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Roy Blakeley by Percy Keese Fitzhugh

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crazy or in a hurry. Jiminy, any excuse would be good enough for me, as
long as he told me straight out about it, like he did in the ditch. And
maybe things would get to be all right after a while. But I couldn't
understand how he could come up the lawn whistling and jollying Don and
feeling so good. I don't mean because he was hurt, because I knew that
wasn't so bad, but I didn't set how he could be feeling so happy.

Pretty soon he came in and Don was jumping up all around him and wagging
his tail. "I'm glad you're well enough to come out," I said.

"You should worry about me," he said; "I just have to limp a little,
that's all. I'm a swell looking Silver Fox, hey?" And then he gave me
a push and rumpled my hair all up and said, "You won't be ashamed of me
on account of my honorable wounds, will you? I was a punk scout to go
and do that."

Gee, I didn't know what to think, because it wasn't anything to be
laughing at, that's sure.

"Do what?" I said.

"Run right into that ditch."

"Is that what you meant you did--when you told me?" I said, kind of
disappointed.

"Sure it is," he said, "I'm a swell scout, hey? Going headlong into a
ditch!"

I just listened to him and I felt pretty bad, because now I saw that was
what he meant.

Then he gave me another shove and he said all happy like, "But I'm the
champion boy sleuth all right. Look at this--here's your two bucks and
Skinny never took it at all"?

"I--I know he didn't," I said.

"How did you know," he shot right at me.

"Because," I started to say and then he rumpled my hair up some more
and began talking and never gave me a chance.

"Because it was right in that copy of Treasure Island that's laying
there," he shouted, "and I'm one big gump, that's what I am! I got that
copy of Treasure Island out of the library this morning, because you
were telling me about it, and right there in the middle of it was your
plaguy old two buckarinos!"

Just for a minute I looked at him and I knew it was just like he said,
because he was laughing--he was so blamed happy about it.

Oh, boy, didn't I feel good!

"How in the dickens did it get there?" he said.

"That's one puzzle," I answered him.

"Anyway, you've got your two bucks back."

"A lot I care about that," I said; "jiminy, I've got something better
than two dollars, and that's friends, you can bet."

Then I showed him the stain on the page of the book and we both sat
there gaping at it and thinking.

"I'm hanged if I know," Westy said; "it would take Tom Slade to dope
that out."

"Maybe Skinny was looking at the book and shut it with the two dollar
bill inside," I said.

"How about the stain?" Westy asked me.

"Jingoes, it's a puzzle," I said.

All of a sudden he laid the book down open and laid the bill on it and
then he laid the oar-lock on the bill. Then he just sat there like as
if he was studying. Pretty soon he said, "We have to get a new copy for
the library, anyway. Do you mind if I make another stain on this one?
I've got a sort of an idea."

"Go ahead," I said.

So now I'll tell you just what he did and you'll see how it solved the
puzzle. And, believe me, you'll have to admit that Westy's a pretty
smart fellow. If you have an old book you don't care anything about, you
can even try it and you don't even need an oar-lock. Westy turned to a
new place in the book and then he laid the bill down on the right hand
page. Then he laid the oar-lock on the bill. "That's just exactly what
you did when you laid the bill down in such a hurry that night you were
fixing Skinny up. You laid it on the open book just like that--see?"

"Maybe I did." I said, "but what's the big idea, kind sir?"

"Well, then," he said, "I came up here to get your two bucks for you,
didn't I? And you remember I told you there was a breeze blowing? Now
what did I do--in the dark?"

"Search me," I said.

"Why, you big galook, I felt around in the dark and lifted the oar-lock
off the bill and then felt there for it, but the breeze was too quick
for me. It blew the page over and I slapped my hand down on--what?"

"Another page," I said; "good night!"

"Good-bye two dollar bill," he said, "it was between those two other
pages. That's why there was a stain on the right page in the book.
There was a stain on the bill made by the oar-lock and when the page
and the bill blew over, the fresh oil on the bill kind of stamped
itself on the left hand page. You didn't damage the book. You only
damaged the bill. It was the breeze that damaged the book--see?"

"Believe me! I'll be responsible," I told him.

"That breeze was a thief," he said.

"It'll come to grief some day," I told him. Then we both began to laugh.

"And it's lucky I got that book out of the library," he said. "There
was your two bucks tucked away all nice and neat between the pages.
It was just where Jim Hawkins was starting awake on the ship."

"Narrow escape," I said, "hey? If you hadn't taken the book out just
when you did, good night, the ship might have started and good-bye to
my two dollars."

