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   Chapter 19 “SO LONG—SEE YOU LATER!”

Tom Slade on the River By Percy K. Fitzhugh Characters: 31605

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


It was the afternoon of the following day when the little flotilla, running past the island of Valcour, sighted a promontory straight ahead and a little later discovered it to be the embracing arm which forms the outer boundary of Cumberland Bay.

As they sailed into this spacious haven they could see, a little to the northwest, a large field dotted with innumerable tents, which on closer view they saw to be arranged with the utmost squareness and precision, in avenues.[3] Their first sight of the famous training camp made Temple Camp seem very insignificant indeed. Out in the lake was a bobbing buoy with a bulls-eye target upon it, and a group of khaki-clad rookies were pelting this with rifle shot. In an open part of the field several companies were drilling and the crisp orders of their officer could be plainly heard across the water.

"Hurrah for Preparedness!" shouted Roy, throwing his hat in the air.

They had been a rather sober party of voyagers during this last part of their trip and Roy's accustomed spirit seemed to have gone from him, but it came back now with a rush and as usual it had a contagious effect on the others.

"Hurrah for Uncle Sam!" shouted Pee-wee, grabbing the naval flag from the stern and waving it frantically.

"They look like scouts, don't they?" said Mr. Ellsworth.

"Oh, cracky," enthused Pee-wee. "I'm glad we came!"

"Altogether!" called Mr. Ellsworth, looking over to the smaller boat. "Hoop it up, Tom! Hurrah for Preparedness!"

"We thought of it first," called Connie. "Uncle Sam swiped it from us. Come on, let's give 'em our own call!"

"Be prepared! Be prepared! Be prepared!"

And so, shouting lustily the motto of the scouts the boats came alongside the landing and were met by several smiling rookies, off duty.

"Are we pinched?" asked Mr. Ellsworth, laughing as he stepped ashore.

"No, indeed; you're welcome," said a bronzed rookie.

Pee-wee was not to be repressed by any formal greeting, however hospitable. He stood upon the Honor Scout's cabin, waving the naval flag in one hand and his scout hat in the other, like some frantic, idiotic form of semaphoring.

"Hurrah for Uncle Sam!" he shrieked, hilariously. "Hurrah for Preparedness! Hurrah for Platts--"

He stopped short, gaping like an idiot. The flag fell from his hand unheeded.

"Look-look!," he gasped.

"What is it, the Germans?" asked a rookie, looking around.

"Look-look!" he gasped.

They looked, and there, sitting astride a piece of artillery not far from shore, his legs dangling and a merry smile upon his face, was the freckled scout!

No sign of scratch or bruise was there about him, and if he had been shot out of the mouth of the cannon he was straddling he could hardly have caused greater consternation. Plattsburg, preparedness, Uncle Sam, must be content with back seats, as this freckled youngster descended nimbly from the cannon and came smiling toward his brother scouts.

"Aren't-you-dead?" ejaculated Pee-wee.

"Not so you'd notice it," said the freckled boy with a surprised laugh.

"You don't find many dead ones among the scouts, I guess," said an officer, who had come down to confirm the rookies' welcome.

"You said something," said Roy.

"I remember you three fellows," said the freckled scout. "Don't you remember? I was in that store in Albany--"

"Sure, we got lost," began Roy.

"Shhh," interrupted Artie.

"We-we thought you were dead," said Tom, startled somewhat out of his usual composure.

"Dead? No," laughed the boy. "I haven't been dead for quite a while. What's the idea?"

"Have-have you got anything the matter with you?" stammered Pee-wee, staring blankly at him.

"I've got a wart on my left thumb," said the freckled scout, "but that won't stop me helping Uncle Sam if we have to scrap it out with Germany."

"Haven't you got anything else the matter with you?" Pee-wee asked imploringly. "Even if you're alive, you ought to have something the matter with you-- Gee!"

The freckled scout began to laugh and then came his surprise, for he broke off as Garry came ashore, and grasped him by the hand.

