they can't locate us very easily."
"How are you going to get to their camp?"
asked Carl, with interest.
" On the raft â€” same as they got over here."
"Hurrah, that's the plan!" cried another of
the party. " They'll think we are over here, wait-
ing for them to show up at ten o'clock to-morrow
THE LOSS OF THE RAFT 183
morning. Won't they be surprised when they get
up and find the things minus ! "
" They may set a guard; " suggested Ike Akley,
" If they do we'll have to make him a prisoner
and gag him.'*
" When shall we start? " asked one of the boysÂ«
" Let us dry ourselves by the campfire first," said
Ham. " And we may as well get something to eat
too, for there Is no telling how long we'll be gone.'*
This suggestion was considered a good one, and
the whole crowd went back to the camp. While
some changed their v/et clothes for dry, others pre-
pared a meal and this all took time in eating. Then
all hands went down to the raft and embarked for
the other side of the lake.
OUT ON A SAND BAR
The stars had gone under a cloud and out on
the lake it was so dark that Snap and his chums
could not see twenty feet in any direction.
" We are going to have our own troubles find-
ing our camp,*' he said, after about a quarter of
the distance across Lake Narsac had been covered.
" It's as black as a stack of cats," murmured
iWhopper. " Has anybody got a lantern? "
Nobody had, and even matches were at a pre-
mium. The boys rowed and paddled on a short
distance further and then came to a halt in a bunch.
" I must confess I am more or less turned around
already," said the doctor's son. " Is our shore
over there? " and he pointed with his hand.
" I think so," answered Giant.
" I think it is yonder, " answered Snap, and
pointed at right angles to the direction Shep had
" And I think it is about between the two," fin-
OUT ON A SAND BAR 185
â€¢* Let us take the course Whopper thinks 1$
right," said Snap. *' We can't be so very far
Anxious to get back to camp and get some rest,
they pulled with vigor. They kept this up for
fully ten minutes and then the forward boat slid
up on a bar of sand, followed quickly by the second
boat and the canoe.
" Here, this won't do ! " cried Shep.
"Are we near shore?" questioned Whopper.
** I can't see any land."
Neither could the others, and all were more or
less worried. They had struck the sand bar with
such force that they had been carried well up on
it. When they tried to shove the boats off they
found the task too much for them. The canoe,
however, came away with little difficulty.
" Shep, you paddle around and see if you can
locate the shore," suggested Snap, and the doctor's
son sent the canoe first in one direction and then
another. He was not afraid to go out of sight,
since he could easily hear their voices in the still-
ness of the night.
" I don't see any shore," he announced, after a
search of a quarter of an hour. " We must be
stuck somewhere in the middle of the lake."
i86 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
*' That can't be â€” the middle is far too deep foi
any sand bars," answered Whopper.
" Well, you can hunt around if you want to,"
said the doctor's son, rather shortly. The pad-
dling had made him very tired.
Snap and Whopper now got into the canoe, and
they went twice as far as Shep had been. At last
they struck a point of land in a direction they had
imagined was far out In the lake. They followed
this up and soon came to the shore, but where they
did not know.
" I think we are either above or below our
camp," said Snap.
*' Or else on the same side of the lake that we
started from," said Whopper. " It would be just
our luck to get completely twisted In this teetotal
darkness. It's worse than a pocket in a coal
mine ! "
They paddled back to the others and told them
of what they had discovered. Then a portion of
the outfit was transferred to the empty rowboat,
and another effort was made to float both craft.
At last the rowboats slid off the sand bar, and then
they pulled to the point of land without further
No one could tell where they were, but Snap,
OUT ON A SAND BAR 187
Giant and Whopper imagined the spot must be
half a mile or more below their camp. They had
landed in a wild place, and walking along the shore
was out of the question.
*' We might as well stay where we are until
morning," said Snap. *' If we try to move in this
darkness we may only fall into more trouble."
But the others preferred to get back to camp if
possible, and Whopper volunteered to paddle up
the shore, while Shep rowed in the other direction.
If either found the camp he was to whistle or fire
a shot as a signal.
" Listen," said Giant, after he and Snap had
been left alone over a quarter of an hour. " I
hear voices! "
Both strained their ears, and from the lake they
heard a confused murmur. Then came the splash-
ing of oars or paddles, and an exclamation of dis-
" It Is the Spink crowd! " cried Snap. " They
are on the lake. They must have followed us on
" Yes. and they are stuck on the sand bar, just as
we were," said Giant, and grinned to himself in
the dark. *' I hope they have to stay there I "
The talking out on the lake continued, but pres-
1 88 ^OUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
ently it died away in the distance. Evidently the
party had freed the raft from the sand bar and was
paddling in another direction.
