“That’s so,” replied the other, following suit; while even Carlo arched his broad back, and prepared to follow them downstairs; “and the best of this thing is that the more you go into it the greater it gets. I’m fairly wild to keep it up.”
Just as the boys reached the lower floor the telephone bell rang, and Jack, being near, stepped over to the small table in the hall on which the receiver rested.
“Yes, sure, he’s here. Hold the wire,” Paul heard him say, as he smiled; and then turning to his friend Jack continued: “here, Paul, take hold. Somebody wants to talk with you. Says he called up your house, and they told him you were over at my home.”
Paul of course wondered who could be wanting him so positively that he even followed him over to the Stormways house.
“Hello! hello!” he said, quietly.
“That you, Paul?”
“It’s Bobolink, I guess,” remarked Paul, for the benefit of his chum who stood by, listening curiously.
“That’s right,” continued the voice over the wire.
“What’s doing to make you chase me up this way, Number Three?” Paul went on.
“That’s the trouble; I just don’t know for sure. But when I caught Ted’s voice among the bunch I said to myself, they’re up to no good; and I bet it’s Paul they are laying for.”
“Hey! what’s that? Who’s laying for me, and where?” demanded the startled boy.
“Listen, and I’ll tell you all I learned. ’Taint much, but I know that critter so well that I wouldn’t put it past him to try and knock you out, so that all our drilling in the woods would be upset, and his crowd get an advantage.”
“Oh! bosh! What’s this you’re giving me, Bobolink?”
“Yes, I expected you’d say that. Think I’m stringing you, don’t you, Paul? But I’m not, all the same. Listen again. Perhaps Ted and two of his cronies have gone and dressed up in some old Hallowe’en toggery until they look like a set of bears or hyenas just to frolic around a bit. Well, mebbe they have; but tell me just why they are hiding close to your place?” continued the talkative yet determined Bobolink.
“When did you see them?” demanded the other.
“Not more’n eight minutes ago, Paul. Was comin’ home myself. Been over to Bluff’s house to fix up some surprises we expect to play on all you fellers later on, and show you what we know about this scoutin’ business. On the way home I turned in and passed your house. Often come that way, you know,” and the speaker paused as if for breath, or to hear Paul admit the fact.
“Sure. Go on, you slow turtle. You’ve got me keyed up now to my top-notch curiosity. Give us the rest of the yarn,” said Paul, eagerly.
“Yarn! H’m! there you go, making out I’m hatching up a story. But take my word for it, Paul, three fellers are hidin’ in the bushes close to your place, and expectin’ some one to pass along in the dark. They started to jump out at me, and then I heard Ted’s voice growlin’ to ’em to fade away, that it wasn’t the right one. Thought I’d just ask you if you could explain what it meant. When your mother told me you was over with Jack I saw a light, and that’s what.”