Harry's Island - Ralph Henry Barbour - ebook

Harry's Island written by Ralph Henry Barbour who was an American novelist. This book was published in 1908. And now republish in ebook format. We believe this work is culturally important in its original archival form. While we strive to adequately clean and digitally enhance the original work, there are occasionally instances where imperfections such as missing pages, poor pictures or errant marks may have been introduced due to either the quality of the original work. Despite these occasional imperfections, we have brought it back into print as part of our ongoing global book preservation commitment, providing customers with access to the best possible historical reprints. We appreciate your understanding of these occasional imperfections, and sincerely hope you enjoy reading this book.

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Harry's Island


Ralph Henry Barbour

Illustrator: C. M. Relyea

Table of Contents






















“Chub, who had been sent to the larder, interrupted them”


Three boys lay at their ease in the shade of the white birches which crown the top of Hood’s Hill, that modest elevation on Fox Island at the upper end of Outer Beach which, with the exception of Mount Emery, is the highest point on the island. From this proud vantage, some twelve feet above the surface of the river, the view was unobstructed for two miles up and down the Hudson. At the foot of the little slope, where coarse grass sprouted from the loose sand, Outer Beach began, shelving abruptly to the lapping waves and shimmering with heat waves; for in the neighborhood of Ferry Hill and Coleville, toward the end of the month of June, the sun can be very ardent when it tries; and to-day it was evidently resolved to be as fervent as it could, for, although it still lacked a few minutes of eleven, the heat was intense even out here on the island.

In front of the three boys and across the river, which dazzled the eyes like a great sheet of metal, Coleville glimmered amid its broad-spreading elms and the buildings of Hammond Academy were visible. Back of them, on the opposite shore and a little farther down-stream, a modest boat-house and landing lay at the margin of the river, and from these a path wound upward until it disappeared into the dim green depths of the grove which spread down the side of the hill. Where the trees ended the red, ivy-draped buildings of Ferry Hill School appeared, crowning the summit of the slope. There was School Hall with its tower, the dormitory, angular and uncompromising, the gymnasium, the little brick Cottage, and the white barns. And, looking carefully, one could see, beyond the dormitory, fence-like erections of gleaming new boards marking the excavations for Kearney Hall, the new dormitory building which was to be rushed to completion for the next school year.

It would have been apparent even to a stranger that to-day was a gala day, for along the shores for a quarter of a mile up-stream and down, little groups of people were daring sunstroke, while below the Ferry Hill landing rowboats, canoes, sailing craft, and motor-boats rocked lazily on the sun-smitten surface of the water. Every craft flew either the brown-and-white of Ferry Hill or the vivid cherry-and-black of Hammond. The show boat of the fleet was a gleaming, sixty-foot gasolene yacht, resplendent in white paint and glistening brass, which lay just off the lower end of the island, and which had supplied an interesting subject for conversation to the three boys under the birches.

The yacht was the Idler of New York, and on board were the Welches, whose son, “Sid,” was a student at Ferry Hill, and who had journeyed up the river for to-day’s festivities, and were to remain over for the school graduation. Sid had been in a state of excitement and mental intoxication ever since the yacht had dropped anchor yesterday evening and a flippant little mahogany tender had chugged him away from the landing to a dinner on board. At this moment, had you known Sid by sight, you could readily have discerned him under the striped awning, the proudest person aboard. With him were several of his school-mates, Chase, Cullum, Fernald and Kirby being visible just now. If there was any fly in the ointment of Sid’s contentment it was due to the fact that the three boys sprawled under the trees here on Fox Island were not aboard the Idler instead. He had begged them to come almost with tears in his eyes, but in the end had been forced to content himself with a promise to become his guests in the evening. Sid’s devotion was about equally divided among the trio, with the odds, if there were any, slightly in favor of the big, broad-shouldered, light-haired youth who lies with closed eyes beatifically munching a birch twig, and whose name is Dick Somes.

