“Grand! fine! immense!” murmured Tom. “Byron couldn’t hold a candle to that, Songbird!”
“I listen to the tiny brook
That winds its way o’er rock and sand
And in the running water see
A face that— that— that——”
“Go ahead, Songbird!” cried Sam, as the would-be poet stumbled and halted.
“I— er— I had the last line, but Tubbs knocked it out of me,” grumbled Songbird. “And say, he knocked something else out of me!” he exclaimed suddenly. “I was going to tell you an important bit of news.”
“You were?” cried Dick. “What?”
“The word just came in over the telephone, from the weekly newspaper office. Doctor Wallington said you would want to know about it.”
“But what is it?” demanded Sam, impatiently.
“Josiah Crabtree has escaped from jail.”
“Escaped!” ejaculated Tom.
“Why, we were just talking about him!” put in Dick “When did this happen?”
“Last night, so the newspaper man said. It seems there was a small fire at the jail— down in the kitchen. There was great excitement, for supper was just being served. In the excitement three of the prisoners, who were out of their cells, escaped. Josiah Crabtree was one of them.”
“Too bad!” murmured Sam. “And we thought he was safe!”
“This spells Trouble for us,” was Tom’s comment, and Dick nodded his head, to show that he was of the same opinion.
About the past
“Did you get any more particulars?” asked Sam, of the college poet.
“No. The newspaper man was busy, so the Doctor said, and didn’t have time to go into details,” answered Songbird.
“Did he say who the other prisoners were who got away?” asked Dick.
“Yes, a tramp who was up for robbing a man on the road and a bank clerk who took some money from the bank.”
“None of the crowd we are interested in,” said Tom.
“I’m glad of it,” returned his older brother. “It is bad enough for Crabtree to get away. I hope they keep a strict guard over the others after this.”
“Oh, they will, rest assured of that,” came from Stanley Browne. “The head jailer will get a raking over the coals for this, mark my words.”
“The Stanhopes and the Lanings will be sorry to learn that Crabtree got away,” said Sam. “I wonder if they aren’t searching for him,” mused Sam.
“Oh, they’ll search for all of them,” put in Songbird. “I think the newspaper man said the sheriff had a posse out.”
“Too bad!” said Dick, shaking his head gravely. “And just when we felt sure old Crabtree wouldn’t be able to give us any more trouble!”
“It beats the nation, what that man can do!” cried Sam. “Maybe be hypnotized one of the jailers— just as he hypnotized Mrs. Stanhope years ago.
“He’d be equal to it— if he got the chance,” answered Tom; and then all of the students had to go in to their classes.