Summary: The Ching Toy gang is causing problems on the river bank. Unknown to Hawkins and the club, Ching Toy has legitimate business. His father has provided a great service to the United States during World War I, and the Chinese have awarded him the distinguished Magic Triangle medal. Setsu Hop stole the Magic Triangle, and hid it inside a piece of pottery. Ching Toy was seeking the Magic Triangle. In the end, it turned out to be in a Chinese idol statue that Jeckerson had given to Hawkins. When Hawkins and Ching Toy were saying their goodbyes and shaking hands, Hawkins accidentally knocked the statue off his desk and it broke, revealing the Magic Triangle, which Hawkins then gave to Ching Toy.
"No matter how old your boy is, he will want to read "Seckatary Hawkins". There is something in these stories of boyhood on the old river bank that surpasses anything thus far written to hold the interest of the boy - and the girl, too, for that matter."
- from DJ
"'CHING TOY' will be eagerly snatched up by those who have already met the Seckatary in previous volumes. It contains all the characters made famous in the other stories, and its locale is again laid on the old river bank where the boys meet every day after school in their old clubhouse. How the little Chinese boy brought mystery and adventure to the old river bank, and how it tangled up the lives of the various members of the club is told in a way that gives many a thrill to the youthful reader. Also, which is perhaps most important, it teaches the youthful reader the importance of thinking for himself, and of playing the game fair and square all through life.
Here is a book that will be a welcome addition to any boy's library, and one that will be read with equal pleasure by those who used to be boys, no matter how old they are now." - from DJ
Doc and Jeckerson come to the clubhouse to tell Hawkins that his help is needed to help catch a new Watertown gang led by a boy named Ching Toy. Hawkins is resisting more trouble for the club and himself when he learns that they have already seen Judge Granberry and Hawkins’ father and secured their approval for Seck to get into the chase. He agrees to do what he can.
That evening Hawkins comes to the clubhouse and as he approaches, he thinks that he saw a shadow flitting past one of the windows. The place is empty although the lamps are lighted. Perry comes in to tell him that he had been outside looking around as he had seen a face at a window in the writing room. As they are talking, someone comes into the meeting room. It is a strange boy who calls himself “Corny” and says that his name is Cornet. He tells them the story that he is going to start his own club and wants to look around for a few ideas. Hawkins has Perry show the boy around and then the stranger leaves. Hawkins find a card propped up against a little statuette on his desk. The note warns him to change his mind about interfering with Ching Toy.
The next day a telephone is installed in Seck’s office. At the time, no one knows who ordered it installed. At the meeting Jerry Moore makes a motion to thank Seck for bringing peace to their riverbank. The phone rings and Perry answers it and tells Hawkins it is for him. The other boys want to know who installed the phone and Seck is sure that only Doc Waters would have done that. The caller is Jeckerson and Hawkins tells him about the warning note. He tells Jeckerson that he will stick to his word to help him catch Ching Toy. When he returned to the meeting room Jerry Moore criticizes him for bringing down more trouble and he says that he knows of Ching Toy and his gang. Seck insists that the other boys either follow him, or that he would cut loose from the club. They all decided to help.
The Pelham fellows tell Hawkins that they had seen a Chinese boy and another boy watching the clubhouse all morning. Hawkins has to meet Jeckerson at his office at 4:30 and he and Shadow and Perry take Robby’s motor boat and go to Watertown. They are heading for Jeckerson’s private office when they see a boy who tries to get them to follow, obviously into some kind of a trap. Hawkins will not do that and they find their way to Jeckerson’s office.
The detective tells them that the Ching Toy headquarters is now empty and he thinks that the gang has a new hideout down river, but just where, he does not know as yet. A rock is thrown though the window with a note telling the boys that they had been seen going into the building and that some one would be waiting outside for them when they leave.
Jeckerson tells them that when they leave he will follow and they will catch the gang. It was dark outside by then and a fog had risen. The closer they came to the river the denser the fog grew. They are attacked and Hawkins takes a punch in the face and he gives one back. The Ching Toy gang escapes and the boys head for home.
