Roy Rockwood.

Jack North's treasure hunt : or, daring adventures in South America online

. (page 1 of 10)
Online LibraryRoy RockwoodJack North's treasure hunt : or, daring adventures in South America → online text (page 1 of 10)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Jack North's Treasure Hunt



Daring Adventures in South America


Author of " The Rival Ocean Divers," " The Cruise of the
Treasure Ship," "A Schoolboy's Pluck," etc.




Copyright, 1907, by
Chatterton-Peck Company

Printed in tbt United States of America



























A Chance for a Position 9

The Test of Strength i6

A Long Trip Proposed 23

Just in Time 32

On the Island of Robinson Crusoe ... 39

A Terrible Mistake 50

A Plea of the Enemy 58

The Lonely Pimento 65

Jack Becomes an Engineer 76

A Narrow Escape 86

Under the Head of a Jaguar 95

Put to the Test 102

Precious Moments 1^4

The Attack on the Train 121

The Treasure Island 129

At the Boiling Lake 136

In the Nitrate Fields i43

An Alarm of Fire 152

Chilians on Both Sides 162

Preparations for Departure 169

A Panic on Shipboard i79

The Fate of Plum Plucky 186


Chapter. Page

XXIII, Jenny • 193

XXIV. Jack and the Ocelot 200

XXV. In the Quicksands 209

XXVI. A Night in the Jungle 218

XXVII. Jack and the Big Snake 226

XXVIII. Back from the Dead 233

XXIX. The Treasure of the Boiling Lake . . . 240

XXX. A Ride for Life — Conclusion 247





" Where are you going, Jack ? "

" To the shops of John Fowler & Company."

"To look for a job?

" Yes."

" Then you are in luck, for I heard this morning
that they want another striker in the lower shop at

" Then I'll strike for the opening at once, and my
name is not Jack North if I don't land it."

" It will be John Slowshanks when you do get it,
mind me ! " cried out another voice, from an alley-
way near at hand, and before Jack North or his com-
panion could recover from their surprise the speaker,
a tall, awkward youth of twenty, sped up the street

at the top of his speed.



The scene was in Bauton, a large manufacturing
city of New England. The first speaker was a
workman at the shops that had been mentioned, but
beyond the fact that he placed the youth before him
in the way of getting work, he needs no special in-

The other person was a lad of eighteen, with
brown, curly hair, blue eyes, and a round, robust
figure. His name was John North, and he was the
son of a couple in humble circumstances.

" Take care ! " cried the man, " that sneak will get
in ahead of you, and then a snap of your little
finger for your chance of getting the job at Fow-

Jack North did not stop to hear his friend
through. He was very much in need of a situation,
and he knew the young man who had rushed in
ahead of him as a bitter enemy. That fact, coupled
with his desire to gtt work, caused him to dash up
the street as fast as he could run.

Naturally the appearance of the two running at
such a headlong pace aroused the attention of the
passers-by, all of whom stopped to see what it meant.
Others rushed out of their houses, offices or work-


shops to ascertain the meaning of the race, until the
street was lined with excited, anxious men, women
and children.

" Is it fire ? " asked an old, gray-headed man, and
another, catching only the sound of the last word,
repeated it and thus a wild alarm was quickly

Meanwhile Jack North had found that he could
not overtake his rival. He was not a fleet runner,
while the other had gotten a start of him, which
he could not hope to make up.

But he was too fertile in his resources to despair.
In fact he was never known to give up a contest
which he had once fairly entered. This persistence
in whatever he undertook was the secret of Jack
North's wonderful success amid environments
which must have discouraged less courageous

Still it looked to his enemy, as the latter glanced
back to see him leisurely turn into a side street lead-
ing away from their destination, that he had noth-
ing further to fear from him.

" Thought you would be glad to give in," cried
out the delighted seeker of the situation at the en-


gine shops, and believing that he had nothing fur-
ther to fear, the awkward youth slackened his gait
to a walk.

Though Jack turned into the alley at a moderate
pace, as soon as he had gone a short distance, he
started again into a smart run.

" I shall have farther to go," he thought, " but
Fret Offut will think I have given up, and thus he
will let me get in ahead of him."

