“Oh yes, Pete’s going with me. He’s going to make us a little visit for a week or two. We have lessons and everything, study nature, and all that, and all he wants to eat. I’ll bring him back, he wants to see the real scouts in captivity. No accounting for tastes, hey, Mrs. Piper? You’d better bring along a coat, Pete; but don’t change your clothes, you’re not going to church; come just as you are, so I’ll be able to tell you from the rest in case I should decide to kill them all. That let’s you out, see? Come ahead before your mother changes her mind.”
Poor Mrs. Piper had not yet made up her mind, so she could not very well change it. Scoutmaster Ned had made up her mind for her.
“I’ll have to get Sally Flint ter come over and visit with me,” said Mrs. Piper doubtfully.
“Just the one,” said Scoutmaster Ned. “She’ll keep you company and you’ll have a little peace with this youngster gone. Mrs. Piper, if I had my way I’d chloroform every boy in creation. I wonder you look so young with a wild Indian like that around.”
“Oh, I ain’t lookin’ so young,” she smiled, greatly pleased.
Before she realized it she was shaking hands with Scoutmaster Ned while her other arm was around Peter. “I’m going to come here and stay a month,” the young man said. “I’m going to churn butter and eat pie—if I can escape from that outfit. Well good-bye, we’re off. I hope the old bus runs.”
“It looks reel smart with all the blue paint,” said Mrs. Piper.
“Handsome is as handsome does,” said Scoutmaster Ned. “Climb in, Pete, what are you scared of? It won’t eat you. Anybody’d think you were stalking—stepping so carefully. Know what stalking is? They’ll show you.”
Mrs. Piper stood holding her gingham apron to her eyes as they rode off. It was of exactly the same pattern as Peter’s shirt. He looked funny sitting rather fearfully on the front seat. She had never dreamed of seeing him enthroned amid such sumptuousness. Perhaps some day he would go away and come back rich—a hero. Her Peter. And this stranger liked him. She was weeping because she had never heard her boy called Pete since his father died. She liked to hear him called Pete, it was so friendly, and recalled the past so vividly....
As if Scoutmaster Ned would have called him anything else than Pete!
They showed him. As Scoutmaster Ned had told him they would do, they showed him. And Peter Piper was in dreamland; it was all too good to be true. They showed him how to track and stalk. And how to signal.
Nick showed him how to make a smudge fire, and Peter was doubly sure, then, that Nick would win the cup. In the nights he dreamed of the winning of that cup, of Nick winning it. Yes, they showed him. Fido Norton showed him how to track a rabbit, and a small-sized, pocket edition of a scout in the Elephant Patrol showed him (very difficult) how to trail a hop-toad. Charlie Norris showed him how to use a deadly kodak, which Peter had never seen before. He liked it because it pulled open the way a turtle’s neck comes out, and then went in again. Oh yes, they all showed him.