THE JOLLY ROGER

When I say that Chub arrived “bag and baggage,” I mean every word of it.

It was a delightful afternoon–July was almost a week old–and Roy,
pausing before his front door and fumbling for his latch-key, looked
westward along the street into a golden haze of sunlight. And as he
looked, suddenly there appeared, huge and formless in the sunset glow,
something that arrested his attention. For a moment he couldn’t make it
out, but presently, with a rattle of wheels, it drew near and resolved
into a “four-wheeler” piled high with luggage. It pulled up at the
curb before the door, and Chub leaped out, bringing with him numerous
packages.

“Hello,” greeted Roy; “come to spend the rest of your days with us? Why
didn’t you bring the grand piano? Or is it in the big trunk there?”

Chub grinned and directed the transfer of his belongings from cab to
house. There was a small steamer trunk, a whopping wicker trunk, a suit
case, a case containing fishing rods, a case containing a shot-gun,
three brown paper parcels, an umbrella, and a rain coat. The largest
trunk was placed in the rear hall down-stairs, but the other things
were carried up to Chub’s room. And when the confusion was over and the
cabman, liberally rewarded, had rattled away, Chub deigned to explain.

“Isn’t that a raft of stuff?” he asked, throwing himself into a chair.
“You see, Roy, after I’d got all packed up I came across two or three
things I thought would be nice for the boat, and as there wasn’t time
to do anything else, I just wrapped them up and brought them along.
That big bundle is a corn and asparagus boiler, and–”

“A _what_?”

“Corn and asparagus boiler. It’s a great thing. I found it in the
kitchen cupboard. It’s sort of oblong, you know, and there’s a tray
that lifts out with the corn on it when it’s done. You see, we’re
likely to have a lot of green corn and I was pretty sure we didn’t have
anything big enough to cook it in. Good idea, wasn’t it?”

“Splendid!” said Roy. “Did they know you were taking it?”

“They do by this time,” laughed Chub. “I forget whether I made any
special mention of it. There were so many things at the last moment,
you see. That littlest bundle is a barometer. Every boat ought to have
a barometer, so I borrowed it from the front porch. And the other–”

“Oh, you needn’t tell me,” sighed Roy. “I know what’s in that. It’s a
sewing machine.”

“You run away and play! It’s a pair of white canvas shoes. I found them
after the trunks had gone and there wasn’t room for them in the bag.”

“And, without wishing to appear unduly inquisitive,” said Roy, “may I
ask what the large trunk down-stairs contains? You said it wasn’t the
piano, I believe?”

“I’ll show you after dinner,” answered Chub. “I’ve got a lot of useful
things in there. What time is it? After six? Then I must wash off some
of this dust. My! it was a grimy old trip.”

“It must have been. How are the folks?”

“Splendid! They’re getting ready to go to the Water Gap. My, but I’m
glad I don’t have to go too! I suppose, though, I’ll have to go there
for a while in September. Is the boat done yet? Have you seen it?”

After dinner Dick appeared and Chub solved the mystery of the wicker
trunk. The entire household gathered in the back hall while he
displayed his treasures.

“What do you say to those?” asked Chub, pulling four sofa cushions out.
“They’ll be just the thing for the window-seat in the forward cabin,
eh?”

“We’ve got pillows for that window-seat,” said Dick.

“How many?” asked Chub, scathingly. “About six! We need a lot. Mother
said I could have these just as well as not for the summer, so I bagged
them. And look here! Camp-stools, don’t you see? You open them out
like–like this–no, like this!–yes, this must be the way they go–how
the dickens?–there we are! See? When we don’t need them they fold up
out of the way–_ouch!_” Chub had folded one of his fingers in the
operation.

“They’re fine!” laughed Roy. “We can use them on the roof.”

“Upper deck, please,” Dick requested. “What’s the red blanket, Chub?”

“That’s a steamer rug, and it’s a fine one. Feel the warmth of it. I
thought maybe we’d want extra covers some time. And there’s an old
foot-ball–”

“What’s that for?” asked Roy.

“Oh, we may want to kick it around some time when we’re ashore. It’ll
be something to do. And this is an old sweater; I thought I’d just
bring it along. And here’s a small ice-cream freezer. It only makes a
quart, but that’ll be enough, I guess. And that’s a bag of salt. Mother
thought I might as well bring it as buy new.”

By this time the audience was frankly hilarious.

“But do you know how to make ice-cream, Chub?” asked Mrs. Porter.

“Oh, anybody can make ice-cream,” he answered carelessly. “You just
mix some cream and sugar and flavoring stuff up and freeze it. I’ve
seen our cook do it lots of times. Here’s my electric torch. That’ll
be handy, you’ll admit. And here’s a collapsible bucket. It’s great! I
saw it in a store window one day. See how it folds up when you aren’t
using it? That’s a box of soap; I knew you fellows would forget to put
soap on your list.”

Neither Dick nor Roy had anything to say; they _had_ forgotten.

“Those are some books I want to read. Have you read that one, Roy?
It’s a thriller! Take it along with you. It’ll keep you awake half the
night. These old trousers I thought might come in handy in case anyone
fell in the water.”

“Dear me!” exclaimed Roy’s mother. “You don’t expect to fall overboard
do you?”

“No, Mrs. Porter, but you never can tell what will happen,” replied
Chub, wisely. “Those are shells for the shot-gun and that’s my
fly-book. I should think we might find some good fishing, eh? Here’s
a ‘first aid’ case. Mother insisted on my bringing that. I don’t know
what’s in it, but I suppose there’s no harm having it along. Here are
some curtains; I used to have them in my room until they got faded. I
thought maybe we’d find a place for them. And this is an extra blanket.
I just put it in so that the bottom of the trunk would be soft. And
a hair pillow; it’s rather soiled, but that’s just shoe-dressing I
spilled on it once. The laundress couldn’t get it all out. And I guess
that’s all except this thermometer. Oh, the mischief! The plaguey
thing’s broken! Throw it away. It was just a cheap one, anyhow. There,
that’s the lot. What do you say?”

“I don’t know how we’d have got along without those things, Chub,”
said Roy, very, very earnestly. “How we could have expected to go on a
cruise without a foot-ball and a hair pillow and a collapsible bucket–”

“And a pair of old trousers and a thermometer,” added Dick.

“I don’t see. Do you Dick?” Dick shook his head gravely.

“We must have been crazy,” he said, sadly.

“Oh, you say what you like!” responded Chub. “You’ll find that all
these things will come in mighty handy before we get back.”

“Of course,” said Roy, “even if we have to load them in another boat
and tow it along behind.”

“Oh, get out; there’s plenty of room for this truck. You fellows are
just jealous because you didn’t think of them.”

“I quite approve of the ice-cream freezer,” remarked Mr. Porter, “but I
don’t just see how you’re going to work it without the dasher.”

“_What!_” exclaimed Chub. “Didn’t I put that in?”

“Well, I don’t see it anywhere; do you?” Then followed a wild search
for the dasher. At last Chub gave it up and looked a trifle foolish.

“I remember now,” he muttered. “I took it out of the can so that it
wouldn’t rattle around. I–I must have forgotten to pack it.”

He joined good-naturedly in the laugh that arose.

“Anyhow,” he said presently, “I dare say we can get along without
ice-cream. It’s a bother to have to freeze it. And maybe we can use the
tub as a bucket and keep something in the can; we could keep our milk
in it.”

“I imagine that most of the milk we’ll have will come in cans,” said
Roy. “You don’t expect fresh milk, do you?”

“I surely do. We can buy it at the farm-houses.”

“Condensed milk is cheaper, though,” said Dick, “because you don’t
have to use much sugar with it.”

“Listen to Dickums!” jeered Chub. “He’s getting economical!”

It was finally decided to leave the ice-cream freezer behind, and the
bag of salt was donated to Mrs. Porter “as a slight testimonial of
esteem from the master and crew of the _Jolly Roger_.” Then the boys
went up to Roy’s room and sat there very late, planning and discussing.

