Author: Fitzhugh, Percy Keese, 1876-1950
Boy Scouts of America — Juvenile fiction
Automobile travel — Juvenile fiction
Roy Blakeley’s Motor Caravan
ROY BLAKELEY’S MOTOR CARAVAN
PERCY KEESE FITZHUGH
TOM SLADE, BOY SCOUT, TOM
SLADE AT BLACK LAKE,
ROY BLAKELEY, ETC.
PUBLISHED WITH THE APPROVAL OF
THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA
GROSSET & DUNLAP
Made in the United States of America
COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY
GROSSET & DUNLAP
Table of Contents
II—Who We All Are
III—Who Is Pee-Wee Harris, and If So, Why?
VII—A Good Turn
X—The Signal Corps at Work
XI—A Mysterious Footprint
XIII—Tom Slade, Scout
XVII—A Side Show
XVIII—A Shower Bath
XIX—Brent Gets His Wish
XX—We Consider Our Predicament
XXIV—Snoozer Settles It
XXV—Big Excitement at Barrow’s Homestead
XXVI—To the Rescue
XXVIII—A Mysterious Paper
XXIX—The Mystery Deepens
XXX—We Make a Promise
XXXI—We Reach Our Destination
XXXII—Surrender and Indemnity
XXXV—Peace With Indemnity
XXXVI—Scouts on the Job
XXXVII—That Mysterious Paper Again
XXXVIII—The Only Way
ROY BLAKELEY’S MOTOR CARAVAN
CHAPTER I—SOME EXPEDITION!
Gee whiz, whenever I see that fellow Harry Domicile, I know there’s going to be a lot of fun. Just the same as I can always tell if we’re going to have mince turnovers for dessert. That’s one thing I’m crazy about—mince turnovers. I can tell when I go through the kitchen if we’re going to have them, because our cook has a kind of a look on her face. I can eat five of those things at a sitting, but that isn’t saying how many I can eat standing up. Pee-wee Harris can eat seven, even while he’s talking at the same time. Anyway, that hasn’t got anything to do with Harry Donnelle.
Maybe you’re wondering why I named this chapter “Some Expedition.” If it was about Pee-wee Harris, I’d name it “Some Exhibition,” because that kid is a regular circus. So now I guess I’ll tell you.
One afternoon I was sitting on the railing of our porch taking a rest after mowing the lawn. I was thinking how it would be a good idea if they had lawn mowers that run by gas engines. We’ve got a great big lawn at our house. At Doc Carson’s house they have a little bit of a lawn—he’s lucky. Gee whiz, you could cut that lawn with a safety razor.
All of a sudden I saw Harry Donnelle coming up the street. I guess maybe you know who he is, because we had some adventures with him in other stories. He’s a big fellow, I guess he’s about twenty-five. He was a lieutenant in the war. My sister likes him a lot only she said I mustn’t say so in a story. I should worry about her. He comes up to our house a lot. Believe me, that fellow’s middle name is adventure. He says all his ancestors were crazy about adventures. He says he wouldn’t have any ancestors unless they were. He says that’s why he picked them out. Gee williger, you ought to hear him jollying Pee-wee. He told Pee-wee that once he lived in obscurity and Pee-wee wanted to know where that was. Can you beat that? Harry told him it was in Oregon. Good night!
So as soon as I saw that fellow coming up across the lawn, I kind of knew there was going to be something doing. Because only a few days before that he had told me that maybe he would want my patrol to help him in a daring exploit. Oh, boy, those are my favorite outdoor sports—daring exploits. I eat them alive.
He said, “Hello, kid, I went fishing with Jake Holden last night and we got into a school of perch.”
I said, “Don’t talk about school; this is vacation.”
He had a bundle with some perch in it and he said they were for supper. So I took them into the kitchen and while I was in there I ate some icing off a cake. If I had my way cakes would be all icing, but our cook says you have to have a foundation to put the icing on. Me for the roof.
When I went back Harry said, “I suppose you kids will be starting for that old dump up in the Catskills pretty soon.” He meant Temple Camp. I said, “We take our departure in two weeks.”
He said, “Take your which?”
I said, “Our departure; don’t you know what that is?”