"Hello, Everson," said he. "Don't you know me?"

"For the love of tripe!" said Garry. "You don't live in Warrentown, do you? Down near Edgevale?"

"Sure, when I'm alive," laughed the freckled scout. "But these fellows seem to think I ought to be dead. What's the idea, anyway?"

"Well, what are you doing alive, I'd like to know," said Garry. "Fellows, this is-Everett, I think your name is, isn't it?"

"Warren Everett," said the boy.

"I thought I recognized you," said Garry. "I didn't get a good enough squint at you down the lake yesterday-if that was you."

"Sure it was me-I saw you fellows out there in the boats. I see I've got you all guessing."

"Where's the other fellow?"

"Oh, he's knocking around somewhere in camp here. We just canoed up for a squint at the place. I've often seen you in Warrentown," he added, turning again to Garry. "I heard you fellows over in Edgevale started a troop."

"It fizzled out," said Garry, resting his arm on Raymond's shoulder. "We're the last of our race. But, for goodness' sakes, tell us how you come to be alive, anyway? We saw you fall down that cliff--"

Warren Everett laughed again. "You see it was this way," said he. "On our way up the Hudson we ran into a moving picture bunch. They had a big launch and a hydro-aeroplane--"

"A what?" said Tom.

"They said we were just the fellows they wanted because there was a scene they were going to make where a scout climbs up a steep mountain and then slips and falls down. They wanted to take pictures of him climbing and then more of him falling. They had the hill all picked out and they wanted to know if I'd climb it.

"'Believe me, that's my middle name,' I told them. 'Let's see the hill.'

"'We haven't got it with us,' the man said, 'but it's a peach, all right-it looks harder than it is.'

"I asked him about the falling down part, and he said, 'Don't you worry about that. We've got a rag dummy to do the falling. All you've got to do is to climb till you get to the grove near the top and when you get inside of that you'll find the rag dummy on a log. Just push it over and let it fall down the hill.'"

"Well-I'll-be-jiggered!" said Roy.

"Good idea?" laughed Everett. "Of course, the rag dummy went all the way down to the bottom--"

"You bet it did," said Connie.

"But in the picture it won't be that way. You'll see me climb up the hill and you'll see the dummy start down, and then-zip, goes the fillum-and the next you see is a first-aid scout bandaging up another scout's head."

By this time Everett's companions had joined the party and having properly presented him to the newcomers, the freckled boy resumed his original seat astride the cannon.

"You see," said he, "we were down near Glens Falls when we picked up the movie men. They had a hydro and a big cabin boat. They gave us the money for a uniform for the rag dummy and we went back to Albany and bought it. When we got back they were waiting for us, and believe me, we had some fun dressing up that dummy. I took the new suit and gave him the old one. He didn't care."

"He should worry," put in Roy.

The freckled scout continued his story, swinging his legs and greatly delighted at the astonishment of his listeners.

"This is a most remarkable thing," said Mr. Ellsworth.

"Can you beat it! Well, we all started north with our canoe tagging behind. It was all right, wasn't it, Frank, because we were going that way anyway. When we got into the lake the man in the hydro left the water and said he'd meet us on the top of the cliff. He told me just where he'd leave the dummy. Oh, gee, but he looked nice as he went sailing up in the air! We got out of the boat at Westport[4] and Frank and I helped them lug the camera and things to the mountain. We had it all fixed just what we'd do and when the man found a good place up the hill a ways, where they could get enough sunlight on the only original Boy Scout movie star-that's me!-Frank and I went back to Westport, and paddled up in our canoe, just as if we were coming to the mountain for the first time. We got out under the cliff and I started up. Frank stayed down below so he could get the dummy! Believe me, that dummy has some busy life! They use it for a policeman and a soldier and a poor orphan child-gee, you ought to see the clothes that poor dummy's got!

