“I ought to thank you for saying that, but I won’t,” Frank declared. “Because it makes me tremble for my reputation as a prophet.”
“But you have seen nothing to make you less confident, I hope?” cried the other.
“To be sure I haven’t,” replied Frank, readily enough. “On the other hand, I ought to feel better satisfied than ever, because we’ve managed to outwit every cause for trouble that has cropped up this far. We’ll get through this coming night without accident, because we’re ready for anything. Then, when another day dawns, we’ll haul in at Magangua, to hunt Jose Mendoza up and hear what he can tell us about the parachute that fell among his cocoa trees.”
“Hark! what ails the men forward?” exclaimed Andy just then.
They sprang to their feet and rushed to where they could see what was going on.
“Perhaps a mutiny!” exclaimed Frank, who could not tell what queer thing was ever going to happen down in this land, the people of which were so different from all whom he had ever known before.
Andy uttered a low cry of alarm and began to fumble for the revolver Colonel Josiah had made him promise to always carry on his person, once they reached the country of revolutions.
The first sight they obtained told them that something unusual had indeed happened. A number of the native crew were in range of their vision, but every man had fallen flat on his face and seemed to be cowering there as if afraid.
“What in the dickens is it?” gasped Andy.
“I don’t know. They are a scared lot, that’s sure! Perhaps they saw a sea serpent alongside! It couldn’t be that a jaguar has boarded us. No, look at old Quito, how he lifts his head and takes a terrified look! Why, he seems to be observing something up above in the heavens as sure as you live!”
As Frank shot out these words he, too, bent his head back to scan the brazen sky above. A cry broke from his lips.
“Why, what under the sun does it mean?” exclaimed Andy, who had also turned his eyes heavenward to discover a strange thing speeding over the tops of the trees, one, two thousand feet high, and at the same time there came to his ears a familiar throbbing that could have but one meaning.
“An aeroplane!” he burst forth in thrilling tones; “and the sillies down there think it’s just a frightfully big bird about to carry them off. Hey, Frank, perhaps the government has got one of the new contraptions after all!”
“Go slow,” said Frank. “Suppose you look a bit closer, my boy. Isn’t there something familiar about that same craft up yonder?”
“It’s—it’s a biplane, Frank!” gurgled Andy.
“Yes, and one you’ve set eyes on before, too, old fellow. It belongs to—”
“Puss Carberry!” burst from Andy’s quivering lips, as he continued to stare, as if almost unable to believe his own eyes.