Rollins jumped from his horse and ran along the porch to his room. They heard the door slam, and then sounds of a furious searching being carried on. The boys and Mr. Temple, gathered around the door and window, looked at each other significantly.
“Found he dropped his papers and came back for them,” whispered Frank.
A moment later Rollins called for Gabby Pete from the door of his room. The cook hurried to him from the kitchen.
“Pete, did I drop an envelope—a long blue envelope—at breakfast?” asked Rollins, making no attempt to conceal his anxiety.
Before Gabby Pete could reply, Jack stepped impulsively from the doorway.
“Yes, you did,” said he. “Pete gave it to me to keep for you.”
“Where is it?” Rollins brusquely demanded.
“Step into my room,” said Jack.
Rollins complied. When he saw Mr. Temple, Bob and Frank, he recoiled as if to flee. But Jack barred the doorway. Rollins was speechless. Mr. Temple advanced, holding out the document and the letter.
“Your duplicity is discovered, Rollins,” he said. “I make no apology for having opened your sealed envelope, because last night Jack Hampton discovered you at the radio station with Remedios, and we knew you were faithless to your trust. Come, make a clean breast of it.”
Rollins’s face went white.
“You, you read the letter?” he gasped.
Mr. Temple merely nodded.
Rollins seemed to shrink and grow older before their eyes. Suddenly he sank into a chair. His shoulders sagged. Pressing his hands to his eyes, he bent forward and began to cry. Not the noisy crying of a child but great, dry, wrenching sobs.
“Come on, fellows,” said Jack in a low voice. “Let’s leave him to Mr. Temple.”
The older man nodded approval and the three boys filed out, closing the door behind them. Simultaneously each drew a long breath of relief. Bob was the first to speak.
“Dad’ll get it out of him,” he said
“I’m hungry,” said Frank plaintively.
At that moment, Gabby Pete poked his head from the doorway of the kitchen. Seeing the boys, he called:
“Come an’ git it.”
The three started on the run for the dining room, their youthful spirits rebounding from the depressing scene in the room they had just quit in answer to the tang of a perfect day and the cook’s breakfast call. Bob suddenly halted with an exclamation.
“How about Dad?”
“Oh, he’s too busy to miss his breakfast,” said Frank. “Anyhow, we can get the cook to put up something for him.”
“Yes, I’ll speak to Pete about it,” said Jack. “Come on.”
They ate hungrily with little conversation. Pete hovered near and his presence restrained them from talking about the topic that was uppermost in their minds.
“How about taking a look at the radio plant?” asked Jack when they had ended breakfast.