The next morning found them at the wharf bright and early, even
Chub disdaining for once what he called his “beauty sleep.” The
wharf belonged to a company in which Mr. Porter was interested and
accommodations for the _Jolly Roger_ had been gladly accorded. She lay
in the slip looking very clean and neat. The new coat of paint had
worked wonders in her appearance. Each of the boys had brought a suit
case filled with things, and Chub carried besides the two camp-stools
and a large crimson pillow. And while they are aboard unloading let us
look over the house-boat.

[Illustration: The boys arrive at the wharf]

At first glance the _Jolly Roger_ looked like a scow with a little
one-story white cottage on top, and a tiny cupola at one end of
that. The hull was thirty-three feet long and thirteen feet wide and
drew about four feet. There was a bluntly curving bow and the merest
suggestion of a stern, but had it not been for the white cupola on top,
which was in reality a tiny wheel-house, it would have been difficult
to decide which was the bow end and which the stern end of the craft.
The hull was painted pea-green to a point just above the water-line.
Beyond that there was a strip of faded rose-pink, and then a narrow
margin of white. The decks were gray, or had been at one time, the
house and railings were white and the window and door trimming was
green. So she didn’t lack for color.

Small as the boat was she was well built and, in spite of having been
in use for several years, was in first-rate condition. It was nothing
short of a miracle that so many rooms and passages and cubbyholes were
to be found on her. Chub, in commenting on this feature, had said once:

“If you gave this hull to a regular carpenter and told him to build
one room and a closet on it he’d be distracted. And if he did do it
he’d have the closet sticking out over the water somewhere. But just
look what a boat-builder does! He makes three rooms, a kitchen, and an
engine compartment, all sorts of closets and cupboards, puts a roof
garden and a pilot-house on top and runs a piazza all around it! Why,
a fellow I know at home has a little old launch about twenty feet long
and six feet wide and I’m blessed if he hasn’t pretty nearly everything
inside of her except a ball-room! I’m blamed if I see how they do it!”

On the _Jolly Roger_, beginning forward, there was a living-room nine
feet by ten. There were five one-sash windows in it, two on each
side and one in front. Under the front window and running from side
to side was a broad window-seat comfortably upholstered and supplied
with pillows. Between two of the windows was a bookcase, in one corner
was a cabinet holding a talking-machine and records, in the center of
the room was a three-foot round table, and three wicker chairs were
distributed about. Forward, in front of the window, a tiny spiral
stairway of iron led up into the wheel-house above. It had been decided
that if Harry and her father or mother joined them, a cot-bed was
to be placed in this room, which, with the window-seat, would give
accommodations for two persons. The living room gave into a narrow
passage which traversed the boat. Across the passage at the other end
was a door leading into a little bedroom, nine feet by five. This held
a three-foot brass bedstead, one chair, and a lavatory. Above the bed
drawers and shelves and a mirror had been built.

Back of the bedroom, opening from the deck, was the engine-room. The
engine was of six horse-power and a very good one, in spite of Mr.
Cole’s aspersions. The gasolene tank was on the roof above. The _Jolly
Roger_ had a guaranteed speed of five miles an hour, but the boys
soon discovered that the guaranteed speed and the actual speed didn’t
agree by a whole mile. The engine-room had no window but was lighted
by a deadlight set in the roof. Beyond the engine-room, on the other
side of the boat, was a tiny kitchen, or, as the boys preferred to
call it, galley. This opened into the after cabin and was so small
that one person entirely filled it. But in spite of its size it was a
model of convenience. There was an oil-stove, a sink–you forced water
from a tank under the deck by means of a little nickel-plated pump–an
ice-chest, shelves for dishes, hooks overhead for pots and kettles,
cupboards underneath for supplies and a dozen other conveniences. As
Dick said, all you had to do was to stand in front of the sink and
reach for anything you wanted. There was a window above the sink and
Dick discovered that it was very handy to throw potato peelings and
such things out of.

The remaining apartment was a room nine by seven which the owner had
used principally to store his painting materials in. Previously it had
contained only a cupboard, table, chair, and a small, green chest. But
now two cot-beds were established on opposite sides. There wasn’t much
room left, but it was quite possible to move around and to reach the
galley. This after cabin opened on to the rear deck, about five feet
broad, from whence a flight of steps led up to the roof, or, again
quoting the boys, the upper deck.

This was one of the best features of the little craft. It was covered
with canvas save where panes of thick glass gave light to the rooms
below, and was railed all around. Outside the railing were green
wooden boxes for flowers. Last summer these had been filled with
geraniums and periwinkle and had made a brave showing. And the boys
had decided that they would have them so again. Stanchions held a
striped awning which covered the entire deck. At the forward end was
the wheel-house, a little six by four compartment glassed on all sides,
in which was a steering wheel–the boat could also be steered from
the engine-room–various pulls for controlling the engine, a rack for
charts, a clock, and a comfortable swivel chair. Near the stairs there
was a little cedar tender, but this was usually towed astern. Stowed
away below were some inexpensive rugs which belonged up here, and three
willow chairs and a willow table. A side ladder led from the upper
deck to the lower so that one could get quickly from engine-room to
wheel-house. Topping the latter was a short pole for a flag. Such was
the house-boat _Jolly Roger_, Eaton, master.

“Tell you what I’m going to do,” said Dick, when they had unloaded
their bags and distributed the contents. “I’m going to try the engine.
We’d better find out as soon as we can whether she’s going to run.”

“What do you mean?” asked Roy, anxiously. “Go monkeying around here
among all these ferry-boats and things?”

But Dick explained that his idea was to keep the boat tied up. So they
looked to their two lines which ran from bow and stern and Dick slipped
into the engine-room. Presently there was a mild commotion at the stern
of the boat which gradually increased as Dick advanced the spark. The
lines tightened, but held, and Roy and Chub joined the engineer.

“How does she go?” asked Chub.

“All right,” Dick answered, cheerfully. The engine was chugging away
busily and Dick was moving about it with his oil-can. “I didn’t have
any trouble starting it. I don’t believe Mr. Cole knows much about
engines.” There was a tone of superiority in Dick’s voice that caused
the others to smile, recalling, as they did, his own vast ignorance of
the subject less than a year ago. The summer before Dick had purchased
a small launch and what he now knew of gas engines had been learned in
the short space of a few months’ experience chugging about Ferry Hill
in the _Pup_.

“Oh, Mr. Cole always said he didn’t understand that engine,” answered
Roy. “Turn her off, Dick, or we’ll break away from the dock.”

“Wait till I see how she reverses,” said Dick.

“Well, start her back easy,” Chub cautioned, glancing anxiously at the
lines which held them to the wharf. So Dick slowed the engine down and
then threw back the clutch. The _Jolly Roger_ obeyed beautifully, and
Dick was finally persuaded to bring the trial to an end. Then they went
over the boat again.

“If Harry brings her mother with her,” said Roy, “they’ll have to have
this room.” They were in the forward cabin or living room. “We can put
up a cot along here for Mrs. Emery and Harry can have the window-seat!”

“That’s all right,” said Chub, “but the only place to wash is in
the bedroom. We’ll have to put a bowl and pitcher in here, and a
looking-glass, too; ladies can’t get along without a looking-glass.”

“If her father comes with her,” said Dick, “Harry can have the bedroom,
Doctor Emery can sleep in here on the cot and one of us fellows can
have the window-seat. Then the other two can sleep in the after cabin.”

“Where’ll we eat our meals?” Roy asked. They looked at each other in
perplexity.

“Mr. Cole ate in the after cabin,” said Chub, finally, “but there isn’t
room there with those two cots set up.”

“I tell you,” said Dick. “While we’re alone we’ll take the cots out of
the after cabin and use it for a dining-room. Roy can have the cot in
here and I’ll sleep on the window-seat. Chub can have the bedroom; he’s
captain, you know.”