“Well,” he said, kind of puzzled like, “I guess I’ll have to pike around and get some assistance somewhere else. I’ve got a little job on hand that I thought might interest you and your patrol. Ever hear of the Junkum Corporation, automobile dealers? They have the agency for the Kluck car. They’re down in New York. It wasn’t anything much; just a little hop, skip, and a jump out west, and back again.”
“In junk cars—I mean Kluck cars?” I blurted out.
“Mostly junk,” he said; “but of course, as long as your plans are made——”
“Never you mind about our plans,” I told him; “tell me all about it.” Because, gee, I was all excited.
He said, “Well, there isn’t much to it; just a little gypsy and caravan stuff, as you might say. My sister’s husband’s brother, Mr. Junkum, is tearing his hair out and lying awake nights, because he can’t get cars here from the west. He says the customers are standing on line and all that sort of thing and that everything is clogged up at the other end, the railroads are all tied up in a knot, the freight is piled up as high as the Woolworth building and nothing short of a good dose of dynamite will loosen up the freight congestion out west. If it was a matter of Ford cars he could get them through by parcel post, but with these big six cylinder Klucks it’s a different proposition. He’s got three touring cars and a big motor van waiting for shipment out in Klucksville, Missouri, and if he can’t make deliveries in a couple of weeks or so his customers are going to cancel. Poor guy, I’m sorry for him.”
That’s just the way Harry talks. He said, “One of those cars, the big enclosed van, is for Jolly and Kidder’s big store in New York.”
“That’s where I bought my last scout suit, at Jolly and Kidder’s,” I told him.
Then he said, “Junkum wanted me to see if I couldn’t round up two or three fellows and bang out to Klucksville and bring the cars home under their own power. I told him the roads were punk and he said it’s punk to have your business canceled, so there you are.”
“Oh, bibbie,” I said, “we’d love to do that only we can’t run cars on account of not being old enough.”
Then he said, “I rounded up Tom Slade and he agreed to die for the cause—said his vacation was at my disposal. He drove a motor truck in France and he’s a bug on good turns. Rossie Bent has promised to run one of the touring cars, I’m going to run the van myself and that leaves one touring car. I tried to get Brent Gaylong on the long distance ’phone up at Newburgh to-day, but he wasn’t home—out grouching around, I suppose. His mother said she’d have him call me up or wire me. All I want now is a commissary department and I got a kind of a hunch that maybe you kids could camp in the van and cook for the crowd and make yourselves generally useful. The way I figure it out by the road map there’ll be long stretches of road where we won’t bunk into any towns. I figured on taking Pee-wee along as a kind of a mascot; you know those little fancy jim-cracks they put on radiator caps in autos? I thought he could be one of those, as you might say, and bring us good luck. He’d be a whole commissary department in himself, I suppose, considering the way he eats. But if you can’t you can’t, and that’s all there is about it.”
“What do you mean, we can’t?” I shouted at him. “You make me tired! Do you suppose Temple Camp is going to run away just because my patrol is a couple of weeks late getting there? You bet your life we’ll go. If you try to sneak off without us, we’ll come after you. We’re coming back in that motor van, so that’s settled. I should worry about Temple Camp.”
He just sat there on the railing alongside of me, laughing.
He said, “I thought it would hit you.”
“Hit me!” I told him. “Believe me, it gave me a knockout blow.”
He said he’d stay to supper so as to talk my mother and father into it, because they don’t care anything about making long trips in motor vans and things like that, and maybe they’d say I’d better not go.
But, believe me, Harry Domicile knows how to handle mothers and fathers all right, especially mothers. So don’t you worry, just leave it to him.
The worst is yet to come.
II—WHO WE ALL ARE
What do you think my father said? He said he wished he was young enough to go along. Oh, but he’s a peach of a father! So is my mother. My sister Marjorie said she’d like to go too. Harry said that no girls were allowed. He said that girls were supposed to stay home and receive picture post-cards. Gee whiz, I’m sorry for them. I’m glad I’m not a girl. But if I wasn’t a boy I’d like to be a girl.
