The Rover Boys on a Hunt - or The Mysterious House in the Woods
by Arthur M. Winfield (Edward Stratemeyer)
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"Do you intend to wait around here until those Germans come back?" asked Fred a bit impatiently.

"Why not go out on a hunt and come back later?" suggested Randy.

"That's the talk!" broke in Andy. "I'm getting tired of hanging around here doing nothing." To him it had been a long wait while the others had gone to the house.

"I suppose we might as well go on a hunt," announced Gif. "Anyway, I'm willing to do whatever the others say."

So it was decided that they should go off on a hunt, to return to the house either later that day or else on the day following. This suited Jed Wallop, for the old hunter did not feel in the humor for investigating the old mansion or the Germans staying there.

"Come on, come on," said he, "and maybe we'll git a chance at a fox or two."

"Now you're saying something!" cried Fred.

Leaving the old Parkingham house and outbuildings behind, they struck off through the woods, crossed the mountain road and a small frozen-up watercourse, and then mounted one of the hills lying to the northwest of Cedar Lodge. Here they found traveling rather difficult, and more than once the old hunter said he wished they were on snowshoes.

"Purty hard to use 'em at first," said he. "But after a while travelin' that way gits to be as easy as the reg'lar way."

"Oh, we know something about snowshoes," said Jack. "But we didn't think we'd need any on this trip."

They tramped around for the rest of the forenoon, managing to stir up several rabbits, and also a partridge, which Fred was fortunate enough to bring down. Then they built a small campfire and made themselves a pot of hot chocolate and had this with the lunch they had brought along.

The middle of the afternoon found them in the location Jed Wallop had had in mind when speaking of foxes. The old hunter told all of them to be on the alert.

"You know Mr. Fox ain't goin' to stand still to be shot at," said he quizzically. "As soon as he spots you he'll be off quicker than greased lightning."

They advanced with caution, and had hardly proceeded a hundred yards when Jed Wallop suddenly put up his hand for silence. They were coming to a series of rocks, and beyond this was a small clearing, backed up by brushwood still thickly covered with snow. They looked over toward this brushwood in the direction which Jed Wallop pointed out, and there saw a fox standing on a high rock, gazing expectantly at the woods beyond.



"There's your chance," whispered Wallop to the cadets. "Quick, now; or he may leap away before you can say Jack Robinson."

"Go ahead, Gif," said Jack quickly, for he felt that their host should have the first chance to shoot.

There was no time to argue the matter, and, raising his gun, Gif took hasty aim and fired. His aim was not of the best, for only a few of the scattering shot pierced the fox's side. The animal wheeled around in evident astonishment, and for a second did not know which way to escape.

"Fire at him! Fire at him!" called out Jed Wallop quickly. "Fire, or he'll git away."

This time all of the others blazed away, one after another. Several of the charges went wild, but Randy managed to catch the fox directly in the shoulder, and he leaped high in the air, and then came down, floundering around and kicking the loose snow in all directions.

"Hurrah! We've got him!" cried Randy.

"Mebbe you have and mebbe you haven't," answered Jed Wallop. "Better run in and finish him."

Gif was the first to do this, and a final charge caused the fox to cease his struggles.

"A purty good-sized animal," remarked the old hunter, when they were inspecting it. "That skin is worth some money."

The old hunter said he would carry the dead fox for them, and again they went forward. They spent the best part of the afternoon looking for more foxes, but in this they were disappointed. However, deep in the woods they came upon a covey of partridges. All banged away at a lively rate, and had the satisfaction of killing three of the birds.

"A pretty good haul, after all," remarked Fred, with satisfaction.

"Don't you think it about time that we returned to that old Parkingham house?" questioned Jack, after the game had been placed in their bags.

"We might as well work around that way," answered Gif. "Remember, we'll have quite a tramp after that getting back to the Lodge."

They turned in the direction of the old house in the woods and on their way kept their eyes open for more game. But all they sighted were two small squirrels, and these they thought not worth shooting at.

They were just about to cross the mountain road not far from the old house when they heard a pair of horses hitched to a long boxsled approaching. The sled was piled high with several boxes and three bales of hay.

"Get back!" cried Jack quickly. "That may be one of those Germans coming, and I don't think it would be wise to let him see us."

They stepped behind some trees and brushwood, and soon the boxsled came closer. Then another surprise awaited them, for the driver of the sled, who was alone, was none other than the farmer they had rescued from the burning railroad car.

"It's that fellow Crouse," whispered Gif. "What do you know about that?"

"Shall we go out and speak to him?" questioned Andy.

"I don't see that it would do any harm," said Jack. "We have a perfect right to be out hunting in this neighborhood."

Accordingly they stepped out in the roadway almost directly in front of the on-coming boxsled. The driver, who was crouched down with the big collar of his overcoat turned up around his ears, had evidently been in deep thought, for when he noticed them he straightened up in surprise and brought his team to a sudden halt.

"Why, if it isn't our friend from the railroad train!" remarked Jack, with a smile.

"Well, I never!" declared Herman Crouse, with a momentary look of pleasure on his face. "How did you young gentlemen get up here?" And then, of a sudden, a cloud came over his features.

"Can't you see we're out hunting?" answered Fred, pointing to the guns and game in their bags.

"Yes, yes! To be sure! I forgot that you came up here to go hunting. Have you had much success?"

"A little," answered Gif. "We've got a fox, and we've had quite a few rabbits, squirrels, quail and partridges."

"Not so bad." Herman Crouse looked anxiously at the boys and Jed Wallop. "Where are you staying?"

"At Cedar Lodge. It's several miles from here," answered Jack. And then he continued: "You belong around here? I thought you said you had a farm near Enwood."

"So I have. But during the winter I make a little extra money trucking. That's what I am doing now. I am feeling pretty good again."

"Where are you bound?" questioned Randy.

At this question Herman Crouse seemed somewhat disturbed.

"Oh, I've got to go up the road quite a distance," he answered evasively. "I might offer to give you a ride, only you can see I am loaded down as it is." And this statement was correct, for the boxsled was carrying about all the team could haul.

"We met some other Germans around here—four men who drive around in a big sleigh," said Jack boldly and looking Herman Crouse full in the eyes.

