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The Yellow Y

Summary:   The Yellow Y gang is making trouble on the river bank.  The context is complex, as follows: 

"A book for boys of all ages - from the time he can begin to read until the time when his eyes are growing dim.  Seckatary Hawkins writes stories that never fail to hold the continued interest of his readers.  Your boy - and your girl, too, for that matter, - will fairly revel in the adventures told in this story, with its mysteries and its thrills.  It simply  teems with excitement, and yet it has an undertone that cannot fail to teach the youthful reader the importance of thinking for himself and playing fair and square through life. 

The chief character in this book is Alimokka, the boy with the long bow who sets out to save "the honor of his people."  This is not apparent at first to Seckatary and his chums in the clubhouse on the river bank, and there follows a series of mysterious adventures that culminate finally in a great fissure in the rocky cliffs along the river, where one of the most exciting scenes is laid.  To tell the reader in advance of the climax would be robbing him of a delight that can only come to those who read the book without knowing more of the story than is here given.  You'll say it's the finest boys' story you ever read." - from DJ

1926 1926

The Yellow Y

Hawkins bets Harold Court that in half an hour they will find adventure. Harold takes the bet of ten cents to a dollar and they get into a canoe and start down the river. They see a horse and rider atop one of the cliffs and then they are accosted by more riders who order them to come ashore, or they would come and get them. They try to paddle away, but the boys on the ponies swim out and push them ashore. They are taken to a campfire and held while a number 17 was printed on their foreheads. They are released and go back to the clubhouse. They see the numbers and Harold pays off the bet. They had found adventure. They have to go to Doc Waters to have the printed numbers removed.

At the next meeting there is an argument on getting involved in this new mystery. Finally they are all persuaded to join to help Harold in the new fight against the strange gang of boys. They paddle down to the area of the previous night’s adventure and they see a figure on top of the same bluff as the mounted sentinel. They try to capture him but he escapes. Following his trail, they notice a camp below them in a hollow. There were seventeen tents neatly arranged, There was no one around and they look inside the big tent. Hawkins tells them that this is the camp of an ally of theirs, Saddler.

The Saddler gang returns and they talk about what had happened. It seems that last night a boy named Deeming had been in charge of the gang and he had mistakenly marked Hawkins and Harold. Saddler was very apologetic about it. Saddler calls one of his boys, Watts, and shows the mark of a yellow Y imprinted on the boy’s forearm. Unlike the number seventeen that Deeming had printed on the boys, this mark will not come off. They talk about the mysterious Yellow Y and learn that the Y gang had stolen Saddler’s new yellow motorboat, a gift from his father. He calls it the Lemon Aider.

They hear a thud and a large heavy arrow is found stuck in the ground outside of the tent. There is a warning note attached telling Saddler that the new reinforcements will not help any. With that threat as an incentive, Hawkins tells Saddler that his boys are with the Seventeen against the Yellow Y. At the next meeting Hawkins calls for the boys to help Saddler, but there is opposition from Oliver Court and Johnny McLarren. Hawkins delivers an impassioned speech about remembering when your allies helped out and now it was time to repay the favor. The boys came around and they will help.

Seck’s new canoe arrives and he and Perry go to the depot to get it. They uncrate it and paddle back to the clubhouse. There is a message waiting for them that Saddler had cornered one of the Y gang and that the rest of the boys had already gone down to the scene. Perry finds a rifle on the dock and brings it along. They paddle down near the island and find that Saddler and his boys have corralled one of the Y boys on horseback inside of a fence made of ropes. Perry slips close and fired his gun; the horse throws his rider and jumps over the bluff into the river. The boy also jumps into the river. They see the horse and the boy swimming away to the far bank where the boy mounts the horse and rides away.

