Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Gypsies of the Air
Author: Moyer, Bess
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 "Gypsies of the Air" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Gypsies of the Air

By

Bess Moyer

The Girl Flyer Series

THE GOLDSMITH PUBLISHING COMPANY

CHICAGO



Copyright, 1932

The Goldsmith Publishing Company

Made in U. S. A.



CONTENTS

     I. The _Skybird_ Hops Off
    II. Thwarted Plans
   III. _Skybird_ to the Rescue
    IV. Plots and Counter-Plots
     V. Captives in the Old Fort
    VI. The Menacing Stranger
   VII. A Perilous Take-Off
  VIII. Happy Landing



CHAPTER I

The _Skybird_ Hops Off


With a loud sputtering roar, something like Terry Mapes’ own feelings
at that moment, _Skybird_, her little blue-and-gold airplane sprang
forward and taxied over the flying field, taking the air gracefully as
a leaping horse, under the guidance of its youthful pilot.

Terry Mapes was working off steam. Half angry, half frightened, the
girl knew that a flight in her plane was the quickest way to get hold
of her nerves and make her head clear for thinking what was to be
done.

“Those boys!” she muttered between close-pressed lips. “What’s
happened to them _now_? Starting out for a flight to Paris and not
even getting to Newfoundland!”

Over and over again that terrifying report, “Missing,” kept ringing in
her ears. Allan and Syd missing! She could picture a crack-up easily
for the two boys. While they knew how to handle their planes
skilfully, they were inclined to be reckless and were always taking
chances.

Pulling back on the stick, Terry sent the plane zooming, one thousand
feet, two thousand! Far beneath her she could see her father’s flying
field at Elmwood, and from that distance it looked as if the hangars
had been flattened against the ground. Beyond was the Sound, a broad
strip of water with what appeared to be toy boats on its glassy smooth
surface.

Far to the right were estates, wooded tracts of land, small towns and
villages connected by tiny thread-like highways to the large city in
the distance.

Terry loved to fly. She was never so happy as when she was zooming to
a lofty height. Her brown eyes were glowing, her ivory skin was
flushed to rose as she handled the controls of her little plane. Terry
claimed that the higher she flew above the earth, the better she could
think and plan. But today Terry’s brain was in a whirl. She could
think of a dozen different kinds of accidents, any one of which might
have happened to the boys.

Allan Graham and Syd Ames had started out on the first lap of their
transatlantic flight. They had been reported all along the route until
well over the Canadian border. Then they had disappeared, been
swallowed up.

And at Dick Mapes Flying Field, their friends anxiously awaited word.

Twelve hours overdue at Harbor Grace!

Then it was that Terry took her plane into the clouds to think out a
way to help. What could she do?

Her white face told how much she cared for those two young friends,
her father’s first student flyers. At the thought that there might be
two more names added to the long list of missing aviators, Terry’s
heart sank with fear. She could see Allan’s tall figure, his clear
blue eyes and his thatch of unruly blond hair. Terry never knew how
dear Allan was to her until that report had come, “Missing!” And Syd
Ames had been like a brother to her. She liked this boy with the
laughing brown eyes. His fun-loving disposition had saved them from
utter despair at times, when everything was going wrong. A groan
escaped Terry’s lips as she thought of these boys who might at that
very moment be lying crushed and needing help.

But Terry had not come aloft to moan over the imaginary fate of her
friends. She knew they must have had an accident or they would have
reached the airport long before this. They might be injured.

What could she do?

What would her father, Dick Mapes, have done if he had not been
crippled and left helpless by a fall in his plane, two years ago?

“Why Dad would go out and find them!” she exclaimed to herself. “And
that’s what I’ll do. I’ll go to Newfoundland and look for them.”

This decision was natural for the daughter of a flyer. And the idea
once fixed in her mind Terry did not waste time in further plans. She
put her plane into a fast dive. The girl found it hard to come down in
her usual way. She wanted to do reckless things. Take chances! But
Terry was well trained by her father. She took the long dive with open
throttle. She straightened out, banked and spiralled but not for a
second did she take a chance with her plane. She would need _Skybird_
to help her in her search.

As she headed toward the flying field she remembered with satisfaction
that she had just overhauled her plane the previous day. It seemed
that, even then, she must have known that it would be needed. As soon
as she put in a supply of gas and oil, it would be ready for the long
trip north.

Terry set her plane down neatly on the field in front of the hangar.
_Skybird_ settled down like a great seagull with outspread wings.
Stepping lightly over the cowling, Terry ran to the veranda of the
cottage adjoining the flying field where Dick Mapes sat in a wheel
chair. His face was deathly pale, stern and drawn with suffering. His
hands opened and then clutched at the arms of his chair, nervously.

“Dad, dear,” said Terry, quietly yet with determination in her voice.
“I’m starting out to find the boys.”

Dick Mapes looked into his daughter’s face. He seemed to be measuring
the girl, deciding whether she was equal to the task ahead of her.
What he saw assured him that Terry would not fail. He could trust her
not to take big chances. He held out his hand.

“When do you start?” he asked.

“Within an hour!” said Terry simply. “_Skybird_ is in shape, I’ve been
all over her!”

The father nodded his head. Between him and Terry there was no need
for many words. They understood each other.

“I wish to goodness Bud Hyslop hadn’t chosen this time to go off on a
vacation,” exploded Terry, her big brown eyes snapping. “When we want
that fellow around, he’s never here, and when we don’t want him he
sticks like a burr. He isn’t much good at any time but now he could
take care of the field while I’m away. I hate to leave you alone,
Dad.”

“Don’t worry about me, Terry.” Dick put out his hand and let it rest
for a moment on his daughter’s curly brown locks. “The boys’ safety is
more important than business. If they are in trouble, they’ll need us.
Why, oh why do I have to be tied to this chair when...!”

“Now Dad, just you thank your stars that you are getting well! Six
months ago it looked pretty hopeless. Now the doctor says that inside
of a year you can walk and be back in the flying game again. Think of
that, Dad! Won’t that be fine?”

“Yes, I know, Terry, but it’s hard to sit here, just a useless lump,
when Allan and Syd are out somewhere....”

“I’m on my way, Dad. I’ll find them somehow. Probably they have been
forced down with engine trouble. You know those boys are frightfully
reckless.”

“Yes, that’s what makes me so worried about them. I never could teach
them to be cautious. If it were you, Terry, I would feel almost
certain that you’d find a way out of your trouble.”

“Thanks, Dad!” The girl stooped and kissed her father tenderly. Then
with a smile she ran into the house.

While Dick assented to Terry’s plan with very few words, her mother
wanted long explanations. Where and how was Terry to carry out her
plans? What would she do if she found the boys injured? How would she
get them home?

“I don’t know yet,” replied Terry. “Ask Dad, he’ll explain
everything!” Terry hurried to the stairway and called, “Prim, come
here. Get into your flying togs. Pack food and water and the first-aid
outfit. We are going to find Allan and Syd and they may be in bad
shape.”

Terry delivered orders like a general and Prim, her twin sister obeyed
like a private in the ranks. She did not stop to ask questions.
Terry’s commands were always important—or interesting.

The two girls were opposites. Terry was tall for her age, slightly
built, high-strung and nervous, while Prim was inclined to be plump
and rosy. Her blond hair was cut short to her head. She had none of
the fire of Terry’s disposition. She sort of balanced her sister’s
temper, for Prim was easy-going, practical and diplomatic. She could
get along with any one, while Terry with her quick tongue was always
getting into trouble and making enemies. The two sisters were chums.
They loved to be together. They liked to do the same things, and while
Prim would never make the expert flier her sister was, she enjoyed the
sport and was always ready to follow Terry’s lead.

Terry’s decision to go north and hunt for the boys did not come as a
surprise to Prim. She had been half expecting it. Her whole heart was
crying out with the need to do something for these boys whom they
loved, and now she wondered why Terry had not thought of it at once.

Prim needed no instructions regarding her part of the work to be done.
A thermos bottle of hot coffee, bandages and food were packed into the
plane, then Prim ran to get into her flying outfit. It was a jaunty
flying suit, a white fleece-lined jacket, and baggy breeches, high
white boots and helmet to match. Prim was fond of dress and her white
togs were always in order. Terry had chosen a more practical outfit of
brown leather. It was trim and smart and Terry carried it well. She
had style.

Terry had left the details of supplies to Prim, knowing that her
sister’s part would be done well. She hurriedly examined her plane,
looked over the instrument board to see that everything was in order,
tested the engine, took on a supply of gas and oil and in less than an
hour was all set and ready to go.

Alice Mapes could never see her two daughters take-off without a
feeling of dread. She had none of the confidence of the flyer.
Although she had flown with her husband ever since her marriage she
could never be persuaded to take the controls herself and learn to
fly.

“I’m just an old-fashioned housewife and why try to make me into
anything else?” she pleaded with Dick when he tried to urge her. The
fearlessness of her modern daughters frightened her. She was always
afraid when she was in the air, much preferring to stay on the ground.

Terry saw her look of anxiety now.

“Come on, Mother. Send us away with a smile. I know you’re going to
wish us luck, but we need your confidence as well. We’re perfectly
safe. And remember, if there is any message for us, telegraph to
Harbor Grace.”

With a smile and a wave of her hand, Terry stepped into the plane.
Prim spun the propellor and the motor roared. With a bound Prim jumped
into the rear cockpit.

_Skybird_ headed into the wind as she taxied along the field and
Terry, pulling back gently on the stick, sent the little plane into
the air. She circled the field twice for goodbye, then she began to
climb and took her course northward.

Alice Mapes slipped into the chair beside her husband. Her face was
white. Her hands were trembling.

“Do you suppose it’s all right for them to go?” the mother asked, her
voice husky with anxiety.

“I’d trust Terry anywhere in a plane,” Dick Mapes answered
confidently. “And if anyone can find the boys, she can.”

Long after _Skybird_ had disappeared, Alice and Dick Mapes sat gazing
into the clouds, as if they could follow their daughters all the way
to their journey’s end.

Dick was calm and hopeful and patted his wife’s hand reassuringly as
she voiced her fears.

If the father could have foreseen the danger and treachery that was
awaiting the girls, he might not have been so serenely confident of
their success.



CHAPTER II

Thwarted Plans


Dick Mapes had started in as a flyer when the game was new. For years
he had been an air mail pilot and then had established a field of his
own for training and commercial flying.

The Dick Mapes Flying Field began with great promise, for Dick was
acknowledged to be one of the best aviators in the country and people
had confidence in him.

At first Dick had been terribly disappointed that he had no son to
follow him in his glorious profession. But on Christmas when Terry and
Prim were three years old, Alice had given them each a rosy-cheeked
doll while Dick had presented them with toy airplanes. Terry took one
look at the doll and thrust it aside carelessly, but the airplane she
hugged in her tiny arms, and squealed with delight. The less
demonstrative Prim calmly laid aside the plane and rocking back and
forth sang a lullaby to her doll.

“Terry’s a chip off the old block,” said Alice with a laugh. “You’ll
be trying to make a flyer out of her.”

“That’s an idea!” replied Dick as he watched the child intently.
“There’s a great future for women flyers, I’m sure of it.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Dick Mapes! I was only saying that in fun. One
flyer in the Mapes family is plenty. Besides women will soon get tired
of this dangerous sport.”

“Don’t be too sure of that, Alice. I’d like to have Terry learn to fly
and know all there is to know about airplanes. That is if she takes to
it.”

And Terry really started her training the next day. Dick put her into
his big plane and placed her tiny hands on the controls. Although the
motor was still, the child screamed with delight and pulling back on
the stick cried, “Up, up!”

Dick hugged her to him. “You’ve got a great life ahead of you, little
daughter,” he said. “That’s right, you _are_ a chip off the old block.
You’re like your Dad, you’re a born flyer.” And from that time on,
Terry played in Dick’s big airplane whenever her father could spare
the time necessary to watch her play.

Prim was her mother’s girl, more home-loving, and not nearly so full
of spirit.

“We’ll make a flyer of her, too,” declared Dick, not wanting to be
partial. “But I doubt if she’ll take to it the way Terry does. I think
Terry has a talent for flying.”

Alice laughed heartily at this joke, for how could Dick tell at that
age whether Terry would be able to fly a plane or not?

But Dick was right. As the girls grew older, Terry took to flying as a
duck takes to the water, but with Prim it was always hard work and
while she had done the necessary solo flying to entitle her to a
pilot’s license, Dick was never quite sure of her. She did not love
flying as Terry did. She had an indifference to things that frightened
him.

But to Terry it was the breath of life. She had the air sense which
her twin sister lacked.

At sixteen Terry not only was an expert flyer but was a good mechanic
as well. And in the venture of the flying field, Dick called her his
“right hand man” and declared that she could do more work and
understood more about planes than Bud Hyslop, his helper.

Allan Graham and Syd Ames had been Dick’s first student flyers. And
for that reason he felt as if they belonged to him. Syd was an orphan,
the son of a flying buddy of Dick’s, and the boy spent most of his
time in the Mapes household.

Allan was the son of a wealthy business man and the boy had persuaded
his father to back Dick financially. Bennett Graham only half believed
in the plan. He didn’t like flying and he wished with all his heart
that Allan would choose some other profession. He even blamed Dick
Mapes for encouraging the boy to continue against his will.

However Allan, this sturdy, broad shouldered youth, usually got his
own way. And what he wanted now from his father was a partnership in
the Dick Mapes Flying Field.