The next day the boys take a canoe ride down to Hobbs’ Ferry where they meet Liege who tells him about some strange boys who have a novel way of crossing the river. They see two boys use a collapsible canvas canoe to paddle across from the Pelham side and the third boy pulls the canoe back with an attached rope. Seck and his boys take the old wagon trail to the ridge. There they see the two boys on a little ledge with a square tin stove box with a stovepipe. There was a board covering the pipe and as they watched, the boys sent up a smoke signal in answer to one they see coming from up river.
Hawkins figures that the boys had followed them and had sent a signal telling their location so that Ching Toy could attack the clubhouse. Hawkins runs back to the ferry and Liege takes him back up river in his fast motorboat. When he arrived at the clubhouse he found Doc and the Sheriff. They inform him that about twenty boys had been coming toward the clubhouse when they saw the two men and then they ran away. They said that the leader of the gang was Chinese.
The following day Jeckerson calls to warn them that Ching Toy and his gang plan on paying a visit to the clubhouse. As the boys are singing, Perry tells Hawkins to look outside and he sees moving shapes between the trees. They hear a peculiar droning sound and then a loud voice from out in the meeting room asking for Hawkins. It is Long Tom and a Chinese boy with a note that Hawkins refuses to accept. Instead he tells the boys to hold Long Tom and the Chinese boy while he calls the Sheriff.
Cornett enters with two other boys and he tells Hawkins not to touch the phone. He is holding a long tube in his hands. As Hawkins turned from the phone Cornett raised the tube to his lips and blows a signal that calls more of the gang. The boys fought the intruders and Long Tom tackled Hawkins who knocks him out. Cornett yells that the cops are coming and the gang flees. Jerry was holding the Chinese boy but he managed to slip out of his coat and escape with the others, leaving Long Tom unconscious on the floor. A search of the Chinese boy’s coat reveals a map of the riverbank. Doc Waters comes in with the Sheriff and his men and they take Long Tom back to the School for Bad Boys.
Later, Briggen reports Ching Toy’s smoke signals around the river. Hawkins and Perry do some scouting and they find Saddler and part his gang up on the cliff top. Saddler’s gang is also using smoke signals. They agree to cooperate against Ching Toy.
Saddler brings the horses of two of his boys who he left in the hollow playing baseball. He, Hawkins and Perry ride along behind the hills and around to where the wreck of the Smokey City lay on the bank. They capture a boy who comes out of the old wreck with his signal stove. It is a boy who gives his name as Tumbleson and they take him back to the clubhouse. After Saddler and his boys head for Water town, Hawkins turns Tumbleson loose.
A week later and Saddler is back with his Seven. While the other boys are playing baseball in the hollow, Saddler, Perry and Hawkins talk about Ching Toy. Hawkins thinks he hears a sound in his writing room but there is no one there. After Saddler and his boys leave, Hawkins finds another note standing against the little statuette on his desk. It is from Ching Toy and it is another warning. Shadow returns from his spying trip and says that he was sitting down on the landing and saw no one around, not even Pelhams. Hawkins becomes suspicious of Saddler and his boys, as they were the only ones around when the note was left.
On the following Saturday, Hawkins sends Shadow out on another spy mission and tells him to come back by noon and they would go out together to look around. Ham Gardner comes over from Pelham to tell them that Ching Toy is after him for snitching on them to Hawkins. He heard them say that they were going to take him to the island. He said that they had come in a funny looking boat with sails and a golden nose on the front. Hawkins and Shadow paddle down to the island and there they find that the old houseboat is gone from the backwater pool. They find that it had been moved across the narrow neck of water that curves around the island and pushed up onto the bank against a hillside. As they are trying the door of the old houseboat, they hear a bell and a whining sound from inside. The door was locked, but they break it open and find nothing, or no one inside.