"You crazy Indian," he said.

"And all the time I was saying Jim Hawking was honest and a good friend
and all that, and all the time he had my two bucks."

"Believe me I wouldn't trust that fellow with a postage stamp," Westy
said.

Laugh! Oh, boy, I thought I'd die laughing--and Westy, too.

CHAPTER XXVIII

JOLLYING PEE-WEE

That's the reason I'll never trust a gentle breeze. In books you find
all kinds of nice things about gentle breezes, but look out for them,
that's what I say. Whenever I leave my bathing suit on the grass to dry,
I lay a good big rock on it, you can bet. I'd trust Skinny with a
hundred dollars, I would, and Westy too, but gentle breezes--Nix. They're
so plaguy sly and sneaky like.

Westy and I went and bought a dandy copy of Treasure Island for the
library. It cost us a quarter more than my two dollars, but we should
worry.

Now I have to tell you one other thing that happened before we got
started on our cruise, especially because it has a lot to do with our
cruise.

The next morning we all went back to Northside Woods to tie up the
saplings and drag them over to the river. Then we were going to use
a rowboat and tow them down and maybe float some of them down. I told
you about our old launch, but it's too shallow to use a launch up as
far as Northside Woods.

Illustration #4

"We towed the saplings and started down stream"

All the fellows were there except Skinny, because the doctor made him
stay home on account of being all played out. I bet that doctor had some
scrap with him. One thing sure, Westy and I stuck together. By noontime
we had all the stuff hauled over to the river and some odds and ends of
kindling wood besides, to take in the house-boat. We filled the rowboat
with the small stuff and towed the saplings and started downstream that
way. The tide was running up and it was almost full and we had some job
bucking it. Some of the fellows wanted to wait till it turned and come
down with it. But I said that would be an hour maybe and that if the
tide didn't want to turn and go with us, we should worry.

Now that there wasn't anything left to do, but tow the stuff down, all
the fellows except Westy and I and Pee-wee started to hike it home. We
said we'd take him with us in the boat so that he could bail, because
that boat is built like a sieve.

"If it keeps on leaking like that," I said, "there won't be any water
left in the river-it'll all be in the boat."

"It's pretty hard bucking the tide," Westy said.

"And we're going up hill besides, too," I told him; "remember that."

Well, you should have seen Pee-wee. "What are you talking about-up
hill!" he shouted. "When we begin going down hill," I said, all the
while winking at Westy, "she'll go easier, thank goodness."

"We'll have to put on the brakes," Westy said.

"Do you know why they talk about towing lumber?" I asked Pee-wee;
"because it's measured by the foot."

"You're crazy!" he shouted.

"Just the same as when they use it for back fences, it's measured by the
yard," Westy said, all sober like.

"Sure--back--yard," I said.

"You think you can jolly me, don't you?" Pee-wee shouted.

"You just keep on bailing," I said, "and don't stop. When the tide begins
turning you won't have to bail so fast."

Jiminy, Pee-wee didn't know what to think--whether I was kidding him or
not. "Why won't I?" he wanted to know.

"Because it will be going the other way," I said, "see? It'll be flowing
away from the boat."

Oh, boy! Pee-wee just emptied the bailing can down my neck.

And that's the way it was all the way down. Cracky, but we had Pee-wee
so crazy that he'd bail up a can of water out of one end of the boat
and empty it in the other end.

"What's the difference whether it's inside or outside?" Westy said, "as
long as it's there. I bet there's a lot of canned salmon in this river."

"Canned what? Pee-wee shouted.

"Keep on bailing," I said; "canned salmon is what he said, but I think
there are more pickled herrings. There's lots of pickled herrings in
the Hudson, I know that."

"You mean smoked herring," Westy said, all the while rowing and looking
around very sober like at me.

Oh, boy, didn't Pee-wee open his eyes and stare! He didn't know whether
to take it for a joke or not--we were so serious.

"I suppose it's on account of the smoke from the big Hudson River
boats," I said, "just the same as Oyster Bay."

"What about Oyster Bay?" Pee-wee shouted.

"When the water gets all stewed up in rough weather, they get stewed
oysters."

"Not always," Westy said.

"No, but most of the time," I said.

"Oh, sure," Westy said, "but I've seen lots of red lobsters that didn't
come from Red Bank--"

"It's boiling makes them red; you big galook!" Pee-wee yelled.

"Oh, sure," I said, not paying any attention to him, but all the while
rowing hard and looking around very sober like at Westy, "because I
know there are lots of bluefish caught near Greenland and you'd think
by rights they ought to be green."