But there are two light-haired youths present, and lest you get them confused I will explain that the other, the boy who is sprawled face downward, chin in hands, he of the well-developed shoulders and chest and hips, sandy hair and nice blue eyes, is Roy Porter. Roy is Dick’s senior by one year, although that fact would never be suspected.

The third member of the trio is Tom Eaton, but as he is never called Tom save in banter perhaps it would be well to introduce him as Chub. Chub, like Roy, is seventeen years old. He is more heavily built than Roy, has hair that just escapes being red, eyes that nearly match the hair, and an ever-present air and expression of good-humor and self-confidence. Strangely enough, each of the three has captained one or more of the Ferry Hill athletic teams during the school year just closing, and each has won victory. Roy has been captain of the foot-ball eleven and the hockey team as well; Dick has organized a track team and led it to a well-deserved triumph, and Chub, as captain of the base-ball nine, has plucked victory from defeat so recently—to be exact, only yesterday afternoon—that the feat is still the chief topic of conversation about the school. Roy and Chub are first seniors, and will graduate in less than a week. Dick is a second senior and so is due to return again to Ferry Hill in the autumn. Already he is pointed to as the probable leader to succeed Roy.

Chub rolled over and sat up Turk-fashion, yawning loudly.

“What time is it, anyway?” he asked with a suggestion of grievance.

“Three boys lay at their ease in the shade of the white birches”

“Four minutes past,” answered Roy, glancing at his watch and then following his chum’s example and sitting up.

“Wonder why it is,” Chub complained, “they can never get a boat-race started on time.”

“Or a hockey game,” added Dick with a chuckle. Roy tossed a twig at him and Dick caught it and transferred it to his mouth.

“Well, I wish they’d hurry,” said Chub. “I’m roasting. Say, wouldn’t you think those folks over there on the bank would die with the heat?”

“It’ll be a wonder if Harry doesn’t die,” said Roy.

“Why?” Dick asked.

“Because she had an examination this morning, and she’s going to try and get through by a quarter of eleven, and then race back here all the way from the Cove in time to see the finish of the race. And that Silver Cove road is just about the hottest place on earth!”

“She’s silly to try to do that,” said Dick anxiously. “You ought to have told her so, Roy.”

“I did. I told her worse than that, but she just laughed at me.”

“You and I are losing our authority now that we’re going to leave so soon,” said Chub, sadly. “Dick’s the only one she will listen to, nowadays.” Dick smiled.

“You fellows ought to know by this time,” he said, “that it isn’t any use trying to dictate to Harry. If you want her to do anything very much you’d much better ask it as a favor.”

“Your wisdom is something uncanny,” replied Chub. “You’d better soak your head or you’ll have a sunstroke or something. You needn’t worry about Harry, though; you can’t hurt her.”

The others received this in silence. Roy looked up the river toward the starting-point of the race almost two miles distant. But the glare made it impossible to discern even the little gathering of boats, and he turned away blinking.

“Just think,” said Chub presently, “in another week we three fellows will be scattered to the four winds of heaven.”

“Now whose head needs soaking?” asked Dick. “‘Four winds of heaven!’ My, but you are poetical!”

“I don’t just see how we’re going to manage that,” Roy laughed. “How can three fellows be distributed over four winds?”

“Oh, you run away and play,” answered Chub, good-naturedly. “You know what I mean.”

“It isn’t so bad for you fellows,” said Dick mournfully. “You’ll see each other again at college in the fall; but I’ll be here all alone.”

“All alone, with half a hundred other chaps,” Chub amended smilingly.

“That’s not the same thing,” said Dick. “Just when you go and get kind of chummy with some one, why then something comes along and busts it all up.”

“Vague but beautiful,” murmured Chub. “Why don’t you come to college too, Dick?”

“Me? Thunder, I’d never pass the exams!”

“Oh, I don’t know. They’re not so fierce; Roy expects to get by.”