“That’s a good scheme,” answered Roy, “but how about when the others
come?”

“Oh, we’ll fix it somehow. Besides, maybe they won’t come. We haven’t
heard a word from Harry yet.”

“Well, the letter had to be forwarded from Ferry Hill to her aunt’s,
I suppose,” explained Roy. “We’ll probably hear from her to-day or
to-morrow. Half the time we’ll be tied up to the shore, any way, and we
can easily enough set that little table on the ground.”

“Maybe there’d be room for it on the rear deck,” suggested Dick. “Kind
of under the stairs, you know. Let’s go and see.”

A survey of the space showed that the plan was quite feasible,
especially as Dick volunteered to sit on the railing.

“There’s another thing we’ll have to have,” said Chub, “and that’s a
place to wash when Harry’s with us. Suppose we haul that little green
chest out here and put a tin basin on it. We could bring water from the
kitch–the galley.”

“That’s all right,” laughed Roy, “but why not use your precious folding
bucket and dip the water out of the river?”

“I hadn’t thought of that,” Chub responded. “That’s a good scheme.
We’ll hang it on a nail, over the basin.”

“Where the mischief are we going to keep those extra cots when we’re
not using them?” Dick asked.

“I found just the place for them,” Chub replied. “We’ll lean them up in
the passage beyond the bedroom door and keep the outside door at that
end closed. We don’t need to use it anyway.”

Other problems were solved, and then luncheon, which they had brought
with them, was spread on the table in the forward cabin and they set
to with a will. Before they had finished the florist appeared on the
scene with geraniums and periwinkle for the flower boxes. By the time
he had transferred the plants from pots to the boxes along the edge of
the upper deck, he had managed to mess the new white paint up pretty
badly and the boys spent the better part of half an hour cleaning up
with water and brushes. By that time it was well toward the middle of
the afternoon and they were quite ready to go home.

“If we can get the rest of the supplies in to-morrow morning,” observed
Chub as he locked the last door and slipped the key in his pocket, “I
don’t see why we shouldn’t start to-morrow after luncheon instead of
waiting until the next morning. We could easily get up the river far
enough to spend the night. What do you think?”

Both Roy and Dick were quite as eager to get off as he was, and it was
agreed that if the groceries arrived in time they would begin their
cruise at one o’clock on the morrow. When they reached Roy’s house they
found a letter from Harry. Roy read it aloud.

Miss Emery accepts with pleasure the kind invitation of Messrs.
Chub, Roy, and Dick, and will be ready to embark on the _Jolly
Roger_ at Ferry Hill at the time appointed.

P. S. Isn’t it lovely? Mama says I can come home the 20th and
papa will go with me, although he says we can’t stay with you
more than two weeks. But perhaps you didn’t want us for more
than that. Did you? Do you think I might take Snip along? He
will behave beautifully. Aunt Harriet says I’m certain to be
drowned and wants me to carry a life preserver around in my
hand all the time. Isn’t that funny? She’s taught me to make
pie-crust and so I’ll make you all the pies you want. Won’t
that be fine? I can make three kinds: apple, cherry, rhubarb. I
can make mince, too, if I have the mincemeat. Don’t forget to
write at once and let me know when you will get to Ferry Hill.
Remembrances to Chub and Dick.

Yours truly, HARRY.

“Well, I’m rather glad it’s the Doctor that’s coming and not Mrs.
Emery,” said Dick. “Mrs. Emery is charming and kind, but a man will be
less trouble. Hello, what’s the matter with you, Chub?”

Chub was gazing into space with an ecstatic smile on his face.

“Me?” he asked, coming out of his trance. “Nothing! I was just thinking
of those pies!”

Continue Reading

A TRIP OF INSPECTION

It turned out when they got there that the real host was not Dick, but
Dick’s father. Neither Roy nor Chub had met Mr. Somes before. Like Mr.
Cole he was a large man, but his size was rather a matter of breadth
and thickness than height. He had a round, clean-shaven, jovial face
lighted by a pair of keen steel-gray eyes, and a deep, rumbly voice
that seemed to come from the heavy-soled shoes he affected. But he
was kindness itself, and by the time they had gathered about the
table beside the open window in the big hotel dining-room Roy and
Chub were quite captivated. And that luncheon! Chub talks of it yet!
There was ice-cold cantaloupe to start with, and then cold bouillon,
and tiny clams lying on shells no larger than half-dollars, and chops
not much larger than the clams–so small, in fact, that Chub viewed
them with dismay until he discovered that there were many, many of
them,–and potato croquettes, and pease no larger than birdshot,
and Romaine salad, and–but, dear me, no one save Chub can give the
entire program at this late day! I know there were lemon tarts and
strawberry ice-cream and all sorts of astonishing cakes at the end,
though; and I know that Chub was never much more miserable in his
life than when he was obliged to stop eating with half his portion of
ice-cream unconsumed! Of course such a repast took time, and after it
was over no one seemed in any very great hurry to leave the table.
So they sat there contentedly while Mr. Somes, craftily led on by
Dick, told marvelous stories of mines and discoveries, until Chub was
for abandoning the cruise in the _Jolly Roger_ and starting west to
prospect for gold. It was almost the middle of the afternoon when they
finally left the dining-room, and then a hasty consultation of the
time-table showed them that to reach Loving’s Landing that day and
return in time for dinner was quite out of the question. Roy and Dick
were a little disappointed, but Chub took it philosophically.

“We can go up in the morning just as well,” he said. “We can go any
day, but it isn’t every day a chap gets the chance of a feed like
that. It’s all right for you fellows to make fun, but you haven’t
been in training for two months, living on beef and potatoes and rice
puddings! I’m not kicking though,” he added softly and reverently, “for
that luncheon pretty nearly made up for it all!”

So instead of going to Loving’s Landing they ambled downtown, feeling
very contented and peaceful, and obtained a price-list from one of
the big grocery houses. Armed with this they returned to Dick’s room
and made out a long list of purchases. There is no use in setting it
down here, for when they reckoned up they found that it came to over
ninety dollars! In disgust Roy crumpled it up and threw it into the
waste-basket.

“We’re awful idiots,” he said. “What’s the good of wasting our time up
here when we might be out of doors? Let’s go and have a walk in the
Park.”

Chub, reclining at full length on Dick’s bed, groaned dismally.

“‘Strenuous’ is a much over-worked word, Roy,” he said, “but it
certainly applies to you. Just when I’m beginning to feel comfortable
you ask me to get up and walk! _Walk!_ If you’d said ride, now–”

“Well, let’s,” said Dick. “Let’s get on the top of one of those silly
Fifth Avenue stages and bump uptown. It’s lots of fun, honest; you
think every minute that the fool thing’s going to topple over!”

“What joy!” murmured Chub. “Let us go. I’m the neat little toppler.
Besides, maybe it will help settle my luncheon and give me an appetite
for dinner.”

“Great Scott!” exclaimed Roy. “You’re not thinking about dinner already
are you?”

“I’m thinking of nothing else,” responded Chub. “Hang it, you fellows
don’t seem to realize that I’ve got two months of starvation to make up
for! Come on and let us topple.”

But although they went to the end of the route in both directions the
coach failed to turn over, but there were several occasions when Chub
screamed with delight and told the others that the moment was at hand.

“Now we’re going!” Chub cried. “Stand back, men! Women and children
first!” And when the danger was over he shook his head disappointedly.
“I shall ask for my money back,” he declared warmly. “What kind
of service do you call this, anyway? Here I am out for a pleasant
afternoon topple and nothing doing! I believe I could have some one
arrested for this.” He looked darkly about him in search of a victim.
“The first policeman I see I shall make complaint to. It’s an outrage,
a perfect outrage!”

But when they reached Roy’s house the prospect of dinner had restored
his good-humor. Dick dined with them, and in the evening they went to
the theater.

