“All right, boys. I’m going to make a proposition that will take your breath away; but I have strong hopes that after what you’ve listened to from that manual to-night, you’ll be ready to back me up,” continued Paul.
“We believe in you, Paul. You never fooled us yet; and you never will. What’s your queer game?” asked Bobolink, ready to swing over already, such was his faith in the one they had elected their leader.
The boys crowded around Paul, more than eager to hear what his proposal might turn out to be; for novelty always appeals to the average lad.
“All of you know that old Peleg keeps his dooryard in a horrible condition. Why, my mother says she doesn’t believe it has been cleaned up in years; and he hardly ever takes the trouble to even put his wagons and that old buggy in the shed. It’s a disgrace to the town to have him so near. I’ve heard that the women talked about asking him to do something to make it look cleaner.”
“He’s a stubborn old man, and can’t be driven, my dad says,” remarked Jud.
“Now here’s what I’m going to propose. You know he’s pretty deaf, and can’t hear much that goes on. He used to have a savage dog, but it died a couple of weeks ago, and since then he’s been trying to get another, but so far without success. Get that?”
“Yes, but go on, Paul,” demanded Bobolink.
“Let’s go over to Peleg’s in a body,” continued the scout leader; “and while he sleeps clean up that dooryard of his so that in the morning he’ll just rub his eyes and begin to think the fairies have paid him a visit in the night. And when he learns who did it perhaps he may feel something like you did, William. Don’t you see, it’ll be rubbing it in good and hard!”
Paul waited to see how his suggestion took.
The boys stared at each other in amazement. It is doubtful whether a parcel of wide-awake lads ever before had such a novel proposition made to them. And perhaps it was the sensational character of the appeal that stirred them more than any desire to return good for evil.
“Count me in that job, Paul,” said Jack positively.
He had timed his interruption with exceeding cleverness. Boys are like sheep, and given a bell wether they will follow blindly where the leader goes.
“Me too!” cried Bobolink, quickly.
“Ditto! I’m for the game just as Paul says!” exclaimed Nuthin’.
And every one in the crowd followed suit, laughing at the idea of their turning the tables on the old farmer in such an unheard-of fashion; though several doubtless secretly scoffed at the project, and only agreed because it seemed to be a necessary evil if they wanted to become Boy Scouts.
THE TRAP THAT PELEG SET
“There’s Growdy’s shack and barns!”
“Don’t seem to be anything stirring, fellows!”