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    Chapter 12

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    Chapter 13
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    "Off at last!"

    "Hurrah for the West!"

    "And the Landslide Mine, Roger, don't forget that!"

    "What a splendid day for beginning the trip!"

    "Say, we make quite a crowd, don't we?"

    "Wonder if the train will be on time, Dave?"

    "I suppose so. Special excursions are supposed to start on time. Is everybody here, and have we all our baggage?"

    "I've got all of mine," returned Laura. "How about you, Jessie?"

    "I've got my hand-bag. The trunk went with the other trunks."

    "Say, seeing this crowd, puts me in mind of a story," burst out Shadow Hamilton. "Once some tourists--"

    "Oh, Shadow!" came from several in concert.

    "Better keep the story until after we are on the way," cried Dave, gayly. "We'll have plenty of time on the train. It's a four-days' trip to Yellowstone Park, remember."

    "Here comes the train!" was the cry.

    The scene was the Crumville station. The little platform was crowded with the folks who were going on the personally-conducted tour to that place of many wonders, Yellowstone Park. Mr. Basswood was on hand, wearing a blue and gold badge, and so was one of the local ministers, and these two had charge of the tour, these and a railroad official who had to look after connections and meals. In the crowd were the boys and girls, and also Mrs. Wadsworth, Mr. Dunston Porter, and about forty others from Crumville and vicinity. The tour was being run at a very reasonable rate, considering the accommodations afforded, and many were taking advantage of this fact to see Yellowstone Park, with its wonderful geysers, its curious boiling "paint pots," and its bears and buffaloes. The minister had once given a lecture on the Park and this had stimulated curiosity to go and see this land of such natural wonders. It is a great national reservation that every American ought to be glad to visit.

    As the train rolled into the station the crowd got aboard and the porters showed the tourists to their seats. All of the "Porter tribe," as Phil dubbed them, were together. Mrs. Wadsworth and another lady had a stateroom, and next to this Laura and Jessie had a section, with Dave and Roger opposite. Then came the other boys, and Mr. and Mrs. Basswood and Dunston Porter. The Crumville contingent filled two cars, and there were three more cars from neighboring towns. To the front were a baggage and a dining-car and to the rear an observation car.

    "All aboard!" was the cry.


    "Don't forget to write!"

    "Here, Tom, don't forget your valise!"

    "Be sure to look for Brother Jack in Chicago!"

    "Be sure to get some good pictures!"

    "Don't forget some souvenirs!"

    Then came more cries, and the waving of numerous handkerchiefs; and off rolled the excursion train, on its long western trip, Dave waving his cap to his father and Mr. Wadsworth, who had come down to the depot to see the party off.

    It took some little time to settle down on the train. They had left Crumville at half-past ten and almost before the young folks knew it, it was time for lunch. Quite naturally Dave escorted Jessie to the dining-car, while Roger took Laura, and Mr. Dunston Porter looked after Mrs. Wadsworth.

    "I hope the good weather continues," said Jessie, as she sat down with Dave. "It will add so much to the trip."

    "Oh, I've ordered nothing but the best of weather," he replied, with a smile.

    "Tell me, Dave," she whispered, "did you hear anything more about that Link Merwell?"

    "Not a word, Jessie."

    "You are sure it was he who was behind the summer-house that day?"

    "Fairly sure. Of course, we might have been mistaken. But we know he was in Crumville--Laura was sure of that--and it would be just like him to sneak up to our place to see what he could do to annoy or injure us."

    "Oh, if only they would leave you alone, Dave!" and the girl sighed deeply.

    "Don't you worry, Jessie; I can take care of myself."

    The lunch was a delightful one, and with so little to do, the young folks took their time over the repast. Then they drifted back to the observation car, and the boys saw to it that the girls and the ladies got good seats, where they might see all that they passed.

    The afternoon found them rolling in the direction of Buffalo, which they were to reach before it was time to retire for the night. Then the train would pass through Cleveland while they slept, on its way to Chicago.

    "I'll be glad to get a look at Chicago," said Ben Basswood, who had not done much traveling.

    "We are to take a tour in a rubber-neck wagon," he added.

    "A rubber-neck wagon!" cried his mother. "Benjamin, what language!"

    "Well, that is what they usually call the touring automobiles," he answered, with a grin.

    To some of the folks on the trip, going to bed on a train was much of a novelty, and they watched with interest while the porters made up the berths.

    "Do you remember the time we had Billy Dill along, and what he thought of sleeping on a train?" remarked Dave, to Phil and Roger.

    "I sure do," answered the shipowner's son, with a chuckle. "When he saw the seats converted into beds he wanted to know if they didn't have a ballroom aboard, or a church, or a farm," and at the recollection of the old tar's questions all in the party had to laugh.

    "Where is this Billy Dill now?" asked Shadow.

    "Safe in an old sailors' home," answered Dave. "He took a trip or two to sea, but he couldn't stand it, so we had him put in the home."

