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´╗┐Title: Facing the German foe, by Colonel James Fiske
Author: Wolff, William Almon, 1885-1933
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Facing the German foe, by Colonel James Fiske" ***

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World's War Series Volume 2

FACING THE GERMAN FOE

by

COLONEL JAMES FISKE

Illustrated by E. A. Furman



The Saalfield Publishing Company
Chicago    Akron, Ohio    New York
Copyright, 1915
by
The Saalfield Publishing Co.



CONTENTS

Chapter                             Page

I     Serious News                   11

II    Quick Work                     27

III   Picked for Service             45

IV    The House of the Heliograph    65

V     On the Trail                   81

VI    The Mystery of Bray Park       99

VII   A Close Shave                 117

VIII  A Friend in Need              127

IX    An Unexpected Blow            143

X     A Good Witness                153

XI    The First Blow                163

XII   The Silent Wire               173

XIII  A Treacherous Deed            185

XIV   The Trap                      195

XV    A Daring Ruse                 205

XVI   The Cipher                    213

XVII  A Capture from the Skies      223

XVIII Vindication                   233



Facing the German Foe



CHAPTER I

SERIOUS NEWS


"As long as I can't be at home," said Harry Fleming, "I'd rather be here
than anywhere in the world I can think of!"

"Rather!" said his companion, Dick Mercer. "I say, Harry, it must be funny
to be an American!"

Harry laughed heartily.

"I'd be angry, Dick," he said, finally, "if that wasn't so English--and so
funny! Still, I suppose that's one reason you Britishers are as big an
empire as you are. You think it's sort of funny and a bit of a misfortune,
don't you, to be anything but English?"

"Oh, I say, I didn't quite mean that," said Dick, flushing a little. "And
of course you Americans aren't just like foreigners. You speak the same
language we do--though you do say some funny things now and then, old chap.
You know, I was ever so surprised when you came to Mr. Grenfel and he let
you in our troop right away!"

"Didn't you even know we had Boy Scouts in America?" asked Harry. "My
word--as you English would say. That is the limit! Why, it's spread all
over the country with us. But of course we all know that it started
here--that Baden-Powell thought of the idea!"

"Rather!" said Dick, enthusiastically. "Good old Bathing-Towel! That's what
they used to call him at school, you know, before he ever went into the
army at all. And it stuck to him, they say, right through. Even after
Mafeking he was called that. Now, of course, he's a lieutenant general, and
all sorts of a swell. He and Kitchener and French are so big they don't get
called nicknames much more."

"Well, I'll tell you what I think," said Harry, soberly. "I think he did a
bigger thing for England when he started the Boy Scout movement than when
he defended Mafeking against the Boers!"

"Why, how can you make that out?" asked Dick, puzzled. "The defence of
Mafeking had a whole lot to do with our winning that war!"

"That's all right, too," said Harry. "But you know you may be in a bigger
war yet than that Boer War ever thought of being."

"How can a war think, you chump?" asked the literal-minded Dick.

Again Harry roared at him.

"That's just one of 'our funny American ways of saying things,' Dick," he
explained. "I didn't mean that, of course. But what I do mean is that
everyone over here in Europe seems to think that there will be a big war
sometime--a bigger war than the world's ever seen yet."

"Oh, yes!" Dick nodded his understanding, and grew more serious. "My
pater--he's a V. C., you know--says that, too. He says we'll have to fight
Germany, sooner or later. And he seems to think the sooner the better, too,
before they get too big and strong for us to have an easy time with them."

"They're too big now for any nation to have an easy time with them," said
Harry. "But you see what I mean now, don't you, Dick? We Boy Scouts aren't
soldiers in any way. But we do learn to do the things a soldier has to do,
don't we?"

"Yes, that's true," said Dick. "But we aren't supposed to think of that."

"Of course not, and it's right, too," agreed Harry. "But we learn to be
obedient. We learn discipline. And we get to understand camp life, and the
open air, and all the things a soldier has to know about, sooner or later.
Suppose you were organizing a regiment. Which would you rather have--a
thousand men who were brave and willing, but had never camped out, or a
thousand who had been Boy Scouts and knew about half the things soldiers
have to learn? Which thousand men would be ready to go to the front first?"

"I never thought of that!" said Dick, mightily impressed. "But you're
right, Harry. The Boy Scouts wouldn't go to war themselves, but the fellows
who were grown up and in business and had been Boy Scouts would be a lot
readier than the others, wouldn't they? I suppose that's why so many of our
chaps join the Territorials when they are through school and start in
business?"

"Of course it is! You've got the idea I'm driving at, Dick. And you can
depend on it that General Baden-Powell had that in his mind's eye all the
time, too. He doesn't want us to be military and aggressive, but he does
want the Empire to have a lot of fellows on call who are hard and fit, so
that they can defend themselves and the country. You see, in America, and
here in England, too, we're not like the countries on the Continent. We
don't make soldiers of every man in the country."

"No--and, by Jove, they do that, don't they, Harry? I've got a cousin who's
French. And he expects to serve his term in the army. He's in the class of
1918. You see, he knows already when he will have to go, and just where he
will report--almost the regiment he'll join. But he's hoping they'll let
him be in the cavalry, instead of the infantry or the artillery."

"There you are! Here and in America, we don't have to have such tremendous
armies, because we haven't got countries that we may have to fight across
the street--you know what I mean. England has to have a tremendous navy,
but that makes it unnecessary for her to have such a big army."

"I see you've got the idea exactly, Fleming," said a new voice, breaking
into the conversation. The two scouts looked up to see the smiling face of
their scoutmaster, John Grenfel. He was a big, bronzed Englishman, sturdy
and typical of the fine class to which he belonged--public school and
university man, first-class cricketer and a football international who had
helped to win many a hard fought game for England from Wales or Scotland or
Ireland. The scouts were returning from a picnic on Wimbledon Common, in
the suburbs of London, and Grenfel was following his usual custom of
dropping into step now with one group, now with another. He favored the
idea of splitting up into groups of two or three on the homeward way,
because it was his idea that one of the great functions of the Scout
movement was to foster enduring friendships among the boys. He liked to
know, without listening or trying to overhear, what the boys talked about;
often he would give a directing word or two, that, without his purpose
becoming apparent, shaped the ideas of the boys.

"Yes," he repeated. "You understand what we're trying to do in this
country, Fleming. We don't want to fight--we pray to God that we shall
never have to. But, if we are attacked, or if the necessity arises, we'll
be ready, as we have been ready before. We want peace--we want it so much
and so earnestly that we'll fight for it if we must."

Neither of the boys laughed at what sounded like a paradox. His voice was
too earnest.

"Do you think England is likely to have to go to war soon--within a year or
so, sir?" asked Harry.

"I pray not," said Grenfel. "But we don't know, Fleming. For the last few
years--ever since the trouble in the Balkans finally flamed up--Europe has
been on the brink of a volcano. We don't know what the next day may bring
forth. I've been afraid--" He stopped, suddenly, and seemed to consider.

"There is danger now," he said, gravely. "Since the Archduke Franz
Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated, Austria has been in an ugly mood.
She has tried to blame Servia. I don't think Russia will let her crush
Servia--not a second time. And if Russia and Austria fight, there is no
telling how it may spread."

"You'd want us to win, wouldn't you, Harry, if we fought?" asked Dick, when
Mr. Grenfel had passed on to speak to some of the others.

"Yes, I think I would--I _know_ I would, Dick," said Harry, gravely. "But I
wouldn't want to see a war, just the same. It's a terrible thing."

"Oh, it wouldn't last long," said Dick, confidently. "We'd lick them in no
time at all. Don't you think so?"

"I don't know--I hope so. But you can't ever be sure."

"I wonder if they'd let us fight?"

"No, I don't think they would, Dick. There'd be plenty for the Boy Scouts
to do though, I believe."

"Would you stay over here if there was a war, Harry? Or would you go home?"

"I think we'd have to stay over here, Dick. You see, my father is here on
business, not just for pleasure. His company sent him over here, and it was
understood he'd stay several years. I don't think the war could make any
difference."

"That's why you're here, then, is it? I used to wonder why you went to
school over here instead of in America."

"Yes. My father and mother didn't want me to be so far from them. So they
brought me along. I was awfully sorry at first, but now it doesn't seem so
bad."

"I should think not!" said Dick, indignantly. "I should think anyone would
be mighty glad of a chance to come to school over here instead of in
America! Why, you don't even play cricket over there, I've been told!"

"No, but we play baseball," said Harry, his eyes shining. "I really think I
miss that more than anything else here in England. Cricket's all right--if
you can't play baseball. It's a good enough game."

"You can play," admitted Dick, rather grudgingly. "When you bowl, you've
got some queer way of making the ball seem to bend--"

"I put a curve on it, that's all!" said Harry, with a laugh. "If you'd ever
played baseball, you'd understand that easily enough. See? You hold the
ball like this--so that your fingers give it a spin as it leaves your
hand."

And he demonstrated for his English friend's benefit the way the ball is
held to produce an out-curve.

"Your bowlers here don't seem to do that--though they do make the ball
break after it hits the ground. But the way I manage it, you see, is to
throw a ball that doesn't hit the ground in front of the bat at all, but
curves in. If you don't hit at it, it will hit the stumps and bowl you out;
if you do hit, you're likely to send it straight up in the air, so that
some fielder can catch it."

"I see," said Dick. "Well, I suppose it's all right, but it doesn't seem
quite fair."

Harry laughed, but didn't try to explain the point further. He liked Dick
immensely; Dick was the first friend he had made in England, and the best,
so far. It was Dick who had tried to get him to join the Boy Scouts, and
who had been immensely surprised to find that Harry was already a scout.
Harry, indeed, had done two years of scouting in America; he had been one
of the first members of a troop in his home town, and had won a number of
merit badges. He was a first-class scout, and, had he stayed with his
troop, would certainly have become a patrol leader. So he had had no
trouble in getting admission to the patrol to which Dick belonged.

It had been hard for Harry, when his father's business called him to
England, to give up all the friendships and associations of his boyhood. It
had been hard to leave school; to tear up, by the roots, all the things
that bound him to his home. But as a scout he had learned to be loyal and
obedient. His parents had talked things over with him very frankly. They
had understood just how hard it would be for him to go with them. But his
father had made him see how necessary it was.

"I want you to be near your mother and myself just now, especially, Harry,"
he had said. "I want you to grow up where I can see you. And, moreover, it
won't hurt you a bit to know something about other countries. You'll have a
new idea of America when you have seen other lands, and I believe you'll be
a better American for it. You'll learn that other countries have their
virtues, and that we can learn some things from them. But I believe you'll
learn, too, to love America better than ever. When we go home you'll be
broader and better for your experience."

And Harry was finding out that his father had been right. At first he had
to put up with a good deal. He found that the English boys he met in school
felt themselves a little superior. They didn't look down on him, exactly,
but they were, perhaps, the least bit sorry for him because he was not an
Englishman, always a real misfortune in their sight.

He had resented that at first. But his Boy Scout training stood him in good
stead. He kept his temper, and it was not long before he began to make
friends. He excelled at games; even the English games, that were new and
strange to him, presented few difficulties to him. As he had explained to
Dick, cricket was easy for any boy who could play baseball fairly well. And
it was the same way with football. After the far more strenuous American
game, he shone at the milder English football, the Rugby game, which is the
direct ancestor of the sport in America.

All these things helped to make Harry popular. He was now nearly sixteen,
tall and strong for his age, thanks to the outdoor life he had always
lived. An only son, he and his father had always been good friends. Without
being in any way a molly-coddle, still he had been kept safe from a good
many of the temptations that beset some boys by this constant association
with his father. It was no wonder, therefore, that John Grenfel, as soon as
he had talked with Harry and learned of the credentials he bore from his
home troop, had welcomed him enthusiastically as a recruit to his own
troop.

It had been necessary to modify certain rules. Harry, of course, could not
subscribe to quite the same scout oath that bound his English fellows. But
he had taken his scout oath as a tenderfoot at home, and Grenfel had no
doubts about him. He was the sort of boy the organization wanted, whether
in England or America, and that was enough for Grenfel.

Though the boys, as they walked toward their homes, did not quite realize
it, they were living in days that were big with fate. Far away, in the
chancelleries of Europe, and, not so far away, in the big government
buildings in the West End of London, the statesmen were even then making
their last effort to avert war. No one in England perhaps, really believed
that war was coming. There had been war scares before. But the peace of
Europe had been preserved for forty years or more, through one crisis after
another. And so it was a stunning surprise, even to Grenfel, when, as they
came into Putney High street, just before they reached Putney Bridge, they
met a swarm of newsboys excitedly shrieking extras.

"Germany threatens Russia!" they yelled. "War sure!"

Mr. Grenfel bought a paper, and the scouts gathered about him while he read
the news that was contained on the front page, still damp from the press.

"I'm afraid it's true," he said, soberly. "The German Emperor has
threatened to go to war with Russia, unless the Czar stops mobilizing his
troops at once. We shall know to-night. But I think it means war! God send
that England may still keep out of it!"

For that night a meeting at Mr. Grenfel's home in West Kensington had long
been planned. He lived not far from the street in which both Harry and Dick
lived. And, as the party broke up, on the other side of Putney Bridge,
Dick, voicing the general feeling, asked a question.

"Are we to come to-night, sir?" he said. "With this news--?"

"Yes--yes, indeed," said the scoutmaster. "If war is to come, there is all
the more reason for us to be together. England may need all of us yet."

Dick had asked the question because, like all the others, he felt something
that was in the air. He was sobered by the news, although, like the rest,
he did not yet fully understand it. But they all felt that there had been a
change. As they looked about at the familiar sight about them they wondered
if, a year from then, everything would still be the same. War? What did it
mean to them, to England?

"I wonder if my father will go to war!" Dick broke out suddenly, as he and
Harry walked along.

"I hadn't thought of that!" said Harry, startled. "Oh, Dick, I'm sorry!
Still, I suppose he'll go, if his country needs him!"



CHAPTER II

QUICK WORK


At home, Harry had an early dinner with his father and mother, who were
going to the theatre. They lived in a comfortable house, which Mr. Fleming
had taken on a five-year lease when they came to England to live. It was
one of a row of houses that looked very much alike, which, itself, was one
of four sides of a square. In the centre of the square was a park-like
space, a garden, really. In this garden were several tennis courts, with
plenty of space, also, for nurses and children. There are many such squares
in London, and they help to make the British capital a delightful place in
which to live.

As he went in, Harry saw a lot of the younger men who lived in the square
playing tennis. It was still broad daylight, although, at home, dusk would
have fallen. But this was England at the end of July and the beginning of
August, and the light of day would hold until ten o'clock or thereabout.

That was one of the things that had helped to reconcile Harry to living in
England. He loved the long evenings and the chance they gave to get plenty
of sport and exercise after school hours. The school that he and Dick
attended was not far away; they went to it each day. A great many of the
boys boarded at the school, but there were plenty who, like Dick and Harry,
did not. But school was over now, for the time. The summer holidays had
just begun.

At the table there was much talk of the war that was in the air. But Mr.
Fleming did not even yet believe that war was sure.

"They'll patch it up," he said, confidently. "They can't be so mad as to
set the whole world ablaze over a little scrap like the trouble between
Austria and Servia."

"Would it affect your business, dear?" asked Mrs. Fleming. "If there really
should be war, I mean?"

"I don't think so," said he. "I might have to make a flying trip home, but
I'd be back. Come on--time for us to go. What are you going to do, boy?
Going over to Grenfel's, aren't you?"

"Yes, father," said Harry.

"All right. Get home early. Good-night!"

A good many of the boys were already there when Dick and Harry reached
Grenfel's house. The troop--the Forty-second, of London--was a
comparatively small one, having only three patrols. But nearly all of them
were present, and the scoutmaster took them out into his garden.

"I'm going to change the order a bit," he said, gravely. "I want to do some
talking, and then I expect to answer questions. Boys, Germany has declared
war on Russia. There are reports already of fighting on the border between
France and Germany. And there seems to be an idea that the Germans are
certain to strike at France through Belgium. I may not be here very long--I
may have to turn over the troop to another scoutmaster. So I want to have a
long talk to-night."

There was a dismayed chorus.

"What? You going away, sir? Why?"

But Harry did not join. He saw the quiet blaze in John Grenfel's eyes, and
he thought he knew.

"I've volunteered for foreign service already," Grenfel explained. "I saw a
little fighting in the Boer war, you know. And I may be useful. So I
thought I'd get my application in directly. If I go, I'll probably go
quietly and quickly. And there may be no other chance for me to say
good-bye."

"Then you think England will be drawn in, sir?" asked Leslie Franklin,
leader of the patrol to which Dick and Harry belonged, the Royal Blues.

"I'm afraid so," said Grenfel, grimly. "There's just a chance still, but
that's all--the ghost of a chance, you might call it. I think it might be
as well if I explained a little of what's back of all this trouble. Want to
listen? If you do, I'll try. And if I'm not making myself clear, ask all
the questions you like."

There was a chorus of assent. Grenfel sat in the middle, the scouts ranged
about him in a circle.

"In the first place," he began, "this Servian business is only an excuse.
I'm not defending the Servians--I'm taking no sides between Servia and
Austria. Here in England we don't care about that, because we know that if
that hadn't started the war, something else would have been found.

"England wants peace. And it seems that, every so often, she has to fight
for it. It was so when the Duke of Marlborough won his battles at Blenheim
and Ramillies and Malplaquet. Then France was the strongest nation in
Europe. And she tried to crush the others and dominate everything. If she
had, she would have been strong enough, after her victories, to fight us
over here--to invade England. So we went into that war, more than two
hundred years ago, not because we hated France, but to make a real peace
possible. And it lasted a long time.

"Then, after the French revolution, there was Napoleon. Again France, under
him, was the strongest nation in Europe. He conquered Germany, and Austria,
Italy and Spain, the Netherlands. And he tried to conquer England, so that
France could rule the world. But Nelson beat his fleet at Trafalgar--"

"Hurrah!" interrupted Dick, carried away. "Three cheers for Nelson!"

Grenfel smiled as the cheers were given.

"Even after Trafalgar," he went on, "Napoleon hoped to conquer England. He
had massed a great army near Boulogne, ready to send it across the channel.
And so we took the side of the weaker nations again. All Europe, led by
England, rose against Napoleon. And you know what happened. He was beaten
finally at Waterloo. And so there was peace again in Europe for a long
time, with no one nation strong enough to dictate to all the others. But
then Germany began to rise. She beat Austria, and that made her the
strongest German country. Then she beat France, in 1870, and that gave her
her start toward being the strongest nation on the continent.

"And then, I believe--and so do most Englishmen--she began to be jealous of
England. She wanted our colonies. She began, finally, to build a great
navy. For years we have had to spend great sums of money to keep our fleet
stronger than hers. And she made an alliance with Austria and Italy.
Because of that France and Russia made an alliance, too, and we had to be
friendly with them. And now it looks to me as if Germany thought she saw a
chance to beat France and Russia. Perhaps she thinks that we won't fight,
on account of the trouble in Ireland. And what we English fear is that, if
she wins, she will take Belgium and Holland. Then she would be so close to
our coasts that we would never be safe. We would have to be prepared always
for invasion. So, you see, it seems to me that we are facing the same sort
of danger we have faced before. Only this time it is Germany, instead of
France, that we shall have to fight--if we do fight."

"If the Germans go through Belgium, will that mean that we shall fight?"
asked Leslie Franklin.

"Almost certainly, yes," said Grenfel. "And it is through Belgium that
Germany has her best chance to strike at France. So you see how serious
things are. I don't want to go into all the history that is back of all
this. I just want you to understand what England's interest is. If we make
war, it will be a war of self-defence. Suppose you owned a house. And
suppose the house next door caught fire. You would try to put out that
fire, wouldn't you, to save your own house from being burned up? Well,
that's England's position. If the Germans held Belgium or Holland--and they
would hold both, if they beat France and Russia--England would then be in
just as much danger as your house would be. So if we fight, it will be to
put out the German fire in the house next door.

"Now I want you to understand one thing. I'm talking as an Englishman. A
German would tell you all this in a very different way. I don't like the
people who are always slandering their enemies. Germany has her reasons for
acting as she does. I think her reasons are wrong. But the Germans believe
that they are right. We can respect even people who are wrong if they
themselves believe that they are right. There may be two sides to this
quarrel. And Germans, even if they are to be our enemies, may be just as
patriotic, just as devoted to their country, as we are. Never forget that,
no matter what may happen."

He stopped then, waiting for questions. None came.

"Then you understand pretty well?" he asked.

There was a murmur of assent from the whole circle.

"All right, then," he said. "Now there's work for Scouts to do. _Be
prepared!_ That's our motto, isn't it? Suppose there's war. Franklin,
what's your idea of what the Boy Scouts would be able to do?"

"I suppose those who are old enough could volunteer, sir," said Franklin,
doubtfully. "I can't think of anything else--"

"Time enough for that later," said Grenfel, with a short laugh. "England
may have to call boys to the colors before she's done, if she once starts
to fight. But long before that time comes, there will be a great work for
the organization we all love and honor. Work that won't be showy, work that
will be very hard. Boys, everyone in England, man and woman and child will
have work to do! And we, who are organized, and whose motto is _Be
prepared_, ought to be able to show what stuff there is in us.

"Think of all the places that must be guarded. The waterworks, the gas
tanks, the railroads that lead to the seaports and that will be used by the
troops."

A startled burst of exclamations answered him.

"Why, there won't be any fighting in England, sir, will there?" asked Dick
Mercer, in surprise.

"We all hope not," said Grenfel. "But that's not what I mean. It doesn't
take an army to destroy a railroad. One man with a bomb and a time fuse
attached to it can blow up a culvert and block a whole line so that
precious hours might be lost in getting troops aboard a transport. One man
could blow up a waterworks or a gas tank or cut an important telegraph or
telephone wire!"

"You mean that there will be Germans here trying to hurt England any way
they can, don't you, sir?" asked Harry Fleming.

