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- The Young Firemen of Lakeville - 1/29 -


[Illustration: "The other animals followed in an instant."]

THE YOUNG FIREMEN OF LAKEVILLE OR HERBERT DARE'S PLUCK

BY

FRANK V. WEBSTER

Author Of "Only A Farm Boy," "The Newsboy Partners," "The Young Treasure Hunter," "Bob The Castaway," Etc.

ILLUSTRATED

1909

BOOKS FOR BOYS

By FRANK V. WEBSTER

12mo. Illustrated. Bound in cloth.

ONLY A FARM BOY, Or Dan Hardy's Rise in Life TOM THE TELEPHONE BOY, Or The Mystery of a Message THE BOY FROM THE RANCH, Or Roy Bradner's City Experiences THE YOUNG TREASURE HUNTER, Or Fred Stanley's Trip to Alaska BOB THE CASTAWAY, Or The Wreck of the Eagle THE YOUNG FIREMEN OF LAKEVILLE, Or Herbert Dare's Pluck THE NEWSBOY PARTNERS, Or Who Was Dick Box? THE BOY PILOT OF THE LAKES, Or Nat Morton's Perils TWO BOY GOLD MINERS, Or Lost in the Mountains JACK THE RUNAWAY, Or On the Road with a Circus

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I A MIDNIGHT ALARM

II IN PERIL

III TALKING IT OVER

IV BERT HAS A PLAN

V BUYING THE ENGINE

VI THE FIRST RUN

VII BERT SAVES A TRAMP

VIII ON THE LAKE

IX A NARROW ESCAPE

X MYSTERIOUS ACTIONS

XI SUSPICIONS AROUSED

XII SAGGER'S FIRE LOSS

XIII SINGING A DIFFERENT TUNE

XIV A DANGEROUS GAME

XV A GENEROUS OFFER

XVI MR. BERGMAN'S PLANS

XVII THE ENGINES ARRIVE

XVIII THE PARADE AND PICNIC

XIX WINNING THE TRUMPET

XX A FALSE ALARM

XXI THE MYSTERIOUS MESSAGE

XXII THE STENOGRAPHER'S SUSPICIONS

XXIII A BRAVE RESCUE

XXIV AN ENCOUNTER WITH MUCHMORE

XXV THE MYSTERY SOLVED--CONCLUSION

CHAPTER I

A MIDNIGHT ALARM

"Fire! Fire! Turn out, everybody! Fire! Fire!"

This cry, coming like a clarion call, at midnight, awoke the inhabitants of the peaceful little New England village of Lakeville.

"Fire! Fire!"

Heads were thrust out of hastily-raised windows. Men and women looked up and down the street, and then glanced around to detect the reddening in the sky that would indicate where the blaze was. Timid women began sniffing suspiciously, to learn if it was their own homes which, unsuspectingly, had become ignited.

"Fire! Fire! Stimson's barn is burning! Fire! Fire!"

A man ran down the principal village street, shouting as he ran. At some doors he paused long enough to pound with his fist, awakening the dwellers who had not heard his call, for he was Rodney Stickler, the town constable and watchman, whose duty it was to sound the fire alarm, and summon the bucket brigade, in the event of a blaze.

"Hurry up!" Constable Stickler shouted, as he ran from house to house, striking with his fist on the doors of the residences where the members of the bucket brigade lived. "The barn is 'most gone! Fire! Fire!"

Men jumped from bed, pulled on shirts, trousers, and shoes or boots, and thus scantily attired, rushed forth to do battle with the flames.

In a small cottage, near the end of the village street, a lad, hearing the midnight alarm, got up and hurried to the window. He could make out the short, stocky form of Constable Stickler rushing about. Then, off to the left, he could see a dull glow in the sky. There was, also, the smell of wood burning.

"What is it, Herbert?" asked a woman's voice from another room.

"Fire, mother," replied Herbert Dare. "Mr. Stickler is giving the alarm."

"Whose place is it? I hope it isn't around here. Oh! fire is a dreadful thing! Where is it, Herbert?" And Mrs. Dare put on a dressing-gown and came into her son's room.

"I think he said it was Mr. Stimson's barn, mother. I can see a blaze over in that direction."

"Mr. Stimson's barn? He has a fine lot of cattle in it. Oh, I hope they save the poor creatures!"

Herbert, or, as he was usually called by his chums, Bert, grabbed up his clothes from a chair, and began to sort them in the darkness, looking for his trousers.

"What are you doing, Herbert?" asked his mother.

"I'm going to dress."

"What for?"

"I'm going to the fire."

"Herbert! Don't go! You might get hurt. Suppose some of the horses should run away and trample on you? Don't go!"

"I must, mother. They'll need all the help they can get. I must go!"

From the village street once more came the alarm.

"Fire! Fire! Fire!"

Now, however, more voices were shouting it. There was also the rush of feet, and Bert, peering from the window, saw a crowd of men and boys, many of them carrying buckets, hastening along. The glare in the sky had become brighter.

"I'm going to dress and go, mother," said the boy. "I want to aid all I can. We'd like help if our house was on fire."

"Oh, Herbert! Don't suggest such dreadful things!"

Mrs. Dare left her son's room, and in a few minutes he had dressed sufficiently to go out.

"Now do be careful, Herbert," called his mother, as he ran downstairs. "If anything should happen to you, I don't know what I'd do."

"I'll be careful."

Herbert Dare was the only son of a widow, Mrs. Roscoe Dare. Her husband had died several years previous, leaving her a small income, barely sufficient to support herself and her son. It may be added here that Mr. Dare had been a city fireman before his marriage. This, perhaps, accounted in a measure for the interest Herbert took in all


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