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BOY TRAPPER SERIES.
By HARRY CASTLEMON,
AUTHOR OF "THE FRANK NELSON SERIES," "THE SPORTSMAN'S CLUB SERIES,"
"C GUNBOAT SERIES," &C.
THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO.
FAMOUS CASTLEMON BOOKS.
GUNBOAT SERIES. By HARRY CASTLEMON. 6 VOls. 12mo.
FRANK THE YOUNG NATURALIST. FRANK ON A GUNBOAT.
FRANK IN THE WOODS. FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG.
FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. FRANK ON THE PRAIrIE.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN SERIES. By HARRY CASTLEMON. 3 vols. 12mo
FRANK AMONG THE RANCHEROS. FRANK AT DON CARLOS' RANCH.
FRANK IN THE MOUNTAINS.
SPORTSMAN'S CLUB SERIES. By HARRY CASTLEMON. 3 vols. 12mo,
THE SPORTSMAN'S CLUB IN THE SADDLE.
THE SPORTSMAN'S CLUB AFLOAT.
THE SPORTSMAN'S CLUB AMONG THE TRAPPERS.
FRANK NELSON SERIES. By HARRY CASTLEMON. 3 vols. 12mo,
SNOWED UP. FRANK IN THE FORECASTLE. THE BOY TRADERS.
BOY TRAPPER SERIES. By HARRY CASTLEMON. 3 vols. 12mo Cloth.
THE BURIED TREASURE. THE BOY TRAPPER. THE MAIL-CARRIER.
ROUGHING IT SERIES. By HARRY CASTLEMON. 3 vols. 12mo. Cloth.
GEORGE IN CAMP. GEORGE AT THE WHEEL. GEORGE AT THE FORT.
ROD AND GUN SERIES. By HARRY CASTLEMON. 3 vols. 12mo. Cloth.
DON GORDON'S SHOOTING Box. ROD AND GUN CLUB.
THE YOUNG WILD FOWLERS.
GO-AHEAD SERIES. By HARRY CASTLEMON. 3 vols. 12mo. Cloth.
TOM NEWCOMBE. GO-AHEAD. No Moss.
FOREST AND STREAM SERIES. By HARRY CASTLEMON. 3 vols. 12mo.
JOE WAYRING. SNAGGED AND SUNK. STEEL HORSE.
WAR SERIES. By HARRY CASTLEMON. 5 vols. 12mo. Cloth.
TRUE TO HIS COLORS. RODNEY THE PARTISAN.
RODNEY THE OVERSEER. MARCY THE BLOCKADE-RUNNER.
MARCY THE REFUGEE.
Other Yolumes in Preparation.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1878, by
PORTER & COATES,
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
A glance at the past Page 5
David's visitors 21
An offer of partnership 36
More bad news 54
Dan is astonished 73
Bruin's Island 94
What happened there 112
Dogs in the manger 128
Natural history 143
A bear-hunt 164
Trapping quails Page 180
Where the pointer was 194
Te, dollars reward . 210
Some discoveries 228
Bob's aspirations 248
Don's hounds tree something 266
A GLANCE AT THE PAST.
D ON'T worry about it, mother. It is nothing
we can help.
"It seems to me that I might have helped it. If
I had gone to General Gordon when your father
first spoke about that barrel with the eighty thou-
sand dollars in it, and told him the whole story,
things might have turned out differently. But in
spite of all he said, I did not suppose that he was
Neither did I. That any man in his sober
senses should think of such a thing Why, mother,
if there had been so much money buried in that
6 THE BOY TRAPPER.
potato-patch, the General would have known it, and
don't you suppose he would have found it if he'd
had to plough the field up ten feet deep ? Of course
"But just think of the disgrace that has been
brought upon us."
Father is the only one who has done anything
to be ashamed of, and he made matters worse by
running away. If he would come home and attend
to his business, no one would say a word to him.
The General told me so this morning."
I am afraid you couldn't make your father be-
"Perhaps not, but if I knew where to find him
I should try."
It was David Evans who spoke last. He and his
mother were talking over the strange incidents that
had happened in the settlement during the last few
days, and which we have attempted to describe in
the preceding volume of this series. The events
were brought about by a very foolish notion which
Godfrey Evans, David's father, suddenly got into
"During our late war it was the custom of the
people living in the South to conceal their valuables
THE BOY TRAPPER. 7
when they heard of the approach of the Union
army. They were also careful to take the same
precautions to save their property when it became
known that the rebel guerillas were near at hand;
for these worthies were oftentimes but little better
than organized bands of robbers, and the people
stood as much in fear of them as they did of the
Federal. These valuables, consisting for the most
part of money, jewelry and silverware, were some-
times hidden in cellars, in hollow logs in the woods
and in barns; but more frequently they were buried
in the ground. The work of hiding them was
sometimes performed by the planters themselves,
if they happened to be at home, but it was gen-
erally intrusted to old and faithful servants in whom
their owners had every confidence. It not unfre-
quently happened that these old and faithful ser-
vants proved themselves utterly unworthy of the
trust reposed in them. Sometimes they told the
raiding soldiers where the property was concealed,
and at others they ran away without telling even
their masters where the valuables were hidden.
General Gordon's old servant, Jordan, was one of
this stamp. He went off with the Union forces,
who raided that part of Mississippi, and before he
8 THE BOY TRAPPER.
went he told a rebel soldier, Godfrey Evans, who
happened to be at home on a furlough, and who was
skulking in the woods to avoid capture, that he had
just buried a barrel containing eighty thousand
dollars in gold and silver in his master's potato-
patch, and that none of the family knew where it
"This Godfrey Evans had been well off in the
world at one time. He had property to the amount
of fifteen thousand dollars; but, like many others,
he lost it all during the war, and returned home
after the surrender of General Lee to find himself a
poor man. His comfortable house had been burned
over the heads of his wife and children, who were
now living in a rude hut which some kind-hearted
neighbors had hastily erected; his negroes, who Irad
made his money for him, were all gone; his cattle
had been slaughtered by both rebel and Union troops,
and his mules and horses carried off; his fine drove of
hogs, which ran loose in the woods, and upon which
he relied to furnish his year's supply of bacon, had
wandered away and become wild; and Godfrey had
nothing but his rifle and his two hands with which
to begin the world anew. But it was hard to go
back and begin again where he had begun forty
THE BOY TRAPPER. 9
years ago. The bare thought of it was enough to
discourage Godfrey, who declared that he wouldn't
do it, and made his words good by becoming a rov-
ing vagabond. He spent the most of his time at
the landing, watching the steamers as they came in,
and the rest in wandering listlessly about the woods,
shooting just game enough to keep him in powder,
lead and tobacco. His sole companion and friend was
his son Daniel, who, being a chip of the old block,
faithfully imitated his father's lazy, useless mode of
life. Mrs. Evans and the younger son, David, were
the only members of the family who worked. They
never lost an opportunity to turn an honest penny,
and there were times when Godfrey and Dan would
have gone supperless to bed if it had not been for
these two faithful toilers.
Godfrey disliked this aimless, joyless existence as
much as he disliked work, and even Dan at times
longed for something better. They both wanted to
be rich. Godfrey wanted to see his fine plantation,
which was now abandoned to briers and cane, culti-
vated as it used to be; while it was Dan's ambition
to have two or three painted boats in the lake, to
have a pointer following at his heels, and to do his
shooting with a double-barrel gun that "broke in
10 THE BOY TRAPPER.
two in the middle." He wanted to take his morn-
ing's exercise on a spotted pony-a circus horse, he
called it; and to wear a broadcloth suit, a Panama
hat and patent leather boots, when he went to
church on Sundays. Don and Bert Gordon had all
these aids to happiness, and they were the jolliest
fellows lie had ever seen-always laughing, singing
or whistling. Dan thought he would be happy too,
if he could only have so many fine things to call
his own, but he could see no way to get them, and
that made him angry. He hated Don and Bert so
heartily that he could never look at them without
wishing that some evil might befall them. He
threatened to steal their horses, shoot their dogs,
sink their boats, and do a host of other desperate
things, believing that in this way he could render
the two happy brothers as miserable as he was
Godfrey and Dan lived in a most unenviable
frame of. mind for a year or more, and then the
former one day happened to think of the barrel
which old Jordan had told him was hidden in the
potato-patch. He spoke of it while the family were
at dinner, and announced that he and Dan would
begin the work of unearthing the BURIED TREA-
THE BOY TRAPPER. 11
SURE that very night. If they didn't find it the
first time they tried, they would go the next night;
and they would keep on digging until they obtained
possession of it, if they had to dig up the whole
state of Mississippi. Dan almost went wild over
the news. He and his father spent a few minutes
in building air-castles, and then Godfrey, who felt
as rich as though he already had the money in his
possession, hurried down to the landing, entered the
store there and called for a plug of tobacco, which
the merchant refused to give him until he showed
that he had twenty-five cents to pay for it.
Although Dan and his father had great expecta-
tions, which they believed would very soon be real-
ized, they did not neglect to pay attention to small
matters, and to pick up any stray dollars that
chanced to fall in their way. David was a famous
dog-breaker, and Don Gordon had offered him ten
dollars to train a pointer for him. The offer was
made in the presence of Dan and his father, and the
former at once laid his plans to obtain possession
of a portion of the money. While the two were on
their way to the landing, where a shooting-match
was to be held that afternoon, Dan stopped at
General Gordon's barn, and having borrowed a
12 THE BOY TRAPPER.
shovel, with which to dig up the buried treasure, he
went to the house, where he found Bert reading a
book. He told him that David had sent him there
after five dollars, as he wished to buy a new dress
for his mother, and Bert, although he was well
aware that, according to the agreement his brother
had made with David, the money was not to be paid
until the pointer was thoroughly broken for the
field, advanced him the amount he requested. Ar-
riving at the landing, Dan got the bill changed for
notes of smaller denomination, and, while he was
picking up his money, was surprised by his father,
who was greatly amazed to see his son with such a
roll of greenbacks in his hand. Knowing that Dan
was too lazy to work-too much of a gentleman was
the way Godfrey expressed it-he could not imagine
where the money came from, and Dan refused to
enlighten him on this point, fearing that if he did-
his father would go straight to Don Gordon and ask
for the rest of the ten dollars. Godfrey urged and
commanded to no purpose, and was obliged to be
satisfied with the loan of a dollar, which he pro-
mised to return with heavy interest as soon as the
barrel was found. He paid seventy-five cents of it
for the privilege of entering as one of the contest-
THE BOY TRAPPER. 13
ants in the shooting-match, and the rest he used in
purchasing the plug of tobacco for which the grocer
had refused to credit him. He won nothing during
the match, while Dan, to his father's great disgust,
came in for one of the first prizes-a fine quarter
When the shooting-match was over, the father
and son returned to the little hovel they called
home. Dan at once put the mule into the cart and
started back to the landing to bring home his quar-
ter of beef; while Godfrey, by pretending to fall
asleep on the bench in front of the cabin, was able
to carry out a little stratagem that suddenly sug-
gested itself to him. He knew that Dan was a
thrifty lad in spite of his laziness, and that he
believed in laying by something for a rainy day.