"I mean exactly that," said Grenfel. "We don't know this--we can't be sure
of it. But we've got good reason to believe that there are a great many
Germans here, seemingly peaceable enough, who are regularly in the pay of
the German government as spies. We don't know the German plans. But there
is no reason, so far as we know, why their great Zeppelin airships
shouldn't come sailing over England, to drop bombs down where they can do
the most harm. There is nothing except our own vigilance to keep these
spies, even if they have to work alone, from doing untold damage!"

"We could be useful as sentries, then?" said Leslie Franklin. He drew a
deep breath. "I never thought of things like that, sir! I'm just beginning
to see how useful we really might be. We could do a lot of things instead
of soldiers, couldn't we? So that they would be free to go and fight?"

"Yes," answered the scoutmaster. "And I can tell you now that the National
Scout Council has always planned to 'Be Prepared!' It decided, a long time
ago, what should be done in case of war. A great many troops will be
offered to the War Department to do odd jobs. They will carry messages and
dispatches. They will act as clerks, so far as they can. They will patrol
the railways and other places that ought to be under guard, where soldiers
can be spared if we take their places. So far as such things can be
planned, they have been planned.

"But most of the ways in which we can be useful haven't showed themselves
at all yet. They will develop, if war comes. We shall have to be alert and
watchful, and do whatever there is to be done."

"Who will be scoutmaster, sir, if you go to the war?" asked Harry.

"I'm not quite sure," said Grenfel. "We haven't decided yet. But it will be
someone you can trust--be sure of that. And I think I needn't say that if
you scouts have any real regard for me you will show it best by serving as
loyally and as faithfully under him as you have under me. I shall be with
you in spirit, no matter where I am. Now it's getting late. I think we'd
better break up for to-night. We will make a special order, too, for the
present. Every scout in the troop will report at scout headquarters until
further notice, every day, at nine o'clock in the morning.

"I think we'll have to make up our minds not to play many games for the
time that is coming. There is real work ahead of us if war comes--work just
as real and just as hard, in its way, as if we were all going to fight for
England. Everyone cannot fight, but the ones who stay at home and do the
work that comes to their hands will serve England just as loyally as if
they were on the firing line! Now--up, all of you! Three cheers for King
George!"

They were given with a will--and Harry Fleming joined in as heartily as any
of them. He was as much of an American as he had ever been, but something
in him responded with a strange thrill to England's need, as Grenfel had
expressed it. After all, England had been and was the mother country.
England and America had fought, in their time, and America had won, but
now, for a hundred years, there had been peace between them. And he and
these English boys were of the same blood and the same language, binding
them very closely together.

"Blood is thicker than water, after all!" he thought.

Then every scout there shook hands with John Grenfel. He smiled as he
greeted them.

"I hope this will pass over," he said, "and that we'll do together during
this vacation all the things we've planned to do. But if we can't, and if
I'm called away, good-bye! Do your duty as scouts, and I'll know it
somehow! And, in case I don't see you again, good-bye!"

"You're going to stand with us, then, Fleming?" he said, as Harry came up
to shake hands. "Good boy! We're of one blood, we English and you
Americans. We've had our quarrels, but relatives always do quarrel. And
you'll not be asked, as a scout here, to do anything an American shouldn't
do."

Then it was over. They were out in the street. In the distance newsboys
were yelling their extras still. Many people were out, something unusual in
that quiet neighborhood. And suddenly one of the scouts lifted his voice,
and in a moment they were all singing:

    Rule, rule, Britannia!
    Britannia rules the waves!
    Britons never, never, never shall be slaves!

Scores of voices swelled the chorus, joining the fresh young voices of the
scouts. And then someone started that swinging march song that had leaped
into popularity at the time of the Boer War, _Soldiers of the Queen_. The
words were trifling, but there was a fine swing to the music, and it was
not the words that counted--it was the spirit of those who sang.

As he marched along with the others Harry noticed one thing. In a few hours
the whole appearance of the streets had changed. From every house, in the
still night air, drooped a Union Jack. The flag was everywhere; some houses
had flung out half a dozen to the wind.

Harry was seeing a sight, that once seen, can never be forgotten. He was
seeing a nation aroused, preparing to fight. If war came to England it
would be no war decreed by a few men. It would be a war proclaimed by the
people themselves, demanded by them. The nation was stirring; it was
casting off the proverbial lethargy and indifference of the English. Even
here, in this usually quiet suburb of London, the home of business and
professional men who were comfortably well off, the stirring of the spirit
of England was evident. And suddenly the song of the scouts and those who
had joined them was drowned out by a new noise, sinister, threatening. It
was the angry note that is raised by a mob.

Leslie Franklin took command at once.

"Here, we must see what's wrong!" he cried. "Scouts, attention! Fall in!
Double quick--follow me!"

He ran in the direction of the sound, and they followed. Five minutes
brought them to the scene of the disturbance. They reached a street of
cheaper houses and small shops. About one of these a crowd was surging,
made up largely of young men of the lower class, for in West Kensington, as
in all parts of London, the homes of the rich and of the poor rub one
another's elbows in easy familiarity.

The crowd seemed to be trying to break in the door of this shop. Already
all the glass of the show windows had been broken, and from within there
came guttural cries of alarm and anger.

"It's Dutchy's place!" cried Dick Mercer. "He's a German, and they're
trying to smash his place up!"

"Halt!" cried Franklin. He gathered the scouts about him.

"This won't do," he said, angry spots of color showing on his cheek bones.
"No one's gone for the police--or, if they have, this crowd of muckers will
smash everything up and maybe hurt the old Dutchman before the Bobbies get
here. Form together now--and when I give the word, go through! Once we get
between them and the shop, we can stop them. Maybe they won't know who we
are at first, and our uniforms may stop them."

"Now!" he said, a moment later. And, with a shout, the scouts charged
through the little mob in a body.

They had no trouble in getting through. A few determined people, knowing
just what they mean to do, can always overcome a greater number of
disorganized ones. That is why disciplined troops can conquer five times
their number of rioters or savages. And so in a moment they reached the
shop.

"Let us in! We're here to protect you!" cried Franklin to old Schmidt, who
was cowering within, with his wife. Then he turned to the rioters, who,
getting over their first surprise, were threatening again.

"For shame!" he cried. "Do you think you're doing anything for England?
War's not declared yet--and, if it was, you might better be looking for
German soldiers to shoot at than trying to hurt an old man who never did
anyone any harm!"

There was a threatening noise from the crowd, but Franklin was undismayed.

"You'll have to get through us to reach them!" he cried. "We--"

But he was interrupted. A whistle sounded. The next moment the police were
there.



CHAPTER III

PICKED FOR SERVICE


The coming of the police cleared the little crowd of would-be rioters away
in no time. There were only three or four of the Bobbies, but they were
plenty. A smiling sergeant came up to Franklin.

"More of your Boy Scout work, sir?" he said, pleasantly. "I heard you
standing them off! That was very well done. If we can depend on you to help
us all over London, we'll have an easier job than we looked for."

"We saw a whole lot of those fellows piling up against the shop here," said
Franklin. "So of course we pitched in. We couldn't let anything like that
happen."

"There'll be a lot of it at first, I'm afraid, sir," said the sergeant.
"Still, it won't last. If all we hear is true, they'll be taking a lot of
those young fellows away and giving them some real fighting to do to keep
them quiet."

"Well, we'll help whenever we can, sergeant," said Franklin. "If the
inspector thinks it would be a good thing to have the shops that are kept
by Germans watched, I'm quite sure it can be arranged. If there's war I
suppose a lot of you policemen will go?"

"We'll supply our share, sir," said the sergeant. "I'm expecting orders any
minute--I'm a reservist myself. Coldstream Guards, sir."

"Congratulations!" said Franklin. He spoke a little wistfully. "I wonder if
they'll let me go? I think I'm old enough! Well, can we help any more here
to-night?"

"No, thank you, sir. You've done very well as it is. Pity all the lads
don't belong to the Boy Scouts. We'd have less trouble, I'll warrant. I'll
just leave a man here to watch the place. But they won't be back. They
don't mean any real harm, as it is. It's just their spirits--and their
being a bit thoughtless, you know."

"All right," said Franklin. "Glad we came along. Good-night, sergeant. Fall
in! March!"

There was a cheer from the crowd that had gathered to watch the disturbance
as the scouts moved away. A hundred yards from the scene of what might have
been a tragedy, except for their prompt action, the Scouts dispersed. Dick
Mercer and Harry Fleming naturally enough, since they lived so close to one
another, went home together.

"That was quick work," said Harry.

"Yes. I'm glad we got there," said Dick. "Old Dutchy's all right--he
doesn't seem like a German. But I think it would be a good thing if they
did catch a few of the others and scrag them!"

"No, it wouldn't," said Harry soberly. "Don't get to feeling that way,
Dick. Suppose you were living in Berlin. You wouldn't want a lot of German
roughs to come and destroy your house or your shop and handle you that way,
would you?"

"It's not the same thing," said Dick, stubbornly. "They're foreigners."

"But you'd be a foreigner if you were over there!" said Harry, with a
laugh.

"I suppose I would," said Dick. "I never thought of that! Just the same, I
bet Mr. Grenfel was right. London's full of spies. Isn't that an awful
idea, Harry? You can't tell who's a spy and who isn't!"

"No, but you can be pretty sure that the man you suspect isn't," suggested
Harry, sagely. "A real spy wouldn't let you find it out very easily. I can
see one thing and that is a whole lot of perfectly harmless people are
going to be arrested as spies before this war is very old, if it does come!
We don't want to be mixed up in that, Dick--we scouts. If we think a man's
doing anything suspicious, we'll have to be very sure before we denounce
him, or else we won't be any use."

"It's better for a few people to be arrested by mistake than to let a spy
keep on spying, isn't it?"

"I suppose so, but we don't want to be like the shepherd's boy who used to
try to frighten people by calling 'Wolf! Wolf!' when there wasn't any wolf.
You know what happened to him. When a wolf really did come no one believed
him. We want to look before we leap."

"I suppose you're right, Harry. Oh, I do hope we can really be of some use!
If I can't go to the war, I'd like to think I'd had something to do--that
I'd helped when my country needed me!"

"If you feel like that you'll be able to help, all right," said Harry. "I
feel that way, too--not that I want to fight. I wouldn't want to do that
for any country but my own. But I would like to be able to know that I'd
had something to do with all that's going to be done."

"I think it's fine for you to be like that," said Dick. "I think there
isn't so much difference between us, after all, even if you are American
and I'm English. Well, here we are again! I'll see you in the morning, I
suppose?"

"Right oh! I'll come around for you early. Good-night!"

"Good-night!"

Neither of them really doubted for a moment that war was coming. It was in
the air. The attack on the little shop that they had helped to avert was
only one of many, although there was no real rioting in London. Such
scenes were simply the result of excitement, and no great harm was done
anywhere. But the tension of which such attacks were the result was
everywhere. For the next three days there was very little for anyone to do.
Everyone was waiting. France and Germany were at war; the news came that
the Germans had invaded Luxembourg, and were crossing the Belgian border.

And then, on Tuesday night, came the final news. England had declared war.
For the moment the news seemed to stun everyone. It had been expected, and
still it came as a surprise. But then London rose to the occasion. There
was no hysterical cheering and shouting; everything was quiet. Harry
Fleming saw a wonderful sight--a whole people aroused and determined. There
was no foolish boasting; no one talked of a British general eating his
Christmas dinner in Berlin. But even Dick Mercer, excitable and erratic as
he had always been, seemed to have undergone a great change.

"My father's going to the war," he told Harry on Wednesday morning. He
spoke very seriously. "He was a captain in the Boer War, you know, so he
knows something about soldiering. He thinks he'll be taken, though he's a
little older than most of the men who'll go. He'll be an officer, of
course. And he says I've got to look after the mater when he's gone."

"You can do it, too," said Harry, surprised, despite himself, by the change
in his chum's manner. "You seem older than I now, Dick, and I've always
thought you were a kid!"

"The pater says we've all got to be men, now," said Dick, steadily. "The
mater cried a bit when he said he was going--but I think she must have
known all the time he was going. Because when he told us--we were at the
breakfast table--she sort of cried a little, and then she stopped.

"'I've got everything ready for you,' she said.

"And he looked at her, and smiled. 'So you knew I was going?' he asked her.
And she nodded her head, and he got up and kissed her. I never saw him do
that before--he never did that before, when I was looking on," Dick
concluded seriously.

"I hope he'll come back all right, Dick," said Harry. "It's hard, old
chap!"

"I wouldn't have him stay home for anything!" said Dick, fiercely. "And I
will do my share! You see if I don't! I don't care what they want me to do!
I'll run errands--I'll sweep out the floors in the War Office, so that some
man can go to war! I'll do _any_thing!"

Somehow Harry realized in that moment how hard it was going to be to beat a
country where even the boys felt like that! The change in the usually
thoughtless, light-hearted Dick impressed him more than anything else had
been able to do with the real meaning of what had come about so suddenly.
And he was thankful, too, all at once, that in America the fear and peril
of war were so remote. It was glorious, it was thrilling, but it was
terrible, too. He wondered how many of the scouts he knew, and how many of
those in school would lose their fathers or their brothers in this war that
was beginning. Truly, there is no argument for peace that can compare with
war itself! Yet how slowly we learn!

Grenfel had gone, and the troop was now in charge of a new scoutmaster,
Francis Wharton. Mr. Wharton was a somewhat older man. At first sight he
didn't look at all like the man to lead a group of scouts, but that, as it
turned out, was due to physical infirmities. One foot had been amputated at
the time of the Boer War, in which he had served with Grenfel. As a result
he was incapacitated from active service, although, as the scouts soon
learned, he had begged to be allowed to go in spite of it. He appeared at
the scout headquarters, the pavilion of a small local cricket club, on
Wednesday morning.

"I don't know much about this--more shame to me," he said, cheerfully,
standing up to address the boys. "But I think we can make a go of it--I
think we'll be able to do something for the Empire, boys. My old friend
John Grenfel told me a little; he said you'd pull me through. These are war
times and you'll have to do for me what many a company in the army does for
a young officer."

They gave him a hearty cheer that was a promise in itself.

"I can tell you I felt pretty bad when I found they wouldn't let me go to
the front," he went on. "It seemed hard to have to sit back and read the
newspapers when I knew I ought to be doing some of the work. But then
Grenfel told me about you boys, and what you meant to do, and I felt
better. I saw that there was a chance for me to help, after all. So here I
am. These are times when ordinary routine doesn't matter so much--you can
understand that. Grenfel put the troop at the disposal of the commander at
Ealing. And his first request was that I should send two scouts to him at
once. Franklin, I believe you are the senior patrol leader? Yes? Then I
shall appoint you assistant scoutmaster, as Mr. Greene has not returned
from his holiday in France. Will you suggest the names of two scouts for
this service?"

Franklin immediately went up to the new scoutmaster, and they spoke
together quietly, while a buzz of excited talk rose among the scouts. Who
would be honored by the first chance? Every scout there wanted to hear his
name called.

"I think they'll take me, for one," said Ernest Graves. He was one of the
patrol to which both Harry Fleming and Dick Mercer belonged, and the
biggest and oldest scout of the troop, except for Leslie Franklin. He had
felt for some time that he should be a patrol leader. Although he excelled
in games, and was unquestionably a splendid scout, Graves was not popular,
for some reason, among his fellows. He was not exactly unpopular, either;
but there was a little resentment at his habit of pushing himself forward.

"I don't see why you should go more than anyone else, Graves," said young
Mercer. "I think they'll take the ones who are quickest. We're probably
wanted for messenger work."

"Well, I'm the oldest. I ought to have first chance," said Graves.

But the discussion was ended abruptly.

"Fleming! Mercer!" called Mr. Wharton.

They stepped forward, their hands raised in the scout salute, awaiting the
scoutmaster's orders.

"You will proceed at once, by rail, to Ealing," he said. "There you will
report at the barracks, handing this note to the officer of the guard. He
will then conduct you to the adjutant or the officer in command, from whom
you will take your orders."

"Yes, sir," said both scouts. Their eyes were afire with enthusiasm. But as
they passed toward the door, Dick Mercer's quick ears caught a sullen
murmur from Graves.

"He's making a fine start," he heard him say to Fatty Wells, who was a
great admirer of his. "Picking out an _American_! Why, we're not even sure
that he'll be loyal! Did you ever hear of such a thing?"

"You shut up!" cried Dick, fiercely, turning on Graves. "He's as loyal as
anyone else! We know as much about him as we do about you, anyhow--or more!
You may be big, but when we get back I'll make you take that back or
fight--"

"Come on," said Harry, pulling Dick along with him. "You mustn't start
quarreling now--it's a time for all of us to stand together, Dick. I don't
care what he says, anyhow."

He managed to get his fiery chum outside, and they hurried along, at the
scout pace, running and walking alternately, toward the West Kensington
station of the Underground Railway. They were in their khaki scout
uniforms, and several people turned to smile admiringly at them. The
newspapers had already announced that the Boy Scouts had turned out
unanimously to do whatever service they could, and it was a time when
women--and it was mostly women who were in the streets--were disposed to
display their admiration of those who were working for the country very
freely.

They had little to say to one another as they hurried along; their pace was
such as to make it wise for them to save their breath. But when they
reached the station they found they had some minutes to wait for a train,
and they sat down on the platform to get their breath. They had already had
one proof of the difference made by a state of war.

Harry stopped at the ticket window.

"Two--third class--for Ealing," he said, putting down the money. But the
agent only smiled, having seen their uniforms.

"On the public service?" he questioned.

"Yes," said Harry, rather proudly.

"Then you don't need tickets," said the agent. "Got my orders this morning.
No one in uniform has to pay. Go right through, and ride first-class, if
you like. You'll find plenty of officers riding that way."

"That's fine!" said Dick. "It makes it seem as if we were really of some
use, doesn't it, Harry?"

"Yes," answered Harry. "But, Dick, I've been thinking of what you said to
Graves. What did you mean when you told him you knew more about me than you
did about him? Hasn't he lived here a long time?"

"No, and there's a little mystery about him. Don't you know it?"

"Never heard of such a thing, Dick. You see, I haven't been here so very
long and he was in the patrol when I joined."

"Oh, yes, so he was! Well, I'll tell you, then. You know he's studying to
be an engineer, at the Polytechnic. And he lives at a boarding house, all
by himself. Not a regular boarding house, exactly. He boards with Mrs.
Johnson, you know. Her husband died a year or two ago, and didn't leave her
very much money. He hasn't any father or mother, but he always seems to
have plenty of money. And he can play all sorts of games, but he won't do
them up right. He says he doesn't care anything about cricket!"

"How old is he?"

"Sixteen, but he's awfully big and strong."

"He certainly is. He looks older than that, to me. Have you ever noticed
anything funny about the way he talks?"

"No. Why? Have you?"

"I'm not sure. But sometimes it seems to me he talks more like the people
do in a book than you and I do. I wonder why he doesn't like me?" pondered
Harry.

"Oh, he likes you as well as he does anyone, Harry. He didn't mean
anything, I fancy, when he said that about your being chosen just now. He
was squiffed because Mr. Wharton didn't take him, that's all. He thinks he
ought to be ahead of everyone."

"Well, I didn't ask to be chosen. I'm glad I was, of course, but I didn't
expect to be. I think perhaps Leslie Franklin asked Mr. Wharton to take
me."

"Of course he did! Why shouldn't he?"

Just then the coming of the train cut them short. From almost every window
men in uniform looked out. A few of the soldiers laughed at their scout
garb, but most of them only smiled gravely, and as if they were well
pleased. The two scouts made for the nearest compartment, and found, when
they were in it, that it was a first-class carriage, already containing two
young officers who were smoking and chatting together.

"Hullo, young 'uns!" said one of the officers. "Off to the war?"

They both laughed, which Harry rather resented.

"We're under orders, sir," he said, politely. "But, of course, they won't
let us Scouts go to the war."

"Don't rag them, Cecil," said the other officer. "They're just the sort we
need. Going to Ealing, boys?"

Harry checked Dick's impulsive answer with a quick snatch at his elbow. He
looked his questioner straight in the eye.

"We weren't told to answer any questions, sir," he said.

Both the officers roared with laughter, but they sobered quickly, and the
one who had asked the question flushed a little.

"I beg your pardon, my boy," he said. "The question is withdrawn. You're
perfectly right--and you're setting us an example by taking things
seriously. This war isn't going to be a lark. But you can tell me a few
things. You're scouts, I see. I was myself, once--before I went to
Sandhurst. What troop and patrol?"

Dick told him, and the officer nodded.

"Good work!" he said. "The scouts are going to turn out and help, eh?
That's splendid! There'll be work enough to go all around, never you
fear."

"If, by any chance, you should be going to Ealing Barracks," said the first
officer, rather slyly, "and we should get off the train when you do,
there's no reason why you shouldn't let us drive you out, is there? We're
going there, and I don't mind telling you that we've just finished a two
hour leave to go and say good-bye--to--to--"

His voice broke a little at that. In spite of his light-hearted manner and
his rather chaffing tone, he couldn't help remembering that good-bye. He
was going to face whatever fate might come, but thoughts of those he might
not see again could not be prevented from obtruding themselves.

"Shut up, Cecil," said the other. "We've said good-bye--that's an end of
it! We've got other things to think of now. Here we are!"

The train pulled into Ealing station. Here the evidences of war and the
warlike preparation were everywhere. The platforms were full of soldiers,
laughing, jostling one another, saluting the officers who passed among
them. And Harry, as he and Dick followed the officers toward the gate, saw
one curious thing. A sentry stood by the railway official who was taking up
tickets, and two or three times he stopped and questioned civilian
passengers. Two of these, moreover, he ordered into the ticket office,
where, as he went by, Harry saw an officer, seated at a desk, examining
civilians.

