“Oh! it’s Jerry, my husband!” exclaimed Mrs. Hoskins just then, “and he seems to be dreadfully excited, too. Listen to him calling to me! I wonder what could have happened. What if he’s gone and cut himself badly, always digging and making holes in the ground, since that silly old fortune teller said he would find a mine on the farm. And here he comes too!”
Just then a figure came staggering around the corner of the house. It was the old farmer, plainly tremendously excited, and although weak and almost out of breath from running, trying to tell her something.
“It’s there, Jennie—found it, wife—ain’t had all my work for nothin’ I tell you! A vein of hard coal, think, enough to make us all rich! D’ye hear that, Jennie, girl, rich! Gimme a drink of water, for I’m nigh dead from runnin’ to tell you the great news. Who’s these boys, wife? Where’s Sallie at?”
Frank would have liked very much to remain and hear the particulars of the farmer’s good luck in locating a vein of coal on his property; but time would not permit. He only hoped Hoskins was not mistaken, for traces of coal had been known to exist around that neighborhood for some time, though up to now none had been found in paying quantities for mining purposes.
“Come on, Andy, we’ll have to be skipping out. Please tell your husband all you know about what’s happened, Mrs. Hoskins. Hope you have struck it rich, sir.”
With that Frank hurried off, Andy trailing behind. The farmer stared after them as though hardly knowing what to make of it all; but they could hear the good woman begin to explain, and had no doubt she would be able to satisfy his reasonable curiosity.
For the time being the Bird boys must forget all about what lay in the past, because it was the future that should interest them wholly. They had reached a point in the hunt where perhaps a sudden change of plans would be necessary; particularly if those they followed had taken the alarm, and were ready to shake the dust of this section of the country from their shoes.
Away from the farmhouse hurried the two young aviators, making as near a bee line for the field where they had left their aeroplane as they could possibly manage, and all the while searching the sky for signs of the other flying machine.
AN AEROPLANE CHASE
“Here it is, and everything seems all right!” remarked Andy as they reached the field, and found the hydro-aeroplane just where they had left it.
“Yes, no one has disturbed a thing, which I think is lucky for us,” Frank went on to say, as he proceeded to put back the small part he had taken away with him, and thus place the machine in perfect condition for business.
Andy moved about, looking to see that all obstacles threatening to interfere with a successful launching were removed from in front of the waiting aeroplane.