“I’m not so sure that I do expect it,” answered Roy, seriously. “The nearer the time comes to take them the more scared I get.”

“That’s just your natural modesty,” said Chub. “You’ll get through with flying colors, while I—well, I’ll probably be like the chap whose mother was crowing about him. Some one asked her if her son passed the examinations for college. ‘Oh, yes, indeed,’ she answered, ‘Willie did beautifully. He entered with four conditions, one more than any one else had!’”

“I might be able to get in that way,” laughed Dick. “But, say, you chaps, I wish we weren’t going to split up so soon.”

“So do I,” answered Roy. “I’m real sorry at leaving Ferry Hill. I’ve had some bully times here during the last two years.”

“Well, I’ve only been here six months or so,” said Dick; “but I’ve had the time of my life. And of course I’ve got you fellows to thank for that, you and Harry together. I wish—I wish I was going to see you this summer for a while.”

“Well, why not?” asked Chub, eagerly.

“Dad wants me to go over to London and stay with him,” answered Dick. “I hate London. Folks are so stupid there, and can’t talk decent English. Last time I was there I couldn’t make anybody understand what I wanted.”

“Well, you’ve dropped some of your more picturesque expressions since you came up here,” laughed Roy. “Maybe this time you can make yourself understood.”

“What I’d like to do,” Dick continued, “is to stay right here and—”

“Where?” asked Chub, innocently. “On Fox Island?”

“Well, somewhere around these diggings,” answered Dick.

“A chap might do worse than spend a time on this old island,” said Roy, as he leaned back against the trunk of a birch-tree and smiled contentedly. “It’s a dandy camping place.”

“That’s it!” cried Dick.

“What’s it, you old chump?” asked Chub.

“Let’s do that! Let’s camp out here this summer! I’ll beg off from going across, and we’ll have a swell time. What do you say?”

Chub grinned.

“Say, are you in earnest?” he asked.

“Dead earnest!”

“Well, then, let me recommend the water cure again. If you’ll just hold your overheated brow under the surface for a minute—”

“Look here, though, you fellows,” said Roy, suddenly, “why couldn’t we do it? Not for all summer, of course, but, say, for a month or six weeks. Where are you going, Chub?”

“Me? Same old place, I suppose: Delaware Water Gap. Gee! If the folks would only let me, I’d do it as quick as a flash.”

“Well, write and ask them,” said Roy. “I’ll do it if you fellows will.”

“Do you mean it?” cried Dick, eagerly.

Roy nodded, smilingly.

“Then it’s settled!”

“Not for me it isn’t,” objected Chub, ruefully. “You don’t know my dad. If he gets an idea into his head you can’t get it out with a crowbar!”

“Well, you ask him, anyway,” said Roy.

“That’s right,” Dick added with enthusiasm. “And I’ll write across to my dad, to-night. How about you, Roy?”

“Me? Oh, I’ll get permission all right. But, of course, we’ll have to wait until we’ve taken our exams, Dick.”

“That’s so. How long will that be?”

“About ten days from now.”

“Well, that will be all right,” said Dick, cheerfully. “I’ll have everything all fixed up by the time you fellows get back, and—”

“You’ll do nothing of the sort!” exclaimed Chub, emphatically. “Why, that’s half the fun. You’ll just wait for us, Dickums. We’ll borrow one of the school tents and some cooking things—”

“And blankets.”

“And a boat,” added Dick, “and we can fish and—and have a high old time.”

“You bet,” said Chub. “It will beat that old summer hotel all hollow. Me for the simple life!”

“And I tell you what I’ll do,” exclaimed Dick. “I’ll get a little old gasolene launch, and we can make trips up the river—”

“Who’s going to run it?” asked Chub suspiciously.

“I am. It isn’t hard. I can learn in a day or two.”

“Oh, very well, but it’s me for the interior of our island home while you’re learning, Dickums!”

Dick laughed. “That’s all right,” he answered. “You’ll be glad enough to go in it when the time comes.”