When Whopper came back he said he had loÂ«
cated the camp only a short distance away. The
others then whistled for Shep, who soon came in,
and Snap and Giant told what they had heard.
" We'll get to camp and prepare to give those
fellows a hot reception," said the leader of the club.
And then the two rowboats and the canoe moved
off without further delay.
The camp gained, all of the boats were hauled
up into the bushes out of sight and the outfit was
taken back to the cabin. This had just been ac-
complished when Giant, who was on guard,
announced that the raft was coming ashore not a
great distance away.
" Might as well warn them off," said Snap.
** Everybody take his gun, and we'll take torches,
This plan was speedily carried out, and just as
Ham Spink started to leap to the shore he found
himself confronted by the four boy hunters, each
with a torch In one hand and his gun held out in
" Stop, Ham Spink! " cried Snap. " Don't you
dare to step a foot further ! "
OUT ON A SAND BAR 189
** Discovered ! " muttered Carl Dudder, In dis-
gust. " I told you to be careful."
" I want to talk to you," murmured Ham, not
knowing what else to say."
" To-morrow morning, at ten oVlock, at your
camp," answered Snap promptly. " That was the
*' But see here â€” "
" We won't waste words, Ham. It's ten o'clock
to-morrow and nothing else."
" We want our boat and our canoe, and we want
them now," cried Ike Akley.
" It Is not for you to dictate, Ike Akley," said
Shep. " We want you to leave and be quick about
it. We don't intend to stay up all night fooling
" Let us have our boat and the canoe and we'll
promise not to molest you again," said Ham, quite
" To-morrow, at ten o'clock," said Snap, as
firmly as ever. " And let me tell you another
thing. If you don't leave us alone now perhaps
you'll not get the boat and the canoe at all."
The Spink crowd wanted to argue, but our
friends would not listen. One of the boys wanted
to fight, but the sight of the guns made him bold
igo YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
back. At last those on the raft put off from the
shore and disappeared in the darkness.
" They are as mad as wet hens," said Gian*^
" Do you think they'll come back? '*
" Possibly," answered Snap. " We'll have to
keep a strict watch."
It was decided that only two boys should sleep
at a time, while the other pair remained on guard,
one at either side of the camp. This plan was
carried out, but nothing came to disturb the young
hunters, and all managed to get a fairly good rest
after their arduous doing of the early part of the
At half-past nine In the morning they started
for the other side of Lake Narsac In their rowboat,
taking the two other craft with them. They
looked for Ham Spink and his cronies but the
camping spot was deserted.
"What can this mean?" questioned Whopper.
" Is It another trick?"
" Maybe they are at our camp this minute ! "
cried Giant. *' We ought to have left somebody
But he had hardly spoken when they saw a
handkerchief waving from down the lake shore.
They pulled In that direction and soon reached a
small, cleared spot. Here the raft was beached
OUT ON A SAND BAR 191
and here lay the whole Spink outfit in confusion.
*^ What brought you fellows here? " asked Shep,
curiously, for he could see that all those on shore
were greatly excited.
" Did you see it? " demanded one of the boys.
" We are going home," declared Ike Akley, and
his manner showed that he was frightened almost
out of his wits.
" Let us have the boat and the canoe and we
won't bother you any more," said Carl Dudder.
" You can have the whole lake to yourselves."
" Did we see what? " asked Giant, of the youth
who had first spoken.
" The ghost," was the unexpected reply. " It
came into our camp last night and we don't want
to see it again. We are all going back to Lake
JED SANBORN BRINGS NEWS
That the Spink crowd was thoroughly fright*
ened there could not be the slightest doubt. Even
when they told their story many looked behind
them, as if they expected the ghost to pop out of
the woods and clutch them by the shoulder.
It seemed that the ghost had appeared shortly
after they returned to their camp. It came up
over the lake silently, a figure in yellow, with wav-
ing horns of red. It had stopped directly in front
of the camp and had waved a menacing arm at the
boys. Then it had disappeared into the gloom of
" It uttered some terrible things,'* said Carl
Dudder. " It said something about being dead
and about being buried.''
