Jerry found Ned, his nearest chum, at home, and told him of the news from the west.
“That’s fine!” cried Ned. “Come on and tell Bob.”
“Don’t have to,” said Jerry. “Here he comes now.”
The stout youth was, at that moment, walking along the street toward Ned’s house.
“Come on in!” cried Ned, as he opened the door while his chum was still on the steps.
“That’s what I was going to do,” responded Chunky. “Did you think I was going to sit out here? Of course I’m coming in. What’s the matter?” for he saw by Ned’s face that something unusual had occurred.
“Jerry’s got a letter from Nellie Seabury— they’re in lower California— we’re going— I mean they want us to come and pay them a visit— I mean—”
“Say, for mercy sakes stop!” cried Bob, holding both hands over his ears.
“I guess Ned’s a little excited,” suggested Jerry.
“You guess so— well, I know so,” responded Bob. “Are you all done?” and he cautiously removed his hands from his ears.
“Tell him about it, Jerry,” said Ned, and Jerry told the news.
“It would be fine to go out there,” said Bob, reflectively. “But there’s school. We can’t get out of that.”
They all agreed they could not, and decided the only thing to do was to wait until the following summer.
“Too bad,” remarked Bob with a sigh. “Winter is the best time of the year out there, too.”
In spite of the fact that they knew, under the present circumstances, they could not go for several months, the boys spent an hour or more discussing what they would do if they could go to California.
“Oh, what’s the use!” exclaimed Ned, when Jerry had spoken of how fine it would be to hire a motor boat and cruise along the Pacific coast. “Don’t get us all worked up that way, Jerry. Have some regard for our feelings!”
“Well, let’s talk about school. It opens Monday.”
“Don’t mention it!” cried Ned. “I say— hello, there’s the postman’s whistle. He’s coming here.”
He went to the door, and returned carrying a letter, the envelope of which he was closely examining.
“You can find out from who it is by opening it,” suggested Jerry.
“Here’s a funny thing,” spoke Ned. “This letter is addressed to my father, but, down in one corner it says, ’May be opened by Ned, in case of necessity.’”
“Well, then, open it,” suggested Bob. “This is a case of necessity. Where’s it from?”
“Boston, but I don’t recognize the writing.”
“Open it,” called Jerry.
Ned did so, and, as he read, he uttered a cry of astonishment.