Hawkins is in his writing room when someone comes running into the clubhouse and hides under his desk. It is the little Tumbleson boy that Hawkins had released earlier. He tells Hawkins about his big brother George who whips him for being bad. Before the boy can leave, his brother arrives looking for him. Hawkins hides the boy while he talks to the big brother who says that the younger boy is named Percy. George leaves angrily and Hawkins sends Percy away, telling him to stay away from Ching Toy.
A few days later while the rest of the boys are playing a game of baseball with the Hobbs’ Ferry team, Hawkins decides to do a little fishing on the riverbank. As he is fishing he thinks that he hears someone sawing something. The boys came back after a winning game and they find that the porch posts had been sawed all the way though, about three feet from the ground. Jeckerson arrives with a prisoner. The detective shows a saw that the boy had been carrying. Later that evening Jeckerson comes back for his prisoner. The lamps are shot out and some one calls for “Sawyer”. In the darkness and the melee, the prisoner escapes. There is a terrible crashing sound. The rescuing gang had knocked the sawed porch posts out and the roof had collapsed against the front door, blocking it.
A day after this, Doc Water is annoyed with the boys over the Ching Toy problem and the porch roof, but he eventually comes around. Hawkins goes back to the clubhouse and climbs in a window to do his writing. The boys make a decision to put up new, stronger porch posts and they have Roy Dobel bring a couple of horses to pull several tree trunks to the clubhouse where they cut them and install them as porch posts. They defied anyone to cut those posts now. The Judge, Jeckerson, Doc and the Sheriff come by and it seems that the Judge has lost his bet with Doc Waters and Jeckerson that the boys would not have the porch roof repaired by the time they came down.
When the boys leave to play a game against the Cardinals, three of Saddler’s boys, Watts, Grimm and Quayle, come to the clubhouse on ponies. They tell Hawkins that Saddler had learned that Ching Toy’s father had gone to China during the war to do some work for Washington. That was when Ching Toy went bad. They also said the Saddler’s gang had gone out to find Quayle and they had found him almost down in Chinatown. Then they had seen Cornett and five other boys in that big queer boat start down river towards the clubhouse. Saddler had separated his gang and sent part to the Island – Watts, Grimm and Quayle to the Clubhouse side and he and Price Ward were checking the Pelham side. They leave and Seck goes back to writing. A short time later the three bring in a Chinese boy prisoner. The baseball team comes back celebrating their win over the Cardinals. Perry is calling the Sheriff and then suddenly the prisoner makes his escape. Johnny McLarren made the comment that someone in the clubhouse had helped the Chinese boy escape.
Later Shadow and Hawkins are talking about the problem and Hawkins is beginning to believe that his boys are being doublecrossed by Saddler. Shadow heads down to the island to do some spying. Grimm, one of Saddler’s gang comes to the clubhouse to invite him to join Saddler and the rest of the gang in a chase after the Swan boat. Shadow meets them at the island and they go up to the now beached houseboat. They find a Chinese boy inside and suddenly the oil lamp is smashed. When they get their flashlights on, the Chinese boy is gone. Quayle is leaning against a boarded up window and Seck instantly knew that had happened. He grabs Quayle and throws him at Saddler’s feet. Then he shows how Quayle had helped the Chinese boy escape by smashing the lamp and sliding back the boarded up window to show a tunnel just beyond. Hawkins says that now they knew that Quayle was the Ching Toy spy in Saddler’s gang, that he knows now that Saddler was their real ally. Saddler fires Quayle from his gang.
A few days pass and Saddler comes down with his boys. They report that an antique store in Watertown had been broken into and a lot of vases and such items had been taken. Saddler also tells them that Quayle had joined the Ching Toy gang. They ride down to the island in Saddler’s speedboat and they find the golden swan boat in the backwater pool. They go to the houseboat against the hill and open the boarded up window to reveal the tunnel. Hawkins enters it and follows it into a large cave. He meets Ching Toy and the Chinese boy moves to attack him, but Hawkins punches him and he calls for help. More of the gang come out and they jumped Hawkins and knocked him out, but not before he had a chance to blow his whistle. The other boys found him unconscious and carried him out of the cave and the old houseboat. The other boys did not believe that he had fought with Ching Toy and his gang so he went back into the tunnel and the cave and brought out some pieces of broken ornaments to prove that it had happened.