Ealing, as a place where many troops were quartered, was plainly very much
under martial law. And outside the station it was even more military.
Soldiers were all about and automobiles were racing around, too. And there
were many women and children here, to bid farewell to the soldiers who were
going--where? No one knew. That was the mystery of the morning. Everyone
understood that the troops were off; that they had their orders. But not
even the officers themselves knew where, it seemed.

"Here we are--here's a car!" said the officer called Cecil. "Jump aboard,
young 'uns! We know where you're going, right enough. Might as well save
some time."

And so in a few minutes they reached the great barracks. Here the bustle
that had been so marked about the station was absent. All was quiet. They
were challenged by a sentry and Harry asked for the officer of the guard.
When he came he handed him Wharton's letter. They were told to
wait--outside. And then, in a few minutes, the officer returned, passed
them through, and turned them over to an orderly, who took them to the room
where Colonel Throckmorton, who was seemingly in charge of important
affairs, received them. He returned their salute, then bent a rather stern
gaze upon them before he spoke.



CHAPTER IV

THE HOUSE OF THE HELIOGRAPH


"You know your way about London?" he asked.

"Yes, sir," said Harry.

"I shall have messages for you to carry," said the colonel, then. "Now I
want to explain, so that you will understand the importance of this, why
you are going to be allowed to do this work. This war has come
suddenly--but we are sure that the enemy has expected it for a long time,
and has made plans accordingly.

"There are certain matters so important, so secret, that we are afraid to
trust them to the telephone, the telegraph--even the post, if that were
quick enough! In a short time we shall have weeded out all the spies. Until
then we have to exercise the greatest care. And it has been decided to
accept the offer of Boy Scouts because the spies we feel we must guard
against are less likely to suspect boys than men. I am going to give you
some dispatches now--what they are is a secret. You take them to Major
French, at Waterloo station."

He stopped, apparently expecting them to speak. But neither said anything.

"No questions?" he asked, sternly.

"No--no, sir," said Dick. "We're to take the dispatches to Major French, at
Waterloo? That's all, is it, sir? And then to come back here?"

The colonel nodded approvingly.

"Yes, that's all," he said. "Except for this, Waterloo station is closed to
all civilians. You will require a word to pass the sentries. No matter what
you see, once you are inside, you are not to describe it. You are to tell
no one, not even your parents, what you do or what you see. That is all,"
and he nodded in dismissal.

They made their way out and back to the railway station. And Dick seemed a
little disappointed.

"I don't think this is much to be doing!" he grumbled.

But Harry's eyes were glistening.

"Don't you see?" he said, lowering his voice so that they could not be
overheard. "We know something now that probably even a lot of the soldiers
don't know! They're mobilizing. If they are going to be sent from Waterloo
it must mean that they're going to Southampton--and that means that they
will reach France. That's what we'll see at Waterloo station--troops
entraining to start the trip to France. They're going to fight over there.
Everyone is guessing at that--a lot of people thought most of the army
would be sent to the East Coast. But that can't be so, you see. If it was,
they would be starting from King's Cross and Liverpool street stations, not
from Waterloo."

"Oh, I never thought of that!" said Dick, brightening.

When they got on the train at Ealing they were lucky enough to get a
compartment to themselves, since at that time more people were coming to
Ealing than were leaving it. Dick began at once to give vent to his wonder.

"How many of them do you suppose are going?" he cried. "Who will be in
command? Sir John French, I think. Lord Kitchener is to be War Minister,
they say, and stay in London. I bet they whip those bally Germans until
they don't know where they are--"

"Steady on!" said Harry, smiling, but a little concerned, none the less.
"Dick, don't talk like that! You don't know who may be listening!"

"Why, Harry! No one can hear us--we're all alone in the carriage!"

"I know, but we don't know who's in the next one, or whether they can hear
through or not. The wall isn't very thick, you know. We can't be too
careful. I don't think anyone knows what we're doing but there isn't any
reason why we should take any risk at all."

"No, of course not. You're right, Harry," said Dick, a good deal abashed.
"I'll try to keep quieter after this."

"I wonder why there are two of us," said Dick, presently, in a whisper. "I
should think one would be enough."

"I think we've both got just the same papers to carry," said Harry, also
in a whisper. "You see, if one of us gets lost, or anything happens to his
papers, the other will probably get through all right. At least it looks
that way to me."

"Harry," said Dick, after a pause, "I've got an idea. Suppose we separate
and take different ways to get to Waterloo? Wouldn't that make it safer? We
could meet there and go back to Ealing together."

"That's a good idea, Dick," said Harry. He didn't think that their present
errand was one of great importance, in spite of what Colonel Throckmorton
had said. He thought it more likely that they were being tried out and
tested, so that the colonel might draw his own conclusions as to how far he
might safely trust them in the future. But he repressed his inclination to
smile at this sudden excess of caution on Dick's part. It was a move in the
right direction, certainly.

"Yes, we'll do that," he said. "I'll walk across the bridge, and you can
take the tube under the river from the Monument."

They followed that plan, and met without incident at the station. Here more
than ever the fact of war was in evidence. A considerable space in and near
the station had been roped off and sentries refused to allow any to pass
who could not prove that they had a right to do so. The ordinary peaceful
vocation of the great terminal was entirely suspended.

"Anything happen to you?" asked Harry, with a smile. "I nearly got run
over--but that was my own fault."

"No, nothing. I saw Graves. And he wanted to know what I was doing."

"What did you tell him?"

"Nothing. I said, 'Don't you wish you knew?' And he got angry, and said he
didn't care."

"It wasn't any of his business. You did just right," said Harry.

They had to wait a few moments to see Major French, who was exceedingly
busy. They needed no one to tell them what was going on. At every platform
trains were waiting, and, even while they looked on, one after another
drew out, loaded with soldiers. The windows were whitewashed, so that, once
the doors of the compartments were closed, none could see who was inside.
There was no cheering, which seemed strange at first, but it was so plain
that this was a precautionary measure that the boys understood it easily
enough. Finally Major French, an energetic, sunburned man, who looked as if
he hadn't slept for days, came to them. They handed him the papers they
carried. He glanced at them, signed receipts which he handed to them, and
then frowned for a moment.

"I think I'll let you take a message to Colonel Throckmorton for me," he
said, then, giving them a kindly smile. "It will be a verbal message. You
are to repeat what I tell you to him without a change. And I suppose I
needn't tell you that you must give it to no one else?"

"No, sir," they chorused.

"Very well, then. You will tell him that trains will be waiting below
Surbiton, at precisely ten o'clock to-night. Runways will be built to let
the men climb the embankment, and they can entrain there. You will
remember that?"

"Yes, sir."

"You might as well understand what it's all about," said the major. "You
see, we're moving a lot of troops. And it is of the utmost importance for
the enemy to know all about the movement and, of course, just as important
for us to keep them from learning what they want to know. So we are
covering the movement as well as we can. Even if they learn some of the
troops that are going, we want to keep them from finding out everything.
Their spy system is wonderfully complete and we have to take every
precaution that is possible. It is most important that you deliver this
message to Colonel Throckmorton. Repeat it to me exactly," he commanded.

They did so, and, seemingly satisfied, he let them go. But just as they
were leaving, he called them back.

"You'd go back by the underground, I suppose," he said. "I'm not sure that
you can get through for the line is likely to be taken over, temporarily,
at any moment. Take a taxicab--I'll send an orderly with you to put you
aboard. Don't pay the man anything; we are keeping a lot of them outside on
government service, and they get their pay from the authorities."

The orderly led them to the stand, some distance from the station, where
the cabs stood in a long row, and spoke to the driver of the one at the
head of the rank. In a moment the motor was started, and they were off.

The cab had a good engine, and it made good time. But after a little while
Harry noticed with some curiosity that the route they were taking was not
the most direct one. He rapped on the window glass and spoke to the driver
about it.

"Got to go round, sir," the man explained. "Roads are all torn up the
straight way, sir. Won't take much longer, sir."

Harry accepted the explanation. Indeed, it seemed reasonable enough. But
some sixth sense warned him to keep his eyes open. And at last he decided
that there could be no excuse for the way the cab was proceeding. It seemed
to him that they were going miles out of the way, and decidedly in the
wrong direction. He did not know London as well as a boy who had lived
there all his life would have done. But his scout training had given him a
remarkable ability to keep his bearings. And it needed no special knowledge
to realize that the sun was on the wrong side of the cab for a course that
was even moderately straight for Ealing.

They had swung well around, as a matter of fact, into a northwestern
suburban section, and once he had seen a maze of railway tracks that meant,
he was almost sure, that they were passing near Willisden Junction. Only a
few houses appeared in the section through which the cab was now racing,
and pavements were not frequent. He spoke to Dick in a whisper.

"There's something funny here," he said. "But, no matter what happens,
pretend you think it's all right. Let anyone who speaks to us think we're
foolish--it'll be easier for us to get away then. And keep your eyes wide
open, if we stop anywhere, so that you will be sure to know the place
again!"

"Right!" said Dick.

Just then the cab, caught in a rutty road where the going was very heavy,
and there was a slight upgrade in addition, to make it worse, slowed up
considerably. And Dick, looking out of the window on his side, gave a
stifled exclamation.

"Look there, Harry!" he said. "Do you see the sun flashing on something on
the roof of that house over there? What do you suppose that is?"

"Whew!" Harry whistled. "You ought to know that, Dick! A heliograph--field
telegraph. Morse code--or some code--made by flashes. The sun catches a
mirror or some sort of reflector, and it's just like a telegraph
instrument, with dots and dashes, except that you work by sight instead of
by sound. That _is_ queer! Try to mark just where the house is, and so will
I."

The cab turned, while they were still looking, and removed the house where
the signalling was being done from their line of vision. But in a few
moments there was a loud report that startled both scouts until they
realized that a front tire had blown out. The driver stopped at once, and
descended, seemingly much perturbed. And Harry and Dick, piling out to
inspect the damage, started when they saw that they had stopped just
outside the mysterious house.

"I'll fix that in a jiffy," said the driver, and began jacking up the
wheel. But, quickly as he stripped off the deflated tire, he was not so
quick that Harry failed to see that the blow-out had been caused by a
straight cut--not at all the sort of tear produced by a jagged stone or a
piece of broken glass. He said nothing of his discovery, however, and a
moment later he looked up to face a young man in the uniform of an officer
of the British territorial army. This young man had keen, searching blue
eyes, and very blond hair. His upper lip was closely shaven, but it bore
plain evidence that within a few days it had sported a moustache.

"Well," said the officer, "what are you doing here?"

The driver straightened up as if in surprise.

"Blow-out, sir," he said, touching his cap. "I'm carrying these young
gentlemen from Waterloo to Ealing, sir. Had to come around on account of
the roads."

"You have your way lost, my man. Why not admit it?" said the officer,
showing his white teeth in a smile. He turned to Harry and Dick. "Boy
Scouts, I see," he commented. "You carry orders concerning the movement of
troops from Ealing? They are to entrain--where?"

"Near Croydon, sir, on the Brighton and South Coast line," said Harry,
lifting innocent eyes to his questioner.

"So! They go to Dover, then, I suppose--no, perhaps to Folkestone--oh, what
matter? Hurry up with your tire, my man!"

He watched them still as the car started. Then he went back to the house.

"Whatever did you tell him that whopper about Croydon for?" whispered Dick.
"I wasn't going to tell him anything--"

"Then he might have tried to make us," answered Harry, also in a whisper.
"Did you notice anything queer about him?"

"Why, no--"

"'You have your way lost!' Would any Englishman say that, Dick? And
wouldn't a German? You've studied German. Translate 'You've lost your way'
into German. 'Du hast dein weg--' See? He was a German spy!"

"Oh, Harry! I believe you're right! But why didn't we--"

"Try to arrest him? There may have been a dozen others there, too. And
there was the driver. We wouldn't have had a chance. Besides, if he thinks
we don't suspect, we may be able to get some valuable information later. I
think--"

"What?"

"I'd better not say now. But remember this--we've got to look out for this
driver. I think he'll take us straight to Ealing now. When we get to the
barracks you stay in the cab--we'll pretend we may have to go back with
him."

"I see," said Dick, thrilling with the excitement of this first taste of
real war.

Harry was right. The driver's purpose in making such a long detour,
whatever it was, had been accomplished. And now he plainly did his best to
make up for lost time. He drove fast and well, and in a comparatively short
time both the scouts could see that they were on the right track.

"You watch one side. I'll take the other," said Harry. "We've got to be
able to find our way back to that house."

This watchfulness confirmed Harry's suspicions concerning the driver,
because he made two or three circuits that could have no other purpose than
to make it hard to follow his course.

At Ealing he and Dick carried out their plan exactly. Dick stayed with the
cab, outside the wall; Harry hurried in. And five minutes after Harry had
gone inside a file of soldiers, coming around from another gate, surrounded
the cab and arrested the driver.



CHAPTER V

ON THE TRAIL


Harry had reached Colonel Throckmorton without difficulty and before
delivering Major French's message, he explained his suspicions regarding
the driver.

"What's that? Eh, what's that?" asked the colonel. "Spy? This country's
suffering from an epidemic of spy fever--that's what! Still--a taxicab
driver, eh? Perhaps he's one of the many who's tried to overcharge me. I'll
put him in the guardhouse, anyway! I'll find out if you're right later,
young man!"

As a matter of fact, and as Harry surmised, Colonel Throckmorton felt that
it was not a time to take chances. He was almost sure that Harry was
letting his imagination run away with him, but it would be safer to arrest
a man by mistake than to let him go if there was a chance that he was
guilty. So he gave the order, and then turned to question Harry. The scout
first gave Major French's message, and Colonel Throckmorton immediately
dispatched an orderly after giving him certain whispered instructions.

"Now tell me just why you suspect your driver. Explain exactly what
happened," he said. He turned to a stenographer. "Take notes of this,
Johnson," he directed.

Harry told his story simply and well. When he quoted the officer's remark
to the cab driver, with the German inversion, the colonel chuckled.

"'You have your way lost!' Eh?" he said, with a smile. "You're right--he
was no Englishman! Go on!"

When he had finished, the colonel brought down his fist on his desk with a
great blow.

"You've done very well, Fleming--that's your name?--very well, indeed," he
said, heartily. "We know London is covered with spies but we had flattered
ourselves that it didn't matter very much what they found, since there was
no way that we could see for them to get their news to their headquarters
in Germany. But now--"

He frowned thoughtfully.

"They might be able to set up a chain of signalling stations," he said.
"The thing to do would be to follow them, eh? Do you think you could do
that? You might use a motorcycle--know how to ride one?"

"Yes, sir," said Harry.

"Live with your parents, do you? Would they let you go? I don't think it
would be very dangerous, and you would excite less suspicion than a man.
See if they will let you turn yourself over to me for a few days. Pick out
another scout to go with you, if you like. Perhaps two of you would be
better than one. Report to me in the morning. I'll write a note to your
scoutmaster--Mr. Wharton, isn't it? Right!"

As they made their way homeward, thoroughly worked up by the excitement of
their adventure, Harry wondered whether his father would let him undertake
this service Colonel Throckmorton had suggested. After all, he was not
English, and he felt that his father might not want him to do it, although
Mr. Fleming, he knew, sympathized strongly with the English in the war. He
said nothing to Dick, preferring to wait until he was sure that he could go
ahead with his plans.

But when he reached his house he found that things had changed considerably
in his absence. Both his parents seemed worried; his father seemed
especially troubled.

"Harry," he said, "the war has hit us already. I'm called home by cable,
and at the same time there is word that your Aunt Mary is seriously ill.
Your mother wants to be with her. I find that, by a stroke of luck, I can
get quarters for your mother and myself on to-morrow's steamer. But there's
no room for you. Do you think you could get along all right if you were
left here? I'll arrange for supplies for the house; Mrs. Grimshaw can keep
house. And you will have what money you need."

"Of course I can get along!" said Harry, stoutly. "I suppose the steamers
are fearfully crowded?"

"Only about half of them are now in service," said Mr. Fleming. "And the
rush of Americans who have been travelling abroad is simply tremendous.
Well, if you can manage, it will relieve us greatly. I think we'll be back
in less than a month. Keep out of mischief. And write to us as often as you
can hear of a steamer that is sailing. If anything happens to you, cable.
I'll arrange with Mr. Bruce, at the Embassy, to help you if you need him,
but that ought not to be necessary."

Harry was genuinely sorry for his mother's distress at leaving him, but he
was also relieved, in a way. He felt now he would not be forbidden to do
his part with the scouts. He would be able to undertake what promised to be
the greatest adventure that had ever come his way. He had no fear of being
left alone for his training as a Boy Scout had made him too self reliant
for that.

Mr. and Mrs. Fleming started for Liverpool that night. Train service
throughout the country was so disorganized by the military use of the
railways that journeys that in normal, peaceful times required only two or
three hours were likely to consume a full day. So he went into the city of
London with them and saw them off at Euston, which was full of distressed
American refugees.

The Flemings found many friends there, of whose very presence in London
they were ignorant, and Mr. Fleming, who, thanks to his business
connections in London, was plentifully supplied with cash, was able to
relieve the distress of some of them.

Many had escaped from France, Germany and Austria with only the clothes
they wore, having lost all their luggage. Many more, though possessed of
letters of credit or travellers' checks for considerable sums, didn't have
enough money to buy a sandwich, since the banks were all closed and no one
would cash their checks.

So Harry had another glimpse of the effects of war, seeing how it affected
a great many people who not only had nothing to do with the fighting, but
were citizens of a neutral nation. He was beginning to understand very
thoroughly by this time that war was not what he had always dreamed. It
meant more than fighting, more than glory.

But, after all, now that war had come, it was no time to think of such
things. He had undertaken, if he could get permission, to do a certain very
important piece of work. And now, by a happy accident, as he regarded it,
it wasn't necessary for him to ask that permission. He was not forbidden to
do any particular thing; his father had simply warned him to be careful.

So when he went home, he whistled outside of Dick Mercer's window, woke him
up, and, when Dick came down into the garden, explained to him what Colonel
Throckmorton wanted them to do.

"He said I could pick out someone to go with me, Dick," Harry explained.
"And, of course, I'd rather have you than anyone I can think of. Will you
come along?"

"Will I!" said Dick. "What do you think you'll do, Harry?"

"We may get special orders, of course," said Harry. "But I think the first
thing will be to find out just where the signals from that house are being
received. They must be answered, you know, so we ought to find the next
station. Then, from that, we can work on to the next."

"Where do you suppose those signals go to?"

"That's what we've got to find out, Dick! But I should think, in the long
run, to some place on the East coast. Perhaps they've got some way there of
signalling to ships at sea. Anyhow, that's what's got to be discovered. Did
you see Graves to-night?"

"No," said Dick, his lips tightening, "I didn't! But I heard about him, all
right."

"How? What do you mean?"

"I heard that he'd been doing a lot of talking about you. He said it wasn't
fair to have taken you and given you the honor of doing something when
there were English boys who were just as capable of doing it as you."

"Oh!" said Harry, with a laugh. "Much I care what he says!"

"Much I care, either!" echoed Dick. "But, Harry, he has made some of the
other chaps feel that way, too. They all like you, and they don't like
him. But they do seem to think some of them should have been chosen."

"Well, it's not my fault," said Harry, cheerfully. "I certainly wasn't
going to refuse. And it isn't as if I'd asked Mr. Wharton to pick me out."

"No, and I fancy there aren't many of them who would have done as well as
you did to-day, either!"

"Oh, yes, they would! That wasn't anything. We'd better get to bed now. I
think we ought to report just as early as we can in the morning. If we get
away by seven o'clock, it won't be a bit too early."

"All right. I'll be ready. Good-night, Harry!"

"Good-night, Dick!"

Morning saw them up on time, and off to Ealing. There Colonel Throckmorton
gave them their orders.

"I've requisitioned motorcycles for you," he said. "Make sure of the
location of the house, so that you can mark it on an ordnance map for me.
Then use your own judgment,--but find the next house. I have had letters
prepared for you that will introduce you to either the mayor or the
military commander in any town you reach and you will get quarters for the
night, if you need them. Where do you think your search will lead you,
Fleming?"

He eyed Harry sharply as he asked the question.

"Somewhere on the East coast, I think, sir," replied Harry.

"Well, that remains to be seen. Report by telegraph, using this code. It's
a simplified version of the official code, but it contains all you will
need to use. That is all."

Finding the house, when they started on their motorcycles, did not prove as
difficult a task as Harry had feared it might. They both remembered a
number of places they had marked from the cab windows, and it was not long
before they were sure they were drawing near.

"I remember that hill," said Harry. "By Jove--yes, there it is! On top of
that hill, do you see? We won't go much nearer. I don't want them to see
us, by any chance. All we need is to notice which way they're signalling."

They watched the house for some time before there was any sign of life. And
then it was only the flashes that they saw. Since the previous day some
sort of cover had been provided for the man who did the signalling.

"What do you make of it, Dick?" asked Harry eagerly, after the flashing had
continued for some moments.

"It looks to me as if they were flashing toward the north and a little
toward the west," said Dick, puzzled.

"That's the way it seems to me, too," agreed Harry. "That isn't what we
expected, either, is it?"

"Of course we can't be sure."

"No, but it certainly looks that way. Well, we can't make sure from here,
but we've got to do it somehow. I tell you what. We'll circle around and
get northwest of the house. Then we ought to be able to tell a good deal
better. And if we get far enough around, I don't believe they'll see us, or
pay any attention to us if they do."

So they mounted their machines again, and in a few moments were speeding
toward a new and better spot from which to spy on the house. But this, when
they reached it, only confirmed their first guess. The signals were much
more plainly visible here, and it was obvious now, as it had not been
before, that the screen they had noticed had been erected as much to
concentrate the flashes and make them more easily visible to a receiving
station as to conceal the operator. So they turned and figured a straight
line as well as they could from the spot where the flashes were made. Harry
had a map with him, and on this he marked, as well as he could, the
location of the house. Then he drew a line from it to the northwest.

"The next station must be on this line somewhere," he said. "We'll stick to
it. There's a road, you see, that we can follow that's almost straight. And
as soon as we come to a high building we ought to be able to see both
flashes--the ones that are being sent from that house and the answering
signals. Do you see?"

