The boys had no doubt but that their rivals must have been observing much that went on in the lighted rooms, possibly also trying to catch what was being said.
“What of it?” demanded Paul, when some one suggested this; “if they heard what I read out of that manual so much the better. Let them subscribe to those rules, and life will be worth living alongside Ted and his cronies.”
“But you see they just can’t!” declared Bobolink, quickly.
“Which is to say they won’t. All right. Once we get out troop formed, public sentiment will be on our side. If they try to worry us the good people of Stanhope, backed by the Women’s Club, will see to it that the nuisance is stopped. Isn’t that so, Paul?” remarked Jack, with conviction in his voice.
“Them’s my sentiments, as some character in fiction used to remark. We can afford to laugh at all these little plans to annoy us. Of course, if they go too far, why we may have to turn and do something ourselves,” said Paul, seriously.
“Bully! Hasten the time!” cried William, ceasing to limp for the moment in his new delight.
“Oh! but Paul doesn’t mean a regular give and take fight. If we pitch in at all, I’m afraid it’ll have to be doling out punishment in the way the good dad does when he plies the stick and says it hurts him worse than it does the bad kid,” declared Bobolink; at which there was a roar.
On the following day there was more or less skirmishing about town by various eager lads, seeking recruits for the rival troops.
Paul was as busy as a beaver, and at several points conferred with some of his followers. He had sent for more manuals, besides a price list of uniforms, and other equipments necessary to the complete organization of the Fox Patrol and Stanhope Troop No. 1.
Leading citizens began to take an interest in the movement, as they grew to understand its true significance. Stanhope seemed to be fairly sizzling with a new and novel energy. Even the meeting of the Women’s Club that afternoon was given up partly to a discussion of the merits of the Boy Scout wave then sweeping over the land; and ladies who had been decidedly averse to such a thing found their eyes opened to its beneficial accompaniments.
As was to be expected, the recruiting was not confined to Paul and his chums. Ted Slavin and Ward Kenwood were just as vigorously employed; and several times in the course of the day the rivals ran across each other while engaged in thus drumming up new subjects for initiation.
On such occasions there was apt to be something in the way of verbal fireworks passing between the opposing scouts. Ted Slavin seldom knew how to bridle that tongue of his; and Ward Kenwood seemed to be in a nasty humor himself.
To tell the truth there had long been a sort of rivalry between Paul and Ward over the smiles of pretty Arline Blair; and latterly the high school girl seemed to be giving young Morrison more than his share of her company.