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Title: When Scout Meets Scout
       or, The Aeroplane Spy

Author: Ashton Lamar

Illustrator: S.H. Riesenberg

Release Date: January 17, 2019 [EBook #58709]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Donald Cummings and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at


The Aeroplane Boys Series

When Scout Meets Scout


The Aeroplane Spy

Aeroplane Boys Series



Price, 60 Cents

Publishers    The Reilly & Britton Co.    Chicago

Capture of the Tiger.

Scout Meets Scout


The Aeroplane Spy




Illustrated by S. H. Riesenberg

The Reilly & Britton Co.







I A Storm Cloud Gathers 9
II An Emissary from the Enemy 22
III The Battle at the Old Sycamore 35
IV The Bitter Fruits of Defeat 49
V Mr. Trevor’s Mysterious Invitation 61
VI What Came Out of a Tea Party 73
VII Arthur’s Deal with a Circus Hand 88
VIII An Afternoon at the Circus 102
IX The Circus Loses Its Aviator 118
X The Boy Scouts’ First Salute 133
XI The “Coyotes” Invade Elm Street 147
XII The Cask in the River 161
XIII Midnight Marauders 175
XIV Marshal Walter Makes a Capture at Last 189
XV Goosetown’s Prodigal Sons 202
XVI When Scout Meets Scout 216
XVII The Aeroplane Spy 232


The Capture of the Tiger Frontispiece
Playing at War 92
The Mysterious Cask 164
Signaling the “Aeroplane Spy” 244


When Scout Meets Scout


The Aeroplane Spy


When Arthur Trevor caught the flying machine fever and organized the “Young Aviators,” neither he nor the other boys who joined the club meant to do anything but make toy aeroplanes. There was certainly no reason for them to foresee that their first tournament was to turn the young aviators into Boy Scouts, and in the end, into real Boy Scout Aviators owning a practical aeroplane. But there were signs from the first that the “Goosetown gang” was going to make trouble for the “Elm Street boys.” The beginning of everything and the clash between the “Goosetown gang” and the “Elm Street boys” was in this wise:

Arthur Trevor’s father was a lawyer. Like[10] the parents of most of Art’s companions, he lived in the best part of Scottsville. Here, on Elm Street, the trees were large; the residences were of brick, with wide porches; gardeners saw to the lawns, and nearly every home had a new automobile garage. Therefore, the boys living here—although they thought themselves neither better nor worse than other boys—were usually known as the “Swells” or the “Elm Street boys.” As a matter of fact they were just as freckled of face, as much opposed to “dressing up,” as full of boy ambitions and with nicknames just as outlandish as any Goosetown kid.

But the Goosetown boys did not take that view of things. In Goosetown there were no automobiles. Houses were decorated with “lady finger” vines. While there were many gardens, these were devoted mainly to cabbages and tomatoes. If the lads living here had taken more interest in their homes and less in playing hooky they might have felt less bitter toward their supposed rivals. They came to understand this in time, too, but this was not until the Boy Scout movement swept through Scottsville.

Although the two crowds did not mix, and[11] seldom came in contact, in some mysterious boy way each contrived to keep well advised of the doings of the other. For instance, Art Trevor, Frank Ware, Sam Addington and Colfax Craighead, although busy making aeroplanes in the loft of the Trevor garage, were able to discuss the latest Goosetown gossip—how the gang playing cards under the big sycamore beyond the railroad bridge had quarreled with Nick Apthorp because he broke a bottle of beer, and had ducked him below the river dam. This news had become gossip because Nick’s head had come in contact with a submerged log and he had been rescued barely in time to escape drowning.

On the other hand, the latest bit of news from Elm Street to reach Goosetown created a real sensation. Nick Apthorp, who had astonished his Goosetown gang-mates by violating precedent and doing several hours’ actual work (he had accepted an afternoon’s job of distributing free samples of soap in the Elm Street district) was partly excused by his associates when he turned over to them a hand-printed circular. This he had stolen from the door of the Trevor garage. With the circular and some of the perfumed soap that had been[12] entrusted to him, of which he had appropriated half, Nick somewhat placated his jeering gang-associates.

“Well, I guess there’ll be somethin’ doin’ now!” chuckled Mart Clare. “An’ shyin’ their keester right into our own bailiwick, too. What d’ye think o’ that?”

“Rich!” chuckled Jimmy Compton. “A gran’ show free gratis fur nothin’. Don’t fergit the day an’ date!”

“They must be achin’ fur trouble,” suggested Henry or “Hank” Milleson. “I reckon if we went over to Elm Street fur a little game o’ poker they’d put the police on us. And fur them swells to be a-plannin’ to come over to Sycamore Pasture” (Hank called it “paster”) “to pull off a toy airyplane show, don’t mean nothin’ but defyin’ us. Ever’ one of ’em, from little Artie Trevor down to Coldslaw Bighead knows that. But say, kiddos,” went on Hank as he paused in the shuffling of a deck of greasy cards, for several of the gang were whiling away the sleepy June afternoon in the shade of the same big sycamore, “I got a hunch. Them kids are wise. They’re on. They ain’t comin’ over here ’less they’re fixed[13] fur trouble. I’ll bet you they got somethin’ up their sleeves. An’ I’ll say this: Artie an’ his friends ain’t no milksops, ef they do run to makin’ toys. They ain’t got no right to come here a-buttin’ in, but ef they do, an’ it comes to a show-down who’s boss, an’ I got anything to do with the dispute, I ain’t a-goin’ to figure on puttin’ anybody down fur the count by tappin’ him on the wrist.”

“It’d be a crime to do it,” sneered Jimmy Compton, whose only activity, aside from flipping trains and fishing occasionally, was the collection and delivery of linen that his widowed mother washed. “I’ll show you what I think o’ them swells when I meet ’em. Meanwhile, here’s my sentiments.”

As he spoke, Jimmy turned from the card-playing group squatted on the grass, and without rising, took from his mouth a quid of tobacco and contemptuously flung it at the near-by sycamore. There it squashed against the circular that Nick Apthorp had stolen from Trevor’s garage. This, in derision, had been hung against the tree trunk.

The poster, the cause of the gang’s resentful comment, made this announcement:


First Monthly Tournament
Young Aviators Club

Toy Aeroplane Flying For
Distance and Altitude,
Sycamore Tree Pasture,
Saturday 2 P. M. Prizes.

Admission Free

Arthur Trevor, President.

Jim Compton’s moist quid, for which he had now substituted a cigarette borrowed from Matt Branson, splattered against the words “Free Admission.”

“I reckon that’s about right,” yawned Matt. “’Cause there ain’t goin’ to be no free admission. I got a notion to be doorkeeper an’ collect a black eye ur a punched nose from ever’ one ’at can’t give me the high sign.”

“Well,” snorted Hank Milleson, resuming the shuffling of the dog-eared cards. “All I got to say is: ‘Look out fur your change.’ Some of them guys may be shifty with their mitts. Take little Artie himself! When a kid can do a high-jump o’ nearly five feet he might be handy with his fists too.”

“I’ll jump him in the drink,” sneered Compton lazily, as he nodded toward the sleepy[15] Green River flowing near by. “An’ I’ll take mama’s pet’s toys frum him while I’m doin’ it—don’t fergit it.”

“I won’t,” replied Hank significantly. “Saturday’s only day after to-morrow. They won’t be no time to fergit. We all heered what you said.”

“Mebbe you think I can’t!” retorted Compton as he shot a volume of cigarette smoke through his sun-blistered nose, and straightened himself.

“Sure you kin. You kin always tell what you’re a-going to do. Go on. Blow yourself up with brag.”

“Cheese it, kids. Cut it out! Don’t start nothin’,” shouted Mart Clare. “Come on, I’ve got a good hand.”

Jimmy glared at Hank but he seemed glad enough to drop the argument.

“If you think I’m braggin’, wait till Saturday,” was his only response.

“I will,” answered Hank with a new chuckle as he finished the deal of the cards. “But take it from me, Jimmy, when you start little Artie a-jumpin, get out from under. Don’t let him come down on top o’ you.”

“Come off—come off,” yawned Nick Apthorp[16] as he threw his cards towards the next dealer and reached for a string attached to a rotten log against which he had been leaning. “Mebbe this’ll stop the rag chewin’,” and he proceeded to pull on the string, which extended over the edge of the river bank, at the base of which was the gang’s swimming hole, into which Jimmy had threatened to make Art Trevor jump.

As a bottle of beer came in sight all animosities seemed forgotten. Hank Milleson grabbed an empty lard pail. Nick knocked off the top of the bottle on a stone and the lukewarm fluid was emptied into the pail.

“Fair divvies now,” shouted Compton, and the five young loafers crowded about the foam-crusted pail like flies around a molasses jug. In such manner, with few variations, the “Goosetown gang” was accustomed to pass its afternoons.

Others who were accustomed to meet at times to play cards, drink beer and drowse away the hours came only on Saturdays and Sundays. Some of these had light employment in the furniture factories. Like Nick Apthorp, Matt Branson, Mart Clare, Jimmy Compton and Hank Milleson they had grown up without[17] schooling, and they knew few pleasures except those of the young “tough.”

Had the roster of the “Goosetown gang” ever been written, its prominent members would have been in addition to those named, Job Wilkes, Joe Andrews, Buck Bluett, Tom Bates, Pete Chester and Tony Cooper. Of all these the foremost loafer was Hank Milleson. And Hank had a double distinction; he had already been a prisoner in the Scottsville lock-up, for disturbing the peace while intoxicated. At that, he was but seventeen years old. Of the others some were not over twelve years.

Before dark that evening, news of what Jimmy Compton had done reached Elm Street. Sammy Addington was the one who brought the bulletin to the Trevor Garage.

“Jim Compton—Carrots—” reported Sammy, his eyes sparkling, “says he’s goin’ to make you jump in the river,” addressing Art Trevor, who was busy testing rubber cord.

“Me? In the river?” exclaimed Art in surprise. “What’s gone wrong with Carrots?”

“They’re all sore,” went on Sammy. “Nick Apthorp—he’s the guy that pinched our sign—him and Blowhard Compton an’ the gang all give it out—an’ they stuck our sign[18] up on the ole sycamore an’ spit on it; yes that’s what they done,” repeated Sammy rapidly as he saw the news was sensational. “They spit on it an’ give it out if we go over there Saturday it’s goin’ to be rough house an’ that you’ll get yours,” he concluded nodding toward Art.

“They will? Like nothin’!” exclaimed Colly Craighead. “I reckon we can raise as many guys as they can.”

“Anyway,” broke in Art—but thoughtfully—“we’ll have to go ahead now. We can’t back water, can we, kids?”

Two more of the young aviators were present, Frank or “Wart” Ware as he was known, and Alexander Conyers, usually known as Connie.

“Not on your life,” shouted Wart.

But Connie was not quite so sure. Connie, next to Art in age, was perhaps the strongest of all the Elm Street crowd, and somewhat strangely, usually the slowest to get into trouble.

“That’s a tough mob over there,” he ventured at last. “Kid to kid I think they’ve got us outclassed. We’ll save a lot of trouble by goin’ some other place.”

“But it’s the best open ground around[19] town,” argued Art. “Those fellows don’t own it.”

“But they think they do,” went on Connie. “And I don’t know whether we’d be able to show ’em they don’t.”

“Maybe we’d better think this thing over,” answered Art after some thought. “That is, we’d better decide just how we’re to tackle these fellows. But we’ll pull off our show and it’ll be just where we said it would be, if I’m the only exhibitor and I get the lickin’ of my life.”

Instantly all the others protested allegiance—Sammy Addington most vociferously. But it could be seen that a shadow had fallen on the brilliant program announced for Saturday.

“My father knows the town marshal. We could—”

But that idea went no further. To Art and Conyers and Craighead, Sammy might as well have suggested that they call on their mothers for protection. If any hint of the impending embarrassment reached parental ears all knew that the tournament would be squelched.

“Besides,” argued Colly, “if it’s to come to a show-down at last, we might as well go up[20] against it and lick ’em or take our medicine. How do you vote, Connie?”

“Well,” answered the chunky little warrior screwing up his mouth as if yet in doubt, “I ain’t keen for scraps—if they’re real—an’ I guess this’d be more’n just makin’ faces—but I’m tired o’ bein’ called a milksop, whatever that means. If you fellows mean business I reckon you won’t have to get a search warrant to find me.”

“That settles it,” announced Art. “Sammy, you an’ Colly get out and round up the kids. Ever’body’s got to know just what’s comin’ off. We’ll have a special meetin’ o’ the club to-night an’ count noses.”

“Better count ’em before Saturday,” interrupted Connie, “or some of ’em may look like two.”

“Mebbe,” retorted Art, “but Carrots Compton ain’t big enough to make me jump in the river. Don’t forget that.”

It was hardly dark before nearly every Elm Street boy had assembled at the garage. The council of war proceeded without lights and in subdued voices. In fact a few younger members were too agitated to talk above a frightened whisper. Early in the meeting George[21] Atkins, nine years old, and Davy Cooke, who had a withered left arm, were newly sworn to reveal nothing they had heard, “especially to your fathers and mothers,” and excused from the bloody conspiracy.

Then, with varying degrees of valor, they signed the following articles of war: “I hereby give my word of honor that next Saturday I will be present at the Sycamore Pasture at two o’clock and follow each order and command of Arthur Trevor, our president, so far as I am able, and that whatever happens I will not peach.” Then followed the names of eleven boys,—those named before and Lewis Ashwood, Paul Corbett, Duncan Easton, Roger Mercer, Sandy Sheldon and Phil Abercrombie.

When Art finally made his way onto the porch where his mother awaited him, she said:

“Arthur, what was the meeting about? Your tournament?”

“Yes, mother,” responded her son, with a smile, “we’re getting ready to have quite a time.”

“That’s nice,” replied his mother. “I hope the cleverest boys will win.”

“I reckon they will,” answered Art smiling.



Art Trevor had caught the aeroplane craze early in the spring. In June it seemed as if every boy in the Elm Street district had gone in for toy airships and the sport of flying them. The best news stand in the town had a ready sale for everything that related to aeroplanes, and Art went so far as to become a regular subscriber to a high-priced English magazine on aeronautics.

A week after school closed, the Elm Street boy who didn’t own a collection of toy aeroplanes was the exception. But by this time, toy machines had begun to pall on the president of the club. After spending all the money he had in purchasing detailed plans for various toy machines, Art began to have higher ideas. While his fellow club members were yet whittling and pasting miniature Bleriot, Wright and Curtiss fliers, Art was dreaming of a real machine.

How he or the Young Aviators Club might[23] acquire a practical aeroplane was a problem ever in Art’s mind. There were two reasons why he did not lay the matter before his father: First, he knew his parent would laugh at him. Second, he could not if he wanted to, as his father was in Europe on legal business. Mr. Trevor was not much given to mechanics, although he was what is called a “boys’ man” and fond of having Art’s friends about him. Although Mr. Trevor was due to reach home again on the evening of tournament day, Art had no idea that this would help him get a real aeroplane.

For one thing, however, Art was grateful. His father was not expected to reach Scottsville until eight o’clock Saturday evening. Therefore, Art’s one care was to keep all hint of the impending contest from his mother’s ears. Friday had been set aside for finishing touches on machines and for preliminary try-outs. But, somehow, the coming tournament did not make Friday a very busy work day. As the club members gathered in the workroom they were received with cautions of silence into a new council of war.

Alex Conyers had just heard that Sammy Addington’s father owned the Sycamore Tree[24] Pasture. If that were true the Goosetown gang might be barred from the premises. The only thing necessary would be to lay the matter before Mr. Addington, who no doubt would be glad to serve notice on the loafers to get off his property. Connie called the members together and excitedly submitted his information.

“Tell father?” exclaimed Sammy Addington. “Not on your tin. He’s wise. He’d stop the whole thing. Anyway, you can bet I’d be left at home.”

“You ain’t very big, Sammy,” retorted Connie with a laugh, “to be so eager for gore.”

“I’m just this eager,” exclaimed Sammy as he drew a strange article from his pocket and, stretching his thumb and fingers through five holes in the brassy looking object, he struck it soundly on the workbench.

“What’s that?” asked Art.

“What’s that?” repeated Sammy drawing himself up. “It ain’t a that. Them’s knuckles—regular knuckles. I borrowed them from our chauffeur. An’ they’re mainly for Nick Apthorp’s cocoanut.”

Without hesitation Art reached forward and slipped the dreadful weapon of attack from Sammy’s chubby and clenched hand.


“How’d you like to have a revolver?” he asked sarcastically.

“I ain’t got none,” answered Sammy dejectedly.

Art took the belligerent Sammy by the shoulders and faced him about.

“Do you want to be there?” Art asked.

“Sure,” replied the younger boy.

“Then remember this,” announced Art. “It’s an aeroplane tournament. Bring your machines and these.” As he concluded he held up his two bare hands.

Sammy reached for the prohibited article of offense with a crestfallen air.

“How about notifyin’ the Goosetowners to vacate?” resumed Alex Conyers.

“What for?” asked Art.

“So’s we can hold our meet in peace.”

“And be ‘milksops’?” sneered Art. “I think it’s time to decide this thing. Mebbe we’ll get licked. But we can be game and take our trimmin’. I reckon ‘milksops’ don’t do that.”

A murmur of approval arose, enthusiastic on the part of some and less vigorous in others. Sammy Addington was loudest in commendation. At the same time he continually felt of[26] another round, hard object in his trousers pocket—a smooth stone tied in a corner of his handkerchief. But he did not exhibit this. Plainly, any one—Nick Apthorp or Carrots Compton—who encountered Sammy on the theory that he was a “mama’s boy” might have a sudden awakening.

“Then it’s war to the knife?” laughed Connie.

“As far as I’m concerned,” Art answered.

“Me too,” sounded from half a dozen others and so it was agreed.

During the day there were attempts to give serious attention to “tuning up” the miniature models. Sammy Addington, who usually carried two machines wherever he went, and whose three-foot Dart (Bleriot model) had a good chance in that class of machines, was apparently wholly prepared for the meet. Noticing his idleness Colly Craighead asked him:

“What you going in for, Sammy?”

“Nick Apthorp,” was the instant answer. Then recalling his wits, he added, “I mean everything, from the three-footers down.”

That evening when the club was holding another meeting Sandy Sheldon falteringly handed President Trevor this note:


“Members Young Aveaturs Club, dear sirs.

“I am sory I cannot attend on the meat to-morrow for I have inexcusably to go to the country with my famly in the automobeel. Hopping you will excuse me I am respectably yours Roger Mercer.”

“What is the pleasure of the members?” asked Art, without trying to conceal his contempt.

“I move, Mr. President,” exclaimed Wart Ware, “that Roge Mercer be expelled hereby from this club for keeps for showin’ the white feather.”

A chorus seconded the motion and the president was about to put the motion when Alex Conyers protested.

“What’s the sense of that?” he asked. “Roge is all right. Mebbe what he says is true.”

“All in favor of firin’ Roge Mercer out o’ this club say ‘aye,’” announced Art aggressively.

There was a war of “ayes,” in the midst of which one “no” was heard. But Alex made no further protest and Roger Mercer’s name was crossed from the roll.


It is proper to say, as a further historical detail, that little of the tense excitement that pervaded the Elm Street meeting was to be found at the Friday session of the “Sycamore Tree” loafers of the Goosetown gang. Certainly the latter made no preliminary preparations. Aside from Nick Apthorp and Carrots Compton, who seemed to have private griefs against any one who might be suspected of being a friend of Artie Trevor, “the milksop swell,” those who thought anything about the possible mix-up, considered it largely as a light diversion. All except Hank Milleson. Hank was not alarmed but he was doubtful.

Saturday morning the Elm Streeters had the unmistakable looks of conspirators. Their ordinary costumes had given place to old tennis trousers and shirts—Sammy Addington appeared once in heavy football shoes which, at his president’s suggestion, he removed before noon. Nearly every one had some treasured article that he put aside in Art’s tool box—knives, watch fobs, stick pins and one compass. At noon the last meal was eaten, and President Trevor checked up his full squad—not one detained by parental suspicion.

By this time one would have thought the[29] afternoon’s program consisted of nothing but a prearranged pitched battle. Alex Conyers had to make a few remarks to dispel this delusion—since President Trevor seemed as absent-minded as the others.

“Don’t forget,” exclaimed Connie, “that you’ll have to take your airships if you mean to race ’em. If we have to scrap, we’ll scrap, but, by jickey, don’t start out as if that’s all you’re a-lookin’ for. Why you haven’t even got the Dart,” continued Connie pointing to Sammy Addington who stood by with two of his smallest and oldest machines.

“I ain’t a-goin’ to take no risk,” retorted Sammy. “In case we have to surrender they can have these,” holding up his battered veterans. “But what’s the use o’ takin’ chances on the Dart? I reckon you don’t know she cost seven dollars!”

“That’s givin’ up before you see the enemy,” laughed Connie.

“Go get the Dart,” ordered Trevor instantly. “Be game.”

A suggestion of this sort was all that Sammy needed. At the same time, he felt again of the rock tied in his handkerchief. This boded no good to Nick Apthorp.


One of the routes to reach Sycamore Tree Pasture was by the main street of Scottsville to the north town limits, thence by a rackety, vibrating suspension bridge across Green River to the “pike” that turned east along the river. Another, and a more popular way with all the boys, was by way of the near-by railroad bridge. There was no footway for pedestrians on this, and the walk over the unprotected, open ties was therefore dangerous enough to be alluring.

An additional attraction of the smoky old railroad bridge was that one was apt to meet older acquaintances there, for which reason it was a favorite resort for boys playing hooky. Here, safely concealed on the lower crosspieces or hidden on the stone abutments on the upper side of the bridge, they might smoke forbidden cigarettes in safety. The railroad bridge was in the territory of the “Goosetown gang.” Boldly bearding the lions in their den, the aviators decided to approach the scene of the tournament by this dangerous trail. As usual it was over Alex Conyers’ protest.

“If you’re afraid,” suggested the valiant young president to Connie, “why don’t you[31] get your father’s chauffeur and ride over in the machine?”

“I’m just tellin’ you,” was Connie’s only answer. “But go ahead; I’ll be with you.”

A little before two o’clock ten boys, ranging in age from twelve to sixteen years, the charter members of the Elm Street Young Aviators Club, with President Trevor and Alex Conyers in front, started across the open ties of the railroad bridge.

Green River, hardly more than a succession of pools, lay along the north end of Scottsville. The much discussed pasture was a smooth and closely cropped stretch of land extending from the north end of the bridge to the old milldam a quarter of a mile to the west.

One glance through the open ironwork of the bridge told the approaching cohort that the enemy was ahead of them. Only a few hundred yards from the bridge, on a bank slightly elevated above the river, stood the big sycamore, the remaining monarch of many others that had fallen and had been carried away for firewood. Beneath its far-stretching arms lounged a group of boys.

“How many?” asked Art of Connie.


“Six or seven,” was Connie’s reply. “But don’t worry. The day’s young.”

“We’ll march straight by ’em,” added Art, “and up to where the pasture is broad and open, ’bout halfway to the dam. Here, fellows,” he went on, facing his followers, “don’t line up that way, two and two like a Sunday School parade. Scatter out. That’s one reason these guys give us the laugh.”

It was difficult to “scatter out” on the narrow railroad track but the boys did it as well as they could. When the center pier of the bridge was reached Art and Connie came to a sudden stop, while the eight boys behind them crowded against them. A freckle-faced lad, broad of shoulder, with a collarless flannel shirt, barefooted and smoking a stubby black pipe, had been discovered standing within the truss uprights. With a peculiar smile he took a puff on his pipe. Art was about to speak when Connie took his arm and the two leaders started ahead.

“What’s doin’, kids?” remarked the boy at this move. “Where’s the party? Picnic?”

“Better come along and see,” retorted Art.

“Is this little Artie an’ his playmates?”

“It is, Flatfoot Hank!” exclaimed Art—for[33] the boy was Hank Milleson, one of the Goosetown leaders. “Like to meet some of ’em?”

“I been waitin’ here fur you—all of you. Say,” he went on, and now the banter had gone out of his voice, “youse guys is goin’ over there to the paster to start somethin’, lookin’ fur trouble, ain’t you?”

“Supposin’ we are?” sneered Art.

“Well, what’s the use o’ that?” went on Hank. “That place kind o’ belongs to us. What’d you pick out our campin’ grounds fur?”

“Because they suited us,” responded Art, red in the face. “What you goin’ to do about it?”

“Nothin’. Only I thought I’d hang ’round here an’ ast you not to go.”

“I reckon you think we’re scared,” piped a voice. It was Sammy Addington, doing his best to get to the front.

“I guess you ain’t scared enough,” answered Hank.

“What you gettin’ at, Milleson?” broke in Alex Conyers.

“The boys has agreed,” explained Hank, “if you guys’ll go ’round by the pike and do[34] your playin’ up by the dam, we’ll start nothin’.”

“Oh, they have, have they?” almost shouted Art. “Well, we’ve agreed that the whole bunch o’ you are a lot of bluffs. An’ the first loafer that gets in our path’ll get a swift smash in the jaw.”



As the defiant Trevor rallied his supporters and renewed the march across the bridge, there was no sign of retaliation on Hank’s face. The truth is that Hank, so far as his training permitted, had gone out of his way to do a good turn. It had been a failure. By the time Captain Trevor reached the end of the bridge, Hank had newly charged his pipe.

“Leastways,” he said to himself as he took the trail of the aeroplane-laden boys, “I done what I could. I’ll foller along now an’ see what kind o’ front the ginks can put up. An’ there’s a chanst ’at Carrots may need a little help ’fore he puts over that jumpin’ act he promised.”

Alex Conyers made a last appeal to Art to stick to the railroad until it crossed the pike. He tried to argue that this was the natural road to reach the place where they meant to start their program. If there was any one in the[36] crowd that approved this change of plans he did not speak.

“Kids,” exclaimed Art pompously as he gave Connie a look of impatience—almost of defiance—and pointed straight up the river toward the old sycamore, “there lies our path.”

“Come on, them ’ats comin’,” shouted another voice and Sammy Addington sprang forward, scrambling down the steep embankment toward the almost certain field of battle.

His fellow club members, even to Alex Conyers, fell into his wake. When a wire fence was reached there was a pause. In the short interval Hank Milleson joined the party.

“Say, kiddos,” he began anew, apparently in good humor, “how about comps to the show? If they’s any free passes I’d like to give the gang an invite.”

“You saw the bill,” exclaimed Conyers, glad of any chance to placate the enemy. “It says admission free.”

“Free to decent kids, not to bums and loafers,” broke in Art angrily. “You can’t put that over on us, Flatfoot,” he shouted.

“Say, Artie,” replied Hank slowly. “I[37] guess I’m a loafer, but I ain’t a bum. Ain’t you gettin’ purty fresh?”

“What you goin’ to do about it?”

“Me? Oh, nothin’—now. But don’t call me no bum. Tain’t nothin’ to call a kid a ‘sis’ or a ‘milksop.’ But it kind o’ means sumpin’ bad to call him a bum. A bum’s a feller ’at hangs ’round saloons—or a hobo. I ain’t that—yet.”

This speech created a sensation among the still panting boys. Even their impulsive leader flushed. At any other time Art’s sense of fairness would have made him sorry for his words. Now, afraid of showing weakness, he made matters worse.

“That kind of stuff ain’t a goin’ to get our goat, Flatfoot,” he retorted. “Come on, boys!”

