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- The Motor Boys on the Pacific - 1/31 -


THE MOTOR BOYS ON THE PACIFIC

or

The Young Derelict Hunters

by CLARENCE YOUNG

PREFACE

DEAR BOYS:

I believe it is not necessary to introduce the Motor Boys to most of my readers, as they have made their acquaintance in the previous books of this series. To those, however, who take up this volume without having previously read the ones that go before, I take pleasure in presenting my friends, Jerry, Ned and Bob.

They are booked for quite a long trip, this time; across the continent to the Pacific coast, where they are destined to have some stirring adventures, searching for a mysterious derelict.

Those of you who know the Motor Boys from their past performances know that they will meet emergencies in the right spirit, and that they will do their level best to accomplish what they set out to do. Whether they did so in this case I leave it for you to determine by reading the book.

Though their own motor boat, the Dartaway, was destroyed in a train wreck, they managed to get the use of a powerful craft, in which they made a cruise on the Pacific ocean. Their old friend, Professor Snodgrass was with them, and, if you care to learn of his search for a horned toad, you will find the details set down here.

Yours very truly,

CLARENCE YOUNG. _________________________________________________________________

CHAPTER I

SOME BAD NEWS

"WELL, she is smashed this time, sure!" exclaimed Jerry Hopkins, to his chums, Ned Slade and Bob Baker.

"What's smashed?" asked Ned. "Who's the letter from'?" for Jerry had a slip of paper in his hand.

"It isn't a letter. It's a telegram."

"A telegram!" exclaimed Bob. "What's up, Jerry?"

"She's smashed, I tell you. Busted, wrecked, demolished, destroyed, slivered to pieces, all gone!"

"Who?"

"Our motor boat, the Dartaway!"

"Not the Dartaway!" and Ned and Bob crowded closer to Jerry.

"That's what she is. There's no mistake about it this time, I'm afraid. You know we thought once before she had gone to flinders, but it wasn't so. This time it is."

"How did it happen?" asked Ned.

"Yes, tell us, can't you?" cried Bob. "What are you so slow about?"

"Say, Chunky," remarked Jerry, looking at his fat chum, "if you'll give me a chance I'll tell you all I know. I just got this telegram from the Florida Coast Railway Company. It says:

"'Jerry Hopkins. Motor boat Dartaway, shipped by you from. St. Augustine in freight wreck just outside Jacksonville. Boat total loss, buried under several freight cars. Will write further particulars. J. H. Maxon, General Freight Agent."

"That's all there is to it," added Jerry, folding up the telegram.

"All there is to it! I guess not much!" exclaimed Bob. "Aren't you going to sue 'em for damages, Jerry?"

"Well, there's no use being in such a rush," observed Jerry. "Maybe they'll pay the claim without a suit. I'll have to make some inquiries."

"Let's go down to the freight once here and see Mr. Hitter," suggested Ned. "He can tell us what to do. The poor Dartaway! Smashed!"

"And in a land wreck, too!" put in Jerry. "It wouldn't be so bad if she had gone down on the Atlantic, chasing after a whale, or in pursuit of a shark--"

"Or with the flag flying, out in a storm, with Salt Water Sam," interrupted Ned. "But to think of her being buried under a lot of freight cars! It's tough, that's what it is!"

"That's right," agreed Bob. "Just think of it! No more rides in her! Say, we ought to get heavy damages! She was a fine boat!"

"Come on then," cried Ned. "Don't let's stand here chinning all day. Let's go see Mr. Hitter. He has charge of all the freight that comes to Cresville, and he can tell us how to proceed to collect damages."

"Yes, I guess that's all that's left for us to do," decided Jerry, and the three lads started for the railroad depot.

They lived in the town of Cresville, Mass., a thriving community, and had been chums and inseparable companions ever since they could remember. Bob Baker was the son of a wealthy banker, while Jerry Hopkins's mother was a widow, who had been left considerable property, and Ned Slade's father owned a large department store.

You boys who have read the previous volumes of this "Motor Boys Series" do not need to be reminded of the adventures the three chums had together. To those of you who read this book first, I will say that, in the first volume, called "The Motor Boys," there was related a series of happenings that followed the winning of a certain bicycle race in Cresville. After their victory in this contest the boys got motorcycles, and, by winning a race on them, won a touring car.

In this automobile they had many adventures, and several narrow escapes. They incurred the enmity of Noddy Nixon, a town bully, and his crony, Bill Berry. The three chums then took a long trip overland in their automobile, as related in the second book of this series and, incidentally, managed to locate a rich mine belonging to a prospector, who, to reward them, gave them a number of shares. While out west the boys met a very learned gentleman, Professor Uriah Snodgrass, who was traveling in the interests of science. He persuaded the boys to go with him in their automobile to search for a certain ancient, buried city, and this they found in Mexico, where they had a number of surprising adventures.

Returning from that journey, they made a trip across the plains, on which they discovered the hermit of Lost Lake. Arriving home they decided, some time later, to get a motor boat, and, in the fifth volume of the series, entitled, "The Motor Boys Afloat," there was set down what happened to them on their first cruise on the river, during which they solved a robbery mystery. Finding they were well able to manage the boat they took a trip on the Atlantic ocean, and, after weathering some heavy storms they reached home, only to start out again on a longer voyage, this time to strange waters amid the everglades of Florida.

They had recently returned from that queer region, and, as they had done on their journey to that locality, they shipped their boat by rail from St. Augustine to Cresville. Or, rather, they saw it safely boxed at the freight station in St. Augustine, and came on up north, trusting that the Dartaway would arrive in due season, and in good condition.

They had been home a week now, and as there was no news of their boat, Jerry had become rather anxious and had written to the railroad officials in St. Augustine. In response he got the telegram which brought consternation to the hearts of the motor boys.

"It doesn't seem possible," remarked Bob, as the three lads hurried on toward the freight office.

"I guess it's good-bye to the Dartaway this trip," said Jerry. "Too bad! she was a fine boat."

"Well, we'll make the railroad pay for it, and we'll get a better boat," spoke up Bob.

"We couldn't get any better boat than the Dartaway, Chunky," said Ned. "We might get a larger one, and a more powerful one, but never a better one, She served us well. To think of her being crushed under a lot of freight cars! It makes me mad!"

"No use feeling that way," suggested Jerry. "Just think of the good times we had in her, not only on this last trip, but on the previous cruises."

"This last was the best," remarked Bob, with something like a sigh. "It was lovely down there in Florida."

"I guess he's thinking of the Seabury girls," put in Ned, with a wink at Jerry.

"No more than you are!" exclaimed Bob. "I guess you were rather sweet on Olivia, yourself."

"Or was it Rose or Nellie?" asked Jerry with a laugh. "They were all three nice-- very nice."

"That's right," said Ned, fervently.

The three young ladies the boys referred to were daughters of a Mr. Nathan Seabury, whom the boys met while cruising about the everglades and adjacent rivers and lakes. He was in his houseboat Wanderer, traveling for his health. Mr. Seabury owned a large hotel in Florida and his meeting with the boys, especially with Jerry, was a source of profit to Mrs. Hopkins.


The Motor Boys on the Pacific - 1/31

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