"Well, I guess you fellows know the rest. I got to the top all right, and take it from me, when I got my fists on that rag dummy, I gave it one-good-chuck-ker-bang! G-o-o-d-night!

"Then I trotted over to the big field on top of the cliff where the fellow with the aeroplane was waiting. Pretty soon along came Frank dragging the poor dummy after him by the leg. He came up the easy way. And goodnight, Mary Ann! I'm glad I wasn't that poor dummy--"

"I'm glad you weren't," said Mr. Ellsworth, dryly, thinking of the harrowing hours they had spent searching for his dead body.

"Well, they said they had the picture all right and it would be a beaut'. So then the man told us to jump in the aero and he'd bring us up to Plattsburg. You see that red boat over there with Back to Nature Film Corporation on it? That's ours-I mean, theirs. They're going to take some pictures here if they can get permission. But we're out of the movie business for good-aren't we, Frank? And we're going to ship our little old canoe down home and get the train tonight-- Hey, Everson," he said, breaking off suddenly and turning to Garry; "why in the deuce don't you be a good scout and come over to Warrentown and give us poor fellows a hand? Mr. Wentworth, our scoutmaster, is on the Mexican border and three of our fellows have gone out west to live-the Harris boys-maybe you know of them. Gee, a fellow like you could help us an awful lot. You could be a sort of scoutmaster till the Local Council scares one up. And you don't live so far-going scout pace. What do you say? Will you?"

Would he!

"He will on one condition," said Mr. Ellsworth. "You and your friend must join us on our homeward cruise. I've heard of the Warrentown Troop and Garry ought to be glad to get into it--"

"They ought to be glad to get him!" shouted Pee-wee.

"Sure, he's a bargain," put in Roy. "Now's their chance."

"Yes, I think myself it will be an honor both ways," said Mr. Ellsworth, who had grown very fond of Garry. "He will bring you the Silver Cross--"

"And he's no rag dummy," interrupted Roy.

"Our plan," said Mr. Ellsworth, "is to look about the camp here and set off again in the morning, for time is beginning to be precious. We shall leave Raymond at Temple Camp, in the Catskills, where he's to stay for the balance of the summer. Then, if you like, we'll drop you boys and Garry at Edgevale. Our larger boat and one of our members, to whom it belongs, we shall leave at Nyack. The rest of us live in Bridgeboro, New Jersey-we're the First Bridgeboro B. S. A. Probably some of our boys will hike it home from Nyack while the rest of us cruise down into New York Bay and up our own small river."

"It's just a one-patrol river," said Roy.

"Are you with us?" Connie asked.

"Sure, he's with us!" cried Roy. "Who's deciding this, Warrentown or Bridgeboro? We'll drag both of them along by the legs the way they dragged the rag scout, hey?"

The party made a pleasant stay at the big training camp, walking through the straight, neat avenues of tents, visiting the commissary, watching the drill, and lingering, fascinated, about the rookies who were busy at rifle practice. They were made very welcome and it was not without a feeling of regret that they went aboard the two boats after the colors had been lowered. But Plattsburg, of which they were to hear so much later, had been merely the chosen point of destination for their rambling inland cruise, and as Mr. Ellsworth had remarked, time was beginning to be precious.

The hospitable Bridgeboro Troop, with its strangely acquired new member and its several guests, lolled upon the deck and cabin roof of the Honor Scout that night, as the two boats waited at their moorings for the dawn which would mean their departure on the speedier journey homeward.

As the moon rose over the wide bosom of the great lake and flickered the waters with its silvery brightness, Harry Stanton sat upon the cabin locker, strumming his ukulele, and those who were in the mood hummed the soft airs while the others listened. Often whole days would elapse in which Harry Stanton would be scarcely heard from, but in the quiet of those summer nights upon the water he contributed his full share to the pleasure of the party.

If you, to whom I am about to bid a short farewell, are a scout of the scouts, see to it that some one of your troop's number learns to play a mandolin, a banjo, or guitar-even if you have to drag him by the leg, as young Frank dragged the unfortunate dummy.

