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- The Strange Cabin on Catamount Island - 1/22 -


THE STRANGE CABIN ON CATAMOUNT ISLAND

[Illustration: "THE VOYAGE WAS RESUMED"]

THE STRANGE CABIN ON CATAMOUNT ISLAND

BY LAWRENCE J. LESLIE

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I.--HOW THE DARE WAS GIVEN

II.--BANDY-LEGS IN TROUBLE

III.--ON THE ISLAND WITH THE BAD NAME

IV.--THE SUDDEN AWAKENING

V.--EXPLORING THE ISLAND

VI.--WHAT THE ASHES TOLD MAX

VII.--THE MYSTERY OF THE CABIN

VIII.--AN UNWELCOME DISCOVERY

IX.--WATCHED FROM THE SHORE

X.--THE BUILDER OF THE STRANGE CABIN

XI.--WHAT HAPPENED ON THE SECOND NIGHT

XII.--A BOLD PLAN

XIII.--UNSEEN PERILS THAT HOVERED NEAR

XIV.--HOW THE SCHEME WORKED

XV.--UNEXPECTED ALLIES

XVI.--THE LAST CAMP FIRE ON CATAMOUNT ISLAND

THE STRANGE CABIN ON CATAMOUNT ISLAND.

CHAPTER I.

HOW THE DARE WAS GIVEN.

"And so Herb Benson dared you, Max, you say?"

"That's what he did, Steve."

"To camp on Catamount Island?"

"And stay there a full week. He said that even if we did have nerve enough to make the _try_, he'd give us just one solitary night to hang out there!"

"Huh! just because Herb and his old club got scared nearly to death a while ago by some silly noise they thought was a ghost, they reckon every fellow is built on the same plan, don't they, Max?"

"I guess that's what they do, Steve."

"So they challenge us to make a camp, and stick it out, do they? What did you tell Herb? Oh, I hope you just took him up on the spot!"

"Well, I said I'd put it up to the rest of the chums, my cousin, Owen Hastings, Toby Jucklin, Bandy-legs Griffin, and yourself."

"Count me in as ready to accept the dare. Why, I'd start this blessed minute if I had my way, Max!"

"I know you would, because you're always so quick to flare up. That's why they all call you 'Touch-and-go Steve Dowdy.' But come along, and let's get the other fellows. We can go down to the boathouse and talk it over, anyhow."

"But tell me first, when _can_ we be ready to go, Max--some time to-morrow?"

"You certainly are the most impatient fellow I ever knew," replied Max, with a laugh; "yes, if the other boys are willing, I guess we might get off at noon to-morrow. It wouldn't take long to lay in our supplies; and you know we've already got tents, cooking things, and all that stuff on hand."

"Oh, shucks! leave the grub part of the business to me," remarked Steve, instantly. "What's the use of having a chum whose daddy is the leading grocer in Carson if he can't look after the supplies. But I'm just tickled nearly to death at the chance of this little cruise up the Big Sunflower."

"I can guess why," Max observed, as he kept pace with his nervous companion's quick strides.

"The new canoes!" exclaimed Steve; "it gives us the chance we've been wanting to find out how they work in real harness. We've only tried little spins in them so far, you know, Max. Gee! I hated like everything to let my motorcycle go; but the folks put their foot down hard, after that second accident to our chum, Bandy-legs; and, like the rest of the bunch, I had to send it back to the shop for what it was worth. It was like going to the scrapheap with it, because I lost so much money."

"Well, let's hope we can make it up in fun on the water with our boats," was the sensible way the other put it. "Here's Ordway's drug store, and we can use his 'phone to get the rest of the crowd along."

A minute later, and inside the booth they were calling for M-23 West. It was not later than eight-twenty in the evening when the two boys met down in front of the hardware store, where a brilliant light burned all night long; so that the evening was young when Max caught the well-known voice of Toby Jucklin at the other end of the wire.

Toby stuttered, at times, fearfully. He kept trying to overcome the habit, and the result was that his affliction came and went in spasms. Sometimes he could talk as well as any one of his four chums; then again, especially when excited, he would have a serious lapse, being compelled to resort to his old trick of giving a sharp whistle, and then stopping a couple of seconds to get a grasp on himself, when he was able to say what he wanted intelligently.

"That you, Max?" asked Toby, who had lived with an old, crabbed uncle and been treated harshly, despite the fact that his father had left quite a little fortune for him when of age; until Mr. Hastings took hold of the case, had the court depose Uncle Ambrose, and place the boy in charge of a generous gentleman whose name was Mr. Jackson, with whom he now lived in comfort.

"Just who it is, Toby," replied the other. "Say, can't you hike down to the boathouse and meet us there?"

"Now?" demanded Toby, his voice beginning to show signs of wabbling.

"As soon as you can get there," was what Max answered.

"Hey! what's on the carpet now, tell me, Max?" demanded Toby, quickly.

"Keep cool," warned the boy in the booth. "Steve is here with me in the drug store. We've got a scheme for a little outing in our canoes, and want to put it up to the rest of the bunch. How about coming down, Toby?"

"S-s-sure I'll b-b-be there!" exclaimed the other.

"Then make a start soon," and with that Max rang off, because he knew Toby would hold him indefinitely if once he got started asking questions and stuttering at the same time.

He soon had another boy on the wire, this time Bandy-legs. And the response was as rapid and favorable in this quarter as it had been with Toby. From the tone of the inquiries Max made, the boys understood there must be something out of the common on tap, and their curiosity was therefore excited. They would have been at the place of meeting, even though they found it necessary to crawl out of bedroom windows and slide down the post of the front porch; which in neither case was required, for both Toby and the other chum had plenty of freedom.

When Owen, who, being an orphan, lived at his cousin's house, had been brought to the 'phone and asked to join the rest for a serious consultation, Max "shut up shop," as he called it.

"Let's get a move on ourselves now, Steve," he remarked, as they left the booth, "and hustle around to the little boathouse my splendid dad bought for us when we got the canoes. It isn't a beauty, but it answers our purpose fine."

"Just what it does," replied Steve, as they walked out of the store. "I reckon all the boys are on their way by now, eh, Max?"

"I'd like to see anything hold them back after the way I stirred things up. Why, just as like as not even poor old Bandy-legs is tumbling all over himself, sprinting down to the river through the dark."

"He does have the greatest time trying to keep his legs from tripping him up," remarked Steve; "but all the same there never was a better chum


The Strange Cabin on Catamount Island - 1/22

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