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- Boy Scouts in an Airship - 4/32 -


nothing. They are from people I have never heard of, and are most mysteriously worded."

"There's one that tells you to get out of the country," suggested Leroy.

"Yes, but the others seem to infer that the man who sent them is out of his mind. The three received are from Washington, San Francisco, and New Orleans."

"What have the messages to do with our being spotted?" asked Jimmie. "I don't see any connection."

"Stupid!" cried Leroy. "Can't you see the wires were sent to locate Ned? The person who delivered them to him sure wired back that they had been delivered to Ned in person--in other words, that he has reached Lima on his journey to Paraguay."

"I see!" Jimmie said, slowly. "It's clever, eh?"

"Too clever," Ned said. "I don't like the looks of it. It means, of course, that the people who are trying to get the cattle concession away from Mr. Lyman have secret agents here. And that means that everything we do at Lima will be watched and reported."

"Reported to whom?" asked Leroy.

"Probably to this military person, Senor Lopez, who is on the job with both hands out," suggested Jimmie. "Well? What about it?"

"I think," Leroy cut in, "that we'd better be getting out of this. They can't follow us after we get up in the air."

Here a knock came on the door, and Jimmie admitted Mike and presented him to his chums. The boy looked trim and handsome in his new suit, and all took a great liking to him. While they discussed their plans another interruption took place, and then Jimmie saw Pedro at the door, beckoning excitedly to Mike Dougherty. The boy talked with the Indian for a short time, and then turned to Ned, excitement showing in his face.

"He says there's another airship here," Mike said. "Prowling over the mountains."

"They can't follow us in the air, eh?" cried Leroy. "I guess this is going some!"

CHAPTER III

BLACK BEARS ON THE AMAZON

The handsome club room of the Black Bear Patrol, in the city of New York, was situated on the top floor of the magnificent residence of Attorney Bosworth, one of the leading corporation lawyers in the country. Jack Bosworth, the lawyer's only son, was a member of the Black Bear Patrol, and the club room had been fitted up at his request.

It was in this room that Ned Nestor, Jimmie McGraw, Jack Bosworth, Harry Stevens, and Frank Shaw had planned their motor-boat trip down the Columbia river, as described in the first volume of this series. Jack, Harry and Frank had returned to New York from San Francisco when Ned had decided to accept the Secret Service mission to Paraguay, at the conclusion of the motor-boat vacation on the Columbia, leaving the two boats, the Black Bear and the Wolf, stored at Portland, Oregon.

One evening--the evening of the 1st of August, to be exact--while Ned, Sam, and Jimmie were still in San Francisco, awaiting the slow action of the State department at Washington, Jack, Frank and Harry met in the club room for the purpose of "sobbing together," as they expressed it. They had left their friends in San Francisco reluctantly because of orders from home, and now they understood that they might have gone with Ned and Jimmie if they had only explained to their parents the purpose of the mission.

"I suppose," Frank Shaw said, at the end of a long pause in the conversation, "I suppose Ned and the others are out over the Andes by this time."

"No," replied Jack. "I heard from Jimmie by wire today, and they are still in Frisco, and likely to remain there nearly a week longer."

"If the airship was only large enough!" sighed Harry.

"We might still get there in time!" Frank suggested, eagerly.

"The Nelson wouldn't carry us if we were there," Jack exclaimed, in a disgusted tone. "I wish the Black Bear had wings! Say, wouldn't that be a peach? We could run over to Paraguay and scare the life out of the boys!"

"What good would it do if she had wings?" demanded Frank. "She is in storage at Portland, Oregon."

"No," replied Harry Stevens, whose father, a noted maker of automobiles, had presented the motor-boats to his son, "I ordered the boats sent on here the day after we left the coast. We can take a trip up the Hudson, anyway."

Jack walked thoughtfully around the room for a moment and then turned back to the others, looking moodily out of a window.

"I've got it!" he shouted, slapping Frank on the back.

"I should say you had!" remarked Frank. "What do you take for it?"

"I say I've got an idea!" Jack explained, jumping up and down and swinging his hands over his head. "A peach of an idea!"

"Does it hurt?" asked Harry.

"Oh, cut out that funny stuff!" Jack cried. "When will the two motor-boats be here?"

Harry counted on the fingers of his left hand.

"We've been home two days," he said, "and we were four days getting to Chicago. There we laid over a day, and came on here in twenty hours. We are eight days from the Pacific coast. That right?"

"It seems to be."

"Well, then, it is seven days since I ordered the Black Bear and the Wolf sent on here in a special express car. They ought to be here now."

"Then," shouted Jack, pulling Harry around the room, "we're all right--fit as a brass band at a free lunch! Whoo-pee!"

"It must be hungry," Frank exclaimed, regarding Jack with seeming terror. "Does it ever bite when it puts out these signals of distress?"

"Don't get too funny!" Jack warned.

"Then loosen up on this alleged idea!" Frank replied.

Jack rushed across the room and brought out an atlas of the world, which he dumped on the floor and opened.

"Look here, fellows!" he said, squatting over the map of South America, his chin almost on his knees.

"We're looking," grinned Frank. "What about it?"

"Here we are in New York," Jack went on. "Here they are in San Francisco. Now, they've got to sail to Paraguay, which is just about twice as far from San Francisco as is New York. Anyway, that's the way it looks on the map."

"It is all of that distance," Harry put in.

"Well," Jack continued, "as I said before, here we are in New York, with the mouth of the Amazon river about as far away as San Francisco, perhaps a little farther."

"Well?" demanded Harry.

"I begin to see the point!" Frank admitted. "But will the folks stand for it?"

"Mine will," Harry answered. "Dad didn't make the Black Bear to lie in storage. He'll stand for it, all right."

"So will mine," Frank said, then. "I'll tell him I'll send him a lot of news for his paper."

Frank's father was owner and editor of the Planet, one of the leading morning newspapers in the big city, and it was always a fiction of the boy's that he was going out in the interest of the paper when he wandered off on a trip with the Boy Scouts.

"I'm afraid you can't make that work again," laughed Jack. "Ned says that you sent only four postal cards and six letters back from Panama."

"Well, wasn't that going some?" asked Frank.

"Of course, only Ned says the postal cards carried the correspondence for the Planet, and the letters carried requests for more money!"

"Anyway," Frank insisted, "Dad will stand for it. What is it?"

"Well," Jack went on, "I'm sure my Dad will let me go. He wants me to go about all I can. Says it brightens a fellow to rub up against the rough places of the world."

"There's rough corners enough in South America," laughed Harry.

"Now, let us get down to figures," Jack continued. "We ought to be able to get to the mouth of the Amazon on a fast boat, with the Black Bear and the Wolf on board, in a week or ten days-say ten days. About that time they will be getting into Paraguay. What do


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