Seck and Saddler talk about the yellow Y and Saddler expresses the thought that maybe there is no such person, that someone made him up to hide his real identity. Later the three Issaw brothers come to the clubhouse to tell of their trouble. Moses had been a member of the Pelhams but he was on longer with them. The older boy is named Nathan and the little one is Abbey. They have a camp down on the river and recently someone had stolen some of their property - a pair of pink suspenders, a pocket watch and a fountain pen. They had found a yellow Y on a nearby tree. Hawkins goes with them to their camp and looks at the scene and the Y. Then he notices a footprint in the mud. It was the mark of a shoe missing half of the sole so that the toes were plainly marked. The Isaaw brothers say that the footprint was not there when they first found the Y on the tree. Hawkins figures that there must have been two separate visitors.

He follows the trail for a half-mile and loses it in the high grass. He sees across the river some of Saddler’s crew and they come for him in a skiff. Saddler invites him to stay all day and he calls for one of the boys to take a message to the clubhouse and to Seck’s house. While giving the boy a hand up to the saddle Hawkins notices that the boy Skaggs, is missing part of the sole on his shoe. He pulls Skaggs from his pony and tells Saddler about the theft from the Isaaw brothers. Skaggs admits taking the suspenders but insists that he did not take the watch and the fountain pen. He gives the suspenders to Saddler. Saddler dismisses him from the gang instantly.

The rest of the F and S boys paddle down to Saddler’s camp for supper. Saddler tells Seck that he is going to make a try to get his stolen motor boat back tonight. He shows a coded report from his spy Grimm, and tells Hawkins how to read it. It says that the boat is where they had guessed - at the old houseboat in the backwater pool on the island. They do nothing that night but the next day the boys come back to the camp and they ride down to the Y campsite near the inland. There they find a lookout. He and Grimm fight and the other boy rolls down the hillside and falls onto a wagonload of hay passing on the road below. They see the rest of the gang loading onto a boat to come over to their side. Wisely, they decided to go home.

Saddler decided to make another try at recovering his stolen motor boat and the boy’s paddle down to his camp to help. Seck wants to try it alone so he saddles up one of the ponies and rides down to the hill that overlooks the island from the shore. He paddles a skiff across to the island and there he finds the three Issaw brothers who are also on the track of their stolen property, Seck tells them to wait while he goes ahead to the old houseboat. Here he finds a boy inside the houseboat who tells him the motorboat is his to drive way. He leaves and Seck sits down to think this over. As he does this another boy arrives, the real purchaser of the motor boat. Hawkins finds a secret hiding place by the window and takes out the roll of bills he finds there. He gives it back to the other boy and tells him that the boat had been stolen and was going back to its rightful owner. The other boy leaves. Seck had also found the stolen fountain pen and the watch and he returns them to the Issaw brothers. Seck has the brothers take the pony back to Saddler’s camp while he starts the motorboat up to the camp.

On the way he meets another boy in a canoe and after a little battle, the other boy takes the motor boat and leaves Hawkins in the water trying to climb into the canoe. He gets back to Saddler’s camp and tells how he had the boat and had lost it again. Saddler introduces his new member Sargent and it is the boy who took the boat away from Hawkins. He claims that he was going to surprise Saddler with the boat later, but neither Hawkins nor Saddler really buys that story, although they let Sargent think that they do.

Perry mentions that the Seckatary book was not in its regular place on Seck’s desk. Hawkins tells him that he must have missed it when he dusted. At the meeting Johnny McLarren gives Dick Ferris an envelope he found on the clubhouse doorsill. It contains a message from the Yellow that he would send them a sign at 4:00 o’clock. The sign came in the form of one of the long heavy arrows that hit the front door of the clubhouse. It carried a message blaming Hawkins for they’re supporting Saddler. Hawkins considers resigning, and he wonders how the Y knows about their activities. He looks in the minute’s book and there he finds that Perry had been right. There was a yellow Y scrawled across the last page of writing. Johnny McLarren comes in with the other boys to tell Hawkins that they are all with him in the new problem with the Yellow Y.