"Yes, yes! I know!" The eyes of the man fell for an instant. "I am not a German," he said somewhat lamely. "That is, I was born on the other side, but I came to this country before I was twenty-one, and now I am an American."

"Then you don't side with Germany in this war?"

"I don't side with the Kaiser. I am sorry for the common people, for they have had no say-so in this awful slaughter that is going on."

"Well, I'm glad to hear that you stick up for the good old U. S. A.!" cried Jack. "You know there are a good many Germans and German-Americans here who are the other way."

"I want nothing to do with them and nothing to do with war!" answered Herman Crouse. "I am only a hard-working man who wants to be left alone." He paused for an instant. "Don't imagine that I have forgotten what you did for me," he continued, with a little smile. "You were my very good friends, and I shall never forget it. Now, if you please, I must hurry on, because I want to get back home before it gets too dark. I wish you all the best of luck with your hunting;" and he took up the reins again.

"Do you know anything about the hunting in that direction?" questioned Randy, pointing to where the old Parkingham house was located.

"I do not think it is very good up there," was the quick reply. "And, anyway, if I were you gentlemen I would not go anywhere near the old house up there."

"Why not?" demanded Jed Wallop.

"The people who are staying there are very queer. They do not like any strangers around."

"Then you know them?" questioned Gif.

"Yes, I know them, but not very well. Some of them are German-Americans, like me, but they are not my friends. I would advise you to stay away from them. The hunting, anyway, is better elsewhere. Now good-bye and good luck." And thus speaking, Herman Crouse urged forward his team and continued on his way.

"I'll bet a new hat against a lemon that he is bound for the old Parkingham house!" exclaimed Randy, when the German was out of earshot.

"Let us follow him and make sure," returned his twin.

"All right," said Jack. "But we had better keep out of sight among the trees."

With so much timber standing around, this was an easy matter. Following Crouse, they saw the man at last turn in at the old house and drive around to where the barn was located. Then he got out of the boxsled and walked to a back door of the residence.

"Now I guess we'll find out if those Germans are back or not," announced Gif.

They waited for several minutes, and then the door was again opened and Herman Crouse came out, followed by two of the men the boys had previously seen. All three hurried down to the barn and there began to unload the boxsled. Then the boys saw the unknown Germans give Crouse some money. The three talked together for a few minutes in German, and then the owner of the boxsled drove away and the other Germans returned to the house.

"This is getting interesting," remarked Jack. "Of course, that hay was meant for the horses, but what do you suppose can be in those packing cases?"

"Come on around to the back of the barn, and maybe we can learn something further," said Fred.

"It's gettin' purty late, boys," announced Jed Wallop.

"If you want to go home, don't let us keep you," returned Gif, quickly.

"Well, I don't want to see any of you lads git into trouble," answered Wallop. "At the same time, I hate to leave my family alone after dark."

"Well, you go on, then," put in Jack quickly. "There are five of us, and I guess we can take care of ourselves, especially as we have our guns with us."

"O' course, everything may be perfectly reg'lar here," continued Jed Wallop. "Although, like you, I have my doubts. But unless you want me to stay, I'll git home." And a little later he took his departure.

Left to themselves, the Rovers and Gif watched their chance, and, unobserved, entered the big barn. Here they found that all of the packing cases which had been brought in by Herman Crouse had been placed out of sight under the hay.

"One thing is certain—they don't want any outsiders to know about these cases," remarked Jack.

Suddenly Fred, who was looking out of the doorway toward the house, uttered a low cry of alarm.

"Get under cover, fellows, just as quick as you can!" he said. "Three of those Germans are coming down here!"



Fred's announcement came as a surprise. The Germans were coming from the house so rapidly that there was no time to leave the barn, the back door being closed and having some packing cases and hay against it.

"Come on up in the loft!" cried Jack. "Be quick now!"

"Why not hide down here in the hay?" suggested Andy.

"Because they may try to get at those packing cases, and then they would probably discover us," was the reply. "Quick! This way!"

Gif was already acting on the oldest Rover boy's suggestion and going up a ladder nailed to one side of the barn. Randy and the others followed, Fred being the last.

At the top of the ladder was an opening to a large loft. Here there was more hay, and also some old farm implements which had evidently been hoisted there by means of a block and tackle.

"Hush now," warned Gif, and the five cadets tiptoed their way toward the hay, bent upon secreting themselves should it become necessary to do so.

The Germans carried two lanterns, for it was now quite dark in the barn. They were talking volubly in their native tongue, so that the cadets could understand very little of what was said. One man, a tall, burly individual, who was evidently more prosperous than the others, was addressed as Herr Bauermann, and he was the man mentioned by the woman who had refused to open the door and let Jack and Gif in.

Herr Bauermann had come out to inspect the contents of the packing cases brought in by Herman Crouse. He had the two other men open the cases and take out layers of excelsior so that he might look at what was underneath. He gave a grunt of satisfaction and nodded his head approvingly, at the same time continuing to speak in German.

All of the cadets were anxious to see what the boxes contained, and looked cautiously down the ladder opening and through some cracks in the loft flooring. All they could make out was some machinery, apparently electrical and similar to that in the other cases. There was also a large round package covered with heavy bagging, and this was found to contain more coils of wire of various sizes.

While the men were looking around one of them suddenly stooped and picked up something from the floor. He passed this to the others, at the same time making some remark which, of course, the lads could not understand.

"He's got a glove," whispered Jack.

"It's one of my gloves! I dropped it when we climbed the ladder," returned Randy in sudden alarm.

The finding of the glove interested the Germans very much. They looked all around the barn, and for a few minutes the cadets were fearful that they would come up in the loft. But then they evidently concluded that the glove had been dropped by Herman Crouse, and placed it on a shelf.

It was a good half hour before the Germans left the barn and returned to the house, and by that time the five cadets in the loft were almost frozen. They had been unable to move around and thus keep warm, and with the coming of night the thermometer was going down steadily.

"Come on! let us get out of here," said Fred, his teeth chattering. "If we don't move soon I'll be frozen stiff."

The boys came cautiously out of the barn and looked toward the house. Every curtain was tightly drawn, and lights shown only from the kitchen and the dining room of the old dwelling.

