A long distance call to the New York police warned them to be on the lookout. Blinksboro, on the main road, did not answer. Knapp’s Crossroads had gone to a harvest festival and forgotten to come back. No answer. Lonehaven couldn’t get the name of the car but said it would watch out for a Plunkabunk. Wakeville said no car could possibly get through there as there wasn’t any road. Miss Dolly Bobbitt returned to her novel.
And meanwhile the scout raised a mighty hand up into the vast, starry heaven, like some giant traffic cop....
“Pull that canvas cover off it,” said Nick to his comrade who had just come up the ladder. “The blamed thing’s all rotten anyway, I guess. Strike a match and find where the switch is. Look out you don’t slip in the hole. Look at all the confetti and stuff,” he added hurriedly, as the tiny flame of the match illuminated a small area of the little cupola. “War’s over, huh?”
There upon the floor were strewn the gay many-colored little paper particles, plastered against the wood by many a rain, mementos of the night when even West Ketchem arose and poured this festive, fluttering stuff down necks and into windows. Someone who had thought to throw the search-light on the flag across the street, had spilled some of insinuating stuff in the little cupola. How old and stale, and a part of the forgotten past, the war seemed! And these once gay memorials of its ending were all washed out and as colorless as the big spiders that claimed the little cupola as their own. It smelled musty up there. And whenever a match was lighted the spiders started in their webs. A lonely bat, settled for the winter, hung like an old stiff dishrag from a beam.
“Did you find the switch?” Nick asked, as he fumbled hastily with the big brass light. “All right, wait till I point the lens down, now turn it.”
There was no light.
“Did you turn it?”
“Pull it out, maybe it works that way.”
There was no light, Norton paused in suspense while Nick shook the brass case and jarred the wiring to overcome a slight short circuit if there was any there.
“All right, turn it again.”
There was no light, and the two scouts stood baffled and heavy hearted in the lonely darkness.
“I’m a dumb-bell!” said Nick in a quick inspiration. “Go down and turn on the main switch; it’s in a box on the wall in the vestibule; just pull the handle down and push it in below. We’ll never get any juice up here with that turned off. Hurry up.”
Norton descended the ladder and with lighted matches found his way to the vestibule where the switch-box was. Here was the big switch on which all other switches in the building depended. As he pulled it down one lonely bulb in the meeting-room brightened and cast a dim light in the musty, empty place. It was evidently the only bulb in which the individual switch was turned on. Norton went through the meeting-room and turned this off. The place smelled for all the world like a school-room.