"Sure," Westy said, "just the same as the fish caught in American
River out west, are red, white and blue."

"And stars," I said.

"Sure the river's full of starfish and striped mackerel--stars and
stripes. That's why you have to stand up in the boat if you're
rowing on that river ."

"Oh, sure," Westy said, "that's why so many boats get upset."

Good night! you should have seen Pee-wee.

"Keep on bailing, kiddo," I said, "keep plenty of water in the river."

"Maybe it would be better to let a little more come into the boat," Westy
said, "so as to lower the water in the river, so we can get under the
bridge."

"The both of you make me tired!" Pee-wee yelled; "do you think I believe
all that stuff?"

Good night, some circus! It's always that way when Westy and I get out
with Pee-wee.

Pretty soon we 'heard a loud whistling and we wondered what it was,
because it didn't sound like a train and it sure wasn't on a motor-boat.

Then Westy began asking what we were going to do about power after we
got our stanchions and bumper-sticks and all that fixed. I said we'd
have to get Jake Holden to tow us down around into the Hudson and then
get somebody to tow us up. Westy said Mr. Ellsworth thought it would be
cheaper to take our little three horse power engine out of our launch
and install it in the houseboat.

I said, "That would be all right, only it would kick us along so slow
that we'd spend all our vacation on the trip and wouldn't have any time
at camp." Cracky; I didn't want to start back as soon as we got there.

"Well, then, there's only one thing to do," Westy said, "and that's for
us to get towed and that costs a lot of money."

All the while the whistling kept up and it was awful loud and shrill,
sort of, as if it was mad--YOU know how I mean.

"I know what it is," I said; "it's somebody waiting for the bridge to be
opened."

"Good night, they stand a tall chance," Westy said.

"It's a tug, that's what it is," Pee-wee said; "I can see the smoke. It's
going up in a big column."

"It's more than a column, its a whole volume," Westy said, looking around.
"There must be books on that boat; the smoke is coming out in volumes."

All the while we were getting nearer to the bridge and it was easier
rowing, because the tide was on the turn.

Now maybe if you fellows that read this don't live in the country where
there's a river, you won't understand about tides and bridges and all
that. So I'll tell you how it is, because, gee, we're used to all that,
us fellows.

Jimmy Van Dorian, he lives right near the bridge in a little shanty and
he's lame and he's a bridge tender. You don't get much for being a bridge
tender and mostly old veterans are bridge tenders. Anyway, they don't get
much out our way, because big boats don't come up and they don't have to
open the bridge often.

When we got down to the bridge we saw that the tide was right up so we
even had to duck our heads to get under, and right on the other side of
the bridge was a tugboat standing facing upstream and its whistle was
screeching and screeching just like a dog stands and barks when he's mad.
It seemed awful funny because it was a small tug and it made so much
noise.

"It ought to be named the Pee-wee," Westy said.

"Nobody's paying much attention to it," I told him.

Just as we came under the bridge we could see a big fat man, oh,
Christopher, wasn't he fat, standing up in the pilot house pulling
and pulling the whistle rope, for the bridge to open. Sometimes he'd
pull it very fast, just like you do with the receiver on the telephone
when you're good and mad because Central don't answer. And it was
pretty near as bad as the telephone, too, because he went on tooting
and tooting and tooting and nobody paid any attention to him.

CHAPTER XXIX

JIMMY, THE BRIDGE-TENDER

Pretty soon the big fat man stuck his head out of the window and he
shouted, "What's the matter, is everybody deaf around here? Here, you
boys, where's the bridgeman?" Honest, you'd think I had the bridgeman
in my pocket. I told him I didn't know where the bridgeman was. Oh, but
he looked mad. He had an awful red face and white whiskers and I guess
he must have been used to ordering people around--anyway, he looked that
way.

He said, "Here I am on the down tide, the water going out every minute
and got to run up to North Bridgeboro yet. It's a--" he said what kind
of an outrage it was, but I wouldn't tell you. Oh, he was hopping mad.
"I'll get stuck hard and fast in the consarned mud," he said, "if I
ain't back and past this here Sleepy Hollow in forty minutes--that's
what I will!"

I hollered up to him that I'd row across to Jimmy's house and see if he
was asleep.

"Asleep!" that's just the way he shouted. "Do bridgeman sleep on full
tide up this way? Don't he know the harbor and waterway laws? I'll make
it hot for 'im--I will." And then he began pulling the whistle faster
and faster.

