Boy Scouts in the Coal Caverns by Major Archibald Lee Fletcher


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Page 1

Instructed by Mr. Horton, a well-known criminal lawyer of Chicago, the
boys had reached the almost deserted mine at dusk of a November day.
There they had found Canfield, the caretaker, waiting for them in a
dimly-lighted office. The mine had not been operated for a number of
months, not because the veins had given out, but because of some
misunderstanding between the owners of mines in that section.

The large, bare room in which the caretaker and the Boy Scouts met was
in the breaker. There was no fire in the great heater, and the tables
and chairs were black with dust. A single electric light shone down
from the ceiling, creating long, ghost-like shadows as it swayed about
in a gentle wind blowing through a broken window.

"Well," Tommy Gregory said, as the caretaker paused, "you've got the
Boy Scouts, and it remains for you to set us to work."

"And a sturdy looking lot, too!" grinned the caretaker.

"Oh, Mr. Horton wouldn't be apt to send a lot of cripples!" laughed
Sandy Green. "He's next to his job, that man is!"

"I presume he told you all about the case?" suggested Canfield.

"Indeed he did not," replied Will Smith.

"Not a thing about it?" asked the caretaker.

"He only said that you would give us full instructions."

"That's strange!" Canfield observed thoughtfully.

"Perhaps he thought we wouldn't want to undertake the job if we knew
exactly what it was!" suggested Sandy.

"It is a queer kind of a job," Canfield admitted, "but I don't think
you boys would be apt to back out because of a little danger."

"I wanted to back out several times," laughed Tommy, "but, somehow,
these others boys wouldn't permit me to."

"Go on and tell us about it," urged Sandy. "Tell us just what you
want us to do, and then we'll tell you whether we think we can do it
or not."

"You've got to find two boys!" replied Canfield.

"Mother of Moses!" exclaimed Tommy. "I hope we haven't got to go and
dig up blond-haired little Algernon, or discover pretty little
Clarence, and turn a bunch of money over to him!"

"I think these two boys may have money coming to them," the caretaker
replied. "There must be money back of it or the friends of the lads
wouldn't be giving me cash to spent in their interest."

"Where are these boys?" asked Will.

"I've heard the opinion expressed that the boys are somewhere in the
mine!" answered Canfield. "I can hardly believe that they are, but it
has been suggested that we may as well begin the search under ground."

"Where do these boys belong?" asked George.

"Anywhere and everywhere," was the reply. "Jimmie Maynard and Dick
Thompson came here as breaker boys six months ago. They were ragged
and dirty, and appeared to be as tough as two young bears. They
worked steadily until the day before the mine closed down and then
they disappeared."

"That's easy," declared Tommy. "They got tired of work!"

"That may be," answered the caretaker, "but they certainly didn't get
tired of drawing their pay. They went away leaving about eight
dollars the two of them in the care of the company."

"Then something must have happened to them!" Will suggested.

"Who's looking for these boys?" asked George.

"A New York lawyer," was the reply. "I know nothing whatever about
the man. In fact, I don't know why he wants to find out where the
boys are. He sends me money and tells me to continue my quest
until the boys are found, and then to send them to New York."

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Sat 18th Jan 2020, 17:16