In another instant the crowd had worked itself through the fence and was advancing toward the big tree. For a moment Alex Conyers lingered behind where Hank Milleson, still smoking his pipe, leaned against a post.

“You belong to that gang, don’t you?” remarked Hank.

“Yes,” answered Connie.


“You licked Matt Branson once, didn’t you? When Matt was going to school?”

“He said he had enough,” confessed Connie.

“Well,” added Hank clearing the fence with a bound, “fur the good o’ everybody I think you and me better move along.”

Before Hank and Connie caught the advancing party it had come to a sudden halt. Seven shiftless, carelessly dressed young idlers who had been lying under the hollow sycamore had half risen and were sitting with their knees on their hands. All seemed highly amused. Art Trevor was standing ahead of his companions. Nick Apthorp, one of the seven, had been the first to speak.

“Hello kids. What’s doin’?”

“None of your business,” answered Sammy Addington.

“Does your mamas know you’re over here where the bad boys is?” shouted Job Wilkes with a laugh.

There was no answer except closer set lips. But not one of the Goosetowners rose to his feet. Hank and Connie coming up, the latter hurried to Art and whispered: “Come on.” There was a general movement forward. For[39] a moment it looked as if hostilities would be averted.

But the last remark had sunk deep into young Trevor’s heart. Thrusting Connie aside he almost ran to the big tree. There, yet besmeared with Carrots Compton’s tobacco quid, hung the stolen poster. Connie rushed after the white-faced leader but Art was not to be stopped. Tearing the poster loose he whirled on the surprised Goosetowners.

“The fellow that did that’s a coward!” shouted Art, his lips trembling.

“I done it,” shouted Carrots Compton. “What—”

Before he could add more Art had slapped the poster, quid and all, against Carrots’ face. The next instant Carrots was in Hank Milleson’s arms and Alex Conyers had a close grip on Art.

“Let ’em go, let ’em loose!” shouted a dozen voices.

The struggling four were at once lost in a jam of all the others, each eager to get close to the would-be combatants. In the first clash, while the Goosetowners and Elm Streeters resembled a mass of football players after a tackle, a cry sounded that each boy recognized.[40] There was a sudden loosening of the tangle and Nick Apthorp, with another cry, threw his hands to his head. As he drew them back a new howl went up. His fingers were covered with blood, which was trickling from a cut on his forehead.

“I’m stabbed,” wailed Nick. “I’m stabbed!”

Hostilities ceased. Even Carrots and Art were released, while Hank and Connie turned toward the wounded boy. It wasn’t a stab but a bad break of the skin. Connie even volunteered the use of his handkerchief as a bandage—there was probably not one in the enemy’s ranks. But, before it could be applied, and one of Nick’s pals had already rushed down the river bank to fill the beer can with water, there was a new commotion.

“There he goes! That’s the guy.”

Seventeen pairs of eyes made out Sammy Addington scurrying like a colt toward the railroad. Sammy had been avenged. He had “got his man.” Nick Apthorp sprang forward but a new trickle of warm blood stopped him and there arose new wails about being stabbed.


“I’ll kill him,” moaned Nick sinking to his knees while Hank bound up his wound.

“Shut up, you boob,” exclaimed Hank. “It’s only a scratch.”

“He stabbed me,” wailed Nick.

“Stabbed nothin’,” sneered Hank. “He got you with a dornick.”

The clashing bodies had moved apart but no truce had been declared. No one made an attempt to pursue Sammy, who was now on the railroad bridge and still in motion. Connie yet had hopes of preventing another clash and was giving his attention to his captain. Trevor was hurling defiance at Carrots who was pouring forth a volley of profanity.

“That shows ’em up,” broke in Job Wilkes rushing to Carrots’ side. “Look out! They all got knives.”

“It’s a lie!” shouted Alex Conyers whirling toward Wilkes. “We don’t want trouble, but if you got to have it you don’t need to holler.”

But Wilkes’ mind was on Art.

“Go get him, Carrots,” he yelled, pushing Compton forward.

“He’s a big bluff. Don’t stand for it.”

Spurred on, Compton made a new rush for[42] Trevor. But something intervened. It was knotty little Connie’s fist. Carrots always insisted it wasn’t fair, that he wasn’t fighting Connie. Just the same, as Carrots lunged past Connie, the latter caught him on the jaw so cleverly that Carrots dropped. Like a cat Job Wilkes was on Connie’s back. In a flash the fight was on again with Nick Apthorp on the side-lines, whimpering and nursing the knob on his head, and Hank Milleson pawing his way into the center of the fray and yelling for fair play.

For perhaps five minutes the vicinity resounded with the noises that accompany boyish fights; grunts, exploding breaths, whimpering, howls, cries, half in defiance and half in protest, and, with it all the unmistakable commotion of jarring bodies. Now and then there was the crack of a blow struck, but not often. Even the bitterest boy battle rarely reaches the point of serious bodily injury.

Then, when the confusion of cries reached its height and nearly all were yelling “leggo my hair!” or “he’s bitin’ me!” (even in the juvenile world an inexcusable barbarism) or “he’s chokin’ me!” the furious tempest suddenly[43] began to calm. The first drops of blood are wonderfully quieting.

One of the first to escape from the wriggling mass was Wart Ware. A sleeve of his shirt was gone, his hat was missing and his nose was bleeding freely. His fighting spirit was gone but he continued to struggle in Matt Branson’s neck-hold. At last, his mouth filled with blood, he yelled “Enough!”

Phil Abercrombie and Lew Ashwood were in no better condition. Buck Bluett and Mart Clare, both outclassing their opponents, had forced these “middle-weight” aviators into each other’s arms and were vigorously pounding their heads together. Phil was yet feebly defiant, but Lew had reached the point where he only groaned with each new knock.

With the first let-up in hair-pulling and punching noses a quartette of Elm Streeters made a feeble dash toward the river bank, where not less than twenty miniature aeroplanes had been deposited on the first sign of trouble. Colly Craighead, Paul Corbett, Duke Easton and Sandy Sheldon thought of these treasures apparently at the same time. Boys who won’t run away from a scrap have a way[44] of suddenly remembering duties that are instantly imperative.

But Joe Andrews, Tom Bates and Nick Apthorp (who had now rejoined the combatants) were in close pursuit.

“Head ’em off!” yelled Nick.

Grabbing a tree limb about two feet long he hurled it toward the fugitives. It struck Colly Craighead on the arm. Before the exhausted boy could recover himself he had stumbled and fallen on the pile of aeroplanes.

The three Goosetowners were on him in an instant, trampling on the delicate models and striking right and left with broken silk-covered frames. Colly’s friends, in a last hopeless effort, frenzied with the sickening crack of their wrecked prides, made an attempt to rally. But it was useless.

Craighead rolled out of the wreckage and, bewildered with pain, tumbled over the river bank onto a bed of gravel. His three companions sprang after him. There was a momentary attempt to renew the battle by throwing gravel and such rocks as they could find. But each knew he was licked. Their assailants withdrew in contempt and rejoined the struggle yet in progress between the older boys.


Job Wilkes had apparently taken good advantage of his sneaking attack on Alex Conyers. When Hank Milleson had managed to pull the others off the prostrate pair, Wilkes was on Connie’s back with his hands around the under boy’s throat. Carrots Compton was nursing his jaw and temporarily out of the mix-up. Art Trevor had plunged to Connie’s aid.

“None o’ that!” roared Hank. “It’s one to one here. You wanted trouble an’ you got it.”

Without a pause Art swerved his attack to Hank. In an instant the two leaders were in each other’s arms and in another moment Art was on his back looking up into Hank’s half-smiling face. But the overconfident Hank held his opponent too lightly. Art had a smattering of wrestling knowledge. His face distorted with anger, he shut his eyes for a moment as if in surrender. As Hank gave him a laughing smack on the cheek the under boy whirled himself over with a snake-like wriggle and then shoved himself with a second lightning-like motion to his hands and knees.

The astonished Hank instantly recognized his danger from a wrestling standpoint, and[46] threw himself heavily on Art’s back in an effort to crush him flat again. But the movement was what the “milksop” anticipated. Hank was quick enough with his body but he failed to duck his head. Art’s strong arms and legs met the crushing attack and then in a flash his right arm flew up and clamped Hank’s head in a vice.

There was a first sharp downward jerk of Trevor’s arm and Hank’s head slipped forward over the under boy’s shoulder. Another yank and Hank’s neck bones creaked. There was a groan from the boy on top as his heavy body bowed itself upward to lessen the pain and then, Art’s muscles quivering and his mouth open, his arm locked itself completely around Hank’s neck. With the same motion Art’s body bounded upward and the panting, struggling Hank shot into the air. As the flying body struck the ground with a crash, Art was up and on his opponent like a cat.

Half stunned, Hank made an effort to clasp Art’s body, but Trevor was too quick for him. Throwing himself on Milleson’s chest with crushing force, the Elm Street boy pinned his opponent to the ground and then “roughed” his head against Hank’s nose.


“That’s enough,” yelled a voice in Art’s ear. “Let him up. You win.”

It was Connie. His own battle had been soon over, although he had not resorted to the professional tricks his chum had used. Three or four sound blows on Job’s face and neck had forced an abject surrender. Carrots Compton and Connie had not joined issues, each pausing to watch the big fight.

“You done it, Artie,” gasped the almost breathless Hank.

Carrots Compton, carried away by the sight of the clever contest, stood by in open admiration. As Trevor rose to his feet, his shirt torn, rents in each knee of his trousers, his hair wet with perspiration, his muscles yet trembling and his lips quivering with unsatisfied anger, he caught sight of his avowed enemy.

“Now you red-headed bluff,” shouted Art, “I’m ready for you. There’s the river you’re goin’ to make me jump in! You big loafer and bum,” he added, his eyes feverish with anger. “I’ll give you a minute to start tryin’ or I’ll throw you in.”

There was no escape for Carrots. As Hank scrambled onto his feet a dozen begrimed,[48] blood-spotted and clothing-torn boys quickly formed a circle.

“That’s the stuff,” shouted Nick Apthorp, forgetting his own bandaged head. “Give ’em room. Let ’em scrap it out. A bottle o’ beer on little Artie,” he added. But there were no takers of his wager. Carrots had shot forward with head down. But he landed in Hank Milleson’s arms.

“Cheese it, kids,” shouted Hank as he whirled Carrots to his feet. “The marshal’s comin’.”

One glance toward the railroad bridge revealed the well-known blue uniform of Marshal Chris Walter. And it was advancing at the old man’s best pace. Close behind waddled Sammy Addington. By the time Old Chris reached the big sycamore the only Goosetowners or Elm Streeters to be seen were those just disappearing above the river dam.



When the fugitives had time to take stock, the Elm Streeters decided that the personal victories of Art and Connie were so completely overshadowed by the rout of the other boys that the day was irretrievably lost. Bloody noses and torn clothing were not counted. But the destruction and loss of the prized aeroplanes was despair itself.

“They could be arrested,” suggested Colly Craighead, rubbing his injured arm and still breathing vengeance.

“I’d cut out that kind of talk,” exclaimed Alex Conyers. “Don’t be sore. Hank Milleson did his best to head you off. You got what you was tryin’ to give an’ that was enough. Be game.”

“I reckon that’s right,” broke in Art, lying flat on his back. “We outnumbered ’em an’ we did a little dirty work too. Sammy ought to get his for usin’ a rock. It kind o’ tickled me though to see the kid hand it to that big stiff.[50] At that, it wasn’t much worse ’an Job Wilkes jumpin’ on Connie’s back.”

The Goosetowners had a flat-bottomed skiff moored just above the dam. All of these boys had jumped into the boat and were already lost to view behind the Big Willow Bend. The Elm Streeters were recovering their wind, sprawled on the high bank under the leaning walnut tree just above the dam. A look-out kept an eye on the marshal, who lingered for a time at the scene of the fight and then retired, followed by his informer, Sammy Addington. Sammy would have made an attempt to rejoin his chums but as he was just as likely to run into the enemy he discreetly withdrew under convoy of Old Chris.

“I got all the toy aeroplane business I want,” remarked Connie, ignoring Art’s comment. “It is kind o’ sissy at that.” He was gazing longingly at the dammed-up stretch of blue water before him. “Let’s go swimmin’.”

“Last one in’s a nigger baby!” yelled Wart Ware.

There was a whirlwind of flying clothes, shoes and stockings.

“Say,” exclaimed Trevor, “here!” The[51] scurrying boys paused in various stages of disrobing. “Let’s all throw in our money an’ have a real aeroplane.”

“A real aeroplane?” came instantly from two or three.

“Two or three thousand dollars!” shouted Alex Conyers, rolling over in high glee. “Let’s make a steam engine, too.”

“Three thousand dollars nothin’,” snorted Art. “There ain’t a thing about an aeroplane except the engine us kids can’t make. You know that.”

“Except the engine,” laughed Connie anew. “Why don’t you say ‘we can—only we can’t’? You mean a glider?”

“I don’t mean anything but what I said,” came back Art resentfully. “What d’you suppose an engine costs?”

“A Curtiss costs about twelve hundred dollars,” replied Colly Craighead proudly.

“It does,” answered Art. “But a pack o’ kids don’t need to count on going for the altitude record or on crossin’ the continent. There’s a firm in Philadelphia makin’ a four-cylinder, twenty horse power, air-cooled motor that’s guaranteed to speed up to eighteen hundred[52] revolutions a minute. An’ it only weighs a hundred pounds.”

“How much?” came in a prompt chorus.

“Only four hundred and ninety dollars,” answered Art emphasizing the “only.”

“Only!” repeated Alex Conyers raising his arms. “Only! Why don’t you say ‘only a million’? Where’d this gang ever raise four hundred and ninety dollars?”

“That ain’t fifty dollars apiece,” argued Art.

“Have you fifty dollars?” retorted Alex.

“I have—a hundred and twelve dollars—right now—in the bank.”

“An’ you couldn’t get a cent of it lessen your pa said so. I see your father lettin’ you have it—like fun.”

“How much’d the other fixin’s cost?” broke in Wart Ware. “But I ain’t got no fifty dollars. I had fifteen dollars, though, last Christmas,” he went on. “But I spent it,” he was forced to add regretfully.

“There ain’t anything else that’d cost much,” began Art anew. “Some pieces of spruce, an’ some cheap silk, an’ some varnish, an’ some piano wire, an’ turnbuckles—”

“How about a couple o’ propellers?” asked[53] pessimistic Alex. “They don’t give ’em away I reckon and most flyin’ machines have ’em.”

“Personally,” announced Art, “I’ve always been in for a single propeller machine.”

“Well,” conceded Alex with more interest, “a single propeller would cut down the cost. It’d save on shafting an’ motor connections. Say ’at the engine cost four hundred and ninety dollars, the propeller twenty-five, an’ everything else one hundred.”

“A hundred for a little silk an’ wire an’ a few sticks?” snorted Art. “What are you thinkin’ about?”

“Well,” went on Alex, “say it did. That’s six hundred an’ fifteen dollars. Let’s hear from the treasurer. What’s in the treasury, Duke?”

Treasurer Duncan Easton, at these words, gasped, grew redder and then made a wild scramble to locate his clothing.

“Who’s got my pants?” he yelled. “It’s all in my pants.”

“All that prize money?” shouted the president of the club. “That three dollars and eighty cents?”

The naked treasurer’s only response was a[54] lunge into a heap of garments out of which he finally extracted the valuable trousers. There was a swift search of both pockets and then a scared face told the story.

“’Tain’t gone?” came anxiously from Connie.

“I had to bring it,” whimpered Treasurer Easton. “It was for the prizes. I’ve lost it.”

“Where?” shouted his fellow club members.

“I d-d-don’t know,” faltered Easton. Breaking into tears he made a new search.

“That’s a hot way to carry money!” volunteered one boy. “Loose in your pocket!”

“It—it wasn’t loose,” explained Duke, his lips quivering. “It was in a purse.”

“Purse?” snapped another angry lad. “You ain’t got no purse.”

“It was my father’s,” explained the tearful Duke. “An’ it had ever’body’s name in it and what they paid and all the entries.”

Art and Connie were already searching the ground round about.

“Some of you kids has got it,” wailed Duke, the thought of a possible joke coming to him.

“Search me,” shouted a chorus of boys. Even the absurdity of searching a boy stripped[55] of his clothes did not appeal to the disturbed president or the still sobbing treasurer. Connie began to laugh and then exclaimed:

“Mebbe it’s back where the scrap was.”

Instantly Art, Connie and Duke set out on a dead run for the sycamore tree. They were not halfway to it before the other boys, one at a time as they scrambled into their clothes, were trailing behind. As they reached the battlefield a familiar gang call sounded from the railroad bridge and in a few moments Sammy Addington rejoined his chums.

“Duke lost all the money,” Art explained sullenly as he made a preliminary survey.

“Cowardy-calf, cowardy-calf!” was Wart Ware’s salutation to Sammy. But Sammy had no time to resent this insult immediately. He was bubbling over with other business.

“Ole Chris got it,” he panted.

“Got my pocket book?” gasped Duke.

“Three dollars an’ eighty cents,” went on Sammy, yet out of breath. “An’,” with a sniffle, “he’s a-goin’ to turn it over to the mayor.”

“Father’ll get it for us; he’s comin’ home to-night,” began Art. But Sammy had more and worse news.


“An’ he’s got the papers an’ ever’body’s name,” went on the courier. “An’ the marshal says ’at he’s goin’ to take up ever’one ’at was in the scrap.” (“Take up” in Scottsville meant arrest and incarceration in the lockup.)

In the solemn silence that followed, even Duke’s tears ceased to flow. Not even Connie seemed to have a word suitable to the alarming situation.

“Why didn’t he take you up?” It was Wart Ware who finally asked this question.

“Me?” faltered Sammy. “Why I—I don’t know.” But there was a telltale twitch of his lips.

“Didn’t he say why?” demanded Colly Craighead. “It’s funny he’s goin’ to put ever’body else in the lockup but you.”

Sammy only eyed his questioners and tried to turn the inquiry with a question about the lost models.

“I’ll tell you why he let you off,” volunteered Connie as he approached the recent fugitive. “You lied to him.”

“Don’t you call me no liar,” exclaimed Sammy boldly. “An’ I didn’t peach. He ast me who was over here an’ I told him I was no telltale. I wouldn’t give him not a single name. Not even a Goosetowner.”


“You’d ’a’ better not,” remarked Art significantly.

“I didn’t say you peached,” went on Connie unmoved by Sammy’s speech. “I said you lied. I’ll tell you what you told Old Chris; you told him they was a lot of bad boys over here fightin’ an’ ’at you run away so’s you wouldn’t get mixed up with ’em.”

This explanation was so plausible that it did not require Sammy’s sudden panic to convict him. There was a roar of indignation and the gang massed around the accused. Driven to bay Sammy turned on his denouncer. But that was hopeless. There was one other recourse.

“I didn’t neither,” he protested. Then his voice broke. “An’ if I did,” he qualified, tears of mortification springing to his eyes, “how was I goin’ to know he was goin’ to find the pocket book?”

“Cowardy-calf,” “runaway” and “tattletale” were the verbal returns for this sudden candor and then, following Connie’s action, Sammy’s chums left the little ex-warrior blubbering alone. But boy grief does not penetrate far.

“Say, fellows,” exclaimed Sammy, wiping[58] away his tears and trying to smile, “Ole Peg Leg Warner’s fishin’ over on the bridge and he got a bass ’at weighed four pounds or more.”

Ordinarily this would have been the signal for a stampede. But the alluring bait was ignored.

“Go away,” was Art’s command. “We’re through with you.”

But while the other boys made their way slowly toward the pile of torn and broken aeroplanes, Sammy stood his ground.

“I don’t have to go away,” he retorted. “I can stay here if I want to. You don’t own this paster.”

“Then stay here,” shouted Art. “We’re goin’. An’ don’t you come in my yard again or in our garage, Tattletale.”

“I can come and get my knife and aeroplane an’ things,” retorted Sammy in half appeal. “An’ me and my folks is goin’ away up to Lake Maxinkuchee and stay all summer an’ I’m goin’ to have a sailboat, too.”

This last appeal to his friends was Spartanly ignored as was the statement in relation to Sammy’s personal property. But the incensed club members had one last rejoinder. After a quick conference Connie delivered it.


“You’d better,” he announced. “You’re goin’ to be expelled from the club.”

“Who cares?” exclaimed Sammy. “My ma told me I got to quit anyway, ’cause I’m goin’ to go away an’ sail my new boat.” To save further embarrassment, Sammy added: “I got to go now. Peg Leg’s goin’ to lend me one of his bass lines.”

The consensus of opinion concerning the sailboat was that it was a hastily improvised figment of the imagination. The boast, however, was enough to insure Sammy’s expulsion, which was done instantly and somewhat informally. Collecting what remained of the beloved toys, the members of the club, dejected, dispirited and genuinely alarmed over the possible result of Old Chris’s promised action, took immediate council.

There was a suggestion that, it being only four o’clock, there was yet time for a swim. But this idea seemed to meet with no favor. On the other hand it was just possible that Marshal Walter might be on the look-out near the railroad bridge. Just then one of the boys, glancing toward the dam, saw three ominous looking Goosetowners who were evidently returning to their stamping grounds.


“Who’s afraid of Old Chris,” exclaimed Wart Ware promptly. “I got some errands to do at home.”

The defeated lads instantly set out at a good pace toward the bridge. They were not surprised when they failed to find Sammy Addington in Peg Leg Warner’s company, nor little more so when Peg told them that his big bass didn’t weigh over a pound and a half. At the town end of the bridge—happily Marshal Walter was not in sight—the subdued club members separated and as a precautionary measure made their way home singly.

Art Trevor saw fit to approach his own home by way of the alley. In the garage he did the best he could to make himself presentable and then he fell to his aeroplane plans. At five thirty o’clock, with assumed gayety, he rushed around to the front porch. As he expected, his mother was there.

“Arthur,” she said at once, “Marshal Walter has been here and told me what happened this afternoon. Are you hurt?”

“No, mother. I—”

“That’s enough, Arthur. This is a matter for your father. It will give him a fine home-coming. You have been a very bad boy.”



Mr. Trevor, Art’s father, had been for six weeks attending to legal business in London. For several days his return had been eagerly anticipated. Art’s only hope lay in his father’s jovial disposition, his love of outdoor sports and, above all, his unusual interest in the pleasures of boys. In this respect Mr. Trevor was different from most men. He would leave his office to umpire a game of ball between school nines when he could not find time to witness a professional game.

Through the dinner hour Mrs. Trevor did not speak of the fight. By that Art knew he was approaching a crisis. Up to this time, his mother had never hesitated to discipline him for shortcomings. Each minute his depression deepened. The meal over, he made no attempt to leave the house. When his mother took up the evening paper Art retired to a far corner of the porch with a magazine.

Now and then he would glance at the hall[62] clock. While he looked the third time the deep gong sounded seven. He took a deep breath—only one more hour.

Art had no way of knowing what had befallen his friends. Not a boy had passed the house. If Old Walter had visited all the boys’ homes, Art suspected that more than one domestic tragedy must have been enacted already.

Just as the twilight began to make reading difficult, Art heard a slow and familiar footstep. It was Alex Conyers. But the low-spirited boy on the porch neither looked up nor gave salutation. Alex walked slowly as if burdened with troubles of his own. At the lawn step he looked up, seemed to hesitate, and then passed on.

“Alexander,” called Mrs. Trevor in a low voice, “is that you?”


“I’d like to see you.”

Connie, hat in hand, ascended the steps with the liveliness of a pallbearer. He glanced toward the end of the porch where Art sat, apparently engrossed in his magazine.

“Were you with Arthur this afternoon?” asked Mrs. Trevor quietly but pointedly.

“Yes’m,” looking intently across the street.


“Did Marshal Walter speak to your parents?”

“Yes’m,” slowly and with another furtive look toward his chum.

“What did your father think about it?”

“He said he wished I was younger so he could strap me.”

Mrs. Trevor did not smile. Then to Connie’s consternation, he knew that Mrs. Trevor was wiping a tear from her cheek.

“But that wasn’t all,” Connie added hastily. “He told me how he had hoped I wouldn’t grow up like that. I told him I was sorry,” and Connie’s voice quivered a little. “Anyway I can’t go near the river again this summer—fishin’ nor swimmin’ nor nothin’.”

“With whom were you fighting?” went on Mrs. Trevor.

At this question Connie twisted his cap, looked up in confusion and then at the floor in silence.

“You don’t want to tell?”


“Didn’t Marshal Walter ask you?”

“Not yet.”

“Are you going to tell him when he does?”



“Why not?”

“’Cause he might take ’em up.”

“And you think you are right?”

“What good’d it do? If he arrested ’em an’ the judge fined ’em they’d have to go to jail.”

“Well, you seem to like to associate with them. You boys appear to enjoy their society. You could all be together.”

“Together?” repeated Connie in an alarmed voice, while Art’s magazine fell to the floor.

“Certainly,” went on Mrs. Trevor. “The marshal says he is going to ask the mayor if he shouldn’t arrest all of you. I suppose that means you’ll all be put in jail.”

Connie adjusted his collar. “I think I’ve got to go now, Mrs. Trevor,” he said at last. “It’s getting late.”

“Good night, Alexander,” replied Mrs. Trevor softly. “I feel sorry for you and your friends.”

As Connie departed, with neither word nor look for his pal in disgrace, Mrs. Trevor started down the steps.

“I’m going to the train, Arthur, to meet your father.”

“Shan’t I come with you?” Art asked.

“No. I want to meet your father alone and[65] prepare him for the reception you have arranged for him.”

This was the last straw. When a little later the repentant Art heard the hollow blasts of the eight-o’clock express he was stretched on a couch in the living room. There was a lump in his throat and he felt as if he had lost every interest in life.

Connie’s talk had not made Art’s troubles lighter. Art realized that his pal’s disgrace and punishment was due to himself more than to Connie. Finally, to relieve his troubled conscience, he set his teeth together and hurried to the telephone. Art called up the Conyers home and Alex’s father answered the telephone.

“This is Arthur Trevor, Mr. Conyers,” Art hastily began, “an’ I want to tell you what we did to-day. Yes, our fightin’. Well, Connie ain’t to blame like I am. But you don’t understand. He ain’t a scrapper an’ he didn’t want to go an’ he tried to keep the gang from goin’. If we’d done like he wanted, there wouldn’t nothin’ ’a’ happened. But I egged him on. Yes, I know I’d oughtn’t an’ it was my fault. Connie argued ever’ way to keep us out o’ trouble an’ we just pulled him in. An’ that[66] ain’t all. He wouldn’t ’a’ got into no fight himself at all if he hadn’t tried to keep me from fightin’. An’ then they jumped on his back an’ he had to scrap. It was my fault all through.”

There was some conversation, Mr. Conyers’ part of which seemed to indicate that he wasn’t at all certain of Alexander’s innocence, even in part. Then he appeared to give Art a few words of advice and the interview ended. There was no suggestion that Connie’s punishment would be made lighter.

Art heard voices outside just then, and bracing himself as well as he could, he went out to greet his father. At sight of the latter the boy forgot the coming interview, and threw himself into his parent’s arms. Then, in the joy of his father’s return, Art grabbed the bags and led the way gayly into the house. His father was as smiling and good-natured as usual.

As the excitement of the home-coming lessened into questions and answers, the little family returned to the porch. There was not a word of rebuke for the boy. Mr. Trevor began at once a narration of his troubles and experiences and the neighbors began to drop in.