Theoretically it is a simple matter to journey from New York to
Loving’s Landing. Actually it is much more difficult, especially when
you mistake the train as the three did the next forenoon and find
yourself hurrying off in quite the wrong direction. By the time they
were able to get out of that train they had wasted fourteen miles. By
the time they were back in the station, ready to start over again, they
had squandered nearly three quarters of an hour. Roy was inclined to be
angry, laying the blame, by some remarkable method of reasoning, on
the railroad company.

“What did that fellow tell us Track 12 for?” he asked irascibly.

“There, there,” said Chub soothingly, “don’t waste your time trying to
find out why anybody does anything in a railroad station. They have
laws of their own, Roy, laws that you and I will never comprehend. It
was our fault. We ought to know by this time that no one in a station
ever tells the truth on any subject. I’ll just bet you that if I go
over there and ask that gateman how to get to Loving’s Landing he will
tell me all wrong.”

“Well, we’ve got to ask someone,” said Dick, “and it might as well be
him. He looks as intelligent as most of them I’ve seen.”

“Then I’ll ask him, but of course he will lie to me.” Chub was back
in a minute shaking his head dismally. “He _says_ Track 8, and that
there’s a train in about four minutes, but of course–”

“Come on,” said Roy impatiently, “don’t let’s lose another.”

They sought Track 8, Chub expostulating against the folly of believing
the gateman. But both the conductor and the brakeman assured them
earnestly that the train did go to Loving’s Landing, and after some
persuasion Chub allowed himself to be dragged aboard.

“Have your own way,” he sighed. “But when you get out in Chicago or
Cincinnati or New Orleans don’t blame me, don’t blame me! I wash my
hands of the whole undertaking.”

“I guess it won’t hurt them,” answered Dick cruelly.

Loving’s Landing, at first sight, didn’t appear to be worth the trouble
they had taken to find it. It was largely composed of lumberyards,
machine-shops and wharves in front of which dirty little canal-boats
were lying. Higgins’s Boat Yard was difficult to discover, each
informant directing them differently, but at last they found it tucked
away between the railroad and the river and hidden by a lumberyard.
They presented their credentials at the office and were directed to
where the _Jolly Roger_ lay ready for launching. By that time Chub was
speculating on the chances of obtaining luncheon in such a “one-horse
metropolis.”

The _Jolly Roger_ lay at the top of the way, one end tilted high in
air. It was something of a feat to board her and more of a feat to move
around after they were there. The doors and windows had been opened
but the interior still had a musty odor that caused Roy to sniff in
displeasure. For the next half-hour they roamed around in and out,
planning and making memoranda of things to buy. The boat was furnished
just as when they had last seen it, although the hauling out had
seriously displaced many of the articles. In the forward cabin,–or
living-room, just as you had a mind to call it,–chairs and table had
congregated against one wall as though holding a conference.

“Seems to me,” said Chub, “we’re going to need a lot of things. We
ought to have new curtains all over the shop, cot-beds, bedding, some
more chairs–”

“Well, we’ve got those all down,” answered Roy shortly. “What is most
important. I fancy, is to have someone go over the engine.”

“You bet,” Dick agreed. “We can do without new curtains better than
we can do without an engine. I’ve been looking at the batteries and
wiring and they’re all out of kilter. We’d better consult Higgins and
find some one who can fix up that part of it.”

“She doesn’t look much as she did last summer,” said Chub
disappointedly.

“Oh, she will when she gets in the water and we have her fixed up,”
Dick replied. “How about painting her outside?”

They climbed down and had a look at her from the wharf, finally
agreeing that a coat of white on the house was necessary. Then they
found the boat builder and talked it all over with him. As soon as
he found that there was a prospect of work to be done he was all
attention. He agreed to take charge of the matter, paint her as
directed, have the engine and batteries thoroughly gone over and
deliver her at a certain dock in the North River, New York, in one
week’s time.

“Of course he’s lying, too,” said Chub gloomily as they made their way
out of the yard, “but it’s a sweet lie. I don’t suppose he will have
her ready before the middle of July. Some one of us will have to come
up here every day or so and get after him.”

“Don’t you worry,” answered Dick, “Roy and I will camp on his trail,
and by the time you come back she’ll be all ready.”

Chub allowed himself to be comforted, and they set forth in search of
luncheon. They found it, but the least said of it the better. The next
morning Chub left for Pittsburg, having bound himself as one condition
of the agreement with his father to spend a week at home before
beginning the cruise in the house-boat. While he was away Roy and Dick
fulfilled their promise to keep after Mr. Higgins, and that worthy
responded finely to encouragement. The boys went to Loving’s Landing
three times during the week, the last time bearing with them the new
curtains which had been purchased by Mrs. Porter and made under her
directions.

[Illustration: Chub descended at the Porter’s bag and baggage]

There were other purchases, too; cot-beds that folded into almost
nothing when not in use, blankets, sheets, mattresses, and pillows,
dishes and a few extra cooking utensils, new records for Mr. Cole’s
talking machine, two brightly-hued and inexpensive Japanese rugs for
the upper deck and numerous lesser things. The provisions were left to
the last. They kept up an incessant and animated correspondence with
Chub who hated to have anything done without getting a finger in it,
and altogether that was a busy week. At the end of it, strange to say,
the _Jolly Roger_ actually appeared in her berth in the river, and the
next afternoon Chub descended at the Porter’s bag and baggage.

Continue Reading

LEASING A HOUSE-BOAT

The preceding summer, while camping out on Fox Island–or Harry’s
Island, as they called it now–the boys had made the acquaintance of
the Floating Artist. He had appeared one day in his house-boat, the
_Jolly Roger_, in which he was cruising down the Hudson, sketching
as he went. His real name was Forbes Cole, a name of much importance
in the art world, as the boys discovered later on. He had proved an
agreeable acquaintance, and when camp had been broken the three boys,
together with Harry Emery, the daughter of the school principal, had
voyaged with him as far as New York.

Mr. Cole lived in a rather imposing white stone house within sight of
the Park. The entrance was on the level with the sidewalk. Bay-trees
in green tubs flanked the door which was guarded by a bronze grilling.
The three boys were admitted by a uniformed butler and conducted into
a tiny white-and-gold reception-room. As the heavy curtain fell again
at the doorway after the retreating servant the visitors gazed at each
other with awed surprise. Chub pretended to be fearful of trusting
his weight to the slender chairs, and all three were grinning and
giggling when the man appeared again, suddenly and noiselessly. Down
a marble-tiled hall carpeted with narrow Oriental rugs in dull colors
they were led to an elevator. When they were inside, the butler touched
a button and the tiny car, white-and-gold like the reception-room, shot
up past two floors and stopped, apparently of its own volition, at the
third, and the boys emerged to find themselves in a great studio that
evidently occupied the whole fourth floor of the house.

“Talk about your Arabian Nights!” murmured Chub in Roy’s ear.

The grating closed quietly behind them, the car disappeared and they
stood looking about them in bewilderment and pleasure. So far as they
could see the big apartment was empty of any persons save themselves,
but they couldn’t be certain of that for there were shadowy recesses
where the white light from the big skylights didn’t penetrate, and a
balcony of dark, richly carved oak, screened and curtained, stretched
across the front end of the studio.

[Illustration: In a great studio]

At the other end a broad fireplace was flanked by a tall screen of
Spanish leather which glowed warmly where the light found it. A white
bearskin was laid in front of it. Other rugs were scattered here and
there, queer, low-toned prayer rugs many of them, with tattered borders
and silky sheen. The walls were hung with tapestries against which was
the dull glitter of armor. Strange vessels of pottery and copper and
brass stood about, and two big, black oak chests, elaborately carved,
half hidden by silken cushions and embroideries, guarded the fireplace.
There was a dais under the skylight, and on it was a chair. At a little
distance was a big easel holding a canvas, and beside it a cabinet for
paints and brushes. There were few pictures in sight, but over the room
hung a faint and not unpleasant odor of paint and oil and turpentine.