Dick had secured an option on a large tract of land belonging to Peter
Langley, a strange old man, who lived at his small silver mine in
Peru. He had given little thought to this strip of land that he owned,
for it had been considered waste until the airplane brought about a
new use for it.

With the option settled, Bennett Graham finally put up money for
transport planes and agreed to stand back of Dick’s venture until
success was certain.

As Dick had been a lucky pilot, he had no difficulty in getting
contracts for his airplane transportation service. Everything looked
good. Success was certain.

Then had come the crash!

Dick had gone over his plane thoroughly before starting out on an
important trip. The plane was in order, the engine running true. Then
half an hour later Dick had crashed.

At the hospital his wife and daughters looked on his still form and
were given no hope of his recovery. “And if he lives, he’ll be a
cripple for the rest of his life,” the doctors had predicted. “A wheel
chair is all he can hope for.”

“Pray, Allan, pray that Dad will die,” Terry whispered with a sob as
Allan put his arm tenderly about her. “Death would be better, far
better, than a broken body. He mustn’t live! I could never bear to see
Dad in a wheel chair!”

Allan caught her meaning. He could understand. A flyer who had piloted
a plane through the sky, had shot up above the clouds and been alone
in the heavens, would never be happy in a wheel chair. Looking down at
the death-like face of his friend, Dick Mapes, Allan too prayed that
he might die.

But Dick Mapes did not die. His recovery was like a miracle, so the
doctors said, and while he stormed at the wheel chair, even that was
only to be for a little while. A famous specialist gave him promise of
being able to walk and get back to flying within a few years.

Allan Graham and Syd Ames carried on the business as well as they
could, but new contracts did not come as rapidly as when Dick was in
charge.

Then, for some reason, after the accident, Bennett Graham suddenly
lost what little enthusiasm he had and refused any further help, even
intimated that he wanted to withdraw his offer of standing behind
Dick’s field.

Allan pleaded with his father. But it was no use. Then the father, in
his turn, tried to persuade the son to leave the Mapes Field.

“Break loose and I’ll start you in a field of your own,” promised the
father. “You’ve nothing to gain by sticking to Dick. He’s down and
out, a failure, a cripple, and it’s my opinion that he’ll never be any
better.”

“No!” answered Allan. “I couldn’t break away now. Anyway I want to
work with him. I want to make the field a success. I’m his partner.”

“If you want a partnership, why not go in with a promising young
business man like Joe Arnold whose field is next to Dick’s?” suggested
Bennett Graham. “Arnold’s a good flyer and all he needs is more room
out there.”

Allan snorted in disgust. “Joe Arnold! I hate that fellow! He’s not a
square-shooter. No one on our field has any respect for him.”

“That’s jealousy. It’s well known that Joe Arnold is making a lot of
money and will be a big man in the aviation field some day. Think it
over and don’t let a big opportunity like this slip by. If you decide
to go in with Joe Arnold I’ll back you for any amount you need, but I
have no more faith in Dick Mapes.”

Allan thought over his father’s refusal for a long time then went
straight to the point.

“What’s the matter with Dick Mapes? What have you got against him? You
seem to have no confidence in him.”

“That’s right, son. I have lost faith in him. I’ve had some very
unfavorable reports about him.”

“What have you heard?” Allan demanded. “It’s only fair to tell me.”

“It’s something serious, you may be sure, or I would never take the
stand I do. But at the present time I do not care to say what it is.
Enough for you to know is that he is incompetent.”

“That’s nonsense. Father. You know that his record in the air service
has been almost perfect. This is the first serious accident. And it’s
the first plane he ever crashed since he got his license.”

But even Allan could not deny that since Dick had established his
field one thing after another had happened that might have come from
carelessness. There had been minor accidents, forced landings with
engine trouble that had delayed delivery of goods. A plane had burned
on the field under suspicious circumstances.

Bennett Graham reminded the boy of these mishaps.

“But you know well enough that it was not from any carelessness of
Dick’s that the plane was burned,” retorted Allan.

“Why wasn’t it? How do you explain the matter? You said yourself the
circumstances were suspicious. How do you clear Dick of
responsibility?” asked his father.

“Dick had nothing whatever to do with that fire. And if he’d listen to
me and discharge Bud Hyslop, that good-for-nothing mechanic he has,
there wouldn’t be so many accidents. I’m certain of that.”

“I’ve also made inquiries about young Hyslop,” returned the father.
“He’s a rough chap but I’ve heard nothing against him. It looks as if
your friend Mapes was the incompetent one.”

“I know one thing,” declared Allan excitedly. “If I were the boss out
there, I’d fire Bud. He’s always making trouble. I’m half afraid of
what he may do next.” Allan stormed out of the room, angry and
disappointed. The boy could not bear to have his friend Dick
criticized, especially now that he was down and out and needed him.
Dick was the best hearted man in the world and a real pal to all boys.
That accounted for his unwillingness to let Bud Hyslop go. He kept
hoping that with kindness the boy could be persuaded to do his work
properly.

Terry and Prim had never cared for Bud Hyslop and it was due to Bud
that Terry had become the expert mechanic she was.

“Women haven’t any business around an airplane,” Bud had told Terry
the first day he had come on the field. “The kitchen is where they
belong, and they should be made to stay there. And if they _must_ fly,
let them do their own repair work. That’s what I say, and I’ll stick
to it.”

And stick to it he did, which made Terry take up the challenge and
getting into cover-alls, which were soon well daubed with grease, she
mastered every detail of her plane. And she loved the work. This was
in the days when she had flown one of Dick’s planes to which they had
given the name of _The Crate_. It was an old model, patched and
re-patched, but Dick declared that it was still a fine craft.

Terry and Prim had liked _The Crate_. It was an old friend. But they
were the proudest girls in Elmwood when their father presented them
with _Skybird_, the little blue-and-gold monoplane, a tiny amphibian.
This gift was a reward of merit. Dick had been criticized for allowing
his daughters to spend so much time on learning to fly, so he had
talked it over with the girls and promised them that if they led their
class in at least two subjects and graduated with honors they were to
have a plane of their own, and would be allowed to take out their
pilot licenses.

The girls buckled down to work and made good. Terry led in three
subjects and Prim was a close second.

Their knowledge of planes stood them in good stead. After Dick’s
accident when contracts did not come, Terry took matters into her own
hands and advertised for women flying students. Dick from his wheel
chair directed the lessons and Terry demonstrated and took them up for
flying instruction. This had come to be their chief source of income.

Allan Graham decided that he would make a record by flying the
Atlantic and in this way bring distinction to Dick’s training school.
And as a famous flyer, he would be able to draw down big contracts for
the field.

Terry liked to teach others to fly but she had higher ambitions than
that for herself. She longed to take that flight across the ocean, and
there had been a secret struggle as to whether she would start out on
her own or remain with her father in his misfortune.

It was hard to give up all the time. She also had the feeling that she
could make more money by getting out and doing something to bring her
fame quickly.

It was with a bitter heart that she listened to Allan and Syd when
they announced their intention to make the flight to Paris. Terry
hastened to her room to fight it out with her rebellious heart. Why
was it that Allan Graham always got everything he wanted? He and Syd
both were lucky. All they had to do was desire a thing and the way was
smoothed out for them to get exactly what they wanted, while she only
had to wish and all the powers in the world combined to keep her from
getting it, or at least so she thought.

“I always have bad breaks! I’m out of luck! Everything is against me!”
she declared one day.

Yet when Allan and Syd leaped into their plane, _The Comet_, ready to
start out for their great adventure, Terry bade them goodbye with a
smile. Not for worlds would she show anyone how much she wanted to go.
And she was especially careful not to let her father get any hint of
her disappointment.

Only Prim, her twin sister, guessed at the truth. She was close to
Terry in thought, and understood. Slipping her hand in her sister’s,
she said:

“Someday Terry, we’ll take that little jump together!” The forced
smile left Terry’s face and tears started to her eyes but only for a
second. Then she shouted as she waved her hand toward _The Comet_:

“Good luck and happy landing!”



CHAPTER III

_Skybird_ to the Rescue


High up near the clouds Terry kept her plane at top speed. Now that
she was on her way to find Allan and Syd most of her nervousness left
her. She was hopeful. She even expected to hear when she made her
first stop for gas and oil, that the boys had been reported.

But in this she was disappointed. “Still missing!” said the manager of
the field. “Nothing’s been heard of them, and now I guess nothing
will. They’ve disappeared. They’ve crashed!”

Terry’s heart sank. She looked at Prim, whose anxious face was turned
away to hide her feelings.

“Don’t let us give up, Prim,” said Terry in a low voice. “It isn’t as
if they were forced down away out at sea. I wouldn’t be a bit
surprised if they had engine trouble and came down in the woods a
hundred miles from a telegraph office.”

“Of course, I know,” replied Prim. “They’re probably safe enough. I do
wish they had a radio on their plane. In my heart I feel as if nothing
_could_ happen to Allan and Syd.” Prim’s comforting words brought a
smile to Terry’s face.

“All right, let’s go!” she said impulsively. “We’ll find them.”

As Terry climbed once more into the air, sending her plane zooming for
a high altitude, she thought of her own hopes. How different this trip
to Harbor Grace was from the one she had mapped out for herself.
Instead of a triumphant, adventurous flight that might bring her fame,
she was simply out scouting to find her friends. Always duty stood in
her way. She allowed her mind to play with the idea that she and Prim
were on their way to Europe, she yearned for the applause of the crowd
that would welcome her back to her own country.

Above the rugged wilds of Canada, Terry brought her plane lower and
Prim kept her eyes strained toward the ground, hoping to see the
stranded _Comet_. But there was no sign of a plane. Flying low over a
vast forest, Terry circled back and forth, fearing to see a tangled
mass of wings in the tree tops.

“Let’s go on to Harbor Grace. Perhaps there is word from them now,”
cried Prim through the earphones.

Far below them now was the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It was hardly likely
that the boys had been forced down there. They would certainly have
been sighted and picked up by a passing steamer. Yet Prim watched the
water for any sight of the wreck.

Straight over the vast waste land of Newfoundland Terry kept her plane
headed toward the distant airport. Great stretches of uninhabited
country spread out below them, marshes, forests and rocky hills.

“Look Terry! Is that a plane? Down there in that rocky field?”

Terry made a steep dive. She circled and banked over the rugged land.
“I see it. It is a plane! Oh Prim, I do believe we’ve found the boys!”
From the air they could not be sure whether anyone was near the plane.
Terry circled low to find a safe landing place. As she shut off the
motor for a landing, the plane bounced and jumped over the uneven
ground, threatening to tear the wheels off. But as soon as it stopped
the two girls sprang from the cockpits and ran toward the stranded
plane, frightened at what they might find.

Prim was ahead and let out a sharp cry.

“Oh, what is it, Prim? What’s the matter?”

Then Terry stood speechless, for the plane beside them was _The
Crate_, her father’s old air craft which Bud Hyslop had borrowed for
his trip to Florida. Yet Bud was nowhere to be seen.

What did it mean?

“What’s _The Crate_ doing up here when Bud went south with it?”
exclaimed Terry indignantly.

“Perhaps Bud came up to find the boys, the same as we did,” said Prim,
but the girl did not believe her own words. Both of them were well
aware that Bud hated the boys, they knew that he had done them many a
bad turn. And there was no likelihood that he had flown from Florida
in the time since the boys were reported missing.

“What’s the answer?” asked Terry.

“Let’s find Bud Hyslop and ask _him_ that question,” replied Prim.

Terry made a quick examination of _The Crate_. There was plenty of gas
and oil. There was no leak in the fuel tank. Terry got into the plane,
and Prim turned the propellor. The engine roared. It was working
perfectly.

Terry shut it off and remarked with a shrug, “Well, one thing is
certain. Bud wasn’t forced down with engine trouble. It’s my opinion
that he’s up here on some mischief.”

“Terry,” said Prim quietly, “I don’t think any more of Bud Hyslop than
you do. But we oughtn’t to accuse him before we are certain and I
don’t believe he’d harm the boys in any way.”

“I’m not so sure, even about that. But what’s he doing up here when he
said he was going to Florida?”

“I don’t know, Terry. Don’t let us waste time by standing here
thinking mean thoughts about Bud Hyslop. We’ll never find the boys
that way.”

“You’re right, Prim. Only I’m mad clear through! Come on!” The girls
climbed into the plane. There was a brisk wind blowing and Terry
headed into it for a quick take-off. _Skybird_ bumped over the rocky
field, then with a flirt of the tail, the little plane cleared the
boulders and nosed upward.

Terry and Prim looked around them for landmarks in order to locate the
position of _The Crate_ when they wanted it. She judged it was a mile
back from the rocky shore line of the island. A great cliff rose like
a castle. Stretching out from the summit was a broad plateau. At its
base was a collection of fishermen’s huts. Consulting her map, Terry
decided that Harbor Grace was twenty miles away. She took a straight
course and half an hour later put her plane down on the field in a
perfect three-point landing.

Before the girl could step from the cockpit a mechanic came toward
her.

“Are you Terry Mapes?” he asked. “There’s a telegram here for you.
Please call at the office!”

Terry and Prim ran toward the office of the airport. “They’re safe!
I’m sure of it! I could scream with joy!” said Terry.

Tearing open the telegram she read:

    THE BOYS HAVE BEEN KIDNAPPED FOR LARGE RANSOM.
    TROUBLE HERE. COME.
                                                      ALICE MAPES.

“Kidnapped! Now we understand! Bud Hyslop is at the bottom of this
business, you can be sure of that,” stormed Terry, as she made her way
back to the plane.

