“Yes, sure; we talked that over before, Frank, and came to the conclusion that either they’d met with some sort of accident to the biplane, and had to hold over till the fellow who used to be an aviator repaired the same; or else that they had some other robbery in mind, and wanted to make a double killing of it before skipping out.”
“All right. You can see, then, that if Chief Waller and about all his men got on a warm clue that led them off to the southwest for a day or so, it would leave things open for the carrying out of this second scheme!”
When Andy heard his cousin say this so gravely he seemed more startled than ever.
“Say, I believe you’ve gone and struck the truth just as you nearly always do, old fellow, not by luck, but by figuring it out. To get the coast clear, then, this sly Todd Pemberton means to go on bringing in important news, and keeping poor old Chief Waller worked up to top-notch speed, chasing around down there after shadows! Yes, that must be the game they’ve got in hand; and perhaps that’s what all those waves of handkerchiefs meant between the pilot of the little Mermaid, and the fellow we couldn’t see, who was hidden in the bushes on Norton’s Point.”
“He was undoubtedly there just to give Todd the high sign when the boat passed. Both of us spoke of the fact that we’d never known the steamboat to keep so far north when making the run from Cranford, across the lake, up to the lumber camp on our northwest side. But now we can understand why; he wanted to make sure his partners in crime were ready for him to do his little share in the game; which is to send the police on a wild goose chase and leave Bloomsbury next to unprotected tonight.”
“But whatever in the wide world, Frank, do you think they mean to try next?”
“I couldn’t guess in a year,” was the reply of the boy who manipulated the levers of the hydroplane so dextrously. “It might be any one of a dozen or two games. The bank isn’t the only institution in Bloomsbury carrying a lot of money in the safe. And then there are several rich men we happen to know, who keep a little fortune about the house, in the way of money, jewelry, or curios. For all we know, these yeggs may even have an eye on your house or mine, because they could make a pretty good haul there.”
“Whew!” was all Andy said just then; but his mind was undoubtedly filled with startling ideas.
AT THE HOSKINS FARM
“Well,” Andy went on to remark, presently, “I see you are turning back again in the direction of the head of the lake. I hope, Frank, you don’t mean to go all the way to Bloomsbury, and put the police in possession of the few facts we’ve succeeded in picking up.”
“That was not my calculation at all,” replied the other, “in the first place, we suspect a good deal, but up to now we haven’t got very much positive evidence on which to found a case. I’d like to know a little more before I get the Chief on the wire, and put him wise.”