" Yes, and then it uttered a hideous laugh," said
Ike Akley. " I shall never forget that â€” it was
awful, and it seemed to go right through a fel-
JED SANBORN BRINGS NEWS 193
"Why didn't you shoot at it?" asked Snap.
" That is what I should have done."
" Humph ! I guess if you saw that ghost you'd
be paralyzed," said Carl Dudder. " Why it was
enough to make your hair raise on ends ! "
" I thought it was coming ashore and murder the
lot of us," said Jack Voss.
" Then you are not going to stay here? " asked
" Not much ! I am going down to Lake Cam-
eron as quick as I can get there ! "
*' So am I ! " said another.
" You had better go down, too," said a third.
" No, we are going to stay here," answered
Shep. " We haven't seen the ghost, but we have
heard those ghostlike voices and we want to find
out what it means."
"Oh, there's a real ghost â€” I heard about it
before I left home," said Carl Dudder. " But I
didn't think it would visit us."
" I'd stay, only the rest won't," said Ham Spink,
thinking he must put on a bold front before Snap
and his chums.
"What are you talking about! " cried Ike Ak-
ley, indignantly. " Why, you were the first to
propose going home."
" That's true," said another boy.
194 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
" Well â€” er â€” I thought perhaps you didn^t
care to stay," stammered Ham. " Anyway, I
think it is much nicer down to Lake Cameron," he
added, hastily, to change the subject. " The
snakes are numerous up here, and game is scarce."
" Well, if you are going you can have your boat
and the canoe," said Snap, after a consultation with
his chums. " But you must give us your solemn
promise not to molest us again."
The others were perfectly willing to do that, and
the rowboat and the canoe were turned over to
Ham, Spink and his cronies. Then our friends
rowed out into the lake and " hung around " until
the others loaded their craft and started away.
" Now remember," called Snap after them. " If
you come back and molest us you'll do it at your
We won't come back," muttered Ham.
You can have that ghost all to yourselves,"
added Carl. " Hope it visits your camp to-night
â€” I guess you'll be leaving in the morning just as
we are doing." And that was all that was said by
the Spink crowd.
" That ghost must have been something awful
to look at," was Shep's remark, as he and his chums
rowed back to camp. "If ever a crowd was scared
JED SANBORN BRINGS NEWS 195
" Well, If the ghost visits us maybe we'll be
scared too," answered Giant. " I don't believe in
bragging until I've experienced a thing."
*' Giant doesn't want to be like the man who
bragged of what he would do in case of a fire at
his house," said Whopper. " He was going to
be calm and careful and do things just so. When
the fire came he was the most excited fellow on the
block, and he carried the feather bed downstairs
and then went up again and threw himself out of
the third story window."
The boys were content to take it easy for the
rest of the day, and for the balance of that week
they did httle but fish and '' laze around," as Giant
put it. Shep shot several birds and tried his skill
at cleaning and stuffing them, for he took an inter-
est in taxidermy. Snap hung up the deer skin to
On Sunday it rained, and the storm continued
Monday and the greater part of Tuesday. But
the cabin was practically waterproof, so they were
comfortable. To pass the time they played games,
and cooked and baked many things which would
have caused a chef to throw up his hands In won-
der. They even made some rhubarb pie from
some wild rhubarb found near the camp and this
proved to be really excellent. Once Giant con-
196 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
cocted a new dish made of fish stuffed with beans
and flour paste, but this was not voted a success.
Having sufficient sugar they made some candy one
evening and this disappeared as if by magic.
On Wednesday morning Whopper, who had
been outside to bring in some firewood, came rush-
ing to the cabin in great excitement.
" Somebody has been at our game ! Some per-
son or a wild animal ! "
" How do you know? "
" The meat is gone ! Only a few bones re-
main ! "
" Then it must have been a wildcat or a bear ! '*
All ran to the spot where the meat had been
hung up. The tree was scratched up and there
were curious marks in the damp soil under it.
" A bear or a wildcat sure," said Snap, after
" Let us go after it â€” whatever it is," answered
the doctor's son.
" Maybe the ghost stole it," suggested Giant,
but nobody accepted this idea.
A hasty breakfast was had, and the boys were
on the point of going on a hunt when there came a
call from the lake. A man in a canoe was pad-
dling toward them.
JED SANBORN BRINGS NEWS 197
" It's Jed Sanborn ! " cried Snap, and he was
right. Soon the old hunter had beached his craft
and was shaking hands with them.