He was never out of ammunition for his rifle, but
he always took care to keep his little stock hidden
away, so that his father could not find it. By
watching him on this particular day, Godfrey was
lucky enough to find out where the boy's hiding-
place was. He went to it as soon as Dan drove
away in the cart, and found there a goodly supply
of powder, lead and caps, and also three dollars and
14 THE BOY TRAPPER.
twenty-five cents in money; all of which he put
into his pocket.
Dan came back from the landing in due time, and
his father, who had been calculating on having a
good supper that night, was astonished to find that
the beef had been sold. He was enraged at first,
but when he learned that Dan had received three
dollars and a half for it, he was quieted at once, and
a happy thought came into his mind. He sent Dan
into the woods to shoot some squirrels for supper,
and while the boy was gone he went to the hiding-
place and put back the ammunition and money just
as he found them, believing that when Dan returned
he would put the three dollars and a half there too.
Nor was he mistaken. The boy presently came
back with squirrels enough for supper, and as soon
as he thought he could do so without being seen by
any one, he went to his storehouse, and having made
sure that the property he had already hidden there
was safe, he added to it the sum he had received for
the quarter of beef, and went away happy. His
father was happy too for he had seen the whole
Godfrey was too tired to dig for the buried treas-
ure that night, so Dan went to bed as soon as it was
THE BOY TRAPPER. 15
fairly dark. His father waited until he was soundly
asleep, and then went to the storehouse and took
out all it contained. Dan's rage when he disco-
vered his loss the next morning was something to
wonder at. He knew where his property was, and
he demanded its immediate return, threatening in
case of refusal, to tell General Gordon about the
barrel in the potato-field. This frightened Godfrey,
who gave up the contents of his pockets, but not
until he had forced Dan to tell him where he ob-
tained the money he had seen in his hands at the
landing the day before. He was astonished when
he learned that it came from Bert Gordon, and set
his wits at work to conjure up some plan, by which
he might obtain possession of the rest. He went
over to the General's at once, and there learned
that Don and Bert had gone down to the landing
with their father, where they were awaiting the ar-
rival of two cousins, whom they were expecting
from the North. Godfrey followed them there with
all haste, sought an interview with Don, and by
telling him some plausible story, induced him to
advance the other five dollars. Godfrey hoped in
this way to get the start of Dan and enjoy his ill-
gotten gains all by himself, but Dan was there and
16 THE BOY TRAPPER.
saw it all, and his father, alarmed by the look he saw
on his face, divided the money with him. Of course
David knew nothing of this. He was saving those
ten dollars for his mother. He did not expect to
spend a cent of it on himself; and how he first
learned of his loss and what was done about it, per-
haps we shall see as our story progresses.
The two young gentlemen, Clarence and Mar-
shall Gordon, for whom Don and Bert were waiting,
and who landed from the steamer, Emma Deane,
that morning, had been sent away from the city by
their father, in order that they might be out of the
way of temptation; but, as it happened, one of
them ran directly into it. Clarence, the older, was
anything but a model boy. He was much addicted
to ale and cigars, and thought of nothing in the
world so much as money. He was a spendthrift,
and, like Godfrey Evans, had a great desire to be
rich, but he never thought of working and saving
in order to gain the wished-for end. This good old-
fashioned and safe way was too long and tedious for
him, and he was constantly on the lookout for a
short road to wealth and consequent happiness.
Before he had been twenty-four hours under his
THE BOY TRAPPER. 17
uncle's roof, he thought he had discovered it, and
this was the way it came about:
Clarence and his brother arrived at the General's
house in the forenoon, and before night came, the
former wished most heartily that he had stayed at
home. He was lonely and utterly disgusted with
the quiet of the country, and the old-fashioned,
prosy way his two cousins had of enjoying them-
selves. Music, horseback-riding, hunting, fishing
and visiting made up the round of their amusements,
and Clarence could see no fun in such things. As
soon as it grew dark he slipped out of the house,
and leaning over a fence that ran between the barn-
yard and a potato-patch, lighted a cigar and settled
into a comfortable position to enjoy it. He had not
been there many minutes, before he was startled by
the stealthy approach of two persons, a man and a
boy, who stopped a short distance from him and
began digging with a shovel. Clarence listened to
the words which the man uttered for the encourage-
ment of the boy, who was doing the work, and was
amazed to learn that there was a fortune hidden in
that field, and that these two had come there to dig
it up. In his eagerness and excitement Clarence
18 THE BOY TRAPPER.
leaned half way over the fence, puffing vigorously at
his cigar all the while. The little round ball of fire
glowing through the darkness caught the eye of the
boy, who showed it to his companion, and the two,
frightened almost out of their senses, took to their
heels, leaving the eavesdropper lost in wonder.
Clarence was almost overwhelmed by the disco-
very he had just made. It was an opportunity too
good to be lost, and he at once resolved that if there
were eighty thousand dollars buried in that field, he
must have a share of the money when it was
brought to light. In order to bring this about, he
must find out who this man and boy were. He had
a very slight cue to guide him, but he followed it
up so skilfully that by noon of the next day he
knew as much about the eighty thousand dollars as
Godfrey did, and had formed a partnership with
that worthy, Dan being dropped as a useless encum-
brance. They met, according to agreement, as soon
as it grew dark. It happened that there was one
who witnessed their interview, and heard all that
passed between them, and that was Don Gordon,
who had just returned from the landing, whither he
had been to mail a letter to his cousin. Not finding
THE BOY TRAPPER. 19
the hostler about when he came back, Don attended
to his pony himself, and was about to shut up the
barn for the night, when he discovered what he sup-
posed to be a thief prowling about. The lighted
end of a cigar glowed through the darkness a mo-
ment later, and then Don saw that the prowler was
his cousin Clarence. Greatly amused at his mis-
take, he was about to make his presence known,
when it occurred to him that since Clarence had
taken so much pains to get out of sight of the
family, in order that he might enjoy his cigar, per-
haps he would not like it if Don caught him in the
act; so Don remained in his place of concealment,
heard every word that was said when Godfrey came
up, saw both of them get over the fence in the pota-
to-patch, and followed and watched them while they
were digging for the barrel.
Now, Don was one of the most inveterate prac-
tical jokers in the world, and the most accomplished
one we ever saw. Godfrey had received more than
one proof of his skill. He had been tripped up
when there was no one near him; his hat had been
knocked off his head by invisible hands, and he had
seen horrid great things with eyes of fire staring at
20 THE BOY TRAPPER.
him from fence-corners, until he had become fully
satisfied that the General's lane was haunted, and he
would go a mile around through the fields before he
would pass through it after nightfall. Here was
another opportunity to frighten him, and Don knew
just how to do it. Before he went to sleep that
night, he had thought of something that beat all the
other tricks he had heard of far out of sight.
THE BOY TRAPPER. 21
T HE trouble began the very next morning.
While Godfrey was sitting on the bench in
front of his cabin, deeply engrossed with his own
thoughts, Dan came rushing up with a face full of
terror, and conveyed to him the startling intelli-
gence that a "haunt"-a Northern boy would have
called it a ghost-had been seen at General Gor-
don's barn. It looked exactly like old Jordan, the
negro, who had buried the treasure in the potato-
patch; but of course it couldn't be old Jordan, for
he had never been heard of since he ran away with
the Yankees, and everybody believed him to be
dead. Godfrey listened in great amazement to his
son's story, and, to satisfy himself of the truth of it,,
went up to the barn, with his rifle for company.
He had not been there many minutes before he
received convincing proof that Dan had told the
truth, for he saw the object with his own eyes-a
22 THE BOY TRAPPER.
feeble old negro, dressed in a white plantation suit,
and wearing a battered plug hat, who limped along
in plain view of him, and finally disappeared, no
one could tell how or when. That was enough for
Godfrey. He started for home at the top of his
speed, and scarcely dared to venture out of doors
that night. He had an appointment with Clarence
Gordon at dark, but he would not have passed that
barn in his present state of mind, if he had known
that he could make twice eighty thousand dollars
Bright and early the next morning, Clarence
came down to see why he had not kept his promise,
and talked to him in such a way that Godfrey
finally agreed to meet him that night, the boy prom-
ising to protect him from anything in the shape of
a ghost that might cross their path. He kept his
appointment this time, but he was sorry enough for
it afterward, for the first object on which his eyes
rested, when he and his companion reached the
potato-field, was old Jordan, digging away as if he
too were in search of the buried treasure. Godfrey
would have taken to his heels at once, but Clarence,
who did not believe in "haunts," walked up and
seized the negro by the arm. After much argu-
THE BOY TRAPPER. 23
ment, Godfrey was induced to do the same, and
then his fears all vanished, for it was a veritable
human being that he took hold of and not a spirit,
as he feared it was. He declared, too, that the in-
terloper was the missing Jordan, beyond a doubt,
and that he had come there to steal the money he
had buried in that same field years before. The
negro was commanded to point out the spot where
the treasure was hidden, but nothing could be
learned from the old fellow. He would not speak
at all, until Godfrey threatened to punch him in
the ribs with his shovel, and then he denied all
knowledge of the barrel. Upon hearing this,
Clarence and his companion seized him by the
arms, dragged him across the field, over the fence
and down the road to Godfrey's potato-cellar, where
he was tied to a stanchion with a plough-line and
left with the assurance, that he should never see
daylight again until he told where the fortune was
to be found.
Godfrey was stirring the next morning before
it was fairly light, and the first sound that fell on
his ears caused him to start and tremble with terror.
He listened until it was repeated, and then started
post haste for General Gordon's house. When he
24 THE BOY TRAPPER.
reached it, he found the whole plantation in an up-
roar. Don was missing and a search was being
instituted. Clarence came out about this time, and
Godfrey told him a most astounding piece of news.
It wasn't old Jordan at all whom they had captured
the night before, it was Don Gordon. Godfrey was
sure of it, for he had heard him whistle as nobody
in the'world except Don Gordon could whistle. As
soon as Clarence recovered from his amazement and
terror, he mounted Don's pony and set out for the
potato-cellar to see for himself. When he reached
it, he found that the prisoner had already been lib-
erated by somebody (it was Bert, who was guided to
his place of confinement by Don's loud and con-
tinued whistling) and was no doubt on the way
home by that time. What was Clarence to do?
Of course he could not go back to the plantation
and face his relatives after what he had done, and
there was no other house in the settlement open to
him. Just then he heard the whistle of a steamer
coming up the river, and that settled the matter for
him. He would go home. He jumped on the pony
and was riding post haste toward the landing when
he was waylaid by Godfrey Evans, who robbed him
of twenty dollars, all the money he had in the
THE BOY TRAPPER. 25
world. As soon as he was released, Clarence made
his way to the landing on foot, reaching it just in
time to secure passage on the Emma Deane, pawned
his watch for money enough to pay his way home,
and finally reached his father's house in safety, only
to be packed off to sea on the school-ship, where he
remains to this day.
Don Gordon reached home with his brother's
assistance, and has been a close prisoner there ever
since, not yet having recovered from the effects of
his night in the potato-cellar. Godfrey Evans is
hiding in the swamp somewhere, fearing that if he
comes home he will be arrested for three offences-
robbing Clarence, assaulting Don, and trying to
steal the eighty thousand dollars, which he still
firmly believes to be hidden in the potato-patch. A
week has passed since the occurrence of the events
which we have so rapidly reviewed, and now that
you are acquainted with them, we are prepared to
resume our story.
