“We’ll get off as soon as we can,” answered Snap. And then he added suddenly: “Is Ham home?”
“You mean my son Hamilton, I presume? Yes, he is home. What do you want of him?”
“Nothing, just now. But we may want something later,” answered Snap, and started again for the road, his chums following.
THE STORY OF A GHOST
“I say, what do you want of my son Hamilton?” repeated Mr. Spink, coming after the boys with a look of curiosity on his face.
“We want to see him,” replied Snap, after a look at his chums.
“We think he played us a mean trick,” put in Whopper, as Snap paused.
“Oh, I thought that affair was a thing of the past,” said Mr. Spink, loftily. “My son was not to blame so much as that tramp. The tramp told a string of falsehoods—–”
“We don’t mean that, Mr. Spink,” spoke up Giant. “We mean a trick Ham and his friend, Carl Dudder, played on us this afternoon.”
“Humph! You ahem!—–you must be mistaken.”
“If we are we won’t say anything,” said Whopper. “But if he did play the trick—–”
“We’ll get square with him for it,” finished Shep.
“What are you talking about anyway?” demanded the rich man. “I don’t see why you can’t leave my son alone.”
“We will—–if he’ll leave us alone,” said Snap.
“What do you accuse him of?”
“While we were swimming two fellows came up, took our clothes, and tried to run away with them,” came from Giant. “We are pretty sure the fellows were Ham and Carl. When we went after them they dropped the clothes in a hurry. Two socks, a collar, and a necktie are missing.”
“Yes, and my undershirt was full of knots,” grumbled the doctor’s son. “Just wait till I catch the fellows who did that—–I’ll show ’em!”
“Humph! is that all?” growled Mr. Spink. “I imagine you are only making up this tale to get my son into difficulties,—–just because you know I will not permit you to come here to swim. Now clear out, and be quick about it,—–and don’t ever come here again.” And having thus delivered himself he shook his heavy cane at them, turned on his heel, and walked, away.
“He’s a gentleman, I must say,” declared Snap, when Mr. Spink was out of hearing. “A person can easily see where Ham gets his arrogant ways.”
“Yes, and he’ll stick up for Ham first, last and all the time,” added Whopper.
As the boys walked home they discussed the situation from several points of view. Reaching the street leading to the railroad depot they came in sight of a familiar figure ahead of them. It was the old hunter, Jed Sanborn, and he carried a gun in one hand and a fishing rod in the other, while a basket was slung over his shoulder by a broad strap.
“Hello, Jed!” sang out Snap, and ran forward to stop the man.