قراءة كتاب Dave Porter on Cave Island; Or, A Schoolboy's Mysterious Mission

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Dave Porter on Cave Island; Or, A Schoolboy's Mysterious Mission

Dave Porter on Cave Island; Or, A Schoolboy's Mysterious Mission

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 3


“Chip Macklin and I are going to carry it first,” said a tall, strong youth named Gus Plum. “It’s not so very heavy, although it is filled with good things.”

“Don’t lose it, on your life!” cried Phil.

“Lose it!” echoed Roger Morr. “Banish the thought! We’ll form a guard around Gus and Chip, so they can’t get away with it on the sly.”

“Not so much as a doughnut must be eaten until we reach the island and start a campfire,” said Dave. “Those are orders from headquarters,” he added, with a grand flourish.

“Orders accepted, admiral!” cried Gus, and made a bow so profound that his skates went from under him, sending him to his knees. This caused a wild laugh, and the powerfully-built youth got up in a hurry, looking rather sheepish.

“I’m ready now,” said Ben, as he left the bench and settled his skating cap on his head. “Come on, let’s get away before old Haskers calls us back for something or other. He just loves to spoil a fellow’s outing.”

“There he is at one of the windows!” cried Roger, pointing back to the school building. “I really believe he is beckoning to us!”

“Don’t look,” cautioned Dave. “He’ll want us to go back, to put away some books, or clean our desks, or something. Doctor Clay said we could take this outing, and I’m not going to let any teacher spoil it. Forward!” and away from the shore he skated, with his chums around him. They had scarcely covered a distance of a dozen yards when a window was thrown up hastily, and Job Haskers thrust his head through the opening.

“Boys! boys!” called out the Oak Hall teacher. “Wait a minute! I want to know where you are going, and if all of you have finished studying.”

“Don’t look back, and don’t answer!” said Roger, in a hoarse whisper.

“Give the school yell!” suggested Phil.

“Just the thing!” returned Sam Day. “Now then, all together!” And an instant later through the clear, wintry air, rang the well-known Oak Hall slogan:

    Oak  Hall
    Has  the  call!
    Biff!  Boom!  Bang!  Whoop!”

Three times the boys gave the cry, and by that time they had skated far up the river and out of sight of the window at which the teacher was standing. Job Haskers looked after them glumly, and then closed the window with a bang.

“They must have heard me—I don’t see how they could help it,” he muttered to himself. “Such disrespect! I’ll make them toe the mark for it when they get back! Bah! Doctor Clay is altogether too easy with the boys. If I were running this school I’d make them mind!” And the teacher shut his teeth grimly. He was a man who thought that the boys ought to spend all their time in studying. The hours devoted to outdoor exercise he considered practically wasted. He was too short-sighted to realize that, in order to have a perfectly sound mind, one must likewise have a sound body.

“He’ll have it in for us when we get back,” murmured Chip Macklin. “My! how he does love to stop a fellow’s fun!”

“Don’t worry,” chimed in Roger. “Sufficient unto the hour is the lecture thereof. Let us enjoy this outing while it lasts, and let come what will when we get back.”

“Which puts me in mind of another story,” broke in Shadow Hamilton. “A fellow used to eat too much, and he had to take his medicine regularly, to keep from getting indigestion. So once—wow!” And Shadow broke off short, for Phil had suddenly put out his foot, sending the story-teller of Oak Hall sprawling.

“So he had to take his medicine,” repeated Dave, gravely.

“Did the medicine agree with him?” asked Roger, innocently.

“He took it lying down, didn’t he?” questioned Gus.

“I’ll ‘medicine’ you!” roared Shadow, as he scrambled to his feet. Then he made a wild dash after the youth who had tripped him up, but Phil had skated on ahead and he took good care that Shadow did not catch him. “I won’t tell you another story for a year!” the story-teller growled, after the chase was at an end.

“Phew! Shadow says he is going to reform!” murmured Ben.

“Let it pass, Shadow!” cried Dave, not wishing the story-teller to take the matter too seriously. “You can tell all the stories you please around the campfire. But just now let us push on as fast as we can. I want a chance to do some rabbit and squirrel hunting, and you know we’ve got to be back on time, or we’ll have trouble with Doctor Clay as well as with old Haskers.”

“Yes, and I want to take some pictures before it gets too dark,” said Sam, who had his camera along.

“Do you know what Horsehair told me?” came from Roger. “He said we were fixing for another snowstorm.”

“It doesn’t look so now,” returned Dave. “But Horsehair generally hits it on the weather, so maybe we’ll catch it before we get back.”

“Wonder if we’ll meet any of the Rockville cadets?” remarked Phil, as he and Dave forged to the front, they knowing the way up the river better than did some of the others.

“It is possible, Phil. All of them have guns, and I should think they would like to go hunting.”

“I guess most of their firearms are rifles, not fowling-pieces.”

“Not more than half—I learned that from Mallory, when we played hockey. He said they had some shotguns just for hunting and camping out purposes.”

“Well, those chaps have a holiday to-day, the same as we have, so some of them may be up around Squirrel Island. But I’d rather not meet them,” and Dave’s face became serious.

“Humph! If those military academy fellows try to play any tricks on us I reckon we can give ’em as good as they send,” growled Phil.

“To be sure we can, Phil. But I’d rather keep out of trouble to-day and have some good, clean sport. I haven’t been hunting this season and I’m just itching to draw a bead on a fat bunny, or squirrel, or some partridges. You know, I used to go hunting in the woods around Crumville, when I was home.”

“Why, of course! Didn’t Roger and I go along once? But we didn’t get much that trip, although we did get into a lively row with Nat Poole.”

“Oh, yes, I remember now. I wish——” And then Dave Porter came to a sudden silence.

“What is it, Dave?” and Phil looked closely at his chum.

“Oh, not much,” was the evasive answer.

“But I know something is worrying you,” insisted the shipowner’s son. “I’ve noticed it for several days, and Roger noticed it, too.”


“Yes. He came to me yesterday and said that he was sure you had something on your mind. Now, maybe it is none of our business, Dave. But if I and Roger can help you in any way, you know we’ll be only too glad to do it.” Phil spoke in a low but earnest voice.

“Hi, what’s doing in the front rank?” cried a cheery voice at this juncture, and Roger Morr skated swiftly up beside Dave and Phil.

“I’m glad you came,” said Phil, and he looked at the senator’s son in a peculiar fashion. “I was just speaking to Dave about how we had noticed something was wrong, and how we were willing to help him, if he needed us.”

“Sure, we’ll help you every time, Dave; you know that,” returned Roger, quickly.

“I don’t know that I need any help,” answered Dave, slowly. “The fact of the matter is, I don’t know what can be done.”

“Then something is wrong?” cried both of his chums.

“Yes, if you must know. I was going