At one of the broad, low windows–there were only two and both were
wide open–was a great jar of yellow roses. Under the window was a wide
seat upholstered in green leather and piled with cushions. And amidst
the cushions, a fact only now discerned by the visitors, lay a red
setter viewing them calmly with big brown eyes.

“It’s Jack,” Chub whispered. “I’ve met him before. He’s sure to chew
holes in us if we stir. Little Chub stays right here until help comes.”

But evidently Jack had become interested, for he slowly descended from
the window-seat and came across the room, his tail wagging slowly.

“We’d better run,” counseled Chub in pretended terror.

But the red setter’s intentions were apparently friendly. He sniffed
at Roy and allowed himself to be patted. Then he walked around to Dick
and Chub and completed his investigations, finally becoming quite
enthusiastic in his welcome and digging his nose into Chub’s hand.

“Bet you he knows us!” cried Chub, softly and delightedly. “The rascal
forgets that the first time we met he made a face at me and growled.
Well, all is forgiven, Jack. Where’s your master, sir?”

“I suppose we might as well sit down,” said Roy, “instead of standing
here like a lot of ninnies.”

“Did you ever see such a place in your life?” asked Dick. “It looks
like a museum and a palace all rolled into one!”

“Gee, but I wish I was an artist!” sighed Chub. “I wonder what’s on the
easel. Do you think we could look?”

“No, I think we’ll go over there and sit down and not snoop,” answered
Roy severely. “Come on.”

But at that moment the elevator door rolled softly open and with a
start the boys turned to see their host step out of the car. Forbes
Cole was one of the biggest men they had ever seen. He was well over
six feet high and, it seemed, more than proportionately broad. He was a
fine, handsome looking man with a big head of wavy brown hair, kindly,
twinkling blue eyes, and a brown beard trimmed to a point under a
strong chin.

“Sorry to keep you waiting,” he said as he shook hands all around. “I
was just finishing breakfast. And how are you all? Let me see, this
is Roy, isn’t it? I remember every one of you perfectly, but I have a
bad memory for names. Chub, though, I recollect very well; that name
happens to stick. And this is Dick Somes. Yes, yes, now I’ve got you
all. Jack seems to have remembered you, too. Come over here and sit
down and tell me what great things have happened to you since we parted
last year. I suppose each one of you has done something fine for your
school or college. Dear, dear, what a beautiful thing it is to be
young! We never realize it until it’s too late. Now what’s the news?”

They perched themselves side by side on the broad window-seat and the
artist lifted the heavy chair from the dais with one hand as though it
weighed but an ounce and sprawled his great body in it. Jack settled
back amongst the cushions with his head on Dick’s knee.

“I guess there isn’t much to tell,” said Roy. “Chub and I have been at
college and Dick here is coming up in the fall.”

“If I can pass,” muttered Dick.

“And Miss Harry? How is she?” asked Mr. Cole.

“Fine,” said Dick. “I saw her the other day. We often talk about you,
sir, and the good times we had on the _Jolly Roger_.”

“And so you think you’d like to have more good times on it, eh?”
laughed the artist in his jovial roar. “I wish I could go along, if
you’d have me; but I’m going across after awhile. But the boat’s yours
when you want it, and I hope you’ll have the jolliest sort of a time,
boys.”

“It’s mighty nice of you to want us to have it,” said Roy. “We’ll take
very good care of it, Mr. Cole, and–”

“Oh, don’t bother about that,” laughed the painter. “You know I’ve got
tired of it, boys. Besides, it’s well insured and if it happens to go
to the bottom, why, I sha’n’t mind a bit–as long as you get out first!
She’s at Loving’s Landing, if you know where that is; about fifteen
miles up the river. You’ll find her in good condition, I guess. I wrote
the man day before yesterday to open her up and get her in shape. She
needs paint, as I wrote you; but I don’t believe I want to go to the
expense of having her done over. But if you think you’d rather have her
freshened up it won’t cost much to have Higgins put on one coat for
you.”

“I guess she’s all right as she is,” said Chub. He looked at Roy and
that youth took the hint.

“We were wondering,” he began, “how much you’d want for her for a
couple of months, Mr. Cole.”

“You can have her all summer for the same price,” answered the painter
with his eyes twinkling.

“Well, I suppose we couldn’t stay in her more than two months, sir; but
of course we realize that if we took her we ought to pay for the whole
time, because it would be too late to rent her again after we were
through with her, I guess. About how much would she be, sir?”

Mr. Cole looked at them thoughtfully for a moment. Finally,

“Well, I was going to ask you to take her and use her rent free,” he
answered, “but there’s something in Roy’s expression that tells me I’d
get sat on if I did.” He laughed merrily. “Am I right?”

“We wouldn’t sit on you,” answered Chub, “but we’d feel–feel better
about it if we rented it regularly from you. It’s mighty good of you,
though.”

“No, it isn’t, Chub. It isn’t mighty good for anyone to be generous
when it doesn’t cost him anything. The boat’s of no use to me this
summer and I shouldn’t rent it under any conditions–except to you
boys. But if you’d rather not take it as a gift, why, I’ll have to put
a price on it.” He thought a moment. “Suppose we say fifty dollars for
the summer?”

Chub eyed Roy doubtfully and Roy eyed Dick.

“That sounds like an awful little bit,” said Roy at last.

“I don’t think so,” replied their host. “I doubt if the _Jolly Roger’s_
worth much more, fellows. I’m satisfied and I don’t see why you
shouldn’t be. You won’t let me do you a favor, although I thought we
were pretty good friends last summer, but, on the other hand, I don’t
think you ought to insist on my driving a hard bargain with you. Fifty
dollars is my valuation, and there you are; I refuse to go up another
cent!”

“In that case,” laughed Roy, “I guess we’d better accept your terms,
sir. And we’re very much obliged.”

“That’s all right then. I’ll give you a note to Higgins; the boat’s in
his yard up there; and you can take her over as soon as you like and
keep her as long as you wish. That’s settled. Now tell me what you’ve
been doing the three of you. How do you like your college?”

The boys stayed for another hour and talked and were shown over the
studio and were invited to luncheon. But although Chub frowned and
nodded his head emphatically Roy politely declined. They finally
left with the lease of the house-boat _Jolly Roger_ in Roy’s pocket,
promising to call again after they had looked over the craft. Then they
shook hands, entered the elevator car and were dropped to the street
floor.

On the sidewalk Roy turned to the others.

“Let’s go up and see the boat this afternoon,” he said.

“Let’s go now!” exclaimed Chub with enthusiasm.

“Can’t; after making up that fifty dollars there isn’t enough money
in the crowd to pay the car-fares. No, we’ll go along with Dick and
have luncheon. When we get to the hotel we’ll find out how to get to
Loving’s Landing, and then we’ll start out right after luncheon. What
do you say?”

Chub and Dick agreed to the plan and the three strode off toward Dick’s
hostelry.

Continue Reading

AN INVITATION TO MISS EMERY

Two days later three boys were seated about an up-stairs room in a
house in West 57th Street, New York City. The room was large and square
and tastefully furnished, but you would have guessed at once that it
was a boy’s room; and the guess would have been correct. Roy Porter
was the host, and his guests were Mr. Thomas H. Eaton, otherwise known
as Chub, and Mr. Richard Somes, better known as Dick. Dick, as we have
learned through his letter, has just graduated from Ferry Hill School,
and for the present is staying with his father at a New York hotel.
While Roy lives in New York, and Chub hails from Pittsburg, Dick claims
the distinction of living nowhere in particular. If you ask him he
will tell you that he lives “out West.” As a matter of fact, however,
he is a nomad. Born in Ohio, he has successively resided in Nebraska,
Montana, Colorado, Nevada, London, and one or two other places. His
father is a mining man whose business of buying, selling, and operating
mines takes him to many places. Dick’s mother has been dead for three
years.

