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THE BOY SCOUTS
OF THE
NAVAL RESERVE


BY
SCOUT MASTER ROBERT SHALER

AUTHOR OF "THE BOY SCOUTS OF THE SIGNAL CORPS," "THE BOY
SCOUTS OF PIONEER CAMP," "THE BOY SCOUTS OF THE
GEOLOGICAL SURVEY," "THE BOY SCOUTS ON
PICKET DUTY," ETC., ETC.


NEW YORK
HURST & COMPANY
PUBLISHERS

Copyright, 1914,
BY
HURST & COMPANY




CONTENTS


CHAPTER PAGE
I. The Trail Up Cedar Hill 5
II. Scout Tactics 18
III. The Dancing Bear 31
IV. The Tracking Game 44
V. A Scout Ambulance 57
VI. Billy's Lucky Jinx 70
VII. "All Aboard!" 84
VIII. Afloat with the Naval Militia 97
IX. The Night Landing of the Scouts 110
X. Establishing the Signal Relay 123
XI. A Temptation and a Victory 136
XII. With the Battleship Squadron 149




The Boy Scouts of the Naval Reserve.




CHAPTER I.
THE TRAIL UP CEDAR HILL.


"_How-oo-ooo!_"

This weird sound, supposed to be very much like the mournful howl of the
timber wolf heard on a wintry night in the wilderness, caused the boy on
the bicycle to laugh softly to himself as he looked up.

After running an errand for his mother to one of the farmers' wives, he
had been pedaling carelessly along up the dusty road.

A couple of fellows of about his own age, one of whom was inclined to be
rather stout, were coming along a side road, making frantic motions for
him to wait until they arrived; the boy chuckled again.

"Seems like Billy is getting that signal cry of the Wolf Patrol down
pretty pat," he told himself, as he dropped off his wheel at the
junction of the two roads to await the arrival of his friends, both of
whom wore the well-known khaki uniforms of the scouts, just as the lone
rider did.

A minute later and they, too, dismounted, one gracefully, and the other
with the awkwardness that usually accompanies the heavy-weight boy. Both
of them were apparently pleased at having run across their comrade at
just that particular time.

"Hello! Hugh!" called out the stout boy, "we stopped in at your house,
and they told us you'd gone out to Farmer Benton's on an errand for your
mother. So Arthur said we might run across you heading for home, which
we sure have done."

"That's right, Chief," added the more slender lad who had been called
Arthur. "We want you to come along with us and pass judgment on my
contraption of a wireless outfit that I've rigged out up on Cedar Hill.
I finished the work yesterday morning, and meant to get some of you
fellows up there in the afternoon, but things kept on happening over at
our house one after the other, till it was too late to bother. You'll go
along, I hope, Chief?"

These three lads were all members of the well-known Wolf Patrol of the
local troop of Boy Scouts. They had been chiefly instrumental in
starting the popular movement in town; and had passed through many
rather remarkable scenes in common, most of which have been described at
length in previous stories of the Series.

Hugh Hardin had early been made the patrol leader, and when the
assistant scout master of the troop had lately been compelled to resign,
Hugh, as the most popular fellow among the scouts, had been elected to
take his place. It is necessary that the boy who would take upon himself
the responsibility of being an assistant scout master should above all
be a first-class scout; secondly, he must be elected to the office by
his mates; and last of all be recommended by the chief scout officers of
that district. Only when these conditions have been met will the coveted
certificate be sent out from Boy Scout Headquarters in New York City.

Hugh had received approval some weeks before, and a few of the boys had
come to calling him "Chief" when off by themselves for a good time. Of
course, when the regular scout master, Lieutenant Denmead, a retired
United States army officer, was along, Hugh would expect to be treated
with the same courtesy that was extended to that gentleman, and insist
upon the usual scout salute at meeting.

Billy Worth had always been a great admirer and chum of Hugh. He
believed the other to be the best all-round boy in that whole country.
Consequently he had seemed more concerned than Hugh himself when Alec
Sands, the son of the rich railroad magnate, and in many ways a spoiled
boy, had on various occasions tried to get the better of Hugh. Alec was
the leader of the wideawake Otter Patrol, a clever scout, and with a
small following of his own; but he was none too popular among the
members of the Fox and Hawk patrols. This had accounted for his failure
to be elected to the office of assistant scout master at the time he and
Hugh locked horns while running for the position.