"Somebody must have been feeding him meat," Westy whispered to me.

"He's good and mad, that's sure," I said. Even while we rowed across to
Jimmy's shanty I could hear him shouting between the whistlings and
saying he'd have the bridgeman up for deserting on flood tide and putting
him in the mud. And jiminy, I have to admit that he was up against it,
because the tide was running down and by the time he got up to North
Bridgeboro and back, it would maybe be too low in the channel. One thing,
Jimmy had a right to be there, especially at flood tide, I knew that. But
I guess the reason he wasn't was because nothing but little motor boats
ever came up our river and they can always crawl under.

Jimmy lives all by himself on account of being old and his people are all
dead. I said to Westy that maybe he was just asleep, so we knocked and
knocked, but nobody came to the door. Then I knew he wasn't there at all
or else maybe he was dead.

"Anyway, we'd better find out," I said, "because it's mighty funny him
not being there, seeing that he never goes away anywhere."

All the time we could hear that old grouch shouting about Bridgeboro and
our river and saying it was Sleepy Hollow and Dopeville, and the river
was a mud hole. But it isn't and don't you believe it.

"Anyway, I'm going to climb in through the shed window," I said, "and
see if maybe Jimmy is sick or dead." I could see that Pee-wee was not
exactly scared but sort of anxious, and I was too, I have to admit it.

Westy and I got the shed window open, all right, because Jimmy wasn't
careful about it, on account of not having anything worth stealing, I
suppose. I was kind of shaky when we went into the first room, because
that was where he slept and I thought maybe he'd be lying there dead.

But he wasn't there at all. Just the same we stood there looking at each
other, and we were both kind of nervous, because Jimmy's clothes were
lying all around on the bed and on the floor, and a chair was knocked
over, and it looked just as if somebody had been rummaging in the room
in a big hurry. The door into the other room was closed and, I have to
admit, I didn't feel like opening it.

"I bet somebody's robbed him and killed him," Westy said, kind of low.

"That's just what I'm thinking," I said, "and when we open that door
we'll see him lying on the floor dead, hey?"

"Anyway, we have to open it," he said.

"I'll open it if you don't want to," I told him.

But, anyway, neither of us opened it. We just stood there and I felt
awful funny. It was all still and spooky and you could hear the clock
ticking, and I counted the ticks. It sounded spooky, going tick, tick,
tick.

Then Westy said, "Shall I open it?"

"Sure," I said, "we've got to sometime."

So he opened it just a little bit and then, all of a sudden, he pushed
it wide open and we looked into that other room.

CHAPTER XXX

GONE

In the middle of the room was a table Jimmy always ate his meals at, and
on that table was a big square piece of paper and there was a big
envelope on the floor. But there wasn't any sign of Jimmy. Oh, boy,
didn't I feel good on account of that. Westy read the paper out loud
and it was something about a convention of the Grand Army, or something
like that. It said how all the members of some post or other were asked
to go to Saratoga on account of that big convention and it was addressed
to "Comrade James Van Dorian." Gee, I felt awful sorry for him, sort
of, because I knew how it was with him.

"He just couldn't help it," Westy said, "he got ready in a hurry and
went. I guess he took all the money he had saved up-poor old Jimmy."

"He'll lose his job, that's sure," I said.

Even while we were standing there I could kind of see him getting dressed
up in a hurry in that old blue coat he had, with the buttons all falling
off it, and starting off with his crutch. Maybe he just got his pension
money, hey?

All the while the whistle on the tug was blowing and I was afraid people
would come around and maybe they'd all be on the side of the tugboat man
and be mad at Uncle Jimmy.

Jiminy, I wasn't mad at him, anyway. And I could hear that old man
shouting about all the things he was going to do and about the
bridgeman deserting and leaving him in the mud.

"Hurry up," Westy said, "let's find the key-bar and we'll open it for
him, we can do it all right."

So we looked all around in a hurry, but we couldn't find it anywhere.
The key-bar is what you open the bridge with, you know. It's kind of
like a crow-bar and you stick it in a certain place and walk around
pushing it. It isn't so hard when you get started on account of the
bridge being balanced right and it's geared up, too. But what's the
use if you can't find the key-bar?

"It must be somewheres around," Westy said, all excited.

Oh, didn't we turn things inside out! But it wasn't any use--we
couldn't find it.

"Don't let's bother," I said, "I've got an idea, come ahead--quick!"
I didn't even stop to tell him what I was thinking about, but I hustled
back into the boat, with Pee-wee after us, wanting to know what we found
inside.