“Well, maybe,” Chub agreed. “If it isn’t much worse than the ice-boat I guess I can live through it. How fast—”

“There’s the gun!” cried Roy as a distant boom floated down to them.

“That’s right,” said Dick. “We’d better pile into the canoe and find a place at the finish. Come on!”


They scrambled to their feet, slid down the little slope, and crossed the shelving beach to where Chub’s canoe, its crimson sides and gold monogram on the bow a torment to the eyes in such sunlight, was nosing the sand. Chub and Roy took the paddles, while Dick, who had never been able to master the art of canoeing, settled himself in the middle of the craft, his knees level with his chin, and looked like an alert toad. The stern paddle grated through the white sand as the canoe was shoved off, and then after a stroke or two that sent the bow toward the stream, the craft slid gently down the river. They kept to the shaded shallows near the shore of the island until Victory Cove was passed, and then headed out into the sunlight glare and drifted down toward where the flotilla lay about the finish line. It was no difficult matter to find a good berth since the canoe was slender enough to worm its way in between the anchored boats. On the edge of the path left for the crews they found a sail-boat lying a few yards above the finish, and up to this they paddled until they could lay hold of it.

“We’re under the enemy’s flag here,” observed Dick pointing to the cherry-and-black banner flying from the mast.

“We’ll fix that,” Roy answered. “Where’s the flag?”

Dick happened to be sitting on it and the cautious way in which he disentangled it from his feet made the others laugh. Chub fastened it to the bow and received a salvo of applause from the occupants of a near-by punt. The punt was only some ten feet long, but it held eight Ferry Hill boys by actual count. Mr. Buckman, one of the instructors, hailed them from the bow of the judges’ boat, a few yards distant, and warned them that they were on the course, but they pretended not to hear him.

“Just as though a couple of feet were going to make any difference!” growled Chub, disgustedly. “Buckman is stuck on himself to-day.”

“A nice judge he will make,” laughed Dick under his breath. “He will be so excited that he won’t have the least idea which boat crosses the line first!”

“I wonder which will,” murmured Roy.

“Ours will,” replied Chub, stoutly. “I’ll bet you we’ve got ’em beaten already.”

“I hope so,” Roy answered, “but—”

“Whitcomb told me yesterday that he expected to win,” said Dick, “and I guess he wouldn’t say that unless he was pretty certain.”

“Well, if we win the boat-race it’ll make a clean sweep for the year,” said Roy: “foot-ball, hockey, track, base-ball, and rowing. We’ve never done that before, and I’m afraid it’s too much to hope for. You can bet that Hammond will do all she knows how to win one event out of the five.”

“Yes, but we’ve got the crew,” Chub replied, untroubled. “Hammond will have to take it out in trying. You’ll see. They ought to be here pretty quick. Can you see anything, Roy?”

“N-no; at least, I don’t think so. Yes, I can, though. There they are, but the sun’s so strong—”

“Hammond’s in the lead!” cried a voice from the sail-boat, where, clustered at the bow, a group of Hammond supporters were looking intently up the river. The one who had spoken, a youth in white flannels who held a pair of field-glasses to his eyes, was visibly excited.

“Pshaw!” muttered Dick, disgustedly.

“Don’t you believe it,” said Chub. “He can’t tell at this distance.”

“He’s got glasses,” said Roy.

“I don’t care if he’s got a twelve-inch telescope! He doesn’t know which side Hammond has got, and it isn’t likely he can tell red oars from brown at this distance. You wait until they get under the cliff up there, out of the sunlight, and then you can see for yourself.”

By this time the excitement was beginning to tell on the spectators along the shore and at the finish. Cheers for Ferry Hill and for Hammond floated across the water, and flags began to wave. Then, a mile up the stream, the two four-oared crews suddenly shot their slender craft into the shadowed water and so became plainly visible to hundreds of anxious eyes. The boat having the inner course was leading by fully a length, it seemed, but whether that fortunate boat was Hammond’s or Ferry Hill’s it was still impossible to tell since the courses had been drawn just before the start and the result was not known down here at the finish. Behind the two crews came the referee’s launch, a white speck on the water.

