“Yes,” replied the other Bird boy, promptly, “though we did have a call from four fellows who had their faces hidden behind handkerchiefs, but we fired our guns in the air and nearly frightened them to death. Felix grabbed the double-barrel I had, and gave them a last shot when they were climbing the fence over there; and we heard some howls too, so I guess a few of the Number Eight shot pinked them. But what makes you look so bothered, Frank? Has anything happened at home?”
“There sure has,” came from Frank, as he joined them, and cast a pleased glance over the flying machine that lay upon the grass like a huge bat, with wings extended.
“Tell me what it was?” demanded Andy, breathlessly.
“Somebody broke into our hangar and workshop, and knocked things around at a great rate,” Frank went on to say. “Acted like they might be just mad because they didn’t find our new machine there, and wanted to show their spite. And nobody in your house knew a thing about it till I came along, after an early breakfast, meaning to get the piece I’d been working on up to eleven last night, when I went home to sleep, and locked up the place as usual.”
“That’s a queer piece of news you’re telling me, Frank,” said the other, looking puzzled, as well he might.
THE STARTLING NEWS
“Well,” said Frank, with a frown on his face. “It’s puzzled me a whole lot, let me tell you, Andy. Because, of course, my first thought was that it must have been Percy Carberry’s work; but now that you tell me he was here, and knew we hadn’t fetched our hydroplane home, I hardly know what to think.”
“Did you say you worked till about eleven at the shop?” asked Andy, quickly.
“Three minutes after when I quit, locked up, and went home,” Frank replied.
“That was just about the time they showed up here,” the other went on to say. “Unless one of us is wrong about the time, they couldn’t well be in two places at the same minute, now, could they? Seems like it might have been some other crowd that broke into our hangar, Frank!”
“But why? Did they want to play fast and loose with our machine, and force an entrance just for that purpose? Listen to something I’m going to tell you, Andy. I found several things on our work bench where somebody had left them, without meaning to do it, I guess. Here’s one.”
Frank while saying this held something up which he had taken from the package he carried under his arm.
“Why, that’s a splendid electric torch, looks like to me?” exclaimed Andy.
“Just what it is, now,” the other agreed.
“And it was forgotten in our shop, was it?” demanded Andy.
“I made out that whoever entered used this first, and then lighted our lamp to look around with, putting out the torch, and laying it down. When they skipped out, why, they just forgot all about it, also these.”