Certainly if the hunt was only kept up in automobiles, that required fairly decent roads to allow of their getting along, there was not much chance of the authorities ever discovering the concealed hobo thieves; for they could not get within a mile of the shore up there at Norton’s Point by such methods. The only way it could be reached was by boat; or possibly through the means of an aeroplane, such as the Bird boys were now using. Few places but could be spied upon, when one had the means for passing over the most inaccessible thickets and rocky hills.
After a time they had gone many miles. Occasionally a small hamlet was seen below; and then would come once more the woods that extended over such a large space of territory in this part of the country. This was generally because of the swampy nature of the ground, which prevented farming operations being carried on, while the difficulty of getting the logs out of the bogs had deterred lumbering thus far.
Andy had done his part of the work faithfully. He had scoured the territory over which they passed, and never did a break occur, however small, but he clapped his eyes upon it, and examined the open space thoroughly.
“There’s Rockford ahead, and we’ve passed over the whole stretch of swamp and forest. Suppose, now, we dropped down on the commons, and get Bloomsbury on the long distance phone; perhaps they might have some news they could give us,” and as Andy at once agreed to the proposal, for he was thirsty anyhow, and wanted a drink of soda water the worst kind, Frank began to descend gracefully.
They had about half the population of the place gaping at them as they finally landed on the big green. Frank asked his cousin to stay by the machine while he sought police headquarters, and asked to get in touch with the home town.
He had no sooner made the connection, and heard some one answer him after he told who he was, when there was sent along the wire some information that rather gave Frank a shock, because of its nature, and the fact that it seemed to fully dispose of the theory he and his cousin had already formed.
HEARD OVER THE WIRE
Luckily the center of interest remained around the odd looking aeroplane with the metal pontoons underneath its body, so that Frank was allowed to walk away almost unnoticed, when he had secured the important information he inquired for, and which was leading him to the drug store nearest the town green.
True, an aviator had landed in Rockford on one or two occasions, for some reason or other, in times past. Since the Bird boys could not remember having done so, possibly it may have been Percy Carberry, anxious to enjoy the stares of the good people, and pose as a great fellow.
But this was a type of air machine with which none of them were familiar; and as so much space was being taken up even in the local papers with the accounts of the wonderful doings of daring navigators of the upper currents, it was only natural that some bright boy should speedily guess what manner of craft the chance visitor to Rockford must be.