Now it was possible to see the rise and fall of the oars, and—a groan of disappointment arose from the Ferry Hill supporters. The leading boat was Hammond’s; the tips of the oars showed brilliantly red as they were lifted dripping from the water. Cheers for Hammond broke forth anew, and the cherry-and-black flags waved bravely in the hot sunlight.

“Pshaw!” muttered Dick again. But Chub was still undismayed.

“That’s all right,” he cried, excitedly. “You wait until they reach the three quarters and then see what will happen. Ed’s letting them wear themselves out. He will catch them before the finish, all right.”

But the three quarters flag was swept astern and still the Hammond crew held the lead; and, moreover, it was plain to all that Ferry Hill’s four was rowing raggedly: Warren at three was splashing badly, and there was a perceptible let-up to the boat between strokes. Even Chub looked worried.

“What’s the matter with Billy Warren?” he muttered. “Must think he’s a blooming geyser! Oh, thunder, Hammond’s just walking away from us! Doesn’t Ed see it? Why doesn’t he hit it up?”

“Because he can’t,” answered Roy quietly. “Our fellows are rowed out; that’s what’s the matter.”

“That’s right,” said Dick, sorrowfully; “we’re beaten good and hard. Well—”

Such of the launches as had whistles began to make themselves heard, and the cheering, triumphant on one side and defiant on the other, was continuous. The rival crews were scarce a quarter of a mile distant now, coming straight down the middle of the narrow course, with Hammond leading by a full two lengths. In the sterns the coxswains bobbed back and forth as the eight oars dipped into the water and came out dripping yards astern, seemed to hang motionless for an instant, and then dropped again under the sunflecked surface. Suddenly there was a low cry from Roy.

“They’ve hit it up!” shouted Chub. “They’re gaining! Come on, Ferry Hill! You can do it! Row, you beggars, row!”

The rear shell was cutting down the stretch of clear water that had separated the two boats, her four oarsmen working despairingly as the finish line drew nearer and nearer. In and out went the long oars, back and forward bent the white-shirted bodies, and the narrow craft responded. In the stern little Perry, the tiller lines clutched desperately in his hands, cried encouragement, entreaty, threats. The bow of the Ferry Hill shell lapped the stern of the Hammond boat by a scant foot. But the effort was costing the crew dearly. Warren was swaying limply above his oar as the battling craft swept into the lane of boats, and in the bow Walker was clipping each stroke woefully. For a moment the two boats clung together, Hammond’s rudder hidden by Ferry Hill’s bow. Then, while whistles shrilled and hoarse voices shouted, a glimmer of open water showed between shell and shell, just a few scant inches, there was a puff of gray smoke over the bow of the judges’ boat and a sharp report and the race was over. For an instant more the brown-tipped oars sank and rose in the wake of the rival shell, and then—

“Let her run!” piped Perry, weakly.

And with the last stroke Warren toppled in his seat.

Chub gave vent to a deep sigh, a sigh that expressed at once disappointment and relief.

“Well, I’m glad it’s over,” he said. “It was a hard race to lose, though, fellows.” Roy nodded, and Dick said:

“I guess Hammond found it a hard race to win. Look at them.”

The Hammond shell was floating broadside to the current a few rods down the stream, and in it only the coxswain and Number Two were taking any interest in affairs. The other occupants were frankly fighting for breath and strength as they leaned forward over their oars. In the Ferry Hill boat Warren and Whitcomb were the worse sufferers, although Walker’s white, drawn face showed that he, too, had felt the pace. He and Fernald were paddling the shell toward the referee’s launch, which was churning the water at a little distance. Perry called out something to Mr. Cobb, a Ferry Hill instructor, who was on the launch, and a slight commotion ensued. Then the shell drew alongside, was seized and held and Warren’s inert form was lifted to the deck.

