Not yet,” Bill answered quietly. “Now, Morris, you and Steve paddle for shore as tight as you can go while I hold down this pack and bail for it.”

The canoe went swiftly on while Bill, seated on the pack, built a small coffer-dam around himself with blankets and bailed out the water with a quart cup. It rose steadily in spite of his best efforts and began to ooze over the dam. It seemed only a matter of minutes before the canoe would sink. They were making pretty good time, taking chances on not striking any more stubs and rapidly shortening the distance to shore.

At the end of ten minutes the canoe was pretty low in the water. “I can’t make it, fellows,” Bill panted. “Get Mert to tow us and all three of us can keep it down easily.”

They cast a line to the nearest canoe, Merton’s, and all three plied the bailing cups. Slowly the water began to go down and the canoe floated higher.

“I’ll try paddling again,” Morris said. “You and Steve can keep her down, I guess.”

This arrangement greatly increased the speed and the two bailers managed to keep the water down. At last they scraped on the solid ground.

“There,” Bill said as they scrambled ashore and pulled up the disabled canoe, “I feel better now. I kept thinking how unpleasant it would be if I had to swim ashore with one of those sharp stubs puncturing my stomach the way it did that canoe. I had a hunch that it would do it, too.”

The other canoes came safely through and everyone gathered around to see the damage. It proved to be an easy hole to patch and the little procession was soon on its way down the river.

“I suppose it was a foolish thing to do,” Merton said, “but I’m glad we did it. That wind is just ripping again and there is no telling when we should have gotten across.”

The rest of the river was easy traveling and the rapid current helped them along wonderfully. There were a few rapids which they shot successfully, a few dams where they had to portage and one or two places where the logs were so thick that they had trouble in picking their way through them, but most of the time it was plain sailing.

Among the most interesting sights along the river to them was the big paper mill at Little Falls. They knew that they would have the process to study in their course in by-products the next semester, and took the opportunity to see it first hand. Merton interviewed the manager and found him very ready to show them through the whole factory. They found that he had made a canoe trip part way down the river himself at one time, and was very much interested in their adventures.

The manager invited them to spend the evening at his home, but they had not spent a night in a town since they started and resolved not to do so. They thanked him heartily and took to their canoes.

There were very few obstructions in the river below Little Falls and by putting in long hours they made wonderful time. On the evening of the second day they sighted the lights of Minneapolis.

“The town looks good to us now, fellows,” Merton said, “but we have left the best summer of our lives behind us.”

“You bet we have,” was the answering chorus, and for a moment the little group looked silently and wistfully at each other before they scattered their several ways.


Two weeks later the old Itasca crowd was assembled on the campus and beginning the routine of the classroom once again. It was easy to pick them out anywhere among the students. Their sunburned faces and the independent, self-reliant air drilled into them by the life of the camp, together with the strong bond of fellowship which made them flock together, work together and loaf together made them the natural leaders.

They had done things and knew what they could do; they had borne responsibility and were unfrightened by it; they had worked out the problem of governing themselves all summer and readily applied their experience to the governing of others. In addition to all that they were the senior class. It was only natural that they should control all the politics in the college and be the nucleus around which all the college activities formed. They neither dictated nor grabbed, but their influence was irresistible.

The new semester brought them new courses of study: forest management, lumbering, forest by-products, wood preservation and forest law. The work was practically all technical now. Among these studies Scott found in lumbering an all-absorbing interest. The other subjects he liked well enough, but of the lumbering he could not get too much.

Scott was sorely disappointed to find that Johnson had not returned to college. With his usual luck that young man had gained the confidence of a big lumberman with whom he had come in contact in the course of his duties as patrolman and had been given charge of the logging inspection in some of the northern camps. He was staying out a year for the experience. The greater Scott’s success became, the more keenly he felt his debt to Johnson. It seemed as though fate were spitefully keeping them apart. Several times he had thought of writing but somehow that seemed cowardly and he had decided to wait.

The weeks slipped by comparatively uneventfully. The seniors had struck their stride and felt that they were coming down the home stretch of a professional course; the outside events which had formerly meant so much to them were incidental now, and their real interest lay in the work.