This seemed the truth, when, at last, Jack came
in sight of the low-walled and scattering buildings
belonging to John Fowler & Co., engine builders.

Fret Offut was nowhere in sight, as Jack entered
the dark, dingy office at the lower end of the build-

A small sized man, with mutton chop side whisk-
ers, engaged in overhauling a pile of musty papers,
looked up at the entrance of our hero.

" Want a job as striker, eh? " he asked, as Jack
stated his errand. "I believe Henshaw does want
another man. I will call him. What is your
name ? "

" Alfret Offut, sir. It's me that wants the job,
and it's me it belongs to."


It was Jack North^s enemy who spoke, as he
paused on the threshold panting for breath, while
glaring at our hero with a baleful look.

" How come you here ? " he demanded of Jack,
a second later. i

" My feet brought me here, and with less slow-
ness than yours, judging by your appearance," re-
plied young North.

With the arrival of the second person on the
scene, the clerk had turned away to find Henshaw,
and while he was gone the rival youths stood glar-
ing upon each other.

After a short time a big, red-faced, soot-be-
grimed man appeared, saying as he reached them :

"If Offut will come this way I will talk with

" Henshaw," said the clerk simply, returning to
his work, leaving the newcomer to attend to the
visitors as he thought best.

" Ha — ha ! " laughed young Offut, softly, as he
followed the foreman, " where are you now. Jack

Though Jack gave slight token of his feelings, he
was more vexed at this usurpation of his rights than


he cared to show. He lost no time in starting after
the others in the direction of the shop.

" Fm going on twenty-one," Offut said, as they
stopped at the door, " and there ain't a chap as can
outUft me."

" Beg your pardon, Mr. Henshaw," said Jack,
brushing up, " but it*s I who am after the job and
to whom it belongs. Mr. Jacobs — "

"Is your name Alfret Offut?" interrupted the
other youth sharply in the midst of Jack's speech.
" I reckon Henshaw knows who he is talking to."

" It was me Mr. Jacobs recommended the place to,
and you are trying to steal it from me," cried Jack.

" You are telling a likely story. Jack North, and
if you say another word I'll hit you. Henshaw
called for me, and it's me he's going to give

Mr. Henshaw, who for the first time seemed to
realize the situation, looked surprised, as he gazed
from one to the other.

Disliking to raise a fuss Jack remained silent atj
first, but he felt bound to say :

" I was first at the office, and I claim — "

"You'd claim the earth, as far as that is con-


cerned, you miserable chick of nobody ! " broke in

The last was more than Jack could stand, and
stepping quickly forward, he cried:

*' Stop, Fret Offut ! you have said enough. I
don't want any quarrel with you, but I am as good
as you."

" Are yer ? " demanded the fiery OfYut, whose
greatest delight seemed to be in provoking a quar-
rel. " I can lick you out of your boots, and I will
do it before I will let you get in here."

By this time Mr. Henshaw, a rather rough man,
as slow as he was of comprehension, was interested
in the dispute, and not averse to encouraging sport
of the kind, he said :

" That's it, boys ; fight it out. I'll hire the lad
that downs the other."

"Then the job is as good as mine! " cried Fret
Ofifut, rushing at Jack with great bluster and no
regard to fairness.



If taken unawares, Jack North did not allow his
enemy to get very much the advantage of him. As
the other rushed forward, expecting to overpower
him by sheer force, he met him squarely in a hand-
to-hand struggle for the mastery.

Mr. Henshaw seemed delighted, and he cried out :

" Limber up, lads, limber up ! A job to him that
comes out on top! Hi, there! "

Sundry other exclamations came from the excited
foreman at every change of the situation, while sev-
eral spectators, attracted to the place by the out-
cries, gathered about the young contestants, lend-
ing their voices to the confusing sounds of the

While Fret Offut was taller and larger than Jack

North, he lacked the latter's firm-set muscles, and

what was of even greater account, his unflinching



determination to win. Our hero never knew what
it was to possess a faint heart, and that is more
than half the battle every time.

Thus when young Offut crowded him back against
the wall of the building, and every one present felt
sure he must be overpowered, Jack set his lips more
firmly together and renewed his resistance with re-
doubled effort.