    "You've got him to thank for a good deal, Dave," remarked the senator's son, in low tones.

    "Yes, and I'll never forget Billy Dill," answered our hero, as he remembered how the old tar had helped him to find his Uncle Dunston, as related in detail in "Dave Porter in the South Seas."

    Mr. Dunston Porter had found some congenial spirits in the smoking-compartment of the car and spent a good deal of his time there. He met a man who had done considerable hunting in the West, and the two "swapped yarns," as Mr. Porter said afterwards.

    Only a short stop was made at Buffalo, just long enough to allow the boys and some of the men to stretch their legs on the depot platform, and then the excursion train started on its trip along the shore of Lake Erie towards the great Windy City, as Chicago is sometimes called.

    Morning found the party well on the way to Chicago, and that metropolis of the Great Lakes was reached about noon. Lunch had already been served, and at the depot all hands found a string of touring automobiles awaiting them, to take them around to various points of interest, including the business section, the finer residential district, and Lincoln Park, with its Zoölogical Garden. Some of the party went in a different direction, to visit the Stock Yards, that great place where hundreds of cattle are slaughtered daily.

    "By the great tin dipper!" cried Phil, suddenly, when waiting for the automobile in which he and some others sat to start off. "Look who's here!"

    "Jim Murphy!" cried Dave and Roger, in a breath.

    "So it is!" came from Shadow. "Hi, Jim!" he called out. "Don't you know us any more?"

    The young man they addressed, a tall fellow of Irish parentage, who stood on the sidewalk, turned swiftly. Then his face broke into a grin, and he rushed forward.

    "Sure, an' what do you think of this now!" he exclaimed. "Dave Porter, an' Phil Lawrence, an' Roger Morr, and Shadow Hamilton, an', sure enough, Ben Basswood! Say, what is this, a tour o' Oak Hall boys!" and the former monitor of that institution of learning smiled more broadly than ever.

    "We are on an excursion," explained Dave, and gave some details. "What are you doing in Chicago, Jim?" he went on.

    "Sure I got a job here, after I left Oak Hall."

    "What are you doing?" questioned Roger.

    "I'm one of the gatemen in the train shed. But I expect to get a better job than that in a week or two--it's promised to me," added the former monitor. "An', by the way, lots of Oak Hall boys passing through Chicago now," he continued.

    "What do you mean?" asked Phil, quickly. "Whom did you see?"

    "Saw Teddy Fells about a week ago, and two days ago I saw Link Merwell."

    "Merwell!" came from several of the youths.

    "Was he alone?" questioned Dave.

    "No, he had Mr. Haskers with him. Haskers lost his job at the Hall, didn't he?"


    "I thought so, for the minute he and Merwell spotted me they got out of sight in a hurry."

    "Where were they going?" asked Phil.

    "I'm sure I don't know. They got off the Eastern Express, and left the depot in a hurry. They acted as if they didn't want anybody to notice 'em."

    "All ready!" came the cry of the man in charge of the touring automobiles, and then one after another the turnouts rolled away from the depot.

    "Shall we stay here and look into this?" asked Dave, of Roger and Phil.

    "What's the use?" returned the shipowner's son. "It isn't likely they are here now." And then the boys waved a good-by to big Jim Murphy, and the automobile passed out of the former monitor's sight.

    Laura and Jessie had heard what was said and they were as much disturbed as the boys themselves, if not more so.

    "Oh, Dave, do you think Haskers and Merwell are following you?" asked his sister, anxiously.

    "They can't be following us if they are ahead of us," he replied, with a faint smile.

    "Well, you know what I mean."

    "I don't know what to think, Laura. Merwell may be going West to join his folks. They are somewhere out there."

    "But Haskers----"

    "He may be sticking to Link because Link has money--he gets it from his parents, who don't want to see him caught and sent to prison, as was the case with Jasniff. I think Job Haskers was always a good sponge when it came to getting something out of other people."

    "Maybe you are right. Oh, I hope we don't meet them on this trip!" And Laura shuddered; she could not exactly tell why.

    The touring trip took the Crumville folks first to the business section of Chicago, and the man in front, with a megaphone, bawled out the various points of interest. Then the touring-cars, in a sort of procession, moved to a residential section, fronting Lake Michigan, with its palatial homes.

    "Just as fine as Riverside Drive, New York," was Dave's comment.

    "Every large city in the United States has its beautiful section," remarked Dunston Porter.

    They were soon in Lincoln Park, and here a stop was made to look at the animals in the Zoo. The young people had a good deal of fun with the monkeys, and with a couple of bears that stood up to box each other.

    Five o'clock found the party back to the depot, ready to board the train once more. As they stood near the car steps talking, a porter of the car touched Roger on the arm.

    "Excuse me, Mr. Morr," he said, "but did you send a man here for your suit-case?"

    "I certainly did not!" cried the senator's son.

    "You didn't!" gasped the colored porter, and at once showed his excitement. "Well, one came here, with a written order for your suit-case, and I done gave it to him!"
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