“That’s just what I did, dropped into his shop, told him I was going down to New York on business for dad, and asked if I could do anything for him.”
“Oh! how bright of you, Paul. And what did he say to that?”
“It seemed to quite tickle the old chap. He said he had a little package he wanted to send in to a dealer on Fourteenth Street, and would be glad if I took it to him, instead of his sending it by express.”
“A package, Paul; did he say what it contained?” demanded the other, almost holding his breath with sudden alarm.
“Yes, a lot of old coins he had been buying lately. Now, hold your horses, Jack, my boy. He hadn’t made it up yet, and I helped him do it. There wasn’t one of the same kind yours are. He bought the collection of Chinese and Japanese coins old Captain Crocker owned. His widow had no use for them, and needed the money.”
“Oh, you gave me a scare, Paul; but I’m glad you saw them, for I’d always imagine mine must have been in the lot; not that I care a bit for the old things now; but it was the thought, you know, the terrible suspicion.”
“Yes, and while about it I managed to see every old coin Doc. has in his shop, for he was pleased to let me root around. And Jack, not a single one of your missing pieces has he got, depend on it.”
“Oh! well,” remarked Jack, arousing himself, “let’s try and forget my troubles for a while. Unless I get it off my mind I’ll lie awake again, and then your father, the doctor, will give me some medicine that tastes even worse than what he did to-day. Did you get that manual you sent for, Paul?” and the speaker resolutely shut his teeth hard together as if determined to keep his mind off the harassing subject.
“Yes, it’s in my pocket, and seems to be full of meat, too. I haven’t had much chance to soak it in, but what I did read interested me a whole lot,” returned the doctor’s son.
“Well, I thought of a friend I had over in Manchester, and this afternoon I took my wheel and jumped down there, crossing by the bridge. Just as I hoped, Landy is a member of the troop there, and he gladly told me all he knew about the business. I’m more than ever tickled at the idea of our having a branch up here, to compete with the neighboring towns. He told me something more that we might consider, too.”
“What was that, Jack?”
“You remember Mr. Silas Westervelt, the Quaker of Manchester?”
“Sure. I’ve often talked with him, and my father is their family doctor,” replied Paul, readily enough.
“It seems that he’s become interested in this scout movement, which he endorses through and through. The result is that he has offered a beautiful banner to the organization that can show the highest degree of efficiency, and the greatest number of merit marks by Thanksgiving day. It’s being made now, down in the city.”
“That counts us in, then, for we’ll have plenty of time to get busy before the day of turkey rolls around, eh, Jack?”