“But what does mother mean by ‘trouble here. Come’?” asked Prim. “Do
you suppose Dad is sick? Maybe we’d better start home right away,
Terry.”

“If Dad were sick, Mother wouldn’t just say, ‘trouble here,’ she’d say
very decidedly, ‘Your father ill, come at once!’”

Prim laughed and the nerve tension relaxed. “I guess you’re right,
Terry. She wouldn’t beat about the bush where Dad is concerned. Then
what does she mean? What can be wrong?”

But neither of the girls foresaw that their father would be suspected
of the kidnapping and that their absence from home would be taken as a
sign that they were mixed up in the plot.

When Bennett Graham received a ransom note, telling him that his son
had been kidnapped and demanding the sum of fifty thousand dollars,
the man was almost beside himself with anxiety. Threats were made
against the two boys and Graham was making arrangements to have the
sum paid over. Then he received a mysterious telephone message which
hinted that Dick Mapes and his daughter, Terry, were responsible for
the kidnapping. He was told that Dick Mapes was in with a gang of
criminals and that they would stop at nothing.

It was well known that Dick was having a hard time financially, that
his doctor bills had taken every cent he possessed and that he needed
money desperately at this particular time. To Allan’s father this
seemed motive enough for the kidnapping.

Bennett Graham snapped the receiver of his telephone into place and
without waiting to think things over calmly he raced his car toward
the Dick Mapes Flying Field.

Here he found Dick in his wheel chair and before the cripple could
speak, Allan’s father burst out with a storm of abuse.

“Where is my son? You kidnapper!”

Dick stared at the man for a full minute before he could realize that
Bennett Graham was accusing him.

“_I_ kidnap Allan and Syd? Why, what are you talking about? Have you
lost your reason?”

Suddenly Bennett Graham became calm. “Dick Mapes, you may as well own
up. Of course I know you couldn’t go out and kidnap the boy yourself.
But your gang!”

“My gang! The only gang I have is your son and his friend Syd Ames.
They are good boys and I’m proud of them. No one feels worse about
this matter than I do.”

“What is your price, Dick Mapes? What do you want? Is this your way of
getting even with me for withdrawing my support from your field?”

As Dick did not answer, the man went on, “I’ve been hearing about you
from different sources. I’m on to you, and you must know it. Now tell
me where the boy is! I’ll pay you. Yes, even the fifty thousand
dollars, if you return him safely.”

“I don’t want your money that way, Bennett Graham! And if I knew where
Allan was, I’d tell you.”

“Where’s Terry?” demanded Graham. “She knows all about this deal. She
thinks that fifty thousand dollars will finance the field here!”

“Stop! Not another word! Terry and Prim went north to try to find your
son and Syd Ames. They started before they heard that the boys had
been kidnapped.”

“Listen here, Mapes, for the last time I ask you to bring back my boy.
I’ve been told that Terry and Syd Ames are both in this scheme to get
money out of me. Don’t force me to have you arrested.” The old man
rose to his feet walked up and down excitedly then came and stood over
Dick’s chair.

“Where is Terry, I ask again?”

“I told you all I know. The girls started out for Harbor Grace. We are
expecting word from them any time now.”

Suddenly the man turned to Dick. “If I give you the money will you
bring Allan back safely? Can you be sure that your gang will not kill
him?”

Dick’s eyes flashed with anger.

“Listen to me, Bennett Graham,” he finally said. “If I could get up
from this chair you would never dare to talk to me like this. I say
again, I do not know where your son is. Tell me exactly what you have
heard about me. Who has been talking? I must know.”

But Bennett Graham was too agitated to be reasonable. His eyes flashed
angrily. Rising he strode without another word to his car. His lips
were set in firm determination. If Dick Mapes would not talk, then the
law must take its course.

“He’s hard hit, poor man,” said Alice Mapes, coming on to the veranda
in time to see Bennett Graham leave. “But you’d think by the way he
glared at us that he thinks _we_ kidnapped the boys.”

“That’s just what he thinks, Alice,” said Dick. “He accused me to my
face of kidnapping Allan for ransom money. Fifty thousand dollars!”

Alice Mapes stood for a moment, as if in a trance. She could hardly
believe Dick’s statement. Then she burst into an hysterical laugh.

“Of all the ridiculous things I’ve ever heard, this is the limit!
_You_ a kidnapper! That’s a joke!”

“I’m afraid it’s not a joke, Alice,” replied Dick. “Bennett Graham
seems determined to ruin me. Ever since my accident he is like a
stranger. One would think that he was my worst enemy.”

“Then let’s not have anything more to do with the man,” Alice
exclaimed angrily.

“That’s easier said than done, my dear. He has threatened to have me
arrested.”

“Let him try and see what will happen!” stormed the woman. And an hour
later she had sent the telegram to Terry demanding that she return.

And Terry and Prim, reading it through in Harbor Grace and knowing
what they did about Bud Hyslop, decided that they must stay on. Bud
was a treacherous enemy. They might have trouble, but when the lives
of Allan Graham and Syd Ames were at stake, they had no choice. They
had to see it through.

Terry’s answer to her mother’s telegram was flippantly worded in an
effort to cheer her up.

    EVERYTHING JAKE HERE. HAPPY OUTCOME OF TRIP EXPECTED. TERRY.

Little did the girl realize that the foolish message was to be taken
as an acknowledgment of guilt and would bring still further suspicion
and suffering upon her father.



CHAPTER IV

Plots and Counter-Plots


After a wakeful night in Harbor Grace the girls arose for an early
start. It was scarcely dawn when Terry and Prim took off from the
airport and headed toward the big rock from which point they could see
_The Crate_. They had no doubt in their minds that Bud Hyslop was
responsible for the disappearance of Allan and Syd. They must find Bud
and make him talk.

No one had seen or heard of him at Harbor Grace. Where was he hiding?
The girls decided to keep watch.

“He’s apt to come back to _The Crate_,” said Prim.

“I’m not so sure of that,” answered Terry. “If he has _The Comet_,
he’s not particular what happens to the old plane. What I’d like to
know is, what did he do with the boys?”

Terry kept the plane at high speed. Suddenly she looked around. “The
fog, Prim. Look at that great mountain of fog behind us.”

“What will we do, Terry?” asked Prim.

“Nothing to do but run,” said Terry with a shrug. “We’ll put _Skybird_
down on the plateau by the big rock.”

“Can’t we get back to Harbor Grace?” asked Prim anxiously.

But Terry was already circling for a landing and did not answer her
sister. The little plane bumped over the rocky surface and then stood
still. With the motor stopped, Terry turned to her sister.

“I had to come down, it’s not safe to fly in this fog! And as you see,
there wasn’t a chance of getting back to the airport. It’s like a
thick blanket in that direction.”

“And it’s closing in on us. There’s nothing to do but make the best of
it here,” answered the easy-going Prim. “But we may freeze to death.
This fog is like an icy wind, it goes clear through you.”

Terry walked up and down to get warm, as the fog pierced her thick
coat.

“How long will it last, Terry?” asked Prim. “This is terrible!”

“There’s no telling. This Newfoundland fog often hangs around for
days,” replied her sister.

“That’s a cheerful prospect,” said Prim dolefully. “In that case we’d
better make our way to that little fishing village. It’s near this
rock. At least it looked that way from the plane.”

But Terry interrupted. “No, let’s stick it out as long as we can by
ourselves. I don’t like to mix with people.”

“You’d better get over that idea, Terry Mapes. What’s the matter with
you anyway, why don’t you like everybody the way I do? And let me tell
you one thing right now. We may have to go down there to find out
about Allan and Syd—or we may find Bud Hyslop there. There’s no
telling. So don’t you put on that superior air.”

“I won’t Prim, truly, I won’t. I guess it’s more bashfulness than
anything else. I really like people but I never know what to say to
them,” responded Terry.

“Then think up a good line of talk right now, and make it nice and
friendly. We don’t want any more enemies. Bud’s plenty!”

The practical Prim was already looking about the plateau for a
suitable place to build a fire.

“Go get some dry twigs, Terry!” she said.

“Where will I find anything dry in this fog? Why not use the alcohol
stove?” asked Terry.

“We’d better save that. You don’t know how long we’ll have to stay out
here and in another hour things will be still wetter. You can hardly
see _Skybird_ now, the fog is so thick.”

Terry scrambled around the rocks, digging into crevices for dry roots
and twigs. Prim broke them into tiny bits and made a neat little pile.

“Some fire!” teased Terry. “Just big enough to heat something in a
spoon.”

“You needn’t laugh, Terry Mapes! You know well enough I’m a champion
fire builder and I say that the smaller your fire is, the better. You
only want blaze enough to cover the bottom of your kettle. If it comes
out beyond that it’s apt to make your food smoky.”

“All right, have it your own way,” said Terry with a laugh. “I leave
it all to you. Just as long as you don’t ask me to cook, I’ll let you
do anything you want to do. Here’s the tin egg box.”

Soon the smell of bacon and eggs made them ravenous. They found a
shelter under a wind-stunted tree and spread out their meal.

“Isn’t it delicious!” exclaimed Prim. “I don’t believe food is as good
when cooked over a gas fire. I’m sure I never tasted anything like
these fried eggs.”

“No need to ask me if I enjoy them. Just watch my speed,” returned
Terry, buttering a slice of bread. “That’s one nice thing about
aviators, they never pick over their food. They’re always hungry!”

At that moment the crackling of brush was heard below the cliff. Prim
grabbed Terry’s arm.

“Oh what is it, Terry? I’m frightened. Maybe it’s a wild animal!”

“Hush, Prim. Keep still. It’s a man.”

“Then hide and he won’t see us,” whispered Prim.

“We can’t hide _Skybird_. I’m not afraid,” replied Terry as she rose
to her feet just as the dim figure of a man came up the trail to the
summit. The girl took a few steps toward the intruder.

“Who’s there?” she demanded sternly.

The next moment she stood face to face with Bud Hyslop.

Bud stared as if he were seeing ghosts, then he demanded with an angry
glare, “What are you doing here, Terry Mapes? What brought you to
Newfoundland?”

“I might ask _you_ the same question, Bud Hyslop,” replied Terry,
flaring with anger.

But the sensible Prim came to the rescue. “Why, we came up to find
Allan and Syd. They’re missing. They must have been forced down on the
island.”

“Then we’re on the same errand,” replied Bud. “I started to go to
Florida but was delayed, so when the word came that the boys were
missing, I just turned around and came on up here to help find them.
I’ve scoured the country everywhere for them. But they’re gone!
Disappeared without any clue.”

Terry watched Bud. She was almost certain that the boy was not telling
the truth. She felt sure that he knew the whereabouts of Allan and
Syd.

But the story he told half convinced Prim. “Maybe he _is_ telling the
truth, Terry,” she whispered at the first opportunity. “Maybe his
intentions are good.”

“Good intentions!” stormed Terry in a low voice. “I wouldn’t trust
that fellow as far as I could see him.”

Bud was talking once more. “You haven’t a chance of getting back to
Harbor Grace today in this fog. You’d better come down to Jim Heron’s
place where you can keep warm and get something to eat.”

“We’ve had our breakfast,” answered Terry, her head high, her nose in
the air.

Prim gave her a dig with her elbow. Terry understood and when her
sister agreed to the plan, Terry followed without a word. “Prim is
always so sensible,” thought Terry. “Whatever would I do without her?
She’s my balance wheel.”

“It’s warm there and it’s only a few hundred feet down the cliffside
by the shore,” said Bud as he led the way.

Terry and Prim scrambled down the trail to the narrow inlet called
Fish Cove, where rude shelters had been put up to house the fishermen
and their families. A sickening odor of salted fish came to them long
before they could see the houses in the sheltered canyon.

Bud took the girls by a round-about trail leading to Jim Heron’s
house. It was the largest building in Fish Cove and stood there like a
fortress, a two storied stone building, grim and forbidding in the
fog.

Terry grabbed her sister by the arm. “What a house! It looks like a
prison.”

Prim was trembling. “I don’t want to go in there. It’s spookey! I’d
rather be cold outside in the fog.”

But at that moment a girl opened the door. From her face and figure
one could not have told whether she was a boy or girl. Her straight
hair was cut short and plastered down close to her head. Her face was
angular with large features. Only her torn gingham dress proclaimed
her a girl. Over her thin shoulders she wore a man’s coat, which added
to the boyish appearance.

The girl’s face was pitifully sad. And when she saw Bud Hyslop, a look
of distrust made her frown but this changed to a smile when she caught
a glimpse of the two girls. She started forward as if to greet them,
then hesitated as she looked once more at Bud.

But through the wide open door Terry and Prim caught sight of a
glowing, old-fashioned fireplace.

“I’ve brought some friends of mine,” explained Bud. “They came on the
same errand I did. Got caught in the fog and were forced down. This is
Sally Wyn, girls. Now I’ll leave you to get acquainted and go and see
Jim Heron.”

“I’m Terry Mapes, and this is my twin sister, Prim,” announced Terry.
“I’m so glad to find a girl of our own age around here.”

Sally led the girls inside and offered them a chair, while she hurried
to steep some tea over the glowing coals. In the gloomy interior the
fire lit up Sally’s face. Her features were good. She looked kind and
sweet. But the lines about her mouth were sad and bitter. The girls
pitied her.

When Terry explained that they had just had their breakfast on the
plateau, Sally looked so disappointed that they were forced to eat
more. The tea and doughnuts tasted good.