"Yes, that'll be fine!" said Dick. "Come on!"

"Not so fast!" said a harsh voice behind them. They spun around, and there,
grinning a little, but looking highly determined and dangerous, was the
same man they had seen the day before, and who had questioned them, when
the tire of their taxicab blew out! But now he was not in uniform, but in a
plain suit of clothes.

"So you are spying on my house, are you?" he said. "And you lied to me
yesterday! No troops were sent to Croydon at all!"

"Well, you hadn't any business to ask us!" said Dick, pluckily. "If you
hadn't asked us any questions, we'd have told you no lies."

"I think perhaps you know too much," said the spy, nodding his head. "You
had better come with me. We will look after you in this house that
interests you so greatly."

He made a movement forward. His hand dropped on Dick's shoulder. But as it
did so Harry's feet left the ground. He aimed for the spy's legs, just
below the knee, and brought him to the ground with a beautiful diving
tackle--the sort he had learned in his American football days. It was the
one attack of all others that the spy did not anticipate, if, indeed, he
looked for any resistance at all. He wasn't a football player, so he didn't
know how to let his body give and strike the ground limply. The result was
that his head struck a piece of hard ground with abnormal violence, and he
lay prone and very still.

"Oh, that was ripping, Harry!" cried Dick. "But do you think you've killed
him?"

"Killed him? No!" said Harry, with a laugh. "He's tougher than that, Dick!"

But he looked ruefully at the spy.

"I wish I knew what to do with him," he said. "He'll come to in a little
while. But--"

"We can get away while he's still out," said Dick, quickly. "He can't
follow us and we can get such a start with our motorcycles--"

"Yes, but he'll know their game is up," said Harry. "Don't you see, Dick?
He'll tell them they're suspected--and that's all they'll need in the way
of warning. When men are doing anything as desperate as the sort of work
they're up to in that house, they take no more chances than they have to.
They'd be off at once, and start up somewhere else. We only stumbled on
this by mere accident--they might be able to work for weeks if they were
warned."

"Oh, I never thought of that! What are we to do, then?"

"I wish I knew whether anyone saw us from the house! If they didn't--!
Well, we'll have to risk that. Dick, do you see that house over there? It's
all boarded up--it must be empty."

"Yes, I see it." Dick caught Harry's idea at once this time, and began
measuring with his eye the distance to the little house of which Harry had
spoken. "It's all down hill--I think we could manage it all right."

"We'll try it, anyhow," said Harry. "But first we'd better tie up his hands
and feet. He's too strong for the pair of us, I'm afraid, if he should come
to."

Once that was done, they began to drag the spy toward the house. Half
carrying, half pulling, they got him down the slope, and with a last great
effort lifted him through a window, which, despoiled of glass, had been
boarded up. They were as gentle as they could be, for the idea of hurting a
helpless man, even though he was a spy, went against the grain. But--

"We can't be too particular," said Harry. "And he brought it on himself.
I'm afraid he'll have worse than this to face later on."

They dumped him through the window, from which they had taken the boards.
Then they made their own way inside, and Harry began to truss up the
prisoner more scientifically. He understood the art of tying a man very
well indeed, for one of the games of his old scout patrol had involved
tying up one scout after another to see if they could free themselves. And
when he had done, he stepped back with a smile of satisfaction.

"I don't believe he'll get himself free very soon," he said. "He'll be
lucky if that knock on the head keeps him unconscious for a long time,
because he'll wake up with a headache, and if he stays as he is, he won't
know how uncomfortable he is."

"Are we going to leave him like that, Harry?"

"We've got to, Dick. But he'll be all right. I am going to telephone to
Colonel Throckmorton and tell him to send here for him, but to do so at
night, and so that no one will notice. He won't starve or die of thirst. I
can easily manage to describe this place so that whoever the colonel sends
will find it. Come on!"

They went back to their cycles and rode on until they came to a place where
they could telephone. Harry explained guardedly, and they went on.



CHAPTER VI

THE MYSTERY OF BRAY PARK


"I hope he'll be all right," said Dick.

"They'll find him, I'm sure," said Harry. "Even if they don't, he'll be all
right for a few days--two or three, anyhow. A man can be very uncomfortable
and miserable, and still not be in any danger. We don't need half as much
food as we eat, really. I've heard that lots of times."

They were riding along the line that Harry had marked on his map, and, a
mile or two ahead, there was visible an old-fashioned house, with a tower
projecting from its centre. From this, Harry had decided, they should be
able to get the view they required and so locate the second heliographing
station.

"How far away do you think it ought to be, Harry?" asked Dick.

"It's very hard to tell, Dick. A first-class heliograph is visible for a
very long way, if the conditions are right. That is, if the sun is out and
the ground is level. In South Africa, for instance, or in Egypt, it would
work for nearly a hundred miles, or maybe even more. But here I should
think eight or ten miles would be the limit. And it's cloudy so often that
it must be very uncertain."

"Why don't they use flags, then?"

"The way we do in the scouts? Well, I guess that's because the heliograph
is so much more secret. You see, with the heliograph the flashes are
centered. You've got to be almost on a direct line with them, or not more
than fifty yards off the centre line, to see them at all, even a mile away.
But anyone can see flags, and read messages, unless they're in code. And if
these people are German spies, the code wouldn't help them. Having it
discovered that they were sending messages at all would spoil their plans."

"I see. Of course, though--that's just what you said. It was really just by
accident that we saw them flashing."

Then they came to the house where they expected to make their observation.
It was occupied by an old gentleman, who came out to see what was wanted
and stood behind the servant who opened the door. At the sight of their
uniforms he drew himself up very straight, and saluted. But, formal as he
was, there was a smile in his eyes.

"Well, boys," he said, "what can I do for you? On His Majesty's service, I
suppose?"

"Yes, sir," said Dick. "We'd like to go up in your tower room, if you don't
mind."

"Scouting, eh?" said the old gentleman, mystified. "Do you expect to locate
the enemy's cavalry from my tower room? Well, well--up with you! You can do
no harm."

Dick was inclined to resent the old gentleman's failure to take them
seriously, but Harry silenced his protest. As they went up the stairs he
whispered: "It's better for him to think that. We don't want anyone to know
what we're doing, you know--not yet."

So they reached the tower room, and, just as Harry had anticipated, got a
wonderful view of the surrounding country. They found that the heliograph
they had left behind was working feverishly and Harry took out a pencil and
jotted down the symbols as they were flashed.

"It's in code, of course," he said, "but maybe we'll find someone who can
decipher it--I know they have experts for that. It might come in handy to
know what they were talking about."

"There's the other station answering!" said Dick, excitedly, after a
moment. "Isn't it lucky that it's such a fine day, Harry? See--there it is,
over there!"

"Let me have the glasses," said Harry, taking the binoculars from Dick.
"Yes, you're right! They're on the top of a hill, just about where I
thought we'd find them, too. Come on! We've got no time to waste. They're a
good seven miles from here, and we've a lot more to do yet."

Below stairs the old gentleman tried to stop them. He was very curious by
this time, for he had been thinking about them and it had struck him that
they were too much in earnest to simply be enjoying a lark. But Harry and
Dick, while they met his questions politely, refused to enlighten him.

"I'm sorry, sir," said Harry, when the old gentleman pressed him too hard.
"But I really think we mustn't tell you why we're here. But if you would
like to hear of it later, we'll be glad to come to see you and explain
everything."

"Bless my soul!" said the old man. "When I was a boy we didn't think so
much of ourselves, I can tell you! But then we didn't have any Boy Scouts,
either!"

It was hard to tell from his manner whether that was intended for a
compliment or not. But they waited no longer. In a trice they were on their
motorcycles and off again. And when they drew near to the hilltop whence
the signals had come, Harry stopped. For a moment he looked puzzled, then
he smiled.

"I think I've got it!" he said. "They're clever enough to try to fool
anyone who got on to their signalling. They would know what everyone would
think--that they would be sending their messages to the East coast,
because that is nearest to Germany. That's why they put their first station
here. I'll bet they send the flashes zig-zagging all around, but that we'll
find they all get east gradually. Now we'll circle around this one until we
find out in what direction it is flashing, then we'll know what line we
must follow. After that all we've got to do is to follow the line to some
high hill or building, and we'll pick up the next station."

Their eyes were more accustomed to the work now, and they wasted very
little time. This time, just as Harry had guessed, the flashes were being
sent due east, and judging from the first case that the next station would
be less than ten miles away, he decided to ride straight on for about that
distance. He had a road map, and found that they could follow a straight
line, except for one break. They did not go near the hilltop at all.

"I'd like to know what they're doing there," said Dick.

"So would I, but it's open country, and they're probably keeping a close
lookout. They're really safer doing that in the open than on the roof of a
house, out here in the country."

"Because they can hide the heliograph? It's portable, isn't it?"

"Yes. They could stow it away in a minute, if they were alarmed. I fancy
we'll find them using hilltops now as much as they can."

"Harry, I've just thought of something. If they've planned so carefully as
this, wouldn't they be likely to have country places, where they'd be less
likely to be disturbed?"

"Yes, they would. You're right, Dick. Especially as we get further and
further away from London. I suppose there must be plenty of places a German
could buy or lease."

"And perhaps people wouldn't even know they were Germans, if they spoke
good English, and didn't have an accent."

That suggestion of Dick's bore fruit. For the third station they found was
evidently hidden away in a private park. It was in the outskirts of a
little village, and Harry and Dick had no trouble at all in finding out
all the villagers knew of the place.

"'Twas taken a year ago by a rich American gentleman, with a sight of motor
cars and foreign-looking servants," they were told. "Very high and mighty
he is, too--does all his buying at the stores in Lunnon, and don't give
local trade any of his patronage."

The two scouts exchanged glances. Their suspicions were confirmed in a way.
But it was necessary to be sure; to be suspicious was not enough for them.

"We'll have to get inside," he said under his breath to Dick. But the
villager heard, and laughed.

"Easy enough, if you're friends of his," he said. "If not--look out,
master! He's got signs up warning off trespassers, and traps and spring
guns all over the place. Wants to be very private, and all that, he does."

"Thanks," said Harry. "Perhaps we'd better not pay him a visit, after all."

The village was a sleepy little place, one of the few spots Harry had seen
to which the war fever had not penetrated. It was not on the line of the
railway, and there was not even a telegraph station. By showing Colonel
Throckmorton's letter, Harry and Dick could have obtained the right to
search the property that they suspected. But that did not seem wise.

"I don't think the village constables here could help us much, Dick," said
Harry. "They'd give everything away, and we probably wouldn't accomplish
anything except to put them on their guard. I vote we wait until dark and
try to find out what we can by ourselves. It's risky but even if they catch
us, I don't think we need to be afraid of their doing anything."

"I'm with you," said Dick. "We'll do whatever you say."

They spent the rest of the afternoon scouting around the neighboring
country on their motorcycles, studying the estate from the roads that
surrounded it. Bray Park, it was called, and it had for centuries belonged
to an old family, which, however, had been glad of the high rent it had
been able to extract from the rich American who had taken the place.

What they saw was that the grounds seemed to be surrounded, near the wall,
by heavy trees, which made it difficult to see much of what was within. But
in one place there was a break, so that, looking across velvety green
lawns, they could see a small part of an old and weatherbeaten grey house.
It appeared to be on a rise, and to stand several stories above the ground,
so that it might well be an ideal place for the establishment of a
heliograph station. But Harry's suspicions were beginning to take a new
turn.

"I believe this is the biggest find we've made yet, Dick," he said. "I
think we'll find that if we discover what is really going on here, we'll be
at the end of our task--or very near it. It's just the place for a
headquarters."

"I believe it is, Harry. And if they've been so particular to keep
everything about it secret, it certainly seems that there must be something
important to hide," suggested Harry, thinking deeply.

"I think I'll write a letter to Colonel Throckmorton, Dick. I'll tell him
about this place, and that we're trying to get in and find out what we can
about it. Then, if anything happens to us, he'll know what we were doing,
and he will have heard about this place, even if they catch us. I'll post
it before we go in."

"That's a splendid idea, Harry. I don't see how you think of everything the
way you do."

"I think it's because my father's always talking about how one ought to
think of all the things that can go wrong. He says that the way he's got
along in business is by never being surprised by having something
unfortunate happen, and by always trying to be ready to make it as trifling
as it can be."

So Harry wrote and posted his letter, taking care to word it so that it
would be hard for anyone except Colonel Throckmorton to understand it. And,
even after having purposely made the wording rather obscure, he put it into
code. And, after that, he thought of still another precaution that might
be wise.

"We won't need the credentials we've got in there to-night, Dick," he said.
"Nor our copies of the code, either. We'll bury them near where we leave
our motorcycles. Then when we get out we can easily get them back, and if
we should be caught they won't be found on us. Remember, if we are caught,
we're just boys out trespassing. Let them think we're poachers, if they
like."

But even Harry could think of no more precautions after that, and they had
a long and tiresome wait until they thought it was dark enough to venture
within the walls.

Getting over the wall was not difficult. They had thought they might find
broken glass on top, but there was nothing of the sort. Once inside,
however, they speedily discovered why that precaution was not taken--and
also that they had had a remarkably narrow escape. For scarcely had they
dropped to the ground and taken shelter when they saw a figure, carrying a
gun, approaching. It was a man making the rounds of the wall. While they
watched he met another man, also armed, and turned to retrace his steps.

"They've got two men, at least--maybe a lot more, doing that," whispered
Harry. "We've got to find out just how often he passes that spot. We want
to know if the intervals are regular, too, so that we can calculate just
when he'll be there."

Three times the man came and went, while they waited, timing him. And Harry
found that he passed the spot at which they had entered every fifteen
minutes. That was not exact for there was a variation of a minute or so,
but it seemed pretty certain that he would pass between thirteen and
seventeen minutes after the hour, and so on.

"So we'll know when it's safe to make a dash to get out," said Harry. "The
first thing a general does, you know, is to secure his retreat. He doesn't
expect to be beaten, but he wants to know that he can live to fight another
day if he is."

"We've got to retreat, haven't we?" said Dick. "It wouldn't do us any good
to stay here."

"That's so. But we've got to advance first. Now to get near that house,
and see what we can find. Look out for those traps and things our friend
warned us of. It looks like just the place for them. And keep to cover!"

They wormed their way forward, often crawling along. Both knew a good deal
about traps and how they are set, and their common sense enabled them to
see the most likely places for them. They kept to open ground, avoiding
shrubbery and what looked like windfalls of branches. Before they came into
full view of the house they had about a quarter of a mile to go. And it was
an exciting journey.

They dared not speak to one another. For all about, though at first they
could see nothing, there was the sense of impending danger. They felt that
unseen eyes were watching, not for them, perhaps, but for anyone who might
venture to intrude and pass the first line. Both of the scouts felt that
they were tilting against a mighty force; that the organization that would
perfect, in time of peace, such a system of espionage in the heart of the
country of a possible enemy, was of the most formidable sort.

They stopped, at last, at the edge of the clump of thick, old trees that
seemed to surround the place. Here they faced the open lawn, and Harry
realized that to try to cross it was too risky. They would gain nothing by
being detected. They could find out as much here by keeping their eyes and
ears open, he thought, as by going forward, when they were almost sure to
be detected.

"We'll stay here," he whispered to Dick, cautiously. "Dick, look over
there--to the left of the house. You see where there's a shadow by that
central tower? Well, to the left of that. Do you see some wires dangling
there? I'm not sure."

"I think there are," whispered Dick, after a moment in which he peered
through the darkness. Dick had one unusual gift. He had almost a savage's
ability to see in the dark, although in daylight his sight was by no means
out of the ordinary.

"Look!" he said, again, suddenly. "Up on top of the tower! There is
something going up there--it's outlined against that white cloud!"

Harry followed with his eyes. And Dick was right. A long, thin pole was
rising, even as they looked. Figures showed on the roof of the tower. They
were busy about the pole. It seemed to grow longer as they watched. Then,
suddenly, the dangling wires they had first noticed were drawn taut, and
they saw a cross-piece on the long pole. And then, with a sudden rush of
memory, Harry understood.

"Oh! We have struck it!" he said. "I remember now--a portable, collapsible
wireless installation! I've wondered how they could use wireless, knowing
that someone would be sure to pick up the signals and that the plant would
be run down. But they have those poles made in sections--they could hide
the whole thing. It takes very little time to set them up. This is simply a
bigger copy of what they use in the field. We've got to get out!"

He looked at his watch.

"Carefully, now," he said. "We've just about got time. That sentry must be
just about passing the place where we got over the wall now. By the time we
get there he'll be gone, and we can slip out. We've got everything we came
for, now that we've seen that!"

They started on the return journey through the woods. More than ever there
seemed to be danger about them. And suddenly it reached out and gripped
them--gripped Harry, at least. As he took a step his foot sank through the
ground, as it seemed. The next moment he had all he could do to suppress a
cry of agony as a trap closed about his ankle, wrenching it, and throwing
him down.

"Go on!" he said to Dick, suppressing his pain by a great effort.

"I won't leave you!" said Dick. "I--"

"Obey orders! Don't you see you've got to go? You've got to tell them about
the wireless--and about where I am! Or else how am I to get away? Perhaps
if you come back quickly with help they won't find me until you come!
Hurry--hurry!"

Dick understood. And, with a groan, he obeyed orders, and went.



CHAPTER VII

A CLOSE SHAVE


Probably Dick did not realize that he was really showing a high order of
courage in going while Harry remained behind, caught in that cruel trap and
practically in the hands of enemies who were most unlikely to treat him
well. In fact, as he made his way toward the wall, Dick was reproaching
himself bitterly.

"I ought to stay!" he kept on saying to himself over and over again. "I
ought not to leave him so! He made me go so that I would be safe!"

There had been no time to argue, or Harry might have been able to make him
understand that it was at least as dangerous to go as to stay--perhaps even
more dangerous. Dick did not think that there was at least a chance that
every trap was wired, so that springing it would sound an alarm in some
central spot. If that were so, as Harry had fully understood, escape for
Dick would be most difficult and probably he too would be captured.

"I'm such a coward!" Dick almost sobbed to himself, for he was frightened,
though, it must be said, less on his account than at the thought of Harry.

Yet he did not stop. He went on resolutely, and, as he got used to the idea
that he must depend on himself, without Harry to help him in any emergency
that arose, his courage returned. He stopped, just as he knew Harry would
have done, several feet short of the wall. His watch told him that he had
time enough to make a dash; had several minutes to spare, in fact. But he
made sure.

And it was well that he did. For some alarm had been given. He heard
footsteps of running men, and in a moment two men, neither of them the one
they knew as the sentry, came running along the wall. They carried pocket
flashlights, and were examining the ground carefully. Dick sensed at once
what they meant to do, and shrank into the shelter of a great rhododendron
bush. He was small for his age, and exceptionally lissome, and he felt that
the leaves would conceal him for a few moments at least. He was taking a
risk of finding a trap in the bush, but it was the lesser of the two evils
just then. And luck favored him. He encountered no trap.

Then one of the men with flashlights gave a cry that sounded to Dick just
like the note of a dog that has picked up a lost scent. The lights were
playing on the ground just where they had crossed the wall.

"Footsteps, Hans!" said the man. "Turned from the wall, too! They have gone
in, but have not come out."

"How many?" asked the other man, coming up quickly.

"Two, I think--no more," said the discoverer. "Now we shall follow them."

Dick held his breath. If they could follow the footsteps--and there was no
reason in the world to hope that they could not!--they would be bound to
pass within a foot or two of his hiding-place. And, as he realized, they
would, when they were past him, find the marks of his feet _returning_.
They would know then that he was between them and the wall. He realized
what that would mean. Bravely he nerved himself to take the one desperate
chance that remained to him. They were far too strong for him to have a
chance to meet them on even terms; all he could hope for was an opportunity
to make use of his light weight and his superior speed. He knew that he
could move two feet, at least, to their one. And so he waited, crouching,
until they went by. The light flashed by the bush; for some reason, it did
not strike it directly. That gave him a respite. Fortunately they were
looking for footprints, not for their makers.

The moment they were by, Dick took the chance of making a noise, and pushed
through the bush, to reach the other side. And, just as the cry of the man
who first had seen the footprints sounded again, he got through. At once,
throwing off all attempt at silence, he started running, crouched low. He
was only a dozen feet from the wall. He leaped for a projection a few feet
up. By a combination of good luck and skill he reached it with his hands.
A moment later he had swarmed over the wall and dropped to the other side
just as a shot rang out behind. The bullet struck the wall; chipped
fragments of stone flew all over him. But he was not hurt, and he ran as he
had never known he could run, keeping to the side of the road, where he was
in a heavy shadow.

As soon as he could, he burst through a hedge on the side of the road
opposite the wall, and ran on, sheltered by the hedge, until, to his
delight, he plunged headfirst into a stream of water. The fall knocked him
out for a moment, but the cold water revived him, and he did not mind the
scraped knee and the barked knuckles he owed to the sharp stones in the bed
of the little brook. He changed his course at once, following the brook,
since in that no telltale footprints would be left.

Behind him he heard the sound of pursuit for a little while, but he judged
that the brook would save him. He could not be pursued very far. Even in
this sleepy countryside he would find it easy to get help, and the Germans,
as he was now sure they were, would have to give up the chase. All that
had been essential had been for him to get a few hundred feet from the
park; after that he was safe.

But, if he was safe, he was hopelessly lost. At least he would have been,
had he been an ordinary boy, without the scout training. He was in unknown
country and he had been chased away from all the landmarks he had. It was
of the utmost importance that he should reach as soon as possible, and,
especially, without passing too near Bray Park, the spot where the
motorcycles and the papers and codes had been cached. And, when he finally
came to a full stop, satisfied that he no longer had anything to fear from
pursuit, he was completely in the dark as to where he was.

