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Kiddie the Scout by Robert Leighton

Looks t' me like Sheriff Blagg


course I can," said Rube. "When the snow an' ice melted, the stones sank straight down, an' fell to the bottom in a ring. What did I say just now, Kiddie? Thar ain't no trippin' you up or catchin' you nappin'."

"I dunno if you're aware of it, Rube," resumed Kiddie, "but for the past two or three minutes I've had the corner of my eye on a canoe that's comin' this way down the lake. Who's at the paddle? 'Tain't Gideon's way of paddlin'. 'Tain't Abe Harum. Who d'ye reckon it c'n be?"

Rube watched the approaching canoe. It had appeared suddenly from beyond a jutting promontory of spruce trees.

"Dunno," he answered, "don't reco'nize him. Seems like as Gid had loaned the canoe t' a stranger. An' yet I seem t' have seen that pinky-red shirt before, an' that straight-rimmed Stetson hat."

"Looks t' me like Sheriff Blagg," said Kiddie. "What's he want, cavortin' about on the lake searchin' for us? He's been t' our first campin' ground. Now he's shapin' for the island, led by our fire-smoke."

[Illustration: "Looks to me like Sheriff Blagg," said Kiddie.]

Kiddie whistled a shrill, long, tremulous note. He was an uncommonly good whistler. The sound was echoed and re-echoed from every chasm and canyon on the far shores of the lake; it might have been heard many miles away.

style="text-align: justify;">Above the island and over the forest the air was sprinkled with startled birds; from the dark ravine of Laramie Pass a pair of eagles took flight.

Isa Blagg drew his paddle and waved his hat. He followed Kiddie's canoe into the little bay that was its mooring place on the farther side of the island.

"Located you at last!" he said, as he stepped ashore. "Gid Birkenshaw told me I sh'd find you somewheres around the lake; but he didn't say nothin' 'bout your bein' camped on an island. I bin searchin' along the shores; found one o' your campin' grounds in among the trees, though you'd cleaned it up so's it wasn't easy ter be sure it was a campin' place at all. Guess you didn't intend anybody ter foller on your tracks, or you'd ha' left some signs around. How do, Rube?"

He shook hands with the two trappers, and then turned to help in the work of cleaning and frying the fish for tea.

"Gee!" he exclaimed, at sight of the afternoon's catch. "Never notioned thar was so many fish in the whole of your lake 's all that, Kiddie! Why, they're 'most as pretty an' colourful as birds, too. Say, are they all the same breed?"

"Oh, no," Rube told him, indicating the various kinds in rotation. "Them thar's pickerel, that's a bream, these are shiners, pouts, an' chivins; the others are trout an' perch. We'll cook 'em all together, though."

"Young Rube's gettin' quite a professional hand at cookin'," said Kiddie, measuring out pinches of tea. "You'll hear of him one o' these days takin' on the job of chef in some high-class New York hotel. He's got twenty-one diff'rent ways of cookin' eggs, an' as many of potatoes. You didn't happen ter bring along any eggs or potatoes, did you, Isa? Rube an' I are livin' quite simply, but I'm figuring that you'll be lookin' for variety in the matter of food. You'll stay with us, won't you, Sheriff, until we break camp?"

Isa Blagg shook his head.

"No, Kiddie; no," he responded. "It would suit me right down t' th' dust; but it ain't possible. I'm here t' consult you on a matter o' business; an' soon's I'm through with it, I gotter quit."

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