“Now here’s a silver cup and it looks pretty swell all engraved with our patrol names and we drove way to Bridgeboro to get it. That cup’s going to stand on the stump of that tree there—where the chipmunk hangs out. And the day we leave this island it’s going to the scout that has done the best scout stunt. Tracking, signalling, good turn, cooking, it makes no difference what. The scout that does the biggest thing, he gets the cup. We two scoutmasters and Mr. Wade are going to be the committee. Now you’d better all turn in and hurry up about it, and Ralph Gordon is not to snore; they’re complaining about it over in town.”
“Can we do any kind of stunts we want to?” asked the tall scout whom they call Nick.
“Any kind at all that’s good scouting; that’s the only rule.”
“All right, then I’m going to start to-night,” said Nick; “I’m going to row across and get that cup out of the car so we all can see it. Let’s have the key, will you?”
At this there was a general laugh mingled with shouts from a dozen or so volunteers:
“I’ll go with you!”
“I’m in on that!”
“I was just going to suggest it!”
“Yes you were—not!”
“Wait till morning,” said Scoutmaster Ned.
“It can’t be done,” said Nick in a funny, sober way; “a scout is supposed to have his sleep, that’s the most important rule of all, you said so yourself. I can’t sleep till I’ve had a squint at that cup. Come on Fido, let’s row over.”
The scout called Fido had won his name because of his doglike persistence in following trails. “That’s me,” he said, “I was just going to propose it when you took the words out of my mouth.”
“I’d like to see a photograph of anybody taking anything out of your mouth,” said Scoutmaster Ned. “Go ahead, the two of you; I wish your people would send you both to a private school that opens up to-morrow. Go on, get out of here. And don’t wake us up when you come back.”
“Thank you kindly,” said Fido.
“The pleasure is mine,” said Scoutmaster Ned.
So this, then, was the explanation of the bloodthirsty talk which the mighty hero of the Bridgeboro troop had heard under the buffalo robe as he emerged from the sweet realm of slumber in the automobile.
Pistols, killing, stealing and dead ones! To steal up to a bird and not kill it! To wake up if you are a dead one! To laugh with wholesome scout humor at the silly gun play of the screen! To count the pistols in William I. Smart’s five reel thriller!
Alas, Scout Harris!
But we are not to accompany that redoubtable rescuer in his thrilling flight. We are going to row across the lake in which the dying camp-fire on the little island cast a golden flicker, into which the oars held by our new acquaintance, Nick Vernon, dipped silently and rose dripping as his practiced arms drew the boat through the water, causing a musical little ripple at its bow.