While they were eating, a complaining voice called from the next room,
“Get to work, Sally. What you doing now? Bring me a cup of tea.”

Sally jumped up. “She’s awfully cranky since she’s been laid up with a
broken leg. Keeps at me all the time,” said the girl in a weary voice.
“I don’t know what to do to please her.”

“Who is she, anyway?” asked Terry.

“She’s Nancy Heron, that’s Jim Heron’s wife. They live here,” answered
the girl as she went about her work.

Terry and Prim wanted to question her further, but Sally’s lips had
drawn together in a bitter line. They feared that they had offended
her.

Who was this girl? And what was that old woman to her? Terry longed to
know, but now was not the time to ask.

As Sally leaned over the fire, the girls watched her intently. She did
not seem to belong to this sinister looking house. Even with the
blazing wood fire the room felt damp and uncomfortable. They shuddered
at the thought of any girl living here and calling it home.

While the tea was preparing for Nancy, Sally flew about the kitchen,
tidying up and whenever her footsteps paused, the voice always called
her to account.

“Such a life!” thought Terry. “I’m glad I’m not Sally Wyn.”

Yet this was the only home that Sally knew. A few minutes later she
said, “I just happened to be home this week. Mrs. Heron broke her leg
and Mrs. Armes, the lady I work for, let me come to help.”

“That’s nice!” said Terry. “I’m glad you’re here.”

Sally looked up quickly. Most people didn’t care where Sally was. She
was not used to appreciation and now she wondered if Terry really
meant it. Sally smiled. Her whole face changed with that smile. She
was almost pretty, thought Terry.

Suddenly Terry jumped up. “Wonder why Bud doesn’t come back,” she said
in a whisper to Prim. “I don’t trust that fellow. I think we’d better
see if our plane is all right,” Terry said aloud.

“Let me go up with you and see your plane,” pleaded Sally. “I can be
ready just in a minute, as soon as I take this tea to old Nancy.”

“Take your time, Sally, we’ll wait,” said both girls together.

A few minutes later the three girls left the cabin. Outside they met
Jim Heron, a tall, ungainly man who glared at them with piercing eyes.
He carried a shotgun across his shoulder, which added to his fierce
appearance.

“Git back there!” he shouted. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“I wonder what Jim’s doing with that shotgun,” said Sally “This isn’t
shooting weather.”

Jim beckoned them to come back then suddenly he turned aside. “All
right, go! The harm’s done!”

“What does he mean by that, Sally? What harm?” asked Terry.

The girls ran swiftly up the trail. At the summit they understood Jim
Heron’s remark. As they stepped on the plateau _Skybird_ was just
leaving the ground. Bud Hyslop at the controls guided the little craft
straight out into a bank of fog.

Terry screamed.

“Oh, Prim! Bud’s stolen our plane! He’s taken _Skybird_!” she cried.

“Keep quiet, Terry. Nothing can be done by getting angry and shouting.
Maybe he’ll bring it back,” said Prim.

“No he won’t! He’s stolen _Skybird_! He’ll crash in this fog! Oh,
Prim, what can we do?”

Prim was just as worried as Terry over the danger to their little
plane, but she controlled herself. Terry was trembling with anger.
Prim took her arm.

“Don’t worry so, Terry. Maybe things will come out all right.”

At that moment the tall form of Jim Heron appeared. He had suddenly
decided that he had better keep his eyes on the girls. Terry ran to
him.

“Bud Hyslop has stolen our plane,” she cried indignantly, looking to
the old man for sympathy.

“Don’t you worry none, Miss,” replied Jim Heron. “Bud’s all right.
He’ll bring your plane back. He just went over to Harbor Grace on an
errand. He’s just borrowed that plane.”

Terry wanted to ease her mind by expressing her honest opinion about
Bud Hyslop but a look from Prim quieted her. She frowned, then held
her lips tight-pressed. With her head high she started down the trail
after Jim Heron. Her manner was very angry, superior and haughty.

Prim grabbed her by the arm: “Terry Mapes behave yourself. If we are
ever going to find Allan and Syd, we’ve got to keep in with these
people. Maybe the old man knows something about the boys.”

Terry asked Jim Heron, but the old man shook his head. “I never saw
the boys at all. Bud says his two friends crashed up here somewhere
and he’s hunting them. And you’re doing the same thing, he told me.
You’re working together like partners.”

Terry laughed outright, then walked on without a word. As they were
coming down the cliff, they heard Nancy Heron calling in her cracked
and peevish voice:

“Sally Wyn! Where are you? Get to work! I’ll have no idling in my
house!”

“Now Prim, there is one thing sure,” Terry whispered to her sister.
“Bud Hyslop has proven that he is our enemy. We know now where he
stands. I wish I knew whether Jim Heron is in on Bud’s scheme.”

As they neared the house Terry thought of a plan. She approached Jim
Heron and asked him to take them to Harbor Grace. “Surely there’s a
launch in Fish Cove,” she said.

“What do you want to go to Harbor Grace for?” demanded Jim
suspiciously. “What are you going to do there?”

“I want to telegraph my father so he’ll know we’re all right.”

Jim Heron refused flatly and firmly. Terry insisted and Jim was not
used to arguments with women. He lost his patience and stormed at
them.

“Into the house you go!” he said, as he thrust them ahead of him
through the door. “Now don’t you step your foot across the sill until
I give you leave. And that won’t be until Bud returns. That’s his
order!”

“Oh, now I see. Bud Hyslop told you to watch us and not let us get
away. Is that it?” demanded Terry.

“Right you are, Miss! You caught my meaning. You’re my prisoners! And
do you hear that, Sally Wyn? We’re not to let the girls out of our
sight!”

Sally looked at the girls, her face was flushed, fear was in her dark
eyes. She did not answer the man.

“Do you hear me?” Jim Heron shouted at her.

“Yes sir!” replied Sally, not daring to meet the glances of her new
friends.

Jim Heron went outside and sat down on a rude bench before the door.
He held his shotgun in his hand.

“Prisoners!” said Terry under her breath. “What do you know about
that!” She looked around the room and what she saw was not reassuring
for the old stone house looked very much like a prison.

But Terry was game. Her lip curled disdainfully.

“Prisoners, indeed!” she said with a shrug. “Just wait and see, Bud
Hyslop!”



CHAPTER V

Captives in the Old Fort


Although Terry was confident that it would be an easy matter to escape
from the old stone house, she soon saw her mistake. For the building
was originally a trading post of the early French explorers and had
been built like a fort to withstand the raids of hostile Indians.

Terry examined the windows but the openings in the solid stone wall
were nothing but narrow loopholes through which the shooting had been
done in the early days. They were far too small for anyone to crawl
through.

And the only door to the structure was the one which they had
foolishly entered. Outside that door Jim Heron kept his eagle eyes
alert.

“We’re in a nice trap!” whispered Prim. “How did we ever happen to get
into a jam like this?” Prim’s face was deathly pale.

“Now Prim, don’t get panicky! There must be a way out!” comforted
Terry. “It isn’t reasonable to think that we can be kept here as
prisoners. And look at that old man,” exclaimed the girl, pointing
through the narrow opening. “He’s grinning as if he’d done something
smart. That’s what makes me wild. I hate to have anything put over on
me!”

The girls stood with their arms around each other as they watched Jim
Heron whose broad grin displayed his brown snaggle teeth.

“I wish he’d scowl,” said Prim. “He doesn’t look half as mean and sly
as when he laughs. I wonder what he’s thinking about?”

“I can tell you that!” exploded Terry. “He’s thinking that we’re just
a couple of dumb-bells, walking right into the trap that he and Bud
Hyslop set for us. There is only one thing to do, Prim. We must get
out of here!”

“But how, Terry?” asked her sister anxiously. “Don’t take chances. You
know Dad wouldn’t like that.”

“Well, what’s to prevent us from just walking out past the old man? He
wouldn’t _dare_ to shoot us. It’s worth trying. Come on!”

“Don’t, Terry! Please don’t do that. It isn’t safe!”

“I’m going to try it, anyway. Now listen, Prim, I’ll go ahead and you
follow. Don’t lag, keep right on my heels.”

With head held high, Terry walked boldly to the door and threw it
open.

But Jim Heron had leaped to his feet and stood facing her. With an
angry snarl he commanded, “Get back there. In you go!”

Terry stood her ground. “I just wanted to stay outside where the air
was cool. Anyway I want to talk to you!”

But Jim Heron thrust out a horny hand and shoved the girl inside.
Raising his gun to his shoulder he pointed it menacingly at Terry as
the girl started once more toward the open door. Sally dragged the
girl back and shut the door.

“Don’t go, Terry! Come here! You don’t know Jim Heron,” Sally
whispered. “He’d just as soon shoot you as not. Bud Hyslop probably
gave him money to keep you locked up and after that he’d kill you
rather than let you go. He’d do anything for money.”

Terry obeyed. She sat down but her eyes were blazing and her jaw was
set in determination. “All right, Sally, I’ll not make any more fuss.
But I’ll watch my chance. What’s more I’ll get away!”

Prim looked around anxiously: “I don’t see how it can be done, Terry,”
she said. “We’re prisoners, all right. Just as much as if we were
locked in a cell.”

“Don’t do anything to get him angry,” pleaded Sally Wyn. “He’s
terrible when he gets started.”

Suddenly Terry faced the girl. “Sally, is that old man any relation to
you? Why are you in this terrible place?” Terry blurted out.

Tears came to the girl’s eyes. “He’s no relation to me. But I’ve been
with them ever since I was ten years old. I can’t find my people. The
one that is left is an uncle and he has disappeared.”

“Where are your father and mother?” asked Terry.

“They’re dead!” said Sally bitterly. “They’re both dead. I have no one
now.”

“Who were they, Sally and why do you live here with Nancy Heron and
Jim?”

Sally gave a gulp then turned to Terry and Prim.

“We were shipwrecked off the coast near here. My father was Captain
David Wyn of the _Riverside_, a small coast steamer running between
St. Johns and American ports. Whenever we could, mother and I always
went with father. That’s what we liked best. It was lots of fun to go
on the ship.” Sally paused, her voice choked with a sob.

“There, there dear, don’t talk about it if it hurts you, Sally!” said
the sympathetic Terry, and Prim clasped the girl’s hand. “I’m so sorry
for you. But I knew from the first that you didn’t belong to these
dreadful people. You couldn’t.”

“Don’t cry,” Prim soothed her.

“I want to tell you. I want to talk about it. That terrible, terrible
storm! Sometimes I dream about it, even yet. And I see my father
carried away by a big wave when the ship smashed on the rocks. It was
horrible. I’ll never forget!”

Prim and Terry had tears in their eyes as the girl continued.

“Mother and I were picked up by a lifeboat, and brought to land. Then
mother took pneumonia from the exposure, and she died the next week.
She had a brother much older than herself, he was wealthy but lived
like a hermit, she told me. She wrote to him asking him to look after
me.”

“But how did you get in with Nancy Heron?” asked Terry impatiently.

“She was looking after my mother and after her death Nancy thought she
saw a way to make some money. She sent my mother’s letter with one of
her own to my uncle John Wentworth in Westhaven, hoping that the rich
old man would pay her for her trouble.”

“What a terrible woman!” exclaimed Terry. “How she must have loved
money!”

“Yes, but it didn’t do her any good,” answered Sally. “For the letter
was returned unclaimed. No one knew anything about John Wentworth. He
had left Westhaven years before and there was no address or means of
finding him.”

“Then what happened, Sally? What did you do then?”

“Nancy was disappointed and took out her spite on me. She put me to
work and I’ve been at it ever since, slaving and giving her all my
pay,” Sally confided in a low voice.

“Have they been kind to you in any way, Sally?”

“Not what I call kind. But they seem to _think_ they’ve done a lot for
me. That’s what they tell people.”

“You poor girl!” exclaimed Prim. “Haven’t you got any friends at all?”

“Yes, I’ve got one friend. His name is Dan. Dan Brent! He lives down
in Fish Cove with his uncle. He’s a dear boy, and the truest friend a
girl could have. He’d do anything for me.”

“But the people for whom you work, Sally? Are they kind?” asked Prim.

“Yes, they’re kind enough, but of course I can’t expect them to take
an interest in me. I work hard for all I get.”

“You poor darling!” Terry impulsively threw her arms about the girl.
“Prim and I will find a home for you where you won’t have to work
hard, won’t we Prim?”

“I should say so,” agreed the twin. “The idea of a girl of your age
having to work so hard. It’s downright cruel!”

“Sally!” came a voice from the adjoining room. “Are you working?”

“Yes, Mrs. Heron, I’m mending.”

“That’s right. Keep working.”

Terry’s lips set in a determined line. “That’s a job for us. Prim,”
she whispered as Sally left the room. “We’ll come up and get her soon,
and maybe we can find her uncle.”

“Yes, we’ll do that. But first we must find Allan and Syd. And we
don’t seem to be making any headway. Do you think that Sally knows
where the boys are?”

But Sally knew nothing about Allan and Syd. She had suspected when she
saw Bud Hyslop and Jim Heron with their heads together that they were
hatching a plot, but she could not find out what it was.

“I wish I could help you,” said Sally anxiously. “Then I’d know that
you would help me with _my_ problem.”

“We’ll help you anyway, Sally, and since you’re an American you’d have
no trouble in getting back to your own country. Only how are we going
to prove that?”

“I can prove it,” said Sally. “I have a little box of my mother’s
things and my birth certificate is among them. I was born in Boston.”