"A couple of mysteries," I panted out.

"How many?" he wanted to know.

"And a couple of ghosts thrown in," I said, "Hurry up."

On the way across I told the fellows to please let me talk to the old
man, because I had something particular to say to him. I was panting and
rowing so hard, that I couldn't tell the fellows then. Anyway, I guess
Pee-wee had that house haunted and filled with German spies and Uncle
Jimmy murdered and goodness knows what all.

We pulled up right alongside the tug-boat and I called out to the old
man that I wanted to tell him something and to please let me come up.
I was all trembling, but anyway, I said it right out and I didn't wait
for him to say yes, because he was too busy saying other things to say
it.

Westy and Pee-wee stayed in the rowboat and I went right up into the
little house where the old man was. Oh, boy, wasn't everything polished
all nice and shiny! Gee, it was nice up in there. The wheel looked
awfully big and the compass, you could just see your face in it. And it
smelled kind of oily and nice up there. Wouldn't I like to live in a
place like that!

The old man was smoking a pipe and he blew out a lot of smoke--it was
kind of like a barrage.

Then he said very stern and gruff, "Well, sir?"

Oh, boy, wasn't I shaky! But I started right in, and when you once get
started it's easy, that's one sure thing.

I said, "Maybe you'll only be more mad when I tell you but I heard you
say something about Uncle Jimmy deserting. Twice you said that. And I
thought maybe you might be a veteran, hey? Maybe that's a crazy thing to
think, hey?"

All he said was, "Well, sir," and he blew a lot of tobacco smoke at me
and looked at me with a frown, all fierce, but I wasn't scared.

"I only kind of deduced that," I said, "and anyway I've got to admit
you've got reason to be mad."

Even still, all he said was, "Well, sir," and he held his pipe so I
thought maybe he was going to chuck it at me--good night!

"Anyway, if you were a soldier, maybe you'll understand, that's all.
Uncle Jimmy, that's what we call him, he went away to the Grand Army
Convention--that's where he went. I'm not saying he had a right to go,
but one thing, big boats like yours never come up this way, so the bridge
doesn't have to be opened very often--sometimes not all summer. It's kind
of just bad luck for him, that's all. But, one thing sure, I know how it
is to be away when I ought not to be, I do. And I'm no better than he is,
that's one sure thing. I'm a boy scout," I told him, "and my scoutmaster
says you have no right to make bargains about things that are wrong. But
anyway, maybe you wouldn't think this would be trying to make a bargain
with you and sticking up for somebody that did wrong. So I thought I'd
ask you if you'll please promise not to write to the government people,
and I'll promise you to open the bridge for you in ten minutes. He's
lame, Uncle Jimmy is, and he got that way in some battle, and he has to
use a crutch. And that's the reason they gave him a job. I see your tug
is named General U. S. Grant, and maybe he was fighting with General
Grant, hey? You can't tell.

"We can't find the key-bar, but about a month ago, the old key-bar fell
in the river, and I know where it is. Maybe you think I'm crazy, but I'm
dive and get it for you, if you'll only promise not to tell on Uncle
Jimmy, because he couldn't help going. Maybe you don't understand, but
he just couldn't. I've got the swimming badge and that's for diving
too. All you have to do is to give me some rope, so I can take one end
of it down and then you can haul it up and the key-bar will be tied to
it. You can be dead sure. Because what a fellow has to do, he can do.
Only you have to make me the promise first 'cause that'll help me to
do it."

CHAPTER XXXI

THE CAPTAIN'S ORDERS

Maybe it wasn't a very good speech, but anyway, he was nicer than he was
before and he had an awful funny twinkle in his eye.

Then he said, "So you know how to dive, huh, sonny? Can you keep your
mouth shut?"

"Sure, you have to keep your mouth shut when you dive," Pee-wee yelled
up from the rowboat, and then the old man just had to laugh.

"I mean when you're on land, sonny," he said.

"Sure I can," I told him.

"Well, then" he said, "if any of you scout kids goes about sayin' as how
Uncle Jimmy went away to the convention, and I ever meet you in your old
skiff, by the Big Dipper I'll run you down and cut you in half, that's
what I'll do! Do you hear?" he shouted. "If you ever run afoul of the
General Grant in the bay or anywheres else, by thunder, I'm Cap'n
Savage, I am, and once upon a time I was Major Savage, and I should be
at that there convention myself, instead of standing here blowing away
at a better soldier than me!"

"Don't you care, we'll forgive you," Pee-wee shouted up.