Christmas was almost come—the second Christmas since Scott had left his quiet New England home—and the boy longed to go back there to see the old folks. He had at one time made up his mind to go, but on more mature reflection decided that it could not be. He knew that he would better go to the woods and put in all the time he could in the lumber camps.

Scott realized that most of the men had more woods experience than he. Moreover, the men in his class would spend the month of January in the lumber camps while he, on account of irregularities in his course, could not leave the college at that time. If he was to see anything of the lumbering operations in that section he must do it in the Christmas vacation.

Thus it happened that the Saturday before Christmas found Scott traveling northward towards the logging camps with no other companion than Greenleaf who had decided to accompany him.

It was really a long trip. It did not seem long, however, till they alighted on a short platform where the train left them, the only living creatures in sight.

“Prosperous looking place,” Greenleaf commented, as he looked out over a broad expanse of brush-dotted snow to where a line of timber loomed against the sky.

“Pleasant place to be put off at night,” Scott said. “I wonder where that mail carrier is the old man told us about?”

As though the question had called him to view, a tall gaunt pacer whisked out of a tamarack swamp on the other side of the track, jerking a light cutter over the bumpy trail at a tremendous pace. He seemed to be going wherever he liked and it required quite a stretch of the imagination to conceive that the man in the sleigh was driving him.

“You from camp No. 11?” Greenleaf asked, when the gaunt horse had consented to stop for a minute.

“Yes,” the man growled between his teeth, as he tried to hold the horse.

“Mr. Grafton told us to go out with you,” Greenleaf said, throwing in the mail sack and climbing in after it. Scott jumped in the back and the horse started with a plunge.

“Seems like a lively horse,” Scott said, as he hung on for dear life while the horse jerked the sleigh along in a series of lunges over the poorly covered corduroy.

“He ain’t goin’ none yet,” the man growled; “wait till we get off this corduroy.”

At last the bumping ceased and the sleigh slid lightly over a smooth road. “Now git, if you must,” the driver said, slackening his hold on the lines. The plunging ceased instantly as the big horse stretched himself to a steady, swinging pace and shot up the road like an arrow. The snowballs from his hoofs pelted them in a shower and the zero wind cut like a knife. For a good mile the pace never slackened or faltered. From there on the road was bad and they had to go slowly but there was no more plunging. The big fellow had had his go and was satisfied.

“Gee,” Greenleaf said admiringly, “that’s some horse.”

“That’s the fastest I’ve ever traveled behind a horse,” Scott said, as he rubbed his chilled hands and face.

“The boss keeps him here in the winter,” the man said proudly; “he’s a racer.”

The praise of the horse had mellowed the surly driver and the remainder of the five miles to camp passed pleasantly enough.

To Scott the low lying, snow-covered huts of the camp were a revelation. He felt completely at a loss. Stables, bunkhouses, cookshack, office and shops; they all looked alike with the single exception of size. None of them looked like a house.

“Where’s the foreman?” Greenleaf asked.

“In the office, probably,” the man said.

Greenleaf started for the office as though he had been in that camp all his life. The office, as in all camps, was a combination of wanigan, or store, and office. In there they found the foreman patching up some torn harness. He did not seem to see them come in, and paid not the slightest attention to them; he still busied himself with the harness. Greenleaf leaned carelessly against the counter watching the operation. When this had continued for about five minutes Scott began to wonder why Greenleaf did not present the letter they had brought, but he waited patiently, feeling his greenness.

At the end of about ten minutes the foreman straightened up to have a look at them. Greenleaf, who knew the breed perfectly, continued to look at the harness in silence as though it were the most interesting thing he had ever seen. The foreman looked him quietly over for several minutes before he gruffly demanded,

“What do you want?”

“I have a letter for you from the boss,” Greenleaf said, handing it over.

The foreman read it carefully, and then without looking up, “Go over to the cookshack and get lunch.”

The boys went out. “I thought I could make him talk first,” Greenleaf chuckled.

“What were you waiting for?” Scott asked.

