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- The Boy Scounts on a Submarine - 6/24 -
The boy looked curiously at the pair. "Say, do you always say the same thing like that? You ain't the same boy, are you? Feller went over to the Hospital."
"Hurt much?" said the boys.
"There you go again! Why, he limped, and I'll bet he's lame to-morrow but I guess he ain't in a dyin' condition."
The boys watched while the unfortunate young horse was loaded on the truck, then turned toward the hospital.
"What you got?" said Beany, "A sore throat?"
"I say not," cried his brother. "That's a symptom of scarlet fever. They would jug us in the detention ward. I'm goin' to have a splittin' headache."
'That's scarlet fever too," said his brother.
"Pick somethin' a boy's apt to have."
"Hot dogs then," said Beany. "I got an awful pain."
A delightful, dimply nurse met them at the Hospital. She heard their tale of woo sympathetically, and the boys, with a wisdom beyond their years, beamed back at her.
"I will fix you something that won't spoil all the rest of your day," she said; and quickly stirred something in a glass that looked suspiciously like ginger and tasted like red pepper.
They were still talking, "stallin' along" as Porky said afterwards, when a group of people came out of the inner office. Colonel Bright led the way, his daughter on his arm.
"Yes, indeed," he was saying to the doctor, "she will be all right now. It was a wonderfully narrow escape for both of them. Do all you can for Captain DuChassis. I'm sorry you won't let me take him home with me to-night. We are really very comfortably fixed in Syracuse."
"Well, that's lucky," sighed Porky. "We know where he is for a few hours anyhow. Now there wont be any murderin' done while we find out just what's what."
"People are beginnin' to thin out. What time is it? Just five? Great Scott! We better be on our way. Where will we meet?"
"Le's stay in the Mounted Police Camp tonight. Colonel Handler, told us we could, and this is official business all right."
Beany reached the greenhouses and amused himself by talking with Mr. O'Neill, the head gardener. Porky lounged against the gate, and watched the tired sightseers drag out. By six they were all gone, and Porky felt that he could go back and sit down awhile. It occurred to him to get a close look at a wonderful piece of Mr. O'Neill's work that stood in the center of the beautiful lawn facing the central gateway.
The floral piece was a little house, about the size of a large dog house, all made of growing plants. The sides were green, and the roof was lovely shades of red foliage plants. They were all clipped short and smooth, and it was the prettiest thing imaginable. There was even a door with broad hinges, looking as though it would really open, and the little windows were glass. Porky had always thought that the inside must be of solid earth; but when he walked close, and stooped to look in he was surprised to find it a real little wooden house with wooden wall and floor, and over that a steel lattice work where the plants were rooted in moss and earth. He pushed against the door, and it fell in. He had trouble in getting it up, and was afraid some of the guards would happen along, so he crawled inside. It was softly warm from the hot sun that had beat on the plants and earth all day, and after he had propped the door it, he leaned against the wall. And immediately what did Porky Potter do but fall asleep.
The sun went down and the dusty panes of glass in the little house reflected the glancing lights of official automobiles that swept along the smooth drives. Far away on the hill the bugles sounded taps. Some one leaned against the little house, and Porky woke with a start. A man's shoulders bulked against one of the little windows as he lowered himself to the soft grass and leaned against the house.
Some one chuckled.
"Sit down," said a deep, coarse voice. "This is safe as a desert."
"What's inside this ornament?" asked another.
"Nothing and no one. It is not made for anything to get into. It is all show, my Adolph, all show--like the Countess that our friend the Wolf loves so back there in Berlin. I wonder what she would think could she see him here?"
"She will never see him here or there if I can help it," growled the other man. "I do not forget this bandaged neck, or this sore head of mine." He laughed a laugh that chilled Porky. "Watch, Ledermann, watch! I'll not destroy him while he is busy on the Emperor's business. But some day, some day, Ledermann--"
"Never mind", said Ledermann. "Let that all go for now. What have you to, tell me? First?"
"First, where is the Wolf to-night?" asked Adolph. "That's what always worries me most. He will rise at my side in a minute, I know."
"Not to-night," said Ledermann. "For once he will not be here. He was thrown from his horse to-day, and is in the Hospital. I think he is honestly hurt, because he cannot use his foot, and when I made an excuse and worked my way in, he whispered, 'Not before Thursday.'"
"That will be day after to-morrow," said Adolph. "And we meet him then, I take it, in the usual place?"
"Yes," said Ledermann shortly.
Porky listened breathlessly to know where the place was. But there was silence. Adolph's great shoulder pressed against the little windowpane, and a corner broke out and tinkled down.
"Be careful!" scolded Ledermann. "You don't want to break this pretty toy. Come now, and tell me all you have done."
"Not so much," said Adolph, "except I have talked to all the young recruits. I tell you I have made war something so horrible that they will sleep restless from now on. I have planted dread and sorrow on many a heart. I have some plans I found on the Colonel's table when I was fixing his electric light. I memorized them and later wrote them down. Here they are."
"It is too bad you did not memorized the letter of instructions you lost," said Ledermann. "At home you would be shot for that, you know."
"Of course," agreed Adolph. "However, I think the paper is safely lost, at all events. It has come to me where I lost it. It was the day I got the formula from that silly young inventor. It was very hot; and I found a wonderful secluded place, and went swimming. Ah, Ledermann, how I love the water! I must have lost that paper out of my pocket. I know I did. I went back but there was no paper there, but I found my pocket knife close to the water's edge, so the paper and ticket must have fallen in the water. What was it anyhow to the finder but a plain, clean piece of paper? No harm, no harm, Ledermann!"
"Here is something the Wolf told me to give you," said Ledermann. "You are to use it whenever you can. Watch the bakery."
Adolph took something in his hand.
"The usual thing!" he asked.
"Yes," said Ledermann. "Poison."
Porky, scarcely breathing, listened with all his ears. And then a terrible thing happened. Porky sneezed!
ALL BECAUSE OF A SNEEZE
Loudly, earnestly Porky Sneezed. It was so sudden, so unexpected that he could not control or disguise it. It came out, seemingly filling the little plant house. To Porky it sounded like a large gun going off. It was followed by an instant of deepest silence while Porky crouched in his corner and wondered what next. Like an inspiration the thought came to him as the two men, quick as cats, leaped for the door and shoved it in. Ledermann had a flashlight in his hand, and he swept the little room, making an exclamation as he found what he sought and feared. In the corner he saw a little boy curled up asleep.
Adolph seized the boy's foot and jerked it roughly. With a start he awoke, muttering, "What's the matter?"
"Come out here!" cried Ledermann, as Adolph hauled the boy out of the door.
"What's the matter?" cried Porky. "I ain't doin' any harm! I was tired, and went in there, and I must have gone to sleep. How'd you know I was there? Are you police?"
"Yes, that's it!" said Ledermann. "You've guessed it. We are policemen."
"Where's your uniforms?" he asked then. "You ain't policemen. What you doin' here yourself? You can't arrest me for just goin' to sleep in this dinky little dog house. Gee, I might have slept
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