“Exactly!” Ned said, and then Jimmie opened his eyes.
“I’ll bet there’s been some of them statesmen livin’ here!” the little fellow almost whispered. “Say, do you think you have run ’em down at last?”
“I don’t know, son,” was the reply. “Look on that table and see what you discover.”
“Bits of torn paper an’ some red wax.”
“The paper,” Ned explained, “is parchment, such as is used in important official transactions, and the wax is of the kind used by lawyers and diplomats. Here is a seal!”
Ned’s face turned pale as he looked at the seal. Could it be possible that the nation to which it belonged had been engaged in this conspiracy? It did not seem possible.
Ned put the telltale seal away in his pocket without permitting Jimmie to see it and picked up some loose pieces of sealing wax which lay on the table near where the seal had been found.
“Do you see the fine work done with the seal which made this impression?” Ned asked.
“Fine seal!” Jimmie replied. “Was that stamp made by the seal you just hid away?”
“No,” Ned replied, “thank God it was not!”
Wrapping the wax very carefully, so that it would not crumble, and securing every bit of paper in sight, Ned made a little bundle and stowed it away in a pocket. Then he began a search of the rug on the floor.
Jimmie was on his knees, in a moment.
“Finders keepers?” he asked.
“That depends!” Ned said.
“Well, some one’s been payin’ out money here,” the boy went on. “See what I found!”
What he had found was a gold piece of the denomination of twenty dollars. And it bore the stamp of the American eagle!
BOY SCOUTS IN A LIVELY MIXUP
Ned took the gold piece into his hand and examined it.
“It is American money, sure enough,” he observed, “and was made at the San Francisco mint.”
Frank and Jack now joined the little group in the library and regarded the piece with interest.
“What does it mean?” Frank asked.
“Why,” Jack volunteered, “it means that some American man is mixed up in this dirty affair.”
“Perhaps that gold came out of the wreck,” Jimmie suggested. “Say, are we ever goin’ back after that gold?” he added.
“Ned’s got all the gold he can attend to right here,” commented Frank. “He’s got to find out how that came here.”
“Why, there was an American in the bunch, and he lost it out of his pocket,” Jack ventured.
“That’s the very point,” Frank observed. “What was an American doing in that bunch?”
“It might have been the American who planned to send the gold to the revolutionary leaders by way of a shipment to the Chinese government,” Ned said, thoughtfully. “You know some American had to send the gold.”