That night we had our regular troop meeting. Cracky, you can’t get that bunch quiet enough to tell them anything. You know how it sounds in a graveyard? And you know how it sounds in a saw mill? Well, a graveyard sounds like a saw mill compared with the noise at one of our meetings. So I told our scoutmaster, Mr. Ellsworth, that I had something to say and he said they should let me have the chair. Then they began throwing chairs at me. It’s good he didn’t tell them to let me have the floor, or they’d have ripped that up, I suppose.
“I’d like to get your ear,” I shouted.
“You’ll get our goat if you don’t say what you’ve got to say,” Doc Carson yelled.
“I’m trying to say it if I can get your ear,” I said.
“You can have anything except my mouth,” Pee-wee piped up. Good night, he needs that.
Then Mr. Ellsworth got them all quieted down and I told them how Harry Domicile wanted the Silver Fox Patrol (that’s my patrol) to go out west and how he wanted Pee-wee to go too, even though he was one of the raving Ravens. I said the reason he wanted Pee-wee to go was so he could blow up the tires and we wouldn’t have to have any pump. Pee-wee likes auto tires, because they’re the same shape as doughnuts—that’s what I told him.
There’s one good thing about our troop and that is that one patrol never gets jealous of another. If my patrol gets a chance to go somewhere the other fellows don’t get mad, because they get more to eat. Absence makes the dessert last longer. In our troop each patrol does as it pleases—united we stand, divided we sprawl. Each patrol always has more fun than the other patrols. So if everybody has more fun than anybody else, they ought to be satisfied, I should hope. Pee-wee is in the Ravens, because he got wished onto them when the troop started, but he belongs to all three patrols, kind of. That’s because one patrol isn’t big enough for him. He spreads out over three.
So this is the last you’ll see of the Ravens and the Elks in this story. Maybe you’ll say thank goodness for that. They went up to Temple Camp. There were fifty-three troops up there and everybody had more dessert because Pee-wee wasn’t there. So that shows you how my patrol did a good turn for Temple Camp. Gee whiz, you have to remember to do good turns If you’re a scout.
Now this story is all about that trip that we made to bring back those four machines, and believe me, we had some adventures. If you were to see Jolly and Kidder’s big delivery van now, all filled up with bundles and things C. O. D., you’d never suppose it had a dark past. But, believe me, that past was darker than the Dark Ages. You learn about the Dark Ages in the fifth grade—that’s Miss Norton’s class. She’s my favorite teacher because she has to go to a meeting every afternoon and she can’t keep us in.
So now I guess I’ll start. The next morning who should show up but Brent Gaylong. He didn’t even bother to wire. He said he didn’t believe in telegrams and things like that when it came to adventures. He’s awful funny, that fellow is—kind of sober like. He’s head of a troop up in Newburgh and we met him when we were on a hike once. He can drive a Ford so easy that you don’t know it’s moving. He says most of the time it’s not moving. He’s crazy about adventures. Good night, when he and Harry Domicile start talking, we have to laugh. He said he’d do anything provided we got into trouble. Harry told him there ought to be plenty of trouble between Missouri and New York. That fellow tries awful hard to get arrested but he never can.
Now I’ll tell you about the other fellows. Harry was the captain—he had charge of the whole outfit. I bet Mr. Junkum trusted him a lot. But one thing, Harry never does anything for money. He says money is no good except when it’s buried in the ground and you go and try to find it. That’s the kind of a fellow he is. He didn’t get killed three times in France. But he came mighty near it. He’s got the distinguished service cross. He lives in Little Valley near Bridgeboro. Bridgeboro is my town. I don’t mean I own it. Harry’s got a dandy Cadillac car of his own. He takes my sister Marjorie out in it.
There was one other big fellow that went on that trip and that was Rossie Bent who works in the bank. He got his vacation especially so he could go. He’s got light hair. Often when he sees me he treats me to a soda.
Tom Slade went so as to drive the fourth car, and he’s a big fellow too, only you bet your life I’ll never call him a big fellow, because before he went to the war he was in our troop. And even now he’s just like one of us scouts. I guess maybe you know all about him. Believe me, the war changed him more than it changed the map of Europe.