“By Jove!” cried Roy. “Warren’s done up, fellows!”

The engine-room bell tinkled, and the launch moved cautiously toward the Ferry Hill landing, drawing the shell with it. There was a weak cheer for Ferry Hill from the Hammond crew, and the four remaining occupants of the rival shell returned the compliment. And then, with much good-natured raillery, the flotilla broke up, the Hammond boats sending back cheers as they made for the farther shore. The crimson canoe shot across to the landing and the three disembarked.

“You fellows lift her out, will you?” asked Chub. “I want to see how Warren is.”

He pushed his way through the crowd about the launch until he found himself looking into the white, troubled face of the crew captain.

“Ed, it was a good race,” he said cheerfully and earnestly as he seized Whitcomb’s hand. “We’re proud of you. Did anything go wrong?”

“Billy,” answered the other wearily. “He had a touch of sun at the half mile and had to stop rowing. We had three lengths on them before that.” Chub whistled.

“Say, that was tough luck!” he exclaimed. “What did you do?”

“Soaked Billy with water and pulled three oars for about a quarter of a mile. Then he came around and helped out some, but he wasn’t good for much, poor duffer. He’s down and out now, and Cobb says he’ll have to go to bed. They’ve sent for the doctor.”

“Is he dangerous?”

“No, I guess not. Just a touch of sunstroke. It was frightfully hot up there at the start, and Hammond kept us waiting there in the broiling sun about twenty minutes: something was wrong with one of her slides. Well, I’m going up. I’m pretty well played out. Coming?”

“In a minute. I’ll see you in the dormitory. I’m sorry, Ed.”

Whitcomb nodded and joined the throng which was filing up the path. Chub returned to Roy and Dick with his news. When the canoe was on its rack in the boat-house, the three followed the others up the winding path under the close-hanging branches of the beeches and oaks, through the gate in the hedge which marked the school’s inner bounds and around the corner of Burgess Hall.

“What time is it?” asked Chub as they paused with one consent on the dormitory steps.

“Eighteen minutes of twelve,” answered Dick, glancing at a very handsome gold watch. “Gee, but I’m warm! And hungry!”

“Echo,” said Chub, fanning his flushed face with his cap. “Let’s sit down here and cool off. What shall we do this afternoon?”

“I was thinking of taking my books somewhere where it’s cool and doing a line or two of study,” answered Roy. “Better come along, Chub.”

“What, study on a day like this? In all this heat? And have a sunstroke like Billy Warren? Roy, I’m surprised at you, I really am!”

“That’s all right; but just remember that we’ve got exams in physics and chemistry on Monday. What do you know about that?”

“I don’t know nothing about nothing,” answered Chub, cheerfully; “and I’m proud of it. But I tell you what we’ll do, fellows: we’ll go fishing.”

“Oh, fishing!” scoffed Roy. “The last time we went, we didn’t get a thing but a ducking.”

“Then let’s go ducking, and maybe we’ll get a fish,” laughed Chub. “Come along, Dick?” Dick shook his head soberly.

“I’d better not,” he said. “I’m no star like you chaps, and I can’t learn a thing in five minutes. I’ve got a terror of an exam coming; English, you know. It’ll take me from now until Monday morning to get ready for it, and even then I bet I’ll flunk.”

“Well, what do you care?” laughed Chub. “You’re not graduating.”

“Thank goodness!” said Dick, so devoutly, that the others went into peals of laughter.

“What you want to do,” said Dick, when they had sobered down, “is to get those letters written to your dads so they’ll go to the Cove in time for to-night’s mail. If you don’t they won’t get off until Monday.”

“That’s so,” Chub agreed. “But, say, fellows, there isn’t any use in my asking; the folks won’t let me stay up here. Dad will tell me I’m crazy.”

“Don’t you care,” answered Roy. “The truth won’t hurt you.”

“There’s no harm in asking,” urged Dick.