“Then everything is fine. And as soon as we get the boys safely home,
we’ll come up here and get you. Let me see your birth certificate,”
said Terry.

“I can’t now, Terry. It’s hidden so Mrs. Heron can’t find it. Now that
I bring her my wages she wants to keep me. And she thinks if she could
destroy my birth certificate, I could never go back to the States.
That isn’t true, is it?”

“Of course it isn’t,” said Terry. “But I’d like to see that paper just
the same. It might help us find your uncle.”

“All right, Terry, I’ll go and get it now.” The girls watched from the
tiny window as Sally slipped out of the door, stood for a moment and
talked to Jim Heron, then started down the trail toward the Cove. But
once out of sight she took the opposite course, climbing up the hill
behind the town and over to the next low ridge. Burrowed into the
hillside was an old abandoned mine tunnel. Sally entered the passage
timidly. Far in the black depths she pried with her fingers in a deep
crevice and brought forth a small copper box. Clasping it tightly in
her hand she ran from the tunnel as if pursued. The tunnel was the
safest place she knew about. It ran into the hill for fifty feet or
more and was said to be haunted. Sally didn’t believe in ghosts but
still she never felt quite comfortable in that long dark burrow in the
hill.

As Sally emerged into the daylight she heard a familiar whistle.

The girl started violently then gave a cry of joy.

“Why Dan Brent, where did you come from?”

“Come here, Sally. I want to show you something!” said Dan as he led
the girl along the trail to the clearing. At one side of this space
grew trees with overhanging branches and under them stood an airplane.
It was placed so that it could not be seen by an aviator flying
overhead.

Sally let out a little cry of surprise. “Why Dan Brent, where did you
get that airplane?”

“I’m being paid to guard it,” answered Dan. “Gee, isn’t it a beauty?
It’s called _The Comet_, and I bet it goes as fast as a comet. The
fellow said I wasn’t to let anyone near, not even to look at it, but
you’re all right. You won’t tell.”

“Tell what?” asked Sally, looking up at the tall boy beside her. His
freckled face was frank and he beamed down at Sally in a protecting
way.

He stammered, “Why, you won’t tell you saw the plane.”

“But Dan, what are you doing with it and what is all the mystery
about? You aren’t doing anything wrong, are you, Dan?” asked Sally,
searching her friend’s face earnestly.

Dan laughed aloud and slapped his pants pocket, making the silver
coins jingle. “Nothing like that, Sally. I’m earning an honest living.
A fellow by the name of Bud Hyslop gave me a dollar. What’s more he’s
going to give me a lot of money. Just think, Sally, I’m getting paid
good money for doing nothing. Pretty soft, eh?”

“But _what_ are you doing, Dan? I don’t understand,” asked Sally with
a puzzled frown.

“Didn’t I just tell you? I’m guarding this plane. It belongs to two
bank robbers, who escaped from the States and are hiding away in
Newfoundland. Bud Hyslop has them cornered and wants to give them up
and get the reward. That’s why we’re not supposed to talk or know
anything about it. But Gee, Sally I just had to tell you. We’re
friends.”

“But where is Bud Hyslop keeping these crooks?” asked Sally.

“It’s not likely that he’d give his secret away to me. He wants that
reward. He’s not telling _anybody_.”

Sally drew near to the boy and after making sure that no one was
around she said in a whisper, “Dan, there’s something crooked going on
around here. I don’t believe those fellows that are hidden away are
thieves, at all. I think they’ve been kidnapped.”

“Kidnapped! What makes you think that, Sally?” asked the boy.

“I heard my girls talking and that’s what they said,” replied Sally.

“_Your_ girls? What do you mean by your girls?”

Sally laughed at the boy’s puzzled look. “You needn’t think, Dan, that
you’re the only one to have aviator friends. I just wish you could see
Terry and Prim. They are exactly like the pictures I’ve seen in the
paper, all dressed up in smart flying suits. Terry’s is brown leather
and Prim is all in white. They’re beautiful, Dan. And someday they are
going to come and take me back to the States with them. Then I’ll try
to find Uncle John.”

Dan’s face fell. “What are they doing up here? Why don’t they stay
where they belong? Trying to coax you away? Don’t go, Sally. I don’t
want you to go. Where are these girls?”

“Jim Heron is keeping them prisoners in the old house. They’re being
guarded by Jim Heron and me.”

“What did they do? Did _they_ rob a bank?” asked Dan.

“Of course not. And it’s my opinion that the two flyers who came in
this _Comet_ plane, aren’t thieves either. Terry says they are two
splendid boys. I’m almost afraid for you to guard this plane. You
might get into serious trouble.”

“I’m not afraid of trouble, but I don’t want to help out a man if he’s
crooked. If I thought that this Bud Hyslop wasn’t straight, I wouldn’t
guard this plane even for the fifty dollars.”

“Fifty dollars!” cried Sally. “Why Dan Brent, do you mean to tell me
that you’re getting fifty dollars for doing nothing? It almost seems
wicked. Gee, some people have all the luck!”

“Maybe those girls will pay you to look after their plane,” suggested
Dan.

“No, it’s gone. Bud Hyslop took it without asking. I think he stole
it!” Sally said with venom in her voice. “I don’t like Bud Hyslop.”

“I’d have guessed as much, Sally. But never mind about the money. When
I get the fifty dollars, I’m going to ask you to go on the excursion
to St. Johns with me. We’ll spend every cent of it on a good time.”

“But what I want more than anything else is to find out where those
two flyers are, and why they are held by Bud Hyslop,” said Sally.
“Can’t you make Bud talk when he comes back? I wish you’d help me,
Dan. It will mean a lot to me if I can help these girls.”

“I’ll do what I can, I’d do anything for you.”

“All right Dan, that’s a promise,” and Sally smiled up at the tall boy
beside her, then hurried away down the trail.

Once out of sight of Dan’s camp, Sally sat down and opened the little
copper box with its strange markings. Her birth certificate was safe,
and the little bag of trinkets. She poured them into her lap. A baby
necklace of her own, her mother’s tiny gold watch, and wedding ring,
and a garnet necklace and bracelet. Sally often looked at them and
cried over the trinkets, but today she smiled. She was proud that she
had something pretty to show the girls.

Hastily putting them back into the box, Sally ran toward home. The
first thing she heard as she came near was Nancy Heron’s voice. “Sally
Wyn, where are you? Get to work!”

“She’s been calling you all the time you’ve been away,” whispered
Terry. “Did you get the birth certificate?”

“Yes, here it is, Terry,” returned Sally.

Terry examined the paper. “It doesn’t tell much, does it? Well, put it
carefully away, Sally, and soon we’ll get you out of here. Have
patience.”

But Sally did not appear to be listening, her eyes were bright as if
she were burning up with fever. Terry looked at the girl in surprise.

“What’s the matter, Sally?” she asked.

“I’ve got something to tell you. I know where the plane is. I’ve found
_The Comet_!”

“Sally!” Terry’s voice rose in excitement but Prim laid a hand on her
arm.

“Hush, Terry! Everything depends on keeping quiet.” She turned to
Sally. “Where is the plane?”

“Over the hill a little ways. It isn’t far. It’s being guarded by Dan
Brent, that boy I was telling you about,” whispered Sally, trembling
with excitement.

“But where are Allan and Syd? Did you see them?” demanded Prim
anxiously.

“They’re not there. Bud Hyslop has them hidden away somewhere.”

“Did you tell Dan that Bud is a crook? That he is keeping the boys
hidden, hoping to get a reward?” asked Prim.

“No, that would spoil everything. Dan thinks they are bank robbers.
Bud told them that he was holding them for the law and expects to get
a reward.”

“There, I just knew that Bud had fixed up a plot against Allan and
Syd, and that settles it! Doesn’t Dan know where they are?”

“No, he didn’t know but he’s going to try and find out. He promised to
help us.”

Terry turned to the girl impulsively. “Help us, Sally, if you can. You
and Dan will never be sorry. We’ll do anything for you! Bud Hyslop has
kidnapped Allan and Syd and we must find them at once!”

Late that afternoon Sally slipped away once more. She wanted to see
Dan and find out if he had heard anything further from Bud. As she
neared the _Comet’s_ hiding place something made her tiptoe softly
along the trail. When she came in sight of the clearing she stopped
short, with a gasp of surprise. Two other planes were standing near
_The Comet_. Sally crept close, keeping under cover of the low growing
bushes. Bud Hyslop and a stranger were talking together a little apart
from Dan. The stranger was a slightly built man, very trim in his
flying suit and helmet.

“There’s a mystery here,” said Sally to herself. “Somebody else beside
Bud Hyslop is interested in that reward.”

She looked at the planes. She knew _Skybird_, the little blue-and-gold
amphibian. Terry had described it to her. But this other one. Where
did it come from and what was the matter?

Dan Brent was standing between the trail and the flyers. Sally picked
up a pebble and threw it at the boy’s foot. It struck. Dan looked in
Sally’s direction, frowned, then turned carelessly away.

“Stupid!” said Sally to herself. “He’s awfully slow to take a hint.”

But Dan had understood. Thrusting his hands deep in his pockets, he
sauntered away in the opposite direction, then doubled back. Sally saw
his intention at last and went to meet him.

“What are those men talking about, Dan? What is their scheme?”

“They’re hatching plots. I don’t dare go near enough to catch what
they are saying. I heard plenty to prove to me that they are crooks.
Bud Hyslop plans to do me out of my fifty dollars. I heard him telling
the other guy, that he never planned to pay more than the dollar he
gave me. Said that was plenty and I could whistle for the rest.”

“And what did the other man say?” asked Sally.

“He laughed, and his squint eye looked worse than ever. I don’t like
that fellow!”

“But it proves what I told you, Dan. Bud is a crook.”

“And another thing I found out, Sally. Those bank robbers are just
boys, not more than eighteen or twenty years old.”

“There now, Dan Brent, didn’t I tell you that! Now I guess you believe
my girls. And from now on, you’ll help us in every way you can.”

“I’ll say I will. I’ll go right back there now and listen and get all
the information I can,” Dan moved toward the trail leading to the
clearing.

Sally looked after him. “Gee, I’m proud of Dan,” she said softly. “I
want the girls to see him.”

Running at full speed down the hill, Sally determined to help the
girls escape.

“It’s tonight or never,” she said. “But how is it to be done?”



CHAPTER VI

The Menacing Stranger


Terry and Prim had been racking their brains, feverishly trying to
plan some way of escape from their prison. But late that afternoon
their hopes were dashed to the ground. Just as Sally returned to the
house and before she could tell them of her discovery, Jim Heron
ordered his captives upstairs into a rear room under the roof. In one
gnarled fist he held a key, a rusty antique fully eight inches long,
which looked as if it had been meant for a dungeon.

Terry pleaded with the old man for she had a horror of being locked
up. She frantically promised him money; more money than Bud Hyslop was
giving him if he would let them go, but Jim Heron shook his head.

“Nothin’ doin’, young lady! You can’t raise as much money as Bud has
promised; that I’m sure of. Anyhow I promised Bud Hyslop that I’d keep
you under lock and key, and I’m goin’ to do it. I’m a man of my word.
What I promise, I stick to!”

Jim threw out his chest as he boasted of his honesty, then he added
sharply, “Look here, if you girls hadn’t wanted trouble, you shouldn’t
have come all the way up here huntin’ for it. You should have stayed
at home where girls belong.”

Then Terry threatened him with the law, when her friends found out
what he had done to her, but Jim Heron only sneered and showed his
yellow fangs. “Into the room you go!” he snarled. “I’m not afeared of
the law. In Fish Cove, _I’m_ the law! All the law there is!”

A glimpse of Sally’s excited face was the last thing that Terry and
Prim saw before the oaken door closed on them and the key grated in
the lock. The next moment the sisters were facing each other with
puzzled and angry looks, for Sally’s voice came to them through the
closed door. She was saying to Jim Heron, “That’s fine! Now we’ve got
them where we want them. You can have your night’s sleep now. Just
leave it to me; I’ll see that they don’t escape.”

And Jim Heron growled in reply, “I’m going to keep the key under my
pillow tonight. You keep watch, for if they do get loose, I’ll skin
you alive.”

“So that’s that!” stormed Terry. “Sally’s our jailer. And we thought
we could trust that girl!”

Prim was on the verge of tears, and Terry continued wrathfully,
“Aren’t we a couple of saps to be taken in by that lying little cat!
We listened to her sad story and swallowed it all. How she must have
laughed at us! Probably there wasn’t a word of truth in it. If you ask
me, I think she’s Jim Heron’s daughter.”

“I’ll say we’re dumb!” replied Prim. “What makes me feel sore is that
we told her a lot of our plans, thinking she was our friend. This
ought to be a lesson to us, never to trust anybody again.”

But while Prim was raging, her sister suddenly burst out laughing. It
was real laughter this time. There was nothing forced about it. She
pointed to the roughly plastered wall opposite the windows where hung
a framed motto worked in brightly colored wool yarn. It read, “Home,
Sweet Home.”

Even in her anger, Prim had to smile at that innocent text. “So this
is Home, Sweet Home!” she chuckled. “Can you tie that! Let’s see what
it is like.”

The room was extremely plain, bare and ugly. Against the wall under
the motto stood a broad, old-fashioned four-poster bed. There was a
small table with a lamp on it and in one corner stood a shabby wash
stand with a cracked mirror above it.

“We can thank our stars they gave us a lamp,” said Prim. “I’d be
scared here in the dark. It’s a wonder they trusted us with a light.
You’d think they would be afraid we would set fire to the house.”

