OFF TO THE ISLAND.
The morning of July 2d dawned bright and clear, but long before daybreak the members of the S. S. I. E. E. of W. C. I. were astir. The jolly red sun peeping over the eastern hills witnessed an unaccustomed sight. Six greatly excited boys were running back and forth from the barn to the canal, bearing all manner of mysterious bundles, which were carefully deposited in a freshly painted scow. Yes, all six of us were there.
A Unique Alarm Clock.
We hadn’t expected to see Reddy Schreiner at such an early hour, for he was always a sleepyhead, and no alarm clock would ever wake him. But this was an exceptional day, and, besides, Reddy was quite an original chap. He had taken one of the borrowed roosters into his room the night before, and when, early in the morning, Mr. Chanticleer had mounted the footboard of the bed, flapped his wings and given vent to his opinion of a boy who persisted in sleeping at that late hour of the day, the noise was too much for even Reddy’s drowsy sensibilities.
[Illustration: Fig. 65. Off to the Island.]
[Illustration: The Ledge below the Goblins’ Platform.]
[Illustration: The Camp at Willow Clump Island.]
The Trip to the Island.
Our scow was not large enough to carry all the things we had to take with us, but as Mr. Schreiner was going to take Uncle Ed up in his wagon, we left the rest of our luggage for him to bring along. We boys walked the eleven miles up the canal to Lumberville, towing the barge. It was a tiresome task; but we divided the work into two-mile shifts, two boys towing at a time and then each taking a mile ride as steersman in the boat. It was about noon when we arrived at Lumberville, and then we had to unload our boat before we could haul it out of the canal and down to the river. The river on the Jersey side of the island was so shallow that we waded across, pushing the boat ahead of us. The current was too swift to permit of rowing, and it was rather hard for us to keep our footing. But we managed to reach our destination finally without any mishap. The island was thickly wooded, except for a small clearing where we landed. The first thing we did was to unpack our eatables, and Jack, the cook, soon had an appetizing pan of bacon and eggs sputtering on the kerosene stove.
[Illustration: Fig. 66. Dragging the Scow over to the Island.]
As no better position offered at the time we pitched our tent in the clearing, pending a thorough search for a more suitable place elsewhere. Around the tent we dug a trench about a foot deep to prevent water from entering our quarters when it rained. It was about time for Uncle Ed and Mr. Schreiner to appear with the rest of our luggage, so we did not have time to do much exploring, but sauntered southward along the shore, always on the lookout for their arrival. About a quarter of a mile from the tent we came across the wreck of an old bridge, which had been washed down by some freshet. This was a great find, and served us many purposes, as will appear later.