However, his training asserted itself. Although Harry had been in charge,
Dick had not failed to notice everything about the place where they made
their cache that would help to identify it. That was instinct with him by
this time, after two years as a scout; it was second nature. And, though it
had been light, he had pictured pretty accurately what the place would
look like at night. He remembered, for instance, that certain stars would
be sure to be in the sky in a particular relation to the cache. And now he
looked up and worked out his own position. To do that he had to
reconstruct, with the utmost care, his movements since he had left the
cache. Up to the moment when he and Harry had entered Bray Park that was
easy.

But the chase had confused him, naturally. He had doubled on his track more
than once, trying to throw his pursuers off. But by remembering accurately
the position of Bray Park in its relation to the cache, and by
concentrating as earnestly as he could, to remember as much as possible of
the course of his flight, he arrived presently at a decision of how he must
proceed to retrieve the motorcycles and the papers.

As soon as he had done so he hurried on, feverishly, taking a course that,
while longer than necessary, was essential since he dared not go near Bray
Park. He realized thoroughly how much depended on his promptness. It was
essential that Colonel Throckmorton should learn of the wireless station,
which was undoubtedly powerful enough to send its waves far out to sea,
even if not to the German coast itself.

And there was Harry. The only chance of rescue for him lay in what Dick
might do. That thought urged him on even more than the necessity of
imparting what they had learned.

So, scouting as he went, lest he encounter some prowling party from Bray
Park silently looking for him, he went on hastily. He was almost as anxious
to avoid the village as the spy headquarters, for he knew that in such
places strangers might be regarded with suspicion even in times of peace.
And, while the war fever had not seemed to be in evidence in the afternoon,
he knew that it might have broken out virulently in the interval. He had
heard the stories of spy baiting in other parts of the country; how, in
some localities, scores of absolutely innocent tourists had been arrested
and searched. So he felt he must avoid his friends as well as his enemies
until he had means of proving his identity.

Delaying as he was by his roundabout course, it took him nearly an hour to
come to scenes that were familiar. But then he knew that he had found
himself, with the aid of the stars. Familiar places that he had marked when
they made the cache appeared, and soon he reached it. But it was empty;
motorcycles and papers--all were gone!



CHAPTER VIII

A FRIEND IN NEED


Harry listened, in an agony of fear rather than of pain, to such sounds as
came to him after Dick had, so reluctantly, left him pinned in the trap. He
could hear, plainly enough, the advance of the two searchers who had scared
Dick into hiding in the rhododendron bush; he could even see the gleam of
their flashlights, and was able, therefore, to guess what they were doing.
For the moment it seemed impossible to him that Dick should escape. It
would require more skill than he thought Dick possessed, and more of
another quality--concealment and patience. Dick, he thought, was likely to
shine more when impulsive action was required, or in following a leader.
His courage was unquestioned; Harry had seen him stand up to far bigger
boys without flinching.

As to himself, he was quite sure that he would be captured in a few
minutes, and, as a matter of fact, there were things that made the
prospect decidedly bearable. The pain in his ankle from the trap in which
he had been caught was excruciating. It seemed to him that he must cry out,
but he kept silence resolutely. As long as there was a chance that he might
not fall into the hands of the spies who were searching the grounds, he
meant to cling to it.

But the chance was a very slim one, as he knew. He could imagine, without
difficulty, just about what the men with the flashlights would do, by
reasoning out his own course. They would look for footprints. These would
lead them to the spot where he and Dick had watched the raising of the
wireless mast, and thence along the path they had taken to return to the
wall and to safety. Thus they would come to him, and he would be found,
literally like a rat in a trap.

And then, quite suddenly, came the diversion created by Dick's daring dash
for escape, when he sped from the bush and climbed the wall, followed by
the bullets that the searchers fired after him. Harry started, hurting his
imprisoned ankle terribly by the wrench his sudden movement gave it. Then
he listened eagerly for the cry he dreaded yet expected to hear, that would
tell him that Dick had been hit. It did not come. Instead, he heard more
men running, and then in a moment all within the wall was quiet, and he
could hear the hue and cry dying away as they chased him along the road
outside.

"Well, by Jove!" he said to himself, enthusiastically, "I believe Dick's
fooled them! I didn't think he had it in him! That's bully for him! He
ought to get a medal for that!"

It was some moments before he realized fully that he had gained a respite,
temporarily, at least. Obviously the two men who had been searching with
flashlights had followed Dick; there was at least a good chance that no one
else knew about him. He had decided that there was some system of signal
wires that rang an alarm when a trap was sprung. But it might be that these
two men were the only ones who were supposed to follow up such an alarm.

He carried a flashlight himself, and now he took the chance of playing it
on his ankle, to see if there was any chance of escape. He hooded the light
with his hand and looked carefully. But what he saw was not encouraging.
The steel band looked most formidable. It was on the handcuff principle and
any attempt to work his foot loose would only make the grip tighter and
increase his suffering. His spirits fell at that. Then the only thing his
brief immunity would do for him would be to keep him in pain a little
longer. He would be caught anyhow, and he guessed that, if Dick got away,
he would find his captors in a savage mood.

Even as he let the flashlight wink out, since it was dangerous to use it
more than was necessary, he heard a cautious movement within a few feet. At
first he thought it was an animal he had heard, so silent were its
movements. But in a moment a hand touched his own. He started slightly, but
kept quiet.

"Hush--I'm a friend," said a voice, almost at his elbow. "I thought you
were somewhere around here, but I couldn't find you until you flashed your
light. You're caught in a trap, aren't you?"

"Yes," said Dick. "Who are you?"

"That's what I want to know about you, first," said the other boy--for it
was another boy, as Harry learned from his voice. Never had a sound been
more welcome in his ears than that voice! "Tell me who you are and what you
two were doing around here. I saw you this afternoon and tracked you. I
tried to before, but I couldn't, on account of your motorcycles. Then I
just happened to see you, when you were on foot. Are you Boy Scouts?"

"Yes," said Harry. "Are you?"

"Yes. That's why I followed--especially when I saw you coming in here.
We've got a patrol in the village, but most of the scouts are at work in
the fields."

Rapidly, and in a whisper, Harry explained a little, enough to make this
new ally understand.

"You'd better get out, if you know how, and take word," said Harry. "I
think my chum got away, but it would be better to be sure. And they'll be
after me soon."

"If they give us two or three minutes we'll both get out," said the
newcomer, confidently. "I know this place with my eyes shut. I used to play
here before the old family moved away. I'm the vicar's son, in the village,
and I always had the run of the park until these new people came. And I've
been in here a few times since then, too."

"That's all right," said Harry. "But how am I going to get out of this
trap?"

"Let me have your flashlight a moment," said the stranger.

Harry gave it to him, and the other scout bent over his ankle. Harry saw
that he had a long, slender piece of wire. He guessed that he was going to
try to pick the lock. And in a minute or less Harry heard a welcome click
that told him his new found friend--a friend in need, indeed, he was
proving himself to be!--had succeeded. His ankle was free.

He struggled to his feet, and there was a moment of exquisite pain as the
blood rushed through his ankle and circulation was restored to his numbed
foot. But he was able to stand, and, although limpingly, to walk. He had
been fortunate, as a matter of fact, in that no bone had been crushed. That
might well have happened with such a trap, or a ligament or tendon might
have been wrenched or torn, in which case he would have found it just about
impossible to move at all. As it was, however, he was able to get along,
though he suffered considerable pain every time he put his foot to the
ground.

It was no time, however, in which to think of discomforts so comparatively
trifling as that. When he was outside he would be able, with the other
scout's aid, to give his foot some attention, using the first aid outfit
that he always carried, as every scout should do. But now the one thing to
be done was to make good his escape.

Harry realized, as soon as he was free, that he was not by any means out of
the woods. He was still decidedly in the enemy's country, and getting out
of it promised to be a difficult and a perilous task. He was handicapped by
his lack of knowledge of the place and what little he did know was
discouraging. He had proof that human enemies were not the only ones he
had to fear. And the only way he knew that offered a chance of getting out
offered, as well, the prospect of encountering the men who had pursued Dick
Mercer, returning. It was just as he made up his mind to this that the
other scout spoke again.

"We can't get out the way you came in," he said. "Or, if we could, it's too
risky. But there's another way. I've been in here since these people
started putting their traps around, and I know where most of them are. Come
on!"

Harry was glad to obey. He had no hankering for command. The thing to do
was to get out as quickly as he could. And so he followed, though he had
qualms when he saw that, instead of going toward the wall, they were
heading straight in and toward the great grey house. They circled the woods
that gave them the essential protection of darkness, and always they got
further and further from the place where Dick and Harry had entered. Harry
understood, of course, that there were other ways of getting out but it
took a few words to make him realize the present situation as it actually
was.

"There's a spot on the other side they don't really guard at all," said his
companion. "It's where the river runs by the place. They think no one would
come that way. And I don't believe they know anything at all about what I'm
going to show you."

Soon Harry heard the water rustling. And then, to his surprise, his guide
led him straight into a tangle of shrubbery. It was hard going for him, for
his ankle pained him a good deal, but he managed it. And in a moment the
other boy spoke, and, for the first time, in a natural voice.

"I say, I'm glad we're here!" he said, heartily. "D'ye see?"

"It looks like a cave," said Harry.

"It is, but it's more than that, too. This place is no end old, you know.
It was here when they fought the Wars of the Roses, I've heard. And come
on--I'll show you something!"

He led the way on into the cave, which narrowed as they went. But Harry,
pointing his flashlight ahead, saw that it was not going to stop.

"Oh! A secret passage! I understand now!" he exclaimed, finally.

"Isn't it jolly?" said the other. "Can't you imagine what fun we used to
have here when we played about? You see, this may have been used to bring
in food in time of siege. There used to be another spur of this tunnel that
ran right into the house. But that was all let go to pot, for some reason.
This is all that is left. But it's enough. It runs way down under the
river--and in a jiffy we'll be out in the meadows on the other side. I say,
what's your name?"

They hadn't had time to exchange the information each naturally craved
about the other before. And now, as they realized it, they both laughed.
Harry told his name.

"Mine's Jack Young," said the other scout. "I say, you don't talk like an
Englishman?"

"I'm not," explained Harry. "I'm American. But I'm for England just
now--and we were caught here trying to find out something about that
place."

They came out into the open then, where the light of the stars enabled
them to see one another. Jack nodded.

"I got an idea of what you were after--you two," he said. "The other one's
English, isn't he?"

"Dick Mercer? Yes!" said Harry, astonished. "But how did you find out about
us?"

"Stalked you," said Jack, happily. "Oh, I'm no end of a scout! I followed
you as soon as I caught you without your bicycles."

"We must have been pretty stupid to let you do it, though," said Harry, a
little crestfallen. "I'm glad we did, but suppose you'd been an enemy! A
nice fix we'd have been in!"

"That's just what I thought about you," admitted Jack. "You see, everyone
has sort of laughed at me down here because I said there might be German
spies about. I've always been suspicious of the people who took Bray Park.
They didn't act the way English people do. They didn't come to church, and
when the pater--I told you he was the vicar here, didn't I?--went to call,
they wouldn't let him in! Just sent word they were out! Fancy treating the
vicar like that!" he concluded with spirit.

Harry knew enough of the customs of the English countryside to understand
that the new tenants of Bray Park could not have chosen a surer method of
bringing down both dislike and suspicion upon themselves.

"That was a bit too thick, you know," Jack went on. "So when the war
started, I decided I'd keep my eyes open, especially on any strangers who
came around. So there you have it. I say! You'd better let me try to make
that ankle easier. You're limping badly."

That was true, and Harry submitted gladly to such ministrations as Jack
knew how to offer. Cold water helped considerably; it reduced the swelling.
And then Jack skillfully improvised a brace, that, binding the ankle
tightly, gave it a fair measure of support.

"Now try that!" he said. "See if it doesn't feel better!"

"It certainly does," said Harry. "You're quite a doctor, aren't you? Well,
now the next thing to do is to try to find where Dick is. I know where he
went--to the place where we cached our cycles and our papers."

Like Dick, he was hopelessly at sea, for the moment, as to his whereabouts.
And he had, moreover, to reckon with the turns and twists of the tunnel,
which there had been no way of following in the utter darkness. But Jack
Young, who, of course, could have found his way anywhere within five miles
of them blindfolded, helped him, and they soon found that they were less
than half a mile from the place.

"Can you come on with me, Jack?" asked Harry. He felt that in his rescuer
he had found a new friend, and one whom he was going to like very well,
indeed, and he wanted his company, if it was possible.

"Yes. No one knows I am out," said Jack, frankly. "The pater's like the
rest of them here--he doesn't take the war seriously yet. When I said the
other day that it might last long enough for me to be old enough to go, he
laughed at me. I really hope it won't, but I wouldn't be surprised if it
did, would you?"

"No, I wouldn't. It's too early to tell anything about it yet, really. But
if the Germans fight the way they always have before, it's going to be a
long war."

They talked as they went, and, though Harry's ankle was still painful, the
increased speed the bandaging made possible more than made up for the time
it had required. Harry was anxious about Dick; he wanted to rejoin him as
soon as possible.

And so it was not long before they came near to the place where the cycles
had been cached.

"We'd better go slow. In case anyone else watched us this afternoon, we
don't want to walk into a trap," said Harry. He was more upset than he had
cared to admit by the discovery that he and Dick had been spied upon by
Jack, excellent though it had been that it was so. For what Jack had done
it was conceivable that someone else, too, might have accomplished.

"All right. You go ahead," said Jack. "I'll form a rear guard--d'ye see?
Then you can't be surprised."

"That's a good idea," said Harry. "There, see that big tree, that blasted
one over there? I marked that. The cache is in a straight line, almost,
from that, where the ground dips a little. There's a clump of bushes."

"There's someone there, too," said Jack. "He's tugging at a cycle, as if he
were trying to get ready to start it."

"That'll be Dick, then," said Harry, greatly relieved. "All right--I'll go
ahead!"

He went on then, and soon he, too, saw Dick busy with the motorcycle.

"Won't he be glad to see me, though?" he thought. "Poor old Dick! I bet
he's had a hard time."

Then he called, softly. And Dick turned. But--it was not Dick. It was
Ernest Graves!



CHAPTER IX

AN UNEXPECTED BLOW


For a moment it would have been hard to say which of them was more
completely staggered and amazed.

"What are you doing here?" Harry gasped, finally.

And then, all at once, it came over him that it did not matter what Ernest
answered; that there could be no reasonable and good explanation for what
he had caught Graves doing.

"You sneak!" he cried. "What are you doing here--spying on us?"

He sprang forward, and Graves, with a snarling cry of anger, lunged to meet
him. Had he not been handicapped by his lame ankle, Harry might have given
a good account of himself in a hand-to-hand fight with Graves, but, as it
was, the older boy's superior weight gave him almost his own way. Before
Jack, who was running up, could reach them, Graves threw Harry off. He
stood looking down on him for just a second.

"That's what you get for interfering, young Fleming!" he said. "There's
something precious queer about you, my American friend! I fancy you'll have
to do some explaining about where you've been to-night!"

Harry was struggling to his feet. Now he saw the papers in Graves' hand.

"You thief!" he cried. "Those papers belong to me! You've stolen them! Give
them here!"

But Graves only laughed in his face.

"Come and get them!" he taunted. And, before either of the scouts could
realize what he meant to do he had started one of the motorcycles, sprung
to the saddle, and started. In a moment he was out of sight, around a bend
in the road. Only the put-put of the motor, rapidly dying away, remained of
him. But, even in that moment, the two he left behind him were busy. Jack
sprang to the other motorcycle, and tried to start it, but in vain.
Something was wrong; the motor refused to start.

"That's what he was doing when I saw him first!" cried Harry, with a flash
of inspiration. "I thought it was Dick, trying to start his motor--but it
was Graves trying to keep us from starting it! But he can't have done very
much--I don't believe he had the time. We ought to be able to fix it pretty
soon."

"It's two miles to the repair place!" said Jack, blankly.

"Not to this repair shop," said Harry, with a laugh. The need of prompt and
efficient action pulled him together. He forgot his wonder at finding
Graves, the pain of his ankle, everything but the instant need of being
busy. He had to get that cycle going and be off in pursuit; that was all
there was to it.

"Give me a steady light," he directed. "I think he's probably disconnected
the wires of the magneto--that's what I'd do if I wanted to put a motor out
of business in a hurry. And if that's all, there's no great harm done."

"I don't see how you know all that!" wondered Jack. "I can ride one of
those things, but the best I can do is mend a puncture, if I should have
one."

"Oh, it's easy enough," said Harry, working while he talked. "You see, the
motor itself can't be hurt unless you take an axe to it, and break it all
up! But to start you've got to have a spark--and you get that from
electricity. So there are these little wires that make the connection. He
didn't cut them, thank Heaven! He just disconnected them. If he'd cut them
I might really have been up a tree because that's the sort of accident you
wouldn't provide for in a repair kit."

"It isn't an accident at all," said Jack, literally.

"That's right," said Harry. "That's what I meant, too. Now let's see. I
think that's all. Good thing we came up when we did or he'd have cut the
tires to ribbons. And there are a lot of things I'd rather do than ride one
of these machines on its rims--to say nothing of how long the wheels would
last if one tried to go fast at all."

He tried the engine; it answered beautifully.

"Now is there a telephone in your father's house, Jack?"

"Yes. Why?" for Jack was plainly puzzled.

"So that I can call you up, of course! I'm going after Graves. Later I'll
tell you who he is. I'm in luck, really. He took Dick's machine--and mine
is a good ten miles an hour faster. I can race him and beat him but, of
course, he couldn't know which was the fastest. Dick's is the best looking.
I suppose that's why he picked it."

"But where is Dick?"

"That's what I'm coming to. They may have caught him but I hope not. I
don't think they did, either. I think he'll come along here pretty soon.
And, if he does, he'll have an awful surprise."

"I'll stay here and tell him--"

"You're a brick, Jack! It's just what I was going to ask you to do. I can't
leave word for him any other way, and I don't know what he'd think if he
came here and found the cycles and all gone. Then take him home with you,
will you? And I'll ring you up just as soon as I can. Good-bye!"

And everything being settled as far as he could foresee it then, Harry went
scooting off into the night on his machine. As he rode, with the wind
whipping into his face and eyes, and the incessant roar of the engine in
his ears, he knew he was starting what was likely to prove a wild-goose
chase. Even if he caught Graves, he didn't know what he could do, except
that he meant to get back the papers.

More and more, as he rode on, the mystery of Graves' behavior puzzled him,
worried him. He knew that Graves had been sore and angry when he had not
been chosen for the special duty detail. But that did not seem a sufficient
reason for him to have acted as he had. He remembered, too, the one glimpse
of Graves they had caught before, in a place where he did not seem to
belong.

And then, making the mystery still deeper, and defying explanation, as it
seemed to him, was the question of how Graves had known, first of all,
where they were, and of how he had reached the place.

He had no motorcycle of his own or he would not have ridden away on Dick's
machine. He could not have come by train. Harry's head swam with the
problem that presented itself. And then, to make it worse, there was that
remark Graves had made. He had said Harry would find it hard to explain
where he had been. How did he know where they had been? Why should he think
it would be hard for them to explain their actions?

"There isn't any answer," he said to himself. "And, if there was, I'm a
juggins to be trying to find it now. I'd better keep my mind on this old
machine, or it will ditch me! I know what I've got to do, anyhow, even if I
don't know why."

Mile after mile he rode, getting the very best speed he could out of the
machine. Somewhere ahead of him, he was sure, riding back toward London,
was Graves. In this wild pursuit he was taking chances, of course. Graves
might have turned off the road almost anywhere. But if he had done that,
there was nothing to be done about it; that much was certain. He could only
keep on with the pursuit, hoping that his quarry was following the straight
road toward London. And, to be sure, there was every reason for him to
hope just that.

By this time it was very late. No one was abroad; the countryside was
asleep. Once or twice he did find someone in the streets of a village as he
swept through; then he stopped, and asked if a man on another motorcycle
had passed ahead of him. Two or three times the yokel he questioned didn't
know; twice, however, he did get a definite assurance that Graves was ahead
of him.

Somehow he never thought of the outrageously illegal speed he was making.
He knew the importance of his errand, and that, moreover, he was a menace
to nothing but the sleep of those he disturbed. No one was abroad to get in
his way, and he forgot utterly that there might be need for caution, until,
as he went through a fair sized town, he suddenly saw three policemen, two
of whom were also mounted on motorcycles, waiting for him.

They waved their arms, crying out to him to stop, and, seeing that he was
trapped, he did stop.

"Let me by," he cried, angrily. "I'm on government service!"

"Another of them?" One of the policemen looked doubtfully at the rest. "Too
many of you telling that tale to-night. And the last one said there was a
scorcher behind him. Have you got any papers? He had them!"

Harry groaned! So Graves had managed to strike at him, even when he was
miles away. Evidently he, too, had been held up; evidently, also, he had
used Harry's credentials to get out of the scrape speeding had put him in.

"No, I haven't any credentials," he said, angrily. "But you can see my
uniform, can't you? I'm a Boy Scout, and we're all under government orders
now, like soldiers or sailors."

"That's too thin, my lad," said the policeman who seemed to be recognized
as the leader. "Everyone we've caught for speeding too fast since the war
began has blamed it on the war. We'll have to take you along, my boy. They
telephoned to us from places you passed--they said you were going so fast
it was dangerous. And we saw you ourselves."

In vain Harry pleaded. Now that he knew that Graves had used his
credentials from Colonel Throckmorton, he decided that it would be foolish
to claim his own identity. Graves had assumed that, and he had had the
practically conclusive advantage of striking the first blow. So Harry
decided to submit to the inevitable with the best grace he could muster.

"All right," he said. "I'll go along with you, officer. But you'll be sorry
before it's over!"

"Maybe, sir," said the policeman. "But orders is orders, sir, and I've got
to obey them. Not that I likes running a young gentleman like yourself in.
But--"

"Oh, I know you're only doing your duty, as you see it, officer," he said.
"Can't be helped--but I'm sorry. It's likely to cause a lot of trouble."

