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- The Boy Scounts on a Submarine - 3/24 -
"We must find those men. Who is going over to patrol the fairgrounds this year beside me?" said Wugs.
"Me and Porky," said Beany proudly.
"What's the first thing to do?" asked Porky.
"Well, one of you fellows who are not detailed to the fair had better go over to the Troop D Farm where the Mounted Police are training, and see when I can see Colonel Handler."
"What you want of him?" asked a boy named Asa Downe.
"I want to tell him enough of this so he will fix it to let us Scouts go wherever we like. So the first thing in the morning, Asa, you trot over there, and find out when I can see the Colonel."
Asa started for the Troop D Farm as soon as he had finished a hasty breakfast the next morning. He had his part of the interview with Colonel Handler nicely and neatly rehearsed. He had worked so hard over it that he said, "Thank you, Colonel," when his mother had passed the doughnuts at breakfast.
The more Asa thought of it, the more he thought it would be fine to take some one along with him; and when he saw ahead of him the two violently red wheels of the Potter twins, it was settled right there. He yelled, and they waited.
"Where you goin'!" he demanded.
"Over to the Troop D Farm," said Porky, hopping off his wheel to rest.
"What for? This is my job."
"Sure it is!" agreed Beany. "But we knew you'd want some one along for fear you forgot of the things you wanted to say, and we knew we always remember better than the other fellows. So we started out. We knew you'd be along."
"All right, you're on!" said Asa and they pedaled rapidly along the beautiful country road. When they reached the Farm, they found that the Colonel, who stayed at Syracuse with his family, had not yet arrived. The men were grooming the beautiful horses, rubbing up the bridles, and airing saddle blankets.
Porky and Beany and Asa, sitting on the stone wall at the side of the barn, watched and admired.
"That's what I'm goin' to be"' whispered Porky.
"Sure!" agreed Beany. "Wonder how long it will take us to get that high?"
"Dunno," said Porky. "I outgrew two pairs of pants last year!"
"Here's the Colonel," said Asa as a big car was driven up and an officer stepped down.
"Wait! Wait!" said Asa, swallowing rapidly. "Let him get through talking first. You see, he has charge of all the country patrols, and 'course he wants to give them orders. Gee, how the spies must hate him!"
As though in answer, a long, low racing car rolled smoothly and silently up, and stopped in the road just opposite where the boys sat on the stone wall. On the little rise where stood the low, rambling farmhouse, the Colonel, with only a glance at the strangers, turned his back as though refusing to be interrupted, and went on with his orders.
In the car, one of the men half rose, leveled a revolver full at the Colonel's broad back, and fired. But almost before he could take his flashing aim, an unearthly screech volleyed from the Potter twins, and from Beany's good left hand a cobble whizzed through the air, and struck the assassin's shoulder. It destroyed his aim. The bullet went wild, and before he could recover, the Colonel had whirled. With a muttered curse the would-be intruder fired full at the boys, dropped to the bottom of the machine, and the car shot forward will in incredible speed.
Leaping from the veranda with the agility of a boy, the Colonel barked out a volley of sharp orders. Men came swarming from their quarters. A man hurried to the telephone. Horsemen dashed madly up the road. A slim, capable-looking racer slid from the garage, and the Colonel and a couple of aides came down where the boys still stood grouped beside the stone wall. Beany held a flattened bullet in his hand. It had struck beside him.
ON THE TRAIL
"If it hadn't been for you and your rock, young man, I would have been a dead man probably," said the Colonel solemnly. "I wish we had the car number."
"I got it," said Porky, easily. "They will change it, I suppose, but it is New York 237,814. And there's a patch on the right front tire, and the mud guard on that side has been bent and straightened, and the glass in the wind shield has a crack in one corner, and the staple on the tool box is broken."
"Oh, you know the car!" said the Colonel, eagerly. "Tell me that number again." He wrote rapidly, and called to his orderly. "Telephone that to Syracuse after you call Fayetteville," he said, and again turned to the boys, but almost before he could speak again, he was called to the 'phone himself. When he came out, he frowned.
"The car passed through the village about ten minutes ago," he said. "They were going fast, and headed over toward East Syracuse by way of the wide waters. I have sent the alarm out, and as soon as I finish with you boys, I will go myself. Now tell me in a word just why you boys came over."
Porky and Beany told him painstakingly.
"That's all right," said the Colonel. "You did right to come for a permit. You see, my men are going to police the fairgrounds, and on account of the large amount of government property scattered around over there we will have to be very strict. The day the fair opens, come to my tent, and I will give you a badge that will allow you to go wherever you like without question."
An orderly clattered up on a sweating horse.
"They have found the automobile, sir," said the gallant youth.
"Good!" cried the Colonel, rising.
"Yes, sir, it is lying in four feet of water at the edge of the bluff where the road from the village winds round the curve half way to Manlius Center."
"And the men?" the Colonel enquired sharply.
"They must be pinned under the car, sir, said the soldier. "We thought if you would detail Dennis and Harrison--they are crackerjack swimmers--they could soon see what is under there."
"Tell the men to go at once," said the Colonel. "I will follow."
The Colonel called his car, and with a nod indicated to the boys that they were to accompany him. The Colonel's orderly leaped into the front seat beside the driver and Asa, and on the back, seat, on either side of the big Colonel, sat the Potter twins looking so alike that it seemed a loss of time to look at one of them after you had seen the other, and feeling-well, they felt as important as you make 'em!
Arriving at the wide waters, they followed the Colonel and his men as they went down the gouged out place in the bank where the car had cut its way to the water, and looked at the smashed machine that lay almost out of sight. It was in such a position, however, that it was plain that no one could be concealed under it. The men had escaped.
A keen look of anger and surprise came into the Colonel's face.
"I imagine they have driven the car off the bank to put us off the scent," he said. "There is a life sentence for those men when we get them. They meant to kill me. I can't see the point in it; either." He walked back to his car and, entering it, was driven back to camp, stopping at the Potter house to drop the twins.
After the Colonel's car had disappeared round the bend leading to the village, a small, wiry, evil-looking figure slipped cautiously from the dense underbrush at the edge of the road away from the cliff. He brushed the dirt from his clothes and laughed.
"Can't see the point of it, can you? I suppose not, you old saphead! It takes the Wolf to plan things too deep for the likes of you." He laughed again, and with a glance in the direction of the village struck off over the hill into the fields beyond. He walked listlessly for half a mile, as though there was little need for haste, and any one watching him would have seen him finally lie down in a shady lane and, taking a small package from his pocket, open it and eat a sandwich. Then he drew his ragged hat over his piercing little eyes, and at once went to sleep. He slept for hours, scarcely shifting his position. When he finally stretched and sat up, the sun was going down. He looked at it, and came to his feet.
"A couple of hours more," he said to himself, and slowly sauntered back to the road and struck off toward Manlius Center.
Night was falling when three men, sitting silently in a bare, dusty, unfurnished room, looked up as a queer scratching sounded on the outer door. They glanced at each other. "It is the Weasel, think you not?" said one, a tall man with a sear across
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