“Know—what, my son?” questioned his mother, seeing that the boy was worked up more than usual.
“We’re going to organize a searching party. Perhaps some of the scouts may be smart enough to get on the track. It’s poor little Willie Boggs, mother.”
“Searching party—Willie Boggs! Is the child lost?”
“Yes, and has been ever since before noon, in the big woods. You see it’s just beginning to get dark now. Think of the poor little fellow wandering perhaps miles off in the woods. What if a storm should come up?” and Paul’s manner told how he felt.
“But there are no wild animals large enough to injure the child. The most he could suffer would be exposure to the night air; that and the fright of finding himself alone. Oh! it is a terrible thing though; and little Willie is all his poor father has left. It would kill him if anything happened,” declared the good lady, whose heart was very tender.
“Now you see why I’m in such a hurry to get a bite, mother. Every minute might count, for perhaps he is wandering further and further away. You’ll let Jane get me something in a jiffy, won’t you, now?” continued the eager lad.
“Gladly, and help her too, after you have told me more. How do you boys expect to look for the child in the blackness of those woods?”
“Every scout will carry a lantern, with which we have practiced signal wig-wagging until we are able to send messages back and forth. Besides that, we can form a long line across the woods, and comb nearly every bit of it, looking into every stack of brush and waste to see if Willie has lain down. And mother, think if we should just find him, how glad you’d be that we went out!”
“Indeed, I should! I shall pray that you succeed, my boy. And it does you great credit that you are so earnest in your desire to help others. Sit down, and I’ll wait on you myself,” and Mrs. Morrison bustled away toward the kitchen as she spoke.
As Paul was hastily devouring his supper, for he was as hungry as a wolf, who should come in but the doctor. And of course he had to be told; though Paul’s mother took this task upon herself, giving the boy a chance to eat.
Through the window Paul could see that already several fellows had gathered; and other lanterns were meanwhile coming like giant fireflies through the gathering gloom of the night.
The prospect of bringing his scout troop into action for such a good cause was particularly pleasing to the boy who temporarily filled the office of leader. Spurred to do their very best by a recollection of the vows they had so recently taken, the members of Stanhope Troop might be depended on to bring credit to their organization.
By the time Paul issued from the house there were a full dozen of his chums present. He was glad to see that all the original charter members forming the Red Fox patrol were on hand. They happened to live closer than others who had joined later; and boys of a particular community generally flock together.