“All right, I’ll do it now. Come on in and help me.”

“Wait a minute,” said Roy. “Isn’t that Harry coming around the gym?”

“Yes,” answered Dick. “And she missed the race. Let’s walk over and meet her.”

They ran down the steps and followed the curving graveled path which led toward the gymnasium. Approaching them was a girl of fifteen years, a rather slender young lady with a face which, in spite of its irregular features, was undeniably attractive. The tilt of the short nose lent an air of saucy good-humor, the bright blue eyes were frank and pleasing, and the very red hair suggested a temper. And she had a temper, too, did Miss Harriet Emery, a temper which, to quote Roy, was as sharp as her eyes and as short as her nose. That same nose wasn’t by any means free from freckles, wherein it resembled the rest of the face; but already the sun had found its way under the brim of the plain sailor hat, and a healthy coat of tan was hiding the freckles.

“‘Did we win the race?’”

Harry—for she hated to be called Harriet—was the daughter of the principal, Doctor Emery. As she was an only child she had been perhaps a little bit spoiled; or, at least, that is what her Aunt Harriet Beverly often intimated; and as she had been born and brought up in a boys’ school she was not unnaturally somewhat of a tomboy, to the extent of being fonder of boys’ games than girls’, and of being no mean hand with oar or paddle, bat or racket. But still she was very much of a girl at heart, was Harry, although she wouldn’t have thanked you for saying so.

At the present moment, in spite of the cool white waist and skirt which she wore, she looked far from comfortable. Her low tan shoes were covered with the dust—for Silver Cove was a full mile distant, and there had been no rain for over a fortnight—her face was very red and her hair, usually decently well-behaved, had lost most of its waviness, and was straggling around her flushed face and around her neck in straight, damp strands. She had been hurrying as she had crossed the athletic field, and had turned the corner of the gymnasium, but at sight of the three boys coming to meet her her pace slackened and an expression of disappointment came into her face.

“Oh, I’m too late!” she cried. “Did we win the race?”

“No,” answered Roy. “Billy Warren had a sunstroke after he’d rowed half a mile, and Hammond won by just a length.”

Harry sank on to a seat under a tree, her face eloquent of sorrow, while the three boys told her the particulars. Finally her face cleared.

“I ran almost half the way,” she said, “and I was never so hot in my life. But,” she added, philosophically, “I’m glad now I was too late. I’m glad I didn’t see Hammond win!”


By Monday afternoon Dick’s fears regarding the result of the English examination proved groundless, perhaps because he had heroically resisted Chub’s invitation to go fishing Saturday afternoon and had spent most of that period with his head close above his books and his lips moving continuously. There was only one more day of work, and Dick was heartily glad of it. He didn’t like studying, and frankly said so. His mother had died when he was fourteen, and his schooling, decidedly intermittent at best, ceased abruptly while he and his father dwelt in hotels at home and abroad as the latter’s business demanded. Dick’s recent years had been spent in the West, and when, in January last, his father had suggested another trip abroad, Dick had rebelled, professing a preference for school. That he now owed allegiance to Ferry Hill rather than to Hammond was due to a chance meeting on the ice with Harry, who had so cleverly proclaimed the merits of Ferry Hill that Dick, already domiciled at the rival academy awaiting the beginning of the new term, had coolly repacked his trunk and transferred it and himself across the river. For awhile the others had called him “the Brand from the Burning,” but the name was much too long for everyday use, and now he was just Dick—save when Chub or Roy elaborated and called him Dickums—one of the most popular fellows at Ferry Hill School, and the most promising candidate in sight for the school leadership in the autumn.

At three o’clock on Tuesday the last examination was over, and at a few minutes past that hour Dick, Roy, Chub, and Harry, the three former in a blissful state of relief, feeling as boys do feel when the last book has been flung aside for the summer, sat in the shade of the Cottage porch.

“If Cobb gives me a C in German,” said Chub hopefully, “I’m all right.”

