The Gun Club Boys of Lakeport
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“Leave the lads alone,” came sternly from Joel Runnell. “What they’ve got belongs to them.”
“He’s got them papers!” screamed Skeetles, losing all self-control. “Take ’em from him, Dan!” And he pointed at Joe.
Marcy took a step forward as if to catch hold of Joe, but a well-directed blow from old Runnell’s hand sent him sprawling in the snow.
“Clear out,” said the old hunter, wrathfully. “If you don’t – ”
He tapped his gun, but it was unnecessary. The bully staggered to his feet and retreated without delay. Seeing this, Hiram Skeetles also fell back, glaring angrily at our friends as he did so.
“What are ye goin’ to do?” he asked, after a pause.
“I am going to help my folks get back the property that belongs to them,” answered Joe. “Hiram Skeetles, you are found out, and the less fuss you make the better off you’ll be.”
“Those papers ain’t no good.”
“That remains to be seen. What I want to know is, how did you manage to steal them?”
“Steal ’em?” Hiram Skeetles’ lips quivered. “Didn’t steal ’em. Dan Marcy got – ”
“Don’t you lay it off on me,” howled the bully. “Skeetles told me they belonged to him, and that’s why I got ’em. If I had known – ” He stopped short.
“My opinion of it is, you are both a precious pair of rascals,” came from Joel Runnell. “And that being so, I want you to leave these boys alone.”
A wordy war followed, but old Runnell and the young hunters were obdurate, and at last Hiram Skeetles and Dan Marcy withdrew, the former trembling for what the future might have in store and the bully like a dog that has been thoroughly whipped.
“I move we start for home at once,” said Joe, and Harry seconded the motion. The others were willing, and they started less than an hour after, dragging their diminished stores and the balance of the moose after them.
The coming into Lakeport with such big game attracted considerable attention, and they were loudly congratulated on the success of their hunting tour; but the majority of the people did not know the full extent of their success until some time later, when the truth concerning the missing papers was announced.
“They are the real papers,” said Mrs. Westmore. “It is wonderful how you managed to locate them.”
“We will start proceedings against Hiram Skeetles without delay,” said Mr. Westmore, and this was done. The real estate dealer put up a feeble fight, but the evidence was all against him, and in the end the property came into the Westmore possession. Then it was also decided that Skeetles had no claim upon Pine Island. The real estate dealer grew so unpopular in that neighborhood that soon he moved to another section of the country and that was almost the last seen or heard of him.
“I guess Dan Marcy feels rather mean,” said Joe. “He knows he didn’t treat us right.”
“Oh, Marcy has a thick hide and wouldn’t feel mean over anything,” answered Fred. “As soon as this affair blows over he’ll go around bullying folks just as much as ever.” And this proved true, although Marcy, for a long while to come, gave the Westmores, Fred, and old Runnell a wide berth.
The young hunters never tired of talking of the grand outing they had had.
“It was a dandy,” said Fred.“I declare, I feel like a regular hunter now.”
“I guess we all do,” said Link. “Although Bart and I weren’t out as long as you fellows.”
“Never mind – I had my share of the fun,” put in Bart.
“We had our sports and hardships pretty well mixed,” came from Joe. “But as everything came out as it should in the end we needn’t complain.”
“Complain!” cried Harry. “I’d like to have another outing just like it next winter.”
The others said the same. And here let us for the present say good-by to the Gun Club Boys of Lakeport. More good times were in store for them, and what some of these were will be told in another volume, to be called, “The Baseball Boys of Lakeport; or, The Winning Run.” Baseball is our great national sport, as all my readers know, and when clubs play each other the rivalry is of the keenest.
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