“I think you have made your meaning plain, and the one particular competition you mention happens to be the most interesting of all,” replied Paul.
“Then may we hope that you will name an early day for the trial to come off? Unfortunately school begins shortly now, and outside of Saturdays and holidays the several Fox patrols may not have much chance to practice before the grand trial comes off. Make it as early as possible, Mr. Chairman.”
“How would to-morrow do?” asked Paul, only too anxious himself to ascertain how the boys would “toe the mark.”
Wallace looked at his backers, and there were vigorous nods in answer to the question seen upon his face.
“It seems to be the unanimous consensus of opinion, Mr. Chairman, that to-morrow would suit first rate. Please give us the hour for assembling, and you can depend on our being on deck,” Wallace remarked.
“Two o’clock ought to answer. That will give us plenty of time to try out a lot of stunts I shall arrange for.”
“Where shall we meet?” asked Jud Elderkin.
“H-h-how about our b-b-barn, fellows?” queried Bluff, grinning.
There was an instantaneous howl of derision, and every right hand went up so that the thumb and forefinger might compress a nose.
“Another year might do, Bluff!” called one.
“What isn’t fit for storing tobacco can’t be a proper meeting place for respectable Boy Scouts!” declared another, energetically.
“Oh! he’s only bluffing, fellows; don’t mind him!”
“In fancy I can smell it now,” sang another, mockingly.
“We’ll meet just outside this very blacksmith shop, and at two sharp,” declared the chairman, decisively; “and any scout who is tardy will be given one or more bad marks that he must carry as a load in the competition. Punctuality is a leading trait in Stanhope Troop No. 1, you understand. Any other proposition?”
The boys began to talk among themselves, and for a short time there was a constant buzz that sounded like a big hive of bees.
Jack found himself in contact with Paul while this was going on. He had been doing his duty to the best of his ability as he understood it; and while the meeting was in progress had proven conclusively that he had a thorough knowledge of the many things a full fledged scout must know.
Jack meant to graduate from the tenderfoot class in the shortest possible space of time. Any scout may do this by being diligent in the pursuit of various lines of woodcraft.
“Well,” said Jack, as he pushed alongside his chum, “this has been a dandy meeting, all right. And there are four new fellows knocking at the door; with perhaps more to follow, when Stanhope learns what great times we have.”
“Yes, and I guess we’ll need new recruits right along. You know that some of the boys will fall by the wayside soon after the novelty has worn off,” remarked wise Paul, who delighted in studying human nature as he saw it around him.