Boy Scouts on Hudson Bay; Or, The Disappearing Fleet

       G. Harvey Ralphson / Young Adult
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Boy Scouts on Hudson Bay; Or, The Disappearing Fleet
Produced by Roger Frank and the Online DistributedProofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net

”I see it, Ned!” suddenly said Jack, triumphantly.Page 238--Boy Scouts on Hudson Bay.]

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BOY SCOUTS ON HUDSON BAYORTHE DISAPPEARING FLEET

ByG. HARVEY RALPHSON

Author ofBoy Scouts in the Canal ZoneBoy Scouts in the NorthwestBoy Scouts in a Motor BoatBoy Scouts in a Submarine

ChicagoM. A. DONOHUE & COMPANY

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Copyright 1914M. A. Donohue & CompanyChicago

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CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE I. The Five Chums in Camp 7 II. A Wild Charge 18 III. Was It a Spy? 30 IV. Down the Swift Rapids 42 V. Woodcraft 53 VI. On the Shore of the Salty Sea 65 VII. The Mysterious Blur on the Horizon 77 VIII. Two Kinds of Woodcraft 89 IX. ”Salting” the Mine 101 X. Scout Tactics 113 XI. A Successful Sortie 125 XII. The Talking Smoke 136 XIII. A Dreadful Calamity 148 XIV. Blinding the Trail 159 XV. The Brush Shelter 171 XVI. The Sea Fog 182 XVII. On Board the Wreck 193 XVIII. After the Storm 204 XIX. The Battle of the Hulk 216 XX. Besieged 227 XXI. Unexpected Help 237 XXII. The Mystery Solved--Conclusion 247

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BOY SCOUTS ON HUDSON BAY;or, The Disappearing Fleet.By G. HARVEY RALPHSON

CHAPTER I.

THE FIVE CHUMS IN CAMP.

”Sure it's me that hopes we've seen the last tough old carry on thissame wild-goose chase up to the Frozen North!”

”Hello! there, is that you, Jimmy, letting out that yawp? I thought youhad more sporting blood in you than to throw up your hands like that!”

”Oh! well I sometimes say things that don't come from the heart, youknow, Jack. Wait, me boy, till I get good and rested up, and mebbe I'llsing a different tune. Ask Ned here if it's me that often shows thewhite flag when trouble comes.”

”Well, I should say not, Jimmy McGraw. There never was a more stubbornnature in all New York than you, once you'd set your mind on anything.That talk of being discouraged is all on the surface. A thousandcataracts wouldn't keep _you_ from getting to Hudson Bay in the end, ifyou'd said you meant to reach open water. And Jack Bosworth knows thatas well as I do.”

”That's right; I do,” laughed the party mentioned as Jack, as he slappedJimmy on the back. ”I've seen him tested and tried out many the time,and never once did he squeal. I was only joking, Jimmy; you understand?”

”And sure that's what I was doing when I grunted about the carry. It wasnext door to a picnic down Coney Island way, and I don't care how manymore times the lot of us have to pack canoes and duffle from one creekto another. But Francois here is after saying we're getting near the endof our long voyage, and Tamasjo, the red Injun, backs him up. So let'stry and forget our troubles, and settle down for a decent night's rest.”

”First of all, we'll get the tent up, because it looks a little like itmight rain before morning,” remarked the boy who had been designated asNed, and whom the other four seemed to look upon in the light of leader.

All of them were garbed in the familiar khaki of the Boy Scouts, andfrom their actions it would seem as though long familiarity with outdoorlife had made this thing of pitching camp second nature with every oneof the five well-grown lads.

These boys with their guides were a long way from home. Hundreds uponhundreds of miles separated them from the great metropolis of New YorkCity, where the troop to which they belonged had its headquarters.

Those readers who have had the pleasure of meeting the five husky scoutsin the pages of previous volumes of this series will not need anyintroduction to them. But for the sake of those who are not as yetacquainted with the chums, a few words of explanation may not come inamiss.

They all belonged to the same lively troop, but Ned Nestor and hisshadow, Jimmy McGraw, were members of the Wolf Patrol, while JackBosworth, Frank Shaw and Teddy Green belonged to the patrol that proudlypointed to the head of an American black bear as its totem.

