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THE LAUNCH BOYS SERIES

THE LAUNCH BOYS ADVENTURES
IN NORTHERN WATERS

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THE LAUNCH BOYS SERIES

Timely and fascinating stories of adventure on
the water, accurate in detail and intensely
interesting in narration.

By
EDWARD S. ELLIS

First Volume
THE LAUNCH BOYS' CRUISE IN THE DEERFOOT

Second Volume
THE LAUNCH BOYS' ADVENTURES IN NORTHERN WATERS

The Launch Boys series is bound in uniform
style of cloth with side and back stamped with
new and appropriate design in colors. Illustrated
by Burton Donnel Hughes.

Price, single volume $0.60
Price, per set of two volumes, in attractive box $1.20

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[Illustration: NONE SUSPECTED THE MEANING OF WHAT THEY SAW]

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THE LAUNCH BOYS SERIES

THE LAUNCH BOYS' ADVENTURES IN NORTHERN WATERS

By
EDWARD S. ELLIS

Author of "The Flying Boys Series,"
"Deerfoot Series," etc., etc.

Illustrated by
BURTON DONNEL HUGHES

The John C. Winston Company
Philadelphia

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Copyright, 1912, by
The John C. Winston Company

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CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE
I. A Proposal and an Acceptance 9
II. The Scout of the Kennebec 19
III. At the Inlet 29
IV. A STRANGE RACE 40
V. The Loser of the Race 51
VI. A Warm Reception 62
VII. Science versus Strength 72
VIII. The Lone Guest 83
IX. A Break Down 93
X. At Beartown 104
XI. At the Post Office in Beartown 115
XII. Hostesses and Guests 126
XIII. An Incident on Shipboard 137
XIV. "The Night Shall be Filled with Music" 147
XV. A Knock at the Door 155
XVI. Visitors of the Night 166
XVII. "Tall Oaks from Little Acorns Grow" 177
XVIII. A Clever Trick 188
XIX. In the Nick of Time 198
XX. "I Piped and Ye Danced" 208
XXI. How It Was Done 219
XXII. A Startling Discovery 230
XXIII. Through the Fog 242
XXIV. Bad for Mike Murphy 252
XXV. What Saved Mike 263
XXVI. The Good Samaritans 273
XXVII. An Unwelcome Caller 284
XXVIII. Plucking a Brand From the Burning 296
XXIX. "The Beautiful Isle of Somewhere" 307
XXX. A Through Ticket to Home 318
XXXI. Gathering Up the Ravelled Threads 329

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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE
NONE SUSPECTED THE MEANING OF WHAT THEY SAW Frontispiece
LIKE A SWALLOW SKIMMING CLOSE TO THE SURFACE. 233
"GIVE ME YOUR HAND ON THAT." 292

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THE LAUNCH BOYS' ADVENTURES IN NORTHERN WATERS

CHAPTER I

A PROPOSAL AND AN ACCEPTANCE


Alvin Landon and Chester Haynes were having a merry time in the home of
Mike Murphy, when a servant knocked and made known that a caller was
awaiting Alvin in the handsome bungalow belonging to his father. I have
told you how the boys hurried thither, wondering who he could be, and how
they were astonished to find him the "man in gray," who had become
strangely mixed up in their affairs during the preceding few days.

But Alvin was a young gentleman, and asked the stranger to resume his
seat, as he and Chester set the example. They noticed that the visitor
was without the handbag which had hitherto seemed a part of his
personality. Self-possessed and vaguely smiling, he spoke in an easy,
pleasant voice:

"Of course you are surprised to receive a call from me." He addressed
Alvin, who replied:

"I don't deny it. Heretofore you have seemed more anxious to keep out of
our way than to meet us."

"I admit that it did have that look, but the cause exists no longer."

This remark did not enlighten the youths. Chester for a time took no part
in the conversation. He listened and studied the man while awaiting an
explanation of what certainly had the appearance of a curious proceeding.

"I don't understand what could have been the cause in the first place,"
said Alvin, "nor why my friend and myself should have been of any
interest at all to you."

The other laughed lightly, as if the curt remark pleased him.

"I have no wish to play the mysterious; my name is Stockham Calvert."