After a little while some one discovered that Roy was not among them, and there was set up at once a hue and cry for him, for such an evening could be no more complete without Roy than a Buffalo Bill Show would be without Buffalo Bill or a circus without peanuts.

"Maybe he's in the other boat," said one.

"Maybe he's on shore," said another.

It was Pee-wee who dragged him forth from the forward end of the cabin, where he had been ensconced, knees up, "far from the madding crowd."

"What's the matter?" asked Artie Van Arlen.

Roy squatted in his customary attitude, holding a paper in his hand.

"I was thinking about all the crazy things that have happened," said he, "and the fellows we've met on this trip, and believe me, it's some hodge-podge. I was coming down from that big commissary tent, scout pace, when some poetry jumped into my noddle. Did you ever notice how poetry comes to you when you go scout pace?" he asked, turning to Mr. Ellsworth.

"No, I never did," said the scoutmaster.

"Want to hear it? It's a sort of-sort of a national anthem of the troop--"

"Troop anthem?"

"It isn't fixed up yet because the kid interrupted me. Do you want to hear it?"

"I dare say I can stand it if the others can," said the scoutmaster.

"Go ahead, shoot!" said Doc.

"Get the agony over with," said Connie.

"All right, since you insist," said Roy, taking Tom's flashlight so he could read the immortal lines. "Here goes-one-two-three!

"Rag scouts, wooden scouts,

Thin heads and thick,

Honor scouts, young sprouts-

Just take your pick.

"Scouts without scout suits,

Shirts full of holes,

Silver Foxes-they're the beauts!

Scouts without patrols.

"Youth scouts, sleuth scouts,

Scouts with motor-boats,

Scouts that come to life again,

Music scouts and potes.

"Scoutmaster on the job,

Something-or-other-welk,

Hip, hip, hurrah, scouts-

Raven, Fox and Elk!

"What do you think of it?"

"Of, it's great!" yelled Pee-wee.

"I think it's superb," said Mr. Ellsworth, "especially the complimentary reference to the scoutmaster."

"The pleasure is mine," said Roy, with an elaborate bow.

"But may I ask what a pote is?"

"Sure, a pote's a scout that writes pomes."

"I see. And a welk?"

"Well, you see it's this way," said Roy, undaunted. "The welkin is the sky, and welk's short for welkin. Get me? I was just trying to dope out how to fit that in when Pee-wee grabbed me."

"We shall have to make you poet laureate of the troop," said Mr. Ellsworth.

"The Bridgeboro Bard," laughed Garry.

"Do you think if I sent it to Boys' Life they'd print it?" Roy asked.

"Sure, they would!" yelled Pee-wee.

"I don't know," said Mr. Ellsworth, cauti

ously. "I doubt it. You might try. They have printed worse things," he added.

Roy glanced again at his masterpiece, folded it up, put it in his pocket, drew his knees up, clasped his hands about them, and grinned at the assemblage.

"I should worry," he said.

THE END

Footnotes

[1]Meaning to send a message by a smudge signal.

[2]A pearl necklace is the phrase used by the English in Africa to define a trail which is visible and invisible at short, regular intervals.

[3]This is the Plattsburg of 1915-1916.

[4]Westport is just below Split Rock Mountain.

This Isn't All!

Would you like to know what became of the good friends you have made in this book?

Would you like to read other stories continuing their adventures and experiences, or other books quite as entertaining by the same author?

On the reverse side of the wrapper which comes with this book, you will find a wonderful list of stories which you can buy at the same store where you got this book.

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Use it as a handy catalog of the books you want some day to have. But in case you do mislay it, write to the Publishers for a complete catalog.