And if your father doesn't come back, how are
we to live this winter?" asked Mrs. Evans, contin-
uing the conversation which we have so long inter-
rupted. How is he to live ?"
26 THE BOY TRAPPER.
His living will trouble him more than ours will
trouble us," replied David, who, knowing that he
was his mother's main dependence now, tried hard
to keep up a brave heart. "It will be cold out
there in the swamp pretty soon. I saw a flock of
wild geese in the lake this morning, and that is a
sure sign that winter is close at hand. Father had
no coat on when he went away, and he was bare-
footed, too. And as for our living, mother, who's
kept you in clothes and coffee, sugar and tea, for
the last year ?"
You have, David. I don't know what I should
do without you. You are a great comfort to me."
And I'm never going to be anything else, mo-
ther. I never made you cry, did I ? I ain't going
to, either. I can take care of you, and I will, too.
If I can't get work to do, I can hunt and trap small
game, you know; and if I only had a rifle, I am
sure I could kill at least one deer every week.
That, reckoning venison worth six cents a pound,
would bring us in about thirty dollars a month.
Who says we couldn't live and save money on
"But you don't own a rifle," said his mother,
smiling at the boy's enthusiasm.
THE BOY TRAPPER. 27
"Well, that's so," said David, sadly. "But,"
he added, his face brightening, "I shall have ten
dollars coming to me as soon as Don Gordon's
pointer is field-broken, and you shall have every
cent of it. Besides, you haven't forgotten that I'm
going to get a hundred and fifty dollars for trapping
quail for that man up North, have you?"
Iave you heard from him yet?"
David was obliged to confess that he had not.
He may have made a bargain with some one
else before Don's letter reached him," continued
Mrs. Evans. You know this is not the only
country in which quails are to be found, and neither
are you the only one who would be glad to make a
hundred and fifty dollars by trapping them."
I know it, mother; but even if I can't get that
job, I can get some other that will bring us in
money," said David, who was determined to look on
the bright side of things. "I'll earn another ten-
dollar bill before the one I get from Don Gordon is
gone, you may depend upon it."
With this assurance the boy kissed his mother and
hurried out of the door, and Mrs. Evans, after clear-
ing away the remnants of their frugal breakfast, also
went out to begin her daily toil at the house of a
28 THE BOY TRAPPER.
neighbor. David made his way around the cabin,
and was met by Don's pointer, which, coming as close
to him as the length of his chain would permit, waited
for the friendly word and caress that the boy never
failed to bestow when he passed the kennel in which
the animal was confined. The greeting he extended
to his four-footed friend was a short one this morn-
ing, for David had other matters on his mind. He
confidently expected that a few days more would
bring him the wished-for order from the man who
had advertised for the quails, and when it came he
wanted to be ready to go to work without the loss of
an hour; so he was spending all his spare time in
building traps. He had four completed already,
and just as he had got boards enough split out for
the fifth, he heard the clatter of horses' hoofs on the
road and looked up to see Bert Gordon and his bro-
ther ride up to the fence.
Why, Don, I am glad to see you out again,"
exclaimed David, dropping his hammer and hurry-
ing forward to greet his friend.
Thank you," replied Don, accepting David's
proffered hand. I assure you I am glad to be out
again, too. It's a fearful bore to be tied up in the
house for a whole week, but I was bound to come
THE BOY TRAPPER. 29
down here this morning, if I had to come in the
carriage, for I have news for you," added Don,
putting his hand into the breast-pocket of his
Has it come ?" asked David, in a voice that
trembled with excitement.
It certainly has. It was addressed to me, you
know, and so Bert opened it. The man says, he
wants fifty dozen live quails immediately, and-
but there it is, read it for yourself."
Don produced the letter, and David took it with
a very unsteady hand. A hundred and fifty dollars
was a fortune in his eyes, a larger one too than he
had hoped to earn for some years to come. He
opened the letter and one glance at it showed him
that the money was his, if he could only capture
the required number of birds. They were to be
trapped at once, the sooner the better, put into
boxes, ,vhich were to be marked C. O. D. and for-
warded, charges paid, to the address at the bottom
of the letter.
Cod," repeated David, whose opportunities for
learning how business was transacted had been very
limited, does he mean codfish ?" Don and Bert
30 THE BOY TRAPPER.
No," said the former, as soon as he could speak.
" C. 0. D. means collect on delivery.' "
"O," said David, in a tone of voice which
showed that he did not yet fully understand.
"-It is nothing to be ashamed of," said Bert;
" we didn't know what the letters meant until father
That's so," said Don; how is a fellow to know
a thing he has never had a chance to learn ? Now
when the birds are caught, you put so many of them
in a box and on each box you mark the value of its
contents. You send a notice of shipment to the
man, and he will know when to look for the birds.
When they arrive he pays the amount of your bill
to the express agent, and the agent forwards it to
you. You run no risk whatever, for the man can't
get the quails until your bill is paid."
"iNow I'll tell you what we'll do," said Bert,
who saw by the expression on David's face that his
brother had not made matters much clearer by his
explanation, "you go to work and catch the quails,
and when you have made up the required number,
we'll help you ship them off."
That's the idea," said Don. "We'll do any-
thing we can for you."
THE BOY TRAPPER. 31
Thank you," answered David, who felt as if a
tremendous responsibility had been removed from
"I'll write to the man to-day, informing him that
you will go to work at once," added Don. I
don't suppose you could tell, even within a week or
two, of the time it will take you to fill the order,
could you ?"
"I shouldn't like to make a guess," said David.
The birds rove around so that a fellow can't tell
anything about them. They are plenty now, but
next week there may not be half a dozen flocks to
Then I will write to him that the best you can
say is, that you will lose no time. How does the
pointer come on ?"
"Finely," said David. "He works better than
half the old dogs now. IIe's smart, I tell you."
He takes after his owner, you see. I hope to
get firmly on my feet next week, and if I do, I
want to try him. Good-by."
"Now, there are two friends worth having,"
thought David, gazing almost lovingly after the
brothers, as they rode away. "I don't wonder that
everybody likes them. A hundred and fifty dol.
32 THE BOY TRAPPER.
lars! Whew! won't mother have some nice, warm
clothes this winter, and won't she have everything
else she wants, too ?"
The boy did not see how he could possibly keep
his good fortune to himself until his mother came
home that night. His first impulse was to go over
to the neighbor's house, and tell her all about it,
but he was restrained by the thought that that
would be a waste of time. He could make one
trap in the hour and a half that it would take him
to go and return, and the sooner his traps were all
completed, the sooner he could get to work. His
next thought was that he would let the traps rest
for that day, go down to the landing, purchase some
nice present for his mother and surprise her with it
when she came home. Of course he had no money
to pay for it, but what did that matter? Silas
Jones was always willing to trust anybody whom he
knew to be reliable, and when he learned that his
customer would have a hundred and fifty dollars
of his own in a few weeks, he would surely let him
have a warm dress or a pair of shoes. When his
money came he would get his mother something
fine to wear to church; and, while he was about it,
wouldn't it be a good plan for him to send to Mem-
THE BOY TRAPPER. 33
phis for a nice hunting outfit and a few dozen steel
traps? Like his father, when he first thought of
the barrel with the eighty thousand dollars in it,
David looked upon himself as rich already; and
if he had attempted to carry out all the grand ideas
that were continually suggesting themselves to him,
it was probable that his hundred and fifty dollars
would be gone before he had earned them.
IHalloo, there !" shouted a voice.
David looked up and saw another horseman
standing beside the fence-Silas Jones, who kept
the store at the landing, and the very man of whom
he had been thinking but a moment before.
Come here, David," continued Silas. "I am
out collecting bills, and I thought I would ride
around and see if you have heard anything of that
respected father of yours during the last few days."
No, sir; we haven't," answered David, hanging
"Well, I suppose you know that he owes me
eight dollars, don't you ?" said Silas.
"I knew he owed you something, but I didn't
think it was as much as that," replied David, open-
ing his eyes. In his estimation, eight dollars was a
debt of some magnitude.
34 THE BOY TRAPPER.
That's the amount, as sure as you live, and if I
had charged him as much as I charge others, it
would have been more. I made a little reduction
to him, because I knew that he didn't own more
of this world's goods than the law allows. What is
to be done about it ? Am I to lose my money
because he has run away ?"
"O, no," said David, quickly. "I'll pay it, and
be glad to do so. We may want groceries some
time, you know, when we have no money to pay for
That's the way to talk. Pay up promptly and
your credit will always be good."
"All I ask of you," continued David, "is that
you will wait about a month longer, until- "
"Can't do it; can't possibly do it," exclaimed
Silas, shaking his head and waving his hands up
and down in the air. Must have money to-day.
My creditors are pushing me, and I must push
everybody whose name is on my books."
But my name isn't on your books."
"Your father's is, and if you have any honor
about you, you will see the debt paid."
"That's what I mean to do, but I can't pay it
THE BOY TRAPPER. 35
Can't wait a single day," said Silas. "If the
money isn't forthcoming at once, you can't get a
single thing at my store from this time forward,
unless you have the cash to plank right down on
"I have always paid you for everything I have
bought of you," said David, with some spirit.
"I know it; but your father hasn't, and if you
want me to show you any favors, you will pay that
debt to-day. You have always been called an
honest boy, and if you want to keep that reputa-
tion, you had better be doing something."
So saying, Silas wheeled his horse and rode away,
leaving David lost in wonder.
36 THE BOY TRAPPER.
AN OFFER OF PARTNERSHIP.
T HIS was the first time David had ever heard
that a son could be held responsible for debts
contracted by his father. At first he did not believe
it; but Silas seemed to think it could be done, and
he was a business man and ought to know what he
was talking about. The truth of the matter was,
that Silas Jones was a hard one to deal with. He
wanted every cent that was due him and more too,
if he could get it. It made no difference how poor
his customers were, he always found means to make
them pay the bills they contracted at his store. The
eight dollars that Godfrey owed him looked almost
as large in his eyes as it did in David's. He could
not bear to lose it, and he did not care what tricks
he resorted to to get it. When he rode away he
took all David's peace of mind with him.
"Wasn't it lucky that I didn't go down to his store
and ask him to trust me for a dress for mother ?"
THE BOY TRAPPER. 37
thought the boy, as he picked up his hammer and
resumed work upon his trap. He would have re-
fused me sure. Now there is only one way I can
pay that debt, and that is to ask Don Gordon for the
ten dollars he promised to give me for breaking his
pointer. That's something I don't like, for the
money isn't fairly earned yet, but I don't see what
else I can do. Mother must have something to eat,
and the only way I can get it is by making a friend
of Silas by paying him this debt father owes him.
I don't care for myself, and as for Dan-let him
look out for number one. That's what he makes
While David was soliloquising in this way he
heard a footstep near him, and looking up saw his
brother Dan, whose appearance and actions surprised
him not a little. His face wore a smile instead of
the usual scowl, he had no coat on, his sleeves were
rolled up, and he carried a frow in one hand (a frow
is a sharp instrument used for splitting out shingles),
and a heavy mallet in the other. He really looked
as if he had made up his mind to go to work, and
David could not imagine what had happened to put
such an idea into his head. He stopped on the way
to speak to the pointer and give him a friendly pat,
38 THE BOY TRAPPER.
and that was another thing that surprised his bro-
ther. Dan would have acted more like himself if
he had given the animal a kick.