Dick himself is big, blond, and seventeen. He isn’t exactly handsome,
judged by accepted standards of masculine beauty, but he has nice gray
eyes, a smile that wins you at once, and a pleasant voice. Somehow,
in spite of the fact that nature has endowed him with a miscellaneous
lot of features he is rather attractive; as Chub has once remarked:
“He’s just about as homely as a mud fence, only somehow you forget all
about it.” It is the crowning sorrow of Dick’s young life that, owing
to his nomadic existence, his schooling has been somewhat neglected,
with the result that he is a year behind his two friends and that when
he reaches college in the fall–if he’s lucky enough to get in–he
will be only a freshman, while Roy and Chub are dignified and superior
sophomores. Chub, however, tries to console him by telling him not to
worry, that like as not he won’t pass the exams!

Chub is staying with Roy, as his guest, and Dick has taken dinner with
them this evening. And now, having left Mr. Porter to his paper in the
library and Mrs. Porter to her book, they have scurried up to Roy’s
room for a good long talk; for there is much to be said. At the present
moment Roy, sprawled on his bed, is doing the talking.

“It was Chub’s scheme in the first place, Dick. He thought of it two
months ago when we were down by the river one day. There’s an old
boat-house on a raft down there, and Chub said it reminded him of the
_Jolly Roger_. I said I didn’t see the resemblance, and he said all you
had to do was to turn it around and it would be just like the _Jolly
Roger_.”

“Turn it around?” asked Dick, mystified.

“Sure,” said Chub. “Turn a boat-house around and you have a house-boat.
See?”

“College hasn’t taught you much sense, Chub, has it?” laughed Dick.
“Then what, Roy?”

“Oh, then Chub got to talking about what fun Mr. Cole must have in his
house-boat and how he’d like to go knocking around in one. And then we
remembered that Mr. Cole had told us last summer that the _Jolly Roger_
was for sale. Of course, we knew we couldn’t buy it, but we thought
maybe he’d be willing to rent it for the summer. And, finally a week or
so ago, we wrote him–”

“_We?_” queried Chub.

“Well, then, _you_ wrote him, Chubbie my boy; but I supplied the stamp.
And yesterday–no, the day before yesterday–we got his note; and
to-morrow we’re all going to call at his studio and find out how much
he wants for it for the summer.”

“Bully!” cried Dick enthusiastically. “And where are we going in it?”

“I thought it would be fun to go down Long Island Sound, but Chub wants
to go up the river.”

“Up the Hudson? That would be great! We could go away up to–to
Buffalo–”

“Yes, we’d get there about November,” laughed Chub. “The _Jolly Roger_
goes about as fast as–as a mule walks!”

“Bet you Dick really thinks Buffalo is on the Hudson,” said Roy.

“Isn’t it?” asked Dick in surprise. “I did think it was; honest. Where
is it, then?”

“It–it’s on–you tell him, Roy.”

“It’s on a lake.”

“It’s on Niagara Falls,” added Chub knowingly. “Bounded on the north
by Canada, on the east by the St. Lawrence River, on the south by the
United States of America and on the west by–by water. Its principal
exports are buffaloes and–and–”

“Oh, dry up!” said Roy. “Anyhow, we could go up as far as Troy–”

“And get our laundry done,” suggested Chub.

“And we could stop for a while at Ferry Hill and see the school and the
Doctor and Mrs. Em and Harry–”

“What I want to know–” began Dick.

“And we could stay at Fox Island a day or two. It would be like old
times.”

“You mean Harry’s Island,” corrected Dick. “What I want to know,
though, is whether we can take Harry along.”

“Chub thinks we can,” answered Roy; “but I don’t see how we could
manage it.”

“Easy enough,” said Chub. “There’s three rooms we can use for sleeping.
Harry and her mother, or whoever came along with her, could have the
big room up front or the little room at the rear, the one Mr. Cole used
as a studio.”

“It’s only as big as a piece of cheese,” said Dick.

“Well, they’d only want to sleep in it. They could have that, and the
rest of us could have the bedroom and living-room. We’d need some
cot-beds–there’s a bully bed in the bedroom now, you know–and some
sheets and blankets and things. Pshaw, we could fix it up easy!”

“Well, she’s crazy to go,” said Dick; “and she made me promise to ask
you chaps.”

“When does she go away to her aunt’s?” asked Roy.

“The day after to-morrow; and she’s going to stay two weeks. That is,
if she can come with us. If not she’ll stay three, I believe. Did you
write to her, Roy?”

“Not yet,” Roy answered. “I thought we’d get together and talk it over.
If you fellows think we can arrange it I’d be mighty glad to have her.
She’s a whole lot of fun, Harry is.”

“Then let’s take her along,” said Dick eagerly.

“Sure,” said Chub. “Let’s write to her now. Where’s your paper and
things, Roy?”

They all had a hand in the composition of that letter, and when
finished and signed it ran as follows;

_Miss Harriet Emery_,
Ferry Hill School,
Ferry Hill, N. Y.

MY DEAR MISS EMERY: You are cordially invited to join us in
a cruise up the Hudson River in the good ship _Jolly Roger_,
which will call for you at Ferry Hill in about three weeks, the
exact date to be decided on later. Please bring your doughnut
recipe, and any one else you want to. Come prepared for a good
time. All principal foreign ports will be visited, including
Troy, Athens, Cairo, and Schenectady. The catering will be
in the hands of that world-renowned chef, Mr. Dickums Somes,
formerly of Camp Torohadik, Harry’s Island. Kindly reply as
soon as possible to address above. Trusting that you will
consent to grace the house-boat with your charming presence, we
subscribe ourselves your devoted servants,

CHUB, Master,
ROY, A. B.,
DICK, Steward.

“What’s A.B. mean?” asked Roy, suspiciously.

“It means Able Seaman,” replied Chub. “I put it that way because it’s
probably the only chance you’ll ever have of getting your A.B.”

[Illustration: Writing the invitation to Harry]

“You don’t suppose, do you,” asked Dick anxiously, “that she’ll take
that literally: about bringing any one else she wants to? She might
think we meant her to bring a crowd, a bunch of girls from that school
of hers.”

“Maybe we’d better change that a little,” agreed Roy.

“Well, we’ll say ‘Bring your doughnut recipe and any other one person
you want to.’ How’s that?”

“All right; although, of course, a doughnut recipe isn’t a person.”

“Oh, that’s just a joke,” laughed Chub.

“Hadn’t you better label it?” asked Dick innocently. “How is she going
to know it’s a joke?”

“She has more discernment than some others I wot of,” replied Chub
loftily.

“Well, if she wots that that’s a joke,” muttered Dick, “she’s certainly
a pretty good wotter.”

“Who’s got a stamp?” asked Chub as he finished scrawling the address
on the envelop. “Thanks. What a very nasty tasting one! I wonder why
the government doesn’t flavor its stamps better. It might turn them
out in different flavors, you know; peppermint, vanilla, wintergreen,
chocolate–”

“Almond,” suggested Roy.

“And then when you went to the post-office you could say: ‘I’d like ten
twos, please; peppermint, if you have it.’”

“You’re an awful idiot,” laughed Dick. “Give me the letter and I’ll
post it on the way to the hotel. Now, let’s talk about what we’ll have
to buy. Let’s figure up and see what it’ll cost us.”

“Go ahead,” said Chub readily. “I’ve got a pencil.”

“First of all, then, we’ll need a lot of provisions.”

“Unless we can persuade Chub to stay behind,” suggested Roy.

“Who thought of this scheme?” asked Chub indignantly. “I guess if any
one stays behind it won’t be Chub. And likewise and moreover if Chub
doesn’t have enough to eat he will mutiny.”

“Then you’ll have to put yourself in irons,” said Dick, “if you’re in
command.”