"Those fellows are going to get supper," said Randy, "and I move we go home and do likewise. We can't learn anything more standing here, and if we went to the door and showed ourselves those men might get very suspicious."

"All right! let's go back to the Lodge then," announced Jack. "Just the same, I'm going to investigate this matter further, and I'm not going to wait so very long either."

"Oh, I guess we all want to investigate these Germans," said Fred quickly. "Don't you remember how we helped to round up those submarine rascals?" he added, referring to an affair which has been related in detail in the volume entitled, "The Rover Boys Under Canvas."

Losing no more time, the five cadets hurried down the rough mountain road, and then struck off through the woods on a bee line for Cedar Lodge. This time Gif took good care that they should not become lost. But it was a long wearisome journey, and before the Lodge was reached every one of the lads was almost ready to drop from exhaustion. They were bitterly cold, and some of them thought their ears or noses must be frozen.

"There's the light!" cried Fred at last, and he pointed to a candle which Spouter had had Stowell place in one of the windows.

"Spouter must have done that to help us to find the way," said Jack. "Very thoughtful of him."

As soon as they were a little closer they set up a ringing shout, and at once Henry Stowell came to the door and flung it open. All were glad enough to troop in and throw themselves down in comfortable seats before the blazing fire.

"Me for a big hot supper!" announced Randy. "And I can't get it inside of me any too quick!"

"Ditto right here," added Fred.

"And don't forget to pass me a large portion, please," came from Andy.

Under Spouter's directions, Stowell had already set a pot of water to boiling, and had likewise baked a large pan of pork and beans and made another pan of biscuits. Even though he had asked the sneak of Colby Hall to work, Spouter had spoken kindly to Stowell and given him some first-class advice, and this was evidently having its effect.

"I've got my skates, and I'm going to skate down to Henryville to-morrow," said Stowell. "From there I can take the public sleigh to Timminsport, and go home that way. Wish I was there now!"

Soon supper was under way, and, while eating, the other cadets related to their chum what they had seen and heard around the old house in the woods.

"There sure is something wrong up there," declared Spouter, whose sprained ankle was much better. "Those fellows are up to no good. I think, Jack, we ought to notify the authorities."

"We talked that over, Spouter; and we have concluded that we will take another look around the place first," was the reply.

The others questioned Stowell again, but could get little further information from the young cadet. He was satisfied, however, that Werner had been doing some queer things for Tony Duval, and that Bill Glutts had assisted his crony.

"There is something strange about the whole business," said he. "Once or twice I asked Bill or Gabe about it, but I never could get any satisfaction. I sometimes think carrying that message was only a bluff, and that the Germans were merely trying to test out Bill and Gabe, to see if they could not get them to do something else."

In the morning came a big surprise. It was snowing and blowing furiously, and to go hunting or to do anything else outside was practically out of the question. The windows were coated with ice.

"I guess I'll have to stay with you fellows for awhile," remarked Stowell dolefully. "I wouldn't dare to try to get to Henryville in such a snowstorm as this."

"You stay right where you are, Henry, and make yourself comfortable," said Gif. "As long as you're willing to do your share of the work around here, you shall have your share of whatever there is to eat."

"It's very nice of you fellows to treat me this way after all that has happened," said the young cadet. "Of course I'll do my full share of the work. When I was with Bill and Gabe they always wanted me to do everything."

The storm continued all that day, the wind, if anything, increasing in violence. All the boys could do was to keep the fire going and make themselves as comfortable as possible inside the Lodge. They read, wrote letters, and played games, and also tried their hands at more candy-making, and also the baking of some pies and cookies.

"Gee! those pies are pretty good," announced Spouter, after a piece of one of them had been passed to him.

"They ought to be good," returned Fred. "My face was nearly burned off baking them."

"And please don't ask me to make any more doughnuts," announced Randy. "If I had to run a bake shop, I'd charge about twice as much as the regular bakers do."

"He'd charge for the hole in the doughnut," came from his twin, with a grin.

During the day they had once or twice heard a sound outside that was new to them. They were not sure, but Jack thought it might be a wolf, and to this Gif agreed.

"There are wolves prowling around here," said the latter. "But I never knew of any to come close to the Lodge."

"More than likely he's hungry and wants something to eat, and has smelled our stuff cooking," ventured Fred.

They had an early supper, and then Gif said they would have to get in another supply of wood from the shed before retiring.

"And we might as well get in a good supply while we are at it," he added. "If this snow keeps coming down we may not be able to get out at all to-morrow unless we do a lot of shoveling."

It was no easy job to get to the woodshed, for the wind was still blowing furiously. When they opened the back door of the Lodge the snow came swirling in, almost blinding them.

"No use of you fellows trying it," announced Jack to Fred and Stowell.

"That's it," said Gif. "Four of us going out will be more than enough. You fellows can push the snow away from the door if you want to."

With their overcoats buttoned up tightly and their caps pulled well down over their ears, Gif, Jack and the twins sallied forth in the direction of the woodshed, which was about fifty yards away. They had all they could do to make any progress, and when the shed was gained they were almost winded.

"Say, we were foolish not to get this wood before," panted Gif.

"Well, there is no use of finding fault now," answered Jack. "Come on. Now we have packed down the path a little it won't be quite so hard."

The four boys made two trips to the woodshed, each time bringing all the logs they could carry. Then Randy wanted to call a halt.

"I'm about played out," said he. "Let us get the rest in to-morrow."

"That's just what I say," gasped his twin. "No use of killing ourselves."

"I'm going to make one more trip," said Gif.

"And so am I," added Jack.

The pair stepped out of the house with the others watching them. In a minute more they disappeared from view in the storm and the darkness.

"Gee! but it's going to be one awful night," cried Fred.

"You've said it!" returned Randy. Then, of a sudden, he gave a start. "What's that?" he ejaculated.

What he referred to was a long mournful howl which arose on the storm-laden air. This howl was followed by another, and then by a third.

"It's wolves!" cried Fred.

"Look! Look!" ejaculated Andy. "Look out there, will you? A whole pack of wolves!"

"Yes, and they're coming right for the house!" wailed Stowell. "Shut that door quick, or they'll jump in on us!"



"Don't shut the door!" cried Randy. "Remember, Gif and Jack are outside."

