Jack leaped through the opening, and the tall and handsome man, to whom he bore so striking a resemblance, enfolded him in his arms.
“My boy, my boy. I can hardly believe it.”
“But it’s true, Dad.”
They drew apart and stood looking at each other. There was more than a suspicion of moisture in each pair of eyes.
Mr. Hampton’s gaze fell on Rafaela, with whom he had had a number of pleasant conversations during his captivity. He dropped a hand on her shoulder.
“My dear girl,” he said. “You never did a kinder deed. I hope you will not have cause to regret it.”
“Oh,” said she with an arch smile. “Papa would be furious if he discovered what I have done. But I can manage him.”
The older man smiled. He had observed the managerial process at work.
“But you must not delay,” added Rafaela, anxiously. “Even now the firing seems to be farther away. My father keeps many soldiers here. And he is, doubtless, driving away the attacking party. You must go quickly before he returns, and while all is confusion.”
“She is right, Dad,” said Jack. “Let’s go. Anything you want to take with you?”
“No, nothing. But how are we to escape, Jack? How did you arrive?”
“I arrived by airplane,” said Jack. “But whether we can get away by the same means is another matter.”
Mr. Hampton looked dazed.
“The younger generation moves too fast for me,” he said. “But will you please explain?”
“It’s a long story, Dad,” said Jack, “and I haven’t the time. But it’s Bob’s airplane. The fellows who kidnapped you stole the machine in Long Island several days before that. Well, Mr. Temple and the boys came out to New Mexico, and we recovered the plane and, and—well, there you are.”
“Yes, I see,” said Mr. Hampton. “It’s as clear as a New York fog. But it’s enough to know that Bob—didn’t you mention his name—is here with the machine. Let’s go and find him.”
He started for the door. But at that moment Rafaela, who stood closer to it, halted him with upraised hand.
“Listen,” she whispered.
Cautious footsteps could be heard ascending the stairs.
“Quick, Jack,” whispered Mr. Hampton, “you mustn’t be seen. Nor you, Miss Calomares. Here, hide behind this bed. And he pushed the two behind the hangings of a great four-poster. Then removing the key from the outside of the door, he hurriedly but noiselessly swung the ponderous frame shut, and locked it on the inside.
“Calomares won’t recall losing the key,” he said grimly to himself. “There may be a chance yet.”
He listened with his ear at the keyhole. The cautious footsteps mounted higher. They reached the landing. Then there was a low knock on the panel, and a voice called low and urgently:
“Mr. Hampton. Mr. Hampton. This is Bob.”