"He's up to something," thought David. He
wouldn't act that way if he wasn't. I shouldn't
wonder if he wants part of that money I am going
to get from Don Gordon, but he needn't waste his
breath in asking for it. Every cent of it goes into
"Halloo, Davy!" said Dan, cheerfully. "I
thought mebbe you wouldn't care if I should come
out and lend you a hand. I hain't got nothing
much to do this morning."
David made no reply. He was waiting to hear
what object his brother had in view in offering his
assistance, and he knew it would all be made plain
to him in a few minutes.
"You got a heap of traps to build, hain't you ?"
continued Dan. "When be you goin' to set 'em ?"
"I am going to set some of them to-night," was
"Fifty dozen is a heap of birds, ain't it ?" said
"How do you happen to know anything about
it ?" demanded David, who was greatly astonished.
THE BOY TRAPPER. 39
I heerd you an' Don talking' about it."
Where were you at the time ?"
0, I was around," answered Dan, who did not
care to confess that he had intentionally played the
part of eavesdropper.
David was silent, for he wanted to think about it.
IIere was another piece of ill luck. His experience
had taught him that if he wished to make his enter-
prise successful, he must keep it from the knowledge
of his father and Dan. If they found out that he
expected to earn so much money, they would insist
on a division of the spoils, and if their demand was
not compliedl with, there would be trouble in the
cabin. lHe had no fear of his father now, but here
was Dan, who was an unpleasant fellow to have
about when he was crossed, and he seemed to know
all about it. There were troublous times ahead;
David was sure of that.
What does that feller up North want with so
many quails, any how ?" asked Dan, as he placed
one of the oak blocks upon its end and began split-
ting off a shingle with the frow. He can't eat 'em
all by hisself."
"No, he wants to turn them loose and let them
run," replied David, with as much good nature as
40 THE BOY TRAPPER.
he could assume. You see they had an awful
hard winter up there last year, and the quails were
all killed off."
"Wall, what does the fule want to let 'em go fur,
arter he's bought 'em ?"
"Why, he wants to stock the country. He be-
longs to a Sportsman's Club up there. He and his
friends will have a law passed keeping folks from
shooting them for two or three years, and then
there'll be just as many birds as there were before."
Is that the way them rich fellers does ?"
That's what Don says."
"It's mighty nice to be rich, ain't it, Davy; to
have all the money you want to spend, a nice hoss
to ride, one of them guns what breaks in two in the
middle to do your shooting' with, an' shiny boots an'
a straw hat to wear to church! I wish me ani pap
had found that thar bar'l with the eighty thousand
dollars into it. I wouldn't be wearing' no sich
clothes as these yere."
"That's all humbug," exclaimed David. "The
silver things that old Jordan buried, the spoons,
knives and dishes, were all dug up again and are
in use now every day. General Gordon never had
eighty thousand dollars in gold and silver."
THE BOY TRAPPER. 41
"Don't you believe no sich story as that ar," re-
plied Dan, with a knowing shake of his head.
"That's what the Gordons say, anyhow."
"In course they do; an' they say it kase they
don't want nobody diggin' arter that thar bar'l.
They wants to find it theirselves. How much be
you goin' to get fur these quail, Davy ? As much
as twenty-five dollars, mebbe thirty, won't you ?"
This question showed that Dan didn't know all
about the matter, and David took courage. "Yes,
all of that," he replied.
More, I reckon mebbe, won't ye ?"
I think so."
You won't get fifty, will you?" said Dan, open-
ing hils eves.
I hope I shall."
Whew !" whistled Dan. He threw down his
frow and mallet and seated himself on the pile of
shingles, with an air which said very plainly, that
with such an amount of money in prospect there
was no need that any more work should be done.
" That's a fortin, Davy. It's an amazin' lot fur
poor folks like us, an' I can't somehow git it through
my head that we're goin' to git so much. But if
42 THE BOY TRAPPER.
we do get it, Davy, we'll have some high old times
when it comes, me an' you."
"You and me !" exclaimed David.
Sartin; I want some good clothes an' so da you.
'Twon't be enough to get us a hoss apiece. I do
wish I had a circus hoss like Don Gordon's, but we
kin get some better shooting' irons, me an' you kin,
an' mebbe we can git a boat to hunt ducks in, an'
some of them fish-poles what breaks all in pieces an'
you carry 'em under your arm. An', Davy, mebbe
we'll have a leetle left to get something fur the ole
"For mother! I rather think she'll get some-
thing," said David, in a tone of voice that made his
brother look up in surprise. "She'll get it all,
every cent of it."
"Not by no means she won't," exclaimed Dan,
striking his open palm with his clenched hand. No,
sir, not by a long shot. You kin give her your
shar', if you're fule enough to do it, but mine I'll
keep fur myself. I'll bet you on that."
I didn't know that you had any share in this
THE BOY TRAPPER, 43
Whoop !" yelled Dan.
He dashed his hat upon the ground, jumped up
and knocked his heels together, coming down with
his feet spread out and his clenched hands hanging
by his side, as if he were waiting for an attack from
No, sir," said David, quietly but firmly, this
is my own business. If you want money, go to
work and earn it for yourself. You've got six dol-
lars and six bits hidden away somewhere that you
never offered to share with me or mother either."
I know it, kase it is my own. I worked hard
fur it too."
"I don't know how, or when you got it," an-
swered David, who little dreamed that his brother
had more ready money than that, and that the most
of it rightfully belonged to himself, "and I have
never asked you for any of it. The money I shall
receive for these quails will be mine, all mine."
Dan uttered another wild Indian yell and once
more went through the process of preparing himself
for a fight, leaping high into the air, knocking his
heels together, coming down with his feet spread
out and his hands clenched, and when he was fairly
settled on the ground again, he exclaimed:
44 THE BOY TRAPPER.
"Dave, does you want me to wallop you ?"
"No, I don't," was the reply; "but if you do
you. won't keep me from doing what I please with
my own money."
But it won't be your own when you get it. I'm
older nor you be, an' now that pap's away I'm the
man of the house, I want you to know, an' it's the
properest thing that I should have the handling' of
all the money that comes into the family. If you
don't go 'have yourself it's likely you won't tech
a cent of them fifty dollars when it comes. If you
don't go to crossing' me, I'll give you your shar' an'
I'll take mine; an' we'll get some nice things like
Don and Bert Gordon has got."
"But how does it come that you will have any
share in it ? That's what I can't understand."
Why, I kalkerlate to help you set the traps an'
take out the quail when they're ketched, an' do a
heap of sich hard work."
I intend to do all that myself, and it isn't work
either. It's nothing but fun."
But I'll have a shar' in it anyhow," said Dan,
with a grin, which showed that he felt sure of his
position, "kase look at the boards I've split out fur
THE BOY TRAPPER, 45
David laughed outright. How many of them
are there?" said he. "Five; and I could have
split them out in less than half the time you took
to do it, and made better boards besides. I can't
use these at all."
Dave," said Dan, solemnly, as he picked up
the frow and mallet, I see you're bound to go agin
No, I am not, and I don't want you to go
against me, either."
"Yes, you be. You're goin' to cheat me outen
my shar' of them fifty dollars, ain't you now?"
You will have no share in the money. It will
all belong to me, and I shall give it to mother."
Then, Dave, not a quail do you ketch in these
yere fields so long as you hold to them idees. Don't
you furget it, nuther."
What do you mean?" asked David, in alarm.
" What are you going to do ?"
I don't make no threatening. I only say you
can't ketch no birds so long as you go agin me, an'
that's jest what I mean. If you come to me some
day an' say, I wus wrong, Dannie, an' now I'm
goin' to act decent, like a brother had oughter do,'
I'll give you my hand an' do what I can to help
46 THE BOY TRAPPER.
you. You've got a big job afore you, an' you can't
by no means do it alone. You'd oughter have
somebody to help you, an' thar's a heap of hard
work in me, the fust thing you know."
"That's so," thought David, running his eyes
over his brother's stalwart figure; "but I guess it
will stay there."
We can make them fifty dollars easy, if we pull
together; but you can't make 'em by yourself, an'
you shan't, nuther. You hear me ?"
As Dan said this he disappeared around the
corner of the cabin, leaving his brother standing
silent and thoughtful. He came out again in a few
minutes with his rifle on his shoulder, and without
saying another word to David or even looking
toward him, climbed over the fence and went into
the woods. When he was out of sight, David sat
down on one of his traps and went off into a brown
study. He was in a bad scrape, that was plain;
and the longer he thought about it, the darker the
prospect seemed to grow. He had his choice be-
tween two courses of action: he must either take
Dan into partnership, divide the money with him
when it was earned, and permit himself to be brow-
beaten and driven about as if he were little better
THE BOY TRAPPER. 47
than a dog; or he must make an enemy of him by
asserting his rights. Which of the two was the
more disagreeable and likely to lead to the most
unpleasant consequences, he could not determine.
If Dan were accepted as a partner, he would insist
on handling all the money, and in that case Mrs.
Evans would probably see not a single cent of it;
for Dan did not care who suffered so long as his
own wishes were gratified. If he stuck to the reso-
lution he had already formed, and went ahead on
his own responsibility, Dan would smash his traps
whenever he happened to find them (he was always
roaming about in the woods, and there was hardly a
square rod of ground in the neighborhood that he
did not pass over in the course of a week), and liber-
ate or wring the necks of the birds that might
chance to be in them. He never could capture so
many quails if Dan was resolved to work against
him, and neither could he make his enterprise suc-
cessful if he allowed him an interest in it. David
did not know what to do.
I might as well give it up," said he to himself,
after a few minutes' reflection. I'll go up and tell
Don that I can't fill the order; and while I am
about it, I might as well ask him for that money.
48 THE BOY TRAPPER.
Perhaps, if I pay father's debt, Silas Jones will
give us what we need until I can find something
With this thought in his mind, David arose and
went into the cabin. He put on the tattered gar-
ment he called a coat, exchanged his dilapidated hat
for another that had not seen quite so hard service,
and bent his steps toward General Gordon's house.
While he was hurrying along, thinking about his
troubles and the coming interview with Don Gor-
don, and wondering how he could word his request
so that his friend would not feel hard toward him
for asking for his money before it had been earned,
he was almost ridden down by a horseman, who
came galloping furiously along the road, and who
was close upon him before David knew there was
any one near.
Get out of the way, there !" shouted the rider.
"Are you blind, that you run right under a fellow's
horse that way ?"
David sprang quickly to one side, and the horse-
man drew up his nag with a jerk and looked down
at him. It was Lester Brigham, one of the neigh-
borhood boys of whom we have never before had
occasion to speak. He was comparatively a new
THE BOY TRAPPER. 49
resident in that country. He had been there only
about a year, but during that time he had made
himself heartily detested by almost all the boys
about Rochdale. Of course he had his cronies-
every fellow has; but all the best youngsters, like
Don and Bert Gordon and Fred and Joe Packard,
would have little to do with him. He had lived in
the North until the close of the war, and then his
father removed to Mississippi, purchased the planta-
tion adjoining General Gordon's, and began the cul-
tivation of cotton.
