“What description did Cadger give of the men, Chief?” queried Frank.
“Oh! he said one was tall and thin; and the other short and wiry like, pretty much like a cat. I rather reckon he’d be the fellow who’s been in the flying business. Seemed to have a stiff left arm too, like he’d met up with some sort of an accident. That might turn out to be a pointer; I’ll just remember it. It surely was a lucky thing for me I saw you boys come sailing along and managed to attract your attention. I begin to feel better already. You gave me so much help on that other occasion, it just seems as if I had to fall back on you again.”
“Better move your horse out of the way, Chief, because there comes a car at a licketty-split racing speed. Wonder what the fellows in it are thinking about, to take such chances. Why, hello! look there, Frank, perhaps you know the one who’s at the wheel? Seems to me I’ve seen him before, and that his name is Percy Carberry.”
“It is Percy,” said Frank, “and alongside him who’d you expect to see but his shadow, Sandy Hollingshead? And they look some excited too, as though they’d heard about the robbery, and the Carberry family was threatened with bankruptcy if the missing funds were not recovered right away. There, he sees us, and is pulling up. I reckon he’s looking for you, Chief.”
The car that had been tearing along the pike came to a stop close to where the head of the Bloomsbury police force sat in his buggy.
Percy Carberry got out, and Andy could not but notice that he was not displaying his accustomed agility on this fine morning; indeed, he made a face as though it gave him a stab of pain every time he took a step.
“Hello! Chief Waller!” remarked Percy in his customary patronizing way, ignoring the presence of the Bird boys completely and purposely, of course; “I’ve come out after you, to get your assistance in trying to find the rascals who broke into my hangar some time last night, and ran away with my biplane!”
Upon hearing these astonishing words it was little wonder that Andy and Frank once more looked at each other, with the light of understanding dawning on their faces.
FIGURING IT ALL OUT
“That’s a strange story you’re telling us, Percy,” said the Head of the local police force, at which the boy bridled up immediately.
“I don’t see what there is so funny about it, Chief!” he exclaimed, frowning. “I tell you my hangar was broken open last night, and I’m out a biplane that cost me a good round sum. It’s up to you to get on the track of the same, and recover it. I hereby offer a reward of three hundred dollars for the recovery of my machine uninjured, and make it five hundred if the thief is captured in the bargain.”
When he said this Percy assumed all the airs of a millionaire; but then it was well known about Bloomsbury that the Widow Carberry was very wealthy; also that her only hopeful could wheedle her in to settling any sort of a bill he chose to contract, so that the mention of the sum of five hundred dollars was not anything extravagant for Percy.