“Well, I guess I got through,” said Dick proudly, “but it was hard work.”

“Shucks!” scoffed Chub. “Just you wait until next year!”

“Now don’t scare him to death,” Roy protested. “If you don’t look out he won’t show up in the fall at all. How are you getting on, Harry?”

“Me? Oh, I’m all right, I guess. My last exam’s to-morrow; botany. Now you needn’t laugh,” she added indignantly. “Botany’s awfully hard.”

“What’s the sense of it?” asked Chub. “What good is it going to do you to know whether a leaf’s lanceolate or—or composite?”

“Don’t display your ignorance, Chub,” laughed Roy.

“What good are lots of things they teach us?” Harry demanded. “Like—like music and drawing?”

“Come now, Harry, music’s all right,” Roy protested. “As for drawing—”

“It’s perfect nonsense! Why, I couldn’t draw one of those wooden cubes and make it look square if I was to try a whole year!”

“But you ought to like music, Harry,” said Chub. “You know you have a charming voice, a natural—er—contralto, isn’t it?”

Harry made a face at him.

“I can sing just as well as you can, Smarty, anyhow!”

“I hope so,” said Dick. “Chub sings like a coyote in distress!”

“There speaks envy,” murmured Chub sadly. “I have a very melodious voice, and the beauty of it is that I can sing bass or tenor or—what’s the other thing I sing, Roy?”

“Discord,” answered his chum unkindly.

“That is not so,” responded Chub indignantly. “To show you what a fine voice I have I will now sing for you that charming little ditty entitled—”

“Not much you won’t!” declared Dick threateningly. “If you try to sing we’ll thrash you. Look here, how about that letter? Have you heard from your folks yet?”

“No, do you think I correspond by wireless?” answered Chub. “I can’t possibly hear before Thursday morning. It doesn’t matter, anyhow, I keep telling you. Dad won’t hear of such a thing.”

“How would it do if we all wrote to him?” asked Dick, anxiously. Chub smiled grimly.

“You’d better not if you don’t want to get a scorcher of a letter in reply. My dad’s a good sort, all right, but he doesn’t let any one else run his business for him. I have inherited that quality of—er—firmness.” Roy and Dick howled impolitely.

“What are you all talking about?” asked Harry anxiously. “You’ve gone and got a secret, and I don’t think it’s very nice of you!”

“Why, it isn’t really a secret,” answered Roy, hurriedly. “If there hadn’t been so much going on we’d have told you about it. We three are trying to get our folks to let us camp out for a month or so on Fox Island after school closes; that is, if your father will let us, and I guess he will.”

“Then you won’t go home yet?” cried Harry, delightedly.

“Not if we get permission. It all depends on Chub—”

“On Chub’s father you mean,” growled that youth.

“Because I’m pretty sure of my folks,” continued Roy; “and Dick says his father won’t mind if he stays a month longer.”

“That will be fine,” said Harry; but a moment later her face fell prodigiously. “Only it won’t do me any good,” she added, sorrowfully, “because I’ll be visiting Aunt Harriet most of the time.”

“That’s too bad,” said Roy. “Can’t you fix it to go later?”

Harry shook her head. “No, she goes to the seashore in August, you see. I think it’s just too mean for anything; and I know you will just have lovely times. I—I hope papa won’t let you do it!”

“Well!” ejaculated Chub. “Of all dogs in the manger that I ever met, Harry, you take the prize!”

“Well, I just do,” muttered Harry, rebelliously; “and I’m going to tell him not to!”

Chub and Dick viewed her anxiously, but Roy only smiled.

“We’re not afraid of that, Harry,” he said.

She looked at him a moment frowningly, then sighed and smiled as she said plaintively:

“Well, I don’t care, Roy Porter, I think it’s awfully mean! Maybe I won’t ever see you and Chub again, and just when I might be with you I have to go away. And I don’t have any fun at Aunt Harriet’s, anyway; it’s too stupid for anything!”