" All safe ? " was his first question.
" All safe," was the answer.
" Thet ghost didn't eat ye up then ? Thought,
by what Ham Spink said, ye'd be about dead when
I got here," and Jed Sanborn smiled grimly.
" Where did you see Ham? " asked the doctor's
*^ Down to Fairview."
" Day before yesterday."
"Then they didn't remain at Lake Cameron! "
" They was a-going to, but they got into some
sort o' a quarrel an' that broke the party up," ex-
plained the old hunter. " Ham an' Carl Dudder
said the ghost came after 'em something terribul.
Wall, I believe it â€” after what I see myself," and
Jed shook his head slowly. " You ain't had no
" We've heard strange voices, that's all," an-
swered Whopper. " We haven't seen the ghost."
The old hunter soon told his story in detail. It
seemed that Ham Spink and his cronies had told a
terrible tale of being pursued by the ghost, and of
198 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
hearing awful groans and cries, and this had
alarmed Mrs. Caslette very much and also Mrs.
Dodge, and both ladies had requested the old
hunter to visit the lake and make sure the young
hunters were in no trouble.
" This lake is gittin' an awful repertation," said
Jed Sanborn. " If it keeps on, afore long nobody
will come here no more."
" We'd like to settle this ghost business," said
Snap. *' We feel sure it can be explained in some
way or another."
" Well, maybe, but â€” " Jed Sanborn drew a deep
breath. " Don't you go for to run no unnecessary
risks, that's all."
" Oh, we'll certainly try to keep out of danger,"
answered the doctor's son.
" Your mother wants you to be partickerly care-
ful," said Jed to Giant. " She says she wouldn't
know what to do if something happened ye."
" Tell her I shall take good care of myself,"
answered the small member of the club.
Jed Sanborn told them that everything was go-
ing on at Falrview as usual. He had some letters
for the lads, which they read with interest. He
said he would remain with them until the next
morning, and promised to take back such letters
as they might write.
JED SANBORN BRINGS NEWS 199
" If you stay over you might as well go on 3
hunt with us/' said Snap, and then he related how
their meat had been stolen.
" Wildcats did that," announced Jed Sanborn,
after a close examination. " Two on 'em â€”
most likely mates. It will be a ticklish job trying
to track 'em."
" Oh, we've shot wildcats before," said Whop-
" Not the kind that's around here, my boy.
These are the wildest and strongest kind. How-
somever, we can go after 'em if you say so. When
do you want to start? "
" Have you had breakfast? " asked Snap.
" Two hours ago."
" Then let us start at once." And so it was de-
A HUNT AFTER WILDCATS
As my old readers know, Jed Sanborn knew all
about wild animals and just how to trail them, and
the young hunters followed his directions readily.
" Be sure your guns are in prime condition and
loaded," said Jed. " And as we may be out until
nightfall, better take a lunch with you."
" We have it, in our gamebags," answered the
" Good enough."
They were soon on the way, along a small trail
leading directly away from Lake Narsac. It was
uphill, but the old hunter knew just how to turn to
make climbing easy, so, although they covered a
mile or more, they were not greatly fatigued.
" I know we came for wildcats, but if ye want
some wild turkeys here's your chance," said the old
hunter presently, and he pointed to the left of the
trail. The boys gazed In that direction but saw
nothing unusual and said so.
" The turkeys are in yonder tree," answered Jed
A HUNT AFTER WILDCATS 201
Sanborn. " I jest saw two on 'em movin* around
on some branches."
" You certainly have keen eyes,'* answered Snap,
for the distance to the tree was at least a hundred
and fifty yards.
" Have to have, lad, to be a good shot," was
Not to alarm the game, Jed Sanborn told them
to walk with care, and led the way in a semicircle
through the timber. Then he told the boys to
spread out around the tree.
'' Fire as soon as ye get a good chance, but not
afore," said he.
As they crawled closer they saw the wild turkeys
quite plainly. There was a gobbler and six or
seven hens, and they were roosting on several limbs
close to the ground.
" Must be gittin' lazy, to be on their perches
so late In the morning," abserved Jed. *' Ought
to have been scratchin' fer a llvin' hours ago."
" Well, this suits us," answered Whopper.
** I'm going to try for the gobbler."
" I'll take the one below him," said Snap.
" I'll take the hen on the left," came from Giant.