On another day Hobby Hood comes down to take Hawkins and Perry to Watertown to meet Shadow who thinks that he has the Ching Toy gang headquarters spotted. They find him near a fireworks factory. Ching Toy comes out of the building with a package and Hawkins follows him to a big house set back in some trees. Shadow had given him a can with talcum power to drop whenever there was a change of direction. Ching Toy delivers the package to a servant. Then he started back, but he did not go back to the fireworks factory. Instead he leads Hawkins to an old building and climbs to the third floor. Hawkins accosts him and tells him that he is a prisoner. But the Chinese boy manages to escape though a dumb waiter.
The following day the Court twins come back for summer vacation and Harold is very interested in the new gang problem. The boys bought $14.00 worth of fireworks for the Fourth of July celebration and put the things under Hawkins’ desk until the holiday. Someone entered the clubhouse and cut all of the firecrackers in half and tossed the other things around the little room. A card was left with some Chinese writing on it. Jerry Moore had seen a Chinese boy around the clubhouse and had followed him to the main road where he heard a motorcycle going away towards Watertown.
Jeckerson comes to take Hawkins along to Watertown and they go to the very same house where Ching Toy had delivered the package from the fireworks factory. It seems that Mr. King, the homeowner, had purchased some fireworks for his son Tommy and they \were found chopped apart and scattered around. Tommy shows Hawkins the scene in his playroom. Tommy secretly shows Hawkins the Chinese characters on his right forearm. The same characters that Hawkins had seen on the card left at the clubhouse. He knows that Tommy had chopped up his own fireworks and that he is a member of the Ching Toy gang.
The boys are getting ready for their summer camp on the island. Doc bought them a new field stove for their camp kitchen. The other boys head down to the island to set up the camp. While Seck is packing up his writing things, Harold brings in a Chinese boy that he had found down in the bushes spying on the clubhouse. It is Lan Wong and Hawkins gets him to translate the Chinese characters. They mean “Take Warning”. Hawkins calls Jeckerson and tells him what the Chinese characters mean.
On the way down to the island Hawkins and Harold are following the provisions boat when they notice that it is gone and instead they are in the wake of the swan boat. When it passes they see Bill Darby and Johnny McLarren paddle out of the willows in the provision boat and they meet Hawkins and Harold for a talk. Apparently the swan boat had come out of Cave River. At the campsite Dick Ferris shows Hawkins a new innovation - his own little writing tent. Roy Dobel is the camp cook and he is being aided by Shadow and Jerry. He is getting ready to cook what they call an ox hump for dinner and for sandwiches later. Perry comes in to tell Hawkins that Shadow had told him to inform Hawkins that he had seen the big white launch, Link’s Casanova, at the Watertown wharf. He also reported that he had seen Ching Toy with Link on the white launch.
Harold comes back to report that he had found the Swan boat and that there were two boys in it - one named George and one Percy. Hawkins knows them as the Tumbleson brothers. Hawkins comments that George had also joined the Ching Toy gang. They go to inspect the Swan boat and they find that it had not only oars but also a concealed motor. The next morning they awaken to find that their kitchen had been upset and they were missing six of their new electric lanterns. They head for the place where the swan boat was tied up. On the way they pass the old tree stump with the trap door into the old tunnels. They see someone moving through the bushes and it is Percy Tumbleson carrying four of the stolen lanterns. They were about to grab him when George Tumbleson hits Hawkins over the head with a stick and knocks him out. Percy is rowing the swan boat across the river to escape. When Seck awakes the next morning he has a baseball sized lump on his head. Perry tells him that when they were chasing George, they tripped over a rope hidden in the weeds and George had escaped through the tunnel entrance in the old tree stump.