Mr. Brigham was said to be the richest man in
that county, and Lester had more fine things than
all the rest of the boys about there put together.
He took particular pride in his splendid hunting
and fishing outfit, and it was coveted by almost
every boy who had seen it. He had four guns-all
breech-loaders; a beautiful little fowling-piece for
such small game as quails and snipes; a larger one
for ducks and geese; a light squirrel rifle, some-
thing like the one Clarence Gordon owned; and a
heavier weapon, which he called his deer gun, and
which carried a ball as large as the end of one's
thumb. He had two jointed fish-poles-one a light,
split bamboo, such as is used in fly-fishing, and the
50 THE BOY TRAPPER.
other a stout lancewood, for such heavy fish as black
bass and pike.
If there was any faith to be put in the stories he
told, Lester was a hunter and fisherman who had
few equals. Before he came to the South, it was
his custom, he said, to spend a portion of every
winter in the woods in the northern part of Michi-
gan, and many a deer and bear had fallen to his rifle
there. He could catch trout and black bass where
other fellows would not think of looking for them,
and as for quails, it was no trouble at all for him to
make a double shot and bag both the birds every
time. There were boys in the neighborhood who
doubted this. Game of all kinds was abundant, and
Lester was given every opportunity to exhibit the
skill of which he boasted so loudly, but he was
never in the humor to do it. He seldom went hunt-
ing, and when he did he always went alone, and no
one ever knew how much game he brought home.
"Your name is Evans, isn't it?" demanded Lester.
David replied that it was.
"Are you the fellow who intends to trap fifty
dozen quail in this county, and send them up
I am," answered David.
THE BOY TRAPPER. 51
Well, I just rode down here on purpose to tell
you that such work as that will not be allowed."
"Who will not allow it ?"
"I will not, for one, and my father for another."
What have you to say about it ?" asked David,
who did not like the insolent tone assumed by the
young horseman. "Do the birds belong to you ?"
They are as much mine as they are yours, and
if you have a right to trap them and ship them off,
I have a right to say that you shan't do it."
"Why not? What harm will it do ?"
It will do just this much harm: it will make
the birds scarce about here, and there are no more
than we want to shoot ourselves. 0, you needn't
laugh about it, I mean just what I say; and if you
don't promise that you will let the quail alone, you
will see trouble. I am going to get up a Sports-
man's Club among the fellows, and then we'll keep
such poachers and pot-hunters as you where you
belong. No one objects to your shooting the birds
over a dog-that's the way to shoot them; but you
shan't trap them and send them out of the country.
Will you promise that you will give up the idea ?"
"No, I won't," answered David.
"Then you'll find yourself in the hands of the
52 THE BOY TRAPPER.
law, the first thing you know," exclaimed Lester,
angrily. "We won't stand any such work. Don
Gordon ought to be ashamed of himself for what he
has done. He's the meanest--"
Hold on, there !" interrupted David, with more
spirit than he had yet exhibited. "You don't want
to say anything hard about Don while I am around.
He's a friend of mine, and I won't hear anybody
abuse him. He's the best fellow in the settlement,
and so is his brother; and any one who talks against
him is just the opposite."
Lester seemed very much astonished at this bold
language. He glared down at David for a moment
and then slipping his right hand through the loop
on the handle of his riding-whip, pulled his feet out
of the stirrups and acted as if he were about to dis-
mount. Do you know who you are talking to ?"
"Yes, I do," replied David, "and that's iust the
kind of a fellow I am."
Lester looked sharply at the ragged youth before
him and then put his feet back into the stirrups
again and settled himself firmly in the saddle. He
felt safer there. I'll be even with you for that,"
said he. "You shan't catch any quail in these
THE BOY TRAPPER. 53
woods this winter. I'll break up every trap I find
and I'll make the rest of the fellows do the same."
Lester gave emphasis to his words by shaking his
riding-whip at David, and then wheeled his horse
and rode away.
64 THE BOY TRAPPER.
MORE BAD NEWS.
11AVID'S feelings, as he stood there in the road,
gazing after the retreating horseman, were by
no means of the most pleasant nature. He was
naturally a cheerful, light-hearted boy, and he
would not look on the dark side of things if he
could help it. But he couldn't help it now. Here
was more trouble. If he had been disposed to give
up in despair when he found that his brother was
working against him, he had more reason to be dis-
couraged when he learned that a new enemy had
suddenly appeared, and from a most unexpected
quarter, too. That was the way he looked at the
matter at first; but after a little reflection, he felt
more like defying Dan and Lester both. What
business had either of them to interfere with his
arrangements, and say that he should not earn an
honest dollar to give his mother, if he could ? None
whatever, and he would succeed in spite of them.
THE BOY TRAPPER. 55
He would get that grocery bill off his hands the first
thing, and when he was square with the world, he
would go to work in earnest and outwit all his foes,
no matter how numerous or how smart they might
be. He would tell Don all about it and be governed
by his advice.
Having come to this determination, David once
more turned his face toward the General's house.
A few minutes' rapid walking brought him to the
barn and there he found the boy he wanted to see.
The brothers had just returned from a short ride-
Don was not yet strong enough to stand his usual
amount of exercise-and having turned the ponies
over to the hostler, were on the point of starting for
the house, when David came in.
Halloo, Dave !" exclaimed Don, who was always
the first to greet him. Traps all built ?"
"Not yet," answered David, trying to look as
cheerful as usual.
You have plenty of nails and timber, I suppose.
If not come straight to us. It will never do to let
this thing fall through for want of a little capital
to go on," said Don, who was as much interested in
David's success as though he expected to share in
the profits of the enterprise.
56 THE BOY TRAPPER,
I have everything I want in the way of nails
and boards," replied David "but I-you know-
may I see you just a minute, Don ?"
"Of course you may, or two or three minutes if
you wish. Come on, Bert. I have no secrets from
my brother, now," said Don with a laugh. I kept
one thing secret from him and got myself into
trouble by it. If I had told him of it perhaps he
would have made me behave myself. Now what
is it ?" he added, when the three had drawn up in
one corner of the barn, out of earshot of the host-
David was silent. He had made up his^mind
just what he wanted to say to Don, but Lester
Brigham's sudden appearance and the threats he
had made had scattered all his ideas, and he could
not utter a word.
"Speak up," said Bert encouragingly. "You
need not hesitate to talk freely to us. But what's
the matter with you? You look as though you were
troubled about something."
I am troubled about a good many things," said
David, speaking now after a desperate effort. In
the first place, there are two fellows here who say
I shan't trap any birds."
THE BOY TRAPPER. 57
"Who are they?" demanded Don, surprised and
My brother Dan is one of them."
"Whew!" whistled Don, opening his eyes and
looking at Bert.
I didn't want him to know anything about it,"
continued David, "for I was certain that he would
make me trouble; but he found it out by listening
while I was talking about it, and wanted to join in
with me. I told him I didn't want him, and he said
I shouldn't catch any birds."
"Did he say what he would do to prevent it?"
0, it's easy enough to tell what he will do,"
exclaimed Don. He'll steal or break the traps
and kill the quails. There are plenty of ways in
which he can trouble us, if he makes up his mind to
Who is the other ?" asked Bert.
Don whistled again, and then looked angry.
When did you see him, and what did he have
to say about it?" he asked. Has he any reason
to hold a grudge against you ?"
"I didn't know that he had until I met him in
58 THE BOY TRAPPER.
the road this morning. He says he won't have me
trapping quails and sending them off North, because
it will make them scarce here. He says he is going
to get up a Sportsman's Club among the fellows,
and then he will keep pot-hunters like me where we
"Oho !" exclaimed Bert. It seems to me that
he is taking a good deal upon himself."
That is what he has done ever since he has been
here, and that's why there are so many boys in the
settlement who don't like him," said Don. "But
he mustn't meddle with this business. He can't
come down here into a country that is almost a wil-
derness and manage matters as they do up North.
Father told me the other day that in some states
they have laws to protect game, and it is right that
they should have, for there are so many hunters that
if they were not restrained they would kill all the
birds and animals in a single season. The most of
the hunters live in the city, and when they get out
with their guns they crack away at everything they
see; and if they happen to kill a doe with a fawn at
her side, or a quail with a brood of chicks, it makes
no difference to them. Sportsman's Clubs are of
THE BOY TRAPPER. 59
some use there, but we have no need of them in this
He wants the quails left here, so that he can
shoot them over his dog," continued David.
"0, he does! When is he going to begin ? He
has been here more than a year, and nobody has
ever heard of his killing a quail yet. He must
keep his fingers out of this pie. We can't put up
with any interference from him. Any more bad
news ?" added Don, seeing that David's face had
not yet wholly cleared up.
"Yes, there is," replied the latter, speaking rap-
idly, for fear that his courage might desert him
again. Just after you left me this morning, Silas
Jones rode up and dunned me for eight dollars that
father owes him."
Why, you have nothing to do with that," said
"Nothing whatever," chimed in Don. "You
tell Mr. Jones that if he wants his money he had
better hunt up your father and ask him for it. You
don't owe him anything, do you ?"
No, but he says that if I don't settle that bill,
he'll never let me have a thing at his store again
unless I have the money in my hand to pay for it.
60 THE BOY TRAPPER.
I haven't a cent of my own, and I thought if you
could let me have the ten dollars you promised me
for breaking the pointer, I should be much obliged
"If I would do what?" asked Don, in amaze,
"Why, David," said Bert, "the money was all
paid to you in less than twenty-four hours after the
dog was placed in your keeping."
"Paid to me?" gasped David.
Well, no, not to you, but to your order."
To my order !" repeated the boy, who began to
think he was dreaming.
Yes, to your order," said Don. "We left the
pointer in your hands at noon, while you were at
dinner. In less than an hour afterward, Dan came
over and said that you wanted five dollars to buy a
dress for your mother, and Bert gave him the
money. The next forenoon your father met me at
the landing and told me you wanted the other five
to buy some medicine for your mother, who was ill
with the ague, and I gave it to him, and I just know
I made a mess of it," added Don, bringing his hands
together with a loud slap.
It was plain from the looks of David's face that
THE BOY TRAPPER. 61
he had. The boy listened with eyes wide open, his
under jaw dropping down and his face growing pale,
as the duplicity of which his father and brother had
been guilty was gradually made plain to him, and
when at last his mind grasped the full import of
Don's words, he covered his face with his hands and
cried aloud. Don and Bert looked at him in sur-
prise, and then turned and looked at each other.
They who had never wanted for the necessities, and
who had never but once, and that was during the
war, lacked the luxuries of life, could not under-
stand why his grief should be so overwhelming; but
they could understand that they had been deceived,
and even the gentle-spirited Bert was indignant over
it. The impulsive Don could scarcely restrain him-
self. He walked angrily up and down the floor,
thrashing his boots with his riding-whip and crack-
ing it in the air so viciously that the ponies danced
about in their stalls.
Dave," said Bert, at length, "are we to under-
stand that your father and brother came to us and
got that money without any authority from you ?"
That's just what they did," sobbed David.
"And you never saw a cent of it?"
Not one cent, or mother either."