“Never speak to one of those fellows first,” Greenleaf admonished him. “If we had piped right up as soon as we went in there he would have kept us waiting an hour before he read that letter. Now he knows we’re not greenhorns and respects us.”

Going into the cookshack was a good deal like going down a cellar. There were only four small windows which shed a very dim light over the big room. Down the center were two long oilcloth-covered tables set with about a hundred tin cups and tin plates with knives and forks to match. Sugar and spoons were found in tomato cans at intervals. About every six feet there was an immense salt shaker, a bottle of vinegar and a bottle of catsup.

At the end of these tables under a skylight was an enormous kitchen range with two barrels rigged up for hot water boilers and flanked by a big sink and a sort of serving counter. On one side was a giant breadboard built in over the flour bin. It was the strangest looking dining-room Scott had ever seen.

Greenleaf nodded to the cook, a fat man in a white apron who was leaning against one of the tables.

“Can we get a hand-out?” he asked.

A grunt was the only response, but Greenleaf walked familiarly to the counter, pulled a box out from under it and selected some cookies. He unearthed another box containing some doughnuts, bread from another and soon had quite a collection. As soon as the cook saw they knew the ropes he warmed up immediately. “You’ll find the coffee and tea on the back of the stove, boys, and there’s some pie on the shelf. Beans are in the oven and some meat in the safe.” On the whole they had a pretty good lunch.

When they returned to the office they found the foreman waiting for them. The fact that they had not been thrown out by the cook increased his respect for them—for the cook is the real autocrat of the logging camp.

“The boss says to give you fellows whatever you want. What is it?”

“Board and lodging for two weeks,” Greenleaf answered promptly. “We want to look over the work here and see how things are done.”

“Want me to show you around?” the foreman asked tentatively. Those were the instructions in the letter, and he did not like the prospect.

“No,” Greenleaf said, “we can take care of ourselves.”

The foreman looked relieved. “You can get your meals at the cookshack and sleep here in the office in that upper bunk; you’d get full of varmints in the bunkhouse.”

With that he left them, glad to get away.

“Let’s look around the camp,” Greenleaf suggested. “We won’t have time to do anything else before dinner. They eat about half past eleven.”

“Why not let the foreman show us around?” Scott asked. “We’d see more.”

“He’ll do it better if he don’t have to,” Greenleaf answered. “That letter probably told him to do it. A foreman hates that kind of thing unless it is a big lumberman who wants to see things.”

They glanced into the bunkhouse. It was almost dark—for there were only two small windows—and the view was rather hazy. The walls all along both sides and one end were lined with a double row of bunks filled with musty straw and some filthy blankets. A large round-house stove stood in the center of the room and suspended on wires around it were three rows of rusty looking socks. The air was anything but pure.

“That’s what you miss by sleeping in the office,” Greenleaf said, as they backed out. “And you’re missing a lot more that you don’t see. I’ve tried it. It’s not so bad when you get used to it, but it’s no fun getting used to it.”

Scott shuddered as he thought of it. “These lumberjacks must be a tough lot,” he said.

“Wait till you see them. They are not the old time lumberjacks you read about. They’re the scum of Europe. You’ll hear a dozen languages in that cookshack if the cook does not knock them in the head with the rolling pin.”

They had made the round of the stables where they had a long talk with the barn boss on the cost and methods of feeding, and had held a short conference with the saw filer when Scott was startled by a peculiar sound. He found it was the cookee blowing a long tin horn to call the men to dinner. It sounded dismal enough then, but many a time after that when he had been in the woods all day it seemed like the sweetest kind of music.

In a few minutes the men began to stream into camp—Finns, Swedes, Poles, Norwegians, an occasional Austrian and a few of other nationalities. It was certainly a motley crew. Their mackinaws were the only thing about them that presented any appearance of uniformity. That and their shape, for the habit of keeping warm by putting on layer after layer of flannel shirts, gave them all a more or less stout and stubby appearance. Their rubbers, worn over two or three pairs of thick woolen socks, crunched sullenly in the dry snow. They filed silently into the bunkhouse and at another toot of the horn poured out again into the cookshack.