"Keep him quiet, will you?" I called down to Westy.

"Ask me something easy," Westy said.

"And so you think you can dive," old Captain Savage said, "or is that
just boy scout talk? Do I stand a chance of getting upstream and down
again to-night, or not. Where do you say that key-bar is?"

You can bet I knew just exactly where it was. It was under the east span
of the bridge and just underneath about the fifth or sixth plank from the
centre. I knew it was hard bottom down there, too. So Captain Savage and
the other man he had gave me a thin rope and we fastened one end on the
deck. I tied the other end of it around my waist in a loose French
sailor's knot, so I could pull it off without any trouble under water.

Then I dived. I had to come up a couple of times without it, but the
third time I got hold of it lying on the rocks, and quick as a flash
I loosened the rope from my waist and tied it onto the keybar. Then I
came up, sputtering.

"Pull," I sputtered, "you've got it; only pull easy." Then I scrambled
up on the deck. Believe me in less than a minute the tug-man and Westy
and Pee-wee were on the bridge and had the key-bar fixed in its socket.
Then we started to push and around she went--slow at first; then faster.

Oh, boy, wasn't I glad to see old General Grant march through. Just as I
was going to get in the rowboat, Captain Savage stuck his head out of
the window and shouted, "Here you, youngster; you come in here. We have
to overhaul accounts."

"Scouts don't accept anything for a service," Westy shouted.

"I ain't a-talking to you," Captain Savage shouted; "you other feller,
scramble aboard and come up here! Don't they learn you nothin' about
obedience in them thar scouts--huh? you scramble up on board here like
I tell you!" Oh, boy, I knew he meant me.

CHAPTER XXXII

I MAKE A DANDY FRIEND

That was the first time I ever rode in a tug-boat, and believe me, it was
great. I stood right beside the wheel in that little house and pointed
out the channel to Captain Savage all the way up to North Bridgeboro.
That's one thing I sure know--the channel. Anyway, if you don't know it,
follow the abrupt shore. But with a tug-boat, good night, you have to be
careful because a tug 'draws so much water. He was going up there after a
lumber barge, he said.

First, he didn't say anything, only smoked, and it was like a fog in
there. Pretty soon he said: "So you youngsters don't take nuthin' fer
services, huh?"

"We have to do a good turn if we see a chance," I told him.

Then he wanted to know all about the scouts, how they were divided into
troops and patrols and everything, and after I told him all that, we got
to talking about our vacation and about Temple Camp, and especially about
the house-boat. I asked him if he thought a three horsepower engine would
drive the house-boat up the Hudson, so we could get as far as Catskill
Landing in a couple of weeks.

He said, "It would be more like a couple of years, I reckon."

"Good night!" I said, "if it takes us two years to get there and we have
to be home inside of a month, I see our finish. I suppose it costs a lot
of money to get towed."

He said, "Wall now, whin I bring in a Cunarder and back her into her
stall, it stands them in a few pennies."

"You said something," I told him.

"'N I don't suppose your troop has got as much money as the Cunard
Line," he said.

"Gee, we've only got about four dollars now," I told him; "I suppose
we couldn't get towed as much as a mile for that, hey?"

"Wall, four dollars don't go as far as it used ter," he said; "maybe
it would go a half a mile."

Then he, didn't say anything, only puffed and puffed and puffed on his
pipe, and kept looking straight ahead of him, and turning the wheel
ever so little. After a while he said there wasn't water enough in our
river to drown a gold fish, and he didn't know why we called it a river
at all. He said he couldn't imagine what the tide was thinking about to
waste its time coming up such a river. He said if a bird took a drink in
the river while he was upstream, it would leave him on the flats. He was
awful funny, but he never smiled.

Illustration #5

"Roy dived after the key-bar"

When we got up to the mill at North Bridgeboro, he got the barge and
started downstream with the barge alongside. All the while he kept
asking me about the scouts, and I told him about Skinny, and how we
were going to take him up to Temple Camp with us, so he could get
better, maybe.

Then for quite a while he didn't say anything, only puffed away and
pretty soon we could see the bridge and I knew we'd have to open it
again.

But anyway, I could see a lot of fellows there and I knew they were all
from our troop and that they were waiting to open the bridge for General
Grant.

Pretty soon Captain Savage took his pipe out of his mouth and began
speaking, only he didn't notice me only kept looking straight ahead.

"You know how to port a helm?" he said.

I told him no--not on a big boat like that anyway.