Not one of them referred to the catastrophe[67] of the afternoon—although many of the visitors were parents of the humiliated young aviators. When Mrs. Trevor at last suggested refreshments (which she had prepared for the occasion) and Art was called upon to assist in the serving, the boy never performed a home service more willingly. He began to hope he might not be wholly put out of his parents’ regard.

About eleven o’clock the last visitor withdrew and Mrs. Trevor went into the house. A premonition came over the boy and he started after his mother.

“Arthur,” called Mr. Trevor. “I want to see you.”

The choke came back into Art’s throat. He retraced his steps as bravely as he could.

“Arthur, your mother has told me all that took place this afternoon. Have you anything to say about it?”

“I suppose not, sir. Except, I’m sorry.”

“Was your trip over the river prearranged? That is, did you go expecting a fight?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And you were one of the leaders?”

“Yes, sir. I reckon I was the leader.”

“What was your object?”


“We were goin’ to hold an aeroplane meet an’ the Goosetowners dared us.”

“Sit down,” said Mr. Trevor. As Art did so his father faced him. “Arthur,” he went on, “I suppose you are expecting some punishment?”

“I suppose so; I reckon I deserve it.”

“I’m not going to punish you. However, you have hurt your mother and me.”

Art’s eyes opened wide. “We have been proud of you. We have been counting on you to grow into a high-grade young man. This weakness disappoints us more than you know.”

“I didn’t think I was weak,” replied Art. “I fought fair an’ square. An’ they started the trouble.”

“That’s always the town tough’s excuse,” replied Mr. Trevor, raising his hand in protest. “It’s what the saloon brawler tells you. He’s always in the right of it.”

“Well,” said Art, trying to win a little sympathy, “I’m sorry I’m such a disappointment.”

“I’m glad you’re sorry,” responded his father. “It would be a heavy blow to our hopes for your future if we thought you were going to grow up to be a tough.”


“You always told me to be brave,” urged Art, rather hopelessly.

“Exactly,” said his father. “I’d be proud to see you defend your mother from the attack of a thief. I’d be glad to see you risk your life to save that of another. But would it be brave to goad a lunatic into a frenzy that you might punish him for assaulting you?”

“These kids ain’t lunatics,” answered Art.

“Of course not,” exclaimed his father. “But they are deficient intellectually. They have no precise standards of right and wrong. These poor boys have never had the advantage of the training you have had. Instead of trying to help them you have only dropped to their level. Like stray dogs, kicked about by misfortune, they snarl at every passer-by. Is it kindness to throw yourself in their path to be snarled at?”

It was an elaborate figure of speech and Art did not, perhaps, get its full meaning. But he thought it was safe to answer “No, sir,” which he did very humbly. Then breaking down completely he added: “You’d better lick me, father. I got ever’body in trouble. Connie tried to stop me but I got him in. An’ he’s been punished. You’d better lick me.”[70] Even the sound of his son blowing his nose vigorously did not seem to move Mr. Trevor.

“Why should I punish you?” resumed Mr. Trevor thoughtfully. “You are old enough to know right from wrong.”

“Do you think I’m really bad?” asked Art huskily. “I didn’t know I was so much worse than the other kids.”

“That’s it, Arthur,” answered his father. “As I get older I begin to wonder why so many boys seem to take more pleasure in being vicious than in being frank and generous. But,” and he almost sighed, “it seems boys have always been that way.” Then frankly he added: “I was. I was bad. I wasted my time. Nothing you have done to-day was beyond me when I was your age. Later I had to pay for it and dearly. But I knew no better. There was no one to advise me. I neglected school. I formed habits that I was years in breaking. Your mother and I have told you, often told you, that a helping hand to those below you and respect for those above you are the two things worth while. Can’t you realize that we know?”

By this time Art was almost in a state of collapse.


“I’m goin’ to try,” he managed to sob.

“Boys are boys,” his father resumed after a time. “Perhaps you are no better and no worse than your chums. Perhaps it is our fault—their fathers and mothers. I feel that I have been wrong. We have all allowed you boys to drift. You’ve got to do something, you’ve got to be busy in a good direction, or you’ll go in a bad direction. I’m going to do more for you if I can.”

“What do you mean?” asked the surprised Art.

“To-morrow is Sunday,” continued his father. “I want you to invite all your chums to our house for tea. I’d like to talk to them.”

“What about?” broke in Art somewhat alarmed. “I guess they’ve all been talked to already.”

“Ask them to tea at five o’clock,” repeated his father. “I’m not going to scold them or preach to them.”

“All of them?” asked Art.

“All the members of your club.”

“I don’t think I can ask one of ’em.” The boy hesitated. “Sammy Addington’s been expelled.”

“What for?”


“We didn’t think he fought fair.”

“What did he do?”

“He had a rock and he slugged a boy.”

“Ask him first. And be sure he comes. This is not a club meeting,” said Mr. Trevor.

“Father,” exclaimed the boy leaning forward as a new wave of fear swept over him, “you ain’t goin’ to punish me before all the boys, are you?”

“My son,” replied Mr. Trevor placing his hand on one of Art’s, “I think you have had all the punishment you’ll need. I hardly know whether it would be right to say I’m going to forget what you’ve done, but I’m going to forgive you.”

As Art’s head fell upon his father’s knees his mother stepped from the dark hallway and took the distressed lad in her arms. At the same moment his father, a little disturbed himself, handed the boy a small mahogany box.

“Now that we understand ourselves, Arthur,” he announced, “here is a little present for our ‘new’ boy. It is an English watch. I hope it will always recall this day and be a sign of our new confidence in our only boy.”



By five o’clock the next afternoon every member of the Young Aviators Club was at the Trevor home, including George Atkins and Roger Mercer, who had not been present at the fight, and the expelled Sammy Addington. Mr. Trevor did not know that Art had been forced to use considerable argument in a few cases. Marshal Walter’s action in visiting the homes of nearly all the boys had brought swift parental action. These actions ran all the way from Connie’s prohibition of river joys to sound thrashings. Some of the boys were convinced that Mr. Trevor’s invitation meant a second edition of punishment. They had to be assured that it was perfectly safe to be present.

“Boys,” began Mr. Trevor when his thirteen guests had been partly satisfied with cold meats and potato salad and were waiting for the ice cream and cake, “I’ve asked you here to talk to you about some things I learned and saw while I was abroad. And it isn’t about castles[74] or cathedrals either. It’s about something you boys are interested in—camping out and games.”

Inquiring looks passed from boy to boy.

“I wish we could go camping like you took Art once,” suggested Wart Ware.

“Did you see boys camping out in England?” asked Sammy, whose smiling face could be seen next to Mrs. Trevor at the foot of the table.

“I certainly did,” answered Mr. Trevor. “And it was a mighty fine lot of boys, every one of them looking like a gentleman.” Guilty looks showed here and there about the table. “But I’ll come to that in a minute. I want to tell you a story first. How many of you ever heard of Baden-Powell?”

Dead silence followed. Then Alex Conyers said:

“It sounds like a health resort in Germany. Were you there?”

“It isn’t a health resort,” laughed Mr. Trevor. “It’s a man’s name. But, in a way he might be called a health reviser, for it is this man who is making so many strong vigorous gentlemen out of thousands—hundreds of thousands—of English boys. And it is this[75] man who has set all young England camping out and learning the country and the ways of outdoor-things and playing games that injure no one. He has even made it unpopular and even unnecessary for boys to fight each other to find fun.”

This shot went home. Thirteen boys looked at their plates or at the ceiling in silence.

“Then he’s the Boy Scout man, isn’t he?” finally ventured Alex Conyers.

“He is. And that’s what I want to talk about. While I was in London I met a friend, a grown man like me, who has taken a great deal of interest in Boy Scouts and their work. On a Saturday he took me where an encampment of Scouts was being held. Never,” went on Mr. Trevor, leaning forward in his enthusiasm, “have I so much wanted to be a boy again. Boys, it was great. The encampment was in a valley near a heavy forest. There was a stream with rushes and swimming pools and a tall white staff with the Scout flag fluttering—a flag that went up at sunrise with salute and came down at sundown with the Scouts at ‘present arms.’ There were tents in the valley and among the trees; company cook-houses and dining tents and shelters for[76] Scouts by twos and fours. Not even in the army are things neater or more in order.”

“What’d they do?” asked Colly Craighead impulsively.

“Obey orders like soldiers,” replied Mr. Trevor, “and play all day. And in their play they learn how to do a hundred things a boy can’t learn in school: how to track and capture an animal; how to trail a man like the Indians and old scouts used to do; how to take care of themselves in the woods—make camp with nothing; how to make a fire and cook; how to help persons in trouble, to dress a wound, to revive the drowning, to act promptly and effectively in all moments of danger; how to give a helping hand to old and young; and how, above all, to help themselves. In short, how to form good habits while at play—to be patriotic, honest and generous from choice.”

“Were you in a regular Boy Scout camp?” asked Art at the first chance.

“Saturday afternoon and Sunday,” answered Mr. Trevor. “That’s why I want to tell you boys about it.”

“An’ did this Mr. What’s-his-name make all the Boy Scouts?” inquired Duke Easton.

“General Baden-Powell is a famous English[77] soldier,” answered Mr. Trevor with spirit. “And he loves his country so much that he wants all English boys to grow up to be patriotic and brave Englishmen,” he went on. “It’s not because he expects all Boy Scouts to become soldiers,” explained the host, “but many English Boy Scouts will. And those that do will have eyes and ears and hands to work with. Let me tell you why General Baden-Powell thinks everyone should know how to see things and know what they mean. It is an anecdote told me by General Baden-Powell himself.

“General Baden-Powell,” went on Mr. Trevor as the boys drew their chairs closer, “is, as I said, a great soldier. He has achieved honors of all kinds. And he became famous because, wherever England sent him—to Afghanistan, India, Egypt or Lower Africa—he saw things and figured out what they meant. And,” explained the story teller with a smile, “he saw things with his own eyes because he loved nature and was a hunter. When he came to America, old-time scouts were his friends. He knew Buffalo Bill, and with him shot elk and mountain sheep in the west. Then a time came when he was sent to Central Africa to[78] put down the savage Matabeles. Then this thing happened:

“General Baden-Powell’s troops had been chasing the savages through an unknown region where, among the hills, the natives easily concealed themselves. The soldiers did their best to locate a certain band of Matabeles but without success. Before daybreak one morning Baden-Powell set out alone to see what he could find. Riding back and forth over the pathless veldt, or grassy plain, he at last crossed a new trail.

“This was indicated only by the fact that in places the grass had been bent aside. He finally found six distinct broken places showing that six persons had passed that way. The direction was indicated by the leaning grass. The travelers had passed that night because the disturbed grass had not yet righted itself as it would when the sun dried the dew.

“Hastening forward on this trail the observing soldier soon came to an open sandy place where he saw footsteps. The prints were those of women. He knew this by their size and the distance between them. He searched carefully for more signs—not only in the open place but round about it. He was[79] rewarded. To the right he discovered a few leaves. There were no trees in that region. The leaves had been carried there. They were yet green. They had an odor. The scout recognized this as the odor of a native beer. Things began to clear.

“The trained observer remembered a settlement miles away where this beer was made. Among its ingredients were leaves such as he had found near the trail. But what was the significance of this? The beer spoiled easily. It had to be protected. The top of each big native bottle was usually stopped with a bunch of these leaves. But why were the leaves by the trail? Again the scout recalled a previously noted fact. The air was calm then but at four o’clock that morning there had been a stiff breeze. What was General Baden-Powell’s conclusion?

“At four o’clock that morning, six native women coming from the distant settlement had passed the sandy spot, carrying bottles of native beer stopped with leaves. He readily understood that they were taking the beer to the men in the hills. These hills were about two hours distant on foot. The women must have reached the hiding place about six o’clock. As[80] the beer spoiled easily in the hot country it would be drunk at once. It was then seven o’clock. The Matabeles were at that moment probably far gone in intoxication.

“Hastening to his camp General Baden-Powell put his troop in motion, took the trail at once and before nine o’clock each conclusion had been proved correct. The enemy was discovered and overpowered and all because one man could see things and remember them.”

The heavy breathing of deeply interested listeners greeted the end of his story.

“That’s better’n ‘Dashing Charley or the Pawnee Scout,’” exclaimed Sammy Addington. “How many’d they kill?”

“Being a regular scout must be great,” suggested Connie. “But I guess they ain’t no really scouts now exceptin’ soldiers.”

“What’s the matter with this idea?” broke in Mr. Trevor earnestly. “And that’s why I asked you here. Why don’t you boys become Boy Scouts?”

Wider opened eyes and then a babble of voices indicated that the question had made a deep impression.

“You bet!” were the first intelligible words, and these were from Art.


“What’d you have to do?” added Connie. “Can anyone be a Boy Scout?”

“Do they have regular guns?” chimed in Sammy.

“Any boy between the ages of twelve and eighteen,” Mr. Trevor explained. “And all you have to do is to organize yourselves, select a leader and learn and obey the Scout laws. But,” he went on, turning to Sammy, “they don’t have guns. However, they do have a very useful scout staff—good, stout long sticks that come in handy for a lot of things and that are especially good on long hikes. There’s a fine uniform, too, that every boy loves. First there’s the Baden-Powell hat.”

Mr. Trevor reached behind him and picked up a sample hat that he had brought from England. It resembled a western cowboy’s headgear except that the brim was straight and stiff. Above the brim was a smart leather band and a buckle. The top was picturesquely pinched into a four-sided peak, while beneath the brim and hanging down behind was a light leather cord.

“What’s the little cord for?” came from several, while each boy sprang from his chair to get a better view.


“These hats were devised by General Baden-Powell for the English cavalry in tropic Africa,” explained Mr. Trevor. “The cord is to fasten beneath your hair on the nape of the neck. It holds the hat securely against the wind and in the wildest charge.”

“Cowboys have those strings to hold the hat,” exclaimed Connie.

“Very true,” answered Mr. Trevor. “That’s another thing General Baden-Powell saw on one of his trips to America. And he also saw that cowboy hats have loose, floppy brims. He made his hat with a stiff brim to keep the brim out of the eyes.”

“Our soldiers wore them in the Spanish-American War,” persisted Connie.

“Sure,” said Mr. Trevor smiling, “after General Baden-Powell showed them how good the hats were.”

By this time the hat was on Wart Ware’s head and every guest was clamoring to have a try on himself.

“In addition,” continued the host, “each Boy Scout has a knapsack to carry his mess kit; a khaki shirt with a fine sailor necktie and a belt. In England they wear ‘knickers’ and Scotch plaid stockings. And I tell you they[83] look mighty fine when they march out with their patrol pennants on their staffs and the patrol flag in front.”

“But who tells you if you can be a Boy Scout and who bosses ’em?” asked one boy.

“You boss yourselves. You elect your own leader. Your company is called a patrol and the leader, whoever is selected, is called the patrol leader. When there are enough patrols in one locality they all select a scout master for the troop, for that’s what several patrols and their officer are called. And each patrol does as it pleases, goes into the country in pleasant weather, has camps in the summer and a club room to meet in in the winter.”

Another wave of enthusiasm was chilled by Phil Abercrombie.

“What’s all them hats and knapsacks and things cost?” he asked cautiously.

“I wouldn’t bother about that,” replied Mr. Trevor, “for you can get those things when you are ready. But they cost less than three dollars an outfit if all the patrol members buy them.”

“I’d want a hat anyway,” urged Wart Ware. “I think it’s swell.”

“Let’s stop a few minutes,” broke in Mr.[84] Trevor, “while I tell you more closely what this all means.”

The boys went back to their seats, for the ice cream had just been served, while Mr. Trevor explained further:

“A patrol is made up of nine boys with a patrol leader, ten in all. But you may add to that as many as you like until you have enough to make two patrols. The boys select a patrol leader by vote. After this, each boy fills out a blank which he sends to the nearest Boy Scout headquarters. Then the headquarters secretary will tell you where you can buy your uniforms, and he will send you badges and the ‘Manual of Scout Laws.’

“Ten boys make a patrol; ten patrols form a troop. The leader of a patrol is a patrol leader. The leader of a troop is a scout master. In fair weather a patrol holds its drills and parades and executes its scouting maneuvers in the open air. In the winter a meeting place indoors is secured where instructions are given on specified evenings. No boy candidate can begin his work until he has taken the ‘Scout’s Oath.’”

“What’s that?” asked Connie so quickly that he dropped a spoonful of ice cream on his[85] lap. “Go on,” he laughed as Mr. Trevor paused, “I’m gettin’ excited, that’s all.”

“He must swear:” explained his host, “First, to do his duty to God and his country; second, to help other people at all times; and third, to obey the Scout Law.”

“Tell us that,” cried Sandy Sheldon who had been so interested that he had held a spoonful of ice cream in the air until it was nearly melted. “That’s what I want to know.”

“I’d like to,” answered Mr. Trevor, who was all aglow over his experiment, “but I can’t. It’s too long. Each boy will have to read it for himself. But I have a few notes on it. It consists of nine articles,” he added taking out his memorandum book, “and it was written by General Baden-Powell himself. These are the subjects:

“‘Article I. A Scout’s honor is to be trusted. If he does not carry out the leader’s orders exactly his badge will be taken from him.

“‘Article II. A Scout is loyal to his government, to his officers and to his parents and his employers.


“‘Article III. A Scout’s duty is to be useful and to help others.

“‘Article IV. A Scout is a friend to all and a brother to every other Scout.

“‘Article V. A Scout is courteous. That is, he is polite to all, but especially to women and children, old people and cripples. He must take no reward for being courteous.

“‘Article VI. A Scout is a friend to animals.

“‘Article VII. A Scout obeys the orders of his parents, Patrol Leader or Scout Master without question; even if he gets an order he does not like he must do as sailors and soldiers do.

“‘Article VIII. A Scout smiles and whistles under all circumstances.

“‘Article IX. A Scout is thrifty—that is, he saves every penny he can and puts it in the bank.’

“Now, young gentlemen,” went on Mr. Trevor as he concluded the list of articles of the Scout Law, “you ought to have a fair idea of what it means to be a Boy Scout. I think it a grand idea. I invited you here to explain it as well as I could. I want Art to be a Boy[87] Scout. Would you like to do it?” he asked, turning toward his son.

“You bet—I mean, I certainly would,” answered Art promptly.

“How many other boys would like to join a patrol?”

So unanimous was the response that it seemed ridiculous to ask for negatives.

“I congratulate you all, boys,” exclaimed Mr. Trevor proudly. “And this being Sunday, I want each boy to go home and talk it over with his parents, and those who get permission or don’t change their minds are asked to come here at eight o’clock to-morrow evening to arrange and select a patrol leader. And I want to add that it will give me great pleasure, if you will permit it, to present each member with a complete uniform.”



In spite of the enthusiasm all the boys felt for the proposed Boy Scout organization, the thoughts of the next day were clouded with the fear of what Marshal Walter might do. He had threatened to arrest each boy whose name he knew. And he knew all the “Aviators.”

When all arrangements had been made for the Boy Scout meeting Monday evening and the tea party was at an end, the young guests lingered. There was a quick conference among the older boys, and then Alex Conyers approached Mr. Trevor.

“I suppose, Mr. Trevor, you know all about our trouble yesterday—” he began.

“I’m sorry I had to hear so much,” was their host’s reply.

“Marshal Walter left word at our house that he might arrest all of us.”

“So I hear.”

“Do you think he will?”


“I’ve known persons to be arrested for less.”

“Do you think we ought to be taken up?”

“If it would teach you a lesson—”

“But we’ve all reformed,” protested Alex with an attempt at a smile.

“We’re goin’ to be Boy Scouts. If the mayor knew that don’t you think he’d let us off?”

“He might. It is in his power.”

“Won’t you tell him?”

“I’ll be glad to. I’ll see what can be done,” answered Mr. Trevor.

The next morning the scared boys drifted aimlessly from house to house. Not even the shop in the garage interested them. Finally they could stand the suspense no longer and about noontime Art called his father by telephone.

“The mayor is going to give all of you another chance,” answered Mr. Trevor. “But he says if there is any more trouble of that kind you’ll have to answer for both offenses.”

If the boys had been present when Mr. Trevor and Mr. Conyers called on the mayor they would have seen a far from formal interview. As a matter of fact they talked most of[90] the time about a fishing trip. And the end of the interview would have further astounded them. “Oh, by the way, Mr. Trevor,” exclaimed the mayor, “here’s a purse Marshal Walter took from one of the boys. It has some money in it.”

Mr. Trevor did not turn the funds over to the boys at once or even mention it. At dinner that evening Art asked his father:

“We’re all stuck on this Boy Scout business and we got some books about it to-day. But do you want us to break up the Young Aviators Club?”

“By no means,” replied Mr. Trevor. “But you won’t care for it after a bit: you’ll have so many other things to do.”

“I reckon you didn’t care much for our club.”

“Not a great deal,” answered Mr. Trevor with a smile. “It’s like a lot of other boy organizations. Unless there is a specific plan for doing good in them, like the Boy Scouts, they frequently work the other way. There may be a leader but there is rarely any law. And the leader is as apt to guide the members wrong as right.” Art fixed his eyes on his plate. “The plans for all boy clubs should be laid[91] down by older people. That’s where parents often fail in their duty. Statistics show that uneducated, idle boys nearly always drift into evil ways and even into crime when they begin to ‘gang’ together.”

“Then,” exclaimed Art, “I’d be a bad selection for patrol leader of our Boy Scouts!”

Mr. Trevor hesitated. He did not like to hurt Art’s feelings. At last he said, “Let’s put it another way. What boy would you select for leader?”

“Oh, Connie, of course,” answered Art. “If he’d been leader last Saturday there wouldn’t have been any trouble.”

“Then you ought to vote for him.”

Somewhat chagrined to think that he was not the best choice for patrol leader, Art made a resolution: he’d be leader some day. At the meeting that night he was pleased that he was the first boy named for the head of the new patrol but he declined and nominated Connie and told why he did.

Connie had no opportunity to refuse. His election went through with a hurrah. Before the meeting adjourned every boy, under Connie’s blushing direction, had filled out his application blank. The midnight train carried[92] these and a request for a charter for the Wolf Patrol of Scottsville, Alexander Conyers, Patrol Leader, with a membership of thirteen boys.

So much store was set on the uniforms, especially the hats and khaki shirts—brown was the color selected—that the boys all went to Mr. Trevor’s office the next morning to be measured and this order followed the other papers at once. With no manual of drill or rules to guide them, there was now little to do but discuss the future and the alluring possibilities of scouting, maneuvers and camping in the open.

After a day or two of this Art came back to his big dream, the possibility that they might some day own an airship. He even romanced over what he described as the “Aviation Squad” of the Wolf Patrol. When he had company he would discuss details of aeroplane building and while alone he was often making sketches and figures. In this he could not hold his chums’ complete attention, for the Boy Scout idea was too strong this week to admit another interest.

An event was impending in Scottsville that made the juvenile citizens irresponsible. On[93] Saturday the “Great Western Triple Circus, Menagerie and Congress of World’s Wonders” was to give two performances. Even the new Boy Scout frenzy lessened as Saturday approached. And there was little wonder, for among the alluring “wonders” promised was this feature: “Master Willie Bonner, positively the youngest aviator in the world, will make two death-defying, cloud-piercing aeroplane flights each day. At one o’clock and six o’clock he will give free exhibitions, ascending heavenward until lost to the eye and then returning earthward in a series of spirals and glides never before attempted by man.”

When a circus comes to town (that is, to a town that has no pretensions to being a city) every boy under sixteen becomes indifferent to the ordinary duties of life.

Prearrangement was hardly necessary, but it was well understood Friday night among Art’s friends that all would be on hand in the morning “to see ’em put up the tents.” When Art awoke it was not dawn. As he lingered, half dozing, a sudden sound fell upon his ear.

Through the silent night came a noise that no town boy ever fails to recognize—the low, heavy, guttural rumble of a circus van. It is[94] like the sound of no other vehicle in the world. City boys do not know it. To the town boy it is like a galvanic shock. His pulses throb with a wild eager anticipation, while his heart sinks for fear that he will be too late—that is, that he will miss seeing something that some earlier-arrived boy has glimpsed in the dark.

Art threw on his clothes and stole out of the house. It was a half mile to the “commons” where the tents were to be set. He started on a dead run, buttoning his clothes as he went. There were no tents erected as yet, but the deep-voiced, gray-shirted boss was busy with his long steel tape. And where he sank his foot in the dewy grass, dejected, unshaven men were throwing down the worn pale-blue stakes. Then work began. Stake drivers, four on a team, with heavy sledges revolving one after the other like the spokes of a wheel, drove the heavy piles in jumps into the ground.

Canvas wagons had been backed up in various places and their teams of four and six horses, heavy harnessed and resplendent in bits of red leather and polished metal, were off across the town, heavy of hoof and jangling their traces, to bring other wagons from the train. At last as day broke, animal cages, the[95] “lions’ den” and the “ticket wagon” appeared—the latter a blaze of golden figures and bearing the ornate portraits of the wonderful men who had conceived and owned the “Congress of Wonders.”

It is the signal for the climax: the arrival of the sacred cow, the camels, the ponies, the pony chariots safely concealed with cloths, as if the sight of the fairyland beauties of these were to be withheld for a time at least from profaning eyes. The temptation to touch the pony chariots and run alongside the waddling little animals lasts but a moment. The elephants are coming! There is not a herd as the pictures promised, but only two. Every boy forgets tents and animal dens. It is no time now for comment. The big, silently-gliding animals, lunging forward and recovering, their bony heads swaying right and left, keep time with the swinging steps that seem always about to break into a run but never do. And then, by the side of the foremost, the “elephant keeper.”

Can he and the tinseled man who will later sit calmly in the open “den” of lions with naught between him and death but a little whip, be of common clay? But, just now, the lion[96] tamer is forgotten. All eyes are on the “elephant keeper.”

At a respectful distance the boys of the town trot forward with the fast-paced monsters. A sinuous trunk leaps in the air. The foremost elephant emits a piercing cry, sharp and shrill like the car wheels of the heavy evening express when the air brakes lock them fast with a shower of sparks. The elephant keeper has sunk his prod into the big animal. Why? No boy ever knew.

“It’s to show ’em he ain’t afraid,” suggested one lad under his breath as he clasps a companion’s hand.

“Mebbe the elfunt was goin’ to do somepin’,” says another. “You got to watch ’em awful close.”

Then it is day. The big, muddy, patched tents are up. To the last minute the boys crowd forward to see the “old elfunt” push the animal cages into the menagerie tent, its head lowered and its long trunk trailing on the already wagon-rutted grounds. And then, sorrowing for each lost moment, they rush home for breakfast and explanations.

But on this particular day, Art Trevor did not rush home. He had caught sight of what[97] was to him a greater wonder even than the elephants, and more fascinating than the shrouded pony chariots—a long, light car freighted with an aeroplane in two sections. It looked very shabby and very frail. Among those round about he searched for a boy: “Master Willie Bonner.” But he saw no boy. Then he stole closer to touch the magical craft—the first he had ever seen.

It was a twenty-six foot machine, with two propellers in the style of the Wright biplane. These and the tail frame and rudders had been removed for convenience in transportation. An oil-saturated cloth covered the engine. While Art gingerly approached the wagon on which the flying machine was loaded, together with a tool box, some cans of gasoline and oil and a number of extra bits of wooden truss uprights, a rough voice exclaimed:

“Want to get a front seat to see the flyin’ machine go up, kid?”

The speaker was a bleary-eyed, unshaven and partly dressed canvasman.

“Can I?” asked Art eagerly.

