Suddenly, Keekie Joe remembered that Pee-wee’s palatial cruising boat Alligator had been drawn, not up on the shore of the island but up on the shore nearby. Therefore, it was not at the island now. It was a mile upstream, drawn up under a willow tree at the edge of the woods. Keekie Joe scanned the shore as far as he could see, but he could not discover any sign of it. However, he knew where it was.
He wondered how his friends and he would get to shore to go to school. He knew they could swim, but they would get their clothes soaked and could not go to school in such condition. Poor Keekie Joe! It never occurred to him that some boys have two suits of clothes, and that his dripping friends might go home and change their clothes before going to school.
Keekie Joe knew (or at least thought) that this situation would become serious when school time neared. He was anxious to know what time it was. You see, Joe was not a regular full-fledged scout and he could not tell time by the sun nor by forty-eleven other ingenious means known to Scout Harris.
His whole standing capital now was a knowledge of how to swim, and a dawning consciousness that scouting meant helping people and all that sort of thing. Thanks to a long course of disobedience to his poor mother, he had learned to swim like a water rat. He had had somewhat the advantage of other boys in this respect for he had gone swimming Mondays when they were in school.
But he could not determine even approximately what time it was and he had no watch. He knew that it was early, but he also knew that a mile was a long distance, especially against the tide.
Then it occurred to him that he might steal ever so cautiously into the tent and carefully, ever so carefully, pull Townsend’s watch out from under his rough pillow and find out just what time it was. Keekie Joe had heard some wonderful stories about stalking; from all accounts rendered by Pee-wee that scout of scouts had hoodwinked every creature in the animal kingdom, stealing up behind them unawares, and subjecting every variety of bird to nervous prostration.
But Keekie Joe decided not to try his skill at this kind of stalking. For one thing, he had never touched a gold watch before and the thought of it awed him. And for another thing, if Townsend should awake and catch him in the act he would think that his protege was trying to steal his watch . . .
THE STORY CLOSES AND SCHOOL OPENS
Keekie Joe could not trust himself in any such stalking exploit and he had no standing capital of good reputation with which to verify his honorable intention in case his bungling hand should slip. He had as good as promised Townsend that he would not go swimming. But also these boys all had to go to school.