This time Gus had the first inspiration. Billy often thought how, sometimes strangely or by chance or correct steering, his chum seemed to grasp the deeper matters of detection. Gus eagerly acknowledged Bill as possessing a genius for mechanical construction and invention, without which the comrades would get nowhere in such efforts, even admitting Gus’s skill and cleverness with tools. But when it came to having hunches and good luck concerning matters of human mystery, Gus was the king pin.
“I’m going to see what else we can get from near or far,” Gus said, detaching the horn and using the head clamp with its two ear ’phones which had been added to the set. He sat down and began moving the switch arms, one from contact to contact, the other throughout the entire range of its contacts at each movement of the first, and proceeding thus slowly for some minutes.
Bill had turned to the study of his Morse code, which the boys had taken up and pursued at every opportunity during the building of the radio sets. Gus, however, was less familiar with the dots and dashes. A whisper, as though Gus were afraid the sound of his voice would disturb the electric waves, suddenly switched Bill’s attention.
“Two dots, three dots, two dots, one dash, one dot and dash, one dot, one dash and two dots, same, dot, dash, dot, two dots, two dashes and dot, four dots, one dash, two dots, two dashes, two dots.” A pause. Gus had whispered each signal to Bill; then he asked: “What do you make it?”
“I make it: ‘Is it all right, then?’ They have been talking some time, I guess,” said Bill; and added: “That’s a good way to pick up and wrestle with the code; it’s dandy practice and we want—”
“Wait, pal, wait!” gasped Gus, bending forward again.
Words came now, instead of the code. It was evident that the person giving them out had sought authority for so doing from headquarters.
“This is to whom it may concern: Five hundred dollars’ reward is to be paid for information leading to the arrest of a party who last night broke into the home of Nathan R. Hallowell. After deliberately and, without apparent cause, shooting and badly wounding Mrs. Hallowell and striking down an old servant woman, he stole several hundred dollars’ worth of jewels and silverware. Both the servant, who kept her wits about her, and Mrs. Hallowell, who is now out of danger, have described the assailant. He is about eighteen, of medium height, slender, dark complexioned, one eye noticeably smaller than the other, nose long and pointed, has a nervous habit of twitching his shoulder. He wore a light brown suit and a gray cap. Send all information, or broadcast same to Police Headquarters, Willstown. Immediate detention of any reasonable suspect is recommended.”
Gus wheeled about.
“Bill, it’s Thad! Description hits him exactly and there’s five hundred reward. He’s done a house-breaking stunt and tried to kill two people and I don’t believe they’ve got him yet. Mr. Hooper wouldn’t want us to keep quiet on this; would he?”