Arthur Cameron had been the last one to join the Wolf Patrol, completing
its roster of eight members, and for some time he had been called the
"tenderfoot." Hugh, however, managed to arouse his interest in the
wonderful secrets of Nature a scout who keeps his eyes and ears wide
open may learn, especially when in the woods. From that day on Arthur
had striven to perfect himself in the knowledge of those things which a
boy must know in order to climb the ladder of scout preferment.

Arthur had after a while become a second-class scout, and only at the
last meeting of the troop he had been listed in the proud rank of those
who were entitled to wear the full official badge, denoting that they
were in the first division. The Wolf Patrol now had no tenderfoot and
only three second-class scouts. Hugh hoped that in due time even these
laggards would arouse themselves and show ambition to pluck the fruit
from the tree of knowledge that was within such easy reach.

When Arthur made his appeal, Hugh looked a little thoughtful; the other
boys at the same time showed signs of more or less eagerness. Hugh's
opinion was worth considerable to Arthur. While perhaps the patrol
leader did not know half as much about the intricate details connected
with a wireless outfit as Arthur himself, at the same time he could
always grasp things in a broad way, and make valuable suggestions that
others might profit by.

"Well, I don't see any reason why I shouldn't turn around and take a
little spin up there with you boys," Hugh announced, presently. "I've
done the errand for my mother, and have one of Mrs. Benton's good yeast
cakes in my pocket. She wants my mother to try a loaf of her morning's
baking. It's tied to the handle bars of my wheel. But there's no need of
my hurrying back home because mother doesn't mean to use the yeast till
to-morrow, anyhow. All right, Arthur, I'll go along. I'm mighty much
interested in this scheme of yours. Perhaps after all, if the wireless
works, and we get in touch with you while along the coast, you'll have
nearly as much fun staying home here as the lucky scouts who accompany
the Naval Reserve on their maneuvering cruise aboard the scout cruiser,
_Vixen_."

"Glad to hear you say so, Hugh," said the other, flushing with pleasure.
"I was away down in the dumps when I found that I hadn't a look-in on
that trip. It was Billy here who asked why I didn't finish that wireless
I'd started up on the top of Cedar Hill. He said what was the harm in my
trying to pick up messages you fellows would send out from time to time
while aboard the scout cruiser, practicing all sorts of things, just as
though there was a regular war on between the United States and some
foreign power, Japan for instance. And now she's ready for business.
Let's be off. If you say my outfit works fairly decent I'll be feeling
fifty per cent. better. It's awful to see my chums going away on such a
picnic, while I have to stay home."

"Huh!" grunted Billy, as he threw a plump leg over his saddle and
prepared to begin pedaling, "what about poor me? I came in _third_ on
the list when only two in a patrol could go. Just missed being a favored
son by a hair's breadth. I nearly swooned when I saw what a narrow
escape I'd had from getting to go on the dandiest trip that ever came
down the pike. I'm getting as thin as a rail peeving about my hard luck.
By the time you fellows come back, Hugh, I'll be fit to enter a freak
museum under the name of a Living Skeleton."

"Like fun you will," jeered Arthur, who knew Billy like a book. "I
notice that you're just as fond of eating and sleeping as ever. No
fellow who can do the stunts along those lines that you're capable of is
going to lose flesh. Don't ever worry about Billy, Hugh. He may feel bad
about not going, but all the same, mark my words, he'll have a good time
at home. He always carries the sunshine with him."

And indeed that was about the truth, for Billy could joke and make merry
when many of his mates were pulling long faces over the troubles that
pressed thick and fast upon the patrol. It was his nature to be happy
and jolly; he could not help radiating sunshine all the time.

