“That’s so! Mr. Santley. Say! let’s ’phone him and see if he is at home.”
“But you can’t say anything over the telephone about Blake, or about us fellows thinking he is up to something wrong.”
“We’ll make an appointment with the manager,” said Whistler, running into the Torrance house.
He knew where the telephone was, the girl at central quickly gave him the connection. A man answered the call.
“Is this Mr. Santley?” Whistler asked.
“It is. Who are you?”
Morgan told him who he was and asked if he could see the manager if he drove right over to Elmvale in his friend’s car.
“It has something to do with a man named Blake in the employ of the factory,” said Whistler plainly. “But I can say nothing more about it over the ’phone.”
“’Blake’?” repeated the voice at the other end, and Whistler thought there was a startled note in it. “What about him?”
“I can only tell you when I see you.”
“Come on, then!” exclaimed the man. “I shall wait here for you at my office.”
Whistler ran out of the house. Al was already at the steering wheel of the car.
“What did he say?” he shouted.
“For us to come over,” Whistler replied. “And somehow, Torry, I feel we ought to hurry.”
“You said it!” agreed the other and turned on the power.
JUST TOO LATE
“Shall we stop and pick up the other fellows?” demanded Al as the heavy car shot up the road toward High Street. They had to cross the railroad tracks to get into the Elmvale road.
“Stop for nothing!” exclaimed Phil Morgan. “I feel that we can’t delay a minute.”
But as it chanced Michael Donahue was standing at the open door of the Rosenmeyer delicatessen shop as the Torrance car wheeled around the corner into Seacove’s main street. Dusky as it now was, the Irish lad recognized the car and the two boys on the front seat.
“Hi, Ikey!” he yelled to his chum, back in the store. “See who’s joy-riding! And they never said a word about it.”
Ikey ran out in a hurry.
“Stingy! Stingy!” he cried, almost getting into the path of the automobile.
Torry had been obliged to slow down to turn the corner; so it was easy for the reckless Frenchy and Ikey to jump upon the running board of the car.
“Tumble in, kids!” exclaimed Torry, out of the corner of his mouth, for he had to keep his eyes ahead for traffic. “We’re in a hurry.”
“I—should—think—you—were!” gasped out Frenchy, as the car jounced over the railroad tracks by the station. “I almost swallowed my gum.”
“Who’s sick?” demanded Ikey.
“Nobody. Sit down,” adjured Whistler. “We’re going to Elmvale.”
“Wow, wow!” yelled Frenchy. “What for?”
“We don’t know till we get there,” declared Torry suddenly grinning.