After the meeting Briggen comes in with his two lieutenants to tell Hawkins that someone had broken into their shack last night and had stolen three of their new camp chairs. A card with a yellow Y had been left tacked to the walls where the chairs had been. Hawkins and Shadow and Perry start down the river to the island with a rifle and an old rusty rake. At the houseboat they see Saddler and Sargent. The two boys separated and Saddler goes off in one direction. Sargent waits until Saddler is out of sight and he looks at footprints and enters the houseboat. Before they can follow him, he comes out and runs away into the woods. They look inside and find the three camp chairs.

Hawkins raked out their footprints as they leave with the chairs. Then they see four of the Pelhams walking toward the houseboat but at a shout from the woods, the four turn and ran leaving their footprints. On the way back up river Hawkins sees the figure of a tall boy with a long bow on top of a hill. They see him aim an arrow and launch it. Hawkins says that it is probably aimed at the Pelham shack.

At the next meeting Briggen brings in an arrow that they had found stuck in the roof of their shack. Hawkins examines the arrow and finds a little compartment with a note. It was a warning from the Yellow Y. The boys talk about the Yellow Y and his purported ability to know what is going on everywhere. Hawkins wants to be shown and just then one of the arrows lands on their roof. It is another warning saying that the Yellow Y is unbeatable.

Seck and Shadow go up to Watertown to talk to Saddler. Saddler tells them that the Yellow Y had stolen his best pony Midget. They boys are leaving when Saddler runs after them to say that Hawkins is wanted on the phone. It was another warning. Just then the pony comes back with a yellow Y printed on its flank.

They are back in the clubhouse and Doc Waters comes down to talk to them about their current activities. He says that he is getting a lot of phone calls on their party line asking for Hawkins. After Doc leaves, Hawkins is in the writing room when his phone rings. It is still another warning. As he hangs up another of the arrows comes though the open window and sticks in his desk near his minutes book.

The boys meet on the riverbank by one of Jerry Moore’s bonfires to talk about the Yellow Y and the arrows. Saddlers Seventeen come down and there is more talk about the Y. Sargent tells them that they will never know who the Yellow Y really is. The boys insist that the Yellow Y is the one who shoots the arrows. Hawkins walks a little way with Saddler as they head back home. When he returns to the campfire the boys show him the arrow that had landed in the very spot where Hawkins had been sitting. The note inside the arrow said simply, ” You are all wrong”.

Doc comes into their next meeting to tell them that he had told judge Granberry about the Yellow Y and he shows them an arrow that had come thought a skylight of his home. As they are talking about how Doc had calmed the judge down, the Judge comes storming in with one of the arrows that had landed on his garage roof. Doc showed him the message in the arrow directed at the judge. The Judge is scornful of the ability of the Yellow Y to see and hear everything. Just then an arrow comes down and pins his coattail to the door. He frees his coat and tells the boys to “get him!”

The Judge calls Hawkins to his office and after a discussion on the new problem, he appoints Hawkins as Chief of his Junior Police. Saddler and Sargent come down to the clubhouse and Sargent insists that the Yellow Y is a magician. Shadow tells him that there is no real magic. The rest of the boys come in from their practice and there is a thud at the door. When they open it there is another arrow stuck in the door and the message says, “Hail to the Chief!”

Hawkins is headed for the singing practice at the clubhouse and he meets Shadow. On the way they find Saddler and a boy named Lembacher who seems to be Saddler’s best spy. They all go up to the clubhouse and Lembacher says that he can lead them to the Y’s camp. They make a plan that involves Lembacher leading the way on his pony. But he is caught by the Yellow Y gang and tied to a tree. The Saddler crew is being led by a member of the Y gang into a trap involving a signal fire. They find Lembacher and chase after Saddler’s crew on the extra ponies. Hawkins puts the fire out to spoil the trap and they get out of the area safely.

A mysterious cat shows up at the clubhouse and Hawkins find that it had a secret compartment on its collar. In it is a coded message that they eventually are able to break and read. It is from one member of the Y gang to another. Robby Hood offers his resignation because he says that what he had to do in the future would be something that the other club members would not like. He leaves against their protests.