"Hello out there!" yelled Spouter, hobbling to the door in the excitement. "Beware of the wolves!"

Whether his voice carried to Jack and Gif through the storm they could not tell. Then came another howl from the wolves, this time in concert, and suddenly two of the slinking forms appeared close to the open door. The eyes of the beasts appeared so baneful to the cadets that they quickly slammed the barrier shut and bolted it.

"But we can't leave Jack and Gif out there!" cried Fred. "Remember! they are unarmed."

"Get the guns!" ordered Spouter. "Hurry up! We'll give those wolves all they are looking for."

He hobbled across the floor to his own weapon, resting against the wall in a corner, and looked to see if it was loaded. The others also made a wild dash to arm themselves.

In the meanwhile the howls of the wolves kept increasing. Two more of the beasts had come up close to the Lodge, so that the total number was now five.

"Oh, oh! do you think they'll break into the house and eat us up?" wailed Stowell.

"If they break in they'll get one mighty warm reception," answered Andy. "Come on! let us open that door and go after them," he continued boldly.

Now that they were armed the Rovers and Spouter felt much safer, and they lost no time in getting back to the door which they had just closed.

"Oh, dear! don't open the door," pleaded Stowell. "They'll jump right in on top of us!"

"Not after we give 'em a few doses of shot," answered Spouter. "Here, Henry, you stand behind the door along with Fred. You, Andy and Randy, fire as soon as you catch sight of the wolves. I'll reserve my shot for any beast that tries to enter."

"Wait!" called out Randy suddenly. "When you shoot at the wolves be sure to aim low. Otherwise the shots may carry through the storm and hit Gif or Jack."

The door was opened cautiously by Fred, Stowell being too frightened to assist. Those ready to fire saw several of the wolves in a bunch less than fifteen feet away. The beasts had found some scraps of food which had been thrown out of the bungalow and were pawing for more in the snow.

"Bang! bang!" went the shotguns in the hands of the twins. The wolves gave loud yelps of pain, and one leaped high in the air. Another uttered a fierce snarl, and then, seeing the young hunters, made a dash directly for them.

It was a moment of great peril, for the wolf had been wounded just enough to make it tremendously ugly. Its eyes gleamed wickedly, and it showed every tooth in its wide-open mouth.

But Spouter was on guard. He waited until the wolf was less than five feet from the door, and then blazed away. The charge of shot was so heavy that the beast fell back, its neck completely shattered.

"Now give 'em a second barrel, boys!" cried Spouter, and a moment later three more reports rang out.

Then, unable to resist the temptation to get into the fight, Fred caught up his gun and also fired, managing to catch one of the fleeing beasts in the hind quarters.

"I guess that's the last of those wolves," remarked Spouter. "I don't believe they'll come around here again all winter."

The wolf shot through the neck was dead, while at least two of the others were so badly wounded they could scarcely drag themselves away through the storm. The others disappeared as if by magic, racing along at the top of their speed.

"Hello there!" came from out of the storm. "How did you make out with those wolves?" It was Jack who was calling, and a moment later he appeared with Gif following.

"There is what is left of the pack!" cried Randy, pointing to the dead wolf. "Spouter brought that one down, and we managed to wound at least two others."

"And those that could do it left quicker than them came," added his twin.

"Good for you, Spouter!" cried Jack. "Evidently spraining your ankle didn't interfere with your marksmanship."

"Huh! anybody could hit a target if he was right on top of it," answered the other cadet; nevertheless Spouter was immensely pleased over his success in laying the big wolf low.

The carcass of the dead beast was dragged into the entryway, and then Gif and Jack brought a few more sticks of wood from the shed.

"We'll have to skin that wolf," said Gif. "Spouter, you can get a very nice rug out of it, or maybe use the fur for some kind of a garment."

"I'll send it home," said Spouter. "I know it will please the folks very much."

It was not until some days later that the storm cleared away sufficiently for the boys to go out once more. Then, as they were running short of supplies, they decided to accompany Stowell down to Henryville, going as before on their skates.

"I must say I rather hate to leave you fellows," declared the little cadet. "You've treated me very nicely—much better than I was treated by Bill and Gabe. When we get back to Colby Hall I won't forget it."

"Well, you turn over a new leaf, Henry, and join the right crowd, and you'll get along much better," answered Jack. "It will never do a fellow any good to train with chaps like Glutts and Werner or with fellows like Nappy Martell and Slugger Brown."

They found quite a little snow on the river and had often to plough across the drifts on their skates as best they could. But there were many long, cleared spaces, and here all of the cadets made good time, for even Stowell was a fairly good skater.

"You'll be just in time, Henry," said Gif, as they came in sight of the town. "It's now half-past ten, and, if I remember rightly, the public sleigh for Timminsport leaves at eleven o'clock."

Gif's surmise proved correct and all walked over to the hotel from which the sleigh for the other town started. It was an easy matter for Stowell to obtain accommodations in this turnout, and soon he had said good-bye and was bound for home.

"I'm mighty glad he is going to give up training with Glutts and Werner," remarked Fred, and the others agreed with him.

The boys had made out a list of what they wanted, and, leaving the hotel, they went over to the general store where they had traded before. The proprietor was glad to see them, especially when he found out they needed so many things.

"I had a man in here last night asking about you," said the storekeeper when he was busy putting up their things.

"Asking about us?" repeated Jack. "Who was he?"

"I don't know. He was in here once before, two or three weeks ago asking about the different hunting lodges and lumber camps in this vicinity. He didn't give any name, and he didn't say what his business was."

"What sort of looking man was he?" asked Gif.

"Oh, just an ordinary looking sort of fellow—not very tall and not very short either. He had a clean-shaven face and dark hair and dark eyes."

"How was he dressed?" questioned Fred.

"He wore a dark grey overcoat and a slouch hat and fur gloves. He bought a couple of my best cigars, and stood around awhile, talking about the people who came to the store to trade. Then he asked about Cedar Lodge, and he wanted to know all about who was staying there. When he heard the name Rover he was very much interested, and when I told him you were a bunch of cadets from Colby Hall he said he would have to look you up."

"Maybe he's a friend of ours!" cried Randy. "Too bad you didn't get the name."

