“WXY—WXY—WXY—CBC,” called Charley. (Frankfort Radio Station—Charley Russell calling.) Several times he repeated the call. Then he shut off his switch and sat in silence listening for a reply. None came.
“They may be talking to somebody,” he muttered. Again he called. “WXY—WXY—WXY—CBC,” he flashed again and again. Once more he sat quiet and listened. At first he got no reply. Then, clear as a bell on a frosty morning, a signal sounded in his ear: “CBC—CBC—CBC—I—I—I.” (Charley Russell—I’m here.)
Charley sighed with relief. “Got ’em,” he said to the ranger. Then he turned intently to his key.
“Please telephone District Forester Marlin at Oakdale instantly,” he rapped out. “Ranger Morton bitten rattlesnake. Send motor-car where battery was delivered this morning. May need man help ranger. Bring doctor. Tell wife get ready. Will listen for answer.”
As Charley sat waiting for a reply, he studied the face of the ranger. It was set hard. Courage was written on it plainly.
The ranger started to speak. “Don’t talk,” interrupted Charley. “Keep as quiet as you can, and watch your bandages. If you keep them tight too long it harms your blood somehow.”
They sat in silence a while. Then Charley said, “I wish you didn’t have to walk, but I guess there’s nothing for it but to hike out to the highway at the earliest possible moment. We’ll start the instant we’ve heard from Mr. Marlin.”
“What about your instruments?”
“I’ll nail the cover on the battery box and put the other things in the pasteboard box. I don’t think anything will touch them. It’s all we can do, anyway.”
He felt in his pockets and found a stub of a pencil and a scrap of paper. “Property of the Pennsylvania Forestry Department. Please do not touch,” he printed in large letters. With his knife blade he pried out the tacks that held the address tag on the battery box and tacked his sign on the box. Then his receiver began to buzz. Charley gave the return signal.
“Forester on wire now,” came the message. “Wants to know where you are and how Morton is.”
Charley ticked off the information and waited for a reply. It came very soon. “Will rush doctor and men. Come as far to meet me as you can.”
The First Clue to the Incendiary