Then, as he struck his foot against a piece of
scrap iron and reeled backward in spite of all he
could, his friends groaned, while Fret Offut cried,
exultantly :

" Ho, my fine cub, down you go this time ! Hen-
shaw — "

But Mr. Henshaw never knew what was to be
said to him, neither did the young bully ever realize
fully just what followed.

Jack, concentrating all the strength he possessed,
rallied. He threw out his right foot in such a way
as to catch his antagonist behind his left knee, when
the latter suddenly found himself sinking. At the
same time the grasp on his collar tightened, while
with almost superhuman power he was flung back-


With such force did Jack handle his adversary
that he sent him flying several yards away, where
he fell in a pool of dark, slimy water.

The spectators cheered heartily, while Mr. Hen-
shaw clapped his grimy hands and shouted at the
top of his voice :

"Well done, my hearty! That's a handsome
trick and well worth a job."

Fret Offut arose from his unwelcome bath, drip-
ping from head to foot with the nasty mess, present-
ing a most unprepossessing appearance.

The foreman was turning back into the shop, fol-
lowed by Jack, and the crowd was rapidly dispers-

"Hold on!" he bawled, "that wasn't fair. I
tripped — stop, Henshaw ! don't let my job go to
that miserable thief."

Getting no reply to his foolish speech, Offut fol-
lowed the others into the shop. His appearance be-
ing so ridiculous he was greeted with cries of de-
rision from the workmen, which only made him the
more angry and belligerent.

" I'll get even with you for this. Jack North ! "
he cried, " if I follow you to the end ! My father


always said your family was the meanest on earth,
and now I know it is so. But you shall hear from
me again."

With these bitter words the defeated youth, who
really had no one to blame but himself for his ill-
feeling, disappeared, though it was not to be long
before he was to reappear in the stirring life of
Jack North, and bring him such troubles as he could
not have foreseen.

It proved that Mr. Henshaw was anxious for
another workman, and after asking Jack a few
questions, told the lad he might begin his task at

The pay was small, less than five dollars a week,
but Jack did not let that cause him to refuse the op-
portunity. He needed the money, for his folks were
in poor circumstances, and he went about his work
with a stout heart.

He quickly proved an adept workman, observing,
rapid to learn and always diligent, so much so that
the foreman took a strong liking to him.

Several days passed and it became evident to Tack
that if he had left one enemy outside the shop, he
had another within, who was ready to improve every


Opportunity to trouble him. This was a small, thin-
faced man who worked with him, and whose name
was Mires. Besides being physically unable to carry
an even end with him, this workman was prone to
shirk every part of his work that he could, this por-
tion falling largely on Jack to do in addition to
his own.

Jack paid no heed to this, however, but kept
about his work as if everything was all right, until
a little incident occurred which completely changed
the aspect of affairs.

Unknown to our hero, there had been a practice
of long standing among the workmen of " testing "
every new hand that came in, by playing what was
believed to be a smart trick upon him.

The joke consisted in sending the new hand in
company with a fellow workman to bring from a
distant part of the shop a pair of wheels, one of
which was of iron and weighed over four hundred
pounds, while its mate was made of wood and
finished off to look exactly like its companion. The
workman in the secret always looked out and got
hold of the wooden wheel, which he could carry off
with ease, while his duped associate would struggle


over the other to the unbounded amusement of the

It heightened the effect by selecting a small, weak
man to help in the deception, and Henshaw, liking
this joke no less than his men, on the third day of
Jack's apprenticeship, said:

" North, you and Mires bring along them wheels
at the lower end. Don't be all day about it either,"
speaking with unusual sharpness.

" Yes, sir."

In a moment every one present was watching the
scene, beginning to smile as they saw Mires start
with suspicious alacrity toward the wheels.

Some of the men, in order to get as good a view as
possible of the expected exhibition, stationed them-
selves near at hand, having hard work to suppress
their merriment in advance.

" Purty stout, air ye?" asked Mires, as he and
Jack stood by the wheels.

" I never boasted of my strength," replied Jack,
beginning to wonder why so much interest was be-
ing manifested over so slight a matter. His sur-
prise was increased at that moment by discovering
Fret Offut among the spectators, his big mouth


reaching almost from ear to ear with an idiotic

" Come to see the fun ! " declared the latter, find-
ing that he had been seen by Jack.