They sped along the road, gradually getting to where the woods came down
on either side, and elevations could be seen close by. The particular
place which the amateur wireless operator had chosen as the site for his
exploits in constructing his masts and aerials was known as Cedar Hill.
It chanced to be a bit of the extensive property which the Camerons
owned up in this region; which possibly was one reason Arthur had chosen
it. He could lop off branches from such trees as he wanted to use
without danger of being taken to task by some irate farmer, who might
seriously object to destruction of valuable cedars.

There was quite a dense woods leading up to the crown of the hill and
the boys would of course have to abandon their wheels down by the road.

"I guess I'd better take this precious home-made loaf of bread along
with me," Hugh said as they thrust their bicycles in among the bushes
near by. "It's got such a fine smell of baking about it that some
wandering hog might find it out. Wouldn't I be mad clear through to get
back here and find it gone!"

"Say, that does go right to the spot," remarked Billy as he leaned over
to sniff at the paper-covered package. "If we should happen to get lost
now, like the babes in the wood, why that same bully loaf'd keep us from
starving to death. Any danger of your losing the trail, Arthur?"

"Well, I've been up here so often that I've marked it pretty well,"
replied the other laughingly. "Suppose you lead the way, Billy, while I
talk with the Chief."

"Sure I will," Billy sang out cheerfully. "Always willing to be a
victim. Anything to oblige, boys. 'Walk this way,' please, as the
bow-legged salesman said to the haughty lady, before he started to show
her through the store. What impertinence! I should say you had worn a
plain trail, Arthur. A greenhorn could follow it in and out, past logs,
and around holes. You had your Injun woodcraft down fine when you laid
this out."

Unconsciously the two who were engaged in some serious conversation,
lagged more or less, though perhaps it was Billy, anxious to reach the
crown of Cedar Hill, who displayed an unwonted animation in ascending
the rather steep rise, and see what the final result of the other
scout's labors had been.

Once or twice Hugh - glancing up - saw that Billy had passed from sight,
though he could still be heard clambering through the brush beyond.
Occasionally some exclamation told that he might have clumsily stumbled
over a root or a clinging vine. They were all of two-thirds of the way
up when there came a sudden shriek from Billy that made the other boys
stop short and look startled. Billy, however, was so prone to play
practical jokes that no one knew how to take him. He could be plainly
heard tearing headlong down the face of the wooded hill, and in a few
seconds came panting back, his usually florid face white with sudden
fear.

"What ails you, Billy?" demanded Hugh, puzzled to account for his
actions.

"Seen a garter snake, did you, Billy?" jeered Arthur. "Oh! plenty of
that kind around here, but they can't hurt you. Thought it was a
rattler, now, I bet you?"

"It's a b-e-a-r - a great big black bear 'bout ten feet tall, and
standin' on his hind legs awaitin' to hug a feller to death!" came from
the white lips of the scout who had led the van of the trail followers.




CHAPTER II.
SCOUT TACTICS.


Hugh had known Billy Worth to be addicted to playing practical jokes on
many occasions, but he was really puzzled to guess the truth when the
other so loudly declared he had met with a bear on the trail above.

There were a number of small wild animals still to be found in that
section of the country. Hugh himself had met with a ferocious wildcat on
one of the camping trips of the troop up at Pioneer Lake, but such a
thing as a black bear had not been seen by any one for many years.

Billy was certainly not playing a part, Hugh quickly decided. The patrol
leader had thrown out an arm, so as to block the passage and prevent
Billy from continuing his mad flight, for he gave evidences of being
inclined that way. He kept looking back along the hill trail as though
fully anticipating seeing a huge hairy monster suddenly loom up. He
stood ready to break away and once more dash down toward the road to the
place where the bicycles had been left.

Arthur, though not free from a touch of panic himself, began to suspect
that it was all a humbug. He turned on Billy and scornfully demanded:

"Show us your old bear, can't you? March him up and let's look him in
the eye! I reckon that you're trying to rattle your boon companions,
that's what you're up to, Billy Worth. It don't go, and you might as
well call it off."