Ned Nestor had long been secretly in the employ of the United StatesGovernment, and had won considerable renown in carrying to a successfulconclusion several difficult cases entrusted to his charge by theauthorities in command of the Secret Service.

Jimmy, who had once been a typical Bowery newsboy, but now ”reformed,”fairly worshiped Jack, and had been his faithful henchman for a longtime past. He was witty, brave, and as as true as the needle to thepole.

Then there was Frank Shaw, whose father owned and edited one of thegreat daily papers in New York; he had long ago shown a desire to be acorrespondent, and was always on the lookout for chances to visitfar-off corners of the world which did not happen to be well known, andabout which he might write interesting accounts for the columns of hisfather's paper. He was a great admirer of the celebrated FrankCarpenter, whom he had met many times in his father's office.

Jack Bosworth's father was a wealthy corporation lawyer and a capitalistas well, always ready to invest in promising schemes of a legitimatecharacter. And it was really because of this venturesome nature of Mr.Bosworth that these five lads had undertaken this tremendous journey,away above the outskirts of Canadian civilization, many weary leaguesbeyond the northern limits of Lake Superior, and with the almost unknownshores of the great Hudson Bay as their objective point.

The last boy was Teddy Green. He had a well-known Harvard professor ashis father, and some day no doubt the lad anticipated following in thefootsteps of his parent. Just now his greatest ambition was to be anexplorer and endure some of the privations which such men as Stanley,Livingstone, Dr. Kane and other renowned characters in history were saidto have met with in carrying out their tasks.

From the desolate character of their present surroundings it would seemthat Teddy was in a fair way to realize his boyish dream. For days nowthey had not met with a living human being, even an Indian trapper faraway from his tepee in search of game. Mountains and valleys, plainscovered with scrub trees and seemingly endless bogs, and stretches ofmoss-covered land surrounded them day after day.

They had ascended one river until they could paddle their three canoesno further. At this point had come the first carry to another stream,and from that day on it had been the hardest kind of work as time passedon.

Already Jimmy had lost all track of direction, and often declared thatit would not surprise him if they finally turned up somewhere over inSiberia, for to his mind it seemed as though they had come far enough tohave passed the North Pole, even though they had seen no ice packs.

The taciturn Indian guide, who went under the name of Tamasjo, and thedusky voyageur, a French Canadian named Francois, assured them that allwas well, whenever one of the boys ventured to voice a suspicion thatthey might have lost their way and wandered far past their objectivepoint.

Both guides claimed to have hunted all over this country in times past,and the voyageur had even accompanied a noted explorer on a summerwandering up here. Hence their confidence reassured Ned, who oftenconsulted a rude chart which had been placed in his hands beforestarting out on this journey, and thus verified the statements made byFrancois.

Much paddling through rushing rapids and against the current ofboisterous rivers had made the muscles of the boys' arms seem like iron.Every one of them appeared to be the picture of good health; becausethere is absolutely nothing equal to this outdoor life to build upsturdy constitutions.

Already all of them were at work. The tents went up so rapidly that itwas plain to be seen these lads would easily take the prize offered forperfection in camp making, in a contest between rival patrols.

The canoes had been safely drawn up on the shelving beach, and doublysecured; because it would be nothing short of a calamity to lose one ofthe handy vessels while so far from civilization, and with no suitablebirch trees around from which another light boat might be fashioned bythe craft of the guides.

The day was nearly done, and when presently the smoke of their campfirebegan to ascend in the still air, night crept slowly about them. As itwas the summer season and the days were very long up here in the FarNorth, the hour was later than they had ever started in to make campbefore.

Plenty of supplies had apparently been carried along, to judge from thefragrant odors that soon began to steal forth. All of these ladsbelonged to families of wealth, so that at no time were they reduced tolimiting their outfit. Anything that money could buy, and which prudencewould allow to carry with them, was always at their service.

So the guns owned by Ned and his chums were of the latest pattern, andcapable of doing good service when properly handled. The boys, who hadbeen through campaigns in many parts of their own country, as well asover the southern border, and in foreign lands as well, and for youngfellows who had not yet attained their majority, all of the scouts hadexperienced thrills calculated to make men of mature age proud.