Saddler comes down to the clubhouse leading an extra pony for Seck. They talk and Hawkins lays out his suspicions of Sargent and points out the several occasions when things had happened because of Sargent. They decide to go up to Sargent’s home in Watertown to face him. They visit the Sargent home and in his workshop they find some unfinished arrows of the same type that they have been receiving from the Y. While they are in the shop a young black boy comes in and tells them that Sargent’s grandfather had come to visit and had taken the boy away with him. The grandfather had been in prison most of his life. Sargent’s father finds them in the shop and orders them out.

Sadler’s two ace spies Watts and Grimm have been scouting after the Yellow Y and at a combined meeting of the two groups of boys, they report that that while the Yellow Y gang never meets twice in the same place, they are confident that they know where the next meeting place is to be. Under pressure, they finally tell that it is supposed to be right in front of the clubhouse at ten ‘til six. At that very time they all hear a bugle blow and they look out to see many shadows on the riverbank. A tall figure on a horse calls to Hawkins to come outside. But Hawkins slams the door shut and tells Perry to call Doc Waters to bring the Sheriff and that they would stay inside the clubhouse until they get there.

Shadow is talking to Hawkins and he says that Robby had joined the Yellow Y gang where he planned to work from the inside to capture the gang. Shadow and he had a carrier pigeon communications system worked out. But Robby had not sent any messages. Shadow went to Robby’s house where he learned that Robby’s grandfather had come and the family had moved away. The two boys Bullen and Hare came looking for their message carrying cat.. They tell that the old Yellow Y gang is now broken up. They had all liked the Yellow Y himself and called him a fine little chap, and that they had had good times in Watertown. That all changed when someone they called the brown boy with the bow and arrows, joined the gang. Then Rat face came and they moved their activities down to the clubhouse area. They also told about how the Yellow Y could tell them all what as going to happen. They said that when the gypsy wagon came along their troubles began. Hare mentioned some plan that would make them rich. Hearing a noise at the window they see a large yellow Y cut from paper pasted to the window. They run outside and an old man tells them that a boy wearing a yellow Y on his sweater just ran up toward the cliffs.

On Christmas Eve Robby Hood comes to visit and to warn that they will be having a visitor - the Yellow Y and that they had better watch out. He runs out into the snow. The boys begin their singing practice. They hear sleigh bells and look out to see a horse and sleigh standing outside and a little figure running up the steps. He said that he is Seigfried. And Hawkins greets him, as the Yellow Y. The newcomer is about to talk when he sees an evil face at the window and, from a charming little boy, he turns into a vicious fiend and he swung a club at Seck’s head. He runs out into the storm. The phone rings and it is Doc telling them that they will have to come up to his house to exchange Christmas presents.

On New Year’s eve the boys are in the clubhouse to celebrate the end of the old year. They hear a bugle and outside they see many figures. There is a knock at the door and when they open it, there is a boy there with a gun and a torch. He says that he is Janigan and that he wants no more to do with the gang and that he wants to go home. He hands his torch and gun to the nearest boy and runs. Robby Hood steps forward and takes command of the gang, but suddenly the Yellow Y imp appears and he takes charge of the gang and leads them away.

Saddler and his gang come down for a combined meeting. Saddler mentions that he has a new member named Overpeck. That Sargent had wanted to come back, offering make the arrows for them and also show them to a treasure, but his place had already been filled by Overpeck. Saddler is telling how big and tough Overpeck is and just then his new member comes running up the path and falls inside telling them to shut the door. Before he does that Hawkins looks down on the riverbank and he sees the Yellow Y imp seemingly covered in ice. He also sees a tall thin figure and a brown boy. Overpeck is scared and he tells them that the Yellow Y had magic powers and that no one could fight him. He dashes out of the clubhouse and runs up toward the main road shouting “Magic, magic...”.