Then he said, "Wall, there's lots o' things you got to learn, youngster.
And there's one thing about tug cap'ns that you got to learn, see?"

I told him that was what I wanted to do--learn--

"Wall, then, I'll tell you," he said-this is just what he said--"I'll
tell you, you are in a mighty ticklish place 'n I don't just see how
you're going to get out of it."

For a minute I was kind of scared.

"I ain't sayin' you're not a brisk lot, you youngsters, because you are,
and no denyin'. All I'm sayin' is you're in a peck of trouble--that's
all."

Then he didn't say anything only looked straight ahead out of the window
and kept on smoking. Gee, I felt awful funny.

Then I said if we did anything that wasn't right, cracky, we didn't mean
it anyway, that was sure, and we'd do whatever he said. And I said I knew
it wasn't right for us to break into Uncle Jimmy's shanty, because I
couldn't think of anything else we'd done that was wrong.

Then he said, "'Tain't so much wrong, as 'tis a conflict of rules, as the
feller says. Yer see, the trouble is tug-boat captains are a pretty
pesky, ugly lot, as yer can see from me, and when it comes ter services,
it's give or take. Now I was thinkin', that if you youngsters don't let
me tow you up as far as Poughkeepsie next week, I'll just have to write
and notify the authorities about Uncle Jimmy and make a complaint. I
kinder don't like to do it by reason of him being an old veteran, but
it's up to you youngsters. Either scratch out that rule of yours, or
else see Uncle Jimmy lose his job. Take your choice, it's all the same
to me."

G--o--o--d night! Jiminy, I didn't know what to say to him. I guess I
just stood there staring and he looked straight ahead out of the window
and smoked his pipe, as if he didn't care either way.

Pretty soon he said, "I'm going up to Poughkeepsie next Saturday with a
barge, and I'll give you youngsters till Friday to decide. You can send
me a line to the barge office or the Pilots' Association, or else you
can leave me and old Uncle Jimmy fight it out between our two selves
and Uncle Sam."

The fellows opened the bridge for General Grant to go through and Captain
Savage let me out on one of the cross-beams, without even stopping. He
didn't even look at the fellows as the tug went through, only looked
straight ahead of him and puffed away on his pipe, as if he didn't even
know that there were such things as scouts. We just stood there watching
the tug churning up the water, as she went faster and faster until she
was gone around the bend.

"He's a kind of an old grouch," Pee-wee said.

"It's good you happened to think about how he used that word desert,"
Doc said.

Then Connie said he wouldn't want to be his son, and Artie said he
wouldn't want to be around the house with him on a rainy Sunday, and
I let them go on knocking him, until they got good and tired and then
I said, "Do you know what he wants to do?"

"I bet he wants us to go and be witnesses against Uncle Jimmy," Pee-wee
said; "he'll never get me to be a witness, you can bet."

"Wrong the first time, as usual," I said; "he wants to tow the
house-boat up as far as Poughkeepsie for us next week."

Well, you should have seen those fellows.

"What did you tell him?" Pee-wee yelled.

"I told him that I was sorry, but that scouts couldn't accept anything
for a service--not even favors."

"You're crazy!" Pee-wee shouted; "did you tell him that?"

"Sure I did," I said, very sober, "and he got so mad he's going to have
old Uncle Jimmy sent to jail--just because I told him we couldn't let
him tow us to Poughkeepsie."

"You make me tired!" Pee-wee screamed, "do you mean to say that if a
fellow does a good turn to another--an old man--and it turns out to be
a good turn on somebody else, and he says--the other one that has a
boat--that he'll make a lot of trouble for the other one we did a
service for--do you mean to tell me that the other one has a right to
say he'll make trouble for him, and if he does we haven't got a right
to let him do a good turn to us, so that the other one we did a good turn
for can get under a bridge--it's a good turn to let him do us a good
turn, isn't it? Let's hear you deny that?"

"You're talking in chunks," Doc said; "pick up the words you spilled and
straighten 'em out."

"Hold him or he'll fall off the bridge," Artie said.

"Do you mean to tell me that we haven't got to let him pay us back so as
to save Uncle Jimmy?" Pee-wee fairly screeched.

Oh, boy, you should have seen him.

"There is yet time," I said, just like an actor, sort of. I said, "There
is yet time to fool him--I mean foil him. We have till Friday to accept
his offer."

"Who's got a pencil?" Pee-wee shouted.

Good night! You should have seen that kid.

