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- The Curlytops on Star Island - 6/32 -


"I saw Mr. Crittendon," he said, "and he told me that he had seen you Curlytops at the store and mentioned the tramps on Star Island." "Are they really there?" asked Jan eagerly.

"Well, they might have been. But we won't let them bother us if we go camping. I'll make them clear out. Most of that island belongs to me, and the rest to friends of mine. They'll do as I say, and we'll clear out the tramps."

"I hope you will, Grandpa," said Janet.

"Did Mr. Crittendon say anything about the queer blue light Jan and Ted saw?" asked Grandma Martin.

"No, he hadn't seen that."

"Where did the tramps come from? And is he sure they weren't gypsies?" asked Jan's mother.

"No, they weren't gypsies. We don't often see them around here. Oh, I imagine the tramps were the regular kind that go about the country in summer, begging their way. They might have found a boat and gone to the island to sleep, where no constable would trouble them.

"But we're not afraid of tramps, are we, Curlytops?" he cried, as he caught Baby William up in his arms and set him on his broad shoulder. "We don't mind them, do we, Trouble?"

"We frow water on 'em!" said Baby William, laughing with delight as his grandfather made-believe bite some "souse" off his ears.

"That's what we will! No tramps for us on Star Island!"

"When are we going?" asked Ted excitedly.

"Yes, when?" echoed Jan.

"In a few days now. I've got to get out the tents and other things. We'll go the first of the week I think."

Ted and Jan could hardly wait for the time to come. They helped as much as they could when Grandpa Martin got the tents out of the barn, and they wanted to take so many of their toys and playthings along that there would have been no room in the boat for anything else if they had had their way.

But Mother Martin thinned out their collection of treasures, allowing them to take only what she thought would give them the most pleasure. Boxes of food were packed, and a little stove made ready to take along, for although a campfire looks nice it is hard to cook over.

Trouble got into all sorts of mischief, from almost falling out of the haymow once, to losing the bucket down the well by letting the chain unwind too fast. But a hired man caught him as he toppled off the hay in the barn, and Grandpa Martin got the bucket up from the well by tying the rake to a long pole and fishing deep down in the water.

At last the day came when the Curlytops were to go camping on Star Island. The boat was loaded with the tents and other things, and two or three trips were to be made half-way across the lake, for the island was about in the middle. Nicknack and his wagon were to be taken over and a small stable made for him under a tree not far from the big tent.

"All aboard!" cried Ted, as he and Jan took their places in the first boat. "All aboard!"

"Isn't this fun!" laughed Janet, who was taking care of Trouble.

"Dis fun," echoed the little chap.

"I'm sure we'll have a nice time," said Mother Martin. "And your father will like it when he, too, can camp out with us."

"I hope the tramps don't bother you," said Mr. Crittendon, who had come to help Grandpa Martin get his camping party ready.

"Oh, we're not afraid of them!" cried Ted.

"Well, be careful; that's all I've got to say," went on the farmer. "I'll let you have my gun, if you think you'll need it," he said to Grandpa Martin.

"Nonsense! I won't need it, thank you. I'm not afraid of a few tramps. Besides I sent one of my men over to the island yesterday, and he couldn't find a sign of a vagrant. If any tramps were there they've gone."

"Wa-all, maybe," said the farmer, with a shake of his head. "Good luck to you, anyhow!"

"Thanks!" laughed Grandpa Martin.

"All aboard!" called Ted once more.

Then Sam, the hired man, and Grandpa Martin began to row the boat.

The Curlytops were off for Star Island, to camp out with grandpa.

CHAPTER IV

OVEBBOARD

"Trouble! sit still!" ordered Janet.

"Yes, Trouble, you sit still!" called Mother Martin, as the Curlytops' grandfather and his man pulled on the oars that sent the boat out toward the middle of the lake. "Don't move about."

"I wants to splash water."

"Oh, no, you mustn't do that! Splashing water isn't nice," said Baby William's mother.

"'Ike drandpa does," Trouble went on, pointing to the oars which the farmer was moving to and fro. Now and then a little wave hit the broad blades and splashed little drops into the boat.

"Trouble want do that!" declared the little fellow.

"No, Trouble mustn't do that," said his mother. "Grandpa isn't splashing the water. He's rowing. Sit still and watch him."

Baby William did sit still for a little while, but not for very long. His mother held to the loose part of his blue and white rompers so he would not get far away, but, after a bit, she rather forgot about him, in talking to Ted and Jan about what they were to do and not to do in camp.

Suddenly grandpa, who had been rowing slowly toward Star Island, dropped his oars and cried:

"Look out there, Trouble!"

"Oh, what's the matter?" asked Mother Martin, looking around quickly. "Trouble nearly jumped out of the boat," explained Grandpa Martin. "I just grabbed him in time."

And so he had, catching Baby William by the seat of his rompers and pulling him back on the seat from which he had quickly sprung up.

"What were you trying to do?" asked Mrs. Martin.

"Trouble want to catch fish," was the little fellow's answer.

"Yes! I guess a fish would catch _you_ first!" laughed Ted.

"I'll sit by him and hold him in," offered Janet, and she remained close to her small brother during the remainder of the trip across the lake. He did not again try to lean far over as he had done when his grandfather saw him and grabbed him.

"Hurray!" cried Teddy, as he sprang ashore. "Now for the camp! Can I help put up the tents, Grandpa?"

"Yes, when it's time. But first we must bring the rest of the things over. We'll finish that first and put up the tents afterward. We have two more boatloads to bring."

"Then can't I help do that?"

"Yes, you may do that," said Grandpa Martin with a smile.

"Can't I come, too?" asked Janet. "I'm almost as strong as Teddy."

"I think you'd better stay and help me look after Trouble," said Mrs. Martin. "Nora will be busy getting lunch ready for us, which we will eat before the tents are up."

"Oh, then I can help at that!" cried Janet, who was eager to be busy. "Come on, Nora! Where are the things to eat, Mother? I'm hungry already!"

"So'm I!" cried Ted. "Can't we eat before we go back for the other boatload, Grandpa?"

"Yes, I guess so. You Curlytops can eat while Sam and I unload the boat. I'll call you Teddy, when I'm ready to go back."

"All right, Grandpa."

The tents were to be put up and camp made a little way up from the shore near the spot at which they had landed. Grandpa Martin took out of the boat the different things he had brought over, and stacked them up on shore. Parts of the tents were there, and things to cook with as well as food to eat. More things would be brought on the next two trips, when another of the hired men was to come over to help put up the tents and make camp.

"Oh, I just know we'll have fun here, camping with grandpa!" laughed Jan, as she picked up her small brother who had slipped and fallen down a little hill, covered with brown pine needles.

"Let's go and look for something," proposed Ted, when he had run about a bit and thrown stones in the lake, watching the water splash up and hundreds of rings chase each other toward shore.


The Curlytops on Star Island - 6/32

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