" And I'll try for the one on the right," put In
Shep. " What will you shoot at, Jed? "
Before the old hunter could answer there was a
202 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
stir on the tree. The gobbler had heard them
and he gave the alarm. Up and out went the
turkeys as fast as they could fly. Bang! bang!
went the shotguns, and several more shots fol-
lowed. Jed Sanborn had also taken aim. There
was a great fluttering, and down dropped two tur-
keys like lead. Two hens fluttered around, and
the gobbler remained in the tree, caught between
two branches and breathing his last.
*' Hurrah! let us finish them! *' cried Snap, and
ran forward. The next instant he felt one of the
wounded turkeys strike his face. He caught the
game by the legs and then received a peck in the
hand that drew blood. Before the turkey could
do any more harm the young hunter stunned it by
a blow against the tree and then finished it. In the
meantime the other hen was killed by Whopper,
while Jed Sanborn took his gun and poked the gob-
bler out of the tree crotch and despatched him.
" Certainly a good haul, boys," said the old
hunter, when the temporary excitement was over.
** You'll have turkey meat enough to last some
" I know what I am going to do with the
gobbler, if you'll let me," said Whopper. " I am
going to send him home to my folks, if Jed will
A HUNT AFTER WILDCATS 203
" Sure I will, my lad, and Til carry some more
if you wish," Jed continued, looking at the other
" Let each of us send a turkey home," suggested
Snap. " That will show the folks that we are
not starving." And so it was agreed.
Tying the turkeys in a bunch, they put them in a
safe place on a tree and then continued up the
mountainside. The recent rains had cleared the
sky and washed the bushes and grass, and the view
was a most charming one. Soon they came to a
small clearing and from this could see over a large
portion of the lake's surface.
" It certainly is a wild place," was Snap's com-
ment. " But some day the lumbermen will get in
here, and then you'll see this forest melt like
" Yes, and half the charm will be gone," added
Jed Sanborn. *' Not much left after a saw mill
gets started in a place like this."
Noon came and found them well up on the moun-
tain. So far they had seen no game but the
turkeys, nor had they seen a further trace of the
wildcats. They sat dovv^n in an open spot for
lunch, and rested for half an hour afterward.
When the hunt was resumed Jed Sanborn turned
along the mountainside, where there were a series
204 YOUNG HUNTERS OF THE LAKE
of shelving rocks. He had gone but a short disÂ«
tance when he uttered a cry :
"A bear! a bear!"
"Where?" asked all of the others simulta-
" Over on yonder cliff ! There he goes ! "
The young hunters looked in the direction indi-
cated, and saw a bear leaping swiftly from rock to
rock. Almost before they knew it he was out of
sight. They were too far away to take a shot,
much to their disappointment.
" Any use of going after him? " asked Whop-
" Not now," answered Jed Sanborn. " He'll
be on guard all day. You can come back some
other day if you want to. But be careful he don't
chew ye up."
Again they went on, and now came to a slight
hollow on the mountainside. Suddenly Snap saw
something moving cautiously over the rocks close
"There's a wildcat!" he cried, and swinging
around his gun he fired. The wildcat was hit in
the side but kept on. Then Giant fired, hitting the
beast in the head, and it rolled from the rocks to a
position almost at their feet.
" Is it dead? " asked the doctor's son.
A HUNT AFTER WILDCATS 205
" Dead as a door nail," announced the small
youth, after an examination.
" I think that wildcat came from yonder hole in
the rocks," said Snap, pointing to the opening in
" If he did there may be more of them there,"
answered Whopper. '' How can we find out? "
" Might go up, ring the doorbell, and ask," sug-
gested Snap, with a grin.
" Excuse me, I don't want to walk into any wild-
cat's hotel," was Whopper's answer. ^' I heard of
a fellow who did that once, and when he came out
he was still on the Inside."
^' Still on the inside? " repeated Jed Sanborn.
"Yes â€” Inside the wildcats," and this answer
made the old hunter roar loudly.
" Let us throw rocks into the opening," sug-
gested Giant, and began to do as he had suggested.
They heard a growl, but no wildcats showed them-
" I'll throw a firebrand in," said Jed Sanborn,
and cut a dry cedar bough. " Stand ready to
shoot. If anything shows Itself."
With Interest the boys watched the old hunter
prepare his firebrand and light It. Then he swung
it into a lively blaze, let fly, and sent It whirling