“Just what it is, old cat eyes. A hand bag! Now, however did that thing happen to be lying there in the road? Nobody ever comes up here but Solus, and he isn’t the one to own a bag like that.”
“The red car,” said Paul, as Jack seemed to hesitate.
“That’s it, as sure as you live. Dropped out of the machine; and by jinks! the fellers are comin’ back to look for it. Never missed it till Sol got home!” his chum declared.
All this talk between the five boy scouts was carried on in the lowest of whispers. The sound of their voices would not have carried twenty feet; and the kneeling Ted was several times that distance away.
Besides, he seemed to be so fascinated by what he had discovered in the leather grip that he had eyes and ears for nothing else just then.
“The motor is coming closer!” remarked Wallace, as the sound of the engine was borne more distinctly to their ears.
“Sure. She’s just at the top of the rise, and now it’s down-grade. Reckon she’ll be here in a minute. Push back further, fellows.”
“Look! Ted hears it now! He’s jumped up! Seems like he just don’t know what to do, cut and run with the bag, or wait till the car gets there. Hey! watch that, will you?” gasped William.
“He threw the bag as far as he could into the woods!” said Jack.
“That looks like he meant to try and keep it,” suggested Jack; “I imagine that the leather grip holds something that took Ted’s fancy. But all the same I reckon it isn’t going to be easy sledding for him. Will he run, fellows?”
“He’s debating that same question now; but it’s too late. He waited just half a minute too long,” Paul remarked, as a sudden flash of dazzling light shot around a bend a short distance ahead, and the red car with the khaki-colored top came into view, making fairly fast time.
They could dimly see the inmates apparently surveying the road ahead with the utmost eagerness, as though anxious to make a discovery. The loss of that bag must have rather upset their plans, and given them a jolt.
Every one of the five hidden scouts crouched low, so that their faces might not be discovered by that fierce white glow.
Plainly to their ears was borne the shouts of the men in the machine, as they discovered the figure of Ted on the road. The Stanhope bully had evidently made up his mind that the bag was well worth struggling for, and that he must make some sort of a fight to retain possession of it.
Paul could guess what his plan of operations would be. He had seen Ted play innocent more than once before, when caught in the act of doing some mean thing. And as a rule the fellow could carry out the game fairly well.
But he was up against a different proposition now; and these keen-eyed men were not apt to be hoodwinked so easily as a parcel of schoolboys.
Ted stood there, looking at the car that was bearing down upon him.