And yet in spite of all this they were genuine boys, with warm hearts,and fond of practical joking. Seated around the jolly fire afterdisposing of supper, while the two guides attended to cleaning up, Jimmyentertained his mates with a series of rollicking songs, accompanied byTeddy on his mandolin, which he had somehow managed to smuggle along, inspite of a careful watch on the part of Ned, who did not wish to take asingle article that was not indispensable, for he knew the gigantic taskthat lay ahead of them.

Jimmy has as usual been overboard during the late afternoon. It was nota voluntary swim the comical chum had been enjoying, either; theseplunges never were, but it seemed as though Jimmy must lose his balanceonce in so often just while the canoes were negotiating through somewild rapids, and in consequence he had to make the passage clinging tothe gunwale.

His red sweater was hanging on a bush to dry in the heat of the fire. Itlooked unusually brilliant as seen in the glow of the leaping flames.Jimmy was very proud of that same old sweater, which had been with himthrough so many campaigns that it showed signs of wear and tear. Butthough he had another nice navy-blue one in his waterproof clothes bag,Jimmy persisted in donning the ancient article every blessed day, inspite of the appeals of his chums.

Ned as usual was poring over his well-thumbed chart. Every day he markedthe new ground they had covered, and very seldom had he found cause todoubt the correctness of the two guides. And whenever this had happenedit turned out that they were right, and the map wrong.

”Well,” Frank finally broke out with, ”so far we haven't run acrossanything in the shape of a rival expedition, though Ned seemed to thinkin the start that was what would happen to us.”

”I haven't changed my mind yet,” observed the party mentioned, lookingup from examining his chart. ”We understood that the syndicate that istrying to unload this wonderful new mining tract they claim will bericher than Mesauba on Jack's father as a speculation, knew about ourbeing sent up here on some secret mission. They could easily guess thatwe meant to find out if half of the big claim they made was true, andthat on our report Mr. Bosworth would base any action he might take. Nowit was to be such a tremendously big deal that under the conditions, ifso be there was something crooked about the claims they made, you canunderstand that it would pay them handsomely to shunt us off the track,or else salt the mine, and make us think it would be as rich aproposition as their prospectus set out.”

”But,” interrupted Jack, ”who could they get to do their crooked workaway up here in this forlorn country, where we haven't run across aliving being since we met that trapper going south with his winter'scatch of pelts?”

”Oh! money will do lots of things,” answered Ned. ”Given a soft berth,with good pay, and plenty to eat, and scores of Indian half-breeds,timber cruisers, guides out of employment along the salmon fishingstreams of the Dominion, and trappers loafing through an off season,would jump at the bait. There'd be plenty to enlist under the lead of abold man hired by the syndicate; if, as we more than half believe,their claim is a great swindle which they mean to hang about Jack'sfather's neck.”

”Francois says we will always have to be prepared, and as that is themotto of Boy Scouts all over the known world, it isn't likely to seemnew to us,” Frank Shaw remarked, a little boastfully it must beconfessed, for having passed through so many strange happenings in timespast had given him a touch of what Jimmy was inclined to call the”swelled head,” though any one would have been justified for feelingproud of such a record of wonderful things accomplished.

The scouts having started on the subject of their mission continued todiscuss it from various angles. In this way they often hit uponsuggestions, because one remark would bring out another until somefellow chanced to open up a new field of conjecture.

They were deep in the matter, and all taking a hand in the discussion,when Francois, the dark-faced voyageur, suddenly started to his kneeswith a cry of warning. At the same time the boys became aware of thefact that a strange rushing and pounding noise was rapidly bearing downupon the little camp on the river bank.

Jimmy happened to be sitting cross-legged like a Turk, a favoriteattitude of his, and becoming excited he could not get up as rapidly ashis chums.

In consequence of this he seemed to be in the way of some huge body thatrushed the camp, scattering the fire, and rending the branches of thetree under which the exploring party had settled for the night.

It was all over in a few seconds. The camp was in an uproar, one of thetents down flat, the fire in danger of communicating to the brush, andJimmy squealing on his back, where the sudden rush of the mysteriousmonster had thrown him.


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