“That’s it, Bob,” said his father.
“Gee, Dad,” cried Bob. “This time, if there’s a war, I’m going to enlist, believe me.”
“Same here, Uncle George,” declared Frank. “Bob and I could go as aviators.”
“Hurray for the young aviators of the Rio Grande,” cried Bob, swinging his arm like a cheer leader of the school team.
“You boys don’t know what you’re talking about,” said Mr. Temple, but with an indulgent smile. “I should imagine you would have read enough of the horrors of war during the past few years to make you never want to see a battlefield or shoot a gun at a man.”
“That’s right, Uncle George,” said the sensitive Frank, shuddering as he recalled some of the things he had read of Europe’s devastation.
“No, boys,” said Mr. Temple, “if I am right about this, we’ll have something more important to do than to fight battles or track bandits across the Mexican desert by airplane.”
“What?” chorused the chums.
“Instead of making war,” said Mr. Temple slowly, “we’ll have to prevent it.”
“Righto, Uncle George,” cried Frank, springing up. “When do we pack?”
“Young man, you’re in a hurry, aren’t you?” smiled Mr. Temple. “Well, boys, I believe that by day after tomorrow I can have my affairs in order so that I can leave them for awhile. Then we’ll start. That is, of course, if you’ll carry me as a passenger.”
“Will we carry him?” said Bob, striding to his side. “Good old Dad.” And he thumped his father on the shoulder, a resounding blow that made the older man grimace humorously and draw away from him.
They were interrupted by a knock on the door. Frank opened the door to find a maid standing in the passage. She was trembling with excitement.
“Oh, Mister Frank,” she gasped. “I heard several shots. Seemed like they came from the radiophone station of Mr. Hampton’s. I’m so worried about Tom.”
“That’s right, Tom’s your sweetheart, isn’t he?” said Frank. The maid blushed. Frank re-entered the room, and explained the maid’s message practically all in one breath.
“We were talking so much that we didn’t hear the reports, I suppose,” said Mr. Temple, jumping up and snatching at his hat. The boys already were at the door but he called them back. “This time,” he said grimly, “I’m not going to have you taking any chances on being killed. You will wait for me, and please remember it.” Opening a drawer, he drew out a heavy automatic, broke it open to assure himself it was loaded, and then dropped it in his coat pocket. “All right now,” he said. “Let’s go.”
PLANS FOR THE FLIGHT
The boys needed no second bidding. Out of the door, down the passageway, and out of the house, they dashed. Then they headed across an intervening stretch of lawn for the radiophone station, concealed from sight by a clump of trees. Mindful of Mr. Temple’s admonition not to rush into danger without him, they checked their pace. But the older man was making good time himself.