“Great guns,” grumbled Bob, “don’t these birds ever sleep? Well, believe me, if the Heinie that stole my airplane comes around where I can get my hands on him, I’ll fix him.”
“You wouldn’t hurt him, Bob, would you?” said Jack.
“Huh.” That was all Bob replied. It was enough.
“I wouldn’t do a thing to him, either,” said Frank. “Except I’d turn his Kaiser mustaches down so hard they’d never point up again.”
Bob and Frank, joint owners of the airplane, grinned at each other.
“Well, fellows,” said Jack, “We have got to sleep. So I propose that we stand guard turn about tonight. It’s pretty late now, midnight or thereabouts, so that if we stand two hour watches, the three of us, we’ll pull through nicely without spoiling Mr. Temple’s slumber.”
The older man protested he was as able to stand a watch as any of them, but the boys wouldn’t have it so. Finally it was agreed that Jack should take the first watch of two hours, Bob would succeed him and Frank would have the last watch. The man keeping watch would sit inside his bedroom door opening on to the gallery, with Jack’s revolver. As the bedrooms adjoined, while that of Rollins was the last in the house, it would be easy enough to guard both.
The night passed, however, without incident.
It had been agreed beforehand that after the expiration of Frank’s watch at 6 o’clock there would be no necessity for keeping further watch. Gabby Pete would be up and busy at his early morning tasks, and the oil drillers housed in the bunkhouse also would be stirring about. Therefore, after barring the door, a precaution Bob also had taken in the room shared with his father, he turned in without awaking Jack.
Worn out by their trip of the day before with its attack and the excitement of the night, all slept soundly, and Gabby Pete did not get them up. It was almost 10 o’clock when Jack awoke. He called the others, and soon all were dressed and ready for what the day would bring forth.
Jack was the first dressed. He found Gabby Pete in the kitchen, peeling potatoes, and asked if they could have breakfast.
“Sure thing,” said Gabby Pete. “Have it fur you right away. Nice fresh aigs an’ ham an’ coffee. How’s that?”
“Fine. Have you seen Mr. Rollins this morning?”
“Yeah. Give him breakfast early. He lef word he hadda go over to Number Two well where they’re still drillin’ an’ hain’t struck oil yet, but said as how he’d be back later today. He tuk them two drillers from the bunkhouse with him.”
“Did you know Remedios sneaked up last night and took his flivver again, right from under our noses?” Jack inquired.
“No, that so?” Gabby Pete dropped his paring knife and potatoes in surprise.
“Well, he did,” said Jack, starting to leave.
Gabby Pete jumped up, almost upsetting his pan in his haste, and called to Jack to wait. Wiping his wet hands on a big blue apron that looked incongruous on the old cowman, he pulled open a drawer in a kitchen table and took out a flat blue envelope which he handed to Jack.