It was Alvin's turn to smile, while Chester said meaningly:

"That tells us mighty little."

"I am one of Pinkerton's detectives."

The listeners started. They had never dreamed of anything of this nature,
and remained silent until he should say more.

"You are aware," continued the mild spoken caller, "that there have been
a number of post office robberies in the southern part of Maine during
the last six months and even longer ago than that."

The boys nodded.

"A professional detective doesn't know his business when he proclaims his
purpose to the world. He does so in the story books, but would be a fool
to be so imprudent in actual life. Consequently you will think it strange
for me to take you into my confidence."

"I don't doubt you have an explanation to give," suggested Alvin.

"I have and it is this. Without any purpose or thought on your part you
have become mixed up in the business. The other night you gave me great
help, though the fact never entered your minds at the time. You located
their boat in a small inlet at the southern extremity of Barter Island."

At this point Chester Haynes asked his first question:

"How do you know we did?"

Mr. Stockham Calvert indulged in a low laugh.

"Surely I did not follow you thither without learning all you did. Your
conversation on the steamer gave me the information I wished. I did not
expect you to succeed as well as you did."

"Why did you avoid us? Why didn't you take us into your confidence from
the first?" asked Chester.

"I had several reasons, but I see now it would have been as well had I
done so. However, let that go. My errand here to-night is to ask you
whether you will not assist me in running down these criminals."

The abrupt proposition caused a start on the part of the youths, who
looked wonderingly into each other's face. It was Alvin who replied:

"Assist you! What help can _we_ give?"

"You have the fleetest motor boat on the Maine coast. It must be capable
of twenty miles an hour."

"It is guaranteed to make twenty-four."

"Better yet. These men have a boat which closely resembles yours."

"And its name is the _Water Witch_," said Chester. "I wish Captain Landon
could run a race with it."

"He can have the chance if he will agree."

"I fail to see how. Those men after committing their crimes are not going
to spend their time in running up and down the Sheepscot or Kennebec."

"Not wholly, but I don't see any particular risk they incur in doing so.
If they are pressed hard they can put into some bay or branch or inlet
and take to the woods."

"Still I do not understand how we can help you, Mr. Calvert," said Alvin.

"It is possible you cannot, but more probably you can. While cruising in
these waters, we may catch sight of their boat, and you can see the
advantage of being able to outspeed it. But do not think I am looking for
a battle between you and me on the one hand, and the criminals on the
other. I wish to employ the _Deerfoot_ as a scout. I can't express myself
better than by that word."

Whatever the right name of the caller might be, he was a good judge of
human nature. He saw the sparkle in the eyes before him. While the lads
would not have been averse to a scrimmage, neither dared incur such risk
without the consent of his father, and you do not need to be told that
such consent was out of the question.

"As I understand it, then, our boat promises to be useful to you solely
on account of its speed?" said Alvin inquiringly asked the detective.

"Precisely. What is your answer?"

The young Captain looked at his second mate.

"How does it strike you, Chester?"

"I'm with you if you wish to make the experiment. If things don't turn
out as we wish we can withdraw at any time."

"Of course I shall expect to pay you for your services----"

"Then you will be disappointed," interrupted Alvin crisply. "The
_Deerfoot_ isn't for hire, and if we go into this it will be for the fun
we hope to get out of it."

"I think I can guarantee you some entertainment. I presume you two will
be the only ones on the boat beside myself."

"You mustn't overlook my first mate, Mike Murphy. It would break his
heart if we should go on a cruise and leave him behind."

"I am afraid he is too impetuous and too fond of a fight."

"He may have a weakness in those directions, but his good nature, pluck
and devotion to my friend and me more than make up."

"It strikes me----"

"I can't help how it strikes you," broke in Alvin, who did not intend to
accept any commands at this stage of the game. "Mike goes with us
wherever we go."

"I feel the same way," added Chester. "The _Deerfoot_ can never brave the
perils of the deep short-handed. The first mate is indispensable."

"As you please then. When will you be ready to start?"

"When do you wish us to start?"

"Say to-morrow morning?"

"This is so sudden," said Alvin, whose spirits rose at the prospect of
the lively times ahead.



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