Then there was a time.
The usually quiet and peaceful streets of the town were fairly filled with khaki-clad warriors, strutting up and down, exchanging military salutes, and arousing the admiration of all the girls, who came forth to gaze and applaud.
It was a great day for Stanhope. A stranger visiting there for the first time might think some military academy must have taken up fall quarters near by, and granted full liberty to its uniformed hosts.
If there were those who had been hesitating about joining either of the troops, a decision must certainly follow the first glimpse of those gallant uniforms.
That night many a lad ate supper as an honored guest at his father’s table; for surely the wearer of a uniform must be entitled to unusual privileges.
Of course the word had gone around for a meeting of the Stanhope No. 1. But it was not to be held at the Shipley barn—oh! no, those boys had had “quite a sufficiency,” as Bobolink said, of their former quarters; and Bluff admitted that his father would not dare use the building again that year for his tobacco crop.
Jason Carberry, father of the twins, had asked as a favor that they make use of his big smithy; and since the night air was cool, Paul had accepted this generous proposition of the blacksmith on the spot.
So that was where they came together, a uniformed organization, at last.
“Man the bellows, somebody.”
“Yes, stir up the fire in that forge, William. It’s the coldest September night on record, and that’s a fact!” exclaimed Bobolink, as he pushed the lively member of the Carberry team toward the smouldering fire left by the blacksmith when he gave over his capacious smithy to the Boy Scouts for their meeting.
“M-m-my dad s-s-says he once lost his t-t-t-tobacco c-crop in S-s-september!” observed Bluff, shaking his head as he pushed toward the fire.
The boys had had a fine meeting.
Besides the twenty-two in their new uniforms, four new recruits had been present, to drink in with eager ears all that passed, and sigh for the day to come when they too might shine forth in such resplendant suits.
Already was there much rivalry shown in the many competitions which the young scout leaders had instituted. There was a class on aviation, another that had taken up the mysteries of camping with all its fascinating details; a third chose photography as the most entrancing subject, and exhibited many pictures that were to be entered in the great contest of the county for the banner.
Then several boys had doubled, for surely the knowledge of cookery went hand in hand with that of camping; while a good stalker could at the same time enter for a merit badge in the path-finding line.
Besides, though the season was late for swimming, several fellows who knew just what their best accomplishment might be, had qualified to enter this class.