The Pelham boys come over to tell Hawkins that someone is living in Burney’s old house. They go over and see smoke coming from one of the chimneys. As they look in a window they see the imp they know as the yellow Y, the rat faced man and the brown boy. They are talking and the brown boy is telling how he keeps going to Sargent’s house, but that he is not there and that no one can make arrows like Sargent. The boys leave them there.

Later the Pelhams tell them that the Yellow Y is over on Burney’s field. They go over and see the imp and he leads them to the old house. He goes inside and they chase him but he is not there. They do find Sargent and his grandfather. Sargent insists that had he known the Yellow Y was there, he would have run away. The old man says nothing.

Saddler brings Hugh Overpeck to the clubhouse to tell what had happened to him. He tells them that he had been fishing though the ice when he saw a rat faced man across the river. The man asked how the fishing was and then told him to watch out for the Yellow Y. A minute later he saw the little boy come up out of the icy water where he was fishing. That scared him away and he ran to the clubhouse in fear of the magic.

The Pelham boys interrupted this by running in and telling them that the Yellow Y gang is on the way. They see that it is headed by Robby Hood. The gang is breaking up tonight. Hawkins tells each boy to peel off and head for his home. They all did that until only Robby Hood and Stringbean Wilson were left. They asked Hawkins to help save the Yellow Y from the rat-faced man and the brown boy. Hawkins tells them to find out where Rat face had hidden the Yellow Y and then come to tell them.

The brown boy comes to visit at the clubhouse after singing practice. He tells them that he is Alimokka and that he is now taking care of the Yellow Y. He says that the Yellow Y will no longer trouble them, Hawkins asks him how the Yellow Y always knew that they were talking about and he shows them a microphone hidden behind a picture on the wall. Alimokka leaves and the boys go outside to see where the wires lead up into the treetops until they were lost to view.

The next day Shadow had been there early and has traced the wires to Simon Bleaker’s old cave in the hills. They enter the cave and find a deep chasm in which a tall thin figure is using a big searchlight to look around the walls. Hawkins decided that they have seen enough and leads the way out. They see Rat Face come out and they follow him through the woods to a house on wheels. They look through a window and they see Rat Face talking to the imp lying on a pellet. Rat Face is accusing the boy of lying, saying that he had searched the entire old cave and there is nothing there. The boy keeps saying that there is a rope hanging in a pit. As Rat Face turns to look at the windows, the boys decided to get away from there.

Hawkins is summoned to the office of Judge Granberry. Doc Waters and Jeckerson, the Watertown detective, are also there. Jeckerson asks Hawkins if there were two old men in the gang and Hawkins tells him that there is no gang anymore. Jeckerson wants him to tell where the gypsy wagon is located. When they arrive they see Alimokka leaving. Before they can move, the Rat Faced man appears and enters the wagon. They look through the windows and see the rat faced man threatening the boy on the pallet The boy tells him that he will never get to the place in the pit. That the secret is known only to one and that is Seckatary Hawkins! As Rat Face is about to strike the boy, they enter the wagon. Rat Face runs out the other door and escapes. Hawkins sooths the boy and when Doc and Jeckerson come back saying the rat face man had escaped. Hawkins tells them that they are going to wait there until the boy can walk before they take him to the Judge.

Jeckerson comes to the clubhouse and accuses Seck of trying to help a boy find the treasure. Hawkins denies this and Saddler is shoved into the room. Saddler tells about the river pirates’ treasure and that his father’s uncle had been one of them. Another member of the gang had died in prison. He knew where the treasure was hidden and had died without telling any one about the location. His name was Seigfired Wye. Jeckerson wants to take Saddler to the calaboose but Hawkins tells him to let Saddler help him and that they will find the treasure.

Hawkins leads the way to Burney’s old gray stone house and as they approach they see Rat Face run into the house and slam the door. They search but the house is empty. Hawkins is leaning against the fireplace mantel when the fireplace starts to swing up, hinged at the mantel. Rat Face comes out and starts to choke Hawkins. Jeckerson and the others come running and Hawkins faints away. When he recovers .the fireplace is closed again. He shows the others how it opens and Jeckerson runs into the tunnel. They come out in the old slave cabin to face two old men and three boys, Hobby Hood, String Bean Wilson and Sargent. Jeckerson takes them all to Judge Granberry.