62 THE BOY TRAPPER.
"Well, what of it ?" exclaimed Don. "Brace
up and be a man, Dave. A ten-dollar bill is not
an everlasting fortune."
I know it isn't much to you, but it is a good
deal to me. You don't know what the loss of it
means. It means corn-bread and butter-milk for
breakfast, dinner and supper."
"Well, what of that?" said Don, again. "I
have eaten more than one dinner at the Gayoso
House, in Memphis-and it is one of the best hotels
in the country-when corn-bread and butter-milk
were down in the bill of fare as part of the dessert."
"Well, if all the folks who stop at that hotel
had to live on it, as we do, they would call for some-
thing else," replied David. "How am I to settle
Silas Jones's bill, I'd like to know ?"
"Never mind Silas Jones's bill. If he says any-
thing more to you about it, tell him that you-don't
owe him a cent."
"And how am I to send my quails away? That
man said the charges must be paid."
"Ah! that's a more serious matter," said Don,
placing his hands on his hips, and looking down at
"It is all serious to me," said David, brushing
THE BOY TRAPPER. 63
the tears from his eyes, "but I'll work through
somehow. I'll go home now and think about it,
and if I don't earn that money in spite of all my
bad luck, it will not be because I don't try."
That's the way to talk," said Don, giving David
an encouraging slap on the back. That's the
sort of spirit I like. Bert and I will see you again,
perhaps this afternoon. In the meantime we'll talk
the matter over, and if we three fellows are not
smart enough to beat the two who are opposing us,
we'll know the reason why."
David hurried out of the barn, in order to hide his
tears, which every instant threatened to break forth
afresh, and Don, turning to the hostler, ordered him
to put the saddles on the ponies again. "Father is
down in the field," said he, to his brother, and it
may be two or three hours before he will come to
the house. I can't wait so long, so we'll ride down
there and talk the matter over with him. He hasn't
forgotten that he was a boy once himself, and he
will tell us just what we ought to do."
The ponies were led out again in a few minutes,
and Bert, having assisted his brother into the sad-
dle, mounted his own nag, and the two rode down
the lane toward the field. Of course they could
64 THE BOY TRAPPER.
talk about only one thing, and that was the ill-luck
that seemed to meet their friend David at every
turn. The longer Bert thought and talked of the
trick that had been played upon himself and his
brother, the more indignant he became; while Don,
having had time to recover a little of his usual good
nature, was more disposed to laugh over it. He de-
clared that it was the sharpest piece of business he
had ever heard of, and wondered greatly that God-
frey and Dan, whom he had always believed to be
as stupid as so many blocks, should have suddenly
exhibited so much shrewdness. Bert declared that
it was a wicked swindle; and the earnestness with
which he denounced the whole proceeding made
Don laugh louder than ever. Of course the latter
did not forget that the trick which so highly amused
him, had been the means of placing David in a very
unpleasant situation, but still he did not think much
about that, for he believed that his father would be
able to make some suggestions, which, if acted upon,
would straighten things out in short order.
"Well, Don, how does it seem, to find yourself in
the saddle again ? You appear to enjoy the exer-
cise, but Bert doesn't. He looks as though he had
lost his last friend."
THE BOY TRAPPER. 65
This was the way General Gordon greeted his
boys, when they rode up beside the stump on which
he was seated, superintending the negroes who were
at work in the field. Bert brightened up at once,
but replied that he thought he had good cause to
look down-hearted, and with this introduction he
went on and told David's story just as the latter had
told it to him and his brother. The General lis-
tened good-naturedly, as he always did to anything
his boys had to tell him, and when Bert ceased
speaking, he pulled off a piece of the stump and
began to whittle it with his knife. The boys waited
for him to say something, but as he did not, Bert
We came down here to ask you what we ought
to do about it, and we want particularly to know
your opinion concerning the trick Dan and his father
played on us."
"That is easily given," replied the General. "My
opinion is that Master Don is just ten dollars out
You don't mean that I must pay it over again ?"
No I don't mean that, because you haven't paid
it at all."
66 THE BOY TRAPPER.
"Why, father, I "
"I understand. Dan made a demand upon Bert,
and Bert borrowed five dollars of his mother and
gave it to him. Godfrey came to you for the other
five, and you gave it to him. David has not yet
been paid for breaking the pointer."
"No, sir; but we supposed that his father and
brother had authority to ask us for the money."
"You had no right to suppose anything of the
kind. You ought to have paid the money into
David's own hands, or else satisfied yourselves that
he wanted it paid to some one else. Among busi-
ness men it is customary, in such cases, to send a
written order. You must pay David, and this time
be sure that he gets the money."
"Whew!" whistled Don, who was very much
surprised by this decision. That will make a big
hole in the money I was saving for Christmas; but
David needs it more than I do, and besides it
belongs to him. What shall we do to Godfrey and
Dan? They obtained those ten dollars under false
pretences, did they not ?"
"I don't know whether a lawyer could make a
case out of that or not," said the General, with a
laugh. "I am afraid he couldn't, so you will have
THE BOY TRAPPER. 67
to stand the loss. Perhaps you will learn something
I am quite sure that I have learned something
already," replied Don. "But now about Dan and
Lester. How are we going to keep them from inter-
fering with David ?"
Why, it seems to me that I could hide my traps
where they would never think of looking for them,
and where I would be sure to catch quails, too. If I
thought I couldn't, I would set them all on this
plantation, and any one who troubled them would
render himself liable for trespass."
"Aha !" exclaimed Don, who caught the idea at
"B1ut, in order to throw Dan off the scent en-
tirely, you might have David come up to our shop
every day and build his traps there. He will find
all the tools he wants, and those shingles we tore
off that old corn-crib will answer his purpose better
than new ones, because they are old and weather-
beaten, and look just like the wood in the forest.
When I was a boy, I never had any luck in catching
birds in bright new traps. When the birds are
caught, he can put them into one of those unoccu-
68 THE BOY TRAPPER.
pied negro cabins and lock them up until he is
ready to send them off."
That's the very idea!" cried Don, gleefully.
"We knew that if there was any way out of the
difficulty, you would be sure to see it."
The General bowed in acknowledgment of the
compliment, and the brothers turned their horses
about and rode away. When they reached the barn
Don was willing to confess that he was very tired.
Riding on horseback is hard work for one who is
stiff in every joint and lame all over; but Don
could not think of going into the house and taking
a rest. He had been a close prisoner there for a
whole week, and now that he had taken a breath
of fresh air and stirred his sluggish blood with a
little exhilarating exercise, he could not bear to go
back to his sofa again. He proposed that they
should leave their ponies at the barn and go up to
David's in the canoe. They would take their guns
with them, he said, and after they had paid David
his money, they would row a short distance up the
bayou, and perhaps they might be fortunate enough
to knock over a duck or two for the next day's
Bert, of course, agreed to the proposition, and
THE BOY TRAPPER. 69
went into the shop after the oars belonging to the
canoe, while Don went into the house again after
the guns. When he came out again he had a
breech-loader on each shoulder and David's ten
dollars in his pocket. Paying that bill twice did
make a big hole in his Christmas money, for it took
just half of it.
The brothers walked along the garden path that
ran toward the lake, and when Don, who was lead-
ing the way, stepped upon the jetty he missed
something" at once. The canoe was gone. They
had not been near the jetty for a week, and the last
time they were there the boat was all right. It
could not have got away without help, for it was
firmly tied to a ring in the jetty by the chain, which
served as a painter, and even if that had become
loosened the canoe would have remained near its
moorings, for there was no current in the lake to
carry it from the shore. Beyond a doubt, it had
been stolen. Don would not have felt the loss more
keenly if the thief had taken his fine sail-boat. The
canoe was almost as old as he was, and in it he and
Bert had taken their first ride on the lake and cap-
tured their first wounded duck.
It's gone," said Don, after he and Bert had
70 THE BOY TRAPPER.
looked all around the lake as far as their eyes could
reach, and that's all there is of it. But we'll not
give up our trip. We'll go in the sail-boat."
The sail-boat had been dismantled, and the masts,
sails, rudder and everything else belonging to her
had been stored in the shop under cover. While
Bert was gone after the oars, Don drew the boat up
to the jetty, and having stowed the guns away in
the stow-sheets, he got in himself and took another
survey of the lake to make sure that the canoe was
nowhere in sight. It was hard to give it up as
Bert came back in a few minutes, and having
shipped the oars shoved off and pulled down the
lake. A quarter of an hour afterward they landed
on the beach in front of Godfrey's cabin. They
found David wandering listlessly about in the back
yard with his hands in his pockets; and when he
came up to the fence in response to their call, they
saw that he had been crying again.
"David," exclaimed Don, putting his hand into
his pocket, we've got news for you that will make
you wear a different looking face when you hear it.
After you went home, we rode down to see father,
and he told us-Eh!" cried Don, turning quickly
THE BOY TRAPPER. 71
toward his brother, who just then gave his arm a
Let me tell it," said Bert. We'd like to see
you at our house this evening about five o'clock;
can you come ?"
"I reckon I can," answered David. "Was that
the good news you wanted to tell me ?"
"No-I believe-yes, it was," said Don, who
received another fearful pinch on the arm and saw
his brother looking at him in a very significant way.
" You come up, anyhow."
We've got some work for you to do up there,"
said Bert. "It will not pay you much at first, but
perhaps you can make something out of it by-and-
by. It will keep you busy for two or three weeks,
perhaps longer. Will you come ?"
David replied that he would, and turned away
with an expression of surprise and disappointment
on his face. The eager, almost excited manner in
which Don greeted him, led him to hope that he
had something very pleasant and encouraging to
tell, and somehow he couldn't help thinking that his
visitors had not said just what they intended to say
when they first came up to the fence.
What in the name of sense and Tom Walker
72 THE BOY TRAPPER.
was the matter with you, Bert ?" demanded Don,
as soon as the two were out of David's hearing.
" My arm is all black and blue, I know !"
"' I didn't want you to say too much," was Bert's
"reply, "and I didn't know any other way to stop
your talking. There was a listener close by."
"' A listener! Who was it?"
"'David's brother. Just as you began speaking
I happened to look toward the cabin, and saw
'through the cracks between the logs that the win.
dow on the other side was open. Close to one of
those cracks, and directly in line with the window,
was a head. I knew it was Dan's head the mo-
ment I saw it."
Aha!" exclaimed Don. He had his trouble
for his pains this time, hadn't he ? Or, rather, he
had the trouble and I had the pain," he added, rub-
bing his arm.
Bert laughed and said he thought that was about
the way the matter stood.
THE BOY TRAPPER. 73
DAN IS ASTONISHED.
M ANY times during his life had David had
good reason to be discouraged, but he had
never been so strongly tempted to give up trying
altogether and settle down into a professional vaga-
bond, as he was when he left General Gordon's barn
and turned his face toward home. He had relied
upon Don to show him a way out of his trouble,
but his friend had not helped him at all; he had
only made matters worse by telling him more bad
news. Nothing seemed to go right with him.
There was Dan, who never did anything, and yet
he was better off in the world and seemed to be
just as happy as David, who was always striving to
better his condition and continually on the lookout
for a chance to earn a dollar or two. Why should
he not stop work and let things take their own
course, as his brother did ? Ie reached home while
he was revolving this question in his mind, and the
74 THE BOY TRAPPER.
first person he saw when he climbed the fence and
walked toward the shingle-pile to resume work upon
his traps, was his brother Dan.