“If the place were wood, I’d do that very thing,” declared Terry
angrily. “Then they’d _have_ to unlock the door!”

“Terry Mapes! Aren’t you ashamed to talk like that? You know well
enough you’d never do such a thing. Anyway, you’ll never get a chance.
This house is built of stone all through.”

“Worse luck! How are we ever going to get out? Are we to stay here for
weeks and weeks until Bud Hyslop gets the ransom money out of Bennett
Graham? It would take a long time to make the old skinflint part with
his bankroll. In the meantime Syd and Allan may be injured, or even
killed.”

“You shouldn’t say such things about Allan’s father. Bennett Graham
will pay the money in a day or two. He just worships Allan. You know
that. So there is nothing for us to do but wait and see what happens.
We’re locked in this old prison, and here we will have to stay until
everything is over.” Prim dusted a chair and sat down as if she were
settled.

“Wait and see!” echoed Terry scornfully. “That kind of talk makes me
mad! And I’m blue as can be, when I think of being kept prisoner in
this terrible place.”

But Terry was not the kind of girl to stay depressed very long when
she might think out a plan. “Now, Prim,” she exclaimed, “What’s to be
done? The door is locked, the windows are too narrow to climb through.
What will we do now?”

“Let’s count our blessings,” said Prim. “Mother says there is always
_something_ to be thankful for.”

“All right. Let’s begin.” Terry looked about the room. “Here’s a big
bed. That’s something. It’s hard as a rock, but who cares! Let’s see
what is under these home-made quilts. No wonder they were called crazy
quilts. It makes you crazy just to look at them.”

While she chattered, Terry examined the bed. It was clean and
spotless, and the mattress was filled with fresh straw.

“Things might be much worse,” answered Prim. “Look what the mattress
rests on. No wonder it’s hard, for there are no springs at all but
just a network of ropes stretched criss-cross. It’s a real antique.”

Terry exclaimed, “A rope! Just what a prisoner needs—in stories, that
is! We might tie somebody with it while we escape. Or we might make a
rope ladder and go out through the window. Rope is awfully useful in
stories.”

“But in real life it’s not so good,” answered her sister. “As we can’t
squeeze through these slits of windows, a rope ladder is no use. Let’s
think of something else, Terry. There must be a way out if we could
only find it.”

“Who says so? You needn’t overdo the business of being cheerful on my
account.” Terry gave a toss of her head.

“We have the lamp to be thankful for,” insisted Prim. “Maybe you can
find some old books in the closet, and we can read all evening and
forget our worries.” But her teasing brought no smile from Terry, who
remained steeped in gloom. Prim turned on her sharply. “Snap out of
it, Terry Mapes! A girl like you ought to be able to think herself out
of any kind of a scrape,” she cried. “If you are in the air and get
into a jam, you always think fast and find a way out. Many a time I’ve
seen you pull your plane out of a tailspin and make a perfect landing.
And that is lots more dangerous than just being locked in this room.
Now quit your nonsense and do some headwork.”

“All right,” answered Terry. “I’ll try, even if it does look
hopeless.” She went once more to examine the windows. It was no use.
Escape was impossible that way. The door was solid as a rock. Then she
opened the door of the closet, which was dark and hung with old
clothes. As her eyes got used to the darkness, she gave a little cry
of excitement.

“Look up there, Prim. See that little crack of light. There must be a
trap-door to the roof. Quick, give me a chair to stand on. No, the
table is better. Quiet! Don’t let them hear us!”

Climbing on the table, which was dragged to the closet, Terry could
reach the square trap-door and loosen the rusty iron latch that held
it. She raised it a few inches and daylight streamed into the closet
like a ray of hope.

“There’s our way to freedom!” exclaimed Terry. Quietly she lowered the
trap-door and sprang to the floor. “Now let’s see about that rope,”
she said. “First we’ll put the table back in its corner, in case Jim
Heron comes back.”

The girls threw the mattress to the floor and examined the network of
rope, which seemed good and strong. Quickly they removed it, leaving
just enough strands to hold the mattress, and Prim coiled it neatly
and hid it in the closet. There was nothing more to do until darkness
fell. They sat close together discussing in whispers what they would
do, once they were free. Where would they go first? What would they
do? They agreed that their best hope of escape was to get to the
_Comet_.

Suddenly a scratching sound at the door attracted their attention,
followed by the patter of retreating footsteps. A paper had been
shoved under the crack of the door and Terry snatched it up and read
the message in a childish handwriting:

“Bud came back with another man in another plane. Don’t worry. When
Jim is asleep tonight, I’ll try to get you out. Burn this letter.
Sally.”

Terry sniffed disdainfully. “Nothing doing, you little cheat! We heard
you talking to Jim Heron, and we know you’re a traitor.”

But Prim asked anxiously, “Who could that other man be? He came in a
plane. Could it be Allan or Syd?”

“No such luck! It’s another enemy. The mystery grows every minute, but
we’re going to win. We’ve _got_ to win!”

They were interrupted by Jim Heron, who passed some food through the
door. He looked around suspiciously but said nothing, only grinned in
triumph and showed his snaggle teeth as he left.

The girls were too nervous to eat much. Carefully they made a parcel
of the remaining food for future use. If they escaped, they might need
it badly.

After hours of suspense, darkness came at last and then Terry
whispered, “Let’s get out of here. I’ll choke if I stay another
minute.”

As Terry dragged the table under the trap-door and raised it, her
sister cried, “Oh do be careful!” but Terry answered, “Everything’s O.
K. I’m on the roof already. Throw me the rope and I’ll help you up.”
With a vigorous tug, she pulled Prim through the narrow door.

The girls breathed in the cool night air with relief. The fog had
lifted. Stars were shining overhead.

“So far, so good!” Terry whispered. “Now help me fasten the rope to
the chimney.”

Moving carefully on the steep roof, the girls made fast the rope, then
Terry let herself to the eaves and looked over. It was a long drop to
safety, for the rear of the house was built above a ravine, with only
a narrow ledge of rock for a foothold. Yet escape from the front was
impossible. Joe Heron might come out of the door and seize them.

“Are you game to try it?” asked Terry.

“I’m scared already, but I’ll go through with it,” Prim replied.

“I’m scared too. But it’s the only way,” said Terry.

“You’re never scared when you’re flying,” answered Prim. “You do loops
and side-slips and all kinds of stunts, and you never seem to worry.”

“That’s different. In a plane I feel safe. I guess it’s because I’m a
born flyer. Come on, Prim, let’s go!”

“Wait, Terry. We must go down hand over hand. Let’s tie knots in the
rope for a hand hold.”

“Of course. Wasn’t I stupid to forget that!” Hastily the girls tied
big knots at intervals, then let the rope down at the rear of the
house. It seemed like a terrible distance to the ledge, and the ravine
below it was dark and terrifying. Prim gasped:

“Oh, Terry. Let’s turn back. If you lose your grip, you’ll be killed.”

But for answer Terry swung off, over the eaves and began letting
herself down, hand over hand. Without the knots she would have been
lost and even as it was, the pain in her hands was terrible, but in a
minute her feet touched the ground, and she gave a low whistle as a
signal for Prim.

Terry waited for her sister with outstretched arms, and Prim almost
fell the last ten feet, sinking limply into Terry’s arms.

“It was terrible,” she gasped. “I wouldn’t try that again for a
thousand dollars.”

“Brace up,” whispered Terry. “We’re all right now. But Gee, I thought
I was a goner!”

“So did I— Hush. What was that noise?”

A window had been raised in the house. Terry and Prim hugged the wall,
hardly daring to breathe. Footsteps were heard in the house and
someone opened the front door.

“Now we’re in for it!” whispered Prim. “Let’s run. It’s Jim Heron.”

But Terry looked around the corner of the wall and said softly, “It’s
that girl, Sally Wyn. The little traitor! Keep still, she may not see
us. If she does, we’ll fight her off and run.”

The sisters remained motionless and quiet while Sally went to an old
shed and back, dragging something heavy. After she was out of sight,
and the house was quiet, Terry pressed Prim’s hand, and said:

“Now is our chance. Come on.”

Tiptoeing along the hard ledge, the girls reached the front of the
house. No one was in sight. They slipped along the path to the road,
and Terry muttered, “Safe at last. We’re free!”

But at that moment a figure rose from the bushes beside them with a
startled cry. It was Sally Wyn.

Terry flung herself upon the girl. “Little sneak!” she cried.

Holding one hand over Sally’s mouth to silence her, Terry dragged her
to the road, and then she and Prim hurried away, with the girl between
them. When they were some distance from the house, they stopped
running and Terry took her prisoner by both arms, shaking her
violently. “Why did you double-cross us?” she demanded angrily. “Why
did you pretend to be friendly when you were helping Jim Heron? You
little traitor!”

“I’m not a traitor. I’m not against you. I was out getting a ladder
from the shed, to help you down from the roof,” Sally cried.

“Don’t tell me any more lies. We heard you telling Jim Heron it was a
good thing he locked us up. You promised to stand guard over us. And
before that you pretended to be our friend.”

“But Terry, I _am_ your friend! I had to say that to Jim, so he would
go to sleep tonight and leave me on guard. Can’t you see?”

Prim looked at the girl, who was now sobbing in distress, and said
gently, “I believe you, Sally. You are telling the truth.”

Terry voiced her disapproval at first, but finally owned up that she
had been mistaken. “I’m sorry, Sally,” she said. “Shake hands and
forgive me. Now let’s get away from here.”

“I’ll take you to where the _Comet_ is hidden,” said Sally. “Come on.”

In the darkness she led them up the trail and at the summit she
whispered, “Not a sound!” and peered through the bushes. A small
campfire glowed not far away, and beside it two men were sleeping.

While she watched, the stranger leaned forward to stir the campfire
and as the blaze leaped up they saw a smartly dressed man of slight
build whose black eyes glittered in the firelight. One of those
jet-black eyes had a cast, which gave him a crafty and dangerous
aspect. His thin lips denoted a cruel and grasping character. Terry
clutched her sister’s arm in dismay.

“It’s Arnold! Joe Arnold!” she gasped. “Dad’s worst enemy!”



CHAPTER VII

A Perilous Take-Off


The girls knew that Joe Arnold was an enemy far more dangerous than
Bud Hyslop or Jim Heron, for he was their superior in brains and
experience, and was quite as unscrupulous. Joe Arnold, they knew was
their father’s rival and would do anything to injure Dick Mapes, to
discredit him and ruin his business. And now here was Arnold before
them.

The sisters tiptoed back down the hill where they could talk without
being heard, taking Sally with them. The three girls clung together.
These were desperate men, taking desperate chances, therefore they
might do terrible things, even commit murder to get what they wanted.

There was silence for a long time then Terry spoke in low tones.
“Listen, Prim. I’m certain that _Skybird_ is all ready to take-off. So
is Joe Arnold’s plane. But I must get the _Comet_.”

“Terry, don’t be ridiculous. We can’t get any of the planes with those
men there.”

“We’ll have to take a chance. We’ve got to do it!” said Terry.

“But Dad says that there is never any excuse for taking chances,”
cautioned Prim.

“That’s all right. Dad will change his mind when he knows what we
know.”

“But what do you want me to do, Terry? I’ll do anything you say!”
agreed Prim.

“First, I want you to be game. I’m going down the hill and take a look
at _The Comet_ and see if there is plenty of gas and oil. Don’t speak,
no matter what. I’ll be all right!”

“I’ll be game, only I wish you wouldn’t go. It’s too dangerous, Terry.
Please give it up!” Prim clutched her sister’s sleeve.

“Don’t hold me back, Prim. I’ve got to go! It’s the only way out. Now
that the fog has lifted, everything is in our favor. It’s now or
never.”

As Terry slipped quietly down the hill, Sally and Prim returned
cautiously to the crest where they could see what was going on. Terry
was gliding about among the planes, keeping herself hidden from the
man, who was sitting with his back toward her. Terry reached _The
Comet_ unobserved. It stood to reason, she thought, that Bud Hyslop
would have the planes ready for a quick take-off at any moment. With a
tiny flashlight that she always carried in the pocket of her leather
coat, she looked over the plane. Everything was set.

Just as Terry was starting to return, Joe Arnold threw away his cigar,
rose, stretched and took a leisurely turn around the planes. Terry
crouched low and scarcely breathed. Prim, on the hill above, almost
screamed in fear as the man walked within a few feet of the hidden
girl. It seemed hours to Terry and her sister before he turned away
and strode over to Dan. He gave the boy a poke in the ribs.

“You take a turn,” he said. “I’ll try and get a wink of sleep,” and
Joe Arnold stretched himself on the ground.

Sally pressed her companion’s hand. “Luck is with us, Prim,” she
whispered.

“But what’s keeping Terry so long? Why doesn’t she come?” asked Prim
anxiously. For Terry was slipping once more between the planes. She
crossed a space near the campfire and busied herself about Joe’s air
craft, then went noiselessly up the hill to safety.

Dan Brent was restless. He walked up and down anxiously, looking
toward the trail as if he suspected that someone was watching. Finally
Sally could stand it no longer; she picked up a pebble and threw it at
the boy’s feet. Dan understood and without a bit of hesitation, walked
up the trail.

Terry and Prim stepped back to let Sally talk with Dan alone.

“What are those men planning to do, Dan? Have you found out anything?”
demanded Sally.

“I heard them say they were soon going to take the boys back to the
States. They talk straight enough. I don’t know which to believe,
these fellows or the girls you have.”