“I never thought of that!” Chub bit the end of the pencil and
frowned. “Maybe I’d rather be the crew than the captain. If you’re
captain you can’t mutiny, and I’ve always wanted to mutiny. Say,
wouldn’t it be great if we could be pirates? We could put up that
skull-and-cross-bones flag and board one of the Day Line steamboats.
Think of the sport we could have! We’d swipe all the grub on board of
her and make the officers walk the plank! Then–then we’d scuttle her!”

“How do you scuttle a boat?” asked Dick curiously.

Chub for a moment was at a loss, and glanced doubtfully at Roy. But
finding no assistance there he plunged bravely.

“Well, you first get a scuttle, just an ordinary scuttle, you know; and
I think you have to have a coal-shovel, too, but I’m not quite certain
about that. Armed with the scuttle you descend to the–the cellar of
the ship–”

“You bore holes in it,” said Roy contemptuously. “Thunder! I’m not
going to ship under a captain who doesn’t know the rudiments of
navigation.”

“I’m not talking navigation,” said Chub with dignity. “I’m talking
piracy. Piracy is a much more advanced study. Anybody can navigate,
but good pirates are few and far between, these days.”

“Oh, come on and talk sense,” begged Dick. “How much will it cost us
for grub?”

“Well, let me see,” responded Chub, turning to his paper. “I suppose
about two cases of eggs–But, look here, we haven’t decided how long
we’re going to cruise.”

“A month,” said Roy.

“Two months,” said Dick. “Anyway, we can’t buy enough eggs at the start
to last us all the time. Eggs should be fresh.”

“We’ll get eggs and vegetables as we go along,” said Roy. “What we have
to have to start with are staples.”

“Mighty hard eating,” murmured Chub. “Why not use plain nails?”

This was treated by the others with contemptuous silence.

“We’ll need flour, coffee, tea, salt, rice, cheese–”

“Pepper,” interpolated Dick.

“Baking-powder, sugar, flavoring extracts–”

“Mustard,” proposed Chub, “for mustard plasters, you know.”

“And lots of things like that,” ended Roy triumphantly.

“What we need is a grocery,” sighed Chub. “Aren’t we going to have any
meat at all? I have a very delicate stomach, fellows, and the doctor
insists on meat three times a day. Personally, I don’t care for it
much; I’m a vegetarian by conviction and early training; but one can’t
go against the doctor’s orders, you know. Now, for breakfast a small
rasher of bacon–”

“What’s a rasher?” Roy demanded.

“For luncheon a–er–two or three simple little chops, and for dinner
a small roast of beef or lamb or a friendly steak. Those, with a few
vegetables and an occasional egg, suffice my simple needs. I might
mention, however, that a suggestion of sweet, such as a plum-pudding,
a mince-pie or a dab of ice-cream, has always seemed to me a proper
topping off to a meal, if I may use the expression.”

“You may use any expression you like,” answered Roy cruelly, “but if
you think we’re going to have roasts you’ve got another guess coming to
you. Why, that kitchen–”

“Galley,” corrected Chub helpfully.

–“is too small for anything bigger than a French chop!”

“When Chub gets awfully hungry,” observed Dick, “we might tie up to the
shore and cook him something over the fire; have a barbecue, you know.”

“Cook a whole ox for him,” laughed Roy. “I guess that’s the only way
Chub will ever get enough to eat.”

“You quit bothering about me,” said Chub scornfully, “and study
seamanship. Remember you’re to be an able seaman and if you don’t
come up to the standard for able seaman I’ll do things to you with a
belaying-pin.”

“Isn’t he the cruel-hearted captain?” asked Dick. “I don’t believe I
want to ship with him, Roy.”

“Oh, you’ll be all right. Chub won’t dare to touch you for fear he
won’t get his dinner.”

“There you go again!” Chub groaned. “You fellows simply talk a subject
to death. Your conversation lacks–lacks variety, diversity. If you are
quite through vilifying me–”

“Doesn’t he use lovely language?” murmured Roy in an aside to Dick.

“We will now proceed with our estimate,” concluded Chub. “As I was
saying, eggs–”

“I tell you what we might use,” interrupted Dick. “Have you ever seen
any of this powdered egg?”

“Is this a joke?” asked Chub darkly.

“No, really! You buy it in cans. It’s eggs, just the yolks, you know,
with all the moisture taken out of them. It’s a yellow powder. And when
you want an omelet you just mix some milk with it and stir it up and
there you are!”

But Chub was suspicious.

“And how do you make a fried egg out of it?” he asked.

“You can’t, of course, because the whites aren’t there; but–”

“Then we want none of it! An egg that you can’t fry isn’t a respectable
egg. If I can’t have real eggs I’ll starve like a gentleman.”

“Well, let’s leave the eggs out of it for the present,” suggested Roy.
“Let’s figure on the other things.”

“Let’s not,” said Dick, rising. “I’m going home. We’ve got lots of time
to figure. Besides, the best way to do is to buy the things and let
the groceryman do the figuring. We’ve got to have them, no matter what
they cost. What time are we going around to see the Floating Artist?”

“Right after breakfast,” answered Chub. “You come up at about ten
o’clock–”

“What’s the matter with you fellows coming to the hotel and having
breakfast with me?” asked Dick.

“All right, then, luncheon. I’ll be around at ten in the morning. See
if you can at least get him up by that time, Roy.”

“With a glance of scathing contempt,” murmured Chub, “our hero turned
upon his heel and strode rapidly away into the fast-gathering darkness.”

But where he really strode was down the stairs, with one arm over
Dick’s shoulder, while Roy brought up the rear and gently prodded them
with the toe of his shoe.

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LETTERS AND PLANS

That 4 to 3 victory took place on a Thursday, in the third week of June.

Some two hours later the hero of the conflict lay stretched at full
length on a window-seat in the front room of a house within sound of
the college bell. His hands were under his head, one foot nestled
inelegantly amidst the cushions at the far end of the seat and the
other was sprawled upon the floor. The window beside him was wide open
and through it came the soft, warm air, redolent of things growing,
of moist pavements, of freshly-sprinkled lawns. The sounds of passing
footsteps and voices entered, too; and from across the shaded street
came the tinkle of a banjo. The voices were joyous and care-free.
To-morrow was Class-Day; the year’s work was over; books had been
tossed aside, and already the exodus from college had begun. The
twilight deepened and the long June day came unwillingly to its end.
The shadows darkened under the elms and here and there a light glared
out from an open window. But in the room the twilight held undisputed
sway, hiding the half-packed trunks and the untidy disorder of the
study.

Chub lay on the window-seat and a few feet away, where he could look
through the wide open casement, Roy Porter was stretched out in a
morris chair. We have already caught a brief glimpse of Roy in the
cheering section during the game, but in the excitement we did not, I
fancy, observe him very closely. He is a good-looking, even handsome,
boy, with light, curly hair and very blue eyes. He is tall and well
developed, with broad shoulders and wide hips. Roy and Chub have been
firm friends for three years: for two years at Ferry Hill School and
for one at college. In age there is but a month or two of difference
between them. Both are freshmen, having come up together from Ferry
Hill last September, since which time they have led a very interesting
and, withal, happy existence in the quarters, in which we now find
them. And they have each had their successes. Chub has made the
captaincy of the freshman Nine, they have both played on the freshman
foot-ball team, and each has been recently taken into one of the
societies. In studies Roy has accomplished rather more than his friend,
having finished the year well up in his class. But Chub has kept his
end up and has passed the finals, if not in triumph, at least without
disgrace.

“Another big day for you, Chub,” said Roy. Chub stretched himself
luxuriously and yawned.

“Yes. There have been quite a few ‘big days,’ Roy, since we met at
school, haven’t there? There was the day when you lammed out that home
run and won us the game from Hammond, two years ago. That was one of
your ‘big days,’ old chap, but it was mine, too. Then, last year, when
we won on the track. That was Dick’s ‘big day,’ but we all shared in
it, especially since it brought that check from Kearney and brought
the affairs of the Ferry Hill School Improvement Society to a glorious
close. And then there was the baseball game last year–”

“That was your day, Chub, and none other’s.”

