All four were grouped around the dining room table. For several hours plans for the rescue of Mr. Hampton had been discussed and rejected. Out of it had grown a plan which called for a daring invasion of the enemy’s territory by the boys.
Mr. Temple had impressed upon them the necessity for preventing the United States government from being involved in the situation. He had explained a number of angles not made clear before. Among other considerations, he said, was the fact that practically all the Central and South American republics were jealous of their big Yankee neighbor.
“If our government were to make a hostile move toward Mexico,” he declared, “the other Latin republics would misconstrue our motives. They would consider that because of our size we were acting the part of the bully in order to reap financial benefit. They call us the ‘Dollar Republic,’ you know. Our interests in Central and South America would suffer a severe setback.”
Accordingly, it was distinctly up to the boys and Mr. Temple to effect Mr. Hampton’s rescue themselves. And out of the discussion had grown the plan to have Jack, Bob and Frank make their way to the Calomares ranch and offer their services to the rebel forces in the guise of young Americans who were seeking adventure.
Once within the rebel stronghold they would bide their time and await an opportunity to free Mr. Hampton and escape with him.
“I, for one, won’t be content until I get back our airplane,” said Frank, when the details were being discussed. “Probably we shall be able to recapture it, and then we can all four make our escape in it. The ’plane carries three easily and can be made to carry four at a pinch.”
“Hurray for you,” cried Jack, delightedly. “That’s a real idea.”
“I’ll say so,” declared Bob. “We can do it, too. I know we can.”
Carried away by the boys’ enthusiasm, Mr. Temple nodded approval.
Jack said he was certain enlistment in the rebel forces would offer no difficulties. From Tom Bodine, the guard at the radio plant, with whom he had had many conversations during the past two months about conditions on the border, he had learned that adventurous young Americans fought frequently on one side or another in the Mexican revolutions.
“I can speak Spanish pretty well, too,” Jack pointed out. “And Bob and Frank have a smattering of the language, which they picked up from me.”
It was true. Two years before Jack had spent his summer vacation in Peru where his father was engaged at the time in inspecting mining properties. Jack had learned considerable Spanish during his stay and on his return home had continued his studies of the language. Moreover, he had aroused the interest of his chums to such an extent that they also had begun to study Spanish. Often, when by themselves, the three boys spoke to each other in the language. Spanish, by the way, is the easiest of all foreign tongues to learn, as, unlike French and Italian, all letters are sounded, and the grammar is very simple.