The boys hurried into the cookshack with the rest and were assigned seats next to the foreman. There was no time lost. The men piled their tin plates high and emptied them with astonishing rapidity. The dozen languages that Greenleaf had predicted were certainly there, but were not in evidence, for a sign “No Talking” backed up by a determined-looking cook acted as a damper on conversation. Hardly a word was spoken. In five minutes some of the most expert had emptied their tin plates twice and were filing out.

In the afternoon they went to the woods and followed the operation, from the stump to the landing. They watched the great towering pines, sawed off the stump and wedged over, come smashing down wherever the sawyers willed them to fall. They saw them cut into logs and the logs rolled onto little single sleds, with the back ends dragging in the snow and saw them hauled over the skidroads to the ice-coated logging road and piled on the skidways. They saw those skidways dwindle as the logs were piled high on the broad bunks of the logging sleds and hauled away, forty tons at a load, over the ice road to the river bank where they were rolled on the ice to await the spring floods which would carry them away to the mills hundreds of miles down the river, or, as in another part of the tract, hauled to the railroad track to be carried directly to the mill by rail.

It was on the last day of their stay that Scott suddenly and unexpectedly blossomed out into the hero of the whole camp. He and Greenleaf walked five miles over to the next camp to see the steam log loader, or jammer, which was working there. It was located on a steep side hill where the logs, piled high on the upper side of the track, were swung across onto the cars. On the other side of the track the ground sloped away steeply.

While they were watching the big machine Scott thought he recognized something familiar about a man who was working further down the slope locating a new skidroad. He knew he had seen those quick, cat-like motions before. He left Greenleaf and started down there. Before he had gone half way he recognized Johnson.

Suddenly there was a shout from the jammer, a cry of warning. Johnson was evidently so accustomed to the general clamor that he did not look around, but Scott, who was a little nervous in these strange surroundings, turned instantly.

An enormous log which was being swung onto the car had broken loose from the iron clutches of the jammer, dropped over the down-hill side of the car and was sweeping sideways with the speed of an arrow directly toward Johnson. It was almost on him. An instant’s delay meant sure death. The men on the jammer stood horrified and helpless.

Scott saw that Johnson could not be made to understand in time to jump. Shouting at him would do no good; before he could comprehend it would be too late. Scott took the only chance left to him, poor as it seemed. To the horror of the workmen he jumped directly in the course of the log and striking Johnson full in the chest with all the power of his practiced right arm, he jumped wildly straight in the air. The huge log swished under him, striking his feet as it went and bringing him down heavily on his head.

Scott struggled quickly to his feet and looked half-dazed toward Johnson. Before he could see what had happened he felt himself in Greenleaf’s arms and knew from the cheers of the men on the jammer that his blow had carried Johnson out of danger. He needed Greenleaf’s support for his knees kept doubling up under him and a cold sweat had broken out all over his body.

Johnson rose slowly and looked down the slope after the log. Then he turned and recognized Scott.

“By George, Scotty,” he cried, grasping Scott’s hand warmly, “how did you come here? You surely saved my life that time and risked your own to do it. Hello, Greenleaf.”

“Are you hurt?” Scott asked anxiously.

“Only in the chest,” Johnson answered with a grin. “I see my training did you some good.”

“We are making a lumber report on camp 11,” Scott said, “and came over to see the jammer. I did not know you were here, but thought I recognized you and came down to see.”

“Good thing for me that you did.”

“I found out long ago what a mucker I made of myself last fall and have been longing for a chance to apologize, but something always interfered. Now I am going to get it out before anything stops me. I have made good ever since you called me down, and I owe it all to you. I was ashamed of myself at the time, but was too big a coward to tell you so.”

“And now,” Johnson laughed, “you have far more than squared the account by knocking me down and probably breaking two or three ribs. Forget it. I acted only for your good, knew what I would get from the start and was never sore about it. Let’s go to the camp.”

They talked until late in the afternoon, when Scott and Greenleaf had to return to camp 11. They said good-bye to Johnson with many regrets and left in the minds of the lumberjacks a feeling of respect such as they had never before felt for a college man. The news of the rescue had reached camp 11 ahead of them and Scott was flattered at every turn. This flattery meant little to him, for he knew from experience how little it was worth, but he was delighted over his reconciliation with Johnson. He had not realized what a burden he had been carrying.