“You kin fur a dollar.”

“Where do I pay the money?” asked the[98] boy with a new glance of admiration at the airship of which he had long dreamed.

“The best way to be sure o’ gettin’ a seat next to where she starts,” explained the man, “is to pay it to me. I’m the gen’ral sup’intendent o’ aviation.”

“I only got eighty cents,” confessed Art regretfully. Fifty cents of this was to get into the circus, ten cents was for the sideshow, ten cents for lemonade and peanuts, and ten cents for the concert, all carefully saved for some days.

“Well, they’s only a few good front seats, and fur adults the price is two dollars,” explained the man. “But fur boys ’at understands aeroplanes, fur educatin’ purposes we make a reduction to one dollar.”

“Will it be too late to get a seat in half an hour?” asked Art anxiously. “I got to go home and get twenty cents more.”

“You give me the eighty cents an’ I’ll trust you for the rest,” conceded the canvasman. “You look honest.”

Art handed him his money.

“Where’s my ticket?” asked the boy anxiously.

“This is a special favor, sonny. They ain’t[99] no reg’lar tickets. You just come right up where this wagon is an’ you’ll see me. It’ll be all right.”

When Art reached home his mother began a rebuke, but Mr. Trevor only laughed. Once, his father said with a chuckle, when circuses traveled in wagons, he had waited all night at the river bridge to see if the elephants wouldn’t break through.

Full of joy over the deal he had so fortunately made, Art hastened to relate his early morning adventure. When he had concluded his story his mother said:

“I’m not sure I like that. I’d rather you wouldn’t be so close.”

“Don’t fear,” shouted Mr. Trevor, shaking with laughter. “Arthur, you’ve been swindled. There aren’t any seats for the aeroplane show. And you’ll never see your ‘superintendent of aviation.’ You’ve lost your money.” As the boy’s face indicated a panic of alarm his father added, laughing anew: “Here’s a dollar, Arthur. Try to keep it until it is time for the performance and don’t,” as he roared again, “carry any water for the elephants.”

Palpitating, excited boys were awaiting Art after breakfast. His misfortune had at least[100] one good feature; not one of the boys knew about it. Nor did he see fit to tell them about it. The boys had an important question to debate and settle. What performance should they attend, afternoon or evening?

“If we go in the afternoon, we can’t go to-night,” argued Wart Ware. “And I tell you it’s purty tough to stand ’round and hear the band playin’ an’ not be able to see nothin’. Besides, ever’thing looks finer at night. The lights is a-blazin’ an’ the spangles is like diamonds.”

“Shucks,” argued Art. “They don’t do half the things at night they do in the daytime. They’re always a-hurr’in’ to get through. An’ how about the animals? Answer that. The menagerie is all gone an’ loaded on the cars. You can’t get another look at the cages at all.”

So the argument continued. One was afraid that if they attended the afternoon performance they wouldn’t have time to see the flying machine show. Another urged that they never attempted the most dangerous mid-air feats at night because it was too risky. And there wasn’t a boy who could attend both exhibitions.

Finally a vote was taken and the decision was for the afternoon show, the real reason[101] being that no boy was willing to wait longer. “We can stand around and see ’em ‘strike’ the menagerie tent at night,” suggested Colly Craighead, “an’ mebbe go to the side show again.”

This suggestion meeting approval, the boys started on a run to reach the grounds, so that they might not miss the preparations for the “Grand Daily Parade, Rain or Shine.” The Boy Scout fever was temporarily at a low ebb.



Long before one o’clock every Elm Street boy was at the circus grounds with a definite program: First, to see the “cloud-piercing” aeroplane flight by “Master Willie Bonner”; then to visit the gloriously pictured side show; and, finally, to attend the circus performance. The flying machine was apparently in order, and just after one o’clock it was wheeled to a far corner of the grounds. “Master Willie” did not seem very much of a child. He was picked out by the fact that he wore a cheap leather coat, an aviator’s helmet, turned down Scotch stockings and long gloves, much soiled. He looked to be about Arthur Trevor’s age.

“You can bet he’s got nerve,” remarked Lew Ashwood admiringly.

“An’ you bet he gets a big salary,” commented Duke Easton.

“I’ll bet he gets ten dollars a day,” ventured Sandy Sheldon. “An’ he don’t have to work hardly at all.”


“An’, like as not, gets in the circus free when he wants to,” added Colly Craighead. “I’d like a job like that.”

Art had plenty of time to see that there were no seats anywhere. The “superintendent of aviation” was not even present, being, as a matter of fact, fast asleep at that moment beneath a big canvas wagon. Blushing again over the knowledge of how easy he had been, Art led the way to the best place to see, and the boys prepared to drink in every detail. Master Willie Bonner seemed to be the real superintendent.

“They ain’t no golden, silken wings there to flash in the sun. It’s all dirty and greasy,” commented Art. “An’ the engine don’t look any too good neither.”

“The kid looks all right, though,” put in Connie. “He’s the only decent looking fellow I’ve seen in the whole outfit.”

The engine had been started and the propellers tested. The boys were so close that the wind from these beat on their faces, whirling dead grass and dust about them in a choking cloud.

“Chase yourselves, you kids,” called the young aviator in a not unpleasant voice.


“You bet he knows how to run things,” exclaimed Sammy Addington, who was once more in the gang’s fold.

While thousands of spectators shouted and shoved and the Elm Street boys fought to stick together and keep in front, the man who had ridden at the front of the morning parade and who continually warned all to look out for their horses, as the elephants were coming, sprang onto the aeroplane wagon and swept his big black hat from his head.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he exclaimed in a deep, far-reaching voice, “I desire to introduce to you the youngest and most skilled aviator in the world, Master Willie Bonner.” At these words young Bonner leaped on the hub of a wagon wheel and doffed his cap without a smile or the least concern for the mob of spectators. “I desire to add,” went on the deep voice, “that, as a special mark of respect for your beautiful little city, Master Bonner has decided to alter his program somewhat, to-day. Theahfore, instead of making a long flight at this time he desiahs me to announce that he will now simply give you an exhibition in the lowah atmospheres.” As murmurs of disapproval and disgust were heard, the man[105] hastened to add: “He is doing this, because, sharp at five o’clock this afternoon, he has determined to make an attempt to lowah the world’s record for altitude flight.” Cheers sounded, which the speaker stilled with uplifted hand. “Master Bonner’s aeroplane carries enough gasoline for a two hours’ flight. With his tanks charged to their full capacity this world-famous young aviator will at five o’clock head his aeroplane cloudward. He will soar heavenward until his fuel is exhausted; then he will shut down his engine and execute a daring volplane to the earth. Remembah, at five o’clock! Master Bonner will now give you an exhibition of rising, banking, fast flying, spirals and lighting; being careful to keep at all times within full view so that all may have an opportunity to observe these death-defying feats. Watch him closely!”

Alex Conyers snorted openly and disgustedly.

“They’re stringin’ us, kids,” he whispered hoarsely. “They ain’t a-goin’ to be anything more doin’ at five o’clock than they is now. These circuses don’t do half the bills say.”

“They’re a pack o’ swindlers and robbers,”[106] added Art with peculiar emphasis. “I’ll bet that old aeroplane can’t fly at all.”

But, in this, he was wrong. Alex was right about the five o’clock promise, however. At that hour Master Bonner did not fly at all nor for many days to come. The reason grew out of the biggest sensation Scottsville ever had and, incidently, what came from this sensation had a lot to do with the summer plans of the newly organized Boy Scouts. This will be narrated in order, however.

About twenty minutes after one o’clock Master Willie suddenly climbed aboard his small and soiled aeroplane. He seemed to take time only to adjust his cap and tighten his gloves when the engine started, the roar of the propellers broke out and the skeleton craft began wobbling along the ground. Then accompanied by gulps in the throats of thousands, it jumped up and stayed in the air. For the first time a real aeroplane had flown in Scottsville.

Out toward the town limits the young aviator drove his car with half of the spectators in wild pursuit. Then he turned, rose to the height of perhaps five hundred feet, and heading again toward the circus lot, landed in less than ten[107] minutes from the time he started. The “spirals” and “banking” were over and thirteen half disappointed, half delighted boys hurried away to visit the side show—the “World’s Congress of Wonders.”

The sensation that interfered with everything occurred just as the circus performance came to an end, a little after four o’clock. The Elm Streeters had all provided themselves with tickets for the concert. They bought these at the first opportunity and, about halfway through the performance, when the deep-voiced announcer made another speech, they could only grip their precious tickets with new delight.

Jumping upon one of the stools used by pink-legged performers to hold up the banners when the bareback riding was in progress, the man exclaimed:

“Ladies and gentlemen, in making my announcement a few moments ago concerning the grand concert and minstrel show that takes place immediately upon the conclusion of this performance, which is not yet half ovah, I neglected to state that each and every curiosity of the side museum will also be introduced into the arena. Agents will now pass among you[108] once more. The price of admission is ten cents, one dime.”

The concert was not held. While those who had neglected to purchase tickets were crowding through the sawdust strewn passageway between the “big top” or circus and the long odorous menagerie tent, there was a sudden commotion. The crowd jammed forward and back at the same time. For a moment no sound indicated the cause of the excitement and then a roar of “Look out! Look out!” swept through the tents. At the same time a white-faced canvasman with a pitchfork in his hand sprang under the side of the circus tent and yelled to the “concert people”:

“Come on! Old Growls is out again! Come on—git a fork or suthin’!”

“Keep your seats,” yelled the loud-voiced announcer, “the tiger’s escaped but you’re safest in here. Keep your seats!”

In another instant he was deep in the panic-stricken mob, yelling for the people to “come back” and “nobody’s goin’ to be hurt; come this way.”

The terrified Elm Streeters held onto each other for a few moments, rising to their feet.[109] Then as the white-faced mob began to swell toward them Connie shouted:

“Come on. We can get out through the dressing room.”

Others had started that way, but led by Connie and Art the boys plowed their way across the sawdust-covered ring to the dressing room entrance. Then, through the open horse entrance, they rushed out among wagons and horse tents. A cry of warning greeted them. One look along the side of the big tents showed a dozen men armed with stakes, pitchforks and sledges.

“Get back there, you kids. The tiger’s here!”

Before the trembling lads could retreat, a long form shot from beneath a low wagon, bounded forward and then paused. It was a gaunt and mangy tiger, its lips drawn back in a snarl and its almost hairless tail beating the ground.

“Run! Run!” yelled some one.

There had been no time to move. But the cry of warning aroused the tiger. A suppressed snarl broke from the beast and its dimly striped, sinuous length lunged forward again. But it was not toward the boys. With three[110] bounds, arising each time like a rubber ball, the beast disappeared within a horse tent. The fear-stricken lads waited no longer. As if aroused from a spell they turned and fled around the dressing tent.

The boys heard the neighing cries of the haltered horses and at last, their tongues loosened, they told of what they had seen and escaped. Then came new crashes beyond the tents, the shouts of attendants, one piercing snarl of the tiger, and then the cries of those in chase grew fainter. The animal aroused by the taste of blood, for it had crushed the neck of a horse, was in renewed flight. Between wagons it had slunk away and had headed toward the edge of town. A thousand persons, young and old, were in a panic flight in the other direction, toward the residence part of town.

It seemed but a few minutes until the warning had spread throughout Scottsville. Children were hastily summoned and taken within doors; stores were closed; armed men appeared; women stood, door knobs in hand, pale-faced and trembling; parents whose children had attended the performance rushed about excitedly calling to all concerning their offsprings’ whereabouts. Mr. Trevor was not[111] missing among these. Many Elm Street mothers paced their lawns as if awaiting some messenger of death. And the Elm Street boys themselves? Their first panic over, they naturally set out in the direction the beast had taken.

“He’s over in Jackson’s Woods,” came a message from somewhere. Jackson’s Woods marked the end of the town, a half-cleared bit of forest. Cautiously and following other pursuers the boys hurried in that direction. When they came to its edge, fifty or more men were seen in a crowd. Well beyond them, on the edge of the old “frog pond” and low on the ground, Old Growls was lapping water in apparent content.

While the pursuers took council, the beast arose, looked lazily at the crowd and then walked slowly toward a clump of half-dead trees. Here, the pursuers again advancing slowly, the tiger paused, hunched himself and then, as lightly as a kitten, sprang into the lower limbs of a tree, broken off about halfway up.

One or two men rushed ahead but the tiger gave them no heed. Slowly it made its way up the tree trunk until it reached an open place[112] above the last dead branches. Then curling its body about the trunk and on the limbs the animal seemed to settle itself in the warm sun for its first taste of freedom.

The first man that the boys recognized was Marshal Walter, who had just arrived in a buggy, a rifle clenched in his trembling hands.

“Where is he?” panted the veteran official.

“In the top o’ that tree,” yelled a dozen spectators. “An’ he’d ought to be shot,” added one.

“I’ll soon put him out o’ business,” announced the marshal. “Stan’ back there, you ’at ain’t armed.”

“What d’you mean?” cried the deep-voiced “announcer,” who now turned out to be one of the owners of the Great Western Show. “Don’t you put no bullet in that animal. He’s worth two thousand dollars of any man’s money. Don’t you do him no damage or you’ll pay for it. He ain’t done no harm and ain’t a-goin’ to. We’ll take care o’ him. He’s been loose before. Drop that gun,” he concluded in a tone that alarmed the marshal.

“I’m here to protect life and property,” began the marshal.

“They ain’t a-goin’ to be nobody hurt,” expostulated[113] the circus owner. “I’ll take care of that.”

By the circus man’s side stood a young man who had been studying the treed tiger. At this moment the boy spoke to the circus proprietor, who gave immediate signs of surprise. Then the boy seemed urging something, and while the man stood as if perplexed, the lad turned and hurried away on a run.

“It’s Master Willie Bonner, the Aviator,” exclaimed Art.

“I reckon he’s goin’ back to the show to give his cloud-piercin’ exhibition,” suggested Wart Ware. “It’s nearly five o’clock.”

“Not much,” exclaimed Alex Conyers. “The show people ain’t a-goin’ to bother about free shows while their two thousand dollar tiger’s loose.”

Marshal Walter was still arguing with the showman but the latter seemed to be having his way with the official, for the marshal made no effort to shoot the animal. The crowd grew larger. Everyone wanted to know why the tiger was in the tree? Why he was not somewhere else? Had he killed any one? Why didn’t some one do something!

The Elm Streeters kept together and as far[114] from Marshal Walter as was consistent with keeping in the crowd. At this point Mr. Trevor’s automobile appeared on the edge of the crowd. It was recognized by the boys and all knew what it meant. Much excited, Mr. Trevor sprang out of the machine and Art hastened forward.

“You should have gone home at once, Arthur. Where’s the tiger?”

When he had been shown the beast he rounded up the children of his neighbors and crowded them into the automobile. “We’ll wait a few minutes, boys,” he explained, “to see what happens. I guess we can get away all right if his Royal Bengal Highness takes a notion to come down.”

There was continued debate between the circus proprietor and the excited marshal, during which the still increasing number of spectators edged nearer the tree and the tiger. Finally it moved, got upon its feet and raised the upper part of its body along the tree trunk as if to examine the broken tree top.

“It’ll come down or do something now,” suggested Art.

“I’d think they’d shoot,” added Connie.

A man in the crowd suddenly raised his arm[115] and pointed toward that part of town where the circus stood.

“It’s the aeroplane,” shouted Colly excitedly.

“It’s comin’ in this direction,” yelled Art. “Gee whiz, watch him.”

“I’ll bet it’s that boy a-goin’ to do something to the tiger,” cried Connie jumping on the rear seat and waving his hat. “Mebbe he ain’t flyin’ though!”

As each boy struggled to get in a better position to see, Sammy Addington almost crushed in the jam of thirteen boys, and howling and kicking, the circus aeroplane darted over the automobile.

“I told you so! I told you so!” roared Connie. “Look at his rope!”

All could make that out. In his left hand the youthful aviator held several long loops of light rope. Was he going to lasso the beast? How could he do it with his left hand? And if he did, how could he hold the line and manage the aeroplane? It was not necessary to theorize long. What followed showed that “Master Willie Bonner’s” noonday flight was little indication of what the nervy little aviator could do with his aeroplane.


Sailing low, he passed almost directly over the tree. As he did so, the long line dropped in a dozen loops onto the dead branches. While they were yet in the air the flying machine made a quick and sharp bank to the left. The end of the line was in young Bonner’s hand. The aeroplane dipped downward and then, with an instant’s check, began immediately to bank on an upward dart, the rope paying out behind and circling the tree.

A yell arose from the crowd and in the automobile every boy had a different exclamation.

“He’s windin’ the tiger up,” shouted Ware. And that really expressed it. The loose end of the line lay on a limb some yards below the animal. It did not catch and, apparently, there was no need why it should. The first circling dart of the aeroplane looped the line about the limbs and trunk of the tree. Like a bicycle on a quick turn, the flying machine, still at an angle of at least forty-five degrees, made a second circuit—this time higher. The swaying rope followed.

As the loose line passed the apparently indifferent animal, the beast suddenly struck at it with a paw. The rope slipped under the tiger’s leg and before the now aroused beast[117] could escape it another circle of the airship had placed a coil about the tiger. The gaunt animal now began to attack the line in earnest but with each spiral bank of the aeroplane his entanglement grew worse.

At last, every one cheering and calling out directions, there was not over fifty feet of line left. A dozen turns of rope had entangled themselves about the tree and the wildly resisting beast, when speaking for the first time, the aviator yelled:

“Here she comes. Take up the slack and you’ve got him.”

With this Bonner dropped the end of the line. Dozens of nervy spectators grabbed it and, with a quick pull, drew it taut about the snarling tiger.

“Get an ax,” yelled the circus man.

“Look! The aeroplane!” screamed a boy in the automobile.

There was only time to see that the flying machine was in trouble. In righting itself, it had already banked itself sharply to the right. There were two quick darts and then the planes seemed to buckle. Like a broken kite, the machine dropped straight to the ground in a tangled wreck, the aviator underneath.



By this time scores of circus employees had reached the edge of the woods. The principal owner had also arrived. He seemed to take charge of everything. With orders to those holding the rope binding the helpless tiger he hurried to the wrecked aeroplane. While Mr. Trevor and the boys followed on a run, a dozen men lifted the twisted sections. Face down, with the lower plane section on his back and his face buried in the marshy ground, lay the unconscious young aviator.

While some lifted the wrecked machine, others drew the boy from the wreckage and laid him on the grass. Then the crowd closed about. Mr. Trevor forced his way into the curious group and assisted in the examination. There was no blood. But apparently the lad was severely injured.

“I have a machine here,” Mr. Trevor exclaimed to the circus owner. “Where do you want him taken?”


“I don’t know,” answered the man. “Better take him to the train I suppose. There’s a colored man there. I’ll send a doctor right away.”

There was no lack of volunteers to bear the limp body to Mr. Trevor’s machine. Selecting Art and Alex, Mr. Trevor laid the pale-faced aviator on the rear seat with the two boys to look after him.

“Want to go with us?” he called to the circus owner. “It’ll be faster.”

“I’ve got a horse here,” was the answer. “I’ll be along at once. I’ve got to look after this animal now.”

Even in his haste and concern for the injured boy, Mr. Trevor looked up in surprise.

“Very well,” he said. “We’ll look after him.”

The power was thrown on and the automobile was speeded to the center of the town. On the first motion of it the unconscious boy began to groan.

“He’s pretty white, father,” said Art over his shoulder. “Hurry.”

The suffering boy was dressed in soiled and worn clothing but it was now seen that he had a good face, clean-cut features, heavy brown[120] hair and big hands, strong beyond his years, which very apparently were not more than seventeen.

At high speed Mr. Trevor dashed through the town to the side-tracked circus train. Both Mr. Trevor and Alex sprang out and ran to the old sleeping cars at the end of the train. They were all locked. There was no one in charge. If a colored man should have been there he had left his post.

“Don’t look any longer, father; I can’t stand his groanin’. Let’s find a doctor.”

Mr. Trevor whirled the machine into a side street and in a few moments stopped before a little single-room office on a back street.

“Brown,” he called anxiously, “hurry out here.”

A youngish man, Dr. Brown, appeared in his shirt sleeves.

“What’s the matter?” he exclaimed, catching sight of the boy and springing to the lad’s side. “Seems to be in a bad way,” he added catching young Bonner’s wrist. In some mysterious way a few people began at once to surround the automobile.

“It’s a boy from the circus,” explained Art. “He fell in an aeroplane. Is he much hurt?”


From the boy’s pulse the doctor’s hands had reached for the boy’s heart and forehead. Without reply, the doctor sprang to the ground and an instant later was back with a stimulant which he forced between the injured boy’s teeth. Again he took hold of his wrist and for some moments sat in silence watching the unconscious form.

Meanwhile Mr. Trevor was pleading with the growing crowd to stand back. Apparently the effect of the doctor’s stimulant was not what he had hoped. Rushing into the office once more he came out with his hat and coat, his surgical case and a hypodermic syringe. He bared the lad’s arm—there was no sign of blood—then injected some other stimulant.

“Where does he belong?” Dr. Brown asked with concern. “He must be cared for at once. It’s only another proof of Scottsville’s disgrace—the lack of a hospital. I can’t examine him here. Are there any accommodations at the circus?”

Mr. Trevor had thought of that and he knew that there was neither bed nor cot at the circus.

“I hardly know where to take him,” Mr. Trevor began. “Perhaps we had better go to a hotel—”


“Take him home, father,” exclaimed Art. “I wish you would. There’s no one at the hotel. Mebbe he’s goin’ to die.”

Without reply Mr. Trevor turned to the wheel again and, the doctor crouching at the young aviator’s side with the boy’s hand in his, it was only a few turns and Elm Street was reached.

Mrs. Trevor’s alarm at the sight of the prostrate form, was because she was sure it was Arthur. But a word of explanation turned her into an efficient emergency nurse. A few minutes later the still-groaning victim was lying in the snowy sheets of one of Mrs. Trevor’s guest beds.

Art and Alex crowded the doorway until there came a sudden order from Dr. Brown that Dr. Wells be called, and the two boys dashed away in the automobile on this errand. When the other physician had been found and carried to the Trevor home there was some news of the lad’s condition.

“There’s a bad wound in his back,” explained Mr. Trevor coming from the sick room, “and he’s lost a good deal of blood. His underclothes were saturated. His spine[123] may be injured. There’s something the matter with his legs, too.”

Art and Alex could only retire to the porch and await developments. It was the first time either had come into such close contact with a serious accident and both were excited. In half an hour Mr. Trevor appeared; very grave in looks.

“Drive me to the circus, Arthur. You may come too, Alex,” he added.

It was discovered that the rear seat was damp with blood. The cushions were turned over and the trip to the grounds hastily made.

The traveling owners of the show were yet at the scene of the accident engaged in the task of caging the trapped tiger. Mr. Trevor ordered the machine driven to that place. The smashed aeroplane was lying where it fell. The principal owner was superintending the recovery of the tiger. His horse and light wagon stood near. There was every sign that he had forgotten even to summon a doctor to attend his injured employee.

Circus hands had brought up an empty animal cage and an animal transfer box used in shipping savage beasts. Some one had crawled halfway up the tree and made fast two heavy[124] ropes. Then the partly rotten tree had been cut through at the base and, some holding the tree base in place, dozens of employees had eased the severed tree trunk to the ground. Those familiar with wild beasts had already further pinioned the growling tiger’s legs and, with much hauling and shouting, the bony tiger had just been drawn into the transfer crate.

“How’s the kid?” was the owner’s salutation.

“In a bad way I think. What do you want to do with him?”

“He’ll be all right in the car. I’m just goin’ to get a doctor.”

“The cars were closed. We couldn’t get into them. I’ve taken the boy to my home to be examined.”

“Couldn’t get in the car?” was the circus man’s reply. “The nigger must ’a’ been asleep. I’ll see that it’s opened. You take him where I said. Bad luck always comes double. We nearly lost our only tiger an’ now this kid has to go an’ dump hisself. That’ll cut out our exhibition, to say nothin’ ’bout a doctor bill.”

“I’m afraid he can’t be moved for several hours,” began Mr. Trevor.

“Well he’ll have to be moved before midnight,”[125] answered the circus man. “We can’t wait for him.”

“Hadn’t you better make some arrangement to have him cared for in this town?” asked Mr. Trevor, his lips closing.

“I don’t see why I should,” answered the circus proprietor. “Business is rotten enough. I’ve got to hire as cheap as I can and when work stops, pay stops. Some one’s always sick.”

“You don’t mean to say you’re not going to care for this unfortunate boy?” asked Mr. Trevor.

“I’ll care for him as well as I can if he comes along with the show. You bring him to the train like I told you and I’ll do what I can. That’s our practice in the show business. If he can’t do that he’ll have to quit.”

“Quit!” exclaimed Mr. Trevor, his cheeks flushing. “Do you mean to say you’ll not only abandon him but discharge him too?”

“What’s it to you?” broke in the man angrily. “Ain’t you mixin’ up a little in our affairs? If you don’t like my way of doin’ things, go about your own business!”

“My business,” replied Mr. Trevor calmly, “is looking after other people’s business,[126] sometimes. I can see that this boy has possibly been killed in your service and while engaged in a task that no reasonable employer would demand or permit. Should he die, I shall make it my business to look up his parents or relatives. If he lives and is incapacitated in any way you may expect to hear from me. It will cost you more in damages than decent care of him will now cost you.”

The man winced and grew white with anger.

“What he done was voluntary,” he hastened to answer. “An’ as far as damage suits goes—that’s up to you and him. But I’ll bet you this: I didn’t start in the show business yesterday. This kid’s under contract with me all signed and witnessed, both him and his machine. When he pulls off his act he gets his money. When he don’t show up there ain’t nothin’ doin’. What he done this afternoon was his own lookout. I didn’t ask him. If you’ll figure out for me just why I should go on a-payin’ him when his rotten old machine breaks, you’re quite some figurer.”

Mr. Trevor was trembling with rage and contempt.

“How much a day do you pay him?” he asked at last.


“None o’ your business.”

“It will be mighty soon,” exclaimed the lawyer.

“Father,” broke in Art. “He said it was the boy’s aeroplane.”

“Correct,” snorted the circus man. “It’s his all right. I ain’t no claim on it an’ I ain’t goin’ to touch it. When he wants it let him send his friends for it.”

Although nearly all in the crowd were yet massed around the captured tiger, a number of spectators had been attracted by the showman’s loud words. Among these was Marshal Walter.

“Walter,” exclaimed Mr. Trevor with authority as he turned his back on the showman, “that wrecked flying machine belongs to the young man who was injured. The boy may die but we’re going to try to save him. Till he recovers, he’ll be at my house. I want you to see that his property is protected. To-night or in the morning I’ll send men to get it. Send your deputy to the circus and get any other property or baggage he may have.”

Without another look at the circus owner, Mr. Trevor summoned the two boys and shortly[128] before six o’clock reached his home again. Here all were glad to learn that the suffering young aviator had aroused himself for a few moments under stimulants and, his wounds having been dressed, had fallen asleep. Other boys had already congregated at the house but only Art and Connie were permitted to tip-toe into the guest chamber for the first time. The boy on the bed looked very young. His big hands lay limply on the smooth white sheet.

“He ain’t groanin’, anyway,” whispered Art.

“He’s resting very well now,” explained Dr. Brown. “To-morrow we’ll know more about his injury. Mrs. Trevor,” he added, “I’ll have a nurse here in half an hour.”

