Paul had once met a gentleman who was a post-office inspector, and somehow took it for granted that Mr. Pender might be engaged in some similar business; at any rate it concerned him not at all he concluded, just what the gentleman’s private affairs might be, and he gave the subject little thought.
THE WARNING OVER THE WIRE
After supper the two boys once more ascended to the snuggery near the roof.
There was no further reference made to either the disappearance of the old coins, or Paul’s little heart trouble with his girl chum.
They had a number of books loaned them by the good old minister and which were full of interesting facts connected with the wonderful Boy Scout movement, especially over in England, where it originated.
Paul was deeply interested in picking out all features that would appeal to American lads. Until they had found the right party to take the position of troop master he wished to play the part of scout leader in such fashion that no one could pick a flaw with his management.
Usually it is some adult to whom this important position is entrusted from the start; Paul, however, had long been known to be so deeply interested in many of the branches which concern life in the open, that his mates were only too glad to have him occupy the exalted position of leader for the time being.
When they knew as much as Paul did, they believed they would be well qualified to pass for a first-class scout’s assignment.
So Paul, with the assistance of his comrade, was selecting many interesting competitions. By means of these the boys could be tested as to their knowledge of those things so important to the boy scouts.
He made many charts showing the different footprints of wild animals, as well as those of the domestic cat and dog. By following the tracks of a rabbit a most interesting as well as instructive story could be made out. It was possible just from the marks on the ground, or the snow, to tell how the animal had been frightened into wild flight, by what sort of enemy it had been pursued, where the swoop of owl or eagle had brought specks of blood upon the leaves or white snow, and finally the picked bones of poor bunny would reveal the secret of the windup of the chase.
So, in every case, the student of nature could weave a story out of the marks discovered. It was so in the days of the Indian, when old Leatherstocking and his long-barreled rifle were leading factors in the life of the wilds. Daniel Boone and his pioneers used to read such signs as easily as any boy might the pages of this book. And the deeper any lad dips into such fascinating studies the more he wants to learn.
When half past nine came Paul said he must be going.
“I’ve had a jolly evening of it, Jack, and enjoyed every minute with you. When we get the boys together again we can have half a dozen competitions going on at once,” he said as he arose and stretched himself.