So he surrendered. But, even while he was doing so, he was planning to
escape from custody.



CHAPTER X

A GOOD WITNESS


Dick's surprise and concern when he found the cache empty and deserted,
with papers and motorcycles alike gone, may be imagined. For a moment he
thought he must be mistaken; that, after all, he had come to the wrong
place. But a quick search of the ground with his flashlight showed him that
he had come to the right spot. He could see the tracks made by the wheels
of the machine; he could see, also, evidences of the brief struggle between
Harry and Graves. For a moment his mystification continued. But then, with
a low laugh, Jack Young emerged from the cover in which he had been hiding.

"Hello, there!" he said. "I say, are you Dick Mercer?"

"Yes!" gasped Dick. "But how ever do you know? I never saw you before!"

"Well, you see me now," said Jack. "Harry Fleming told me to look for you
here. He said you'd be along some time to-night, if you got away. And he
was sure you could get away, too."

"Harry!" said Dick, dazed. "You've seen him? Where is he? Did he get away?
And what happened to the cycles and the papers we hid there? Why--"

"Hold on! One question at a time," said Jack. "Keep your shirt on, and I'll
tell you all I know about it. Then we can decide what is to be done next. I
think I'll attach myself temporarily to your patrol."

"Oh, you're a scout, too, are you?" asked Dick. That seemed to explain a
good deal. He was used to having scouts turn up to help him out of trouble.
And so he listened as patiently as he could, while Jack explained what had
happened.

"And that's all I know," said Jack, finally, when he had carried the tale
to the point where Harry rode off on the repaired motorcycle in pursuit of
Ernest Graves. "I should think you might really know more about it now than
I do."

"Why, how could I? You saw it all!"

"Yes, that's true enough. But you know Harry and I were too busy to talk
much after we found that motor was out of order. All I know is that when we
got here we found someone I'd never seen before and never want to see again
messing about with the cycles. We thought it must be you, of course--at
least Harry did, and of course I supposed he ought to know."

"And then you found it was Ernest Graves?"

"Harry did. He took one look at him--and then they started right in
fighting. Harry seemed to be sure that was the thing to do. If I'd been in
his place, I'd have tried to arbitrate, I think. This chap Graves was a lot
bigger than he. He was carrying weight for age. You see, I don't know yet
who Graves is, or why Harry wanted to start fighting him that way. I've
been waiting patiently for you to come along, so that you could tell me."

"He's a sneak!" declared Dick, vehemently. "I suppose you know that Harry's
an American, don't you?"

"Yes, but that's nothing against him."

"Of course it isn't! But this Graves is the biggest and oldest chap in our
troop--he isn't in our patrol. And he thought that if any of us were going
to be chosen for special service, he ought to have the first chance. So
when they picked Harry and me, he began talking about Harry's being an
American. He tried to act as if he thought it wasn't safe for anyone who
wasn't English to be picked out!"

"It looks as if he had acted on that idea, too, doesn't it, then? It seems
to me that he has followed you down here, just to get a chance to play some
trick on you. He got those papers, you see. And I fancy you'll be blamed
for losing them."

"How did he know we were here?" said Dick, suddenly. "That's what I'd like
to know!"

"Yes, it would be a good thing to find that out," said Jack, thoughtfully.
"Well, it will be hard to do. But we might find out how he got here. I know
this village and the country all around here pretty well. And Gaffer Hodge
will know, if anyone does. He's the most curious man in the world. Come
on--we'll see what he has to say."

"Who is he?" asked Dick, as they began to walk briskly toward the village.

"You went through the village this afternoon, didn't you? Didn't you see a
very old man with white hair and a stick beside him, sitting in a doorway
next to the little shop by the Red Dog?"

"Yes."

"That's Gaffer Hodge. He's the oldest man in these parts. He can remember
the Crimean War and--oh, everything! He must be over a hundred years old.
And he watches everyone who comes in. If a stranger is in the village he's
never happy until he knows all about him. He was awfully worried to-day
about you and Harry, I heard," explained Jack.

Dick laughed heartily.

"Well, I do hope he can tell us something about Graves. The sneak! I
certainly hope Harry catches up to him. Do you think he can?"

"Well, he might, if he was lucky. He said the cycle he was riding was
faster than the other one. But of course it would be very hard to tell just
which way to go. If Graves knew there was a chance that he might be
followed he ought to be able to give anyone who was even a mile behind the
slip."

"Of course it's at night and that makes it harder for Harry."

"Yes, I suppose it does. In the daytime Harry could find people to tell him
which way Graves was going, couldn't he?"

"Yes. That's just what I meant."

"Oh, I say, won't Gaffer Hodge be in bed and asleep?"

"I don't think so. He doesn't seem to like to go to bed. He sits up very
late, and talks to the men when they start to go home from the Red Dog. He
likes to talk, you see. We'll soon know--that's one thing. We'll be there
now in no time."

Sure enough, the old man was still up when they arrived. He was just saying
good-night, in a high, piping voice, to a little group of men who had
evidently been having a nightcap in the inn next to his house. When he saw
Jack he smiled. They were very good friends, and the old man had found the
boy one of his best listeners. The Gaffer liked to live in the past; he was
always delighted when anyone would let him tell his tales of the things he
remembered.

"Good-evening, Gaffer," said Jack, respectfully. "This is my friend, Dick
Mercer. He's a Boy Scout from London."

"Knew it! Knew it!" said Gaffer Hodge, with a senile chuckle. "I said they
was from Lunnon this afternoon when I seen them fust! Glad to meet you,
young maister."

Then Jack described Graves as well as he could from his brief sight of him,
and Dick helped by what he remembered.

"Did you see him come into town this afternoon, Gaffer?" asked Jack.

"Let me think," said the old man. "Yes--I seen 'um. Came sneaking in, he
did, this afternoon as ever was! Been up to the big house at Bray Park, he
had. Came in in an automobile, he did. Then he went back there. But he was
in the post office when you and t'other young lad from Lunnon went by,
maister!" nodding his head as if well pleased.

This was to Dick, and he and Jack stared at one another. Certainly their
visit to Gaffer Hodge had paid them well.

"Are you sure of that, Gaffer?" asked Jack, quietly. "Sure that it was an
automobile from Bray Park?"

"Sure as ever was!" said the old man, indignantly. Like all old people, he
hated anyone to question him, resenting the idea that anyone could think he
was mistaken. "Didn't I see the machine myself--a big grey one, with black
stripes as ever was, like all their automobiles?"

"That's true--that's the way their cars are painted, and they have five or
six of them," said Jack.

"Yes. And he come in the car from Lunnon before he went there--and then he
come out here. He saw you and t'other young lad from Lunnon go by, maister,
on your bicycles. He was watching you from the shop as ever was!"

"Thank you, Gaffer," said Jack, gravely. "You've told us just what we
wanted to know. I'll bring you some tobacco in the morning, if you like. My
father's just got a new lot down from London."

"Thanks, thank'ee kindly," said the Gaffer, overjoyed at the prospect.

Then they said good-night to the old man, who, plainly delighted at the
thought that he had been of some service to them, and at this proof of his
sharpness, of which he was always boasting, rose and hobbled into his
house.

"He's really a wonderful old man," said Dick.

"He certainly is," agreed Jack. "His memory seems to be as good as ever,
and he's awfully active, too. He's got rheumatism, but he can see and hear
as well as he ever could, my father says."

They walked on, each turning over in his mind what they had heard about
Graves.

"That's how he knew we were here," said Dick, finally. "I've been puzzling
about that. I remember now seeing that car as we went by. But of course I
didn't pay any particular attention to it, except that I saw a little
American flag on it."

"Yes, they're supposed to be Americans, you know," said Jack. "And I
suppose they carry the flag so that the car won't be taken for the army.
The government has requisitioned almost all the cars in the country, you
know."

"I'm almost afraid to think about this," said Dick, after a moment of
silence. "Graves must know those people in that house, if he's riding about
in their car. And they--"

He paused, and they looked at one another.

"I don't know what to do!" said Dick. "I wish there was some way to tell
Harry about what we've found out."

Jack started.

"I nearly forgot!" he said. "We'd better cut for my place. I told Harry
we'd be there if he telephoned, you know. Come on!"



CHAPTER XI

THE FIRST BLOW


To Harry, as he was taken off to the police station, it seemed the hardest
sort of hard luck that his chase of Graves should be interrupted at such a
critical time and just because he had been over-speeding. But he realized
that he was helpless, and that he would only waste his breath if he tried
to explain matters until he was brought before someone who was really in
authority. Then, if he had any luck, he might be able to clear things up.
But the men who arrested him were only doing their duty as they saw it, and
they had no discretionary power at all.

When he reached the station he was disappointed to find that no one was on
duty except a sleepy inspector, who was even less inclined to listen to
reason than the constables.

"Everyone who breaks the law has a good excuse, my lad," he said. "If we
listened to all of them we might as well close up this place. You can tell
your story to the magistrate in the morning. You'll be well treated
to-night, and you're better off with us than running around the country--a
lad of your age! If I were your father, I should see to it that you were in
bed and asleep before this."

There was no arguing with such a man, especially when he was sleepy. So
Harry submitted, very quietly, to being put into a cell. He was not treated
like a common prisoner; that much he was grateful for. His cell was really
a room, with windows that were not even barred. And he saw that he could be
very comfortable indeed.

"You'll be all right here," said one of the constables. "Don't worry, my
lad. You'll be let off with a caution in the morning. Get to sleep
now--it's late, and you'll be roused bright and early in the morning."

Harry smiled pleasantly, and thanked the man for his good advice. But he
had no intention whatever of taking it. He did not even take off his
clothes, though he did seize the welcome chance to use the washstand that
was in the room. He had been through a good deal since his last chance to
wash and clean up, and he was grimy and dirty. He discovered, too, that he
was ravenously hungry. Until that moment he had been too active, too busy
with brain and body, to notice his hunger.

However, there was nothing to be done for that now. He and Dick had not
stopped for meals that day since breakfast, and they had eaten their
emergency rations in the early afternoon. In the tool case on his impounded
motorcycle Harry knew there were condensed food tablets--each the
equivalent of certain things like eggs, and steaks and chops. And there
were cakes of chocolate, too, the most nourishing of foods that are small
in bulk. But the knowledge did him little good now. He didn't even know
where the motorcycle had been stored for the night. It had been
confiscated, of course; in the morning it would be returned to him.

But he didn't allow his thoughts to dwell long on the matter of food. It
was vastly more important that he should get away. He had to get his news
to Colonel Throckmorton. Perhaps Dick had done that. But he couldn't trust
that chance. Aside from that, he wanted to know what had become of Dick.
And, for the life of him, he didn't see how he was to get away.

"If they weren't awfully sure of me, they'd have locked me up a lot more
carefully than this," he reflected. "And of course it would be hard. I
could get out of here easily enough."

He had seen a drain pipe down which, he felt sure, he could climb.

"But suppose I did," he went on, talking to himself. "I've got an idea it
would land me where I could be seen from the door--and I suppose that's
open all night. And, then if I got away from here, every policeman in this
town would know me. They'd pick me up if I tried to get out, even if I
walked."

He looked out of the window. Not so far away he could see a faint glare in
the sky. That was London. He was already in the suburban chain that ringed
the great city. This place--he did not know its name, certainly--was quite
a town in itself. And he was so close to London that there was no real open
country. One town or borough ran right into the next. The houses would grow
fewer, thinning out, but before the gap became real, the outskirts of the
next borough would be reached.

Straight in front of him, looking over the housetops, he could see the
gleam of water. It was a reservoir, he decided. Probably it constituted the
water supply for a considerable section. And then, as he looked, he saw a
flash--saw a great column of water rise in the air, and descend, like
pictures of a cloudburst. A moment after the explosion, he heard a dull
roar. And after the roar another sound. He saw the water fade out and
disappear, and it was a moment before he realized what was happening. The
reservoir had been blown up. And that meant more than the danger and the
discomfort of an interrupted water supply. It meant an immediate
catastrophe--the flooding of all the streets nearby.

In England, as he knew, such reservoirs were higher than the surrounding
country, as a rule. They were contained within high walls, and, after a
rainy summer, such as this had been, would be full to overflowing. He was
hammering at his door in a moment, and a sleepy policeman, aroused by the
sudden alarm, flung it open as he passed on his way to the floor below.

Harry rushed down, and mingled, unnoticed, with the policemen who had been
off duty, but summoned now to deal with this disaster. The inspector who
had received him paid no attention to him at all.

"Out with you, men!" he cried. "There'll be trouble over this--no telling
but what people may be drowned. Double quick, now!"

They rushed out, under command of a sergeant. The inspector stayed behind,
and now he looked at Harry.

"Hullo!" he said. "How did you get out?"

"I want to help!" said Harry, inspired. "I haven't done anything really
wrong, have I? Oughtn't I be allowed to do whatever I can, now that
something like this has happened?"

"Go along with you!" said the inspector. "All right! But you'd better come
back--because we've got your motorcycle, and we'll keep that until you come
back for it."

But it made little difference to Harry that he was, so to speak, out on
bail. The great thing was that he was free. He rushed out, but he didn't
make for the scene of the disaster to the reservoir, caused, as he had
guessed, by some spy. All the town was pouring out now, and the streets
were full of people making for the place where the explosion had occurred.
It was quite easy for Harry to slip through them and make for London. He
did not try to get his cycle. But before he had gone very far he overtook a
motor lorry that had broken down. He pitched in and helped with the slight
repairs it needed, and the driver invited him to ride along with him.

"Taking in provisions for the troops, I am," he said. "If you're going to
Lunnon, you might as well ride along with me. Eh, Tommy?"

His question was addressed to a sleepy private, who was nodding on the
seat beside the driver. He started now, and looked at Harry.

"All aboard!" he said, with a sleepy chuckle. "More the merrier, say I! Up
all night--that's what I've been! Fine sort of war this is! Do I see any
fightin'? I do not! I'm a bloomin' chaperone for cabbages and cauliflowers
and turnips, bless their little hearts!"

Harry laughed. It was impossible not to do that. But he knew that if the
soldier wanted fighting, fighting he would get before long. Harry could
guess that regular troops--and this man was a regular--would not be kept in
England as soon as territorials and volunteers in sufficient number; had
joined the colors. But meanwhile guards were necessary at home.

He told them, in exchange for the ride, of the explosion and the flood that
had probably followed it.

"Bli'me!" said the soldier, surprised. "Think of that, now! What will they
be up to next--those Germans? That's what I'd like to know! Coming over
here to England and doing things like that! I'd have the law on
'em--that's what I'd do!"

Harry laughed. So blind to the real side of war were men who, at any
moment, might find themselves face to face with the enemy!



CHAPTER XII

THE SILENT WIRE


Probably Jack Young and Dick reached the vicarage just about the time that
saw Harry getting into trouble with the police for speeding. The vicar was
still up; he had a great habit of reading late. And he seemed considerably
surprised to find that Jack was not upstairs in bed. At first he was
inclined even to be angry, but he changed his mind when he saw Dick, and
heard something of what had happened.

"Get your friend something to eat and I'll have them make a hot bath
ready," said the vicar. "He looks as if he needed both!"

This was strictly true. Dick was as hungry and as grimy as Harry himself.
If anything, he was in even worse shape, for his flight through the fields
and the brook had enabled him to attach a good deal of the soil of England
to himself. So the thick sandwiches and the bowl of milk that were
speedily set before him were severely punished. And while he ate both he
and Jack poured out their story. Mr. Young frowned as he listened. Although
he was a clergyman and a lover of peace, he was none the less a patriot.

"Upon my word!" he said. "Wireless, you think, my boy?"

"I'm sure of it, sir," said Dick.

"And so'm I," chimed in Jack. "You know, sir, I've thought ever since war
seemed certain that Bray Park would bear a lot of watching and that
something ought to be done. Just because this is a little bit of a village,
without even a railroad station, people think nothing could happen here.
But if German spies wanted a headquarters, it's just the sort of place they
would pick out."

"There's something in that," agreed the vicar, thoughtfully. But in his own
mind he was still very doubtful. The whole thing seemed incredible to him.
Yet, as a matter of fact, it was no more incredible than the war itself.
What inclined him to be dubious, as much as anything else, was the fact
that it was mere boys who had made the discovery. He had read of outbreaks
of spy fever in various parts of England, in which the most harmless and
inoffensive people were arrested and held until they could give some good
account of themselves. This made him hesitate, while precious time was
being wasted.

"I hardly know what to do--what to suggest," he went on, musingly. "The
situation is complicated, really. Supposing you are right, and that German
spies really own Bray Park, and are using it as a central station for
sending news that they glean out of England, what could be done about it?"

"The place ought to be searched at once--everyone there ought to be
arrested!" declared Jack, impulsively. His father smiled.

"Yes, but who's going to do it?" he said. "We've just one constable here in
Bray. And if there are Germans there in any number, what could he do? I
suppose we might send word to Hambridge and get some police or some
territorials over. Yes, that's the best thing to do."

But now Dick spoke up in great eagerness.

"I don't know, sir," he suggested. "If the soldiers came, the men in the
house there would find out they were coming, I'm afraid. Perhaps they'd get
away, or else manage to hide everything that would prove the truth about
them. I think it would be better to report direct to Colonel Throckmorton.
He knows what we found out near London, sir, you see, and he'd be more
ready to believe us."

"Yes, probably you're right. Ring him up, then. It's late, but he won't
mind."

What a different story there would have been to tell had someone had that
thought only half an hour earlier! But it is often so. The most trivial
miscalculation, the most insignificant mistake, seemingly, may prove to be
of the most vital importance. Dick went to the telephone. It was one of the
old-fashioned sort, still in almost universal use in the rural parts of
England, that require the use of a bell to call the central office. Dick
turned the crank, then took down the receiver. At once he heard a confused
buzzing sound that alarmed him.

"I'm afraid the line is out of order, sir," he said.

And after fifteen minutes it was plain that he was right. The wire had
either been cut or it had fallen or been short circuited in some other way.
Dick and Jack looked at one another blankly. The same thought had come to
each of them, and at the same moment.

"They've cut the wires!" said Dick. "Now what shall we do? We can't hear
from Harry, either!"

"We might have guessed they'd do that!" said Jack. "They must have had some
one out to watch us, Dick--perhaps they thought they'd have a chance to
catch us. They know that we've found out something, you see! It's a good
thing we stayed where we could make people hear us if we got into any
trouble."

"Oh, nonsense!" said the vicar, suddenly. "You boys are letting your
imaginations run away with you! Things like that don't happen in England.
The wire is just out of order. It happens often enough, Jack, as you know
very well!"

"Yes, sir," said Jack, doggedly. "But that's in winter, or after a heavy
storm--not in fine weather like this. I never knew the wire to be out of
order before when it was the way it is now."

"Well, there's nothing to be done, in any case," said the vicar. "Be off to
bed, and wait until morning. There's nothing you can do now."

Dick looked as if he were about to make some protest, but a glance at Jack
restrained him. Instead he got up, said good-night and followed Jack
upstairs. There he took his bath, except that he substituted cold water for
the hot, for he could guess what Jack meant to do. They were going out
again, that was certain. And, while it is easy to take cold, especially
when one is tired, after a hot bath, there is no such danger if the water
is cold.

"Do you know where the telephone wire runs?" he asked Jack.

"Yes, I do," said Jack. "I watched the men when they ran the wire in. There
are only three telephones in the village, except for the one at Bray Park,
and that's a special, private wire. We have one here, Doctor Brunt has one,
and there's another in the garage. They're all on one party line, too. We
won't have any trouble in finding out if the wire was cut, I fancy."

Their chief difficulty lay in getting out of the house. True, Jack had not
been positively ordered not to go out again, but he knew that if his father
saw him, he would be ordered to stay in. And he had not the slightest
intention of missing any part of the finest adventure he had ever had a
chance to enjoy--not he! He was a typical English boy, full of the love of
adventure and excitement for their own sake, even if he was the son of a
clergyman. And now he showed Dick what they would have to do.

"I used to slip out this way, sometimes," he said. "That was before I was a
scout. I--well, since I joined, I haven't done it. It didn't seem right.
But this is different. Don't you think so, Dick?"

"I certainly do," said Dick. "Your pater doesn't understand, Jack. He
thinks we've just found a mare's nest, I fancy."

Jack's route of escape was not a difficult one. It led to the roof of the
scullery, at the back of the house, and then, by a short and easy drop of a
few feet, to the back garden. Once they were in that, they had no trouble.
They could not be heard or seen from the front of the house, and it was a
simple matter of climbing fences until it was safe to circle back and
strike the road in front again. Jack led the way until they came to the
garage, which was at the end of the village, in the direction of London.
Their course also took them nearer to Bray Park, but at the time they did
not think of this.

"There's where the wire starts from the garage, d'ye see?" said Jack,
pointing. "You see how easily we can follow it--it runs along those poles,
right beside the road."

"It seems to be all right here," said Dick.

"Oh, yes. They wouldn't have cut it so near the village," said Jack. "We'll
have to follow it along for a bit, I fancy--a mile or so, perhaps. Better
not talk much, either. And, I say, hadn't we better stay in the shadow?
They must have been watching us before--better not give them another
chance, if we can help it," was Jack's very wise suggestion.

They had traveled nearly a mile when Dick suddenly noticed that the
telephone wire sagged between two posts.

"I think it has been cut--and that we're near the place, too," he said
then. "Look, Jack! There's probably a break not far from here."

"Right, oh!" said Jack. "Now we must be careful. I've just thought, Dick,
that they might have left someone to watch at the place where they cut the
wire."

"Why, Jack?"

"Well, they might have thought we, or someone else, might come along to
find out about it, just as we're doing. I'm beginning to think those
beggars are mighty clever, and that if we think of doing anything, they're
likely to think that we'll think of it. They've outwitted us at every point
so far."