It appeared that Mr. Trevor had been deeply incensed at the heartlessness of the circus people. He ordered the doctors to give the boy every attention and that no expense be spared in getting a competent nurse. He also did considerable telephoning before dinner and later, explained that he had arranged to have the remnants of Bonner’s machine collected and stored in McGuire’s farm and implement warehouse. When the nurse appeared later and[129] Mrs. Trevor was relieved from duty she came down stairs as determined as her husband to protect the unfortunate victim.

All day Sunday the patient lay in the big, dark room, partly under the influence of opiates. There was no sign of suffering. That evening he began to show signs of consciousness. The doctors, hastily summoned, dressed his injuries anew and made a fuller examination. The verdict was that he was recovering from the shock. That night the boy was restless but the fact was kept from the family by the nurse. At breakfast, however, she said she had reported conditions to the doctor, who arrived within a few minutes. Dr. Brown had been with the sick boy only a short time when he came down stairs and told Mr. Trevor that the boy was fully conscious and insisted on knowing what had happened and where he was. “And you’d better tell him,” suggested the doctor. “Ease his mind all you can.”

When Mr. Trevor reappeared, a half hour later, he had a sober face. Art, Alex and Wart Ware were with Mrs. Trevor on the porch.

“I’m mighty glad we happened to be there,” Mr. Trevor began. “It would have been a[130] shame for that boy to have fallen into the hands of his scoundrelly employer. Our young patient’s name is what the bills announce, William Bonner. He isn’t seventeen yet and he’s an orphan. He lives in Newark, New Jersey. I told him all that happened. He did not seem to remember about the tiger but he asked at once if the aeroplane was wrecked. I thought I’d ease his mind and I told him ‘only a little damaged.’”

“Ain’t a whole piece in it, ’cept the engine,” volunteered Ware, “but I’m glad you didn’t tell him.”

“How’d he get an aeroplane,” asked Art, “if he’s an orphan?”

“He’s been working for the American Aeroplane Company for three years,” explained Mr. Trevor. “Over a year ago he began making an aeroplane of his own in a shed near his uncle’s home. He lived with his uncle. In the meantime he learned to operate aeroplanes and was used as a demonstrator. When his machine was as far along as he could get it himself, some of the older workmen helped him. The material for it he bought from the company and when he was ready for an engine he bought[131] that too. It cost him six hundred dollars and his other supplies two hundred dollars. He had three hundred dollars that he paid and he owed for the other five hundred. In the latter part of May this circus came to Newark and Bonner applied for a job, promising to give two shows each day. He got a ‘lay off’ from the factory for the summer and hoped to pay off his debt in that way.”

“How much was he to get?” interrupted Connie eagerly.

“Five dollars a day and his living,” answered Mr. Trevor indignantly. “You see what kind of living he must have had. He was with the circus five weeks and got his pay up to Saturday night. Out of it he sent one hundred dollars to apply on his debt. Most of the rest went for gasoline and repairs. When I told him where he was he began to cry. He was worried because he had no money and had lost his job.”

“Poor boy,” exclaimed Mrs. Trevor.

“Can’t we go up and see him?” asked Art.

“Not to-day,” answered Mr. Trevor. “He’s worried so about all the trouble he was causing that I had to ease his mind. I told him[132] if he wanted to, he could have a job as chauffeur with us as long as he liked.”

“Is he going to?” cried Art.

“Boys,” responded Mr. Trevor softly. “Poor Bonner may never have a chance to do anything again.”



What Mr. Trevor had just done for the boy aviator of the circus made the sympathetic lawyer even more of a hero to the Elm Street boys. The next morning the home of Art’s parents was the rallying point of nearly every one of the young Boy Scouts. The talk of these boys ran on but three things—the condition of the injured boy, the wreck of his aeroplane and the arrival of the new scout uniforms.

Art was discussing the matter of the aeroplane when Mr. Trevor, who had waited at home, visited the garage. The sick boy had not passed a bad night but the crisis had not yet been reached. There must be quiet. The boys were asked to play somewhere else.

“Can we go to McGuire’s and see his aeroplane?” asked Art.

“No,” answered Mr. Trevor positively. “It is the only fortune the boy has and his means[134] of livelihood. I want no one to go near it or touch it until he is able to look it over.”

All day the boys discussed the possibilities of what would follow if Bonner recovered and became the Trevor chauffeur. Art had dreams he did not attempt to conceal.

“I’ll bet you he can fix the aeroplane if he made it. That’ll be our chance. We’ll chip in and pay for what he needs. Mebbe we can get a ride in it.”

“Mebbe he’ll teach us to fly it ourselves,” ventured Colly Craighead.

From airships, the talk under the big maple tree in the Conyers yard ran to the suspended Boy Scout program. As the possibilities of this were expounded by Connie, every one came forward with suggestions as to the first outing. Lew Ashwood proposed the thing that met general approval: a hike to Round Rock River and an exploration of the abandoned quarry.

“It’s five miles to the river,” explained Lew. “We can start at five o’clock in the morning, when it’s cool, and each fellow can carry grub in his knapsack, only we’ll each take something different so’s we can cook up a big breakfast when we get to the river. I’ll take enough frankfurters for everyone, about[135] four or five pounds. The rest of you’ll have to take bread an’ eggs an’ tea—”

“How about lunch an’ supper?” piped up Sammy Addington.

“An’ some’ll have to take ham an’ things for lunch,” went on Lew. “We’ll get supper when we get home.”

“You can get dinner at the farmer’s out there,” suggested Connie. “He gets it for fishermen if they telephone to him.”

“What!” exclaimed Art. “Boy Scouts eatin’ a bought meal on a table in a house? We might as well stay at home.”

“Sure,” shouted a boy. “We want to camp out and cook on our own fire. We got to have bacon too so’s if we don’t catch any fish.”

“That’s right,” agreed Art. “We ought to take some fishin’ tackle. Round Rock’s great for bass. If anything happened to our provisions we ought to catch some fish to keep from starvin’.”

“If we had a shotgun,” suggested Ashwood, “we might bring down some squirrels. There’s oceans o’ squirrels on Round Rock.”

“Squirrel potpie’s great,” put in Sandy Sheldon. “Can any kid make squirrel potpie? We’d ought to take some flour and potatoes.”


“Boy Scouts can’t carry firearms,” remarked Connie. “That’s one of the laws, you know.”

“Not even to keep ’em from starvin’?” asked Lew.

“I reckon it’s to keep ’em from shootin’ each other,” laughed Connie.

“They ain’t no need to bother ’bout fish and squirrels,” broke in young Abercrombie. “Let ever’ kid take all he can carry or his folks’ll give him. I reckon we ought to get up two meals out o’ that. An’ in the evening we’ll get Mr. Trevor to send the big automobile to the river for us.”

“Hadn’t we ought to hike it both ways?” asked Art, dubiously.

“We’d ought to I reckon,” allowed Connie, “by the rules. But for a starter mebbe we could ride home. An’ you know we’ll be hikin’ all day up the river to the old quarry.”

Out of enthusiasm of this sort the boys finally found themselves grown so energetic that they could wait no longer for the coming drill manual. With the martial knowledge that every boy possesses to some extent, they left the shade of the maple and formed a drill squad. From marching and countermarching[137] they fell to tracking an imaginary enemy, scaling imaginary breastworks, rescuing each other in the face of the enemy’s fire and binding up imaginary wounds.

In Scottsville the dinner hour was at noon. While most of the perspiring scouts were engaged at this meal, several of them received telephone calls from their leader.

“They’ve come!” was the excited announcement. “I got a letter. We’re accepted for the Boy Scouts an’ they’s a certificate—‘Scottsville Patrol No. 1—Wolves.’ The uniforms mebbe is at the express office now an’ the books. Hurry up an’ come to my house.”

“Don’t forget to tell the boys,” said Mr. Trevor to his son, immensely pleased over the interest the boys were showing in his plan, “that the sick boy was hungry this morning and ate a little broth. I don’t know whether one’s good wishes can help another but if they can, the Wolves ought to make our patient get well.”

“You bet we’re a-pullin’ for him all the time. Say, father,” exclaimed Art, “when Bonner gets well why couldn’t he be a Boy Scout if he stays here? He ain’t too old.”


Mr. Trevor’s face showed surprise and then the surprise turned into a smile.

“There isn’t any reason, if he wanted to, and you boys selected him and liked him. I don’t believe he has ever had a real home or any boy life. However, I wouldn’t suggest it to the other boys until he is much better.”

But the eager young scouts had to content themselves with their charter that day. The eagerly awaited uniforms did not come. In the late afternoon discouraging news from the sick room reached those in the garage, where aeroplanes were again under discussion. The sick boy had begun to show some temperature, a bad sign, and both doctors were “going to operate.” But it wasn’t quite so bad as that.

A small fragment of a spruce upright had been taken from young Bonner’s back. Both doctors made another examination of the injury. As they feared they discovered a second splinter which was only removed after an incision had been made. It was exhausting to the suffering boy, for an anesthetic was not administered, and those in the garage below could hear the sounds of his suffering. But from that time the boy began to mend.

All the Wolves were at the depot the next[139] morning when No. 28 came in. There it was, dumped off the express car as carelessly as if it had been ordinary merchandise—one large box for “Mr. Alexander Conyers.” The driver of the express wagon knew what it meant and with a grin promised immediate delivery at Connie’s home. On the corner of the big box was a glorious label. It read:



The packing case, about seven feet long, instantly had to be examined by each of the thirteen boys. All the depot loungers had to have a peek too. Among these was a broad-shouldered boy who approached unobserved.

“Hello, kiddos,” was his hearty greeting. “What’s doin’?” Then he saw Connie’s name and the label. While the Elm Streeters[140] fell back momentarily with cloudy faces the new arrival read the card on the box.

“Boy Scouts, eh?” he laughed. “I heard o’ them. You guys tired o’ toy aeroplanes?”

“None o’ your business, Hank Milleson,” retorted Art savagely.

At a glance from Connie, Art flushed. He realized at once that there wasn’t much Boy Scout spirit in his answer. Then he added: “You bet. An’ it’s great. Them’s all uniforms an’ things. We’re all goin’ to drill an’ goin’ campin’ and scoutin’.”

“That sounds good to me,” commented Hank. “Did you have to buy ’em?”

“Mr. Trevor bought ever’thing,” explained Connie. “He figured it all out for us. We’re the Wolf Patrol.”

“It’s like soldiers, ain’t it?” said Hank. “I read about ’em.”

“Soldiers an’ scouts. Reg’lar scouts,” volunteered Sammy Addington.

Hank passed his big, soiled hand over his mouth in perplexity. An envious look shone on his face.

“I wish’t I could see ’em,” he said embarrassed and pointing to the box.

“We’re goin’ to drill this evenin’,” said[141] Connie. “We’d be glad to have you come over to my house ’bout four o’clock if you’d like to.”

Hank’s perplexity was now open astonishment. And the Elm Streeters showed little less.

“You don’t mean me an’ the gang?” exclaimed Hank at last.

“Sure,” answered Connie. “You ain’t goin’ to be in the way.”

The Elm Streeters almost gasped. A direct invitation from Elm Street to the Goosetowners to visit that exclusive locality! Art edged up to Connie and gave him a questioning look.

“Article four,” whispered Connie with a chuckle. “A Scout is a friend to all—”

“Sure,” exclaimed Art, conscience-stricken and turning to his late foe and rival. “Come over. Bygones is bygones.”

The Boy Scout idea had worked its first wonder on the scrappy Art. All but Connie stood open-mouthed in wonder. Sammy Addington shook his head sadly. He would not invite Nick Apthorp at least.

When the box had been deposited in Conyers’ back yard and feverishly opened, thirteen bundles and a long package lay before the tingling boys. On top was a large envelope[142] marked “Invoice,” directed to Mr. Trevor in care of “Mr. Alex Conyers.” It was unsealed. Connie opened it and spread it before the boys. It was a list of the contents of the box and read:

To 12 Scout hats, khaki felt, wide stiff brim and chin strap $3.25
1 Patrol Leader hat, ditto, with pugaree .65
12 Scout shirts, khaki, brown, military pockets, official pattern 4.68
1 Patrol Leader shirt, ditto, with collars, cuffs and buttons .80
12 Scout belts, pigskin, rings and swivels 2.60
1 Patrol Leader belt, cowhide, strap for shoulder .65
13 Scout haversacks, khaki drill 1.90
13 Scout ties, black, 5×36 inches 1.30
13 Scout lanyards .30
13 Scout knives with marlinspike 3.25
13 Scout whistles 2.08
13 “Billy” tins 2.60
13 Combined knives and forks 3.90
2 Semaphore signal flags .30
1 Patrol flag, green, marked “WOLF” .25


“Gee,” exclaimed Colly Craighead. “That’s a lot.”

“It’s two dollars and sixty cents for each boy,” protested Connie. “An’ we got ever’thing we need but tents an’ blankets an’ we can get them right here when we need them.”

Then unpacking began. Each package was marked with a boy’s name. And the contents of each were suited to that boy’s size and measurement. In the history of every boy present there had never come a happier moment. In five minutes the Conyers’ yard was ablaze with newly caparisoned youngsters; Connie, superior in his patrol leader hat, badge and cuffed shirt, and Sammy Addington, by gracious consent, as the Wolf standard bearer.

“Fall in,” shouted Patrol Leader Conyers at last and the smart uniforms lined up together for the first time. By fours and by file the squad marched and countermarched. After a half hour it was remembered that the manuals, furnished free, and a part of the equipment were yet unexamined. “Break ranks!” was ordered and the happy scouts returned to the shade of the wide maple tree where the books were distributed.

Then, like swarming bees, the recruits began[144] to devour “Scoutcraft”: a scout’s work, his instructions, the scout laws, campaigning, camp life, tracking, woodcraft, the chivalry of scouts. They read again and again how General Baden-Powell had used the boys of Mafeking in the siege of that town to assist the too few soldiers; all about the scouts’ badges and medals for merit and bravery; what they meant and how to win them.

In the midst of this there came a shock. Some one discovered on the street outside, Hank Milleson and his friends—the Goosetowners’ delegation. But the committee was small. In addition to Hank there were Carrots Compton, Mart Clare and Buck Bluett. Nick Apthorp was not present. Seeing this Sammy Addington sprang up, seized the Wolf standard and came to a “present.” There was a snicker from the Goosetowners.

Patrol Leader Conyers was about to yell, “Come in the yard,” when he checked himself. His mother had not joined the scout ranks and Connie had no reason to believe she had changed her views on the desirability of her son’s associating with any Goosetowner. But not to be impolite or forgetful of his invitation he ordered his scouts into line once more.[145] Then, that the visitors might have a full and close view of all the new Wolf Patrol glory, he led his squad proudly out into the street and past the half defiant quartette.

“Some neckties!” commented Mart Clare. “Take it from me.”

“What’s the sticks fur?” asked Carrots Compton derisively.

“Talk about yer Wild West!” added Buck Bluett. “Baby Buffalo Bills, all right.”

“What’s on the flag?” asked Hank with more sincerity. “By gravy!” he exclaimed as the undisciplined Sammy proudly dropped it for inspection. “If it ain’t a howlin’ wolf an’ no less.”

“What’s the matter with Kyotes?” snickered Carrots Compton. “Ye can tame a wolf.”

There was no reply from the ranks. The recently belligerent Elm Streeters were now soldiers with a leader. Some of them were choking red in the face, but with shoulders squared, they filed by their old enemies without a retort. A moment later, with a file right and column front, the little cavalcade wheeled and marched directly up to the four bewildered Goosetowners. As if about to sweep down their guests,[146] the column advanced to within a few feet of Hank and his friends.

“Halt!” ordered Patrol Leader Conyers.

Sharply and with heels squarely together, the line came to a stand.


Each scout’s right hand rose swiftly to the brim of his jaunty hat and then Connie whirled, faced their observers, and raised his own hand.

“Aw, what you givin’ us?” exclaimed Hank.

“The scouts’ salute to a stranger,” answered Connie. “It means we think you are the right sort of fellows and that we mean well to you.”

“Come off,” muttered Carrots Compton shifting uneasily. Then in another tone, he added, “Say, kids, what’d them dicers cost?”



One evening with his Boy Scout manual transformed Connie into a most exacting military commander. And in two days the Wolf Patrol was performing drill evolutions that inflated its members with pride. Formal drill in full uniform took place each afternoon between four and five o’clock. Then came semaphore signaling until six o’clock. Even after supper there were “fireless” camp fires in Conyers’ yard where, beneath the maple, Connie read aloud the history and aims of the Boy Scout organization. This, in the manual, was described as “even song” and always concluded with new and elaborate plans for the patrol’s coming field campaign.

Lew Ashwood’s suggestion of an all-day hike to Round Rock River was the first event scheduled. This was to take place on the following Saturday. In the succeeding week all had agreed to make a second trip to Bluff Creek[148] about six miles east of town, and there spend two days and two nights in camp.

Each boy had already secured permission to make the Round Rock trip and Mr. Trevor and Sammy Addington’s father had promised to follow the boys Saturday evening and bring them home in the automobile. Even the mothers of all agreed to honor each boy’s requisition for food. There was such general endorsement of Mr. Trevor’s work in organizing the patrol and of his kindness in contributing uniforms for all, that it would have been hard for any parent to refuse coöperation.

The sick boy was no worse. He was yet so weak that no one was admitted to his room. Morning and night, when the doctor came, there was a report for the Scouts, all of whom had come to look on the sick boy as a personal friend, although not one of them had ever spoken to Bonner and he was not conscious of ever having seen one of them. Yet he had spoken to them. At the first flight of the aeroplane he had called to them gruffly: “Chase yourselves, you kids.”

Each boy recalled this, but with no feeling of ill will. It was now generally agreed that the words were meant kindly. At this time came[149] the first of three moves on the part of the Goosetowners which were to set Scottsville by the ears again. The first action was most unexpected. The Elm Streeters saw at once that the olive branch of peace they had extended was not accepted in the same spirit. Envy and jealousy were too much for Hank Milleson.

Wednesday evening, as the Wolf Patrol was forming for its daily dress parade, quiet Elm Street suddenly resounded with the sound of fife and drum. The clamor came from far up the street and rolled through the leafy tunnel of the grand elms with martial resonance. The patrol line dissolved into listeners and then came together in a knot of indignant, red-faced boys. Straggling along in shiftless formation, with Hank Milleson at their head and a fifer and a drummer just behind him, appeared the entire Goosetown gang in a burlesque of the Wolf Patrol. Behind the drummer and the fifer one of the marchers carried a square of muslin on a lath. On this was the word “KIOTES.” As the marching humorists began to file by the Elm Street crowd, all the bitterness that led to the sycamore-tree fight revived. Without a word to each other the Wolves moved forward. The Coyotes were grinning[150] and attempting some uniformity of step with the aid of a chorus of “hep, hep, hep.” Connie saw that another crisis was at hand.

“Attention, Wolves!” he exclaimed. “Fall in!”

No one moved.

“Patrol, fall in!” came a second, quick command.

A few of the real scouts made a semblance of formation.

“The Wolf who doesn’t fall in on the next command,” whispered Connie with determination, “loses his uniform and is discharged. Attention! Fall in!”

With lips quivering, and white about their mouths, every Wolf did his duty. The line was formed. Then Connie whirled about. With all the dignity of a captain reporting to his superior, not a trace of irritation showing on his face, he brought his right hand to a full salute. Not to be outdone, the head of the Coyotes returned the salute, his followers accompanying the act with snorts of laughter and loud guffaws.

There were eleven boys in the mock parade. Each had made some attempt to add to the humor of the occasion by painting his face, by[151] the use of odds and ends of clothing or by wearing some bit of old uniform, old hat or even feathers in his hair. The marchers were Hank Milleson, Job Wilkes beating an old snare drum, Joe Andrews blowing a fife on which he had no skill whatever, Nick Apthorp carrying the improvised standard, Matt Branson, Buck Bluett, Tom Bates, Pete Chester, Mart Clare, Carrots Compton and Tony Cooper.

Hank’s costume was the one that aroused the bitterest resentment. He was puffing at his black pipe and his bare feet and legs showed beneath his trousers which were rolled up to the knees. His flaunting insult was a soiled gingham apron which was tied about his waist and a faded sunbonnet which partly concealed his face. But this stinging affront was allowed to pass in dead silence.

The other costumes were less irritating, and reflected little originality on the part of the performers; an old political marching cap and cape, a poor imitation of an Indian, three guns, one sword with clanging scabbard, a woman’s beflowered bonnet, one boy with an infant’s nursing bottle, a great deal of colored chalk on hands and cheeks, and goose and chicken feathers[152] generously ornamenting hats and caps, make a fair summary.

The crowning feature was more to the point. At the rear of the single file cavalcade came Tony Cooper, the Sammy Addington of the Goosetowners. Tony was dragging at his heels a fat, little yellow cur puppy. On each yellow side of the pudgy little animal this word had been inscribed with tar:


A piece of twine encircled the puppy’s neck. Either frightened or in pain the dog was waddling along and pulling backwards with jerks and jumps. The unexpected salute by the leader of the Wolves, and Hank Milleson’s embarrassed return of it, created surprise in both groups of boys. Tony Cooper, at the end of the line, crowded forward to get the details of what was happening. As he did so, his mind off the captive puppy, the rolypoly little beast gave a new jump and the string came out of Tony’s hand. Like a big ball of yellow yarn, the “Wolf” leaped away with all his might. The captive had torn itself free!

Not even Patrol Leader Connie tried to keep his face straight. The Wolves roared with laughter as Tony lit out after his charge.


“Wolf too much for you, eh!” yelled one of the Elm Streeters. “Look out he don’t bite! Them wolves is fierce!”

Taunts came from others of the Wolf Patrol but Connie made no attempt to detect the culprits as he was yet laughing himself.

“Better cage him!” called another scout. “Take all of you to handle him!” was another yell.

“An’ at that,” retorted Nick Apthorp from the street, “he’s the fiercest wolf I ever see.”

When it was seen that Tony had recaptured his puppy the fife and drum broke out anew. At this, Connie advanced into the street and approached Hank Milleson.

“Hank,” began Connie, “you know the boy ’at got hurt in the circus aeroplane is over to Trevor’s?”

“Pretty soft fur him I reckon,” replied Hank. “I knowed he is.”

“Well, we don’t play around there. We don’t make no noise at Trevor’s ’cause he’s purty sick.”

“I heered he was goin’ to likely die,” commented Hank absently.

“I don’t know if he is or not,” answered[154] Connie. “But the doctor says they oughtn’t to be no noise where he can hear it.”

Hank hesitated, grew sober and then said:

“This is as fur as we was goin’ anyway.” In order not to show weakness, however, he added: “We jus’ thought we’d come over here and tell you not to come a-paradin’ ’round in our part of town wearin’ them baby clothes.”

“Why do you come over here then, wearin’ monkey clothes?” retorted Connie.

“’Cause it suits us. What you goin’ to do ’bout it?”

“Nothin’,” answered Connie. “March where you like. But, when you’ve laughed yourself sick I wish you’d read this. It’s great,” and he handed Hank his own new manual. “It’s a present,” he added.

“What you givin’ it to me fur?” asked the puzzled Hank.

“’Cause I liked it and all our fellows do. I think you’ll like it too.”

Hank looked at it as if in much doubt. Then he opened it, by chance, at the picture of a camp scene with tents, camp fires, flagstaff, and picturesquely clad young scouts lying beneath tall, shady trees.

“Purty swell,” he commented slowly.[155] “You guys goin’ to do that?”

“You bet,” answered Connie.

“I reckon we’ll have to visit you.”

“Sure,” responded the Wolf Leader. “We’ll have eats enough for all.”

With a half wistful look at Connie, but with no reply to this invitation, Hank turned and shambled away. He still held the open book in his hand and, the decorated gang crowding closely about him, without the sound of fife or drum and with Tony Cooper carrying the puppy in his arms, the lately defiant crowd moved down the street.

Two hours later, when Connie came out from supper to hasten to the usual “talk gathering” in Art’s front yard, he found Nick Apthorp sitting on the curb in front of his home.

“Kind o’ out o’ your bailiwick, ain’t you, Nick?” exclaimed Connie with a smile.

“Say,” replied Nick ignoring the banter, “you got any more o’ them books? Hank hung onto the one you give him. It’s full o’ pictures. I wish’t I could get one.”

“Mebbe Art Trevor’ll let you take his,” suggested Connie. “I got to get another one myself.”

“I don’t want no favors o’ that guy,” responded[156] Nick. “Can’t you get me one? How much do they cost?”

“Twenty-five cents,” explained Connie. “I’m goin’ to send for another. I’ll get you one if you like.”

“Well, you do it,” replied Nick. “Here’s a quarter ’at I got fur passin’ soap samples. But I wish’t you wouldn’t say nothin’ ’bout it—not to my gang nor to yours neither. Hank thinks he’s the whole cheese. I’ll show him.”

“Sure,” said Connie taking the money. “I’ll—”

“When you guys goin’ campin’?” interrupted Nick as if that was his only interest in seeing Connie.

“We ain’t goin’ campin’ right away,” responded Connie innocently. “Saturday we’re goin’ to hike to Round Rock an’ cook our breakfast at the cave. Then we’re goin’ to go up the river to Borden’s Ford—that’s ’bout four miles. There’s good bass fishin’ at the ford. We’re goin’ to cook dinner there an’ fish awhile. An’ then we’re goin’ up to the old quarry an’ loaf ’round till they bring the automobile for us.”

“I caught some fine bass at the ford,” volunteered Nick. He paused rather wistfully[157] for a few moments. Then with renewed requests about secrecy as to his book he slouched up the street. Connie did not speak to the other boys of Nick’s visit nor of the book the boy wanted.

The eventful Saturday came at last. With haversacks packed the night before, thirteen boys awaited the dawn with impatience. Before five o’clock the wrought-up scouts were off. In open order the squad was soon out of town.

With two stops for water at convenient wells the patrol reached the dusty lane leading to the caves of Round Rock River just before half past six. Once they were within the shade of the grove bordering the river bank at the cave, “Break ranks” was given and the perspiring young campaigners threw themselves on the grass. But boys rest quickly. At the first mention of breakfast the patrol was on its feet. The place was one used for picnics and tables were standing. When haversack contents were dumped on one of these, the table resembled a delicatessen shop.

Connie took charge at once and put aside what was needed for luncheon.

“Say,” protested Colly Craighead. “That[158] ain’t fair. I’m hungry. I brought them baked beans for breakfast.”

“You’ll want ’em worse at noon,” answered Connie. “Go help make the fire. Duke,” he added, “fill that pan with water.”

At the last moment they had been compelled to borrow a stew pan to boil the frankfurters. And this had been Duke’s extra equipment. Each boy had also strung a tin cup on his belt, and Davy Cooke carried a teapot.

About seven o’clock the open-shirted, hatless gang gathered about a table covered with newspapers. Before each was a cup of tea with sugar but no cream, and the portion of food for each boy: four large frankfurters, hot and steaming to the point of bursting, three inch-thick slices of bread, half a dill pickle, two hard-boiled eggs, one doughnut and two cookies. In the center of the table were butter, pepper, salt, mustard and sugar. In ten minutes every scrap of food had disappeared. Colly again brought up the question of baked beans but he was instantly suppressed.

“One hour for restin’ or explorin’,” ordered Connie when haversacks had been repacked and stored in a heap and the pans washed. “But, remember, no swimmin’ until I give the[159] word. Wart,” he added, “you’ll guard the haversacks.”

