“That’s enough,” he said. “Here put these around you.”
And he tossed them rubber ponchos which they threw around their shoulders.
Scooping up the discarded clothing of the two men, Bob and Jack retired to the radio room. Stripping quickly, Jack dressed in Morales’ clothing and Bob in that of the German aviator. This arrangement was adopted because Jack could speak Spanish with considerable fluency and thus fitted into the role of the Mexican. Bob, on the other hand, was better adapted to pass as the German who, they had been informed by Roy Stone, spoke Spanish only awkwardly.
“Buenos dios, Senor,” said Jack, bowing gracefully.
“Ach du lieber Augustine,” answered Bob, standing at salute.
They burst into hearty laughter, in which they were joined by Frank and Roy Stone, who were present at the transformation.
“How will we do?” asked Jack.
Stone eyed them critically.
“To fellows that know Morales and Von Arnheim only by sight,” he said, “you will pass for them easily enough. Both of them are smooth-shaven, which is unusual, for Mexicans and Germans both favor mustaches. But that’s all the better for you boys.
“One thing you want to remember,” he said to Bob, “and that is to walk pretty stiffly like you had a bone in your leg an’ swallowed a ramrod. That’s the way Von Arnheim always steps out, An’ both of you keep your hats pulled down.”
“Now you boys have got the bearings I gave you. You can easy enough find the landing field, even in the darkness. It’s a big meadow as flat as a table, with the ranch house and outbuildings in a clump at one end, an’ the radio station with its big tower supporting the antenna at t’other. Both places will be all lighted up, for Calomares lives like one o’ them old-time barons an’ he’s always got so many men around the place he needn’t fear nobody, so why put out lights? He likes light. He’s a bug on it, in fact.”
“Suits me,” said Bob. “That gives me some beacons to go by.”
From the foregoing it will be seen that the boys had changed materially their original plan of riding in as adventure-seeking American youths to enlist in the rebel forces, and wait their chance to effect the rescue of Mr. Hampton. As matters now stood. Bob and Jack were to land in the airplane, and while Bob stayed by it, Jack was to make his way to the room where his father was held prisoner, free him, and guide him back to the airplane, when they would fly for the border.
Of course, the plan would not be so easy of execution as it sounded. To find the ranch and make a safe landing would be a fairly easy task. The ranch was not more than fifty miles distant by air line, and in that sparsely habited country there would be no other similar group of lights to puzzle Bob. Once they had alighted, however, the difficulties would be encountered.
At first the boys had considered the advisability of waiting until a late hour to make their attempt. Rebel headquarters then would have retired for the night, and they would run less danger of encountering anybody on landing. In that event, however, they soon realized, ranch and radio station alike would be dark and Bob would have no beacons to guide him to a landing.