Here the old men tells the story of the river pirates, of Burney, their leader. Burney was going to hide the treasure and he and the brown slave had taken it up to the cliffs. They were followed by Seigfried Wye who did not have the courage to follow them all the way. He did see Burney come back alone. They all say that the Rat Faced man looks like the long dead Burney. Hawkins talks to the Judge and gets him to let the two old men go and also release their grandsons as well.

The next meeting Hawkins hears that Doc Waters wants to see him at the hospital. It really is the Yellow Y who wants to see him. He asks Hawkins to find Alimokka and bring him to the hospital. Hawkins says that he will do that. He searches but finds no trace of the brown boy. He even waits at the old gypsy wagon but the brown boy is nowhere to be found. Then Alimokka he makes an appearance at the clubhouse. Hawkins leads the way to the hospital and Alimokka talks with the boy. Then he brings out a crystal ball. The Yellow Y looks into the crystal and goes over the story again of the pit and the rope. He says that the pearls are in the cave. Hawkins also looks into the ball and he thinks that he sees a place he knows, the old Cliff cave and Stoner’s rope with which he used to swing over the Cave River pit. Doc Waters returns and Alimokka leaves by another door. Hawkins tells Doc that he knows where the treasure is hidden – in Stoner’s old cave.

At a combined meeting Hawkins tells them that there has been too much of people keeping secrets about the treasure and now he had one that he is going to reveal to them shortly. Sargent tells them the story of Alimokka’s grandfather the former slave of Burney. The old man had stolen the pearls in their old country and had brought them to America to sell. But. on the way their ship was wrecked in a storm. The ship that rescued them was carrying slaves and the captain simply added Alimokka’s grandfather to his catch and sold him in America. Burney bought him and that was how he had come to the area. Hawkins leads the way up to the Cliff Cave and on the way they meet Doc and Jeckerson. Inside the cave they see the Rat Faced man operating a big searchlight. Doc and Jeckerson chase him. Hawkins finds a new rope hanging from the same old hook that Stoner had used.

Hawkins climbs down the rope to a ledge below the edge of the pit and he finds where the Rat Faced man had been digging. Hawkins enlarges the hole and squeezes inside. There he finds the body of the old slave covered with ice sitting on a stone block. The old man is holding the string of pearls. The Rat Faced man faces Hawkins on the ledge and threatens to kill him. Alimoka uses his last arrow to kill Rat Face who falls into the pit. Hawkins is pulled up and rescued.

There is a meeting with Judge Granberry, Doc, Jeckerson, the Sheriff and Mr. Dobel. All of the boys are there as well. Hawkins tell that he stumbled over a carpet bag in the cave, but he had not seen any treasure. He did see the string of pearls in the old slave’s hands. Mr. Dobel says that the cave is unsafe and no one should even think about trying to go back into it. Alimokka comes in, disheveled and carrying the pearls. He falls to the floor unconscious, saying that he had saved the honor of his people.

He is taken to the hospital where he is in the cot next to the Yellow Y. He tells Hawkins that he had gone to the cave for the pearls and that when he took them from the old slave’s hands, the cave had started to collapse around him. He claims the pearls. Hawkins talks to the Judge about giving the pearls to Alimokka. The Judge is not willing to do that until he makes an investigation. Later they find out that Alimokka and the Yellow Y had vanished from the hospital. Judge Granberry comes to the clubhouse to tell that the pearls had been stolen from a locked drawer in his desk. The Pelhams report that they had seen the old gypsy wagon racing up the main road. It is found later on the docks at Watertown. Although there is a wide search for the two boys, they are never found again. Hawkins hopes that they made it back to the old country to find the peace and happiness they deserve. .


*Seck gave away a huge number of free books to members who wrote in with a poem or story.

Copyright © 1921.