“Me?” exclaimed Wart in a shocked voice. “I brung a candle to explore the cave!”

“Well, you may as well hand it over to some one else. You’re on guard duty. Blow the recall whistle in one hour!”

There was a scattering of boys in all directions: some to the woods, several to a flat-bottomed boat lying partly on the shore, and others to the cave, a low opening into a rocky bluff, celebrated mainly for its ever dripping water and its bottom of sticky clay mud.

Connie walked along toward the farmer’s house. The last look he gave Wart revealed the disappointed boy gazing over the river beyond. It was well for the sentinel that Connie did not hear his muttered comment.

“They ain’t nothin’ in my book ’bout guardin’ nothin’ where they ain’t nobody to do nothin’.”

When Connie returned, Wart was fast asleep, hunched up at the foot of a tree. His leader blew the return whistle.

“I reckon I dropped off in a kind o’ doze,” began the aroused boy.

“You did, for half an hour. You’ll carry[160] the stew pan an’ the teakettle the rest o’ the day.”

“Who—?” began Wart in protest, his face reddening.

“You mean ‘who says so?’” interrupted Connie. “I do. Is that enough?”

“Yes, sir,” faltered Wart. “That’s enough.”

At half past eight o’clock the patrol was off for Borden’s Ford.



From the cave to Borden’s Ford the advance was a continuous frolic. The banks of the river were of rock and at places these closed in, making little gorges through which the stream broke into rougher water. Now and then there were places that might be called rapids. Particularly, just below Borden’s Ford there was a long riffle over which the water boiled and bubbled until it entered the gorge at Big Butternut. As there was a sharp turn in this narrow defile the narrowed river swept up in foam-crested waves.

Here, picnickers frequently spread their lunch. The younger folks always lingered to throw sticks and logs down the riffle to see them tossed about in the miniature whirlpool. From above the head of the riffle there was boating as far as the quarry.

At Big Butternut Whirlpool the scampering Wolves came to a welcome stop, with a general[162] demand that the patrol be allowed to go in swimming.

“That’s where there’s nothin’ doin’!” answered Connie. “I promised Mr. Trevor that no one would be allowed to ‘shoot the rapids.’”

“You did?” shouted Art. “Well what’d we come for? He didn’t say nothin’ to me.”

“There was no need,” smiled Connie. “I’m the boss. That’ll do for all.”

“Did you bring a little knittin’ for us to do?” asked Davy Cooke sarcastically.

“Can we go wadin’ up on the ford?” sneered Colly Craighead.

“We’re goin’ swimmin’ up above the ford,” answered Connie, unmoved by these gibes, “as soon as we cool off. Then we’ll see if we can’t coax a few bass into the fryin’ pan. I got a seine in my haversack. We’ll get some minnies at the ford.” (By “minnies” Connie meant minnows.)

The stop at the whirlpool was not long. After hurling all loose wood into the rushing gorge, the boys hurried to the ford and the near-by clearing in the woods. Here, as at the cave, there were tables and seats and remnants of many outings.


Running along the shore to this point, several boys made out a peculiar object in the river, high up on the riffle and near the ford. The object was dark and round. That it was not a rock, every boy knew. So unusual was it in appearance that there was a general determination to wade out and investigate.

“Looks like somethin’ that’s drifted down the river an’ got stuck,” suggested Wart.

“Like a barrel,” was Leader Connie’s verdict.

“If it’s a barrel,” exclaimed Sammy Addington, “I wonder if it’s anything in it?”

The squad had reached the ford by this time. Haversacks were dropped and Art, Wart and Colly, pulling off their shoes and stockings, rushed into the river. Connie, a little more dignified, walked down the bank again, followed by most of the patrol.

“It’s a beer barrel,” were the first words from the investigators, “full o’ nothin’.”

But the waders, glad to be in the splashing riffle, continued their advance, twisting and balancing themselves on the slippery stones.

“There’s marks on it!” yelled Art a moment later. The keg was standing end up and on a big flat stone. Its upper part was dry.[164] As Art and Wart reached it, one glance drew their heads downward for a closer look. As the two boys grasped the head of the keg it slid off the rock and fell on its side in the water. Art was excitedly waving his arms to Connie and the others and yelling: “Come quick, all o’ you. It’s—” But even in his excitement he could see Wart vainly attempting to hold the cask with his scout staff.

The Mysterious Cask

“Stop it,” Art shouted. Then he too was floundering after the keg which was bumping up and down. For a moment Wart’s staff caught and held the cask. Then it rolled around the stick and into deeper water.

“She’s gone,” shouted Wart to those on shore. “Get her down below the rapids. Run!”

Art did not despair at once. Springing forward in a deluge of spray he tried to overtake the barrel. He thought he had it once and made a final lunge. The slippery object spun about under the tips of his fingers and the boy fell flat in the water. Before he could get to his feet Wart splashed by him. He could just reach the cask with his stick. But he could not hold it. Yet he slackened it until the drenched[165] Art rejoined him. By this time the water was well above each boy’s knees.

Suddenly the cask was caught by a new current and torn away from the two staffs. It turned over several times in the deeper water as if preparing for the swift journey through the whirlpool.

“Come on!” shouted Art to Wart. “Don’t let her get away. Let’s go with her. Them kids may let her get away.”

Diving forward into the deepening current Art gave himself a quick shove with his long staff and was off after the bobbing cask. Without hesitation Wart followed, their new khaki shirts, neckties and scout hats forgotten. It was a vain race.

When the keg shot into the twisting whirlpool its pursuers suddenly found enough to do in caring for themselves. Connie was on the right-hand bank of the gorge but the current set toward the left. He yelled to the boys to keep to the right but the rush of the water bore them to the opposite side. Connie and others of the boys lay on the edge of the cut, reaching down with their staffs. But the stream-tossed boys were beyond the reach of[166] these and no one had time to cross the gorge to the other side.

Midway, where the defile made an angle, the cork-like cask was hurled against the rocky wall. The swimmers struck the same foam-covered barrier an instant later. The barrel was not out of their minds. Each boy kept his head off and each took the wall on his left shoulder. Several times the swimmers struck and scraped against the rough rock, buried in the spitting spray and the boiling current.

At the lower end of the gorge, where the river turned again into shallower and quieter waters, most of the excited patrol members were on the look-out. As the mysterious keg shot out of the foaming gorge it was seized. In its wake came the exhausted Art and Wart. The boys had suffered no damage, beyond black-and-blue shoulders and half-ruined uniforms. But the dash through the gorge had been one attempted only by the hardiest swimmers.

“Did you make it out?” panted Art as he caught his staff from a rescuer. “Look on the end!”

The keg was rolled out on the sand and upended.


“The other end,” exclaimed Wart—his smart new “Baden-Powell” (as the boys termed their hats) limp and his shirt clinging to him like a second skin.

As the keg was reversed and the patrol crowded about, it could be seen that a crude inscription had been made on its head. As one of the boys dried the top with a handkerchief the marks seemed to have been carved in the wood or possibly burned in with a hot iron. After a close look Connie gasped:


“It may ’a’ been buried,” exclaimed Art. “Mebbe way up in the wild country and mebbe the river washed it up.”

“You can’t tell,” sputtered excited Colly Craighead. “I’ll bet you it’s somepin’.”

“Anyway,” broke in Wart, “it’s ours—we found it, an’ ‘finders is keepers.’”

The astounding inscription was this:

Jessie James Tresure—1901


“If it’s money,” suggested Duke Easton, “mebbe we oughtn’t to take it. Like as not it’s blood money.”

“Mebbe it’s jewlry,” broke in Sammy Addington. “If it is, we could advertise it.”

“I can’t see how Jesse James would be hidin’ anything ’round here,” spoke up Leader Connie. “I’ve read his life an’ history an’ bloody deeds an’ he lived way out in Missouri where he done his robbin’.”

“You don’t reckon Round Rock River runs way out there, do you?” asked Sammy. “I never heard where it comes from.”

“Say,” broke in Phil Abercrombie fired by a brilliant idea, “the railroad goes acrost the river up at the old quarry. I’ll bet the gang was on a train an’ they throwed the cask o’ treasure offen the train so’s to hide it so they wouldn’t be no evidence.”

“In that case,” remarked Connie, “they’d hardly burn the name on the barrel.”

“Mebbe it was their enimies ’at done that,” ventured the rebuffed Phil.

“Boys,” exclaimed Connie in a new tone. “I’m suspicious o’ this thing. This ain’t no buried treasure cast up by the waves. Some[169] one put it where it was. It couldn’t ’a’ floated over the ford.”

“I don’t know about that,” exclaimed Art indignantly. “Who’d ’a’ put it there? Ain’t no one around here to get excited over it.”

“We’re here,” replied Connie with a smile as he kicked the cask over on its side.

“But who knowed we was comin’ here?” argued Art resentfully.

“For one,” went on Connie as he rolled the keg about, listening to something pounding within, “Nick Apthorp knew, ’cause I told him where we was comin’ and when we’d get here.”

“That settles it,” exclaimed Colly. “It’s a job. Let’s throw it back in the river.”

“Not on your life!” shouted Art. “I’ve heard o’ smart guys ’at wouldn’t pick up a pocket book with real money in it, ’cause it was first of April.”

“An’ besides,” continued Connie, his smile even more pronounced, “the head o’ this keg has been took out an’ put back. You can see the new here. It ain’t been in the water long.”

“Always knockin’,” retorted Art. “Anyway, me and Wart found it. I guess we’ll take it for ours, eh, Wart?” he added with a wink.

“You can have my share,” exclaimed Connie.[170] “But if it was me I wouldn’t touch it. I smell Goosetown all over that thing.”

For answer red-faced Art caught up a heavy boulder and dashed it against the top of the beer keg. The head fell in and water splashed out.

“It’s been leakin’,” he exclaimed. “I hope it ain’t spoiled what’s inside.”

Colly Craighead was the first to peer within. Then he caught his nose between his fingers and fled to Connie’s side without a word. As Art raised the broken head of the cask Sammy Addington thrust his short arm into the keg and drew out the dead body of “Wolf,” the fat little yellow pup that the Goosetowners had led in insulting parade before the Elm Streeters.

Art gave one quick sweeping glance about the place. If he expected to find Nick Apthorp and his friends in spying ambush he was disappointed.

“All I got to say,” he exclaimed in an angry voice, “is that this thing’s gone far enough. We stood for what they done marchin’ past us the other day but I ain’t a-goin’ to stand for no more. This Boy Scout business is all right but I ain’t a-goin’ to let these guys rub it in.”


“Say, Art,” spoke up Connie, coming forward, “you know what we’re goin’ to do to that gang before we get through with ’em?”

“We’re goin’ to make ’em dance to Miss Ginger!” exclaimed Art defiantly.

“We ain’t goin’ to do anything of the kind,” retorted Connie. “We’re goin’ to give ’em rope like we been doin’ an’ when they get enough—”

“They’ll hang theirselves,” broke in Wart Ware.

“No,” went on Connie. “When they get to the end o’ the string they’ll turn an’ eat out o’ our hands an’ be glad to.”

“What d’you mean?” growled Art.

“I mean they ain’t a bit worse’n we are only they’re dyin’ kind o’ hard.”

“I ain’t settin’ myself up for no goody-goody,” retorted Art. “But I like to be half decent.”

“Then,” laughed Connie, “let’s bury poor little Wolf and forget it.”

Art and Wart Ware were really the only disgruntled boys. The others took the incident as a joke. And by the time the noonday spread was under way even the scouts who had shot the chutes began to forget their chagrin.[172] There was a long loaf after dinner, then an hour in the water, and later the march was resumed to the quarry where the automobiles were waiting for the trip homeward. Art did not tell his parents of the episode of the treasure keg as he had of his purchase of the aeroplane ticket.

The hike to Round Rock River only whetted the appetite of the Wolves. Even on the way home they began discussing the details of next week’s “camp out.” Sleeping in the open overnight, stories and songs by the red camp fire, blankets to snuggle up in when it turned cool just before dawn, the joys of sentinel duty where possibly the solitary picket might have to stand his watch in the soft summer rain—protected of course by his rain coat—were the things that enticed.

All the scouts were glad to hear that the injured boy was improving. But it was not yet possible for any of his boy admirers to be admitted into the sick room. The real preparation for the next outing was left to Mr. Trevor, and he responded most satisfactorily. It was finally arranged that the patrol was to start for Bluff Creek Thursday morning and return Saturday evening. The boys were to walk both[173] ways, the camp equipage being carried in a single-horse cart loaned by Mr. Addington.

This had been a delivery wagon and it bore a dilapidated top, the ornamentation of which was the legend on its sides:


By Wednesday evening new strips of white muslin had covered these and on the new field of white blazed the words:


When the squad started Thursday morning Colly Craighead was in the driver’s seat and the wagon bed behind him was crowded with tents, poles, bedding, cooking utensils, dishes and, not the least in importance or quantity, provisions both “staple and fancy.”

It was perhaps unfortunate that the direct road to Bluff Creek, east of Scottsville, lay through the danger zone of Goosetown. No assault from their old enemies was anticipated but it was certain that the expedition would not pass unobserved. And it did not. While they were crossing the railroad tracks a well-known voice greeted the joyous party. It was[174] that of Nick Apthorp, who was beginning the day with a pipe and a bit of gossip, perched high in the air in the semaphore signal tower.

“Hello, kids,” he exclaimed heartily. “Lookin’ for some more lost treasure?” The result of their Round Rock River humor was of course well known to the Coyotes long before this.

“You had a lot of courage to kill a little pup like that,” responded Art instantly. “Take all of you to do it?”

“Nope,” responded Nick with a guffaw, “he died o’ grievin’ fur his friends. What’s doin’?”

“We’re goin’ campin’ for a couple o’ days down to Bluff Creek,” answered Connie. “Say, Nick,” he added, “this Boy Scout business is great. We had a bully time down to Round Rock. We’re goin’ for two weeks next month and have games.”

As the party passed on Nick sat gazing at it in silent thoughtfulness.



After Connie’s frankness in telling Nick Apthorp where they were going it was freely predicted that their old enemies would surely give the Scouts new trouble.

Bluff Creek got its name from a high bank of clay at a bend in the stream where small fossil forms were plentiful. The water cutting into the bluff constantly presented new specimens—“crinoids” the boys’ teacher termed them. The second day of the outing a number of the campers turned enthusiastic geologists. In their eagerness to secure specimens the boys worked long and hard. When they turned in at an early hour the Goosetowners were practically forgotten.

Art and Colly Craighead were on the first watch from nine until twelve o’clock. They had taken station above and below the three tents, meeting occasionally behind the camp in a grove of cottonwoods for company. While they were on one of these absences from the[176] creek bank three naked forms dropped silently into the water from the opposite bank, and concealed by the water, made their way quickly to the shadow of an overhanging walnut tree in front of the camp. They then disappeared within the gloom of the walnut’s spreading, cave-like roots.

As Art and Colly separated, the former passed between the tents, within which his companions were loudly snoring. Then he stood for a few minutes on the overhanging bank and glanced up and down the glimmering creek, for the moon was nearly half full. With his love for the romantic Art glanced at his watch, walked around the tents once more and then, shouldering his staff, exclaimed in a low voice:

“Eleven o’clock an’ all is well.”

While he turned and walked down the stream, three naked forms crouching just below him in the walnut tree roots, nudged each other. Almost immediately, one water-glistening head of carroty hair rose cautiously above the bank. Then two other water-dripping heads followed.

In front of the center tent a tall sapling had[177] been set in the ground with a little pulley at the top from which for two days the Wolf Patrol pennant had snapped gayly in the breeze. These colors had been lowered at sundown and were now tied about four feet from the base of the flagpole. Against the same flagpole eleven of the precious scout staffs were stacked in pyramid form.

Three pairs of eager but cautious eyes fixed themselves on the camp and then three sinuous forms drew themselves, snakelike, over the grassy bank. The carroty-haired form crawled forward and, the two figures behind him watching in the directions of the receding sentinels, the forward invader reached the flagstaff. One after another the pennant-tipped Wolf staffs were silently caught and passed to the rear. Without a sound all were hastily transferred to the bank of the creek.

Then Carroty-head drew himself up to the flagstaff and attempted to loosen the gorgeous Wolf pennant. The cords seemed to hold fast. Apparently the thief was trying to tear the colors from the lines. Those behind him, emboldened by the silence, crawled to his side and also got on their feet. There were quick and[178] low whispers and then the three grasped the coveted bunting.

At that instant two things happened. Colly Craighead, reaching the end of his beat, where a willow thicket deepened the gloom, paused for a few minutes’ rest. As he turned, he caught sight of the shadowy forms before the camp. He saw them only dimly in the dark, for the half moon scarcely pierced the night shadows beneath the trees. But what he saw resembled moving bronzes. While he hesitated, a chance moonbeam shot through the black trees, giving the indistinct group the silvery outlines of human figures.

In the moment Colly hesitated, another thing occurred. Struggling and straining with the pennant (for the invaders had no knife) they gave the cord a yank and the dry pulley wheel squeaked like a whistle. Like the snapping of a camera shutter the flaps of the middle tent flew apart and Alex Conyers sprang through the opening. As he yelled “What’s that?” a Wolf cry rang out from Colly’s station and almost instantly came a signal from Art’s end of the beat.

As the Wolf pickets came crashing through the grass and dead timber, Connie hurled himself[179] on the nearest figure, and two naked bodies dived headlong into the creek. There was a moment’s silent struggle in the dark and then came the uproar of the arriving sentinels and the commotion of the outpouring, half awakened scouts. It did not need a light to reveal Carrots Compton as the leader of the midnight invaders. With the torn emblem in Carrots’ clutch he and Connie rolled over and over in each other’s embrace.

Art and Colly threw themselves into the fray. The struggling boys, no one speaking, had edged toward the stream. As the two pickets sprang to assist Connie the overhanging bank of the stream suddenly gave way and the four boys tumbled into the creek. The camp had been located at this point because of the deep “hole” and Carrots and his would-be captors sank “over their heads” at once.

As for Art and Colly, they were fully clothed and it was necessary for them to look out for themselves. The gap in the bank was already lined with scouts in pajamas. There was a play of moonlight on the water but the shadows of the overhanging trees made it hard to tell friend from foe. The shouting boys on the bank, who were waving staffs and trying to[180] secure lights, could make out only a thrashing about in the water, exploding breaths as the floundering boys cleared their mouths, and foam of rapid strokes as each tried to reach the bank.

Art and Colly were soon in safety, but as they were being drawn up the bank, Art loosed his grasp on a staff and plunged into the stream again.

“There they go,” he shouted as he realized that the naked Carrots and Connie in his pajamas were lunging across the narrow creek. Colly followed Art but they were too late. As Connie, slowed up by his clinging night garments, reached the shallow water, Carrots, the stolen pennant in his grasp, had been joined by his two companions and all were off on a dead run over the gravel and sand.

“They got to get their clothes,” yelled Connie. “Come on! We’ll see who the other kids are.”

But the feet of the Boy Scouts were not as indifferent to the jagged stones as were those of the Goosetowners. The open shore of the other bank of the stream ran west a few hundred feet, skirting the clay bluff, and then broadened out into a “bottom.”


“They went this way,” yelled Connie. “They got their clothes back there in the willows.”

It was not an inviting looking place. As the bluff dropped down to the low ground, sand covered with driftwood and overgrown by willows, it gave way to a dark pathless “bottom”—the driftwood standing like skeletons in the half luminous night. To add to the embarrassment of the pursuers a wire fence, tangled into a rope of sharp spikes, lay among the water weeds and drifted sand.

“Look out for that old wire fence,” called Art in reply, his soaked shoes squirting water and his clinging pants rasping like a file as he stumbled after Connie. His advice came too late. The excited patrol leader had seen the shadows of the flying marauders pass into the willow waste and he plunged ahead in the same direction. Then his wet and dragging trousers caught in a half buried fence-wire barb and Connie shoved his head into the wet sand.

When he was again on his feet, Art and Colly had joined him, and more yelling scouts were swimming the creek. The breathless Connie was not injured. With another shout that the fugitives would have to stop somewhere to[182] dress, he sprang ahead again into the black jungle of river willows. In the midnight shadows the three boys were instantly lost. They were not only lost as an expedition but, a little later, they were lost from each other. Colly, forcing himself through the tangle in one direction, soon found himself, scratched and bleeding, again on the shore of the creek, completely turned around. The reënforcements attempted to proceed no farther than the edge of the willow swamp. Far in its depths Art could be heard calling, and guiding calls were sounded in return. He had stumbled upon a little opening where a shallow bayou was margined with swamp grass and deep-voiced frogs. In the glint of the moon he had seen a moving eddy in the pool and the thought of a snake sent him lunging once more into the thicket.

Connie had disappeared without further sound or signal. Five minutes later, from a point east of the swamp, came a low, familiar call—the cry of the Wolf. Before the excited scouts behind him could organize an advance in that direction, the call was heard again, this time down near the big bluff. Like sore-hoofed and drenched sheep the water-soaked, and now shivering scouts made their way as rapidly as[183] they could in that direction. They were in time to see their leader sliding down the clay bluff to the creek bank. His face was smeared with swamp soil, the trousers of his pajamas he carried in his arms and his legs were scratched and bloody.

“Well,” he shouted as he got his breath, “they’ve done the business! They got the flag and they got our horse an’ wagon! They was six of ’em!”

“The horse and wagon?” roared a chorus.

The grocery wagon and the horse had been left in the corner of a pasture on the road back of the bluff, by special arrangement with a farmer who had also undertaken to feed and water the animal. The wagon road did not cross the creek and this was the nearest point to the camp where the horse could be cared for. When Connie had made his way through the swamp he was in sight of the wagon camp and he could just make out moving forms gathered about the wagon.

“They had it out in the road, all hitched up,” panted Connie.

“An’ the kids left their clothes in the wagon. I snook along the fence till I got close enough to see some of ’em. They was only six. Carrots[184] Compton was one of ’em. He got the flag. An’ the two others ’at swum the crick was Matt Branson and Buck Bluett. I think Nick Apthorp was one o’ the others. One of ’em was already on the seat an’ I couldn’t see him. But it was Hank Milleson all right, you bet you. There was another one but I didn’t see him an’ he didn’t say nothin’.”

“They ain’t gone off with our horse and wagon?” repeated Art dubiously.

“They ain’t done nothin’ else,” went on Connie. “An’ I reckon that’s ’bout the limit. That comes purt nigh bein’ stealin’. Somebody’s goin’ to sweat for this,” he continued, trembling with nervousness and absent-mindedly wiping the blood off his bleeding legs with his wet pajamas.

“Why didn’t you stop ’em?” spoke up Colly Craighead.

“Oh, I never thought of that,” retorted Connie ironically. “I might have. They was only six of ’em. An’ besides, they started on a gallop ’fore I got plum to ’em. But I’ll get ’em to-morrow, don’t you forget that,” he concluded significantly. “We’ve stood for enough from them guys. We’ll have ’em took up an’ see how a good dose o’ calaboose goes with ’em.”


With unanimous and enthusiastic approval the bedraggled, shivering boys turned campward again, outwitted and humiliated. A cool breeze had sprung up and the moon was waning. Led by Connie they crossed the creek again in disgust. In default of dry night-clothes the camp fire was fanned into new life and in a few minutes thirteen naked boys danced around the crackling blaze to dry and warm themselves.

As their spirits revived, some one discovered that he must have food. Others became suddenly as hungry. It was after twelve o’clock but despite the cooler atmosphere the cheery camp fire seemed to turn the crowd into Indians. With yells and posturing the scouts marched and danced about the crackling flames. Connie joined in and when the old sycamore grove began to resound with war whoops of defiance and vengeance the leader lost his sense of discipline and ordered out the big pot of beans baking overnight in a hole beneath the camp fire.

“Who cares?” he shouted. “It’s our last night in camp. To-night we’ll merry, merry be an’ to-morrow we’ll go hungry.”

Just before two o’clock in the morning, satisfied that there was no more to be feared from[186] the enemy, after the camp fire had been smothered, thirteen happy boys wrapped themselves in their blankets and only an empty bean pot told of the midnight revel.

A telephone message from the nearest farm house at seven o’clock the next morning to Mr. Trevor resulted in the arrival of old man Bristow’s dray at the camp about noon. Everything eatable on hand was prepared for dinner, and camp was struck about two o’clock and a last swim taken. In the midst of this, out of curiosity Art and Colly crossed the creek and made a daylight tour of the willow swamp.

There seemed nothing alarming about the place in the sunlight and its wildest portions were penetrated with ease. A sudden yell from Colly startled the boys in the creek. And when he came rushing out of the willow wilderness with the lost patrol flag in his waving hand, another naked war dance was held on a sand bar in the creek.

“Carrots lost it,” yelled Colly. “He dropped it. I reckon we was purty close to him.”

Connie sprang forward and grabbed the pennant. The corners were torn but otherwise the emblem was intact.


“An’ just for that,” exclaimed the young leader, “we’ll carry our flagpole back to town; pole, flag, pulley and cord.”

The adventure of the stolen horse and wagon had apparently aroused new feelings of enmity in every one of the Wolves. The old dray driver went on ahead to town and when the Wolves reached Scottsville at five o’clock, without a protest from Connie, with the lost and recovered pennant flying from the tall sapling, the patrol marched defiantly through the heart of Goosetown. Somewhat to the boys’ surprise, not one of the enemy was in sight. Leader Conyers, with lips set, even countermarched once through this section of the town. Not a boy appeared. As the cavalcade crossed the railroad the last time, some one caught sight of Tony Cooper. Tony had not been with the night raiders but he had a worried look. Connie called to him:

“Where’s the gang? Tell ’em they’ll have to come again to get our flag.”

Tony seemed to know what Connie meant. But he made no reply and seemed about to escape when Art added:

“You can tell ’em they’d better bring our[188] wagon back. We know ’em all, an’ don’t you forget it!”

“Your wagon’s back,” answered Tony meekly. “They was a-goin’ to take it back anyway.”

“Who got it?” demanded Art.

“The marshal. An’ he made ’em take it over to Addington’s. But they was goin’ to take it anyway.”

“Where’s the gang?” persisted Art.

“Why,” Tony mumbled, “Old Walter locked ’em up.”

“In the calaboose?” asked Connie.

Tony nodded his head.

“All of ’em?” went on Connie excitedly.

“All ’at was there,” answered Tony. “I wasn’t with ’em.”

“What’d he lock ’em up for?” added Art anxiously.

“Why, for horse stealin’,” whimpered Tony. “An’ they’re tryin’ to get some money to hire a lawyer.”

While the scouts stood aghast—open-mouthed and silent—Tony added:

“The marshal says they’re all goin’ to the penitentiary.”



As the significance of Tony Cooper’s words slowly dawned on the resentful Boy Scouts a silence fell on the Wolf Patrol. The members realized that a boyish escapade had turned into a criminal offense. And the thing that set the scouts thinking was the knowledge that they had often approached that line themselves. The thought of being called as witnesses to send another boy to the penitentiary sent a chill to the heart of every Elm Streeter.

“I don’t know as I could be absolutely sure about who was in the wagon—” began Connie.

“But you know Carrots was one of ’em,” remarked Art dolefully.

“Yes,” argued Abercrombie, “but he wasn’t arrested for breakin’ into the camp. None of us saw him take the horse an’ wagon.”

“But Connie said he did,” exclaimed Colly Craighead regretfully.

“I kind o’ think I did,” said Connie. “But it was awful dark an’ I wasn’t very clost.”


