“Same here,” said Tom Bodine, staring with awe at the machine. “You couldn’t get me in that thing on a bet.”
Frank, accordingly, relinquished the reins of his horse to Tom Bodine, and with “good-byes” to his friends clambered into the airplane with Bob. Roy Stone obligingly spun the propeller, an accomplishment with which his association with Von Arnheim had made him familiar, and once more the plane soared upward and headed across the border.
At the ranch that night it was a jolly party that gathered around the board, with Mr. Hampton, Mr. Temple and the three boys. Gabby Pete, talkative as ever, was bursting with desire for information about all their adventures. He had prepared a surprisingly good dinner in honor of the occasion.
Rollins alone was not present. When told of Mr. Hampton’s impending arrival, he had begged Mr. Temple to let him go to a distant oil well for several days until Mr. Hampton could be informed in detail of his treachery in the past and the reason for it. This Mr. Temple had agreed to.
Back and forth across the table flew the conversation and, when the meal was at an end, all continued to sit around the table until a late hour.
During the weeks that followed Bob and Frank spent many enjoyable hours rambling on horseback over the surrounding country and taking more extended trips by airplane. The love for the country of which Jack had spoken on arrival, seized them, too. The bright hot days succeeded by cool nights—for in New Mexico the air cools immediately upon the setting of the sun—appealed powerfully to boys reared on the seacoast. The absence of raw winds and fogs especially appealed to them. The weather was something which could be counted upon. Every day was fair.
So passed the weeks, with the boys under Jack’s pilotage travelling far and wide, scouting through the mountains to discover new beauties of scenery, making visits to the ancient Spanish ruins at Santa Fe, attending a rodeo at Gallup, to which came cowboys and cowgirls from a vast stretch of territory to perform hair-raising feats of horsemanship and exhibit well-nigh miraculous skill with the lasso.
A month after their advent, and when their summer vacation was not yet half spent, Mr. Temple at dinner one night announced that before ending his prolonged vacation from business—the first he had taken in ten years—he planned to go to San Francisco to consult with the manager of his western exporting office.
“Why, father,” said Bob. “I’ve always wanted to see the city by the Golden Gate, and I know the fellows feel the same way about it. What do you say to taking us with you? We won’t get in your way. And you can drop us here on your way back East.”
Smilingly, Mr. Temple gazed at the faces of the three eager boys. Jack and Frank enthusiastically echoed their chum’s appeal.
“Yes, do, Mr. Temple,” said Jack. “That is, if we wouldn’t be in your way.”