"I don't know as he was any particular friend. You see, he asked about some of the other places around here too—about Jed Wallop's place, and those shacks belonging to Tony Duval, and about the old Hunker cabin and the deserted Parkingham house, and the old Crosby camp, and those shacks down at Miller's saw mill, and a lot of places like that. I thought maybe he had an idea of buying some place and locating here."

"He may have been nothing but a real estate agent," declared Andy.

"What did you tell him about the old Parkingham house?" questioned Jack curiously.

"I told him a bunch of foreigners were staying up there—I thought possibly they might be Germans trying to hide themselves so as to keep out of the draft. Say! do you suppose he might be a Government agent rounding up the slackers?" continued the storekeeper, with interest.

"I'm sure I don't know," answered Jack. "If he calls again ask him his name, and if he is a friend of ours tell him we would be glad to see him up at the lodge at any time."

"All right, I'll do that."

Had they not been hampered by so many bundles and packages, some of which were quite heavy, the cadets would have remained out hunting for the rest of the day. But as it was, they decided to skate directly home and obtain a belated lunch at the Lodge, and then, if they felt like it, go out later.

"We're up here just for the fun of it, so there is no necessity of being too strenuous," said Gif. "We want to go back to Colby Hall feeling really refreshed."

They had reached the river once more, and were busy putting on their skates, when they heard a shout behind them. Turning, they beheld a man who, as soon as he saw they were looking in his direction, waved his hand at them.

"Excuse me, but are some of you the Rover boys?" he questioned, as he came closer.

"Yes," answered Jack. "I am one of the Rovers, and these are my cousins," and he indicated the others.

"I was up at the store, and the storekeeper told me you had just gone away and were bound up the river. If you don't mind, I would like to have a talk with you."

The man was of medium size, with dark hair and dark eyes, and as he wore a dark grey overcoat and a slouch hat, the cadets immediately put him down for the individual mentioned to them by the storekeeper. He had a quiet smile on his face which was reassuring to all of the lads.

"What is it you want to know?" questioned Fred.

"Are you the Rovers from Colby Hall—the young men who had so much to do with rounding up those Germans at Camp Barlight and capturing that hidden submarine?"


"And you also helped in rounding up those other fellows who were trying to put through some deal with two men named Brown and Martell?"

"We did," said Andy.

"It was a fine thing to do, and it shows that you fellows are true blue," returned the man, with satisfaction.

"Are you a Secret Service man?" questioned Jack suddenly.

"Why do you want to know that, Rover?" was the counter question.

"If you belong to the Secret Service you are just the man we are looking for."



"So you want to see a Secret Service man, eh?" said the newcomer, after a slight pause. "What's in the wind?"

"We think we have discovered something that the Government ought to know about," answered Jack slowly.

"But there isn't any use of our saying anything about it unless you are really a public official of some sort or other," broke in Randy hastily.

After this there followed quite a conversation, the newcomer leading the boys on to tell what they knew concerning the Germans at the old Parkingham house, and also what they knew about Herman Crouse and Tony Duval.

"I think I am on the right track at last," said the man. "And since you have told me so much I will return your confidences by stating that I am a Secret Service officer. We had an idea that the Germans might try something of that sort in this vicinity, and I am pretty sure now that we are on the right track."

"Try something of what sort?" questioned Andy.

"We received word in a roundabout way over six weeks ago that an attempt would be made by the Germans to establish a radio station somewhere along this portion of the coast. The hills back of Timminsport and Henryville would make an ideal spot for such a station."

"Do you mean a radio station from which they could send wireless messages all the way to Germany?" cried Fred.

"Oh, no! Not such a distance as that. Such a station would require more power than they would be able to generate without heavy and complicated machinery. But it was thought they might establish a lesser station from which they could send wireless messages to any of their submarines or warships that might be sailing within a given distance of our shore."

"You surely have struck it!" cried Randy. "Those coils of wire and the electrical things we saw in the packing cases up at their barn prove it."

The Secret Service agent, who gave his name as William Pollock, questioned them still further, and then said he would get into immediate communication with his superiors.

"You'll hear more from me in the near future," said he, when the talk had come to an end. "I'll probably be at Cedar Lodge in two or three days. In the meantime, if you want to do Uncle Sam a real service say nothing at all to any outsider of what you have discovered, or of your meeting with me."

To this the cadets readily consented, and then William Pollock hurried off, to obtain a private turnout in which to get to Timminsport as speedily as possible.

"Now I guess there will be something doing up at the Parkingham house before long," declared Gif, when they were once more on their way to the Lodge.

"Yes, and there will be something doing at Tony Duval's place too," returned Jack.

"I wish we could be on hand to see what happens!" cried Randy wistfully.

"Perhaps, if the Secret Service men come up here to make an arrest, they will allow us to go along with them," added his twin.

On account of his ankle, which was still somewhat weak, Spouter had remained at the bungalow. When the others returned he listened with keen interest to all they had to tell.

"Gee, that's great!" he exclaimed. "If those Germans are really guilty I hope the government officials round them up in short order."

"Yes, and round up Tony Duval, too," added Fred.

"What about Glutts and Werner?" questioned Andy.

"Well, if they have been guilty of any treachery toward our Government, they ought to suffer," was the way Gif expressed himself.

"Do you know, I'll feel rather sorry for that Herman Crouse, if he is mixed up in this," said Jack. "He seemed to be a pretty decent sort."

"Well, in these war times a man has either got to be for Uncle Sam or against him," answered Spouter.

Feeling certain that William Pollock would be unable to do anything that afternoon, the boys got a hasty lunch, and late in the afternoon went out for some more hunting. They tramped a distance of over two miles through the snow, and managed to bring down several rabbits and likewise a pheasant and some smaller birds.

"I hope we don't see any more of those wolves," said Fred, when they had started to return to the Lodge.

"Look! look!" cried Gif suddenly.

He had scarcely spoken when Jack raised his gun and fired. Then the oldest Rover boy fired again, both shots being taken before the others could get their guns into action.

"It's a fox!" cried Randy. "Jack, I guess you got him, too!"

"I hope so," was Jack's answer as he stopped to reload his weapon.