“I reckon it won’t be up to us,” added Art. “Tony said they found the horse an’ wagon at Hank’s home. What can they say to that? It looks bad for some one, I tell you.”

When the boys reached Connie’s home they found Mr. Trevor and Mr. Conyers on the porch. Ranks were broken and all hastened forward to learn exact details. When Connie had repeated his account of the midnight raid and what he had seen, he was far from being positive about the identity of the boys. Mr. Addington had at once put the case in the hands of Marshal Walter and he, after a canvass of several families and the finding of the stolen vehicle and horse, had made the six arrests.

“They’re now where they have belonged for several years,” Mr. Conyers declared, “safe under lock and key. Monday morning they’ll have a hearing before the mayor and he’ll hold them under bonds for examination by the grand jury when it meets in the fall. Then they’ll all be sent back to jail to be tried by the courts for horse stealing. It looks to me as if they’d get a few years in the penitentiary or reform school at least.”


“And will they be in jail till the trial comes off?” asked Connie anxiously.

“Unless they give bonds,” answered his father. “And those’ll likely be so high that no one will give them.”

“How’ll they know, for sure, that the boys done it?” went on the agitated Connie.

“Aren’t you boys witnesses?” laughed Mr. Conyers.

“I might ’a’ been mistaken,” faltered Connie.

“Hardly,” replied Mr. Conyers. “I think the mayor’ll believe you.”

When the boys finally dispersed to their homes Mr. Trevor remained in talk with Mr. Conyers for nearly half an hour. When Art reached home he was so happy to hear that the sick boy had been making steady gains that he almost forgot the tragical ending of their two days of camping.

On Sunday morning word was passed that Bonner was to sit up for a few minutes. About nine o’clock Art was permitted to visit the invalid. From his nurse Bonner had learned all about the boys, both as young aviators and as Boy Scouts; each boy’s name, age and character; the trouble at the old sycamore, the[192] episode of the “treasure keg” and the clash at the camp on Bluff Creek. When Art appeared, it was as if two life-long chums had come together.

The two boys naturally fell into talk of that closest to the heart of each—the wrecked aeroplane. With tears, Bonner told what it meant to him. With the wrecked aeroplane on his hands he saw no way to meet his payments for it.

“Don’t tell anybody,” whispered Art, “but I don’t think it’s ruined. I’ve been to see it! I don’t think the engine is hurt.”

“But I haven’t a cent,” answered Bonner in a weak voice. “And there’s all these doctor’s bills and the nurse—”

“But you’re goin’ to be our chauffeur and live with us,” protested Art. “Father said so. You can save all your wages. An’ we’ll all help!”

The young aviator, very white in the face, turned his head to the wall.

“Now that’s all right, Bill,” went on Art, choking a little himself. “Father wants you—we ain’t got no chauffeur an’ we need one. You’re goin’ to stay long as you like. The folks say you ain’t got no folks where you[193] lived. So what’s the difference? This is a bully town even if it ain’t no city. You’ll be well an’ out in a few days, an’ then you’re a-goin’ right to work for us an’ I reckon that’ll mean forty or fifty dollars a month an’ board an’ keep. An’ when you ain’t busy with the automobile we’ll all turn in and help fix your aeroplane. An’ while that’s goin’ on,” concluded Art with a new and happy idea, “you’ll join the Wolf Patrol an’ be a Boy Scout with all of us. What’s the matter with that, Bill?”

At last the sick boy turned and asked the nurse if he might try to sit up for a few minutes.

“Yes,” she answered, “but Arthur will have to go now.”

“I wanted to see all the boys,” exclaimed Bonner weakly.

“Not to-day,” insisted the nurse. “You’ve talked long enough.”

“Is he goin’ to sit up a little while?” broke in Art as he saw the look of disappointment on the patient’s face. When the nurse nodded, he added, “Then you let him sit over there by the window. An’ wait till I call you, won’t you?”

A half hour later ten of the Boy Scouts were gathered at the Trevor home in full uniform.[194] Ordering them to fall into line, Leader Connie marched the squad to the guest-room side of the house. At the words, “Column front—squad halt!” a chair was wheeled to the open window, and for the first time Willie Bonner saw the boys who were soon to become his chums. And the scouts in turn had their first good look at the boy whose skill and daring was to mean so much to them. There were only embarrassed smiles and nods on the part of each, a formal salute from the scouts and a weak “Thank you, boys,” from the invalid, and the nurse wheeled his chair away.

A little later the entire company of scouts sought out Mr. Trevor on his front porch. Connie was spokesman.

“Mr. Trevor,” began the young leader, “I’ve been talkin’ to father, and he told me we’d have to see you. We want to ask something.”

“Go ahead,” answered Mr. Trevor.

“We don’t like to see them kids locked up in the calaboose, an’ we hope they won’t have to go to jail!” began Connie.

“Haven’t they violated the law?” asked Mr. Trevor.

“Mebbe they have,” replied Connie. “But[195] so did we the day we went over there lookin’ for a fight. An’ I reckon that when Sammy Addington hit Nick Apthorp with a rock he could ’a’ been arrested for assault an’ battery. An’ we was all violatin’ the peace. They was goin’ to lock us up, too, only you got us off.”

“An’ we want you to get ’em off,” broke in Art. “Bygones is bygones!”

Mr. Trevor’s previous smile disappeared as he looked carefully at each boy. “But,” he answered at last, “you know why I did that. You bought yourselves out of trouble by reforming, as it were. But these boys may not be penitent. It may save them from something worse.”

“But mebbe they’re scared, too, now, like we was,” suggested Ware.

“Mr. Trevor!” exclaimed Connie with sudden animation, “do you know what! Hank Milleson and Nick Apthorp are stuck on Boy Scoutin’ worse than we are, only they pertend they ain’t. They both got books about it. I’ll bet they’d turn Boy Scouts quick as a wink if you could get ’em out of this scrape.”

Neither Connie nor his chums knew the sudden joy that filled Mr. Trevor’s breast at this little speech. Whatever his own Boy[196] Scouts had felt or done since he organized them, this was proof to the interested man that his work had already borne fruit.

“What if they did?” he continued, scrutinizing each lad before him. “They’d be your rivals more than ever. These boys are older, bigger and more experienced in all things. If they went into this thing sincerely you boys might be put in the shade.”

“That’s all right,” exclaimed Connie. “We’d stand for that if they did it fair and square.”

“Do it, father,” pleaded Art. “You do what you can! I wish they’d organize. It’s no fun with just one patrol.”

“They got a name already,” chimed Sammy Addington.

“What’s that?” asked Mr. Trevor.

“The ‘Coyotes,’” answered Sammy. “But I bet you a wolf is as good as a coyote any day.”

“Remember,” continued Mr. Trevor soberly, “you can get your revenge now. You could punish those boys for their mock parade and their beer keg trick and for stealing your flag.”

“That’s all right,” exclaimed Art. “I[197] guess they’ve been punished enough. I’d rather fight ’em if they’re Boy Scouts an’ stickin’ to the rules, than see ’em locked up in jail. Besides, you got us off. An’ it ain’t fair if you don’t do what you can for them.”

“Do you all feel that way, boys?” asked Mr. Trevor finally. There was a murmur indicating unanimous approval. “Then,” he added, “I’ll see what I can do. If you boys don’t prosecute perhaps the matter will be dropped.”

Late that afternoon, unknown to the boys, Mr. Trevor rode to the home of Mr. Conyers, and the two men visited the mayor of Scottsville. In truth, the Goosetowners had long been a thorn in the mayor’s official side. But when Mr. Trevor had explained his mission there was no trouble in arranging a program of action. The three men drove to the mayor’s office, Marshal Walter was summoned, and Hank Milleson, Nick Apthorp and their four fellow prisoners were escorted into the presence of the three leading citizens.

As if about to pass sentence upon the six shivering prisoners for some capital crime, the town official reviewed their offense. He added a homily on the results of truancy and idleness,[198] predicted the penitentiary if the prisoners persisted in their present manner of life and then turned the sniffling boys over to Mr. Trevor.

The latter was far milder in his speech but equally emphatic. When he reached the point where, to the complete surprise of the boys, he told them there yet remained one chance of escape, he paused. Nick Apthorp, who was easily the least affected of the gang, spoke up:

“What you’re a-sayin’, Mr. Trevor, is mostly all right but it ain’t quite a square deal for Hank—”

“That’ll be about all that guff,” broke in Hank. “Don’t get soft, Nick.”

“I’ll get soft enough to tell the gentlemen here that we’re tough enough—all of us—but we’d been tougher if it hadn’t been fur Milleson. Your boys all put Hank down fur leadin’ us into trouble. But it ain’t so. If they’d listened to him when he met ’em on the railroad bridge they wouldn’t been no fight. When we paraded in front o’ the boys he didn’t want to do it but we egged him on an’ then we all had to promise we wouldn’t start nothin’. An’ down there on Round Rock River where we set the dead pup in the beer keg, that was all my doin’s. Hank didn’t even go with us[199] but argued it was a joke that turned his stummick. We did take the horse an’ wagon but I reckon they wasn’t one of us who done it cause we were a-goin’ to keep ’em.”

“I was there all right,” broke in Hank. “I was in the game.”

“An’ at that,” went on Nick, “he kicked again’ goin’. But, Mr. Trevor, when it comes down to arrestin’ them as really is responsible, they ain’t no cause to lock Hank up. He wasn’t responsible fur what he done.”

“Why not?” asked the mayor.

“’Cause he was drunk,” confessed Nick with unflinching lips. “You give Hank half a chanct an’ he’d be worth all the rest o’ us rolled together.”

“Mr. Mayor,” exclaimed Hank at once, his face flushed. “I did have too much beer but I knowed what I was a-doin’. I could have stopped the whole thing but I didn’t. Don’t you mind this hot air. I’m the oldest in the gang; I helped drive the horse away; I’m most to blame.”

“Well,” commented Mr. Trevor after a pause, “you see what you’re up against. What’ll you do to get out of this trouble?”


“Anything I can do,” answered Hank. “An’ I reckon the others’ll do the same.”

“Are you ready to be respectable?”

“You mean quit loafin’ an’ go to work?”


“I can’t get no job. None of us can. The factories don’t want us.”

“Will you go to work if I see that you get work?”

“Yes, sir,” exclaimed Hank, “an’ I’ll cut out the pool rooms an’ beer saloons, too.”

“All of you?” asked Mr. Trevor sweeping a glance over the other five.

“It’s your only chance,” explained the mayor sternly.

“Yes, sir,” came from five hopeful but yet alarmed boys.

“So far, so good,” went on Mr. Trevor. “Your trouble isn’t wholly because you haven’t been working or in school. It’s because you haven’t had better ways of amusing yourselves when you’re not busy. I’ll see that everybody here has a chance to begin work. I’m also going to see that you are given a chance at decent, helpful play. Hank,” he said, turning to the Goosetown gang leader, “what do you think of the Boy Scout idea?”


“Seems all right fur them as kin afford it.”

“Will you also promise to organize your friends into a Boy Scout patrol?”

“Me? Us?” exploded Hank.

“It isn’t altogether a matter of choice,” went on Mr. Trevor. “I’ve found the principles of the Boy Scouts have already helped our sons. The Wolf Patrol in a body has asked us to intercede for you boys. We have done so and you won’t be prosecuted, on this second condition: you must organize and keep up honestly a patrol of your own.”

“We ain’t got no money to buy all them clothes an’ hats,” exclaimed Nick Apthorp. “Besides, Art and Alex Conyers’ll guy us.”

“Perhaps,” commented Mr. Trevor. “I believe you did that to them.”

“If you boys mean business,” broke in Mr. Conyers for the first time, “and try to make something out of yourselves, I’ll see that you get uniforms. I’m tired of your deviltry.”

The rough nature of the boys did not permit a gracious response but when the three men left the young offenders the answer of every boy was shining in his eyes.



The arraignment of the six horse thieves in court the next morning was only a matter of form. To the surprise of Marshal Walter and the other court officers, the mayor called the cases, asked for witnesses and, none being present, dismissed the prisoners. A penitent sextet of boys slipped out of the court room, and the regeneration of “Hank’s gang” had begun.

The next five weeks passed rapidly. The Wolves continued their drills, scout games and outings but not once did they clash with the rival Coyotes. This patrol had been organized and completely outfitted by Mr. Conyers. Each of the Goosetowners who had suffered arrest was also at work, thanks to Mr. Trevor. It was a new era in juvenile Scottsville.

Ten days after the arrests Willie Bonner was able to leave his bed and in a few more days he was on Mr. Trevor’s pay roll, as a[203] chauffeur and handy helper about the house and yard. With the boys, however, he was a chum and equal. One would have thought him Art’s brother.

Mr. Trevor had written to the American Aeroplane Company in Newark explaining the situation. As young Bonner had figured, the boy owed the company four hundred dollars, for which the company held a mortgage. This the restored young aviator had promised to pay as soon as he could, and the company readily accepted the terms.

“We suggest,” wrote the president, “that you do not attempt to do this while it is a burden to you.” (The boy had also written to his old employers.) “Your treatment by the circus was outrageous and we sympathize with you. We were sorry to lose your services and will be glad to reëmploy you at any time. If you prefer to remain in the west until you have paid the expenses of your illness we will suspend payments on the engine until you are in a position to resume them.”

This suited Bonner and was received by his new associates with joy. As soon as it was determined that Bonner (or Bonny as he was immediately rechristened) was to stay in[204] Scottsville that summer and fall, two much discussed secret plans were at once laid before the new boy; that he become a member of the Wolf Patrol and that the entire patrol join with Bonner, financially and physically, to restore the wrecked aeroplane.

Why this project should have been made a secret was hard to say. It was a matter of business with Bonny. But there was a boyish feeling among his fellow scouts that the rebuilding of the aeroplane in secret gave the project a glamor of romance—like a satisfied puppy gnawing over a hidden bone—and the attempt to restore the flying machine was to be made without the knowledge of any outsider.

Mr. Trevor, however, had to be consulted. Manifestly the wareroom where the broken planes were stored was no place to make repairs. A happy expedient was hit upon. Mr. Trevor owned several farms and one of these, the Cloverdale Stock Farm, was just beyond the town limits on the bluff north of the river bottom.

Here there were the usual barns, wagon sheds, cribs and silos. And in addition there was a low, wide implement house—full of farm tools and wagons in the winter but empty[205] in the summer. Cloverdale being an up-to-date farm, one end of the implement building—“Shed No. 4”—was a smithy, with a forge for shoeing horses and a carpenter’s bench for the ordinary farm repairs.

Cloverdale was a mile and a half from town. The road that passed by the sycamore-tree resort wound its way across the river bottom and then turned east on the bluff. Finally it reached the river again and descended once more to cross a rattling iron bridge where, on the far side of the bridge, the road made its way between two pieces of open woods.

These, clean and free from dead timber, were favorite picnic grounds for all of Scottsville. Midway between the bridge and where the road reached the top of the bluff was Cloverdale Farm, whose dairy and fat cattle were the pride of that part of the country.

To this place, after nine o’clock one evening, when a mist of rain had driven most of Scottsville indoors, a farm wagon carried the remnants of the wrecked aeroplane. When these had been stowed within the blackness of “Shed No. 4” and its owner and Art and Connie had hurried back to town in Mr. Trevor’s automobile,[206] another significant step had been taken in that summer’s adventures.

Although the Wolves and Coyotes had not clashed in these and the preceding days, they were well aware of each other’s doings. And, as nearly always happens, when the erring individual reforms or tries to, many persons rushed to the Goosetowners’ aid with never a thought of the others who had stuck to a reasonably straight and narrow path.

“I suppose you notice,” observed Art to Connie one day, “that we ain’t in it any more. People used to come out and make nice remarks when the Wolves marched by with our flag flyin’ and our new suits shinin’. The Coyotes were up on the public square last night durin’ the band concert, paradin’ around an’ gettin’ more applause ’an we ever did.”

“That ain’t all, neither,” retorted Connie. “Most o’ the Coyotes work over to the table factory. They’re a-givin’ it out that the factory folks is goin’ to send their patrol up to the state fair to march in the big parade carryin’ a banner sayin’ ‘Scottsville Tables.’”

“Well,” remarked Willie Bonner who was with the boys, “isn’t that what you wanted?”

“Sure,” answered Art. “Only, I kind o’[207] thought that we’d mix a little. Now they don’t seem to know we’re on earth. I ain’t jealous of ’em, only I wish they knew we was still doin’ business.”

The last week in July an annual religious camp meeting opened a session on its grounds fifteen miles from Scottsville. To the surprise and joy of the Wolves they were invited to attend the opening and participate in the “young people’s outdoor program.” A few days before the event it was learned that the Coyotes had also been invited and what was more to the point, that their employers had given them the day off.

“I’m bully glad they’re goin’,” said Davy Cooke at the first gathering of the Wolves. “That’s better’n drinkin’ beer an’ stealin’ horses. An’ I reckon,” he added, “it’ll be a case o’ the prodigal son. When the fatted calf is barbecued, the Coyotes’ll probably get the choice cuts.”

“You ain’t sorry, are you?” laughed Willie Bonner as usual. “I kind o’ think you fellows have had your share o’ calf an’ other good things.”

“Sorry?” exclaimed Connie. “Of course[208] not. We don’t want any the best of it. But we’re gettin’ tired o’ playin’ second fiddle.”

“All we want,” broke in Art, “is an even break.”

When the eventful day came, sure enough, the Coyotes boarded the same train. Both patrols entered the same car. There was a volley of jocularity, good-natured salutations and then some mixing of fellow scouts. There had certainly been a revolution in the Goosetown representatives. Shining shoes, scrubbed faces and hands and freshly ironed shirts and ties were as general among the Coyotes as the Wolves.

“Now you watch ’em,” whispered Art to Connie when the camp grounds were reached. “All the women an’ the preachers’ll take ’em up. An’ they’ll head the procession—you’ll see.”

“Mebbe we’d better tell the camp meetin’ folks we’ve reformed too,” suggested Connie.

“That’s no joke,” replied Art. “The original Boy Scouts,” he went on with a smile, “will soon be back numbers.”

“Cheer up! Cheer up!” exclaimed Willie Bonner who was also resplendent in hat and khaki, “you ought to be proud of your work.”


As predicted by Art, while the camp grounds committee gave all the scouts a cordial reception, it lingered with the reformed Goosetowners. And also as predicted, when the camp grounds band set out for the big tabernacle, the Coyote Patrol held the right of line. Then came the “ancient and honorable” Wolf Patrol, gay and resplendent in spite of some secret jealousy, and, after these, various bodies of boys and girls, Christian Endeavorers, Sunday School classes, Young Men’s Christian Association representatives and Willing Workers.

When the procession reached the assembly hall, speeches of welcome were made; there was a short address extolling the work of the young people and some special remarks on the Boy Scout movement. When the speaker told how the Boy Scout idea “brings all classes of boys together, the rich and the poor, and levels all to one plane of comradeship and equality,” Art nudged Wart Ware and whispered:

“Unless you’ve been a real tough. Then it seems to level you up on top o’ the other fellows.”

“And now,” concluded the speaker, “as appropriate to this day’s outdoor program, it is[210] my pleasure to announce that the association has provided a number of beautiful prizes to be awarded the winners in an athletic contest—‘track events’ I believe you call them. Of course these events are open to all our young friends. But, I feel sure,” he added with a beaming smile, “that none of us will be surprised if all the prizes are captured by our young athletic friends and guests, the Boy Scouts of Scottsville. We will now adjourn to the recreation field.”

If the fourteen Wolves had each and instantly swallowed a lump of ice the chill that each felt at these words could not have been more pronounced.

“It’s a put-up job,” whispered Sammy Addington.

“It winds up the last of our little ball o’ yarn,” added Wart under his breath.

“What do you think o’ that?” gasped Art to Connie behind his hand. “It’s like a gang o’ freshies tackling the varsity team at football. It ain’t square!”

Connie looked at the near-by Coyotes. To tell the truth the latter showed no assurance themselves. They were heavier and in the[211] main, older. And it needed but one look to reassure him that it was no “put-up job.”

“They’re worse scared than we are,” answered Connie trying to reassure his chums. “Anyway, we got to go against ’em. They ain’t no gettin’ out o’ it. Buck up boys! If they’ve got a hundred yard dash Sammy ought to scare some one. An’ if they high jump what’s the matter with Art!”

Just then the master of ceremonies was introduced to read the program of events. When he reached the end and announced “Relay race, two hundred and twenty yards each, four persons to a side,” Willie Bonner caught Art and Connie by the knees.

“Let me in that,” he whispered. “I’ve done relays—nothin’ to get excited about—but that’s my distance. Cheer up, fellows!”

With grit, if with but little confidence, the Wolves joined the procession to the recreation green. The Coyotes, less familiar with school and youthful athletics, followed with curious anticipation. The program, while it included the main track contests, was not prepared with a view to “team work” and there were no points for the first, second and third. First[212] prizes alone were provided for the winner in each event.

“Remember,” urged Connie to his scouts, “we ain’t entered as a team. Come to think of it we’re not fightin’ the Coyotes.”

“That’s all right,” replied Art, “if you want to look at it that way. But I don’t. We’ll know and they’ll know. An’ ever’body’ll know when it’s over what they took an’ what we took. An’ the patrol ’at gets the most prizes’ll lick the other. An’ we’re licked now, don’t you forget that. Who’s goin’ to put the twelve pound shot against Hank Milleson?”

“All right,” responded Connie, “let ’em. Muscle and bone ain’t the only things.”

“But it’s something,” growled Art, “an’ most folks think it’s a whole lot.”

For an hour the athletic meet aroused enthusiasm. Event after event was run off with yells and cheers, and at noon when the big basket dinner was announced in the Grove, fourteen sweating Wolves had what they had feared—a decisive defeat. There were no tears and there was no anger but there were set lips and flushed faces. Art’s tabulation of results was as follows:



  1. 100 yard dash—Sammy Addington, Wolf; Time 11⅘ sec.
  2. 440 yard run—James Compton, Coyote; Time 1 min. 3⅖ sec.
  3. 880 yard run—Martin Clare, Coyote; Time 2 min. 45 sec.
  4. 1 mile run—Jack Chandler, Y. M. C. A.; Time 5 min. 56⅕ sec.
  5. Putting 12 lb. shot—Henry Milleson, Coyote; Dist. 28 ft. 7½ in.
  6. High jump—Job Wilkes, Coyote; height 4 ft. 11 in.
  7. Running broad jump—Henry Milleson, Coyote; dist. 15 ft. 3 in.
  8. Relay race, 220 yards each, 4 men on a side.
    Sammy Addington, Wolf;
    David Cooke, Wolf; Time
    Lewis Ashwood, Wolf; 1 min., 50⅖ sec.
    William Bonner, Wolf;

“There it is,” growled Art. “Five prizes to our two. An’ headin’ the procession! An’ goin’ to the state fair to show off! Where do we get off?”

Connie, who had been watching the Coyotes reforming company in silence, turned suddenly to his companions. Instead of replying to[214] Art’s question, he exclaimed in a whisper, “Come here, kids! I’ve got an idea. Mebbe it’s rotten, but listen!”

For several moments he spoke earnestly in whispers, glancing quickly from one to the other. There were constant interruptions from the puzzled Wolves and explanations in turn from Art and Wart. Then all attention seemed centered in Willie Bonner. When he finally nodded his head with an approving laugh Connie turned and walked quickly to the Coyote crowd.

“Well, kids,” began the Wolf Patrol Leader, “I want to congratulate you. You put it over us all right.”

“What d’you mean?” asked Hank Milleson.

“Why you beat us, fair and square.”

“Beat you?” continued Hank. “How’s that?”

“Didn’t you win five events to our two?”

“Five to two?” repeated Hank. “Oh, yes! Yes, I guess so. It was a lot o’ fun, wasn’t it?”

“Yes,” answered Connie. “But we don’t like to be licked. You fellows got more muscle an’ wind ’an we have but we got a game we think we can beat you at.”


“What’s that?” exclaimed several.

“It’s a scout game,” replied Connie. “You know ‘When Scout Meets Scout’?”

“Sure,” every one answered.

“The first week in August we’re goin’ to camp out in the picnic woods up on the river. If you kids think you can lick us at ever’thing, we dare you to fix a day for a game of ‘When Scout Meets Scout,’ the winners to be the champion Boy Scouts of Scottsville. How about it?”

“Purty soft,” exclaimed Nick Apthorp tantalizingly. “We’ll be there an’ we’ll be the champeens.”



The week in the woods referred to by Patrol Leader Conyers was to be the big event of the summer. It was to include a Sunday in camp and the first day was set for Wednesday, August the second. In the seven days following, the program included every detail of Boy Scout drill, game and camp life. Saturday was named for the “When Scout Meets Scout” combat with the Coyotes and the day after the return from camp meeting the original program was so altered as to leave this day open.

At a later conference between Hank and Connie the details of the coming contest were agreed upon. The usual directions for this game were amended and elaborated to conform to the bigger notions of the eager scouts. The rules for this game as given in “Scouting for Boys” are these:

“Single scouts, or complete patrols or pairs[217] of scouts, are to be taken out about two miles apart, and made to work toward each other either alongside a road, or by giving each side a landmark to work to, such as a steep hill or a big tree, which is directly behind the other party, and will thus insure their coming together. The patrol which first sees the other wins. This is signified by the patrol leader holding up his patrol flag for the umpire to see, and sounding his whistle. A patrol need not keep together, but the patrol wins which first holds out its flag, so it is well for the scouts to be in touch with their patrol leader by signal, voice or message. Scouts may employ any ruse they like, such as climbing into trees and hiding in carts but they must not dress up in disguise.”

“That’s all right,” commented Connie, “but it’s too simple if we are goin’ to make a day of it.”

“Doctor it up any way you like,” laughed Hank. “I reckon we can stand it if you can.”

And this was the plan finally agreed upon, the conditions being signed by each leader:

Since the Coyotes had but ten men, the Wolves were to select the same number from its own roster. The entire Wolf patrol was to[218] start out at nine o’clock in the morning and have a half hour in which to conceal itself, under honor not to go beyond these limits: the river on the west, the dirt road on the north leading past Bradner’s Mill (a mile and a half up the river) to Phillipstown, the Phillipstown pike running south to the County Fair grounds and thence west again to the Little Green River on the town limits. This was an area of about five square miles.

When the first patrol to “hide out” left the Wolf camp it was to be escorted out of sight by three umpires. Then each of the ten “hide out” scouts was to be given a square of white muslin with a conspicuous number on it to be pinned to his breast. Another square, an exact duplicate, was to be attached to the boy’s back. He was under pledge as a Boy Scout not to remove, exchange or obscure these placards. The umpires were then to prepare a list containing each boy’s name and number, which was to be held secret from the pursuers.

When a half hour’s leeway had elapsed the scouts in pursuit were to be started. They were allowed two hours and a half to scour the fields, roads, woods, barns, ravines, creeks and swamps of the “hide out” territory. The[219] pursuers must register back in camp by twelve o’clock and report to the umpires the name or names of those of the enemy they had caught sight of. To confirm this, the discovered boy’s number had also to be given. Inability to give the number belonging to a detected boy counted as a failure.

“What license you kids got for thinkin’ you can beat us at that game?” asked Hank smiling. “You certainly don’t think you know more about the country! We’ve shot rabbits and nutted an’ stole apples over ever’ foot of it ’at ain’t water—an’ all that we’ve gone froggin’ in.”

“Never mind that,” retorted Connie. “We’ve signed up, an’ the winner’s to be the cock o’ the walk.”

