“Ginger! but that does sound interesting,” declared William.
“It’s j-j-just immense, that’s w-w-what!” was Bluff’s opinion.
“Listen! I heard a laugh as sure as anything!” exclaimed Paul, lifting a hand to indicate silence; and every one of the group assumed an attitude of expectancy.
As they waited there suddenly came a tremendous crash, as some object landed forcibly against the wooden side of the old barn. It was instantly followed by a second bang, and others came quick and fast, until the noise might be likened to a bombardment from a hostile battery.
“It’s the Slavin crowd!” called Bobolink, excitedly jumping to his feet. “They followed us here after all, and have been listening to every word!”
“All hands to repel boarders!” shouted Paul; and with a cheer the seven boys rushed over to the door, out of which they sprang, bent on retaliating on their tormentors.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A BOY SCOUT
“Where are the stone throwers?” shouted the merry member of the Carberry Twins, as he danced up and down, eagerly trying to discover some moving object in the surrounding darkness.
“Gone like smoke, I guess,” laughed Paul, who had really expected something of this sort, judging from past experiences with these same tormentors.
“Look there, I can see something moving yonder. Get ready to give a volley!” cried Nuthin’, pointing as he spoke.
“H-h-hold on, f-f-fellows, d-d-don’t fire yet! It’s only our old d-d-dun cow!” gasped Bluff, excitedly; as he waved his arms up and down after the manner of a cheer captain at a college football game.
“They’ve lit out, that’s what,” grumbled William, who felt as though cheated.
“All right, then. It’s just as well, for a fight would be a mighty poor way of preparing to join the scout movement. You’ll learn what I mean later on when you hear the twelve points of the law that every fellow must subscribe to,” observed Paul, seriously.
“What d’ye mean, Paul?” demanded Bobolink, quickly.
“Yes, tell us right now what the twelve rules are,” said William.
“I know, for I read all about them a few days ago,” remarked Wallace, readily.
“All right, then, suppose you call them off. What does a scout promise to be if allowed to wear the uniform, Wallace?” asked the leader.
“To be trustworthy, loyal, helpful to others, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient to his superiors, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”
“Why, it doesn’t say a single word about fighting!” ejaculated William.
“Because a scout must never fight save as a last resort, and then only to save some weak one from punishment. He must be brave to face danger, to stop a runaway horse; or jump in and keep another from drowning. Do you get on to the meaning of this movement, fellows?” asked Paul, eagerly. The more he read about it the greater became his desire to have a hand in organizing a Stanhope troop that might compete with those of Aldine and Manchester, two rival towns, both on the opposite side of the Bushkill River, the former a few miles up-stream, and the latter the same distance down.