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Kiddie the Scout by Robert Leighton

Have I gotter say 'your highness


While

Abe and Isa were heartily welcoming the unexpected return of Kiddie, and plying him with a multitude of questions, young Rube Carter watched them from the doorway of the bunk house.

Rube was painfully bashful of this newly-arrived stranger, whom he regarded merely as a traveller passing along the Salt Lake Trail. Yet he was curiously fascinated by the man who owned such a beautiful horse and who knew his way so unerringly about Birkenshaw's camp.

The more he watched, the more the boy was perplexed.

By all appearances the stranger was a person of very great importance; and yet there were Gideon, Mr. Blagg, and Abe Harum talking and laughing with him familiarly, as if he were their intimate friend and they his equals!

Presently all four of them glanced towards the doorway where the boy was standing. Abe Harum left the little group and strode forward in advance.

"Rube," he called, "you gotter come along right now an' be interdooced ter Lord St. Olave. He's just pinin' ter know you."

"Lord Saint Olave?" repeated Rube. "Gee! that's a mouthful! A lord, is he? I was guessin' he couldn't be no real frontier scout, spite of his outfit. Say, what'm I ter call him? Have I gotter say 'your highness,' or 'your ex'lency,' or what?"

"No, nothin'

ceremonious," Abe assured him. "You drop in a 'sir' now an' again, like; an' you takes off your hat when he puts out his hand. Come along!"

He drew the boy forward. Kiddie advanced. Rube took off his hat and dropped it.

"This is Rube," said Abe, and to the boy he added: "This is the Right Hon'rable the Earl of St. Olave--better known along this yer trail as Kiddie--Kiddie of Birkenshaw's--Kiddie of the Camp."

Rube drew back in astonishment.

"_Kiddie?_" he cried. "Oh, that's diff'rent; that's a whole lot diff'rent. Why didn't yer put me wise at first? I know th' name of Kiddie. Ought to. I've heard it often 'nough. Real proud ter see you, sir," he added, taking Kiddie's outstretched hand.

"What d'you know 'bout him, boy?" inquired Isa Blagg.

"Heaps, sheriff," returned Rube. "Best horseman on all the Salt Lake Trail, best rifle shot, best swimmer an' trapper--best all round scout this side the Rocky Mountains; never told a lie, never said a bad word, never done anythin' he was ashamed of."

Kiddie laughed outright.

"Who's been feeding you up with all that silly rot, Rube?" he asked. "If that's the reputation you judge me by I shall have a jolly hard task to live up to it."


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