“If you’re wise, you’ll believe what _I_ tell you. The idea of you
being taken in by _them_! A lot of crooks!”

“I’m not taken in by them, Sally. I have their number. They’re not
playing fair, I know that. If they were, they wouldn’t try to cheat me
out of that fifty dollars they promised. But are your girls on the
level?”

“You bet they are,” said Sally.

“Then I’ll throw in with you and tell you everything those fellows
said. I heard them talking and I have a tip about where those
kidnapped boys are.”

“Where?” demanded Sally. “Tell me, quick! Don’t keep us waiting!”

“_Us!_ What do you mean?” demanded Dan. “You mean your friends?”

“Come and talk to them yourself. The girls are right here. They
escaped,” said Sally as she drew the boy down the trail.

“I don’t exactly know where those kidnapped flyers have been taken,”
he explained to Terry and Prim. “But they are out with the fishermen.
Bud told Joe that he had hired a launch to take them out. I think the
boys are safe enough. The fishermen are all decent people, they
wouldn’t do them any harm.”

“Oh, is that so, Dan? What about old Mackey Jones? He isn’t exactly
what I’d call decent!”

“That’s right, Sally. He doesn’t amount to much, but we don’t know
whether the boys are on his boat. How could Bud Hyslop be able to pick
out the only crook among the fishermen?” asked Dan.

“I guess Jim Heron could tip him off to anything of that sort that was
needed. But how are we going to find out where Mackey Jones is
fishing? Sometimes they’re miles and miles away. What we want to find
out is whose launch took them out.”

Dan jumped to his feet. “I have it,” he exclaimed. “Why didn’t I think
of it before? Old Spencer was the man who told me to come up here and
get this job. Likely as not he took them out in his motor launch. I’ll
go and see him right now.”

“All right, Dan,” said Terry quietly. “You go and see if you can get
the information out of this man, Spencer. Here’s five dollars. Promise
more, if you have to and get back as soon as you can. We want to
take-off in the planes before these men wake up.”

The boy hurried away and in half an hour had returned with the
information. He also had the five dollars which he offered to Terry
but she refused it. Old Spencer had taken the boys out to Mackey
Jones’ fleet and as Bud had short-changed him he said he’d have
nothing more to do with the scheme. And Dan could not persuade the
stubborn old salt to make the trip and bring the boys back.

“That’s all right, Dan,” said Terry. “Joe Arnold might have caught on
and beat him there. You come along with us and we’ll fly out to that
fishing fleet and bring the boys back ourselves.”

“Gee!” exclaimed the astonished Dan. “I don’t know about that! I’ve
always wanted to go up in one of them planes, but lots of them crash
around here.”

“If we’re going to go, Terry, let’s get started. Joe and Bud will be
waking up soon,” said Prim.

Terry took command at once. “Now Dan, you’re coming along! You have
to! Go down there and get into the rear cockpit of _The Comet_. Don’t
make any mistake! And Prim, you hop off with _Skybird_!”

At that moment Sally threw her arms about Terry’s waist. “Take me with
you, Terry, please! Don’t leave me here. I don’t want to stay another
day. Please, Terry. I’m frightened of Jim Heron. You heard him
threaten me. He’ll see the ladder and think I helped you escape.”

Terry looked at the frightened face staring up at her in the darkness.
She hesitated for a moment then said: “All right, go with Prim. Now be
quiet. And when you hear me give a loud whistle start your engine,
Prim, and get out of here in double quick time. Fly straight to Harbor
Grace.”

They crept down the hillside slowly, fearing that the sound of their
footsteps might waken the men. There was not a move from the sleepers.
Everything was still.

Then suddenly from the woods came the report of a gun, then another.
Somebody had let off both barrels of a shotgun, as a signal. The next
moment Jim Heron came crashing through the brush, his white hair
flying, his eyes wild, and yelling at the top of his voice.

“Wake up, Bud Hyslop. Watch out for trouble!” he shouted. “Those two
girls got away and they are trouble makers, sure enough!”

Jim Heron’s warning came too late.

A loud whistle from Terry rent the air followed by a deafening roar of
the two airplane motors. Bud Hyslop and Joe Arnold jumped to their
feet. Arnold made a dash toward _The Comet_ as it started to move
forward. He grabbed the cowling.

“Not so fast, Terry Mapes. You may be smart, but you’ve met your
match. Shut off that engine!”

Terry’s heart sank. It was hard to be so near to freedom, and then to
lose out!

Dan Brent saw the danger. He grabbed up a wrench and brought it down
with all his force on the knuckles of the man. Joe gave a howl of pain
and anger. His hand dropped, and Terry sent her plane taxiing across
the bumpy surface of the ground to a quick take-off. As she pulled
back the stick to send the plane upward, the engine sputtered and for
an anxious second the girl felt that all was over. Then _The Comet_
took the air and followed the _Skybird_.

As Joe Arnold saw them climbing into the sky, he sprang to his own
plane and worked the controls. Something was wrong. The ignition had
been tampered with.

“It’s Terry Mapes’ work! I know her,” cried Bud Hyslop. “She’s too
smart for us, Joe Arnold.”

“Keep quiet. Who’s asking your opinion?” With an oath he turned to Jim
Heron and cried, “Why didn’t you guard those girls? You were paid to
watch them! You old fool!”

“Don’t talk to me like that,” retorted Jim in a rage. “Who are you,
anyhow?”

For answer Joe Arnold drove his fist into the old scoundrel’s face and
Jim Heron fell backward in a heap. This was a dose of his own
medicine!

Bud interfered and the three rascals quarreled violently, calling each
other names until finally Joe Arnold cried:

“Come on, Bud, we’re wasting time. Get busy and repair that ignition,
quick. Maybe we can catch those two Mapes girls before they do any
more damage.”

“You’re on,” said Bud. “Let’s go!”

Jim Heron rose from the ground and shouted, “Where’s my pay for
guarding them girls?”

“You can whistle for it!” said Joe Arnold. “Just keep on whistling!”

Half an hour later the Mapes twins set down their planes on the
landing field of the Harbor Grace airport, taking on a supply of oil
and gas. As Terry watched the men at work, Prim suddenly ran to her
sister thrusting a torn newspaper into her hand.

“Oh Terry, read this. They’ve arrested Dad! They are going to grill
him to find out if he knows anything about the kidnapping. Oh Terry,
what will we do?”

Terry’s face turned pale as death. Then determination to win once more
came to her aid.

“Prim, there’s only one way in which we can help Dad. We must get
those boys back to Elmwood. Let’s go. Prim, you take Sally in _The
Comet_ and when you get one of the boys aboard make a straight shoot
home. Don’t even wait for me, if I lag behind. Get back to Dad!”

The girls lost no time in getting their planes started.

“You’re in luck,” cried Dan through the earphones. “It’s not often
that the sea is as smooth as it is today. Sometimes the wind howls
around here like all furies—that’s when some of the fishermen’s boats
get lost. And you’re in luck again because Mackey Jones’ fleet is
headed home.”

Terry kept her plane down toward the water and a moment later Dan
again called, “I’m sure that’s Mackey Jones’ fleet below you.” Terry
banked and circled over the boats. She was answered by a vigorous
waving of arms from the bow of the largest vessel.

“There they are! There’s your friends. How are you going to get them
into the plane?” cried Dan.

But at the moment, other figures ran to the boys and the pair
disappeared. They had been thrust down the hatchway.

Terry circled and banked and finally landed on the water within
hailing distance of the boat. Mackey Jones, himself, in one of the
smaller craft, rowed close and demanded to know what she wanted.

“I want those two young men you have there,” said Terry, with decision
in her voice.

“We haven’t seen any young men,” answered the fisherman.

Terry laughed. “Then you’ve got poor eyesight. We saw them from the
air. We also saw you shove them down the hatchway. You’d better bring
them out quickly, if you don’t want trouble.”

“Nothing doing! I’ve got my orders.”

“Who from?” asked Terry. “What will he pay you?”

“He’ll pay a good price. I work hard for my money, and fifty dollars
isn’t picked up so easy.”

“Fifty dollars? Did he give it to you?” called Dan.

“No, but he promised he would. Anyway I’ve got the boys and he won’t
get them till he gives me the fifty dollars.”

“I’ll pay you sixty,” said Terry, “and all you’ll have to do for that
extra ten spot is to row the boys from your boat to the plane. That’s
easy money. Is it a bargain?”

The old man took a moment for thought. “You’ll pay me sixty dollars
now, cash in hand?” he asked.

“Yes sir, cash in hand just as soon as the boys are alongside this
airplane. No promises, but good hard cash!”

“It’s a bargain,” said Mackey Jones. Turning to his men, he ordered,
“Row for your lives, men! Hurry! That girl may change her mind!”

A few minutes later Terry saw the hatch being opened and the two boys
scrambled out. They were hustled without ceremony into the boat and
Mackey Jones and his men rowed for dear life.

While Mackey Jones was bringing the boys toward the plane, Dan said,
“You can drop me here, if you like. I’ll go back with the fleet.”

“All right, Dan, and thank you for your help.” The girl passed him a
roll of bills but Dan shook his head. “You’ve already paid me five
dollars, that’s plenty for what I did.”

But Terry pressed the money into his hand. “No Dan, take it, you
earned it. Some day we’ll see you again. You’ll want to see Sally and
you’ll always be welcome at Elmwood.”

The boy had no time to answer for Mackey Jones hailed them.

“Here you are, Miss! Now where’s my money?”

Terry wrapped the bills in her handkerchief and dropped them into the
boat as Allan and Syd shouted a greeting.

“Why Allan, what’s the matter?” cried Terry as she saw his bruised
face and his arm done up in a sling. “Are you hurt badly?”

“It’s nothing serious, Terry. I broke my arm. I had a set-to with Bud
Hyslop and another old villain. I’ll tell you about it some other
time,” returned Allan.

“Want an extra hand, Mackey Jones?” called Dan.

“Sure, climb out!” said the old man.

Dan and Syd helped Allan into the rear cockpit of _Skybird_. “Syd,
you’re to go with Prim in _The Comet_. She’s to come down as soon as
I’m out of the way.”

“_The Comet!_” cried Allan. “Terry Mapes, where did you get my plane?”

“I stole it!” she said with a toss of her head. “But that story can
wait until later,—and Syd, you’d better take the controls. Prim is
tired out!”

“O. K. Chief!” Syd’s brown eyes were full of fun once more as he gave
a mock salute.

“And Syd, make a bee line for home. The plane is all set, gas and oil
and everything. Our next stop is The Dick Mapes Flying Field!”

“That’s the best trade I ever made,” said Mackey Jones, as he pocketed
the money.

The boys laughed heartily. “That’s what he thinks of us,” said Allan
as he settled in the seat.

With a wave of her hand to the fishermen, Terry started her engine,
throwing up a shower of water in front of the plane as she gained
speed for the rise.

Terry sent the _Skybird_ into the air, nose tilted for a sharp rise.
Then she levelled out and began circling, waiting to be certain that
Mackey Jones was playing fair and would allow Syd to go with Prim.

As she brought her plane once more over the fishing boats, Syd was
climbing into the _Comet_. The boy looked up and waved his hand to
indicate that everything was all right.

Terry soared high into the air, straight up into the glorious morning
sunlight. She felt fine! She had accomplished what she had set out to
do. Allan and Syd were safe.

And now for home!

Finally Allan spoke. “There’s another plane coming our way. Maybe it’s
our dear friend Bud Hyslop. Wants to see if I have been looked after
properly!” said Allan with a laugh. “He’s so thoughtful of my
comfort!”

Terry glanced at the far speck in the sky. “It may be an enemy.”

“That’s what I just said. It may be Bud Hyslop. But I’m not afraid of
that fellow.”

Terry headed her plane straight for Elmwood. “We’ll get away from
here,” cried the girl.

“What’s all the hurry! Let’s take our time and enjoy the scenery,” the
boy answered, still in a happy mood.

But Terry was sending her plane forward with wide open throttle. “We
haven’t any time to lose, Allan Graham. That plane is coming, and
coming fast. I can’t be sure who it is but I’ll make a guess. It’s Joe
Arnold! And he’s after us. He’s a dangerous man!”



CHAPTER VIII

Happy Landing


But the tiny speck in the distance did not gain on them. Terry decided
that it was just a cruising airplane and had no connection with them
whatever.

“Did you say that Joe Arnold was up here?” asked Allan through the
earphones. “What do you think he’s up to?”

“Didn’t he help kidnap you two boys?” Terry countered.

“No, that was Bud Hyslop’s little scheme to spoil my trip to Paris—At
least I thought it was all Bud’s idea. But if Joe had a hand in it,
then it’s no joke.”

“I’ll say it isn’t, Allan. I saw a newspaper in Harbor Grace this
morning. They’ve arrested Dad!”

“Arrested Dick! What for?” demanded Allan. “What did he do?”

“He’s supposed to have kidnapped you and Syd. The paper says he’s
trying to get fifty thousand dollars out of your father as ransom
money.”

Allan shouted with laughter. “Fifty thousand dollars for me!” cried
Allan. “Gee, I never heard of anything so funny in my life. And I
never guessed that I was worth fifty thousand dollars.”

“Poor Dad, it will be terrible for him. He isn’t well yet,” said
Terry. “And you know how they question people in a case like this.
They may even give him the third degree!”

“But who is responsible for all this, Terry? Surely no one believes
it!” said Allan with a frown of contempt.