That leaves Pee-wee and the rest of the fellows in my patrol. So now I’ll tell you about them. First comes Roy Blakeley (that’s me), and I’m patrol leader. That’s what makes me look so sober and worried like. I have to take strawberry sundaes to build me up, on account of the strain of managing that bunch. Next comes Westy Martin; he’s my special chum. He’s got eleven merit badges. He’s awful careful. He does his homework as soon as he gets home every day, so in case he gets killed it will be done. I should worry about my homework if I got killed. Next comes Dorry Benton, only he was in Europe with his mother so he didn’t go with us. If he had gone with us he would have been there. Hunt Manners couldn’t go because his brother was going to be married. The rest of the fellows were Charlie Seabury and Will Dawson and the Warner twins, Brick and Slick. They’re just the same, only each one of them is smarter than the other. You can’t tell which is which, only one of them likes potatoes and the other doesn’t. That’s the way I tell them apart. If I see one of them eating potatoes I know it’s Slick. That leaves only one fellow, and gee whiz, I’m going to give him a chapter all to himself and I hope he’ll be satisfied. Some day he’ll have a whole book to himself, I suppose. Good night!
III—WHO IS PEE-WEE HARRIS, AND IF SO, WHY?
Anyway Pee-wee Harris is, that’s one sure thing. His mother calls him Walter and my sisters call him Walter, but Pee-wee is his regular name. He’s our young hero and some of the fellows call him Peerless Pee-wee, and some of them call him Speck.
If all of us fellows were automobiles, Pee-wee would be a Ford. That’s because he’s the smallest and he makes the most noise. He eats all his food running on high. He never has to shift his gears to eat dessert. Even if it’s a tough steak he takes it on high. He’s a human cave. He’s about three feet six inches in diameter and his tongue is about six feet three inches long. He has beautiful brown curly hair and he’s just too cute—that’s what everybody says. His nose has got three freckles on it. He starts on compression. When he gets excited Webster’s Dictionary turns green with envy.
Now the way it was fixed was that we were all to meet at the Bridgeboro Station at three o’clock the next day so as to get the three-eighteen train for New York. Then we were going to go on the Lake Shore Limited to Klucksville—that’s near St. Louis.
When Pee-wee showed up at the station he looked like the leader of a brass band. His scout suit was all pressed, his compass was dangling around his neck, in case the Lake Shore Limited should lose its way, I suppose, and his scout knife was hanging to his belt. He had his belt-ax on too. I guess that was so he could chop his way through the forests if the train got stalled. He had his camera and his air rifle and his swamp boots and his scout whistle, and he had his duffel bag on the end of his scout staff. And, oh, boy, he had a new watch.
I said, “Good night, you must have been robbing the church steeple. Where did you get that young clock? If it only had an electric bulb in it we could use it for a headlight. Is it supposed to keep time?”
“It ought to be able to keep a whole lot of time, it’s big enough,” Harry said. “Are you going to take it with you or send it by express?”
I said, “Oh, sure, a big watch like that can keep a lot of time; it holds about a quart.”
“You make me tired!” Pee-wee shouted. “It’s warranted for a year.”
“I bet it takes a year to wind it up,” Westy said.
“Anyway we can drink out of it if we get thirsty,” Will Dawson told him. “It’s got a nice spring in it.”
“It doesn’t vary a second,” Pee-wee shouted. “Look at the clock in the station; that’s Western Union time.”
Gee whiz, but that kid was proud of his new watch. He looked at it about every ten seconds while we were waiting for the train, and every once in a while he looked up at the sun. I guess maybe he thought the sun was a little late, hey? When we got to the city he checked up all the clocks he saw on the way over to the Grand Central Station, to see if they were right, and when we were whizzing up along the Hudson on the Lake Shore Limited he kept a time table in one hand and his watch in the other so as to find out if we reached Poughkeepsie and Albany on time.
Just before we all turned in for the night, Harry and Brent Gaylong went over and sat by him and began jollying him about the watch. The rest of us sprawled around on the Pullman seats, listening and laughing. Gee whiz, when Harry and Brent Gaylong get together, good night!
Harry said, “The trouble with those heavy duty watches is they’re not intended for night work. They work all right in the daytime, but you see at night when they haven’t got the sun to go by, they get to sprinting——”
“Do you know what kind o