The next morning they went to the train behind the old pacer feeling well repaid for their trip. The foreman himself had come out to bid them good-bye.

The journey home was a pleasant one for Scott. He had carried out one of his resolutions and placed himself once more on an honest footing with Johnson. Moreover, he felt convinced that he had picked responsible companions. Merton, Greenleaf and Johnson, he thought, were certainly above reproach. The only thing that worried him was whether the sterling qualities which he knew so well would appeal to his father’s Eastern viewpoint. He remembered how he had regarded them when he first came West, and he had some misgivings.


Scott realized that the trip to the lumber camps had been the most instructive three weeks that he had ever spent. Every minute of the time he had been learning something new, some detail of logging, some new phase of woods life, some new trait of lumberjack character. At the same time he had been so interested that it had seemed more like a pleasure trip than a required part of the school course. He felt that he could have spent the whole winter right there in that camp and enjoyed it all.

He returned to the college fresh, rested and ready for the hardest grind of his life. The Civil Service examinations were only two months away and on these examinations depended his appointment in the Government service, and the fulfillment of his father’s condition. In this it meant far more to him than to any of the others. The field covered was enormous and Scott felt that it was simply a matter of steady grinding to get over as much of the ground as he possibly could. He apportioned his time carefully to the different subjects and prepared to put in thirteen hours a day.

He knew that there would be many questions which would be a mere matter of judgment, and on those he did not waste his time; but there would be many others which would call for facts and those facts he proposed to master.

The weeks passed by monotonously enough. There was no variation, no change from the set routine. The other members of the class were working spasmodically but they had not tied themselves down to such gruelling work.

Johnson astonished Scott by coming to town two weeks before the examination and announcing that he was going to test the value of his experience by taking the examination, and seeing what he could do with it. He followed the lines of Scott’s work pretty carefully and in the hour which they devoted to discussion every evening he managed to collect most of the points that had been unearthed during the day.

At last the day for the great trial arrived. It was to last for two days of seven hours each; two unbroken periods of seven long hours.

They went down to the post office where the ordeal was to take place. “I feel like a sausage,” Johnson said. “I’m stuffed so tight that I can’t shut my eyes comfortably.”

“I feel worse than that,” Scott answered. “I feel as though I had been stuffed so tight that I had burst somewhere and all the stuffing was running out. If I don’t get hold of those questions pretty quick I’ll forget my name.”

“I’ve already forgotten my name,” Johnson said, “but I think it is Dennis.”

They were quickly seated in the great silent room with eight others, all in a great state of nervous excitement. At the first stroke of nine the first set of papers was handed out and they were off with a rush.

Scott never had a very clear idea of those two days except that he wrote on and on incessantly and was not in the least rattled when he had once begun to write.

“Well,” Johnson said, when the two days’ trial was over and they were settled comfortably in Scott’s room, “they bowled me over on some of that German stuff, but I think that I hit the most of it pretty hard. That grubbing around I did last summer helped me a lot and I fairly killed that lumbering.”

“I’m not going to speculate,” Scott said, “but it seemed easy to me. That’s when a fellow flunks the worst, when it seems easy.”

“It was good practice, anyway,” Johnson said; “I would not take a job yet if I could get it. I know better what I ought to study next year, and that is what I took it for.”

So the great event for which they had been working so hard for two months was laid away on the shelf and Scott settled down to his lighter schedule. The rest of his class went away to the Forest Experiment Station at Cloquet, but Scott’s irregular course forced him to stay at the College. He put in his spare time reading along those lines and when his class work was over, June 1, went up there for a week.

The other men came down about that time so he had a week alone with the director of the station. The experience opened up a new line of thought to him. He had studied the growth and learned the characteristics of trees; here he found exact scientific experiments to discover the facts which controlled that growth and formed those characteristics. It was a fascinating field, especially the study of all the instruments which were used to wrest from nature the answers to the pertinent questions which the practical work suggested.

