“You live here, sonny?”
“Y—yes, sir,” stammered Peter, quite taken aback.
“Well, now, I’ll tell you what we’re going to do. We’re going to roll this stalled car a little way into your yard to get it off the road. All right?”
“Then we’re going on to where that little fellow lives. I have to see his folks and he has to get some scout duds and junk and stuff and then we’re coming back. We ought to be here early in the morning.”
“You just keep your eye out for that car, will you? It has a way of disappearing.”
“I don’t mean to watch it all the time, but just sort of have an eye out. I’m taking this little jigger out of the distributer, so no one could run the old bus anyway. But you just have an eye out, will you?”
“Y—yes, sir,” said Peter anxiously.
“That’s the boy, and some fine day you’ll have a couple of autos of your own to worry about.”
Peter smiled bashfully, happily. That was a wonderful joke. And a real scoutmaster, just like the pictures, had said it to him. He thought that, with the exception of Theodore Roosevelt, Scoutmaster Ned was the most wonderful scout that ever lived. He wondered how it would seem to know him all the time. Peter had no idea what a distributer was, but he knew now that his method of crippling an automobile was very crude. He was glad they did not know so they could not laugh at him....
After the Packard car, with its noisy load, had started for that fairy region where they had movie shows and things and where Scout Harris lived, Peter was beset by an awful problem. He was not sleepy, he would not be sleepy for at least a year after what he had seen, and he intended to watch the car as it should be watched. The question that puzzled him was whether he dared get into it or whether he had better sit on the old carriage step. He finally compromised by sitting on the running board. And there he sat till the owl stopped shrieking and the first pale herald of the dawn appeared in the sky.
And when the sun peaked over the top of Graveyard Hill and painted the tombstones below with its fresh new light and showed the gray frost of the autumn morning spread over the lonesome, bleak fields, and finally cast its cheery light upon the tiny, isolated home, it found Peter Piper, pioneer scout, of Piper’s Crossroads, seated there upon the running board of Scoutmaster Ned’s car, waiting for one more glimpse of those heroes....
ON TO BRIDGEBORO
Scoutmaster Ned Garrison had a middle name. Handling parents, that was his middle name. He was a bear at that. He could make them eat out of his hand. Had he not engineered the camping enterprise pending the preparation of a makeshift school? Parents did not trouble him, he ate them alive.