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: 5

evil-doers had disappeared. Then, one day, while on a sleigh-ride to a distant town, the boys fell in with Hooker Montgomery. The fake doctor was practically “down and out,” as he himself expressed it, and said he would do anything for Dave, provided he was not prosecuted.

“It was all a plot gotten up by those two, Jasniff and Merwell,” said Hooker Montgomery. “They promised me some money if I would help them, but I never got a cent.” Then he said that Jasniff and Merwell were in town.

“We’ll locate them,” said Dave, but this was not accomplished until later, when the pair of rascals were encountered at a railroad office. Our hero and his chums tried to stop Jasniff and Merwell, but the rascals rushed through a crowd and got aboard a train; and that was the last seen of them for the time being. The boys might have gone after the pair, but they had an important hockey game to play, and when they administered a stinging defeat to Oak Hall’s ancient rival, Rockville Academy, Dave, for the time being, forgot that he had an enemy in the world.

“Two weeks more of the grind, boys!” cried Dave, on the following Monday. “And then home for the holidays.”

“Right you are,” answered Phil. “But, oh, those two weeks!”

On Wednesday one of Dave’s chums celebrated his birthday, and among the presents received was a very fine double-barreled shotgun. This lad immediately wanted to go hunting; and the result was that the boys applied to Doctor Clay for permission to go to Squirrel Island, up the river, on a hunting expedition, the following Saturday. There was just sufficient snow on the ground to make rabbit and squirrel tracking good, and the boys were told that they might remain away all day. Six of them had guns and two had revolvers, and they carried in addition a good-sized hamper of provisions for lunch.

“Now, boys, be careful and don’t shoot yourselves or anybody else,” said Doctor Clay, with a smile, when Dave, Roger, and Phil left the school building. “Don’t fire at anything until you are certain of what it is. Every hunting season somebody is killed through the sheer carelessness of somebody else.”

“We’ll be careful,” answered Dave.

“Do you think you’ll get any game?” And the doctor continued to smile.

“I hope to bring you at least a brace of rabbits or squirrels, Doctor.”

“Well, I wish you luck. And don’t stay too late,” returned the head of the school, and then with a pleasant nod he dismissed them.

Dave, Roger, and Phil were the first at the place of meeting, but they were quickly joined by all the others except Ben.

“I’ll tell you what, Phil,” said the senator’s son, when he had a chance to talk to Phil alone. “Something is wrong with Dave. He isn’t himself at all. Can’t you see it?”

“Of course I can, Roger,” was the reply of the shipowner’s son. “If I get a chance to speak to him about it, I am going to do so. But I’ve got to be careful—I don’t want to hurt his feelings.”

“When you do speak, give me the sign, so I can hear what he has to say, too,” went on Roger, and to this Phil agreed. Then came the start up the river, and a little later Phil broached the subject, and Dave made the dismaying announcement that Jasniff and Merwell were doing their best to bring disgrace to himself and his family and ruin them.


“It’s rather a long story, and I scarcely know how to begin,” said Dave, after he, Phil, and Roger had skated ahead and to the right, where the others were not likely to overhear the conversation. “But, to begin with, Jasniff and Merwell have been to Crumville since they left here in such a hurry, and—I have some reason to believe—they have been here in town, too.”

“Here!” cried the shipowner’s son.


“Why didn’t you tell us of this before?” asked Roger.

“I didn’t know of it until lately, and I didn’t want to worry you over my private affairs.”

“But what have they done?” demanded Phil, impatiently.

“As I said before, Phil, I hardly know how to begin to tell you. But to plunge right in. In the first place, when they were in Crumville they followed my sister Laura and Jessie Wadsworth to a concert by a college glee club. They forced their attentions on the two girls, and gave outsiders an impression that they had come as escorts. The girls were so upset over it that Laura wrote me that Jessie was actually sick. Two days after that, when the girls were out walking one evening, Jasniff and Merwell followed them, and right on the main street, near the post-office, they came up and commenced to talk and Merwell said to Laura, loud enough for half a dozen folks to hear: ’You’ve got to keep your word—you can’t go back on us like that.’ And Jasniff added: ‘Yes, you girls were glad enough to let us give you a good time before, down at the Rainbow.’ The Rainbow is a ten-cent moving-picture place, and a low one at that. Of course there wasn’t a word of truth in it, but Merwell and Jasniff gave folks the impression that Laura and Jessie had been going out with them, and you know how such reports spread in a small town like Crumville.”

“The hounds!” exclaimed the senator’s son, wrathfully. “They should have been run out of town!”

“Why didn’t the girls tell your folks?” asked Phil.

“They did, as soon as they got home, and my father, Uncle Dunston, and Mr. Wadsworth went out to look for Merwell and Jasniff, but they were not to be found. But that was only the beginning. The next day an old lady came to the house with a letter she had picked up in the post-office. It was addressed to Link Merwell and had my sister’s name signed to it, and stated that she was sorry they had quarreled and wouldn’t he please forgive her and take her to the dance as promised? Of course the whole thing was a forgery, and it was dropped in the post-office just to make talk. I suppose Merwell thought some chatterbox would pick it up and spread the news.”

“But what is his game?” queried the shipowner’s son. “I don’t see how he is going to gain anything by such actions.”

“He wants to ruin our reputations, just as he and Jasniff have ruined their own. But I haven’t told you all yet. A day later my father heard of another letter being found, in which Laura and Jessie promised to go off on a joy-ride in an auto with Merwell and Jasniff. Then Merwell and Jasniff appeared in Crumville with a stunning touring car, and they had two girls with them, loudly dressed and heavily veiled, and the whole four tooted horns, and sang, and behaved in anything but a becoming fashion. A good many folks thought the veiled girls must be Laura and Jessie, and you can imagine how my sister and her friend felt when they heard of it.”

“Those chaps ought to be arrested,” murmured Phil.

“And tarred and feathered,” added the senator’s son.

“After that, my father and Mr. Wadsworth got after them so sharply that they left Crumville. That was only a few days ago. The very next day came a lot of goods to the house, delivered by a large city department store. The folks hadn’t ordered the goods and didn’t know what to make of it. They investigated, and learned that a young woman calling herself Laura Porter had selected the things and had them sent out. Then came other goods for Mr. Wadsworth, said to have been bought by Jessie. It was an awful mix-up, and it hasn’t been straightened out yet.”

“It’s the limit!” muttered the senator’s son. “I’ll