“Well if this isn’t a queer thing,” he said. “Did you ever see such a coincidence? This letter is from Professor Uriah Snodgrass, and listen to what he says: ’Dear Mr. Slade, or Ned. I write thus as I want one of you to read it in a hurry, and one of you may be away from home. You remember the last I saw of you and your chums (this part is for Ned) was in Florida. There I secured the rare butterfly I was looking for, and, through that success I was able to obtain a position with a Boston museum, to travel all over the world for them, collecting valuable specimens. I have been here for only a few weeks, but I already have a commission. I am soon to start for California, in search of a Cornu batrachian.’”
“A ’Cornu batrachian’!” exclaimed Bob. “For the love of tripe, what’s that?”
“California!” murmured Jerry. “I guess the fates want to pile it up on us.”
“Say, is that ‘Cornu batrachian’ anything like a mountain lion?” asked Bob.
“Wait,” counseled Ned. “He explains. ‘The Cornu batrachian,’ he says, ’is what is commonly called a horned toad. I must get several fine specimens, and I thought you boys might be making another trip, and could go with me. I would be very glad of your company. Please let me hear from you. My regards to Mrs. Slade.’”
“Well, wouldn’t that tickle your teeth!” exclaimed Bob, more forcibly than elegantly. “And we can’t go!” he added with a groan.
“Think of the fun we’ll miss by not being with Professor Snodgrass,” went on Ned.
“And with the Seabury family,” chimed in Jerry.
“It’s tough!” exclaimed Ned. “And school opens Monday!”
At that moment there was a whistle out in the street and a ring at the door bell.
“The postman again,” said Ned. “I wonder what he wants?”
He went to the door.
“Here’s a letter I forgot to give you,” said the mailcarrier. “It got out of place in my bundle, and I didn’t discover it until I was quite a way up the street.”
“That’s all right,” answered Ned good-naturedly. “From the Board of Education,” he murmured, as he looked at the printing in the upper left hand corner. “I wonder what they are writing to me about?”
He opened it and drew out a printed circular. As he re-entered the room where his chums were he gave a cry of delight.
“Listen to this!” he called, and he read:
“’To the pupils of the Cresville Academy. It has been discovered, at the last moment, that a new heating boiler will be needed in the school. The tubes of the old one are broken. It has been decided to replace it at once, and, as it will be necessary to do considerable work about the building, thereby interfering with the proper conducting of studies, the school will not open for another month, or six weeks, depending on the length of time required to install a new boiler.
“’Therefore pupils will kindly