“There is one at Raven Hill, and the next is at Lumberville. That is about eleven miles from home.”
“Well,” said Bill, “at three cents each per mile that would amount to sixty-six cents. Let’s sail on to Lumberville and then take the train back.”
On we sped to Lumberville, only to find that the next train was not due until noon, and it was now just half past ten.
Time never hung heavy on our hands. Out on the river we espied an island. I had heard of this island—Willow Clump Island, it was called—but had never been on it; consequently I fell in with Bill’s suggestion that we make it a visit. Owing to the rapids which separated the island from the Jersey shore, we had to go up stream a quarter of a mile, to where a smooth sheet of ice had formed, over a quiet part of the river; thence we sailed down to the island along the Pennsylvania side.
“What a capital island for a camp,” cried Bill, after we had explored it pretty thoroughly. “Have you ever been out camping?”
I had to confess I never had, and then Bill gave me a glowing account of his experiences in the Adirondacks with his uncle the year before, which so stirred up the romance in me that I wanted to camp out at once.
“Shucks!” said Bill, “We would freeze in this kind of weather, and besides, we’ve got to make a tent first.”
We then sat down and made elaborate plans for the summer. Suddenly the distant sound of a locomotive whistle interrupted our reveries.
“Jiminy crickets!” I exclaimed. “That’s the train coming through Spalding’s Cut. We’ve got to hustle if we are to catch it.”
We were off like the wind, and a merry chase brought us to the Lumberville depot in time to flag the train. We arrived at Lamington at half past twelve, a trifle late for dinner, rather tired and hungry, but with a glowing and I fear somewhat exaggerated account of our adventure for the credulous ears of the rest of the boys.
Organizing the Society.
The camping idea met with the hearty approval of all, and it was decided to begin preparations at once for the following summer. Dutchy, whose father was a member of a geographical society, suggested that we form a society for the exploration of Willow Clump Island. By general acclamation Bill was chosen president of the society, Dutchy was made vice-president, Reddy was elected treasurer, and they made me secretary. It was Dutchy who proposed the name “The Society for the Scientific Investigation, Exploration and Exploitation of Willow Clump Island.” It was decided to make an expedition of exploration as soon as we could make skate sails for the whole society.
The duties of the secretary, as defined in the constitution which Dutchy Van Syckel drew up, were to keep a record of all the acts of the society, the minutes of every meeting, and accurate detailed descriptions of all work accomplished. Therefore, while the rest of the society was busy cutting up old sheets, levied from the surrounding neighborhood, and sewing and rigging the sails under Bill’s direction, I, with pad and pencil in hand, took notes on all the operations.