So now, instead of staying under the hedge, but still in the road, they
crept through a gap in the hedge, tearing their clothes as they did so,
since it was a blackberry row, and went along still in sight of the poles
and the wire, but protected by the hedge so that no one in the road could
see them.

"There!" said Jack, at last. "See? You were right, Dick. There's the
place--and the wire was cut, too! It wasn't an accident. But I was sure of
that as soon as I found the line wasn't working."

Sure enough, the wires were dangling. And there was something else. Just as
they stopped they heard the voices of two men.

"There's the break, Bill," said the first voice. "Bli'me, if she ain't cut,
too! Now who did that? Bringing us out of our beds at this hour to look for
trouble!"

"I'd like to lay my hands on them, that's all!" said the second voice. "A
good job they didn't carry the wire away--'twon't take us long to repair,
and that's one precious good thing!"

"Linemen," said Jack. "But I wonder why they're here? They must have come a
long way. I shouldn't be surprised if they'd ridden on bicycles. And I
never heard of their sending to repair a wire at night before."

"Listen," said Dick. "Perhaps we will find out."

"Well, now that we've found it, we might as well repair it," said the first
lineman, grumblingly. "All comes of someone trying to get a message through
to Bray and making the manager believe it was a life and death matter!"

"Harry must have tried to telephone--that's why they've come," said Jack.
"I was wondering how they found out about the break. You see, as a rule, no
one would try to ring up anyone in Bray after seven o'clock or so. And of
course, they couldn't tell we were trying to ring, with the wire cut like
that."

"Oh, Jack!" said Dick, suddenly. "If they're linemen, I believe they have
an instrument with them. Probably we could call to London from here. Do you
think they will let us do that?"

"That's a good idea. We'll try it, anyway," said Jack. "Come on--it must be
safe enough now. These chaps won't hurt us."

But Jack was premature in thinking that. For no sooner did the two linemen
see them than they rushed for them, much to both lads' surprise.

"You're the ones that cut that wire," said the first, a dark, young fellow.
"I've a mind to give you a good hiding!"

But they both rushed into explanations, and, luckily, the other lineman
recognized Jack.

"It's the vicar's son from Bray, Tom," he said. "Let him alone."

And then, while their attention was distracted, a bullet sang over their
heads. And "Hands oop!" said a guttural voice.



CHAPTER XIII

A TREACHEROUS DEED


Harry Fleming had, of course, given up all hope of catching Graves by a
direct pursuit by the time he accepted the offer of a ride in the motor
truck that was carrying vegetables for the troops in quarters in London.
His only hope now was to get his information to Colonel Throckmorton as
soon as possible. At the first considerable town they reached, where he
found a telegraph office open, he wired to the colonel, using the code
which he had memorized. The price of a couple of glasses of beer had
induced the driver and the soldier to consent to a slight delay of the
truck, and he tried also to ring up Jack Young's house and find out what
had happened to Dick.

When he found that the line was out of order he leaped at once to the same
conclusion that Jack and Dick had reached--that it had been cut on purpose.
He could not stay to see if it would be reopened soon. A stroke of luck
came his way, however. In this place Boy Scouts were guarding the gas works
and an electric light and power plant, and he found one squad just coming
off duty. He explained something of his errand to the patrol leader, and
got the assurance that the telephone people should be made to repair the
break in the wire.

"We'll see to it that they find out what is the trouble, Fleming," said the
patrol leader, whose name was Burridge. "By the way, I know a scout in your
troop--Graves. He was on a scout with us a few weeks ago, when he was
visiting down here. Seemed to be no end of a good fellow."

Harry was surprised for he had heard nothing of this before. But then that
was not strange. He and Graves were not on terms of intimacy, by any means.
He decided quickly not to say anything against Graves. It could do no good
and it might do harm.

"Right," he said. "I know him--yes. I'll be going, then. You'll give my
message to Mercer or Young if there's any way of getting the line clear?"

"Yes, if I sit up until my next turn of duty," said Burridge, with a smile.
"Good luck, Fleming."

Then Harry was off again. Dawn was very near now. The east, behind him, was
already lighted up with streaks of glowing crimson. Dark clouds were massed
there, and there was a feeling in the air that carried a foreboding of
rain, strengthening the threat of the red sky. Harry was not sorry for
that. There would be work at Bray Park that might well fare better were it
done under leaden skies.

As he rode he puzzled long and hard over what he had learned. It seemed to
him that these German spies were taking desperate chances for what promised
to be, at best, a small reward. What information concerning the British
plans could they get that would be worth all they were risking? The
wireless at Bray Park; the central station near Willesden, whence the
reports were heliographed--it was an amazingly complete chain. And Harry
knew enough of modern warfare to feel that the information could be
important only to an enemy within striking distance.

That was the point. It might be interesting to the German staff to know the
locations of British troops in England, and, more especially, their
destinations if they were going abroad as part of an expeditionary force to
France or Belgium. But the information would not be vital; it didn't seem
to Harry that it was worth all the risk implied. But if, on the other hand,
there was some plan for a German invasion of England, then he would have no
difficulty in understanding it. Then knowledge of where to strike, of what
points were guarded and what were not, would be invaluable.

"But what a juggins I am!" he said. "They can't invade England, even if
they could spare the troops. Not while the British fleet controls the sea.
They'd have to fly over."

And in that half laughing expression he got the clue he was looking for.
Fly over! Why not? Flight was no longer a theory, a possibility of the
future. It was something definite, that had arrived. Even as he thought of
the possibility he looked up and saw, not more than a mile away, two
monoplanes of a well-known English army type flying low.

"I never thought of that!" he said to himself.

And now that the idea had come to him, he began to work out all sorts of
possibilities. He thought of a hundred different things that might happen.
He could see, all at once, the usefulness Bray Park might have. Why, the
place was like a volcano! It might erupt at any minute, spreading ruin and
destruction in all directions. It was a hostile fortress, set down in the
midst of a country that, even though it was at war, could not believe that
war might come home to it.

He visualized, as the truck kept on its plodding way, the manner in which
warfare might be directed from a center like Bray Park. Thence aeroplanes,
skillfully fashioned to represent the British 'planes, and so escape quick
detection, might set forth. They could carry a man or two, elude guards who
thought the air lanes safe, and drop bombs here, there--everywhere and
anywhere. Perhaps some such aerial raid was responsible for the explosion
that had freed him only a very few hours before.

Warfare in England, carried on thus by a few men, would be none the less
deadly because it would not involve fighting. There would be no pitched
battles, that much he knew. Instead, there would be swift, stabbing raids.
Water works, gas works, would be blown up. Attempts would be made to drop
bombs in barracks, perhaps. Certainly every effort would be made to destroy
the great warehouses in which food was stored. It was new, this sort of
warfare; it defied the imagination. And yet it was the warfare that, once
he thought of it, it seemed certain that the Germans would wage.

He gritted his teeth at the thought of it. Perhaps all was fair in love and
war, as the old proverb said. But this seemed like sneaky, unfair fighting
to him. There was nothing about it of the glory of warfare. He was learning
for himself that modern warfare is an ugly thing. He was to learn, later,
that it still held its possibilities of glory, and of heroism. Indeed, for
that matter, he was willing to grant the heroism of the men who dared
these things that seemed to him so horrible. They took their lives in
their hands, knowing that if they were caught they would be hung as spies.

The truck was well into London now, and the dawn was full. A faint drizzle
was beginning to fall and the streets were covered with a fine film of mud.
People were about, and London was arousing itself to meet the new day.
Harry knew that he was near his journey's end. Tired as he was, he was
determined to make his report before he thought of sleep. And then,
suddenly, around a bend, came a sight that brought Harry to his feet,
scarcely able to believe his eyes. It was Graves, on a bicycle. At the
sight of Harry on the truck he stopped. Then he turned.

"Here he is!" he cried. "That's the one!"

A squad of men on cycles, headed by a young officer, came after Graves.

"Stop!" called the officer to the driver.

Harry stared down, wondering.

"You there--you Boy Scout--come down!" said the officer.

Harry obeyed, wondering still more. He saw the gleam of malignant triumph
on the face of Graves. But not even the presence of the officer restrained
him.

"Where are those papers you stole from me, you sneak?" he cried.

"You keep away from me!" said Graves. "You--Yankee!"

"Here, no quarreling!" said the officer. "Take him, men!"

Two of the soldiers closed in on Harry. He stared at them and then at the
officer, stupefied.

"What--what's this?" he stammered.

"You're under arrest, my lad, on a charge of espionage!" said the officer.
"Espionage, and conspiracy to give aid and comfort to the public enemy.
Anything you say may be used against you."

For a moment such a rush of words came to Harry that he was silent by the
sheer inability to decide which to utter first. But then he got control of
himself.

"Who makes this charge against me!" he asked, thickly, his face flushing
scarlet in anger.

"You will find that out in due time, my lad. Forward--march!"

"But I've got important information! I must be allowed to see Colonel
Throckmorton at once! Oh, you've no idea of how important it may be!"

"My orders are to place you under arrest. You can make application to see
anyone later. But now I have no discretion. Come! If you really want to see
Colonel Throckmorton, you had better move on."

Harry knew as well as anyone the uselessness of appealing from such an
order, but he was frantic. Realizing the importance of the news he carried,
and beginning to glimpse vaguely the meaning of Graves and his activity, he
was almost beside himself.

"Make Graves there give back the papers he took from me!" he cried.

"I did take some papers, lieutenant," said Graves, with engaging frankness.
"But they were required to prove what I had suspected almost from the
first--that he was a spy. He was leading an English scout from his own
patrol into trouble, too. I suppose he thought he was more likely to escape
suspicion if he was with an Englishman."

"It's not my affair," said the lieutenant, shrugging his shoulders. He
turned to Harry. "Come, my lad. I hope you can clear yourself. But I've
only one thing to do--and that is to obey my orders."

Harry gave up, then, for the moment. He turned and began walking along, a
soldier on each side. But as he did so Graves turned to the lieutenant.

"I'll go and get my breakfast, then, sir," he said. "I'll come on to Ealing
later. Though, of course, they know all I can tell them already."

"All right," said the officer, indifferently.

"You're never going to let him go!" exclaimed Harry, aghast. "Don't you
know he'll never come back?"

"All the better for you, if he doesn't," said the officer. "That's enough
of your lip, my lad. Keep a quiet tongue in your head. Remember you're a
prisoner, and don't try giving orders to me."



CHAPTER XIV

THE TRAP


The bullet that sang over their heads effectually broke up the threatened
trouble between Dick Mercer and Jack Young on one side, and the telephone
linemen on the other. With one accord they obeyed that guttural order,
"Hands oop!"

They had been so interested in one another and in the cut wire that none of
them had noticed the practically noiseless approach of a great grey motor
car, with all lights out, that had stolen up on them. But now, with a
groan, Dick and Jack both knew it for one of the Bray Park cars. So, after
all, Dick's flight had been in vain. He had escaped the guards of Bray Park
once, only to walk straight into this new trap. And, worst of all, there
would be no Jack Young outside to help this time, for Jack was a captive,
too. Only--he was not!

At the thought Dick had turned, to discover that Jack was not beside him.
It was very dark, but in a moment he caught the tiniest movement over by
the hedge, and saw a spot a little darker than the rest of the ground about
it. Jack, he saw at once, had taken the one faint chance there was, dropped
down, and crawled away, trusting that their captors had not counted their
party, and might not miss one boy.

Just in time he slipped through a hole in the hedge. The next moment one of
the headlights of the grey motor flashed out, almost blinding the three of
them, as they held up their hands. In its light four men, well armed with
revolvers, were revealed.

"Donnerwetter!" said one. "I made sure there were four of them! So! Vell,
it is enough. Into the car with them!"

No pretence about this chap! He was German, and didn't care who knew it. He
was unlike the man who had disguised himself as an English officer, at the
house of the heliograph, but had betrayed himself and set this whole train
of adventure going by his single slip and fall from idiomatic English that
Harry Fleming's sharp ears had caught.

Dick was thrilled, somehow, even while he was being roughly bundled toward
the motor. If these fellows were as bold as this, cutting telephone wires,
running about without lights, giving up all secrecy and pretence, it must
mean that the occasion for which they had come was nearly over. It must
mean that their task, whatever it might be, was nearly accomplished--the
blow they had come to strike was about ready to be driven home.

"'Ere, who are you a shovin' off?" complained one of the linemen, as he was
pushed toward the motor. He made some effort to resist but the next moment
he pitched forward. One of the Germans had struck him on the head with the
butt of his revolver. It was a stunning blow, and the man was certainly
silenced. Dick recoiled angrily from the sight, but he kept quiet. He knew
he could do no good by interfering. But the sheer, unnecessary brutality of
it shocked and angered him. He felt that Englishmen, or Americans, would
not treat a prisoner so--especially one who had not been fighting. These
men were not even soldiers; they were spies, which made the act the more
outrageous.

They were serving their country, however, for all that, and that softened
Dick's feeling toward them a little. True, they were performing their
service in a sneaky, underhanded way that went against his grain. But it
was service, and he knew that England, too, probably used spies, forced to
do so for self-defence. He realized the value of the spy's work, and the
courage that work required. If these men were captured they would not share
the fate of those surrendering in battle but would be shot, or hung,
without ceremony.

A minute later he was forced into the tonneau of the car, where he lay
curled up on the floor. Two of the Germans sat in the cushioned seat while
the two linemen, the one who had been hit still unconscious, were pitched
in beside him. The other two Germans were in front, and the car began to
move at a snail's pace. The man beside the driver began speaking in German;
his companion replied. But one of the two behind interrupted, sharply.

"Speak English, dummer kerl!" he exclaimed, angrily. "These English people
have not much sense, but if a passerby should hear us speaking German, he
would be suspicious. Our words he cannot hear and if they are in English he
will think all is well."

"This is one of those we heard of this afternoon," said the driver. "This
Boy Scout. The other is riding to London--but he will not go so far."

He laughed at that, and Dick, knowing he was speaking of Harry, shuddered.

"Ja, that is all arranged," said the leader, with a chuckle. "Not for
long--that could not be. But we need only a few hours more. By this time
to-morrow morning all will be done. He comes, Von Wedel?"

"We got the word to-night--yes," said the other man. "All is arranged for
him. Ealing--Houndsditch, first. There are the soldiers. Then Buckingham
Palace. Ah, what a lesson we shall teach these English! Then the buildings
at Whitehall. We shall strike at the heart of their empire--the heart and
the brains!"

Dick listened, appalled. Did they think, then, that he, a boy, could not
understand? Or were they so sure of success that it did not matter? As a
matter of fact, he did not fully understand. Who was Von Wedel? What was he
going to do when he came? And how was he coming?

However, it was not the time for speculation. There was the chance that any
moment they might say something he would understand, and, moreover, if he
got away, it was possible that he might repeat what he heard to those who
would be able to make more use of it.

Just then the leader's foot touched Dick, and he drew away. The German
looked down at him, and laughed.

"Frightened?" he said. "We won't hurt you! What a country! It sends its
children out against us!"

His manner was kindly enough, and Dick felt himself warming a little to the
big man in spite of himself.

"Listen, boy," said the leader. "You have seen things that were not for
your eyes. So you are to be put where knowledge of them will do no
harm--for a few hours. Then you can go. But until we have finished our
work, you must be kept. You shall not be hurt--I say it."

Dick did not answer. He was thinking hard. He wondered if Jack would try to
rescue him. They were getting very near Bray Park, he felt, and he thought
that, once inside, neither Jack nor anyone else could get him out until
these men who had captured him were willing. Then the car stopped suddenly.
Dick saw that they were outside a little house.

"Get out," said the leader.

Dick and the telephone man who had not been hurt obeyed; the other lineman
was lifted out, more considerately this time.

"Inside!" said the German with the thick, guttural voice. He pointed to the
open door, and they went inside. One of the Germans followed them, and
stood in the open door.

"Werner, you are responsible for the prisoners, especially the boy," said
the leader. "See that none of them escape. You will be relieved at the
proper time. You understand?"

"Ja, Herr Ritter!" said the man. "Zu befehl!"

He saluted, and for the first time Dick had the feeling that this strange
procedure was, in some sense, military, even though there were no uniforms.
Then the door shut, and they were left in the house.

It was just outside of Bray Park--he remembered it now. A tiny box of a
place it was, too, but solidly built of stone. It might have been used as a
tool house. There was one window; that and the door were the only means of
egress. The German looked hard at the window and laughed. Dick saw then
that it was barred. To get out that way, even if he had the chance, would
be impossible. And the guard evidently decided that. He lay down across the
door.

"So!" he said. "I shall sleep--but with one ear open! You cannot get out
except across me. And I am a light sleeper!"

Dick sat there, pondering wretchedly. The man who had been struck on the
head was breathing stertorously. His companion soon dropped off to sleep,
like the German, so that Dick was the only one awake. Through the window,
presently, came the herald of the dawn, the slowly advancing light. And
suddenly Dick saw a shadow against the light, looked up intently, and saw
that it was Jack Young. Jack pointed. Dick, not quite understanding, moved
to the spot at which he pointed.

"Stay there!" said Jack, soundlessly. His lips formed the words but he did
not utter them. He nodded up and down vehemently, however, and Dick
understood him, and that he was to stay where he was. He nodded in return,
and settled down in his new position. And then Jack dropped out of sight.

For a long time, while the dawn waxed and the light through the window grew
stronger, Dick sat there wondering. Only the breathing of the three men
disturbed the quiet of the little hut. But then, from behind him, he grew
conscious of a faint noise. Not quite a noise, either; it was more a
vibration. He felt the earthen floor of the hut trembling beneath him. And
then at last he understood.

He had nearly an hour still to wait. But at last the earth cracked and
yawned where he had been sitting. He heard a faint whisper.

"Dig it out a little--there's a big hole underneath. You can squirm your
way through. I'm going to back out now."

Dick obeyed, and a moment later he was working his way down, head first,
through the tunnel Jack had dug from the outside. He was small and slight
and he got through, somehow, though he was short of breath and dirtier than
he had ever been in his life when at last he was able to straighten
up--free.

"Come on!" cried Jack. "We've no time to lose. I've got a couple of
bicycles here. We'd better run for it."

Run for it they did, but there was no alarm. Behind them was the hut, quiet
and peaceful. And beyond the hut was the menace of Bray Park and the
mysteries of which the Germans had spoken in the great grey motor car.



CHAPTER XV

A DARING RUSE


Harry, furious as he was when he saw Graves allowed to go off after the
false accusation that had caused his arrest, was still able to control
himself sufficiently to think. He was beginning to see the whole plot now,
or to think he saw it. He remembered things that had seemed trivial at the
time of their occurrence, but that loomed up importantly now. And one of
the first things he realized was that he was probably in no great danger,
that the charge against him had not been made with the serious idea of
securing his conviction, but simply to cause his detention for a little
while, and to discredit any information he might have.

He could no longer doubt that Graves was in league with the spies on whose
trail he and Dick had fallen. And he understood that, if he kept quiet, all
would soon be all right for him. But if he did that, the plans of the
Germans would succeed. He had seen already an example of what they could
do, in the destruction of the water works. And it seemed to him that it
would be a poor thing to fail in what he had undertaken simply to save
himself. As soon as he reached that conclusion he knew what he must do, or,
at all events, what he must try to do.

For the officer who had arrested him he felt a good deal of contempt. While
it was true that orders had to be obeyed, there was no reason, Harry felt,
why the lieutenant should not have shown some discretion. An officer of the
regular army would have done so, he felt. But this man looked unintelligent
and stupid. Harry felt that he might safely rely on his appearance. And he
was right. The officer found himself in a quandary at once. His men were
mounted on cycles; Harry was on foot. And Harry saw that he didn't quite
know what to do.

Finally he cut the Gordian knot, as it seemed to him, by impounding a
bicycle from a passing wheel-man, who protested vigorously but in vain. All
he got for his cycle was a scrap of paper, stating that it had been
requisitioned for army use. And Harry was instructed to mount this machine
and ride along between two of the territorial soldiers. He had been hoping
for something like that, but had hardly dared to expect it. He had fully
made up his mind now to take all the risks he would run by trying to
escape. He could not get clear away, that much he knew. But now he, too,
like Graves, needed a little time. He did not mind being recaptured in a
short time if, in the meanwhile, he could be free to do what he wanted.

As to just how he would try to get away, he did not try to plan. He felt
that somewhere along the route some chance would present itself, and that
it would be better to trust to that than to make some plan. He was ordered
to the front of the squad--so that a better eye could be kept upon him, as
the lieutenant put it. Harry had irritated him by his attempts to cause a
change in the disposition of Graves and himself, and the officer gave the
impression now that he regarded Harry as a desperate criminal, already
tried and convicted.

Harry counted upon the traffic, sure to increase as it grew later, to give
him his chance. Something accidental, he knew, there must be, or he would
not be able to get away. And it was not long before his chance came. As
they crossed a wide street there was a sudden outburst of shouting. A
runaway horse, dragging a delivery cart, came rushing down on the squad,
and in a moment it was broken up and confused. Harry seized the chance. His
bicycle, by a lucky chance, was a high geared machine and before anyone
knew he had gone he had turned a corner. In a moment he threw himself off
the machine, dragged it into a shop, ran out, and in a moment dashed into
another shop, crowded with customers. And there for a moment, he stayed.
There was a hue and cry outside. He saw uniformed men, on bicycles, dashing
by. He even rushed to the door with the crowd in the shop to see what was
amiss! And, when the chase had passed, he walked out, very calmly, though
his heart was in his mouth, and quite unmolested got aboard a passing tram
car.

He was counting on the stupidity and lack of imagination of the
lieutenant, and his course was hardly as bold as it seems. As a matter of
fact it was his one chance to escape. He knew what the officer would
think--that, being in flight, he would try to get away as quickly as
possible from the scene of his escape. And so, by staying there, he was in
the one place where no one would think of looking for him!