The animal he had fired at had been running across a small opening between the trees. At the first shot the game had made a turn, and at the second had given a leap and disappeared into a small hollow filled with snow.

When the boys reached the hollow all they could see at first was the snow which had been kicked in several directions. But then they caught sight of a bushy tail peeping forth from the white covering.

"It's a fox, all right enough!" exclaimed Gif.

"Look out there! He may not be dead," warned Fred. "If he's alive and you touch him he may give you quite a bite."

They advanced with caution, and Gif turned the animal over with the end of his gun barrel. He exposed a large fox of a silvery grey color. It was quite dead.

"A silver fox!" came from Andy.

"Jack, you've had your wish," said Gif. "It's a silver fox, all right enough."

They dragged it forth from the hollow and examined the animal with much interest. The fur was somewhat reddish next to the hide, but the tips were white and silver grey.

"A beautiful piece of fur, that's certain," said Gif. "Your folks will be glad to get it."

"How about Ruth Stevenson getting it," said Randy, with a grin; and at this remark Jack blushed.

A part of the next day was spent in skinning both the fox and the wolf. The boys wondered if they would see anything of the Secret Service agent, but he did not show himself.

"They may take their own time about working up this case," remarked Spouter. "They may want to get just the right kind of evidence before they close in on the rascals."

Another day went by, and again the lads went forth to try their skill both at hunting and at fishing. This time Spouter went along, and while the others were fishing with more or less success the orator of Colby Hall had the honor of stirring up a brook mink of fair size and laying it low.

"You've got a nice little neck-piece there for somebody," said Jack, as he looked at the soft fur of the mink. "You can count yourself lucky."

Another Sunday was passed in camp, but still the Secret Service agent did not show himself. On the Sabbath day Jed Wallop came down to see them. They said nothing to the old hunter of what was in the wind.

"I am sorry to hear your vacation is drawin' to a close," said Jed Wallop. "But you ought to be purty well satisfied over what you've got. It ain't everybody that can git a silver fox and other foxes too, and a wolf and a brook mink, not to say anything about rabbits, squirrels, partridges, and sech. I think you lads have done wonderful well."

"I think so myself," answered Gif.

Monday morning the young hunters took it easy, and it was not until after lunch that they thought of going out once again with their guns.

"Might as well make the best of what time is left to us," was the way Fred expressed himself. "Before long we'll have to be at the Colby Hall grind again."

"Don't mention school to me," answered Andy. "This kind of a life suits me down to the heels."

The boys were almost ready to leave the Lodge when they heard the jingle of sleigh bells and to their surprise saw a large sled approaching filled with the bundled-up figures of men.

"Hello, it must be those Secret Service agents!" cried Gif. "Now maybe there will be something doing!"

All watched the approach of the big sleigh, and were then surprised to see that the turnout contained the four Germans they had met before, and likewise Tony Duval and a sixth man, who was a stranger to them.

"Are you at home?" called out the largest of the Germans, the man named Bauermann.

"Looks as if we were, doesn't it?" answered Jack, as he stood in the doorway with the others peering over his shoulders.

"We would like to have a talk with you, young man," went on Emil Bauermann, with a frown on his face. "We came over here on purpose to see you."

"If you young men have been trying to make trouble for me you shall suffer for it," came in a growl from Tony Duval.

"Who said we were trying to make trouble for you, Duval?" demanded Gif.

"Bah! you cannot fool me, Garrison," said the hunter wrathfully. Evidently he was greatly excited.

"Duval, let me handle this matter," remonstrated Emil Bauermann. "We want to have a serious talk with you young men," he added to the boys.

All of the occupants of the big sleigh sprang out in the snow, and without waiting for an invitation to do so stalked into the Lodge.

The Germans were evidently in a bad humor, and they glowered at the cadets in a way that made them feel far from comfortable.

"What is it you want?" demanded Gif, not liking the manner of their intrusion.

"We want to come to an understanding," growled one of the Germans.

"You cannot play tricks behind our backs without taking the consequences," grumbled another.

"Maybe you think you're smart, but you'll find that we are smarter," added a third. "Many a man has been so smart that he has stuck his head into the noose."

"Let me handle this matter," broke in Emil Bauermann, and then uttered some words in German. An animated discussion in that tongue followed, the cadets understanding next to nothing of what was said.

"I do not like the looks of this at all," whispered Randy to Jack. "I believe they came here to do us harm."

"That's the way it looks to me too," whispered Fred. "They must have got wind in some way of our being up around their place."

The Germans had turned to the strange man who was with them, and when they pointed to the cadets this stranger nodded. Evidently he was identifying the boys.

"It is as I thought," said Emil Bauermann sternly, as he glared at the young hunters. "This man saw you spying around our place and around the Duval place. What do you mean by such conduct? Explain yourselves or take my word for it, it will go hard with you," and he shook a menacing fist in their faces.



It must be confessed that the six cadets did not like the menacing attitude of the five Germans and Tony Duval. Evidently one of the men—the stranger—had been spying on them, and he had carried his information to the others.

"That's right, Bauermann, make them explain themselves," growled Tony Duval. "And don't be too easy on 'em, either!"

"See here, you have no right to come in here without being invited," said Gif angrily.

"Poof! what are you but a pack of silly schoolboys?" growled the German. "Perhaps you thought you were doing a wonderful thing spying around our house and our barn? You didn't know we had someone watching you all the time."

"Yes, and watching you also when you spied on Duval," broke in another of the men.

"Well, what do you want?" questioned Randy, after a brief and ominous pause.

"We want you to tell us just what you have discovered and what you propose to do about it," answered Emil Bauermann. "And remember, I want the plain truth! No beating about the bush!" and he shook a warning finger at the cadets.

While the man was speaking Jack had stepped to the rear of the crowd. Now he made a movement to pick up his gun, but at this one of the Germans rushed forward, pulling a pistol from his pocket as he did so.

"Stop that! Don't you dare to touch that gun!" the man roared threateningly.

"You can't order us around in our own house," declared Gif. "If you are going to talk like that you can get out."

"We'll stay as long as we please; and if you boys don't behave yourselves, so much the worse for you," answered Emil Bauermann. "We are going to get to the bottom of your tricks, and do it now."

"Suppose we have nothing to say," said Andy.