" I'll take this one," said Mires, stooping over the
nearest wheel which was half buried in dust and

Then, without any apparent effort, the small sized
workman raised the wheel to his shoulder and
walked back from the direction whence they had

" Now see the big gawk lift his ! " exclaimed Fret
Offut, who had somehow been let into the secret.

Still ignorant of the deception being played upon
him, Jack North bent over to Hft the remaining



Having seen Mires carry off the other wheel with
comparative ease, Jack naturally expected to lift the
remaining one without trouble.

His amazement may be therefore understood
when, at his first effort, he failed to move it an inch
from the floor.

It lay there as solid as if bound down !

His failure was the signal for Fret Offut to break
out into a loud laugh, which was instantly caught
up by the workmen, until the whole building rang
with the merrim.ent.

" Baby ! '' some one cried. " See Mires carry his.
North ain't got the strength of a mouse ! "

By that time Mires had reached the opposite end
of the shop, and was putting down his burden to
turn and join in the outbursts over the discomfiture
of his young companion.



Jack had now awakened to the realization that
he had been the easy victim of a scheme to cast
ridicule upon him.

Mires could never have carried away this wheel.

The thought of the trick which had been played
upon him aroused all the latent energy he possessed.

He did not believe the wheel could weigh five
hundred pounds, and if it did not he would lift it,
as he believed he could.

Thus, with the shouts and laughter of the spec-
tators ringing in his ears, Jack stooped for a second
attempt to accomplish what no one else had ever
been able to do.

" I'll grunt for you ! " called Offu^ in derision.

" Spit on your hands ! " said a workman.

Jack compressed his lips for a mighty effort, and
his hands closed on the rim of the wheel, while he
concentrated every atom of strength he had for the
herculean task.

The cries of the onlookers suddenly stopped as
they saw, to their amazement, the ponderous object
rise from the floor, slowly but surely, until the
3^oung workman held it abreast of him.

Not a sound broke the deathlike stillness, save


for the crunching of his own footsteps, as Jack
North walked across the shop and dropped his bur-
den upon the wheel Mires had placed there.

A loud crash succeeded, the heavy iron wheel
having broken the imitation into kindling wood and
smashed into the floor.

The cries of derision were supplemented by loud
calls of admiration, which rang through and through
the old building until a perfect din prevailed.

Fret Offut waited to see no more, but stole away
unobserved by the stalwart iron workers, who
crowded around their victorious companion with
hearty congratulations. Jack had won the friend-
ship of nearly all by his feat, while Henshaw at
once boasted of the act.

Mires, fancying that the laugh had been turned
upon him, and he was about right, allowed all of the
bitterness of his sullen nature to be turned against
the young apprentice. In his wicked heart he
vowed he would humiliate Jack in the eyes of his
admirers in some way and at some time. But no
opportunity came for him, as month after month

Jack showed a wonderfully industrious nature,


and he never seemed idle. When not at work he
was studying some part of the ponderous machinery
about him, as if anxious to learn all there was to be
known about it. The knowledge he thus obtained
was to be of inestimable value to him in the scenes
to come.

This trait of his pleased Henshaw, who, if a rough
man, was honest in his intentions, and he caused
Jack's wages to be raised to seven dollars a week.

This was done in opposition to his assistant, who
had taken a strange dislike to him. His reasons
for this will become apparent as we proceed.

About that time Jack was surprised to find that
Fret Offut had found employment in the building,
though it was more as a helper than as a regular
workman, his chief task being to wheel the scraps
of iron and waste material away and to wait upon
the boss of the big steam hammer.

He did not offer to speak to Jack, but the latter
soon saw him holding whispered conversations with
Mires and the second boss, Furniss, when he felt
certain by their looks and motions that he was the
subject of their remarks. Once he overheard Offut
tell a companion:


" I sha'n't wheel scrap iron always and Jack
North won't be boss, either/'

Jack had been at the engine works about six
months, when he accidentally learned that the com-
pany were planning to ship one of their machines to
South America, and that they were looking about
for a suitable person to send with it, to help unload
it properly and set it up. A few days later, as he
was leaving the shop to go home, Henshaw came
to him, saying:

" Let me put a flea in your ear. Jack. John Fow-
ler has got his eye on you for the one to go to
South America."