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Author of "Roy Blakeley," "Pee-wee Harris," "Westy

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TOM SLADE AT TEMPLE CAMP

TOM SLADE ON THE RIVER

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TOM SLADE ON A TRANSPORT

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TOM SLADE, MOTORCYCLE DISPATCH BEARER

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TOM SLADE AT BLACK LAKE

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ROY BLAKELEY'S MOTOR CARAVAN

ROY BLAKELEY, LOST, STRAYED OR STOLEN

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PEE-WEE HARRIS ON THE TRAIL

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PEE-WEE HARRIS ADRIFT

PEE-WEE HARRIS F.O.B. BRIDGEBORO

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PEE-WEE HARRIS: AS GOOD AS HIS WORD

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By LEO EDWARDS

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JERRY TODD AND THE ROSE-COLORED CAT

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JERRY TODD AND THE OAK ISLAND TREASURE

Jerry Todd and his pals set themselves up in the show business by transforming a disused clay scow of Mr. Todd's into a floating theatre. And a very wonderful show it is! Certainly it leads the boys into exceptional adventures.

JERRY TODD AND THE WALTZING HEN

That strange hen? Why does it waltz? And what is the secret of the prowling peril? Then, even as the Hindu had earlier died so quickly and mysteriously, the boys' old friend disappears. Then comes the final ludicrous climax.

JERRY TODD AND THE TALKING FROG

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TOM SWIFT AND HIS WIRELESS MESSAGE

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RALPH AND THE MISSING MAIL POUCH;

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THE RIDDLE CLUB AT HOME

An absorbing tale that all boys and girls will enjoy reading. How the members of the club fixed up a clubroom in the Larue barn, and how they, later on, helped solve a most mysterious happening, and how one of the members won a valuable prize, is told in a manner to please every young reader.

THE RIDDLE CLUB IN CAMP

The club members went into camp on the edge of a beautiful lake. Here they had rousing good times swimming, boating and around the campfire. They fell in with a mysterious old man known as The Hermit of Triangle Island. Nobody knew his real name or where he came from until the propounding of a riddle solved these perplexing questions.

THE RIDDLE CLUB THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS

This volume takes in a great number of winter sports, including skating and sledding and the building of a huge snowman. It also gives the particulars of how the club treasurer lost the dues entrusted to his care and what the melting of the great snowman revealed.

THE RIDDLE CLUB AT SUNRISE BEACH

This volume tells how the club journeyed to the seashore and how they not only kept up their riddles but likewise had good times on the sand and on the water. Once they got lost in a fog and are marooned on an island. Here they made a discovery that greatly pleased the folks at home.

THE HONEY BUNCH BOOKS

By HELEN LOUISE THORNDYKE

Individual Colored Wrappers and Text Illustrations Drawn by

WALTER S. ROGERS

A new line of fascinating tales for little girls. Honey Bunch is a dainty, thoughtful little girl, and to know her is to take her to your heart at once.

HONEY BUNCH: JUST A LITTLE GIRL

Happy days at home, helping mamma and the washerlady. And Honey Bunch helped the house painters too-or thought she did.

HONEY BUNCH: HER FIRST VISIT TO THE CITY

What wonderful sights Honey Bunch saw when she went to visit her cousins in New York! And she got lost in a big hotel and wandered into a men's convention!

HONEY BUNCH: HER FIRST DAYS ON THE FARM

Can you remember how the farm looked the first time you visited it? How big the cows and horses were, and what a roomy place to play in the barn proved to be?

HONEY BUNCH: HER FIRST VISIT TO THE SEASHORE

Honey Bunch soon got used to the big waves and thought playing in the sand great fun. And she visited a merry-go-round, and took part in a sea-side pageant.

HONEY BUNCH: HER FIRST LITTLE GARDEN

It was great sport to dig and to plant with one's own little garden tools. But best of all was when Honey Bunch won a prize at the flower show.

HONEY BUNCH: HER FIRST DAYS IN CAMP

It was a great adventure for Honey Bunch when she journeyed to Camp Snapdragon. It was wonderful to watch the men erect the tent, and more wonderful to live in it and have good times on the shore and in the water.

GROSSET & DUNLAP, Publishers, NEW YORK

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