Whar you been an' what you been a doin' of?"
demanded the latter, as if he had a right to know.
"I've been over to Don's house," answered
David; "and while I was there I found out that
you and father borrowed my ten dollars."
"'Tain't so nuther," cried Dan, trying to look
surprised and indignant.
"I believe everything Don and Bert tell me..
They have never lied to me and you have."
Whoop!" yelled Dan, jumping up and knock-
ing his heels together.
"I mean every word of it," said David, firmly.
"You have got me into a tight scrape, but I'll work
out of it somehow. And let me tell you one thing,
Dan; you'll never have a chance to steal any more
of my money."
"Then why don't you divide it like a feller had
oughter do ?" asked Dan, angrily.
"Why don't you divide with mother and me
when you have some ?"
Kase I work hard for it an' it b'lon-s to me
that's why." And knowing by his past experience,
THE BOY TRAPPER. 75
That he could not hold his own in an argument with
his brother, Dan turned about and went into the
David worked faithfully at his traps, paying no
further heed to his brother's movements. He tried
to keep his mind on what he was doing, but now
and then the recollection of the heavy loss he had
sustained would come back to him with overwhelm-
ing force and the tears would start to his eyes in
spite of all he could do to prevent it. Then he
would throw down his hammer and wander about
with his hands in his pockets, wondering what
was the use of trying to do anything or be
anybody while things were working so strongly
It was during one of these idle periods that Don
and Bert came up. David's hopes arose immedi-
ately when he caught sight of Don's smiling face,
for he was sure that he was about to hear something
encouraging. Indeed, Don's first words confirmed
this impression; but it turned out that they had
come there simply to offer him work that would
keep him busy for two or three weeks. Of course
David wanted work, but just then he wanted money
more. He wanted to pay that grocery bill, so that
76 THE BOY TRAPPER.
he could look Silas Jones in the face the next time
he met him.
When the brothers got into their boat and rowed
away, David went back to his traps, while Dan, who
had been disappointed iin his hopes of hearing some
private conversation between the visitors and his
brother, shouldered his rifle and disappeared in the
David worked away industriously until the sun
told him that it was nearly four o'clock, and then
he put on his coat and started off to keep his
appointment with Don and Bert. He found them
waiting for him at the General's barn, and he was
not a little surprised when they seized him by the
arms and pulled him into the carpenter-shop, the
door of which they were careful to close and lock
"Now I know we can talk without danger of
being overheard," exclaimed Don. We've got
lots to tell you; but in the first place," he added,
opening his pocket-book, "there's your money."
The expression of joy and surprise that came
upon David's face as he hesitatingly, almost reluct-
antly, took the crisp, new bill that was held toward
him, amply repaid Don for the loss of the pleasure
THE BOY TRAPPER. 77
he had expected to derive in spending the money
for Christmas presents.
Why, I understood you to say that father and
Dan had drawn this money," said he, as soon as he
So they did, but my father says the loss is mine
and not yours."
David drew a long breath. He understood the
matter now. It isn't fair that you should pay it
twice," said he.
I haven't paid it twice; that is, I haven't paid
you at all. It's all right, David, you may depend
upon it. They'll never fool us again. If I should
ever have any more of your money, nobody could
get it except yourself."
"L Or mother," added David.
0, of course. I wouldn't be afraid to trust her."
I was in hopes that you would have a good deal
of my money in your hands some day," continued
David. I was going to ask you to keep my hun-
dred and fifty dollars for me; but I don't know now
whether I shall ever get it or not."
"Of course you'll get it," exclaimed Bert.
"Y ou are not going to give up the idea of trapping
the quails, are you ?"
78 THE BOY TRAPPER.
"NNo, but I don't know that I shall make any-
thing at it, for Dan and Lester can break up my
traps faster than I can make them."
"Well, they'll not break up a single one of your
Here Don began and hurriedly repeated the con-
versation which he and Bert had had with their
father a few hours before. As David listened the
look of trouble his face had worn all that day grad-
ually faded away, and the old happy smile took its
place. His confidence in his friends had not been
misplaced; Dan and Lester Brigham were to be
outwitted after all.
The traps and the "figure fours" with which they
were to be set, could be built there in the shop, Don
said. There were tools and a bench and everything
else needful close at hand, so that the work could
be done in half the time that David had expected
to devote to it. As fast as the traps were completed
they were to be set in General Gordon's fields.
They would be safe there and Dan Evans or Lester
Brigham or anybody else who came near them,
would be likely to get himself into trouble. The
negroes were always at work in the fields in the
daytime, and if they were told to keep their eyes
THE BOY TRAPPER. 79
open and report any outsiders who might be seen
prowling about the fences, they would be sure to do
it. The best course David could pursue would be
to say nothing more about trapping the quails.
Let Dan believe that he had become discouraged
and given up the enterprise. If he wanted to know
what it was that took his brother over to General
Gordon's house so regularly, David could tell him
that he was doing some work there, which would be
the truth; and besides it would be all Dan had any
right to know.
As fast as the birds were caught, they could be
locked up in one of the empty negro cabins; and
any one who found out that they were there and
tried to steal them, would run the risk of being
caught by Don's hounds. It was a splendid plan,
taken altogether, and David's eyes fairly glistened
while it was unfolded to him. He thanked the
brothers over and over again for their kindness and
the interest they took in his success, and might have
kept on thanking them if Don had not interrupted
0, that's all understood. Now, before you begin
work on those traps we want you to help us one
day. We've had a good deal of excitement and
80 THE BOY TRAPPER.
some good luck since we last saw you. We have
recovered my canoe, which somebody stole from me,
and we have found out that there is a bear living
on Bruin's Island."
He must be a monster, too, for such growls I
never heard before," said Bert.
"Didn't you see him ?" asked David.
"No. We landed to explore the island, and
while we were going through the cane he growled
at us, and we took the hint and left. We didn't
have a single load of heavy shot with us. We're
going up there to-morrow, and we want you to go
with us. We'll go fixed for him, too. We'll have
a couple of good dogs with us; I'll take my rifle;
Bert will take father's heavy gun; and we'd like
to have you take your single-barrel. If he gets a
bullet and three loads of buckshot in his head, he'll
not growl at us any more. If we don't get a chance
to shoot him, we'll build a trap and catch him
alive the next time he comes to the island. Will
you go ?
Of course David would go. He would have gone
anywhere that Don told him to go. He promised
to be at the barn at an early hour the next morning,
and then showed a desire to leave the shop; so Don
THE BOY TRAPPER. 81
unlocked the door, and David hurried out and
turned his face toward the landing. He had money
now, and that grocery bill should not trouble him
"If there ever was a lucky boy in the world I
am the one," thought David, whose spirits were
elevated in the same ratio in which they had before
been depressed. I'll earn my hundred and fifty
dollars now, and mother shall have her nice things
in spite of Dan and Lester. It isn't every fellow
who has such friends as Don and Bert Gordon. But
I shall have a hard time of it, anyhow. Dan will be
so mad when he finds out that he can't ruin me,
that he will do something desperate."
David, however, did not waste much time in
thinking of the troubles that might come in the
future. He preferred to think about pleasanter
things. He was so wholly engrossed with his plans
that it seemed to him that he was not more than five
minutes in reaching the landing. There was no one
in the street, and nothing there worth looking at,
except General Gordon's white horse, which was
hitched to a post in front of Silas Jones's store. As
David approached, the General himself came out,
accompanied by the grocer, who was as polite and
82 THE BOY TRAPPER.
attentive to his rich customers as he was indifferent
to the poor ones.
"Ah, David !" exclaimed the General, extending
his hand; "how are times now? Business looking
Y-yes, sir," stammered the boy, who could
scarcely speak at all. He was not abashed by the
rich man's presence, for he had learned to expect a
friendly nod or a cordial grasp of the hand every
time he met him; but he was very much astonished
by the greeting which Silas Jones extended to him.
No sooner had the General released David's hand
tlan it was seized by the grocer, who appeared to
be as glad to see him as though he knew that the
boy had come there to buy a bill of goods worth
hundreds of dollars.
"It never does any good to give away to our
gloomy feelings," said the General. "There are
many times when things don't go just as we would
like to have them, but the day always follows the
night, and a little perseverance sometimes works
David understood what the General meant, but it
was plain that the grocer did not, for he looked both
bewildered and surprised. He bowed to his rich
THE BOY TRAPPER. 83
customer, as he rode off, and then, turning to David,
conducted him into the store with a great deal of
"Mr. Jones," said David, who began to think
that the grocer must have taken leave of his senses,
"I have come here to settle father's bill."
0, that's all right," was the smiling reply. It
isn't fair that I should hold you responsible for that
debt, and I have concluded that I will not do it.
Your father will pay me some time, perhaps, and
if he doesn't, I'll let it go. The loss of it won't
break me. Can I do anything for you this even-
David was more astonished than ever. Was this
the man who had spoken so harshly to him no longer
ago than that very morning ? What had happened
to work so great a change in him ? It was the
General's visit that did it. When Don and Bert
left their father, after holding that short consulta-
tion with him in the field, the latter took a few
minutes to think the matter over, and when his
hands had finished their work, he mounted his horse
and rode down to the landing, to have a talk with
Mr. Jones. What passed between them no one ever
knew, but it was noticed that from that day forward,
84 THE BOY TRAPPER.
whenever David came into the store to trade, he was
treated with as much respect as he would have been
had he been known to have his pockets full of
Want anything in my line this evening ?" con-
tinued the grocer, rubbing his hands; a hat or a
pair of shoes and stockings for yourself, a nice warm
dress for mother, or---"
"0, I want a good many things," replied David,
"but I shall have only two dollars left after your
bill is paid, and that must keep us in groceries for
at least a month-perhaps longer."
To David's great amazement, the merchant re-
plied: Your credit is good for six months. As
for your father's debt, I wouldn't let you pay it if
you were made of money. Better take home some
tea, coffee and sugar with you, hadn't you? It is
always a good plan to replenish before you get en-
tirely out, you know."
"' we were out long ago," said David, who could
not help smiling at the mistake Silas made in sup-
posing that tea, coffee and sugar appeared on his
mother's table every day. We haven't had any in
our house for almost a month."
Is that so ?" exclaimed the grocer. Then I'll
THE BOY TRAPPER. 85
put up some for you, and lend you a basket to carry
it home in."
David leaned upon the counter and began a little
problem in mental arithmetic, with the view of ascer-
taining how much of his money it would take to
keep his mother supplied with the luxuries the gro-
cer had mentioned for one month, and how much he
would have left to invest in clothing for her; but
before the problem was solved the grocer had placed
three neat packages, good-sized ones, too, on the
counter, and was looking for a basket to put
Now, then," said he, briskly, "what next? A
dress for mother or a pair of shoes for yourself?
The mornings are getting to be pretty cold now,
and you can't run around barefooted much longer.
Ah, Dan! how do you do?"