"But you will say something," stormed another of the Germans. "If you don't—well, you will take the consequences, that's all."

After this the Germans did their best to make the cadets give all the particulars regarding their visit to Tony Duval's shack, and also to the house and barn on the Parkingham place. They were anxious to ascertain just how much the boys knew, and also how much they suspected.

But the cadets were on their guard, and refused to answer many of the questions put to them. This infuriated both the Germans and Duval, and for the time being it looked as if a fight was coming and the cadets might get the worst of it. All of the men were armed, and they did not permit any of the young hunters to touch their weapons. Instead, one of the men was ordered by Bauermann to confiscate the guns. And this he did, placing them in a heap outside of the Lodge.

Seeing they could get very little out of the cadets, and suspecting that the lads were getting ready to notify the authorities, the Germans held another consultation in their own tongue and then called Duval to one side.

"Just as I expected, we'll have to make prisoners of them for the time being," said Emil Bauermann to Duval. "We can take them up in the mountains, to that log cabin you spoke about."

"But we can't take them in the sleigh," answered Duval.

"Then you and two of my men will have to march them up there on foot. We can come up later and bring you supplies."

"Do you think it's as bad as all that?" questioned Tony Duval nervously.

"I do! They have learned too much! And if word of this got to the authorities it might go hard with all of us."

Thereupon the six cadets were ordered to get their belongings together and prepare to leave the Lodge. All demurred, but the Germans and Duval showed their weapons and acted so threateningly that there was nothing left to do but to obey.

"This is the worst yet!" groaned Fred. "Where in the world do they intend to take us?"

"Don't ask me," replied Randy dismally.

"If only we could get at our guns," whispered Gif.

"Let's make a dash for them," suggested Jack.

"Yes, and get shot down on the spot!" returned Spouter.

With their belongings over their shoulders, the six cadets had just been marched out of the Lodge when there came an unexpected interruption. Glancing toward the river, Jack saw a body of men approaching. They were at least eight or ten in number, and the man in the lead was William Pollock.

"Look! look!" whispered the oldest Rover boy to the others. "There is that Secret Service agent, and he has an armed posse with him."

"Grab the guns and make for the Lodge," suggested Randy.

A shout came from the woods as Pollock approached. This surprised the Germans and Duval, and, noting the number of men coming on, they were bewildered and did not know what to do. It was just such a diversion as the boys were hoping for, and in a trice they had rushed for their guns and secured their weapons. Then Jack sent up a shout.

"Mr. Pollock! Mr. Pollock! This way! Here are those Germans now! And Tony Duval is with them!"

The things that happened next came so rapidly that it is almost impossible to describe them. At first the Germans and Duval sought to make resistance, and several shots were fired by them. The boys and some of the Secret Service posse fired in return, and Duval was struck in the arm and one of the Germans got a bullet through his leg. Then the Germans and Duval made a rush for the sleigh in an endeavor to escape.

But William Pollock and his men had handled such desperate characters before. Two of them leaped in front of the moving horses and stopped them, while the others surrounded the men in the sleigh and pointed their guns at the fellows.

"Hands up, all of you!" ordered Pollock sternly. "Quick now, if you don't want us to fire!"

At heart the Germans were cowards, and even though they still held their pistols, when they saw the uplifted guns of, not alone the posse, but also the cadets, pointed at them, they raised their hands without further protest, and Tony Duval did the same; and thus the brief but sharp encounter came to a termination.

"You are making a terrible mistake," said Emil Bauermann lamely. "We have done no wrong."

"You can tell your story in court," answered William Pollock briefly, and thereafter he made the Germans and Duval give up all their weapons. Then he had some of his men search the evildoers and take from them whatever papers and documents they carried. When he had a list of their names he looked well satisfied.

"Bauermann, we have been trying to round you up for the past six months," said he sternly. "You know you are wanted for that little affair in Philadelphia." And at this the German looked much disturbed.

The cadets were exceedingly thankful for the opportune arrival of the Secret Service man and his posse.

"Well, I told you I would come," said he. "I was delayed a little though. You know in these war times matters do not always move as swiftly as one would want. A good deal of the credit for this haul goes to you boys," he added with a smile.

Much to the surprise of the cadets, in the crowd of newcomers was Herman Crouse. The German-American farmer seemed well satisfied with what had taken place.

"Mr. Pollock knows that I am true-blue," said he. "That Bauermann and the rest of his gang thought they could use me. But I have fooled them nicely. There is but one country for old Herman Crouse, and that is the good old United States of America," and his face beamed as he spoke.

"That's the right way to talk!" cried Jack. "You don't know how pleased I am to know the man we hauled out of that train wreck is true-blue."

"If we had thought you were a traitorous German, we might have left you to shift for yourself," added Randy. "Although maybe I wouldn't have had the heart to do that, either," he added, on second thought.

After the Germans and Duval had been made prisoners they were left at the Lodge in charge of two of the Secret Service men and the cadets. Then William Pollock and the other men took the sleigh and lost no time in making their way to the old Parkingham house. They had some trouble with the old German housekeeper, but wasted no words with her and finally compelled her to tell all she knew. The old house was ransacked from top to bottom for evidence against the Germans, after which the posse turned its attention to the contents of the barn.

The results were as William Pollock had anticipated. These Germans, aided by a number of others and also by Duval, were getting ready to erect a fair-sized radio station in the woods behind the old house. Duval had carried many messages for them and also done some trucking. He was hand-in-glove with them, willing to make money at any cost. He told later that both his mother and his grand-mother had been Germans.

As Herman Crouse had said, he had been used to do some trucking for the Germans, and had likewise been asked to perform a number of errands. But gradually he had become suspicious of the men, and was thinking seriously of notifying the authorities when the cadets appeared on the scene.

"And what about Bill Glutts and Gabe Werner?" questioned Jack of William Pollock later on, when the Secret Service men were getting ready to take the Germans and Duval away.

"I can't tell you all the particulars about those two young fellows," answered the Secret Service man. "The Germans evidently used them, but whether Glutts and Werner knew the truth of what the Germans were doing remains to be found out."

It may be added here that Glutts and Werner were very much scared over the position in which they found themselves, and when the Germans and Duval came up for a hearing the parents of the two young fellows had all they could do to convince the authorities that Gabe and Bill were really patriotic.

