As soon as they reached town he started to accompany his chum home, hoping to have an opportunity to see Mr. Pender in secret.
Catching sight of that gentleman walking down for the evening mail, he made some excuse and broke away from Jack; who looked after him in bewilderment, grieved because Paul, for once, seemed to be keeping some secret from him.
Mr. Pender presently came out of the post-office. He had a letter in his hand, and was apparently much displeased at what it had contained.
“Why, hello! Paul, my boy! Glad to see you. How is the patrol coming on? Some day you must allow me to watch your manoeuvers up there in the woods. I’m deeply interested in all such goings-on, you know,” he said, shaking hands, heartily.
“Yes, sir; I’ll ask the boys for permission to invite you,” began Paul.
“Were you looking for me, my boy?” asked the other suddenly, his keen eyes having doubtless detected something in the manner of the young scout master that gave him his idea.
“Yes, sir, I was,” replied the one addressed.
“I wonder now if, on the top of bad news from Washington, you could be about to bring me new hope. Have you learned anything you want to tell me, Paul?”
“I’ve seen that red auto, and talked with the gentleman who has the glass eye!” said the boy, trying in vain to keep his eager voice from trembling with excitement.
A CALL FOR HELP
Mr. Pender swooped down and seized Paul’s hand, which he squeezed so heartily that he almost made the tears come to the boy’s eyes.
“That sounds good to me, my boy. Please tell me about it. Where was it at the time? And do you think it can have gone beyond Stanhope? I hope you didn’t give the gentleman any idea that you had ever heard a word about him or his car?”
“Oh! I give you my word, sir, that they never dreamed I knew a thing about them. A scout has to learn how to keep his feelings in check, you see, Mr. Pender. I acted just as naturally as Jack did; and he knew nothing.”
“Well, tell me about it now, please.”
Stopping at the corner, Paul started in to relate all the incidents connected with that meeting on the road. The gentleman hung upon every word. He certainly looked pleased, and Paul realized that he had done something worth while. To his credit be it said that never once had he entertained the thought of receiving any sort of reward for his services.
“All this is of the greatest importance to me, my boy. I am frank to tell you that the successful capture of those two men you have so ably described, thanks to your scout training, will mean much to me. And depend upon it, if success rewards my efforts, I shall certainly remember that you gave me very valuable assistance in the undertaking.”
“Then you think I might have a reward, don’t you, Mr. Pender?” he said.