On the tram car he was fairly safe. It happened, fortunately, that he had
plenty of money with him. And his first move, when he felt it was safe, was
to get off the tram and look for a cab. He found a taxicab in a short time,
one of those that had escaped requisition by the government, and in this he
drove to an outfitting shop, where he bought new clothes. He reasoned that
he would be looked for all over, and that if, instead of appearing as a Boy
Scout in character dress of the organization, he was in the ordinary
clothes, he would have a better chance. He managed the change easily, and
then felt that it was safe for him to try to get into communication with
Dick.

In this attempt luck was with him again. He called for the number of the
vicarage at Bray, only to find that the call was interrupted again at the
nearest telephone center. But this time he was asked to wait, and in a
moment he heard Jack Young's voice in his ear.

"We came over to explain about the wire's being cut," said Jack. "Dick's
all right. He's here with me. Where are you? We've got to see you just as
soon as we can."

"In London, but I'm coming down. I'm going to try to get a motor car, too.
I'm in a lot of trouble, Jack--it's Graves."

"Come on down. We'll walk out along the road toward London and meet you.
We've got a lot to tell you, but I'm afraid to talk about it over the
telephone."

"All right! I'll keep my eyes open for you."

Getting a motor car was not easy. A great many had been taken by the
government. But Harry remembered that one was owned by a business friend of
his father's, an American, and this, with some difficulty, he managed to
borrow. He was known as a careful driver. He had learned to drive his
father's car at home, and Mr. Armstrong knew it. And so, when Harry
explained that it was a matter of the greatest urgency, he got it--since he
had established a reputation for honor that made Mr. Armstrong understand
that when Harry said a thing was urgent, urgent it must be.

Getting out of London was easy. If a search was being made for him--and he
had no doubt that that was true--he found no evidence of it. His change of
clothes was probably what saved him, for it altered his appearance greatly.
So he came near to Bray, and finally met his two friends.



CHAPTER XVI

THE CIPHER


"What happened to you?" asked Jack and Dick in chorus.

Swiftly Harry explained. He told of his arrest as a spy and of his escape.
And when he mentioned the part that Ernest Graves had played in the affair,
Jack and Dick looked at one another.

"We were afraid of something like that," said Jack. "Harry, we've found out
a lot of things, and we don't know what they mean! We're sure something
dreadful is going to happen to-night. And we're sure, too, that Bray Park
is going to be the centre of the trouble."

"Tell me what you know," said Harry, crisply. "Then we'll put two and two
together. I say, Jack, we don't want to be seen, you know. Isn't there some
side road that doesn't lead anywhere, where I can run in with the car while
we talk?"

"Yes. There's a place about a quarter of a mile further on that will do
splendidly," he replied.

"All right. Lead the way! Tell me when we come to it. I've just thought of
something else I ought never to have forgotten. At least, I thought of it
when I took the things out of my pockets while I was changing my clothes."

They soon came to the turning Jack had thought of, and a run of a few
hundred yards took them entirely out of sight of the main road, and to a
place where they were able to feel fairly sure of not being molested.

Then they exchanged stories. Harry told his first. Then he heard of Dick's
escape, and of his meeting with Jack. He nodded at the story they had heard
from Gaffer Hodge.

"That accounts for how Graves knew," he said, with much satisfaction. "What
happened then?"

When he heard of how they had thought too late of calling Colonel
Throckmorton by telephone he sighed.

"If you'd only got that message through before Graves got in his work!" he
said. "He'd have had to believe you then, of course. How unlucky!"

"I know," said Jack. "We were frightfully sorry. And then we went out to
find where the wire was cut, and they got Dick. But I got away, and I
managed to stay fairly close to them. I followed them when they left Dick
in a little stone house, as a prisoner, and I heard this--I heard them
talking about getting a big supply of petrol. Now what on earth do they
want petrol for? They said there would still be plenty left for the
automobiles--and then that they wouldn't need the cars any more, anyhow!
What on earth do you make of that, Harry?"

"Tell me the rest, then I'll tell you what I think," said Harry. "How did
you get Dick out? And did you hear them saying anything that sounded as if
it might be useful, Dick?"

"That was fine work!" he said, when he had heard a description of Dick's
rescue. "Jack, you seem to be around every time one of us gets into trouble
and needs help!"

Then Dick told of the things he had overheard--the mysterious references to
Von Wedel and to things that were to be done to the barracks at Ealing and
Houndsditch. Harry got out a pencil and paper then, and made a careful note
of every name that Dick mentioned. Then he took a paper from his pocket.

"Remember this, Dick?" he asked. "It's the thing I spoke of that I forgot
until I came across it in my pocket this morning."

"What is it, Harry?"

"Don't you remember that we watched them heliographing some messages, and
put down the Morse signs? Here they are. Now the thing to do is to see if
we can't work out the meaning of the code. If it's a code that uses words
for phrases we're probably stuck, but I think it's more likely to depend on
inversions."

"What do you mean, Harry?" asked Jack. "I'm sorry I don't know anything
about codes and ciphers."

"Why, there are two main sorts of codes, Jack, and, of course, thousands of
variations of each of those principal kinds. In one kind the idea is to
save words--in telegraphing or cabling. So the things that are likely to be
said are represented by one word. For instance _Coal_, in a mining code,
might mean 'Struck vein at two hundred feet level.' In the other sort of
code, the letters are changed. That is done in all sorts of ways, and there
are various tricks. The way to get at nearly all of them is to find out
which letter or number or symbol is used most often, and to remember that
in an ordinary letter E will appear almost twice as often as any other
letter--in English, that is."

"But won't this be in German?"

"Yes. That's just why I wanted those names Dick heard. They are likely to
appear in any message that was sent. So, if we can find words that
correspond in length to those, we may be able to work it out. Here goes,
anyhow!"

For a long time Harry puzzled over the message. He transcribed the Morse
symbols first into English letters and found they made a hopeless and
confused jumble, as he had expected. The key of the letter E was useless,
as he had also expected. But finally, by making himself think in German,
he began to see a light ahead. And after an hour's hard work he gave a cry
of exultation.

"I believe I've got it!" he cried. "Listen and see if this doesn't sound
reasonable!"

"Go ahead!" said Jack and Dick, eagerly.

"Here it is," said Harry. "'Petrol just arranged. Supply on way. Reach Bray
Friday. Von Wedel may come. Red light markers arranged. Ealing Houndsditch
Buckingham Admiralty War Office. Closing.'"

They stared at him, mystified.

"I suppose it does make sense," said Dick. "But what on earth does it mean,
Harry?"

"Oh, can't you see?" cried Harry. "Von Wedel is a commander of some
sort--that's plain, isn't it? And he's to carry out a raid, destroying or
attacking the places that are mentioned! How can he do that? He can't be a
naval commander. He can't be going to lead troops, because we know they
can't land. Then how can he get here? And why should he need petrol?"

They stared at him blankly. Then, suddenly, Dick understood.

"He'll come through the air!" he cried.

"Yes, in one of their big Zeppelins!" said Harry. "I suppose she has been
cruising off the coast. She's served as a wireless relay station, too. The
plant here at Bray Park could reach her, and she could relay the messages
on across the North Sea, to Helgoland or Wilhelmshaven. She's waited until
everything was ready."

"That's what they mean by the red light markers, then?"

"Yes. They could be on the roofs of houses, and masked, so that they
wouldn't be seen except from overhead. They'd be in certain fixed
positions, and the men on the Zeppelins would be able to calculate their
aim, and drop their bombs so many degrees to the left or the right of the
red marking lights."

"But we've got aeroplanes flying about, haven't we?" said Jack. "Wouldn't
they see those lights and wonder about them?"

"Yes, if they were showing all the time. But you can depend on it that
these Germans have provided for all that. They will have arranged for the
Zeppelin to be above the positions, as near as they can guess them, at
certain times--and the lights will only be shown at those times, and then
only for a few seconds. Even if someone else sees them, you see, there
won't be time to do anything."

"You must be right, Harry!" said Jack, nervously. "There's no other way to
explain that message. How are we going to stop them?"

"I don't know yet, but we'll have to work out some way of doing it. It
would be terrible for us to know what had been planned and still not be
able to stop them! I wish I knew where Graves was. I'd like--"

He stopped, thinking hard.

"What good would that do?"

"Oh, I don't want him--not just now. But I don't want him to see me just at
present. I want to know where he is so that I can avoid him."

"Suppose I scout into Bray?" suggested Jack. "I can find out something that
might be useful, perhaps. If any of them from Bray Park have come into the
village to-day I'll hear about it."

"That's a good idea. Suppose you do that, Jack. I don't know just what I'll
do yet. But if I go away from here before you come back, Dick will stay.
I've got to think--there must be some way to beat them!"



CHAPTER XVII

A CAPTURE FROM THE SKIES


Jack went off to see what he could discover, and Harry, left behind with
Dick, racked his brain for some means of blocking the plan he was so sure
the Germans had made. He was furious at Graves, who had discredited him
with Colonel Throckmorton, as he believed. He minded the personal
unpleasantness involved far less than the thought that his usefulness was
blocked, for he felt that no information he might bring would be received
now.

As he looked around it seemed incredible that such things as he was trying
to prevent could even be imagined. After the early rain, the day had
cleared up warm and lovely, and it was now that most perfect of things, a
beautiful summer day in England. The little road they had taken was a sort
of blind alley. It had brought them to a meadow, whence the hay had already
been cut. At the far side of this ran a little brook, and all about them
were trees. Except for the calls of birds, and the ceaseless hum of
insects, there was no sound to break the stillness. It was a scene of
peaceful beauty that could not be surpassed anywhere in the world. And yet,
only a few miles away, at the most, were men who were planning deliberately
to bring death and destruction upon helpless enemies--to rain down death
from the skies.

By very contrast to the idyllic peace of all about them, the terrors of war
seemed more dreadful. That men who went to war should be killed and
wounded, bad though it was, still seemed legitimate. But this driving home
of an attack upon a city all unprepared, upon the many non-combatants who
would be bound to suffer, was another and more dreadful thing. Harry could
understand that it was war, that it was permissible to do what these
Germans planned. And yet--

His thoughts were interrupted by a sudden change in the quality of the
noisy silence that the insects made. Just before he noticed it, half a
dozen bees had been humming near him. Now he heard something that sounded
like the humming of a far vaster bee. Suddenly it stopped, and, as it did,
he looked up, his eyes as well as Dick's being drawn upward at the same
moment. And they saw, high above them, an aeroplane with dun colored wings.
Its engine had stopped and it was descending now in a beautiful series of
volplaning curves.

"Out of essence--he's got to come down," said Harry, appraisingly, to Dick.
"He'll manage it all right, too. He knows his business through and through,
that chap."

"I wonder where he'll land," speculated Dick.

"He's got to pick an open space, of course," said Harry. "And there aren't
so many of them around here. By Jove!"

"Look! He's certainly coming down fast!" exclaimed Dick.

"Yes--and, I say, I think he's heading for this meadow! Come on--start that
motor, Dick!"

"Why? Don't you want him to see us?"

"I don't mind him seeing us--I don't want him to see the car," explained
Harry. "We'll run it around that bend, out of sight from the meadow."

"Why shouldn't he see it?"

"Because if he's out of petrol he'll want to take all we've got and we may
not want him to have it. We don't know who he is, yet."

The car was moving as Harry explained. As soon as the meadow was out of
sight Harry stopped the engine and got out of the car.

"He may have seen it as he was coming down--the car, I mean," he said. "But
I doubt it. He's got other things to watch. That meadow for one--and all
his levers and his wheel. Guiding an aeroplane in a coast like that down
the air is no easy job."

"Have you ever been up, Harry?"

"Yes, often. I've never driven one myself, but I believe I could if I had
to. I've watched other people handle them so often that I know just about
everything that has to be done."

"That's an English monoplane. I've seen them ever so often," said Dick.
"It's an army machine, I mean. See its number? It's just coming in sight
of us now. Wouldn't I like to fly her though?"

"I'd like to know what it's doing around here," said Harry. "And it seems
funny to me if an English army aviator has started out without enough
petrol in his tank to see him through any flight he might be making. And
wouldn't he have headed for one of his supply stations as soon as he found
he was running short, instead of coming down in country like this?"

Dick stared at him.

"Do you think it's another spy?" he asked.

"I don't think anything about it yet, Dick. But I'm not going to be caught
napping. That's a Bleriot--and the British army flying corps uses Bleriots.
But anyone with the money can buy one and make it look like an English army
'plane. Remember that."

There was no mistake about that monoplane when it was once down. Its pilot
was German; he was unmistakably so. He had been flying very high and when
he landed he was still stiff from cold.

"Petrol!" he cried eagerly, as he saw the two boys. "Where can I get
petrol? Quick! Answer me!"

Harry shot a quick glance at Dick.

"Come on," he said, beneath his breath. "We've got to get him and tie him
up."

The aviator, cramped and stiffened as he was by the intense cold that
prevails in the high levels where he had been flying, was no match for
them. As they sprang at him his face took on the most ludicrous appearance
of utter surprise. Had he suspected that they would attack him he might
have drawn a pistol. As it was, he was helpless before the two boys, both
in the pink of condition and determined to capture him. He made a struggle,
but in two minutes he was lying roped, tied, and utterly helpless. He was
not silent; he breathed the most fearful threats as to what would happen to
them. But neither boy paid any attention to him.

"We've got to get him to the car," said Harry. "Can we drag him?"

"Yes. But if we loosened his feet a little, he could walk," suggested Dick.
"That would be ever so much easier for him, and for us, too. I should hate
to be dragged. Let's make him walk."

"Right--and a good idea!" said Harry. He loosened the ropes about the
aviator's feet, and helped him to stand.

"March!" he said. "Don't try to get away--I've got a leading rope, you
see."

He did have a loose end of rope, left over from a knot, and with this he
proceeded to lead the enraged German to the automobile. It looked for all
the world as if he were leading a dog, and for a moment Dick doubled up in
helpless laughter. The whole episode had its comic side, but it was
serious, too.

"Now we've got to draw off the gasoline in the tank in this bucket," said
Harry. The German had been bestowed in the tonneau, and made as comfortable
as possible with rugs and cushions. His feet were securely tied again, and
there was no chance for him to escape.

"What are you going to do?" asked Dick. "Are you going to try to fly in
that machine?"

"I don't know, yet. But I'm going to have it ready, so that I can if I
need to," said Harry. "That Bleriot may be the saving of us yet, Dick.
There's no telling what we shall have to do."

Even as he spoke Harry was making new plans, rendered possible by this gift
from the skies. He was beginning, at last, to see a way to circumvent the
Germans. What he had in mind was risky, certainly, and might prove perilous
in the extreme. But he did not let that aspect of the situation worry him.
His one concern was to foil the terrible plan that the Germans had made,
and he was willing to run any risk that would help him to do so.

"That Zeppelin is coming here to Bray Park--it's going to land here," said
Harry. "And if it ever gets away from here there will be no way of stopping
it from doing all the damage they have planned, or most of it. Thanks to
Graves, we wouldn't be believed if we told what we knew--we'd probably just
be put in the guard house. So we've got to try to stop it ourselves."

They had reached the Bleriot by that time. Harry filled the tank, and
looked at the motor. Then he sat in the driver's seat and practiced with
the levers, until he decided that he understood them thoroughly. And, as he
did this, he made his decision.

"I'm going into Bray Park to-night," he said. "This is the only way to get
in."

"And I'm going with you," announced Dick.



CHAPTER XVIII

VINDICATION


At first Harry refused absolutely to consent to Dick's accompanying him,
but after a long argument he was forced to yield.

"Why should you take all the risks when it isn't your own country,
especially?" asked Dick, almost sobbing. "I've got a right to go! And,
besides, you may need me."

That was true enough, as Harry realized. Moreover, he had been
investigating the Bleriot, and he discovered that it was one of a new
safety type, with a gyroscope device to insure stability. The day was
almost without wind, and therefore it seemed that if such an excursion
could ever be safe, this was the time. He consented in the end, and later
he was to be thankful that he had.

Once the decision was taken, they waited impatiently for the return of Jack
Young. Harry foresaw protests from Jack when he found out what they meant
to do, but for him there was an easy answer--there was room in the
aeroplane for only two people, and there was no way of carrying an extra
passenger.

It was nearly dusk when Jack returned, and he had the forethought to bring
a basket of food with him--cold chicken, bread and butter, and milk, as
well as some fruit.

"I didn't find out very much," he said, "except this. Someone from London
has been asking about you both. And this much more--at least a dozen people
have come down to Bray Park to-day from London."

"Did you see any sign of soldiers from London?"

"No," said Jack.

He was disappointed when he found out what they meant to do, but he took
his disappointment pluckily when he saw that there was no help for it.
Harry explained very quietly to both Jack and Dick what he meant to do and
they listened, open mouthed, with wonder.

"You'll have your part to play, Jack," said Harry. "Somehow I can't
believe that the letter I wrote to Colonel Throckmorton last night won't
have some effect. You have got to scout around in case anyone comes and
tell them all I've told you. You understand thoroughly, do you?"

"Yes," said Jack, quietly. "When are you going to start?"

"There's no use going up much before eleven o'clock," said Harry. "Before
that we'd be seen, and, besides, if a Zeppelin is coming, it wouldn't be
until after that. My plan is to scout to the east and try to pick her up
and watch her descend. I think I know just about where she'll land--the
only place where there's room for her. And then--"

He stopped, and the others nodded, grimly.

"I imagine she'll have about a hundred and twenty miles to travel in a
straight line--perhaps a little less," said Harry. "She can make that in
about two hours, or less. And she'll travel without lights, and in the
dark. Big as they are, those airships are painted so that they're almost
invisible from below. So if she comes by night, getting here won't be as
hard a job as it seems at first thought."

Then the three of them went over in every detail the plan Harry had formed.
Dick and Harry took their places in the monoplane and rehearsed every
movement they would have to make.

"I can't think of anything else that we can provide for now," said Harry,
at last. "Of course, we can't tell what will come up, and it would be
wonderful if everything came out just as we had planned. But we've provided
for everything we can think of. You know where you are to be, Jack?"

"Yes."

"Then you'd better start pretty soon. Good-bye, Jack!" He held out his
hand. "We could never have worked this out without you. If we succeed
you'll have had a big part in what we've done."

A little later Jack said good-bye in earnest, and then there was nothing to
do but wait. About them the voices of the insects and frogs changed, with
the darkening night. The stars came out, but the night was a dark one.
Harry looked at his watch from time to time and at last he got up.

"Time to start!" he said.

He felt a thrill of nervousness as the monoplane rose in the air. After
all, there was a difference between being the pilot and sitting still in
the car. But he managed very well, after a few anxious moments in the
ascent. And once they were clear of the trees and climbing swiftly, in
great spirals, there was a glorious sensation of freedom. Dick caught his
breath at first, then he got used to the queer motion, and cried aloud in
his delight.

Harry headed straight into the east when he felt that he was high enough.
And suddenly he gave a cry.

"Look!" he shouted in Dick's ear. "We didn't start a moment too soon. See
her--that great big cigar-shaped thing, dropping over there?"

It was the Zeppelin--the battleship of the air. She was dipping down,
descending gracefully, over Bray Park.

"I was right!" cried Harry. "Now we can go to work at once--we won't have
to land and wait!"

He rose still higher, then flew straight for Bray Park. They were high,
but, far below, with lights moving about her, they could see the huge bulk
of the airship, as long as a moderate sized ocean liner. She presented a
perfect target.

"Now!" said Harry.

And at once Dick began dropping projectiles they had found in the
aeroplane--sharply pointed shells of steel. Harry had examined these--he
found they were really solid steel shot, cast like modern rifle bullets,
and calculated to penetrate, even without explosive action, when dropped
from a height.

From the first two that Dick dropped there was no result. But with the
falling of the third a hissing sound came from below, and as Dick rapidly
dropped three more the noise increased. And they could see the lights
flying--plainly the men were running from the monster. Its bulk lessened as
the gas escaped from the great bag and then, in a moment more, there was a
terrific explosion that rocked the monoplane violently. Had Harry not been
ready for it, they might have been brought down.

But he had been prepared, and was flying away. Down below there was now a
great glare from the burning wreckage, lighting up the whole scene. And
suddenly there was a sharp breaking out of rifle fire. At first he thought
the men below had seen them, and were firing upward. But in a moment he saw
the truth. Bray Park had been attacked from outside!

Even before they reached the ground, in the meadow where Harry and Jack had
emerged from the tunnel, the firing was over. But now a search-light was
playing on the ground on the opposite bank, and Harry and Dick saw, to
their wonder and delight, that the ground swarmed with khaki-clad soldiers.
In the same moment Jack ran up to them.

"The soldiers had the place surrounded!" he cried, exultingly. "They must
have believed your letter after all, Harry! Come on--there's a boat here!
Aren't you coming over?"

They were rowing for the other shore before the words were well spoken.
And, once over, they were seized at once by two soldiers.

"More of them," said one of the soldiers. "Where's the colonel?"

Without trying to explain, they let themselves be taken to where Colonel
Throckmorton stood near the burning wreckage. At the sight of Harry his
face lighted up.

"What do you know about this?" he asked, sternly, pointing to the wrecked
airship.

Harry explained in a few words.

"Very good," said the colonel. "You are under arrest--you broke arrest this
morning. I suppose you know that is a serious offence, whether your
original arrest was justified or not?"

"I felt I had to do it, sir," said Harry. He had caught the glint of a
smile in the colonel's eyes.

"Explain yourself, sir," said the colonel. "Report fully as to your
movements to-day. Perhaps I shall recommend you for a medal instead of
court martialling you, after all."

And so the story came out, and Harry learned that the colonel had never
believed Graves, but had chosen to let him think he did.

"The boy Graves is a German, and older than he seems," said the colonel.
"He was here as a spy. He is in custody now, and you have broken up a
dangerous raid and a still more dangerous system of espionage. If you
hadn't come along with your aeroplane, we would never have stopped the
raid. I had ordered aviators to be here, but it is plain that something has
gone wrong. You have done more than well. I shall see to it that your
services are properly recognized. And now be off with you, and get some
sleep. You may report to me the day after to-morrow!"





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