“The newspapers said that your father believes that Dick Mapes is the
man who arranged the kidnapping. They speak of Dick’s gang!”

“Terry, somebody’s crazy, but who is it? Let’s head for home as fast
as we can go. I’ll soon unravel the mystery,” said Allan.

Ahead of them, far in the distance they could see _The Comet_. Syd was
evidently challenging them to a friendly race.

“Now tell me what happened to you, Allan. What’s the matter with your
arm? Did you crash?”

“Nothing like that, Terry! The day we arrived in Newfoundland, we got
stranded in the fog, and followed another plane that we thought had
been sent out from Harbor Grace to guide us to the airport. But when
we landed and I walked over to thank the pilot for showing us a good
field to land in, I was face to face with Bud Hyslop. He pulled a gun
on us and said, ‘Hands up!’ in a businesslike way. At first we thought
he was kidding but we soon saw that he was in earnest.”

“Bud Hyslop did that? Why he’s a regular gun man. Then what did he do,
Allan? Did he shoot you?” asked Terry.

“No, he just shot in the air as a signal and soon a man came running
with a shotgun. In the fog he looked like a giant.”

“That was Jim Heron,” explained Terry. “We’ve met that man. Go on,
what next? How did you hurt your arm?”

“I got into a little scrap. The old man grabbed Syd and tied him up.
Syd was no match for such a gorilla. I got mad clean through to see
them rough-handle my flying buddy. I couldn’t stand it, so I started
something.”

“I bet you did, Allan,” cried Terry. “And I don’t blame you. I think
I’d have done the same.”

“So I got fighting mad. Bud didn’t shoot after all, but he reversed
his gun and hammered me with the butt of it. Jim Heron joined in and
the two of them pressed me back to the edge of a cliff which I
couldn’t see in the fog.”

Terry interrupted. “They backed you over the cliff! Oh Allan, it’s a
wonder you weren’t killed.”

“I might have been if I hadn’t caught at a bush and saved myself. It
was just luck that I got off with some bruises and a broken arm.”

“Then they took you out in a launch to Mackey Jones’ fishing fleet,”
said Terry. “I know about that.”

“How did you trace us, Terry?” asked Allan. “How did you get wise to
where we were?”

“That story can wait until we get to Elmwood—until I’ve had a good
long sleep.”

Allan looked at the girl anxiously.

“Terry, I hate this business. You’re tired out! You’re all in and here
I am not able to take the controls.”

“Don’t worry, boy, I never felt better in my life. I’m on the top of
the world! I could do anything this minute. I’d even feel able to
tackle Joe Arnold!”

If Terry had flung this challenge in Joe Arnold’s face, he could not
have answered with more speed. For out of the fog bank that hung over
the sea, Joe Arnold’s plane had suddenly appeared. It swooped upon
them without warning, driving so close that Terry was thoroughly
frightened. Two men were in the plane that was bearing down upon her,
and desperately she put _Skybird_ into a swift sideslip to avoid a
collision.

Joe Arnold was there to fight! And the fight had started!

“Watch out, Terry,” called Allan through the ear phones. “Be careful.
Bud Hyslop is at the controls and Joe is in the rear cockpit. He’s got
a sub-machine gun. We’re up against the real thing!”

Joe Arnold’s plane was climbing to get above _Skybird_. Terry sensed
his plan and dropped her plane into a tail spin.

Allan gasped. What had happened? Were they falling? Had Terry lost her
nerve. Poor girl, she was tired out and wasn’t responsible! The boy
tried to speak and ask her what had happened but the whirling plane
made him dizzy.

“Terry!” he called, anxiously. But if the girl heard she made no sign.
Grim faced and silent she kept her hand on the controls and strained
her eyes to watch her enemy’s movements.

Once in a while Allan caught a glimpse of Joe Arnold’s plane circling
above them as if he were gloating over their fate. It looked to the
boy as if the ocean were running madly up to snatch at them, while the
heavens whirled about in a dizzy dance. It seemed that no power on
earth could save them. If only he had been able to fly the plane
himself, this accident would never have happened! In his brain flashed
the thought, “No girl should attempt to fly when there is trouble
ahead. That is man’s work!”

But in the midst of his dismay, he felt the plane cease its mad
spinning and come back to an even keel. Terry skilfully brought her
plane out of the spin and levelled off like an expert stunt flyer. It
was not for nothing that she was the daughter of Dick Mapes. She had
inherited her father’s air sense.

Terry fumed inwardly at the unsportsmanlike action of her enemy. To
attack a plane with machine gun fire when he knew that _Skybird_ was
unarmed! That seemed to the girl to show the base character of her
father’s business rival.

Terry let her plane out to the limit of its power. She tried her best
to outdistance her enemy but the scheming attacker brought his plane
to landward of the girl’s and was now deliberately forcing her out to
sea.

“He’s trying to wear me out,” thought Terry. “I see his plan now.
He’ll drive me out over the ocean and keep me there until my fuel is
gone!”

But in face of this peril she did not lose her courage. Determination
to win was written in every line of the girl’s face. “He’ll not get
me,” she said as she pressed back on the stick and sent her plane
zooming. “I’ll fight! I’ll win!”

The tension was relieved. Her nerves were tingling with excitement.
Every sense was alert to catch the meaning of her enemy’s moves.

Then Bud Hyslop let the powerful motor loose. It zoomed at tremendous
speed until it was carried once more above the _Skybird_. Joe thought
now that he had _Skybird_ at his mercy. Bud put the plane into a loop
so as to come down behind Terry’s plane where he would have every
advantage. Then Joe’s sub-machine gun spoke. A stream of bullets
zipped through the wings of Terry’s plane. For a moment she thought
they had been torn to pieces.

Straight out to sea a huge fog bank was rolling landward. Terry headed
her plane toward its protecting folds. Blindly she flew sending her
plane soaring, then came down in a spiral. She levelled her plane and
flew in a zig-zag course to spoil her enemy’s aim. His bullets
whistled harmlessly to right and left and so by good luck and good
flying she escaped destruction.

No one knew better than Terry that she was playing the most dangerous
game in the world. Beneath her was five thousand feet of thin air and
below that the cold waters of the Atlantic.

She dived into the cloud bank and suddenly she saw the angry billows
close beneath her.

“Steady, girl!” she heard Allan’s voice speaking. “You’re flying like
an ace. Keep it up and we’ll win!”

Hastily consulting her compass, the girl flew low, heading her craft
toward land. She had a wild hope that Joe Arnold would think she had
been lost in that mountain of fog and would give up his pursuit.

Rising gradually, she came out at last through the fog and into the
sunlight. Beneath her the fog stretched for miles like a fleecy
texture glistening in the sun.

Joe Arnold was nowhere to be seen.

“Safe at last!” gasped Terry as she took a long breath. She searched
the horizon for signs of land but as far as the eye could reach there
was nothing but the expanse of dazzling white.

Trembling with excitement she looked in every direction to see if her
pursuer was in sight, and gasped, “We’ve fooled Joe Arnold! He’ll
never catch us now!”

She turned to Allan with a reassuring smile. At that moment she heard
Allan’s voice in the earphones. “He’s coming, Terry. Behind us! And
far above.”

Terry’s heart sank. She nodded to show that she had heard.

Then she began a slow spiral down. Allan held his breath. Had the girl
gone crazy? What was she doing?

Terry might have been having a joy ride, a romp in the air, by the way
she was banking so carelessly, circling and levelling off.

Above, Joe’s plane had gone into a steep dive. It was coming straight
at _Skybird_ and Terry seemed to be making no effort to get out of the
way.

Just as the powerful plane drew near, Joe Arnold let out a burst of
fire. Then he leaned far over to see Terry’s plane falling in a mass
of flames.

But _Skybird_ was not there. His fire had missed. The girl had
side-slipped and then straightened out, while Bud at the controls had
allowed his plane to shoot past and into the bank of fog.

Terry made the most of that breathing time. She did not wait to see
whether Joe’s plane had dived into the sea, but with throttle wide
open she headed for land.

The girl kept her plane high above the glistening floor of fog. Half
an hour slipped by and still no sign of the pursuing plane.

Again Terry zoomed skyward and found what she was looking for. Far
below her to the right was a break in the fog and through it she could
see the green earth below.

Terry headed for the opening and slipped through. Below that thick
bank of cloud stretched the green fields dotted with towns and
villages. It looked good. “Where are we Allan?” she cried.

Allan studied the terrain. “We’re near home,” he said as he recognized
the different landmarks. “That’s Beacon Hill to the right!”

Terry laughed with relief. “Oh boy, let’s go!” she cried.

With the tense nerve strain over, Terry suddenly felt herself go weak.
The plane wobbled under her control but only for the fraction of a
second. Then Terry went straight for home.

Never had the Dick Mapes Flying Field looked so good to her as it did
when she banked and circled for a landing.

With steady hand she brought her plane down in a three-point landing,
neat and clean. On the field was the _Comet_ and she saw Prim and
Sally Wyn running to meet her.

As Terry stepped from her plane, Prim threw both arms about her.

“We beat you by a full hour, Terry. What’s kept you so long?” she
cried, laughing hysterically now that the danger was over.

Terry kissed her then ran across the field to her father and mother.

“Good girl, Terry!” her father said in a husky voice. “You’re....”

But he did not have a chance to finish the sentence. At that moment
Bennett Graham with one arm about Allan’s shoulders advanced with
outstretched hand.

“I want to thank you, Terry. You dear, brave girl! You saved Allan!”
he exclaimed in a voice choking with emotion.

Terry’s head was high, her eyes flashed fire. “I don’t want your
thanks, Mr. Graham!”

Dick raised his hand reprovingly to his daughter, “Don’t, Terry!” he
said. “Mr. Graham has explained everything. It was all a mistake.”

But Bennett Graham broke in: “I don’t blame her, Dick. The girl is
right. I’ve been a fool! But I’ve been well punished. Can you forgive
me, Terry?”

“Oh, come on Terry, be a sport!” Allan advanced toward the girl and
took her hand. “Dad’s just as sorry as he can be. Shake hands with him
and let’s be friends.”

Terry drew back, her heart was still bitter. Her father’s face showed
how he had suffered. It was hard to forgive.

“And listen, Terry,” said Allan. “Dad says he’s going to give you that
fifty thousand dollars that was asked for ransom. It’s for a reward.”

“No, he’s not!” snapped Terry. “I wouldn’t _touch_ his money!” Her
face was scarlet, anger blazed in her eyes. “There are two things that
money cannot buy! Loyalty and friendship!”

Bennett Graham sadly turned away.

“Some day Terry, I’ll prove my loyalty and friendship. Just give me
time.”

Terry’s heart softened at sight of the old man’s sorrow. She turned
and offered her hand.

“Then let’s begin right now,” said the girl.

“Now tell us everything that happened,” cried Terry’s mother, hugging
and kissing her daughter in an excess of joy. “Goodness knows I never
expected to see you come back alive, after all you’ve been through.”

“Hasn’t Prim told you?” asked Terry. “She and Syd have been here an
hour.”

“Yes, but I want to hear it all over again,” exclaimed Alice Mapes.

“All right. But first I must have a hot bath and a cold shower and a
change of clothes. Then I’ll tell you at the table. I’m just simply
starved.”

An hour later the whole party gathered at Dick Mapes’ dinner table,
not only the flyers but Bennett Graham as well, for Dick had urged him
to stay.

Breathlessly they listened as Terry told about the flight to the
rescue and when she came to the story of Joe Arnold’s attack on her
plane with a sub-machine gun, they were so excited that they forgot to
eat.

“I knew Arnold was unscrupulous, but I never dreamed he would go as
far as murder,” cried her father. “He and Bud Hyslop shall suffer for
this!”

“But I _think_ they have both been lost,” said Terry. “The last I saw
of their plane it was diving straight to the sea. Then the fog
swallowed them up, and the chances are that they hit the water, and
went under.”

“I certainly hope so,” said Bennett Graham. “To think that I advised
Allan to go into business with that scoundrel! It’s unbelievable!”

Syd, who was sitting beside Prim, remarked quietly, “Well, that’s the
end of our attempt to fly the Atlantic. It will be a long time before
we set out again.”

“I’m not so sure,” said Bennett Graham. “I’m going to give Allan a new
plane. He can pick it himself and you two boys can try again when
Allan’s arm is well.”

“Thanks, Dad,” said Allan. “I’ll accept on one condition.”

“Name it.”

“That is that these two girls are given a mate of the plane I pick.
But for them, we would be still in Joe Arnold’s clutches.”

“I’ll be only too glad,” cried the old gentleman. “That is if Terry
and Prim will accept the plane.” He turned to Terry and Prim, adding,
“Please do. It will show that you have forgiven me.”

The two sisters extended their hands impulsively and once more
friendship was restored. The meal progressed happily.

“And now,” said Terry, “we’ll have a nice restful summer, playing
about in our new planes and teaching the students how to win their
pilot’s licenses. No more adventure for a long time!”

“And you’ve got to teach Sally to fly!” exclaimed Prim.

“That will be a joy, for Sally has shown that she’s one grand little
sport, the stuff that will make a flyer,” replied Terry.

They all smiled happily then went outside on the veranda for their
coffee.

If only they had foreseen what the next months would bring into their
lives, they would not have been so happy, for Prim and Terry were
destined to set out upon an even more perilous air cruise, far in the
southern seas and there amid the tropic splendors, _The Girl Flyers on
Adventure Island_, were to encounter thrills they had never dreamed of
among the denizens of the isles of mystery.

THE END





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Gypsies of the Air" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home