David looked up and was surprised to see his bro-
ther standing by his side. He was surprised, too,
to notice that the grocer greeted him almost as cor-
dially as he had greeted himself but a few minutes
before. David was not glad that he was there, for
the expression on Dan's face told him that he had
seen and heard more than he had any business to
know. David made haste to finish his trading after
86 THE BOY TRAPPER.
that, and when he had purchased a dress and a pair
of shoes for his mother, and a pair of shoes and
stockings for himself, he handed out his ten-dollar
bill in payment. Dan's eyes seemed ready to start
from their sockets at the sight of it.
"Never mind that, now," said the grocer, push-
ing it back. Perhaps you will need it some day
and I can wait six months, if you are not ready to
settle up before."
Dan's eyes opened still wider, and when his
brother, after thanking the grocer for his kindness
and confidence, gathered up his purchases and left
the store, he followed slowly after him, so wholly
lost in wonder that he never recollected that he had
six dollars in his own pocket, and that he had come
there to spend the best part of five of it.. He
walked along at a little distance behind his brother,
looking thoughtfully at the ground all the while, as
if he were revolving some perplexing question in
his mind, and then quickened his pace to overtake
"Le' me carry some of them things," said he, as
he came up with David.
"No, I thank you," replied the latter, who knew
that Dan never would have offered to help him, if
THE BOY TRAPPER. 87
he had not hoped to gain something by it. I can
get along very well by myself. The load is not a
"You're an amazin' lucky feller, Davy," con-
tinued Dan. "What you been a doin' to Silas, to
make him speak so kind to us poor folks ?"
I haven't done anything to him. I don't know
how to account for it, any more than you do."
"What's the matter, now ? Forgot something ?"
asked Dan, as his brother suddenly stopped and
looked toward the landing, as if he had half a mind
to turn around and go back there.
Yes, David had forgotten something, and it was
very important too, he thought. He knew that
Dan was always on the lookout for a chance to make
a penny without work, and David was afraid that he
might be tempted to repeat the trick which he and
his father had played upon Don and Bert with so
It would be a very easy matter for Dan to make
up some plausible story to tell the grocer, and
perhaps on the strength of his brother's almost un-
limited credit, he might be able to obtain a few little
articles of which he stood in need. David had never
thought to put Silas on his guard.
88 THE BOY TRAPPER.
I'll hold them things fur you, if you want to run
back thar," said Dan, reaching out his hand for the
"No, I'll let it go until the next time I come
down," answered David. "A day or two will not
make much difference."
Whar did you get them ten dollars, any how ?"
asked Dan, as the two once more turned their faces
That's the money you tried to cheat me out of,"
replied his brother. "Don says the loss was his
and not mine."
"Did he give you ten dollars more ?" exclaimed
Not ten dollars more, for this is the first he has
given me. You and father got what I ought to have
An' you never spent none on it, did you ? I
seen Silas shove it back to you."
"Yes, I've got it safe in my pocket. I'm going
to keep it, too."
"Wal, I'll bet a hoss you don't," was Dan's
mental reflection. "I'd oughter have some on it,
an' if you don't give it to me without my axin' you,
I'll have it all. I'm the man of the house now, an
THE BOY TRAPPER. 89
it's the properest thing that I should have the hand-
lin' of all the money that comes in."
Of course Dan was much too smart to say this
aloud. He knew that any threats from him would
put his brother on his guard, and then he might
whistle for the ten dollars. He said no more, and
the two walked along in silence until they came to
General Gordon's barn. Just as David was going
into it, he met Lester Brigham riding out of it.
Lester scowled down at him, but David did not
scowl back. He was quite willing to forget that
they had ever had any difficulty and to be friendly
with Lester, if the latter wanted him to be. It is
probable, however, that he would have had different
feelings, if he had known what it was that brought
Lester over to Don's house.
David, as we have said, turned into the barn, and
Dan, who had more than his share of curiosity,
would have given almost anything he possessed to
know what business he had there; but he could not
go in to see, for he dared not face Don and Bert
after what he had done, so he kept on toward home.
David deposited his basket and bundles on the
steps that led to the loft, and making his way
around the north wing of the house, knocked at
90 THE BOY TRAPPER.
the door, which was presently opened by Bert.
David asked if Don was in, and receiving an affirm-
ative reply, was ushered into the library, where his
friend, wearied with his day's exercise, was taking
his ease on the sofa, which had been drawn up in
front of a cheerful wood fire. David declined to
accept the chair which Bert placed for him, and
opened his business at once.
Don," said he, would you be willing to take that
money you gave me and keep it until I call for it ?"
"Of course I would," replied Don, readily.
"You haven't paid that grocery bill, then ? Well,
I wouldn't either. You are not responsible for it."
"I offered to pay it, but Mr. Jones wouldn't
take the money. He says my credit is good for six
Why, what has come over him all of a sudden ?"
said Don, who did not know that his father had had
an interview with Silas that very day.
"I wish I knew. There's the money, and you
won't let anybody have it, except mother or me,
will you ?"
You may be sure that I will take good care of
it this time. Don't forget that bear hunt, to-
THE BOY TRAPPER. 91
No. I'll be on hand bright and early. Good-
David hurried out, and picking up the basket and
bundles he had left in the barn, started for home.
When he got there, he was surprised to see that Dan
was at work. He had pulled off his coat, rolled up
his sleeves and with a frow and mallet in his hands,
was busy splitting out shingles. David said nothing
to him, but went into the house to put away the tea,
coffee and sugar and place the articles he had
bought for his mother in a conspicuous position, so
that she would be sure to see them, the moment she
entered the door. While he was thus engaged, Dan
came in smiling, and trying to look good-natured.
David was on his guard at once.
I'll tell you what I've made up my mind to do
by you, Davy," said Dan, "an' when you hear
what it is, if you don't say I'm the best brother you
ever had, I want to know what's the reason why.
I ain't goin' agin you like I told you I was."
I am very glad to hear it," said David.
"No, I ain't. I'm goin' to be pardners with
you, an' I'm going' to give you half the money we
make outen them quail. I'll give you half what
I've got hid away, too."
92 THE BOY TRAPPER.
I have no claim upon that," replied David. It
belongs to Don Gordon, and if you are honest you'll
give him every cent of it."
"I can't do it," said Dan. Kase why, I give
pap three an' a half of it, an' spent six bits
Then give him what you have, and tell him
that you will hand him the rest as soon as you can
Not by no means, I won't," said Dan, quickly.
" Ten dollars ain't nothing to him."
That makes no difference. It is his, and he
ought to have it."
Wal, I'll tell you what I'll do: I'll pay him
outen them fifty dollars we're goin' to get fur them
quail. An', Davy, if you'll give me the money
you've got in your pocket, I'll hide it with mine
whar nobody can't find it, and then it'll be safe."
It is safe now."
But if I go halves with you, you had oughter
go halves with me. Let's go out to them traps agin,
and we kin talk it over while we're working. "
"I am not going to do anything more with those
You hain't give it up, have you ? You ain't
THE BOY TRAPPER. 93
goin' to let them fifty dollars slip through your
fingers, be you ?"
"What encouragement have I to do anything
after what you said this morning? I have made
other arrangements. I am going to work over at
David expected that his brother would be very
angry when he heard this, but if he was, he did not
show it. He looked steadily at David for a moment
and then turned and walked around the corner of
the cabin out of sight.
94 THE BOY TRAPPER.
T HAT'S a purty way he's got of doing' business,
I do think. He's a trifle the meanest feller I
ever seed, Dave is, an' if I don't pay him fur it afore
he's a great many weeks older, I'll just play myself
out a trying If me an' him works together we kin
get them fifty dollars as easy as falling' off a log; but
he can't am 'em by hisself, an' he shan't, nuther."
This was the way Dan Evans talked to himself, as
he trudged through the woods with his rifle on his
shoulder, after his unsuccessful attempt to overhear
what passed between his brother and Don and Bert
Gordon; or, rather, after his failure to find out what
it was that brought Don and Bert to the cabin. He
did overhear what passed between them, but he didl
not learn anything by it. Of course that made him
angry. A good many things had happened that
day to make him angry, and he had gone off in the
woods by himself to think and plan vengeance.
THE BOY TRAPPER. 95
Bein' the man of the house I've got more right
to them fifty dollars nor Dave has," thought Dan,
" an' if he don't give me half of 'em, he shan't see a
cent of 'em hisself. Wouldn't I look nice loafin'
around in these yere clothes while Dave was dressed
up like a gentleman an' takin' his ease ? I'll bust
up them traps of his'n faster'n he kin make 'em.
I'll show him that I'm the boss of this house now
that pap's away, no matter if them Gordon fellers
is a backin' on him up. I've lamed a heap by
listening I heard Dave tell the ole woman that he's
goin' to make three dollars a dozen outen them quail.
I didn't larn nothing this afternoon, howsomever.
Them fellers must a seed me looking' through the
cracks, kase they didn't tell him what they was
agoin' to tell him when they fust come up to the
Dan walked about for an hour or more, talking in
this way to himself. The squirrels frisked and barked
all around him, but he did not seem to hear them.
He was so busy thinking over his troubles that he
scarcely knew where he was going, until at last he
found himself standing on the banks of a sluggish
bayou that ran through the swamp. The stream was
wide and deep, and near the middle of it and opposite
96 THE BOY TRAPPER.
the spot where Dan stood, was a little island thickly
covered with briers and cane. It was known among
the settlers as Bruin's Island. Dan knew the place
well. Many a fine string of goggle-eyes had he
caught at the foot of the huge sycamore which grew
at the lower end of the island, and leaned over the
water until its long branches almost touched the trees
on the main shore, and it was here that he had
trapped his first beaver. More than that, the island
had been a place of refuge for his father during the
war. He retreated to it on the night the levee was
blown up by the Union soldiers, and spent the
most of his time there until all danger of capture
When Dan appeared upon the bank of the bayou
a dark object, which was crouching at. the- water's
edge near the foot of the sycamore, suddenly sprang
up and glided into the bushes out of sight. Its
movements were quick and noiseless, but still they
did not escape the notice of Dan, who dropped on
the instant and hid behind a fallen log that happened
to be close at hand. He did not have time to take
a good look at the object, but he saw enough of it to
frighten him thoroughly. He thrust his cocked rifle
cautiously over the log, directing the muzzle toward
THE BOY TRAPPER. 97
the sycamore, but his hand was unsteady and his face
was as white as a sheet.
Looked to me like a man," thought Dan, trem-
bling in every limb, but in course it couldn't be;
so it's one of them haunts what lives in the General's
Dan kept his gaze directed across the bayou, and
could scarcely restrain himself from jumping up and
taking to his heels when he saw a head, covered with
a torn and faded hat, raised slowly and cautiously
above the leaning trunk of the sycamore. It re-
mained motionless for a moment and Dan's eyes
were sharp enough to see that there was a face below
the hat-a tanned and weather-beaten face, the lower
portion of which was concealed by thick, bushy
whiskers. As Dan looked his eyes began to dilate,
his mouth came open, and the butt of his rifle was
gradually lowered until the muzzle pointed toward
the clouds. He was sure he saw something familiar
about the face, but the sight of it was most unex-
pected, and so was the sound of the voice which
reached his ears a moment later.
Dannie !" came the hail, in subdued tones, as
if the speaker were afraid of being overheard by some
one besides the boy whom he was addressing.