They all come back to the clubhouse as Doc had some calls to make. While they were there Saddler comes down in his speedboat. They tell him that they will be going back to the island later in the afternoon. The boys and Saddler’s gang head for the hollow for a ball game and Hawkins sees a skiff coming down river with the Skinny Guy as its lone occupant. The two old friends talk and Link tells Hawkins that he had run away for home to make his own way. He had sold the Casanova boat and he gave Seck big rolls of bills to hold for him till he might need it.
Link’s father stops to see Hawkins and he tells him that Link had run away from home. Seck reassures him that he has seen Link and that he will come home and that he would have nothing to be sorry for when that happened. Saddler came in and said that he had found Ching Toy’s new hiding place. They used his motor boat part way and then switched to a canoe for silence. At the old gully they landed and walked to the hollow where Hawkins saw a rude cabin covered with newly planted bushes. In front of the cabin, seated on a rock, were two figures - Ching Toy and his father, Toy Hen. They were speaking in Chinese. They start to leave and as they passed Saddler and Hawkins in their hiding place, there is a toot from the river and the Casanova is approaching. Cornett was at the boat’s controls. Ching Toy sent him back with the canoe and he said that he would bring the launch. He went on board and brought out the statue of a bird. Toy Hen took it from him and broke it with a stone. He examined the pieces and both of them showed disappointment.
They heard a cry from the hollow and turned to see Shadow fighting with five gang members. Another joined the fight and Shadow went down. Saddler blew a shrill whistle and his boys came out to help Shadow. They chased the gang. As Hawkins is running to help, he feels a weight on his back and he is dropped to the ground. His hands are tied behind his back and Ching Toy tells another boy to take him to the cabin where he would be punished later. The boy who had been ordered to take him to the cabin was revealed as Link. Link freed him, but Hawkins is angry and will not even say goodbye to Link as he leaves the hollow.
Hawkins had taken Jeckerson to the cabin in the big gully, but it was deserted. Jeckerson arranges for Hawkins to get a job at Tobias Samuels’ shop. Here he spends a week reading old books and learning the business. On a night in the second week Hawkins was late in closing up and as he turns out the light he hears a noise at the storefront. Cornett, Ching Toy, and an older man enter and began taking down statues and breaking them. Hawkins hears a faint sound from the back of the store and he goes to find the telephone is ringing, but the bells have been muffled with cotton. He answered and it is Jeckerson telling him to leave the store and lock the door behind him. When Jeckerson and his men close in they find that the intruders had left the store via a third floor roof hatchway. That is the end of Seck’s job.
Hawkins goes back to the camp quite disappointed with his failures to catch Ching Toy. He and Perry paddle up to the clubhouse to meet Jeckerson and there they see Ham Gardner who tells them that there was a man up at the clubhouse. Hawkins tells Perry to watch outside and he goes in to find a Chinese man in his writing room. He watches as the man takes the little statute from Hawkins desk and hides it under his coat. Seck tells him to put it back. Jeckerson arrives for their meeting and arrests Hen Toy saying that they have been looking for him for a long time to tell them about the activities of Ching Toy. Perry comes in to tell them that the Swan boat had landed and about a dozen boys are coming up the path. Jeckerson waits until Ching Toy and Cornett enter and he steps out. Jeckerson blows his police whistle and his men move in to grab all of the gang. Ching Toy manages to cut the screen in the office window and escape. Despite Ching Toy’s escape, Jeckerson is pleased with the day’s work. They have captured Hen Toy and most of the gang.
