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- The Boy Aviators' Treasure Quest - 34/34 -


"Come alongside," responded Frank in a hearty tone, "and we'll give you some tins of pilot bread."

"Bully for you," responded the red air-ship man.

The two dirigibles drifted together and the boys handed over some tins of pilot bread or ship biscuit with which the larder of the Luther Barr, as Frank had called her, was well provided.

"Thank-you," shouted the men on the red dirigible, as the lines were cast off, "good-bye and good luck."

"Same to you," hailed the boys, as the engines were started. An hour later the red dirigible had vanished on its voyage to the north.

"Well," said Frank, "that's the first time I've ever heard of 'ships that pass in air and speak to each other in passing.' I'm glad we were able to help a fellow voyager out."

Frank's observations that day showed that they could not be far from the spot from where the Bolo had been left, but eager scrutiny failed to reveal her till almost sundown, when Ben's sharp eyes spied her--little more than a tiny black object on the horizon.

"There she is," he hailed.

Frank's binoculars soon confirmed the good tidings.

But as they neared the Bolo an astonishing thing happened.

Through the glasses they saw a form they recognized as Bluewater Bill's come out on the deck and gaze at them in amazement, to judge from the way he threw his arms about.

Presently he was joined by two other figures that the boys recognized as Billy Barnes and Lathrop.

Harry impetuously rushed to the rail, oblivious of the fact that at that distance the boys could not hear him, and shouted at the top of his voice.

"Hullo, Billy, hullo, Lathrop, hullo, Bill!"

It was then that the surprise was sprung. Frank through the glasses saw Bluewater Bill raise a rifle to his shoulder, and take deliberate aim at the dirigible. The bullet sang by the pilot-house chipping off a bit of molding.

"What on earth is the matter with them, have they gone crazy?" exclaimed Harry.

Frank was as puzzled as his brother for a minute, but suddenly the meaning of this inexplicable conduct burst upon him.

"They think we are Luther Barr! The sight of the dirigible has deceived them," he cried.

"I'll bet that's the right explanation," cried Harry, "how are we to undeceive them without getting our heads shot off?"

"I have it," cried Frank, diving into his pocket and bringing out a rumpled bit of silk, "that's the old Golden Eagle flag. I saved it when we had to abandon her."

Ben seized it from the boy's hand and ran to the rail with it, waving the bit of silk furiously. Evidently the occupants of the Bolo saw and recognized it, for they stopped their threatening demonstrations and began waving furiously.

As they hovered above the Bolo, Frank shouted as much explanation as he could through the megaphone, and then told the Boloites to be ready to make fast a line. This done a tackle was rigged and one by one, amid great cheering on Billy Barnes' part, the sacks of treasure were lowered.

This task accomplished, there remained but one thing for the boys on board the dirigible to do--namely to get on board the Bolo. The gas-bag was deflated by means of the escape valve till the big dirigible was but a few feet above the Bolo, and then the adventurers slid down the rope on to the smaller vessel's deck. There being no way of transporting the dirigible, she was allowed to drift away.

What greetings, handshakings, dances and yarn spinning took place then, we will leave our readers to imagine. Early next day, after it had been agreed that two-thirds of the treasure was to be divided among Bluewater Bill, Frank and Harry, and the remainder in even parts to Billy Lathrop and Ben Stubbs, anchor was got up and the Bolo headed for the Florida coast. The young adventurers meant to head for St. Augustine and then take train to New York, sending the Bolo back to Galveston with a hired crew.

They had but one regret--the loss of the gallant Golden Eagle. How she was recovered will be related in another volume, but restored to them she was.

"I'm glad we came through with such flying colors," said Harry to Frank one evening, while the boys were all seated on the foredeck, "but I hate to think our adventures are all over."

"I don't suppose we shall have any more for awhile," sighed Billy Barnes, "it seems to me we've done about all that's possible."

Frank laughed.

"With the money we can make from the sale of the treasure, we can build another aeroplane and have lots of good times," he said, "we might even try a transcontinental flight."

"From New York to Frisco--bully," exclaimed Billy Barnes.

"Do you think that you really could make such a flight, Frank?" asked Lathrop.

To satisfy the curiosity of others like Lathrop, we will say that not only could the boys make the flight but that they did, and had a series of surprising adventures in connection with it.

It now only remains to tell of the conclusion of Luther Barr's vain quest for the treasure. Perhaps an item from a New York newspaper best covers the ground. The clipping we have selected reads as follows:

"Luther Barr's yacht, Brigand, returned to-day and thus cleared up some of the mystery connected with her long sojourn in Southern waters. Seen on board her, Mr. Barr declined to be interviewed or to tell anything about his absence, which has created some stir on Wall Street. Asked if he were still interested in aeronautics, he became furiously angry and threatened to have the reporter thrown overboard. Mr. Barr said he had not heard anything about the remarkable discoveries on a derelict Spanish galleon made by Frank and Harry Chester, the Boy Aviators, and a party of adventurers who accompanied them, and of which a full account was printed in these columns some days ago, on the safe arrival of the boys from St. Augustine, Fla. Frank Chester said yesterday that there was nothing to add to our article as printed, except that the valuables recovered had realized more than $500,000."

And here for the present we will leave our young friends to renew our acquaintance with them in the next volume of this series, which will be called:



The Boy Aviators' Treasure Quest - 34/34

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