Billy began to get a grip on himself, for there is nothing like derision
to bring a boy to his proper senses. He straightened up, and a tinge of
color came back into his plump cheeks as he retorted:

"If you don't believe me - let's see you go right along up there, that's
all! Let me tell you this, Arthur Cameron, if you'll agree to walk
straight along this same trail right up to your old wireless fixing on
top of Cedar Hill, I'll - yes, I'll agree to _give_ you that hunting
knife of mine you asked me to trade for your spare compass. Get that, do
you? And I'm safe in making the offer, too, because I know you'll get
the rattles as bad as I did just as soon as you set eyes on that
terrible monster!"

Hugh was still studying the other. He wondered what it could have been
that Billy had really seen to alarm him so much. As a rule the other
scout was not given to wild imaginings like several other boys connected
with the troop whom Hugh knew very well. On the contrary Billy had
generally shown a steadiness much to his credit; he was matter-of-fact
and not often given to romancing.

"This thing has gone far enough, Billy," he said sternly.

"I know you don't believe what I say, Chief," complained the other, "but
I'm going to raise my hand, and on the honor of a scout say once more
that I did really and truly see a bear!"

"Well, let it go at that," said Hugh. "We'll believe that you thought
you saw some sort of thing that _looked like a bear_. I've known fellows
who saw ghosts and believed it as much as they could anything, till it
was proven that the moving white object was a pillow-slip left out on
the clothes line, floating up and down in the soft night air. Sometimes
in the dim woods a stump can look mighty like a big black bear, I'm
told."

"P'raps that's all true enough, Hugh," persisted the other, "but when
you see it rear up on its hind legs, and start at you - that looks
different, don't it?" demanded the other.

"Oh! then it moved, did it? actually got up on its hind legs and wanted
to give you the high sign?" jeered Arthur still unconvinced. "Well,
that's what you get for belonging to the Wolf Patrol. This wonderful
bear thought you might be his own cousin. He meant to shake hands with
you, Billy."

Billy shrugged his broad shoulders. Though still looking a little
anxious, he was no longer white in the face. This scepticism on the part
of Arthur had the good effect of arousing what was combative in his
jolly nature, and putting fresh courage in his boyish heart.

"Well," he went on to say resolutely, "I can see that you'll never be
satisfied till you meet up with that bear for yourself, Arthur. So
s'pose you hike out. We'll follow after you. I dare you to, get that?"

No boy can easily stand being put on his mettle. With quaking heart many
a lad has started into a country churchyard on a dark night or in some
other such reckless venture just because his mates have given him the
"dare."

Arthur gave a quick look up the trail. So far as he could see, there did
not appear to be anything amiss in that direction. Surely if a hungry
bear did lurk near by he would have been apt to show himself ere this.

So Arthur, feeling that he had gone too far now to show the white
feather, threw out his chest, and stepped ahead of the other two.

"All right, you watch me show you up for the biggest fakir going,
Billy," he remarked with all the firmness he could command. "I've passed
up and down along the same trail dozens of times, and if there'd been
such a thing as a bear around - well, wouldn't I be apt to know it? Guess
I would. Now, I've seen a fox once, a little red fox; likewise a skunk
that I gave a wide berth to. There was a rabbit that used to jump out of
the bushes every single day, sometimes giving me a start, if I happened
to be thinking hard and forgot about it. Wonder whether anybody could
make out one of those to be a bear!"

"Oh! go on and climb, that's all," chuckled the confident Billy. "You'll
see if I've got magnifiers in my eyes this time."

"And what if we don't see your bear?" asked Arthur. He started rather
slowly to mount the trail, keeping a bright lookout ahead, which caution
rather belied his confident way of expressing his disbelief.

"You will, all right," replied the other from behind Hugh. "Even if he's
dusted out, can't we look for his tracks? What's the use of being scouts
if we aren't able to tell what the marks of a bear's paw and claws look
like?"

Arthur did not reply in words. He did cast a quick glance over his
shoulder, however, which may have been simply to make sure his chums
were close at his heels, though Hugh rather suspected the leader to be
desirous of making certain that there was a clear field for flight open
to him in case of necessity. Caution as well as valor is a part of a
scout's education, and he who is wise will always know of a way for
retreat though scorning to make use of the same.

Billy in the rear was evidently very much in earnest. Hugh could hear
him breathing hard, as if his excitement were returning in full force
the closer they drew to the place where he had met his recent alarming
adventure.