Scott would have liked to stay longer at the Station, but it was time for commencement, and after that he was going home. That overshadowed everything now. The solemn rites of commencement, and even the almost sacred last meeting of the old Itasca corporation, were dimmed by the visions of the home which he had not seen for two long years.

The last ringing cheers of the old corporation had scarcely died away when he was on a train traveling all too slowly eastward. The states crept by very slowly, but on the second day he found himself in the Berkshire hills and felt that he was almost home.

No sooner had the train stopped than he was out and up the village street. He had not told them what train he would take and no one was at the station to meet him. He felt that he would rather not meet them at the station anyway. Everything about the village looked so quiet, and peaceful, and old.

He would not have changed a stick of it for all the slurs the Westerners could cast upon its sleepiness.

About halfway home he met Dick Bradshaw. The two boys greeted each other eagerly.

“Hello, Scotty,” Dick cried, “I thought you were not expected till tomorrow.”

“I’m not,” Scott said, “but I could not wait any longer. It certainly seems good to get back.”

“You’ve been away long enough,” Dick growled, “and you have written about like a clam.”

“Well, I’ve been too busy to write much, Dick. I’ve had the time of my life. I had to work for it, but I finished and I’m a full-fledged forester now.”

They were in sight of the house and Scott was looking it over eagerly.

“I’ll come around to hear about it in the morning,” Dick said.

Scott hardly answered him, for as he opened the yard gate he saw his father and mother on the side porch. He dropped the suitcase at the gate and bounded up the steps and into his mother’s arms.

“Mother!” he cried.

She held him silently a moment and then released him to allow him to grasp his father warmly by the hand.

“Welcome home, my boy,” he said quietly; “it’s been a long weary time since you left us.”

“It certainly has,” Scott said, “and I thought the train would never get here this time.”

“Two long years, Scott,” his mother said, placing her hands on his shoulders and looking searchingly into his face, “but you have not changed a bit. I was afraid you would.”

“No, mother,” he answered, “I was pretty foolish for about a month, but I got over it. And I can tell you all about even that,” he added smilingly, remembering his mother’s parting advice.

“Yes, I believe you could, Scott,” she said, looking earnestly into his eyes. “Come in to supper; we have been waiting in hope that you would come. There’s some mail here ahead of you.”

The old dining-room with the old chair in the same old place thrilled him with a strange joy. He suddenly realized that it was the first private dining-room he had been in since he left home.

He picked up one of the letters beside his plate. It was the return from his Civil Service examinations. He opened it eagerly and his face lighted as he read it.

“I passed my Civil Service exams,” he said modestly, handing the letter to his father.

“Ninety-two,” his father cried excitedly, “and you are rated second on the eligible list. Does that mean that only one man in the United States made a better mark?”

“I suppose so, but only a few of the men in the United States took it.”

“My boy, I’m proud of you,” his father said, grasping his hand. “And on only two years’ work, too. Aren’t you glad, Susan?”

“Of course I’m glad,” his mother said, looking proudly at her son, “but I’m not surprised. I knew he could do it.”

Scott opened the other letter. It was from the Forest Service appointing him to a position in the White Mountains at twelve hundred dollars per year. He turned it over silently to his mother.

“Thank heaven, it’s near home,” she said fervently.

“Mother, do you see that mark of ninety-four in lumbering?” he asked, referring to the Civil Service sheet again. “That’s what I learned last Christmas when you thought I ought to come home.”

“I knew you were right, Scott, and I’m glad you stayed, but it was hard to believe it then.”

“Come,” Dr. Burton urged cheerfully, “let’s eat supper if I am not too proud. I never felt so stuck up in my life.”

“And I never felt so happy,” Scott said. “I must wire the news to Johnson.”

“Good,” said Dr. Burton; “from what you have written of that man, Johnson”—Scott looked up anxiously, conscious for the first time since his arrival of the great prize that was yet hanging in the balance. The first joy of the homecoming had driven it completely out of his head—“he must be a remarkable fellow. And many of those others that you have mentioned in the past year strike me as being especially promising material. I am entirely satisfied with you, Scotty, and tomorrow you shall be the legal owner of that ten-thousand-acre forest.”