Scarcely any other announcement could have
brought greater joy to Jack, for he had a great de-
sire to travel, and this long journey would take him
away from home for many months, he felt it would
be a grand opportunity. But he knew that Furniss
had been working for the place, and he could not
realize that such good fortune was to fall to him, so
he said to Henshaw :

" I thought that Furniss was sure of the chance.
I heard him say as much only yesterday."

" A fig for Furniss ! Old John had a long talk


with me this morning, and I told him you were just
the chap for the place, young and capable. He
nodded his head and I could see that you were as
gocKi as taken. Of course we shall miss you, but
it's a trip a youngster like you can't afford to

" I should like to go, Mr. Henshaw, and I thank
you for your kind words."

" Don't cost nothing," returned the bluff foreman,
as he started homeward.

Jack was too happy over his prospects to mind
the baleful looks of Furniss the next day, or to
hear the jibes of Fret Offut. Could he have fore-
seen the startling result he must have been bound
with dismay.

The following Monday, when the day's work was
done and he was leaving the shop, Mr. Henshaw
came along, and slapping him on the shoulder, said :

" Let me congratulate you, my lad. It is just as
I said; you are going to South America, — if you

" It seems too good to be true, Mr. Henshaw."

" It's the blessed truth and I know it. I don't
blame you for feeling well over such an appoint-


ment, for it is something any of us might be glad of.
But you deserve it."

The appearance of Furniss checked Jack's reply.
He could see the other understood that he had lost.

He had another proof of the fact before he got
home from Fret Off ut, who said :

"Feel mighty stuck up, don't yer? " But let me
tell yer, 'twon't do any good."

This was the first time he had spoken to Jack
since he had begun work in the shops, and our hero
made no reply.

The following day, as he was about to leave the
shop at the close of his work, Jack was accosted
by Furniss, who asked him to assist him a moment
at the big hammer.

Jack started at once to his help, noticing that the
building was completely deserted at the time, except
for the second boss and himself; even Henshaw,
who generally stayed until after the workmen had
left, was gone.

His surprise may be imagined then when he saw
Fret Offut step from behind a huge boiler as he
approached. Still he did not dream of any sinister
purpose in the minds of the two, and he was about


to Stoop to lift a piece of iron at the request of
Furniss, when he discovered a bar of iron so sus-
pended over his head from the cross timber that a
slight movement on his part v^as sure to bring it
down upon his head.

No sooner had he seen his precarious situation
than he started back, when Fret Offut flung a heavy
slug at his feet. The effect was startling, for the
concussion on the floor sent the menacing bar over-
head downward with fearful force.

Jack succeeded in dodging the blow so far that he
escaped the full weight of the falling iron, which
struck the floor endwise with a heavy thud. But
before he could get beyond its reach the massive bar
tipped over, falling in such way as to strike him in
the side of the head, and felling him senseless to
the floor.

In a moment Furniss and Offut were bending over
him with anxious looks on their grimy countenances.

" Is he killed ? " asked the younger of the twain.

Jack answered the question himself by opening
his eyes, though he was still too bewildered to at-
tempt to rise.

" What did you do that for ? " he demanded.


Do what ? " questioned Fret Offut.
You know well enough. You fixed that bar so
it would hit me."

" Hear the boy talk ! " came from Furniss.

" It is true. If I get the chance — "

" Stop, you shan't get us into trouble," yelled the
man, in a rage.

" Not much," put in Offut. " Let's teach him a
lesson he won't forget ! "

" So we will," answered Furniss ; and both started
forward to attack Jack.



Though still somewhat dazed by the blow on his
head, Jack realized that the unprincipled twain in
their desperation would stop short of no crime in
order to carry out their purpose.

Thus Furniss had barely laid his hand on him be-
fore he was on his feet ready to fight for his life
if necessary.

Flinging aside the second boss, he turned to meet

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Online LibraryRoy RockwoodJack North's treasure hunt : or, daring adventures in South America → online text (page 1 of 10)