“Come, come, Stubbs,” said Chester. “Are you going along or not? It’s time to be moving.”
The little war correspondent made his decision.
“I’ll go,” he said quietly.
“You know I don’t think much of these contraptions,” said Stubbs.
With Hal and Chester he was flying aloft in a large army biplane. The little war correspondent had climbed into the machine with the same trepidation he always manifested when about to ascend into the air, but he had not spoken until the machine was a full half mile aloft and Hal had sent it moving swiftly toward the distant German lines.
“Just sit tight and you will be all right,” Chester replied.
“Never fear, I’ll sit tight,” returned Stubbs and became silent.
It was very dark aloft. Because he feared he might encounter an air craft of the enemy, Hal had not turned on the searchlight with which the machine was equipped. He had taken his bearings before making a start and was now trusting to his judgment of distances to guide him to the spot he had selected to return to the ground.
This point, which Hal and Chester had decided upon after some deliberation, was well behind the most advanced German lines. According to Hal’s calculations, it was possible that at the place selected there would be few German troops. He had figured to descend between the German lines. Under the cover of darkness he felt there was little to fear should they avoid all enemy aircraft.
Accordingly, it was about an hour later when Hal reduced the speed of the biplane and then shut off the motor altogether. A moment later the machine began to glide slowly to earth.
Chester, peering over the side of the aeroplane, was the first to see the ground below.
“Land below!” he called to Hal.
“Anything in sight?” asked Hal.
“Not a thing. Coast seems to be perfectly clear. Trees near, too; so we can hide the plane, if you go almost straight down.”
Hal followed directions and a moment later the biplane came to rest upon the ground as lightly as a bird.
Hal, Chester and Stubbs climbed out quickly.
“Guess we had better run the machine back among the trees,” said Hal. “Lend me a hand here.”
It was the work of but a few moments. Hal walked some distance away and surveyed the spot where the machine had been rolled. He walked around it on all sides.
“O.K.,” he said. “You wouldn’t know it was there unless you happened to be looking for it.”
“Well, what now?” asked Chester.
“Guess we had better don those German uniforms and prowl about a bit.”
“Snoop, eh,” said Stubbs.
“Now look here, Stubbs,” said Hal, “you just keep quiet and get into this uniform we brought along for you.”
Mumbling to himself, Stubbs obeyed.