Although he could not believe it possible that Billy had actually seen
such a thing as a bear, still Hugh confessed to feeling considerable
curiosity himself in the matter. He had already made up his mind that it
would turn out to be some old stump that stood in a rather dark and
gloomy spot. Perhaps a squirrel had run up the stump, frightened by the
sudden appearance of the boy, and this movement, coupled with the queer
appearance of the remnant of a tree, had given Billy his scare.

Well, they would soon know what it might have been. Arthur was steadily
advancing up the hillside, none too swiftly it must be confessed. He had
apparently remembered all he had ever learned about the habits of a real
scout when passing through lonely woods where dangers were apt to lurk,
for it could be seen that he was turning his head to the right and to
the left from time to time, as if determined that nothing should escape
his observation.

"Listen! didn't you hear something that sounded like a whine?" asked
Billy from his position of safety in the rear.

It might have been just like him to try and add to the nervousness of
the scout who led the van, but Hugh knew that this was not so; he too
had caught some sort of odd sound at the same time that the other spoke
so thrillingly. As for Arthur, he stopped short.

"What could that have been, Hugh?" he asked anxiously, while the
satisfied Billy actually began to chuckle with glee at seeing the
doubting one begin to show signs of wavering.

"I couldn't say, Arthur," replied the scout master promptly. "Some sort
of animal made it. I should think even a fox could bark loud enough for
that, or a weasel snarl because he was bothered while feeding. Want me
to lead off, Arthur?"

Perhaps the boy would have been glad of the chance to say yes, but
knowing how Billy would exult at his sudden change of heart he shut his
teeth hard together and merely replied:

"Well, I should say not, Hugh. I don't make out to be the bravest scout
in the troop in the Wolf Patrol, but I hope I am not ready to lie down
and crawl just because I happen to hear a silly old whine. Chances are
it's some dog that's been digging out a rabbit burrow up here and wants
to let us know he's on deck. Come on, both of you, and let's see what's
up."

With that Arthur resumed his upward progress, covering foot after foot,
continuing his careful survey ahead. Hugh was really proud of the way
the late "tenderfoot" managed to carry on the lead so successfully; even
under the exciting conditions the scout master could pay attention to
such things, since they concerned his duties as instructor.

"Just a little further, Arthur, and you'll turn that sharp bend," almost
whispered Billy, pressing up against Hugh in his intense eagerness to
see what would happen. "Oh! there was that whine again, Hugh! Mebbe
you'll believe me after a bit. Mebbe you'll give me credit for havin'
eyes in my head! Steady now, old wireless! A few more steps, and you're
bound to strike something or I'll eat my hat!"

This sort of talk was well calculated to increase the manifest
nervousness of Arthur, but he was at least game to the backbone, not
dreaming of showing the white feather, the thing above all others that
any ordinary boy dreads to do.

Hugh pressed a little closer to the leader. He wanted to be on hand for
what was going to happen, no matter whether this turned out to be along
tragic or comical lines. And besides, Arthur was visibly trembling, as
though he needed some strong arm to back him up. If he felt Hugh
touching his elbow it would doubtless afford him more or less comfort.

Then Arthur, with set jaws, summoning all his resolution to the fore,
made the last step needed to take him around that bend in the trail
where the tall bushes seemed to shut out what lay beyond.

No sooner had he done so than he seemed to be changed into stone, for he
stood there like a statue carved out of marble, staring at something
that lay just beyond. Billy came pushing up just in time to hear the
pilot of the expedition gasp:

"Look! look, Hugh! Is that really a bear, or am I seeing things I
shouldn't?"

When the scout master had taken a second look he made a discovery that
seemed to afford him more or less satisfaction, for he immediately
called out:

"It's a live bear, all right, Arthur. Billy wasn't dreaming, it seems.
Look closer and you'll find that the poor thing is tied to that tree
with a rope; and chances are it's the performing bear I heard was over
at Salem last week!"

At that both of the other boys breathed freely once more. Billy puffed
out his chest, filled with pride because his astonishing declaration had
at least been proven true.


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