“Yes, sir,” said Jack. “Father and I have suspected what the game was, and that was why I told the cowboy to say nothing.”
“Good,” said Mr. Temple, approvingly. “Now, Jack, that the mystery of the airplane’s disappearance has been cleared up, we are ready to leave at once. We can get out of New York City on the 6 o’clock train tonight. Look for us Friday. I’ll say good-bye until then, and let the boys speak to you, for I know they are dying to do so.”
While the boys and Jack conversed, Mr. Temple sought out his wife. After explaining the necessity for his abrupt departure with the boys for New Mexico, he said:
“I should worry if I thought you would be subjected to annoyances while we were away. But I believe there will be no more trouble here. And with the servants in the house and the guests you have invited, you may feel perfectly safe.”
“Oh, Dad, I think you’re awfully mean not to take me along,” pouted Della, who was present.
“Why, Lassie,” said her father, “with a bunch of harum scarum boys to look after, my hands will be full enough.”
“Yes, you think they’re just boys,” flashed his young daughter. “But you wait and see. They’ll be taking care of you. Just you wait and see. Frank is awfully clever.”
“Frank?” said Mr. Temple teasingly, with a meaning look.
Della flushed, and made an excuse to leave the room a moment later.
“I wish, George, that you wouldn’t tease her about Frank,” said Mrs. Temple. “She’s such a child.”
“Yes,” said Mr. Temple, thoughtfully. “I suppose so. But,” he added, “I’m glad she likes Frank.”
HELD FOR RANSOM
“Great Scott, Jack, how different you look. What a peach of a get-up.”
The Temples, father and son, and Frank Merrick stood on the gravel-bed outside the little wooden box doing duty as station at Ransome, New Mexico. The transcontinental flier which had dropped them, was dwindling in the distance. Jack Hampton, whom the chums and Mr. Temple had crossed the country from New York to join, was in the center of the group. Greetings had been exchanged, they had all slapped each other on the back indiscriminately and enthusiastically, and now Bob Temple stood off at arm’s length to admire his chum.
“Yes, sir. Some get-up,” he added.
“Righto,” agreed Frank, also gazing at the handsome Jack admiringly. “Where do you get ’em? Lead me to the store right away.”
Jack, who was 19 and the oldest of the three chums, was almost as tall as the six-foot Bob, but of more slender build than that gridiron warrior. He had the build of a thoroughbred, long legs, flat hips, trim waist, deep chest and broad shoulders and a flat back. Both at dashes and distance running Jack easily was supreme at Harrington Hall Military Academy, which all three boys attended. Like Bob he was fair and had curling chestnut hair. His eyes were blue and lively, his features not too regular. Altogether, he was a striking figure.