The Boy Scouts of the Geological Survey

Robert Shaler
牊The Boy Scouts of the Geological Survey

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Title: The Boy Scouts of the Geological Survey
Author: Robert Shaler
Release Date: July 19, 2004 [EBook #12945]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Jim Ludwig

By Scout Master Robert Shaler


I. The Golden Feather II. A Timely Suggestion III. The Combat on the Cliff IV. A Night in the Woods V. Friends at the Farm VI. A Nocturnal Visitor VII. Boy Scout Detectives VIII. The Surveying Squad IX. Awaiting a Decision X. Camp Life XI. The New Project XII. An Illustrious Example XIII. The Result of the Surveys

"This was a pretty fair catch, for a change," thought Ralph Kenyon, as he tied the limp animal to his pack-saddle, and reset the trap, hoping next time to catch the dead mink's larger mate. He ran a quick, appraising eye over the load slung across Keno's broad back. "Pretty good, eh, old boy?" he added aloud, stroking the velvety nose of his dumb companion on many a solitary hunt. "Now, Keno, you hang around, and browse on these young cottonwoods, while I do some figuring. I want to see what I'm likely to get for this next shipment of pelts."
The old horse, nothing loath, obeyed his young master's behest as promptly as though he had fully understood the words. Meanwhile, Ralph found a mossy spot on the shady side of a big gray, lichen-covered boulder, and, seating himself thereon, with his back comfortably adjusted to a depression in the rock, he drew a worn account book from a pocket of his corduroy coat. Moistening his thumb he began to turn the pages rapidly, until he came to the place where he had made the last entry in his accounts. With a stubby pencil, which he had taken from another pocket, he jotted down the new items:
"So far, one mink, six coon, three skunk, a gray fox, and seventeen rabbit skins. All told it ought to bring---let me see." He relapsed into silence, as he estimated the total, and then he sighed deeply. "Not very much," was his inward comment; "not anywhere near enough!"
Ralph felt that it was high time that he brought to a close his season's operations with trap and gun. The spring was unusually early this year, and the fallow truck patches were fairly clamoring for his attention. Yet he was reluctant to abandon his winter pursuit of pelts and to return to the sterner and less thrilling labor of ploughing and planting and peddling vegetables.
Not that he was averse to hard work---far from it! Ralph Kenyon was as industrious, energetic, and sensible a young fellow as one would wish to know; yet, being a very average, normal lad, and at that age when love of freedom and adventure is foremost, he naturally preferred the varied life of a huntsman and trapper---even though his field of activity was not extensive---to the moiling occupation of a market gardener.
On the other hand, there were times when he thoroughly enjoyed the labor of wresting a livelihood from the soil, and he took pride in raising the choicest products that could be offered for sale. Such spells were most frequent in midsummer, when all nature was in a placid mood for growth; but in autumn and spring came livelier hopes and a stronger call to this lad, and in his own way he set about accomplishing the chief aim of his life, the great end to which these winter pursuits were but a means.
After the death of his father, which had occurred less than a month after his graduation from High School, Ralph had taken the responsibility of the small farm upon his eighteen-year-old shoulders, bravely putting aside his cherished plans for a course in the School of Mines until he could save the necessary funds from his individual earnings. That was a year ago. In the interval he had found an opportunity to study the principles of surveying, and for two weeks he had acted as guide to a party of university students doing research work in his native hills. For this service he had been paid twenty-five dollars---which had been promptly banked as a nucleus of his college fund.
How simple and easy it had seemed, earning his way through the School of Mines, while talking with those enthusiastic young collegians and their professor! How well he remembered the things they had said, the advice they had given
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