CHAPTER XXXIII

SO LONG-SEE YOU LATER

So that's about all I can tell you now, but pretty soon I'll tell you
about our cruise up the Hudson and all about the fun we had on the
house-boat and on Captain Savage's tug. Oh, boy, he turned out to be
one fine man. And I'm going to tell you all about Skinny too, and about
the fix we got into about that tramp that slept in the house-boat. You
remember that fellow, don't you. Some scare we had, believe me.

And you'll hear about Temple Camp and Jeb Rushmore, and you'll get to
know us fellows a lot better. Gee, I hope you'll like us. Mr. Ellsworth
says I'm a pretty good author, only I took such a long run there wasn't
any space left to jump in. I should worry. Some authors don't run at
all, they only walk. Believe me, you have to drag some of them with a
rope.

Anyway, we've got acquainted now and that's something. In the next story
there's going to be some girls--and some snakes, too. Especially one
snake. Gee, but girls hate snakes--snakes and mice. Anyway, Mr. Ellsworth
told me to write just the same as I talked, so if it's no good, maybe
that's the reason. You should worry. Maybe you'll like the next one
better, hey?

Anyway, you'll like Temple Camp, that's one sure thing.

THE END

Other books by Percy Keese Fitzhugh (7 Sep 1876 - 5 Jul 1950). Note
that characters from each series crossover to or are mentioned in the
others.

1 - Pee-Wee Harris - 1922
2 - Pee-Wee Harris On The Trail - 1922
3 - Pee-Wee Harris In Camp - 1922
4 - Pee-Wee Harris In Luck - 1922
5 - Pee-Wee Harris Adrift - 1922
6 - Pee-Wee Harris F.O.B. Bridgeboro - 1923
7 - Pee-Wee Harris: Fixer - 1924
8 - Pee-Wee Harris As Good As His Word - 1925
9 - Pee-Wee Harris: Mayor for a Day - 1926
10 - Pee-Wee Harris and The Sunken Treasure - 1927
11 - Pee-Wee Harris On The Briny Deep - 1928
12 - Pee-Wee Harris In Darkest Africa - 1929
13 - Pee-Wee Harris Turns Detective - 1930

1 - Roy Blakeley - 1920
2 - Roy Blakeley's Adventures in Camp - 1920
3 - Roy Blakeley Pathfinder - 1920
4 - Roy Blakeley's Camp On Wheels - 1920
5 - Roy Blakeley's Silver Fox Patrol - 1920
6 - Roy Blakeley's Motor Caravan - 1921
7 - Roy Blakeley Lost Strayed or Stolen - 1921
8 - Roy Blakeley's Bee-line Hike - 1922
9 - Roy Blakeley at The Haunted Camp - 1922
10 - Roy Blakeley's Funny-Bone Hike - 1923
11 - Roy Blakeley's Tangled Trail - 1924
12 - Roy Blakeley on the Mohawk Trail - 1925
13 - Roy Blakeley's Elastic Hike - 1926
14 - Roy Blakeley's Roundabout Hike - 1927
15 - Roy Blakeley's Happy-Go-Lucky Hike - 1928
16 - Roy Blakeley's Go-As-You Please Hike - 1929

1 - Tom Slade - Boy Scout - 1915
2 - Tom Slade At Temple Camp - 1917
3 - Tom Slade On The River - 1917
4 - Tom Slade With The Colors - 1918
5 - Tom Slade On A Transport - 1918
6 - Tom Slade With The Boys Over There - 1918
7 - Tom Slade' Motor-cycle Dispatch Bearer - 1918
8 - Tom Slade With The Flying Corps - 1919
9 - Tom Slade at Black Lake - 1920
10 - Tom Slade On Mystery Trail - 1921
11 - Tom Slade's Double Dare - 1922
12 - Tom Slade On Overlook Mountain - 1923
13 - Tom Slade Picks a Winner - 1924
14 - Tom Slade At Bear Mountain - 1925
15 - Tom Slade: Forest Ranger - 1926
16 - Tom Slade At Shadow Isle - 1928
17 - Tom Slade In The North Woods - 1927
18 - Tom Slade in the Haunted Cavern - 1929
19 - Tom Slade Parachute Jumper - 1930

1 - Westy Martin - 1924
2 - Westy Martin In The Yellowstone - 1924
3 - Westy Martin In The Rockies - 1925
4 - Westy Martin On The Santa Fe Trail - 1926
5 - Westy Martin On The Old Indian Trail - 1928
6 - Westy Martin In The Land Of The Purple Sage - 1929
7 - Westy Martin On The Mississippi - 1930
8 - Westy Martin In The Sierras - 1931

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