MoboReader > Literature > The Outdoor Girls in a Winter Camp / Or, Glorious Days on Skates and Ice Boats

   Chapter 18 THE AUTO ICE BOAT

The Outdoor Girls in a Winter Camp / Or, Glorious Days on Skates and Ice Boats By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 7428

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:02

Grace strode ahead so rapidly through the snow that Mollie was forced to ask her to moderate her pace.

"This isn't a race!" was the objection.

"But I want to stop them fighting!" insisted Grace. "Will gets so angry, sometimes, that he doesn't know what he is doing. Papa often said he'd do something desperate in his fits of temper some day. I'm really afraid."

"He's like me," laughed Mollie, frankly. "Only I just flare up for a second, and then I'm sorry for it."

"Oh, well, Will is too," admitted his sister, "but I don't want to give him a chance to be sorry. Come on!"

"If I come any faster you'll have to carry me," panted Mollie. "Remember that I am not a Gibson girl like you."

"Oh, do come!" begged Grace. "They may be rolling and tumbling about in the snow, biting each other--"

"Boys don't fight that way, and you ought to know it," said Mollie. "I detest fighting myself, but I know that when it is done right-if ever there is such a time-there is no biting and scratching."

"Well, I've seen some football games," spoke Grace, and she wondered why Mollie laughed.

The girls were rather surprised, on coming to a point where they could look down on the boys, to see merely a snow battle in progress. The air seemed filled with the flying white missiles, and the four rivals were running back and forth, looking for vantage points. Allen hovered about, seeing that no unfair tactics were used.

Finally, as the girls started forward again, Grace much relieved in mind, Sam Batty pulled out his handkerchief and waved it.

"What's that for?" asked Grace.

"Flag of truce, probably. Very likely he's had enough."

"Oh, Will is down!" cried Grace a moment later, as her brother slipped and fell. Jake rushed forward to deliver a ball at close range, but Allen held up his hand.

"No hitting when one is down!" he decided, and Jake drew back. Then, as Will scrambled to his feet again, the battle was renewed, only two being engaged, however.

As Will vainly dodged a ball aimed at him, which struck him in the face, Grace screamed. Her brother turned quickly.

"What is it?" cried Will, in some alarm.

"Stop that right away!" demanded Grace, "or I'll tell papa, and make him take you home."

"One more shot!" Will exclaimed, and he delivered a large snowball with such good aim that it nearly covered the whole of Jake's face. Kittie's brother staggered about, and when he could get his breath he cried:

"I'm through-I've had enough!"

"Battle's over-cease firing!" laughed Allen. "Well, girls, what's the trouble?" he asked as he and his two friends advanced to meet Grace and Mollie, while Jake and Sam moved off in the direction of their cabin.

"Oh, Will, there's a big express package for you at the cabin!" Grace exclaimed. "You owe me three dollars on it."

"Good!" cried the lad. "I'll give you the money out of my next allowance. It's the motor boat, fellows," he added.

"A motor boat!" cried Betty. "What good is a motor boat up here, with the river frozen?"

"Oh, it's something new-a little idea of my own," said Will. "It's a converted motor-cycle gasoline engine, that can be attached to our ice boat. We're tired of having to depend on the wind. Now fellows, we'll have some fun. Hurry home, and we'll see if we can get it working to-day."

"First you ought to do something to that eye," said Grace. "It will be black and blue; and you'll look disgraceful."

"No one will see it up here," said Will calmly. "It doesn't matter."

"Don't we girls matter?" demanded Mollie.

"Oh, well, I'll put some raw beefsteak on it when I get to the cabin. I've heard that's good. Jake caught me a hard one in the eye."

"Fighting! Disg

raceful!" murmured Will's sister.

"It was the best way out-snowballs," said Allen in a low voice, while Will and Frank were comparing notes. "It might have been more serious only for that. It was because they set the trap that Amy was caught in."

"Oh, well then, I'm glad they did fight-with snowballs," returned Grace in a different tone.

The big box had been unloaded in front of the cabin when the boys arrived, and while Grace and Mollie went in to talk to Betty and Amy, the boys proceeded to get out the motor.

As Will had said this was one taken from a motorcycle. It was of two cylinders, and powerful. The boys planned to set it in the after part of the cockpit of the ice boat, and take off the sail. The motor would revolve a wheel at the stern, the wheel having spikes all around the rim. These spikes would dig into the ice and thus send the boat ahead. A lever was provided so that the spiked wheel could be pushed down lightly or hard on the ice, thus regulating the speed of the queer looking craft. The Spider could be steered as before, by moving the rear runner.

"Now we'll show you some sport!" cried Will, when he had seen that all the parts of the motor were there. "We'll go some, now!"

But if the boys had hoped to try their new craft that day they were disappointed, for there was more work about installing the motor than they had calculated on. The girls grew tired of waiting, and strolled over to the village, the day being pleasant. They met Mr. Blackford coming from the depot, he having returned to complete his visit with the boys.

He looked rather tired and discouraged, which prompted Betty to ask in a low voice:

"Have you had any trace of your sister?"

"None at all," he said despondently. "I seem to be up against a stone wall, and so do the lawyers and searchers I have engaged. We get to a certain point, and there we stick. After that, all traces of her are lost."

"Poor little sister! I wonder what she will look like, and what she will be like?"

"Then you never saw her?"

"Only when she was a baby, and I a small chap. I do not remember her. But I have not given up hope yet. Now, how are you all, and what has happened since I went away?"

Betty told him, including the news about the new auto ice boat.

"That sounds interesting," declared Mr. Blackford. "I want a ride in that."

"That's more than I do," spoke Mollie. "I'd rather go in an airship."

"So would I," agreed Grace.

But when the next day, after several false starts, and a breakdown, the motor was finally set in motion on the Spider, the girls were interested enough to come down to look at it.

"All aboard!" cried Will, who was quite proud of his apparatus. "Come on, girls!"

"Wait until we see you try it," suggested Betty.

"Well, then, get in, fellows!"

Allen, Frank and Mr. Blackford took their places, Allen to steer while Will looked after the motor. Looking to see that all was running smoothly, the big notched wheel at the stern revolving swiftly, Will cautiously lowered it. There was a shower of icy particles as the teeth chipped into the frozen surface of the river, and then the Spider slowly forged ahead, under the influence of the motor instead of a sail.

"Oh, they're actually moving!" cried Grace.

"And how fast!" agreed Mollie.

"That's fine!" declared Betty.

"I-I'm going to ask them to give me a ride!" exclaimed Amy. "Oh, it must be glorious!"

"Well, if she's brave enough to risk it, I am!" said Grace positively. "Shall we go, girls?"

"Wait a bit and see what happens," suggested Mollie. But nothing seemed to be going to happen. On up the river went the auto ice boat at ever-increasing speed.

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