The Boy Scouts of the Eagle Patrol

Robert Drake
Boy Scouts of the Eagle Patrol,
by Robert Drake

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Title: The Boy Scouts of the Eagle Patrol
Author: Robert Drake
Release Date: April 22, 2004 [EBook #12112] [Date last updated: May
24, 2004]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Sean Pobuda

By Lieut. Howard Payson

The dark growth of scrub oak and pine parted suddenly and the lithe
figure of a boy of about seventeen emerged suddenly into the little
clearing. The lad who had so abruptly materialized from the
close-growing vegetation peculiar to the region about the little town of
Hampton, on the south shore of Long Island, wore a well-fitting
uniform of brown khaki, canvas leggings of the same hue and a soft hat
of the campaign variety, turned up at one side. To the front of his
headpiece was fastened a metal badge, resembling the three-pointed
arrow head utilized on old maps to indicate the north. On a metal scroll
beneath it were embossed the words: "Be Prepared."
The manner of the badge's attachment would have indicated at once, to
any one familiar with the organization, that the lad wearing it was the
patrol leader of the local band of Boy Scouts.
Gazing keenly about him on all sides of the little clearing in the midst
of which he stood, the boy's eyes lighted with a gleam of satisfaction on
a largish rock. He lifted this up, adjusted it to his satisfaction and then
picked up a smaller stone. This he placed on the top of the first and
then listened intently. After a moment of this he then placed beneath
the large underlying rock and at its left side a small stone.
Suddenly he started and gazed back. From the distance, borne faintly to
his ears, came far off boyish shouts and cries.
They rose like the baying of a pack in full cry. Now high, now low on
the hush of the midsummer afternoon.
"They picked the trail all right," he remarked to himself, with a smile,
"maybe I'd better leave another sign."
Stooping he snapped off a small low-growing branch and broke it near
the end so that its top hung limply down.

"Two signs now that this is the trail," he resumed as he stuck it in the
ground beside the stone sign. "Now I'd better be off, for they are
picking my tracks up, fast."
He darted off into the undergrowth on the opposite side of the clearing,
vanishing as suddenly and noiselessly as he had appeared.
A few seconds later the deserted clearing was invaded by a scouting
party of ten lads ranging in years from twelve to sixteen. They were all
attired in similar uniforms to the leader, whom they were tracing, with
but one exception they wore their "Be Prepared" badges on the left arm
above the elbow. Some of them were only entitled to affix the motto
part of the badge the scroll inscribed with the motto. These latter were
the second-class scouts of the Eagle Patrol. The exception to the
badge-bearers was a tall, well-knit lad with a sunny face and wavy,
brown hair. His badge was worn on the left arm, as were the others, but
it had a strip of white braid sewn beneath it. This indicated that the
bearer was the corporal of the patrol.
As the group of flushed, panting lads emerged into the sandy space the
corporal looked sharply about him. Almost at once his eye encountered
the "spoor" left by the preceding lad.
"Here's the trail, boys," he shouted, "and to judge by the fresh look of
the break in this branch it can't have been placed here very long. The
small stone by the large one means to the left. We'll run Rob Blake
down before long for all his skill if we have good luck."
"Say, Corporal Merritt," exclaimed a perspiring lad, whose "too, too
solid flesh" seemed to be melting and running off his face in the form
of streaming moisture, "don't we get a rest?"
A general laugh greeted poor Bob or Tubby Hopkins' remark.
"I always told you, Tubby, you were too fat to make a good scout,"
laughed Corporal Merritt Crawford, "this is the sort of thing that will
make you want to take some of that tubbiness
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