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Harper's Round Table, July 30, 1895   By:

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[Illustration: HARPER'S ROUND TABLE]

Copyright, 1895, by HARPER & BROTHERS. All Rights Reserved.






The sharp crackling of the gravel, and the sound of a horse's hoofs coming up the driveway which led to the Thompsons' house, told Joe that Ned was going to be as prompt as he always was when the two boys had made any appointment, so he dropped his book, and ran to the door just as a neat little buckboard pulled up at the doorstep.

"Hello, Ned!" said Joe; "just on time. I knew that was you the moment I heard the rig turn in the gate. Wait till I get my hat and I'll drive to the stable with you. Say, will you stay to lunch? Jerry'll take care of him," he nodded toward the little roan, and disappeared in the doorway. In a moment he was back again, and jumping in with Ned they spun off to the stable, where Jerry, the coachman, promised to see that Tot should get his full measure of feed at noon.

"Now, to work," said Joe, "and after lunch we'll start off for the lake. Just you wait till you've heard my scheme, and you'll think it a dandy; see if you don't."

"Well, what is it?" said Ned. "There's no use keeping it to yourself forever."

"Come up in the workshop, for we've got to spend the rest of the morning there, and I'll tell you all about it."

The boys on leaving the stable turned down towards the farm barns, where in one of the vacant rooms Mr. Thompson had fitted up a neat little carpenter shop for his son. In one corner was a first class lathe for all kinds of wood turning, and across the room was a long carpenter's bench with all the appliances complete, while over in one of the other corners was what remained of Joe's first scroll saw, rather dilapidated and cheap looking now, but still of some service. Joe would not have parted with it even if he did not use it, for with it he developed his first love for carpentry, which had finally led to the present shop.

"Now look here," said Joe; "my scheme is the simplest in the world; it's a plan to catch those bass in Laurel Lake which we can't get any way we've tried so far. It isn't the bait. Jingo! we've tried everything, from grasshoppers, dobsons, and live bait down to worms; they just look at it, and then look up at the boat over their heads, and scoot. Remember that monster we saw off Sea Lion last Tuesday? What would you give to get him, eh?"

"What would I give? Why, Joe, he's the biggest bass in that lake. I'd give now, let me see," said Ned, scratching his head as he turned it from one side to the other; "I'd be willing to throw my new rod in the lake and stop fishing the rest of the summer."

"So would I," said Joe. "But look here, just get that cross cut saw and help me get this plank so that we can get at it, and I'll explain as we go along." Joe measured off on the board ten divisions of eight inches each, and started sawing across the first line. "Now, you see," said he, "what I propose is that we take each of these ten pieces, cut up that old line of mine into lengths of about eight or nine feet, and then see? Isn't that easy? The beauty of it is that we have a chance in ten different places; just string them along the shore, leave them, and while we wait jump in and play fish ourselves off Baldwin's Cliff; we can easily watch the floats from there. Catch?"

Ned had been listening eagerly, and approved the scheme heartily, only wondering why it had not occurred to them before. When Joe finished, Ned raised the question of bait, but was put off by Joe's saying there would be time enough to get all the grasshoppers and crickets they wanted, and maybe a few frogs, so they went to work, coats off, and sleeves rolled up in a businesslike manner. In the course of an hour or more they had that part of the work all done, and a short time afterwards they started up to the stable with their arms full of their invention, and deposited it complete in the box under the seat of Ned's buckboard... Continue reading book >>

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