He regarded them with twinkling eyes, but it was Mr. Hampton who acted as spokesman.
“Boys,” said he, “Don Fernandez consents. But I do not believe he was influenced by fear for his life.”
Don Fernandez stood up between the two chums, and put an arm over the shoulder of each—or, rather, tried to, as they towered above him.
“No, it was not fear,” said he. “But Mr. Hampton has told me a little of what you have done, and I see it is useless to fight against Young America. You are fine fellows. If I had a son”—wistfully—“I would want him to be like you.”
GOOD NEWS FOR ANXIOUS EARS
“Now to call Father,” said big Bob.
He and Jack, escorted by several Mexicans of Don Fernandez’ band who had been informed by the Don himself that the boys were friends who were to be treated with every respect, were approaching the radio station of the Calomares ranch.
Jack was exuberant. Plans for the rescue of his father from the stronghold of the rebel leader had not worked out just as proposed. Yet the wild adventure upon which he and Bob had embarked had come to a successful conclusion, after all. And he was correspondingly elated.
Jack and his father were close pals. And he knew that Bob and his father were the same. He threw an arm over the shoulder of his chum.
“Your father will certainly be relieved,” he said. “I imagine he has been sitting up there at the radio station on our ranch in New Mexico for hours, waiting to hear from you. I can just see him in there, walking up and down impatiently, with that bow-legged old cowboy, Dave Morningstar, tilted back in a chair, with his hat down over; his eyes, smoking and never making a move.”
“Won’t he be delighted,” said Bob. “Just won’t he.”
“And Frank, too,” said Jack, thinking of the third chum, left behind at the cave.
“Good old Frank,” said Bob, warmly. “We’ve got to tell him as soon as I’ve notified father.”
“He certainly put up some fight, I’ll bet,” said Jack, thinking of the hurried radio reaching them from the cave as they neared the Calomares ranch in their airplane hours before. “And maybe he was hurt in that fight with Morales. He said he licked the Mexican, but that was all we heard. You remember? His voice was broken off after that.”
“That’s right,” said Bob. “I hope nothing serious happened to him. What a shame it would be if he was hurt, while here we came through practically without a scratch.”
All this time they had been walking across the starlit landing field, where could be seen Bob’s airplane, and now they drew near the brightly-lighted radio station.
Entering the sending room they were confronted by Muller. That young German operator, whose perspicacity almost had caused their undoing and whom Jack earlier had floored with a blow on the chin, was sitting in a chair reading. He had returned to the station after the attack of the Mexican regulars had been beaten off.