“Well, if I recollect rightly, there was a little old two-bagger by
one Roy Porter which had something to do with the result,” returned
Chub, dryly.

“Oh, we’d have won without that. Say, do you remember Harry after the
game?”

“Do I! Shall I ever forget her? She was just about half crazy, wasn’t
she? And wouldn’t she have loved to have been here to-day?”

They both chuckled at the idea.

“By the way,” said Chub presently, “did we get any mail this evening?”

“I don’t think so,” said Roy; “but I didn’t look. Expecting a check?”

“Go to thunder! We ought to hear from Dick to-day or to-morrow. And Mr.
Cole, too, about the boat.”

“That’s so. Maybe we’ll hear in the morning.”

“Light the gas and have a look around,” begged Chub. “Sometimes Mrs.
Moore picks the letters up and puts them on the table, and we don’t
find them for weeks and weeks.”

“If you’d keep the table picked up,” said Roy, severely, as he arose
with a grunt and fumbled for matches, “such things wouldn’t occur.”

“Listen to him!” murmured Chub, apparently addressing the ceiling. “I’d
like to know which of us is the neat little housekeeper! I’d like to
know–”

The study was suddenly illuminated with a ghastly glow as Roy applied
the match to the drop-light. Chub groaned and turned his face away.

“I give you notice, Roy, that next year we’re going to have a different
shade on that thing. Green may be all very nice for the optic nerves,
but it’s extremely offensive to my–my sensibilities. Besides, it
doesn’t suit my complexion. I’ve mentioned that before. Now a red
shade–”

“Here’s a whole bunch of mail,” exclaimed Roy, mildly indignant. “I
wish she’d let it alone. Here’s two for you and one for me. This looks
like–yes, it’s from Dick. And I guess this one–” he studied it under
the light–“I guess this is from the artist man. Anyway, the postmark’s
New York, and–”

“Well, hand ’em over, you idiot,” said Chub.

“Come and get them. You can’t see to read over there,” replied
Roy tranquilly. Chub hesitated, groaned, and finally followed the
suggestion.

“Yes, this is from Dickums,” he muttered as he tore off the end of the
envelop. “I hope he can come. Who’s yours from?”

“Dad,” answered Roy, settling into his chair and beginning to read. But
he wasn’t destined to finish his letter just then, for in a moment Chub
had rudely disturbed him.

“It’s all right!” he cried. “Listen, Roy; let me read this to you.”

“He’s coming?” asked Roy eagerly, abandoning his own letter.

“Yes. Listen.” Chub pulled up a chair, sat down, and began to read:
“‘Dear Chub: Yours of no date–’”

“Stung!” murmured Roy. Chub grinned and went on.

–“‘received the day before yesterday. I’d have answered before, but
things have been pretty busy here. If we can get the house-boat,
I’ll go along in a minute. It will be a fine lark. I’m leaving here
to-morrow for New York. My dad’s there now, and we’re going to stay
somewhere around there for the summer, he says. You let me know just
as soon as you can. Send your letter to the Waldorf. I can start any
time. I haven’t written to Dad about it, but I know he will let me go.
I hope we can get the boat. I told Harry about it yesterday, and read
your letter to her, and she’s wild to go along. Says we might wait
until she gets back from her Aunt Harriet’s. I told her there wouldn’t
be room but she says she’d sleep up on top! So I had to tell her I’d
see what you fellows thought about it. Maybe we might have her along
for a little while. What do you think? I suppose her father or mother
could come, too, as–’”

“Chaperon,” said Roy. “Harry’s getting ‘growed up,’ you know.”

“Well, we’ll see. Here, where’s that other letter? Let’s find out what
Mr. Cole says.” He opened the second epistle and glanced through it
quickly, his face lighting as he read. “It’s all right!” he cried. “We
can have her! Only–” he looked through the brief note again–“only he
doesn’t say anything about the price. ‘When you get here we’ll talk
over the matter of terms.’ That doesn’t sound encouraging, does it?”
Chub looked across at Roy dubiously, and Roy shook his head.

“Not very,” he answered; “but you can’t tell. I guess he will let us
down easy. He’s a good sort, is the Floating Artist.”

“Well–” Chub tossed the note aside and went back to Dick Somes’s
letter. “‘I suppose her father or mother or some one would have to go
along, but that needn’t make much difference. She’s wild to know, so
you’d better drop her a line pretty soon and tell her what you think
about it. If you don’t she’s likely to explode!’”

“And that’s so, too, I guess!” chuckled Roy. “Say, it would be awfully
jolly if we four could get together again this summer, wouldn’t it?”

“Dandy!” answered Chub. “And we’ll do it, too,” he added stoutly.

“I don’t believe so. Something will happen at the last moment,” said
Roy dejectedly. “You’ll see.”

“My gentle croaker, let me finish this…. ‘I got through exams O. K.
and got my diploma to-day. So I’ll see you fellows in the fall if we
don’t make it before. That is, if I can pass at college. I wish you’d
speak a good word for me to the president. I suppose you know we won
the boat-race by almost three lengths. That makes up for losing the
ball-game. We missed you on the team this year. They’ve elected Sid
Welch captain for next year. Sid’s so pleased he can’t see straight.
To-day was Class-Day and we had a fine time. You ought to have heard
me orate. How’s old Roy? He owes me a letter, the scoundrel. Write as
soon as you can to the Waldorf. I’ll be there to-morrow evening. Tell
Roy to come and see me as soon as he gets home. You, too, if you stop
over there. I’ve got lots of news for you that I can tell better than
I can write. Hope you fellows win your game to-morrow. They’d ought to
have taken you on, Chub. But next year, when I get there, I’ll fix that
for you. So long. Don’t forget to let me know whether we can have the
house-boat. Yours, Dick.’”

“Good old Dickums,” murmured Chub as he folded the letter. “Well, it’s
all settled,” he went on animatedly. “We’ll take the midnight train
to-morrow, Roy; see Mr. Cole; look up Dick, and get ready for the
cruise! Won’t we have fun, though?”

“Did Mr. Cole say whether he’d let the boat to us furnished?”

“Yes.” Chub referred to the note. “‘The _Jolly Roger_ is quite at your
disposal as soon as you want her. I’m going abroad in August, and won’t
want her at all this summer. She needs paint, but you’ll have to attend
to that if you’re fussy. You’ll find her all ready for you. I won’t say
anything about the engine, for you know that engine yourself. Treat it
kindly and perhaps it will stand by you. When you get here we’ll talk
over the matter of terms. Regards to your friend and to you. Very truly
yours, Forbes Cole.’ That’s all he says. I don’t believe he will want
us to pay him much if he’s going abroad and can’t use the boat himself
anyway, do you?”

“I hope not,” answered Roy, “for it’s going to be rather an expensive
trip, Chub.”

“Nonsense! We can run her on ten dollars a week, I’ll bet.”

“You forget that we have to eat. You forget your appetite, Chub.”

“Well, if we have Harry along she can make doughnuts for us!”

“Well, if she does,” laughed Roy, “I’ll see that there’s no almond
flavoring aboard. Do you remember last summer when she put almond into
the doughnuts and–”

“Do I remember! I thought I’d never get that taste out of my mouth!”
Chub grinned reminiscently. Roy arose determinedly and threw back the
lid of his steamer trunk.

“What are you going to do?” asked Chub.

“Finish my packing. There won’t be any time to-morrow, and–”

But alas for good resolutions! There was a charge of feet outside
on the brick walk, a hammering at the door, and a covey of happy,
irresponsible freshmen burst into the room. There was no packing that
night. But what did it matter? There was to-morrow and many, many
other to-morrows stretching away in a seemingly limitless vista of
happy holidays, and the fact that when the visitors finally took their
departure the few things that the roommates had already packed had been
seized upon by rude hands and strewn about the study worried no one.
Nothing matters when “finals” are over and summer beckons.

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