“Then I know what I’m going to do,” said Snap.
“What?” came from all of the others.
“They took our clothing—–why can’t we take the fireworks?”
“Whoop! Just the cheese!” ejaculated Whopper. “We can set them off in the public square.”
“Where the whole community can see them,” added Giant.
“And we can return the remains after they are shot off,” came from the doctor’s son.
The matter was talked over for a half hour. All of the boys knew it was not just right to appropriate the fireworks but they were “dead sore” on Ham and Carl and knew no other way to “get square.”
The boys had made only a few preparations for the Fourth, for nearly all of their spending money had been used up in buying things for the proposed outing. They had some firecrackers, and some blank cartridges for their pistols, and that was all.
Independence Day dawned bright and clear and throughout the town of Fairview there was the usual amount of noise. During the morning Snap heard from another lad how Ham and Carl were boasting of their fireworks.
“Finest fireworks the town ever saw,” Ham had said. All the boys were invited to “hang on the Dudder fence” and see them set off that evening at nine o’clock.
“Now is the time for us to do something,” said Snap to his chums, a little later.
The evening before they had visited the Dudder barn but had failed to locate the fireworks.
“That’s right,” said Giant. “The fireworks are there now—–I saw Carl and Ham bringing them from the express office.”
With caution the four boys walked down a side street, which connected, by an alleyway, with the Dudder barn. Nobody was in sight, and they slipped into the barn with ease. In a corner, on the floor, they saw a long, flat box, marked “Fireworks! With care!”
“We mustn’t take them all!” said Shep. “We must leave a top row—–just to fool ’em.”
The others understood and went to work with care. In a very few minutes they had most of the fireworks pinwheels, rockets, Roman candles, flower pots and others—–in their possession. Then they stuffed hay in the bottom of the box and on the top placed two pinwheels and three small Roman candles.
“I’m afraid they’ll suspect us if we set these off,” said Snap, when he and his chums were at a safe distance.
“What if they do?” demanded the doctor’s son. “If they say anything we can yell ‘stolen clothes’ at them.”
The boys were afraid Ham and Carl would attempt to sort out the fireworks before the time to set them off, but this fear proved groundless, for Ham and Carl were busy showing off two silver-plated pistols they had purchased. They were firing at a target set up near Ham’s house, but they failed to hit the bull’s-eye more than once in a dozen shots.
“No wonder they can’t bring down any game,” observed Giant, when he heard of this. “I could do almost as good as that with my eyes shut.”