“An’ takes the banner,” added Hank confidently, referring to a special emblem of white silk, bordered with red, on which these words were to be painted: “Scottsville Boy Scouts, First Prize Scouting.”

When Wednesday finally arrived and the Wolf Patrol set out for the picnic grounds, the big wagon and the dray that headed the procession were piled high with all kinds of camp equipage. The patrol provided not only for[220] its own comfort in lodging and food but carried material to make a number of guests comfortable. This meant a big extra tent with camp stools, a specially employed colored cook and delicacies in the way of food calculated to please young ladies. It was understood that in the period from three o’clock to five thirty each afternoon, tea and light refreshments was to be served to sisters and mothers and others.

It had been arranged that cream, milk, butter and fruit and vegetables would be contributed daily by the Cloverdale Stock Farm a mile and a half away. Moved also by the expected invasion of the ladies, the scouts had already spent two afternoons at the picnic grounds removing dead tree trunks, raking the ground and tidying up. By noon of Wednesday, one passing the camp site might have thought a company of militia was in camp. Flags were flying, tents lined the river front and the spick-and-span Wolves gave the needed martial touch. As the smoking first meal was placed on the set-up table the familiar war song of the young scouts rent the air.

“Be prepared,” yelled Connie.

“Zing-a-zing! Bom! Bom!” roared the[221] Wolves as they hit the table with each “Bom! Bom!”

With this came another song of defiance that all had been shouting for days.

“He’s a Coyote! He’s a Coyote!” Connie would yell.

“Yes! he’s better’n that; he’s a hippo-hippo-hippopotamus!” came the chorus.

That afternoon the routine of a regular Boy Scout camp began. In full it ran in this way: 6.30 A. M., turn out, air bedding, coffee and crackers; 7 to 7.30 A. M., parade for exercise and instruction; 7.30 A. M., clean up tents and wash; 8 A. M., breakfast; 9 A. M., scouting practice; 11 A. M., crackers and milk; 11 A. M. to 1.30 P. M., scouting games; 1.30 P. M., dinner; 2 to 3 P. M., compulsory rest, no movement or talking in camp; 3 to 5.30 P. M., scouting games; 5.30 P. M., tea; 6 to 7.30 P. M., recreation and camp games; 7.30 to 9 P. M., camp fire or 8 to 11 P. M., night practice; 9 P. M., crackers and milk and turn in; 9.30 P. M., lights out.

This program was interrupted Friday afternoon when Connie selected the team of ten for the next day’s struggle. Then, in a body, with a chart of the “hide out” territory, the Wolves spent three hours in a careful survey[222] of the scene of the coming conflict. Nothing was to be left to chance. Using their best skill and all their ingenuity the older boys selected each of the ten hiding places. And they were scattered from one end of the district to the other.

One boy was shown how to curl himself up on the top platform of a windmill. Colly Craighead was to hurry to the Little Green River Bridge and secrete himself on the lower crossbeams over the water. Willie Bonner suggested the clever scheme of dressing himself in a scarecrow’s ragged garments, but this had to be vetoed on the ground that it was a disguise. Two boys were assigned to heavily foliaged trees; one to a deep hole in a gravel pit; one to a hollow tree and one to the sewer pipes making a road culvert.

These “hide outs” took care of Wart Ware, Sammy Addington, Phil Abercrombie, Lew Ashwood, Colly Craighead, Paul Corbett and Davy Cooke. The other boys of the ten selected, Leader Conyers, Art and Willie Bonner, undertook to shift for themselves. Connie on the theory that the pursuers would, in the main, hurry at once to the far limits of the “hide out” territory, meant to stick closer to[223] the camp until the rush was over and then sneak home.

Art planned to use his legs to reach Bradner’s mill before the Coyotes took the field and to hide in the stream which, above the bridge, was wide and from six to ten feet deep. Bonner was to go with him but the young aviator was to make a bluff at hiding.

Under pretense of dodging the Coyotes, Bonner was to remain always within hail of Art. On the approach of any Coyote to the river bank Bonner would give the Wolf signal and Art would disappear under the water. To make this possible Art was to push ahead of himself all the time a heavy bit of driftwood. His body wholly under the water, he would raise his mouth and nose on the far side of the driftwood to breathe and either tread water or float idly until danger had passed.

“They’ll get me early in the game,” explained Bonner who really originated this ruse. “And that’ll help us. In the first place they’ll never suspect that two of us are near together. And, after I’m tagged, I’ll be free to keep an eye out for any one that approaches the river. That way, it’s almost a cinch that we can ‘hide out’ one of us at least.”


Saturday every one was early astir. Even before nine o’clock a procession of buggies, carriages and automobiles was entering the picnic grounds. At half past eight the Coyotes reached the camp. To the surprise of all, the proprietor of the table factory had hired the Scottsville Silver Cornet Band and on foot it preceded the Coyotes. The martial music gave gayety to the occasion. But a new banner borne by the Coyotes did not. On this were blazoned the words: “Camp Meeting, Five to Two.”

This unexpected demonstration rather upset the Wolves. They could understand the band and the banner and the assurance of their rivals—these were provided and inspired by the Coyotes’ present backer, the owner of the factory where most of the Coyotes were employed. But the inroad of spectators mystified them. It was explained later that the evening newspaper of the day before had suddenly made a great event out of the boyish contest. It had explained that the show would be interesting in pitting the ingenuity of each patrol against the other; that it was free, that visitors were welcome and that citizens should turn the day into a gala occasion.


The response to this showed what few had expected, that the previous clashes between the two patrols had already inexcusably developed partisans in the town. Finally, when the large automobile of the table factory owner appeared and began scattering broadcast little tags worded “Encourage the Boy Workers,” with a crude picture of a coyote head printed beneath, the cause of special interest became apparent.

“It’s Chase of the table factory,” Connie heard his father remark to Mr. Trevor. “We ought to do something. He’s turning an innocent sport into a bitter struggle.”

“You’re right,” answered Mr. Trevor soberly. “He probably thinks it will help him with his discontented workmen if he stirs up feeling; trying to make it a fight between what he calls labor and the leisure class.”

“Do you think we ought to call the event off?” asked Mr. Conyers.

“By no means,” responded the father of the Boy Scout idea. “I believe Chase is putting bad ideas into the Coyotes’ heads. But for our boys to retreat before them will not mend matters. Perhaps the best thing that could happen to the Coyotes would be a good[226] defeat and,” he went on significantly, “I have reason to believe the Wolves can give it to them. If Mr. Chase persists in putting us in the ‘leisure class,’ which none of us are, I’ve got just pride enough to want to show him that everything isn’t accomplished by muscle alone.”

“I don’t know,” answered Mr. Conyers doubtfully. “I’m sorry the point has been raised. Our boys are of course no better than their old persecutors. But I’m sure they are no worse. They were all getting together in a decent form of amusement. This may break ’em apart again.”

Just then the report spread through the camp that the table factory owner had notified the Coyotes that he had decided to give them a hundred dollars if they won the contest.

“That settles it,” exclaimed Mr. Conyers. “This thing has gone far enough. That kills every Boy Scout idea included in the game. We ought to force the Wolves to withdraw.”

“Hain’t the Mama Boys got any friends?” shouted some one in the crowd of Coyote adherents just at this moment. “Be easy with ’em, Hank!”

Mr. Trevor, exasperated but showing a[227] smile, looked at Mr. Conyers, whose face was flushed with anger.

“I’m done,” Connie’s father snapped. “I can see some one’s going to be better off for a good licking. Let ’em fight it out.”

Out of the crowd the umpires were soon selected: Mr. Addington, Sammy’s father, for the Wolves; Engineer Gamage of the table factory for the Coyotes; and Professor Souter of the high school, who was agreed upon by the other two. Sharply at nine o’clock all the Coyotes were coralled in the guest tent with the Wolves, the instructions were again repeated, each boy placed on his honor as to his own conduct and also about receiving information or help from outsiders—the latter condition suggested by Mr. Trevor. Then the three umpires set out with the ten eager Wolves and escorted the first “hide outs” down the pike and beyond a bend in the road. In ten minutes the committee was back in camp with its secret list of the number assigned each Wolf. The band played, spectators scattered to left and right better to see the coming get-away, the Coyotes lined up on the smooth, dusty pike, and with a shout of “Go!” at nine thirty[228] o’clock a quick cloud of dust told that the fight was on.

No word from the field reached the camp until a few minutes after ten o’clock. Then Buck Bluett, his face aglow, suddenly rushed into camp from up the river, and pausing only a moment at the umpires’ station, panted:

“Number ten, Bill Bonner.”

As none but the committee knew whether this was right or wrong the cheering meant nothing. Buck was off along the pike after a new victim. There was some surprise that Bonner was so easily detected. By eleven o’clock four other Coyotes had reported to the umpires. Job Wilkes registered number nine as Wart Ware, discovered on the top of a windmill when his hat blew off, by Job, who immediately ascended the tower and caught the Wolf’s number. Joe Andrews caught Sammy Addington in a hole in the gravel pit and announced him as number two.

Nick Apthorp, proud of a double victory, turned in numbers three and one as Phil Abercrombie and Lew Ashwood, who were caught in trees, while Matt Branson said his man was Paul Corbett and that he was number seven.

All the reporting Coyotes took the field again[229] and no other searcher reported until eleven thirty. About that time Buck Bluett came in out of breath with his second claim. Number eight, he affirmed, was Davy Cooke whom he insisted he had chased from under a road culvert. After that, as the minutes passed, Wolf stock began to go up. Three Wolf “hide outs” had not yet been reported. Yet, if the claims were found to agree with the umpires’ list of numbers, seven captures had been made, a number that would require hard and fast work to beat.

The unannounced boys were Arthur Trevor, Colly Craighead and Alex Conyers. As twelve o’clock approached, the umpires moved out into the road, ready to accept any claim up to the last minute. One after another the searching scouts trotted back into camp according to the rules. And, as each appeared with no new claim, a shout arose from the Wolf adherents. Nine of the Coyote pursuers had registered “in” and the umpires were about to declare the first half of the game over when an exhausted yell was heard down the river:

“Colly Craighead is number six,” cried Pete Chester. “Down under the Little Green River bridge.”


“Twelve o’clock,” announced Professor Souter.

“And two out,” yelled the friends of the Wolves.

The Wolves had a margin of thirty minutes in which to report back into Camp. But the twelve o’clock had scarcely been announced when Willie Bonner was seen hastening into camp.

“How many out?” he called anxiously.

“Two,” responded some one. “Trevor and Conyers.”

“There’s Trevor,” shouted Bonner pointing to the near-by river. There was a rush in that direction. The only thing to be seen was the section of a half-rotted log drifting slowly with the current in the middle of the stream. As it lodged against the driftwood caught by the bridge abutment, a sleek and oily-looking plaster of hair slowly rose from its far side.

“Trevor, number four,” exclaimed two blue and cold lips, and a shivering form drew itself into the sunlight again.

One after another the “hide-outs” appeared in camp. Finally all had arrived but Connie. As the half hour neared its end the Wolves began to show alarm.


“He’s right up there at the bend of the road under a pile of cut thistles,” explained Bonner. A dash was made to the spot. But Connie was not there. If he failed to report in five minutes he would be penalized and counted as found, increasing to nine the number detected. Watches flew out. Good points of vantage were selected by spectators and every possible approach kept under anxious watch. The time limit had all but expired. Professor Souter stepped forward and called:

“All present but one. Alexander Conyers here?”

“All right,” was the almost instant answer in a sleepy tone. “What d’you want?”

Hundreds of persons turned to see Connie step from one of the tents, rubbing his eyes and yawning.



“Where’ve you been?” demanded the factory umpire instantly.

“I’ve been asleep in the tent,” responded Connie, smiling.

“How long?” continued his questioner.

“’Bout an hour and a half!”

“Have you been out of bounds?” broke in Professor Souter.

“No, sir. I’ve never been over a few hundred yards from this spot.”

“Then you must have disguised yourself,” suggested the third umpire.

“No, sir—I did not. Ever’thing has been fair an’ square.”

“Then I think it’s up to you to tell us how you passed through this crowd without anyone seeing you,” exclaimed Mr. Chase of the table factory skeptically.

“I didn’t go through the crowd,” laughed Connie provokingly. “I went under it.”


“Alexander!” exclaimed Mr. Conyers, “make a report to the committee at once of where you have been.”

“Very simple,” began Connie. “As we planned, the boys covered me with a heap of cut thistles only a few hundred yards up the road, around the bend. We did it because I calculated all the fellows chasing us would start out on the run and not look around very much just next to the camp.”

“I looked in that pile of thistles,” protested Carrots Compton. “You wasn’t so smart.”

“You were too late,” went on Connie. “You see, I was the first one hid, and I had almost a half hour leeway. It was pretty hot and prickly under the thistles, and I didn’t know if I could stand it. Then while I was movin’ around tryin’ to make a sort of nest, all of a sudden I felt a kind of draft. It was so strong I knew I was near a hole of some kind—and that’s what I was. Just back of where I was lyin’ there was a cave-in in the ground. Some one had laid a few rails acrost it, and then the thistles was piled on there—to keep the stock out, I guess.”

“I seen that hole,” interrupted Carrots.[234] “There wasn’t nothin’ in it but some rails an’ weeds.”

“That was later,” laughed Connie. “The hole was a break in the big three-foot cement tile. When I felt the wind suckin’ in there I knew it was empty, and I could see it was dry. I knew it ran right along the road by the camp an’ ended by the river bank. I took a chance and dropped down into it. Then to make it look as if no one could have done it, I pulled in the rails an’ thistles an’ started for the river.”

“In the ditch tile?” asked Mr. Trevor alarmed.

“Sure!” answered Connie. “It was dark for a long time, and there was things there—something like a water rat I reckon it was, kept runnin’ ahead o’ me. An’ I think there was a snake or two—judgin’ by the sounds—but it didn’t bother me. I could see daylight after a long crawl, an’ then I felt better, ’cause it got cooler. Once some one looked in the open end o’ the drain, but I laid flat an’ still. An’ when I got to the river there wasn’t anyone in sight. I crawled out an’ snook along under the high bank about twenty-five feet an’ crawled up into the tent from the back. So’s to be sure no one would look in an’ see me I[235] crawled under some bedclothes an’ then I went to sleep. That’s all.”

Mr. Chase attempted, for a moment, to make a point that Art, Connie and Colly Craighead had gone out of bounds by crossing the river line. But the umpires rejected his contention as the conditions clearly specified “beyond the river” and not “in it or on it.” When the list was checked up, all names and numbers were found to agree with the umpires’ list and the Coyotes were officially credited with having found eight of the ten Wolf “hide outs.”

Then followed the luncheon hour. Every shady tree seemed to have its group of picnickers busy with fried chicken, jelly cake, potato salad, pickles and like refreshments. The Coyotes were guests of the Wolves at a special spread. Everyone ate hurriedly, for the real struggle was yet to come. The Wolves knew what they had to do to win and, figuratively, they pawed the ground eager for the start. Sharp at one o’clock the ten Coyotes marched out on the road with the committee. At one thirty the straining Wolves were turned loose.

But, to the surprise of the spectators, the Wolves trotted down the road only beyond the crowd. There they came to a stop and each[236] scout could be seen attaching a large white flag to his staff—all except Art Trevor and Willie Bonner who did not even carry staffs. Then, Leader Conyers was observed to take from his pocket a roll of paper and trace his finger over it as if giving certain directions.

This done, Connie and seven other boys separated and spreading out like the sticks of a fan, took to their heels. There was an advance to right and left over fences, several scouts started straight down the road, and two boys set out up and down the river. Art and Willie Bonner waited until their mates had begun to disappear and then they turned and ran back to the camp.

The astonished spectators gazed at them without comment. The two Wolves silently trotted into the camp and then toward the bridge in the rear. It was not until the bridge began to rattle under the feet of Art and Bonner that curiosity found words. At that point the factory umpire called:

“Here, you fellows! You’re going out of bounds!”

But the running scouts proceeded without a pause.

“You’re wrong,” explained Professor Souter.[237] “The pursuers can go where they please. It’s the ‘hide outs’ only who must keep within the district.”

To confirm this, a fact well understood by Art and his companions, the rules were examined and Professor Souter was found to be right.

“I hope they ain’t givin’ up,” laughed the factory owner. “A real sport sticks, win or lose.”

“I think they’ll be back,” spoke up Mr. Trevor, who seemed to be the only person not mystified. “Meanwhile,” he added addressing the hundreds present, “I have been told by the Wolves that you need expect no bulletins from the field until the enemy has been located.”

Between the wonder over the apparent retreat of two of the Wolves, and some disappointment over this news—which made it plain that they must have a system and meant to give all their time to the search instead of running in to report each man found—the crowd gradually melted away among the trees.

A few minutes after two o’clock a man lying in the grass suddenly sprang up with a shout and wildly waving arms. As he plunged toward[238] the open, dusty road a wave of picnickers joined him.

“An aeroplane!” rose in a chorus. “A flyin’ machine!”

High above the road leading back to town, a brown expanse of canvas was gliding through the air toward the iron bridge as swiftly and steadily as a hawk with its eye fixed on a field mouse below. The whirr of two glistening propellers ran before the object. On its lower frame sat two boys. One of them with a small object in his lap, was holding a pair of field glasses on the gaping crowd. The other, with his hands upon the levers, was holding the machine on a course directly over the road.

“It’s Trevor and that circus boy!” yelled some one. And almost before the crowd could get on the road, Willie Bonner’s resurrected aeroplane slid over the camp and, with an upward dart, was beyond the gaping crowd.

“Nothin’ doin’!” yelled an excited man, Mr. Chase. “They can’t put that over on our boys. This ain’t a circus. The rules say: ‘No outside help.’ That’s outside help. Rule ’em out.”

The umpires, puzzled, looked at each other. Then adherents of the two patrols crowded[239] about the committee, shouting, protesting or denying charges. Bonner had banked and headed his aeroplane down the river and was out of sight before a decision was reached. But in the end, even the Coyotes’ umpire had to agree that the use of the aeroplane was within the rules, as it belonged to the Wolves and was operated by them.

Those in the camp who first saw the aeroplane shooting across the river, at once connected it with the two boys who had disappeared in that direction. But the concealed Coyotes had no such suggestion to help them in identifying the occupants of the aeroplane. This was as the Wolves had hoped and expected.

“Now,” began Bonner as the aeroplane headed down the river, “get ready. I’ll cover every foot of the district. Watch your chart and use your glasses. I reckon those who are inside of anything’ll pop out to see what’s doin’.”

“It’s a cinch,” chuckled Art. “They ain’t one of ’em knows about the machine. Just keep high enough so they can’t make out our faces, an’ I’ll do the rest with the glasses.”


“An’ them we miss, the other boys ought to get.”

The first results amply proved that the boys’ theory was a good one. Near the County Fair road, in the southwest corner of the district, a small, scum-covered cow pond stood in a low pasture. Art, using his glass, made out a Wolf running from the pond, which he had evidently examined with no result. As Art kept his glass on the opaque green pool, the aeroplane made a circling sweep. When it was about to pass over the water, a slime-coated boy, dripping water and mud, scrambled up out of the center of the pond, his face upturned, his eyes staring and his mouth open.

“Number nine,” exclaimed Art. After another squint with the glass he added jubilantly: “Joe Andrews. He just had his nose out.”

While the aeroplane swung to the end of the district, Art jotted the name and number on his chart. Bonner’s machine was not a varnished, silk-winged aeroplane. The new white linen sections on the old, soiled and oily planes were even grotesque. But it was built on scientific principles, light and stout, carried a four-cylinder, twenty horse power motor that was working as well as it did before the accident[241] at the circus. The principal expense in the rebuilding of the flying machine had been the cost of a new magneto. Other needed material had been secured in Scottsville.

“Now,” suggested the jubilant young aviator, “we’ll take a turn about the whole district and look wherever it seems unlikely anyone would hide.”

The circuit required less than twelve minutes, and the aeroplane passed the camp again. Not a Coyote was seen but the Wolves were picked out, scattered here and there, by their white staff flags. Turning westward at the camp road, the aeroplane headed directly across the “hide out” district. Art kept his glass busy, but no Coyote head rewarded him.

“That looks like about the last place anyone would hide,” suggested Art pointing directly ahead. “Let’s try it.”

He referred to a broad wheat field which spread over the top of a low hill. The crop had been cut and threshed, and a large part of the field had been newly plowed. The plowed part covered the crest of the rolling field and was apparently devoid of all life except blackbirds. A white-flagged Wolf could be seen in[242] the distance cutting across a corner of the plowed slope.

The aeroplane pilot gripped his levers anew and the machine rolled upward on the air billows, while Art’s nerves tingled with the joy of the chase.

“Make a swing and come back!” he suddenly exclaimed. “There’s something in a furrow. It’s one of ’em!”

Without looking, Bonner made a wide swing and turned over the brow of the rise.

“It is!” almost shouted Art. “It’s one of ’em! But he’s on his side. I can’t make out his number. You couldn’t see him twenty yards away.” He turned and twisted to keep his glasses on the half buried figure. “He saw us. He’s on. He ain’t moved an inch. Try again.”

Twice more the sputtering aeroplane circled over the lifeless looking figure, each time flying lower.

“I’m sure it’s Nick Apthorp,” whispered Art, “but I can’t get his number.”

“Well,” replied Bonner, “we’d better give some one the tip.”

Three white staffs were in sight. Bonner headed the dipping aeroplane toward the nearest[243] one. When it was seen that the aeroplane spies had caught the watching Wolf’s eye, Art waved his hat. The Wolf with the flag, Colly Craighead, responded by dipping his pennant and then, as the hawk-like aeroplane banked again and mounted skyward over the higher field, Colly set out on a dead run.

When the motionless figure came in sight again Art crouched low in his seat. Directly above the silent figure Art’s arm shot out and a small bag dropped swiftly to the plowed ground beneath. A cloud of white arose and, ten feet from the concealed Coyote, the rich black soil glared out in a spot of snow white flour.

“He sees it,” shouted Art. “Colly’s got his measure all right. I guess we’ve nailed two hard ones, anyway.”

Just at this moment young Bonner noticed that the oil gauge was empty. With a reassuring word to allay Art’s fears he made a sharp bank and glide for the hard and smooth Phillipstown road. While the two boys were bending low over the engine, about five minutes later a call sounded from an apple orchard about a hundred yards away.


“Hey there!” yelled a voice. “Is the show free?”

Art whirled to see a boy standing in an old cider barrel and just about to spring out.

“Sure,” yelled Art. “Always free to our friends.”

At the sound of Art’s voice the struggling boy turned his glance upward again and then thrust his body back into the tight-fitting barrel.

“Who was it?” asked Bonner still busy with the engine.

“Mart Clare, number three,” chuckled Art as he made another note on his chart. “Betrayed by his curiosity.”

Mart apparently did not realize that he was out of the running, for he kept to his stuffy hiding place while the feed pipe was readjusted and the two spies had made a new ascent. It was then three o’clock.

“It’s time to round up,” announced Bonner. “The boys’ll be lookin’ for us.”

Again the stout little airship began to circle the “hide out” territory. With his field glasses Art could make out white flags in all directions. Carrying out a prearranged plan,[245] Bonner headed the aeroplane from one sentinel-like Wolf to the next one. As the first one was passed he reversed his staff and held its head on the ground. A look of disappointment passed over the face of each boy in the aeroplane and Art made a check on the chart in his lap. It was Sammy Addington’s report—a blank.

The next Wolf the aeroplane picked up held his staff out like a semaphore and then moved it up and down four times.

Signaling the “Aeroplane Spy”

“That’s better!” exclaimed Art. “I wonder who number four is.”

Flitting over the fields, forests and roads beneath, the “Scouts of the Air” were soon signalled by Colly Craighead who confirmed his discovery of the Coyote in the hill furrow by eight movements of his flag. Then, in turn, came a Wolf who they saw was Davy Cooke, who announced he had seen number two; Paul Corbett reported number four sighted and then while Art was busy checking this information, Bonner caught an extra message of one flash.

“I wonder if he means he saw number five, or number four and number one!” exclaimed Art, in doubt what to put down. “We already have number four.”


The next searcher to communicate with the aeroplane answered this; Phil Abercrombie flashed five times.

“Great!” shouted the aviator. “Only one blank so far. There’s Connie,” he added. “Bully for you, old man! He’s got number ten. That ought to be lucky.”

For some minutes no other Wolves could be made out. Bonner took another flight south and returned to find two white flags coming out into the main road from a lane. They were some distance away and Art was not sure but that they were among those who had already reported. As he trained his glasses on them they waved, “six” and “seven.” There was a quick check of his list by Art and then, with a yell of victory he tore loose the bow of a string beneath his seat, and the bright blue Wolf Patrol pennant dropped fluttering into the wind.

Every Wolf Scout within sight of the flag knew what it meant. At the first sight of the banner the Wolf call came from far and near. Eight widely scattered Wolf Scouts threshed the air with white pennants, and at twenty minutes after three o’clock, like the closing sticks of a fan, the Wolf searchers—led by the fluttering[247] flag on the aeroplane above—were converging on the distant camp.

There was no quibble about the victory. When the Coyote Scouts reached camp, Hank Milleson was quick to shake the winners by the hand. “We got our trimmin’s,” he exclaimed with a laugh. “But we got ’em fair an’ square. I reckon a few brains are as good as a bunch o’ muscle.”

“No hard feelin’s?” smiled Connie.

“Not on your life,” answered Hank. “You deserve it, an’ we got to hand it to you—even if we did lose our hundred dollars. Mebbe it’s worth that to find out a thing or two.”

“Cut out the hot air,” broke in Art with a grin. “We got a lot to do yet. We got somethin’ up our sleeve for you kids yet if you’re with us.”

“Ain’t goin’ to rub it in, are you?” asked Hank with mock seriousness.

“Listen,” explained Art with the eagerness of long pent-up enthusiasm. “You know the big meadow up at Cloverdale?”

The Coyotes nodded their heads.

“Well, we got the shape of a big man-o’-war marked out with whitewash, out in the middle of it. Bonner’s goin’ to take the flyin’ machine[248] right up there an’ we’re goin’ to have a new game.”

Blank looks showed on every face.

“We’re goin’ to throw bombs o’ paper bags full o’ flour at a big target on the man-o’-war—”

Playing at War

“Who?” came in chorus. “From the aeroplane?”

“Ever’ one of us! Coyotes an’ Wolves! We’re goin’ to draw lots. Ever’ kid gets a ride on the aeroplane an’ three trials.”

While every Coyote stood open-mouthed—lost in the wild wave of joy that so suddenly engulfed him—Mr. Trevor stepped forward.

“And when it’s too dark to throw any more bombs, the Cloverdale Farm invites every scout here to a last contest of the day—a test to see if each of you can eat a whole smothered chicken and a quart of ice cream.”

“Boys,” exclaimed Hank Milleson when he finally regained some composure, “there ain’t but one thing to it: Three cheers for the Boy Scouts of the Air!”

These had not yet died away when Carrots Compton added:

“An’ the Aeroplane Spy!”


As Carrots gave Art Trevor a big boy-slap on the back, the table-factory owner turned and walked to his automobile with a snort of disgust.

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Transcriber’s Notes:

Except for the frontispiece, illustrations have been moved to follow the text that they illustrate, so the page number of the illustration may not match the page number in the List of Illustrations.

Punctuation and spelling inaccuracies were silently corrected.

Archaic and variable spelling has been preserved.

Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.

The price list for the Scout uniforms on p. 142 does not equal the total listed. Total retained as printed.

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