“Yes, but you’ll not have any of those other specimens long, if you don’t get busy,” put in Bob. “They’re all hopping or crawling away!”
“Oh, my goodness!” cried Professor Snodgrass, as he glanced down at the liberated toads and lizards. “Oh, my goodness! That is too bad. I brought them with me to compare with the horned toads and web-footed lizards I hope to secure. Now they are getting away. Please, my dear young lady, help me to save them!”
But the servant maid had fled into the house as soon as the scientist released her arm. She was convinced that she had just escaped the clutches of a madman.
“Come on, boys!” called Ned. “Help the professor!”
“Here are some small butterfly nets,” the scientist said, producing them from his pocket. “Don’t injure the toads or lizards.”
The boys were glad enough of these aids in catching the professor’s specimens, that were rapidly seeking hiding places about the stoop and sidewalk. Though they had acquired a certain familiarity with strange insects and reptiles, from seeing the museum collector handle them, they did not fancy picking up a toad or lizard bare-handed. With the nets, however, they managed, with the assistance of the scientist, to capture most of the specimens, returning them to their cases in the valise.
“There!” exclaimed Mr. Snodgrass, when, after a close scrutiny of the porch he could see no more of the creatures, “I think we have them all. Now boys, permit me to ask how you are. I am sorry my visit was attended with such excitement, but I could not miss the chance of getting that spider. That young woman may consider herself in the light of having advanced science several degrees. There are very few persons a red spider of that variety will get on.”
“For which we ought all to be very thankful,” announced Jerry. “I beg to be excused from helping the cause of science in that way. But, Professor, we’re glad to see you. Are you all ready for your trip to California?”
“I could start to-night,” was the answer. “I suppose you have matters all arranged?”
“Nearly so,” returned Ned. “We thought of starting at the end of this week,” and he explained how they hoped the destination of the scientist would be such that they might visit the Seaburys.
“That locality suits me all right,” declared Mr. Snodgrass. “I am not particular where I go, as long as I can get a specimen of a horned toad, and some web-footed lizards. I understand there are some to be had in the southern part of California, and so I will go there. I see no reason why you boys can not go with me, and also visit your friends. Only I should like to start as soon as possible. The toads may disappear.”
“Hope not,” said Bob, “for your sake. I haven’t any use for them, myself.”
“Oh, my dear young friend!” exclaimed the professor. “Some day you will see the real beauty of a horned toad. It is a most wonderful creature!”