Shadow takes Hawkins in a motor boat up the river where he has seen smoke signals. They arrive at the clubhouse and find the remnants of the signal fire. No one is around. They enter the clubhouse and then they see the evergreen bushes moving. Hawkins goes out on the porch and finds a note that says, “Your Time is up. Tonight is your last”. Link comes in to tell them that he had sent the smoke signals. He had been going to show Seck the note, which is apparently aimed at Toy Hen, and he had dropped it on the porch. He tells Hawkins and Shadow that Ching Toy had been caught by the Quong Tong. The Chinese boy had wanted to explain something to Hi Shang , leader of the Tong. Apparently Ching Toy was taken prisoner.
Jeckerson arrives and Link agrees to lead them to the headquarters of the Tong where Ching Toy is being held. He wants Doc Waters and the rest of the boys to go along on the raid. They all meet at the clubhouse that evening and Hawkins informs them that they are going to capture Ching Toy. They are to meet Jeckerson at the steamboat wharf in Watertown. Saddler arrives in his motor boat and they use that and Robby Hood’s motor boat for the trip to Watertown. They make their way with Jeckerson to Chinatown. Hawkins and Link are going through a dark passageway when they accidentally flash their light twice. A Chinese greets them saying that they are on time. Apparently someone else had been expected. He leads them to a room where Ching Toy lies on an iron cot secured by wires to a wheel that can be used to tighten the wires around his body.
Ching Toy tells them to try to escape and leave him. Hi Shang, leader of the Ouong Tong comes in and learns that they have brought him nothing. He has them seized and taken into another room and left there. They look around with their flashlights and Hawkins improvises a torch with a broom and some lamp oil. The door is fast and they cannot move it, so they signal out the window with the torch and Lan Wong and Tommy King climb in the window. Tommy had a belt with tools and he takes the door lock apart, but it is barred from the other side. He calls for Coffee, a little black boy who climbs into the window next door and opens the door. They release Ching Toy and Hawkins and Link supports him between them as they help him out the window.
Jeckerson meets them as they reach the street and while he takes his men to arrest the Quong Tong members, Hawkins and Link and the others take Ching Toy back to the Casanova at the wharf. Ching Toy had been faking being weak and he tells them to leave the boat. The tong headquarters is burning and the members are trying to flee. Apparently the oil torch had started the fire. The boys head for home. Link stayed in the clubhouse overnight and the next day when the boys came for their meeting he was gone. Link’s father comes to see Hawkins as he still was looking for his son. Hawkins sees Link crossing the river in a flatboat and he jumps out to sit on a rock near where he and his father had kept their old houseboat. Hawkins finds Link’s father is heading for the old shanty boat landing spot and he sees the two meet again. That part of his problem is solved.
The other boys went back to the camp to bring their things back. Jeckerson stops to tell Hawkins that the entire Quong Tong gang had been captured. He tells Hawkins that he had known all along what the Tong was after. It seemed that Toy Hen had been sent to China during the war to make sure that China stayed out of the fight. And in return for that service, a number of wealthy Chinese had given him the Magic Triangle, a famous and valuable ornament. The Quong Tong had been trying to take it from him and when it disappeared he thought that they had succeeded. But they had not taken it. Toy Hen traced it to Setsu Hop who made fireworks, incense burners and little statuettes. The detective had talked it over with Judge Granberry and Ching Toy and his father were no longer wanted.
Ching Toy comes to the clubhouse to tell Hawkins that he and his father are going back to China to his honorable grandfather. While they are saying goodbye, the little statuette is knocked off of Hawkins’ desk and breaks on the floor to reveal the long lost Magic Triangle. Ching Toy tells Hawkins that the jewel belongs to Seck because it had been in his statuette. But Hawkins says that no matter who had possession, the original owner of the ornament is still the rightful owner. Ching accepts the Magic Triangle for his father. To avoid the approaching boys, he climbs out a window in Seck’s office and disappears in the bushes. When the boys come in Dick Ferris says that maybe now they can hold their meetings without worrying about Ching Toy. Hawkins agrees.
DID YOU KNOW?
*There really is a Banklick and a Pooles area in Kentucky.
*The Seckatary stories are a "composite" of the Licking and Ohio rivers, re-modeled for the convenience of the stories.