"Well, I'm mighty glad we are clear of those Germans, and of Tony Duval, too," said Gif, after the evildoers had been taken away. "Now maybe we can finish our outing in peace."

And this they did. Jed Wallop came over to see them and went out with the young hunters a number of times. No larger game appeared, but they brought down a number of rabbits and squirrels, as well as partridges and some smaller birds, and with this they had to be content.

During those days the boys received several letters from the girls, and also a letter from Mrs. Tom Rover enclosing one from her husband in France. This latter epistle stated that the writer and his brother Sam had recovered from the shell wounds received, and that Dick Rover was no longer suffering from the effects of the gas attack he had experienced.

"Gee! this is the best news yet," cried Jack, with satisfaction.

"You've said it!" came from the twins; and Fred's face also showed his satisfaction.

"Well, we've certainly had a wonderful outing," declared Randy.

"And how many queer things have happened!" added his twin. "I don't believe we'll ever have as much excitement as this again."

But in this surmise Andy was mistaken. There were many happenings still in store for the boys, and what some of them were will be related in our next volume, to be entitled "The Rover Boys in the Land of Luck; Or, Stirring Adventures in the Oil Fields."

"Well, we'll be going back to Colby Hall before long," said Gif, that evening.

"But first you'll have to testify against those Germans and Tony Duval," answered Spouter.

"Good old Colby Hall!" cried Jack. "I don't know but what I'll be glad enough to get back there, after all, and see all the other fellows."

"And see the girls of Clearwater Hall, too," put in Andy slyly.

"We'll certainly have some stories to tell—how we brought down all that game," came from Fred, his eyes glistening.

Then in the best of good humor the boys started singing one of their favorite school songs. And here we will leave them and say good-bye.


Other books published by GROSSET & DUNLAP, New York

This Isn't All!

Would you like to know what became of the good friends you have made in this book?

Would you like to read other stories continuing their adventures and experiences, or other books quite as entertaining by the same author?

On the reverse side of the wrapper which comes with this book, you will find a wonderful list of stories which you can buy at the same store where you got this book.

Don't throw away the Wrapper

Use it as a handy catalog of the books you want some day to have. But in case you do mislay it, write to the Publishers for a complete catalog.

* * * * *

BOOKS BY ARTHUR M. WINFIELD (Edward Stratemeyer)







* * * * *



Illustrated. Every Volume Complete in Itself

The Hardy Boys are sons of a celebrated American detective, and during vacations and their off time from school they help their father by hunting down clues themselves.

THE TOWER TREASURE—A dying criminal confessed that his loot had been secreted "in the tower." It remained for the Hardy Boys to clear up the mystery.

THE HOUSE ON THE CLIFF—Mr. Hardy started to investigate—and disappeared! An odd tale, with plenty of excitement.

THE SECRET OF THE OLD MILL—Counterfeit money was in circulation, and the limit was reached when Mrs. Hardy took some from a stranger. A tale full of thrills.

THE MISSING CHUMS—Two of the Hardy Boys' chums disappear and are almost rescued by their friends when all are captured. A thrilling story of adventure.

HUNTING FOR HIDDEN GOLD—In tracing some stolen gold the trail leads the boys to an abandoned mine, and there things start to happen.

THE SHORE ROAD MYSTERY—Automobiles were disappearing most mysteriously from the Shore Road. It remained for the Hardy Boys to solve the mystery.

THE SECRET OF THE CAVES—When the boys reached the caves they came unexpectedly upon a queer old hermit.

THE MYSTERY OF CABIN ISLAND—A story of queer adventures on a rockbound island.

THE GREAT AIRPORT MYSTERY—The Hardy Boys solve the mystery of the disappearance of some valuable mail.

WHAT HAPPENED AT MIDNIGHT—The boys follow a trail that ends in a strange and exciting situation.

WHILE THE CLOCK TICKED—The Hardy Boys aid in vindicating a man who has been wrongly accused of a crime.

FOOTPRINTS UNDER THE WINDOW—The Smuggling of Chinese into this country is the basis of this story in which the boys find thrills and excitement aplenty.

* * * * *



Illustrated. Each Volume Complete in Itself.

No subject has so thoroughly caught the imagination of young America as aviation. This series has been inspired by recent daring feats of the air, and is dedicated to Lindbergh, Byrd, Chamberlin and other heroes of the skies.

OVER THE OCEAN TO PARIS; or, Ted Scott's Daring Long Distance Flight.

RESCUED IN THE CLOUDS; or, Ted Scott, Hero of the Air.

OVER THE ROCKIES WITH THE AIR MAIL; or, Ted Scott Lost in the Wilderness.

FIRST STOP HONOLULU; or, Ted Scott Over the Pacific.

THE SEARCH FOR THE LOST FLYERS; or, Ted Scott Over the West Indies.

SOUTH OF THE RIO GRANDE; or, Ted Scott On a Secret Mission.

ACROSS THE PACIFIC; or, Ted Scott's Hop to Australia.

THE LONE EAGLE OF THE BORDER; or, Ted Scott and the Diamond Smugglers.

FLYING AGAINST TIME; or, Breaking the Ocean to Ocean Record.

OVER THE JUNGLE TRAILS; or, Ted Scott and the Missing Explorers.

LOST AT THE SOUTH POLE; or, Ted Scott in Blizzard Land.

THROUGH THE AIR TO ALASKA; or, Ted Scott's Search in Nugget Valley.

FLYING TO THE RESCUE; or, Ted Scott and the Big Dirigible.

DANGER TRAILS OF THE SKY; or, Ted Scott's Great Mountain Climb.

FOLLOWING THE SUN SHADOW; or, Ted Scott and the Great Eclipse.

BATTLING THE WIND; or, Ted Scott Flying Around Cape Horn.

* * * * *



In these thrilling stories of outdoor life the hero is a young lumberjack who is a crack rifle shot. While tracking game in the Maine woods he does some rich hunters a great service. They become interested in him and take him on various hunting expeditions in this country and abroad. Bob learns what it is to face not only wildcats, foxes and deer but also bull moose, Rocky Mountain grizzly bears and many other species of big game.






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