Jack in particular was exultant.
“Tell me, is that the anchored light-ship’s siren, Tom, do you think?” he demanded, with considerable excitement.
The pilot nodded his head, and with a finger pointed to a dot on the chart to indicate that it could be nothing else.
“I presume, Tom,” Jack went on to say, “you came down when you did partly to catch that sound as we came near the shoals where the lightship stands guard day and night the whole year through.”
“Well, I had that in mind,” came the answer, “for, as I said before, while feeling pretty sure of my bearings I thought I’d like to have them verified. And now you can see I wasn’t much out of the way.”
“You’ve done splendidly, Tom,” said Beverly, clapping the other heartily on the back. “We’ve all carried ourselves like true Americans through this whole affair; and it’ll afford us considerable satisfaction when we look back on the wonderful trip.”
“And now, Tom, hadn’t we better turn toward the shore?” asked Jack.
“Just as soon as we get over the lightship I will know how to steer, Jack. Keep cool, and before long you’ll be looking down on our beloved Virginia once again.”
“You make me mighty happy when you say that, Tom. Many times I’ve wondered if I’d ever see it again, we’ve been overseas so long and in so many perils while doing our duty. How fine it’ll be to stand once more on the soil where both of us were born, and know we’ve done a pretty big thing in crossing the Atlantic by the new air route!”
They fell silent again after that, but not for long. Louder and clearer came the frequent long-drawn wails of the steam fog-horn, until finally it seemed evident they were almost exactly above the lightship that, as Tom knew, was anchored on the shoals to warn mariners of their danger by means of a far-reaching lamp and the powerful siren’s hoarse voice.
“Now we’ll strike in for the land!” called out Tom, his announcement causing Jack to thrill with delight, while Beverly too showed his pleasure in broad smiles.
Soon afterwards they were speeding due west, with Jack gluing his eyes to his glasses and reporting every few minutes fresh signs of vast importance. Virginia soon lay beneath them, to announce that they had completed their wonderful flight across the Atlantic.
THE END OF THE FLIGHT
No longer did the fog enfold them in its damp grasp. After leaving the immediate coast behind them the last trace of it disappeared.
Jack refused to take his entranced eyes from the binoculars for a single minute. He felt a hundred-fold repaid for all the perils encountered during the memorable flight from the shore of France, during which they had spanned the vast area of the Atlantic, and were now sailing peacefully along above the home soil.
Lieutenant Beverly made an announcement just then that startled them.