“Now, everybody listen to me for orders. When I give the word, ‘fire,’ you, Paul, John, Harry and Jerry, fire your guns into the air. Be careful, and shoot up toward the tops of the trees, so as not to hit anyone. Then I’ll give the order to charge, and everybody let out an Indian war-whoop or something of the sort. We won’t have to do any more shooting. Now, come on; we’ll get closer. Those fellows are starting now.”
Even as he spoke, the two villainous individuals, with masks on their faces, dashed out from the timber and planted themselves in front of the automobile, with pistols leveled at the driver. The latter, according to the plan outlined in his note discovered by “Johnny Two-Times,” slowed down the machine before the highwaymen appeared. At the command to halt he came to a sudden stop and threw up his hands.
“Ready!—Fire!” commanded Ernie in a loud voice.
Two magazine shotguns and two target rifles exploded in quick succession. Without giving the two hold-up men time to determine whether they had been hit or not, the patrol leader issued his second order, thus:
“Now, boys, after them! Charge! No quarter for the rascals!”
Then followed a scene that, for rapidity of action, is not often surpassed by motion picture speed artists.
* * * * *
If the two masked highwaymen had been crouching in position for a footrace to be started at the shot of a pistol, they could hardly have sprung forward more suddenly or have sped down the road more rapidly. One glance over their shoulders at what doubtless appeared to them to be something like a regiment of armed men was pouring out of the timber, as one of the boys afterward put it, was enough to make them “hot-foot along hot enough to melt all the ice and snow in their path.”
All of the boys now produced the flashlights which they had carried in their pockets and turned them on to their own faces, in order that Mr. Stanlock might see who they were and have no doubt that they were friends. This was according to one detail of their pre-arranged plan, and worked successfully. The owner of the automobile recognized his nephew, Clifford Long, and the Scout uniforms worn by the boys, and realized at once that he had been rescued from the hands of a pair of unscrupulous rascals by a company of real boy heroes. He threw open the door, sprang out, and began shaking the hands of his rescuers in grateful appreciation of what they had done for him.
“I don’t know what all this means,” he said; “but I’ve got wits enough to understand there’s been some pretty tough rascality on foot, and you boys have done me a very great service.”
“We were hiking along this way and saw those two men with guns in their hands stop your machine” exclaimed Clifford, who thought it best not to reveal the discovery of the note in the presence of the chauffeur.