FOG: hung heavy over Lake Ponce-
trane, a timber-encircled lake in the
Cascade Range of Oregon. Through
this fog, skimming low, like sume Ione wild
duck circling for a lighting, a hydroplane
circled and circled, then, as the dark bulk
of a wooded shore pushed itself through the
fog, suddenly settled to the water's surface.
Barney McBride, the pilot. a forest rang-
er, unbuckled his harness, rose stiffly,
stretched his cramped limbs, then, turning
one, but not longer or harder than many
he had taken before; nor than his chum and
. fellow-forester, Bob Martin, had made in
“Not> longer or harder, but more im-
portant,” he murmured to himself. “ And
it’s just chance, my own good luck, that the
sale was to be made at Tenino on the shore
of a lake instead of Alvira by the side of a
meadow, where a plane can land with ease,”
. Yet, he had not_a shadow of doubt but
the die was cast. His superior, Jake Rum-
ford, the head forester for the Big Western
Timber Company, a‘ concern that owned and
-eontrolled a million acres of virgin timber
land on the slope of the Coast Range, had
resigned. Both he and Bob were in line
for promotion: As far as they knew, there
was nothing favoring the candidacy of. one
above that of the other. . They had entered
service the same day. Each had done his
duty. Barney had been given a hydroplane
to fly, because that particular forest region
over which they had supervision was dotted
with many small Jakes in regions offering no
landing place for an airplane. On the other
hand, there were quite as many spots where
the use of a hydroplane was impossible; so
Bob had been given an airplane. '
At this moment, when the choice of a
head ranger hung in the balance, there had
come the, important mission of carrying the .
company’s sealed bid for a large and valu-
able tract of land to Tenino, The timber
cruisers had been hindered in bringing in
their report upon which the bid must be
based. Now there was only time to reach
Tenino by plane, and the deal meant many
thousands of dollars to the company, Be-
hastily, unlashed a small skiff from the back - Cause there chanced to be a water landing-
of the fusilage and, having. tossed it lightly
into the water, seized the paddle, leaped in-
tu the skiff and paddled rapidly toward the
. He had been gone for perhaps five min-
utes when, without warning. from out of the
white fog there appeared the prow.of a
small motorboat. The engine was not go-
ing. The two occupants of the boat: were
rowing, each with one oar. Their destina-
tion, beyond doubt. was the hydroplane.
Not a word was spoken until the taller of
the two-men put out a hand and, steady-
ing himself, for a moment, leaped from the
boat to the lower wing of the plane.
“ Work fast,” the shorter man cautioned.
“He may be‘ back any moment.”
“Count on me, Don't want-any mix-up,
y business,” whispered the other.
“Thought you had decided to stay,”
grumbled the waiting man when his com-
panion sprang back into the motor boat.
“Time enough.” the other drawled.
Drawing a small flat package from his pock-
et, be tore off a maroon-colored paper from
it, and threw it carelessly into the water,
Breaking the contents of the wrapper in
two, he set his teeth into one-half, tossed
the other to his companion, then, seizing his
oar, pushed the’ boat away from the plane,
The next moment they disappeared silent-
ly into the fog. Théy had been gone but an
incredibly short time, when Barney reap-
peared in his shallow skiff
“Well, that’s done,” he smiled 'to him-
self, 4s he drew the skiff back into place
and tied it securely there. “ Now for the
big pull and the grand prize.”
His face clouded -as the last two words
left his lips. There was something too easy
about it all. It was chance that had given
him the opportunity to win the position
which, he felt sure, was awaiting him at the
end of the long journey, The trip he was
making for bis company was a tong, hard
place at Tenino, Barney had been Biv en this
message. The successful carrying’ out of
this mission Would, he was gure, win him
promotion. Because there seemed to be an
abundance of time, if the message went by
plane, and because it meant the avoiding of
a special, trip, Barney had been instructed
to stop off at Beaver Island in Lake Ponce-
trane and see if the cruiser's cabin. located
on the island, was in a good state of repair,
‘his mission had now been accomplished,
and he was free to complete his journey.
It was with a sigh of satisfaction that he
dropped into his seat behind the wheel, and,
having buckled himself into bis safety har-
ness, put his hand to the starting lever,
Copyriht, 1922, by David C.
DAVID C. COOK PUBLISIIING
Cook Publishing Company. -
COMPANY, Excin, ILtrnots.
But what was this? The engine gave a
few sput-sputs, then stopped dead,
“ What?" .
He could not believe his senses. Ie tried
it again, No better results.
Jerking off hiseharness, he leaped to the
platform beside the motor,
For a moment his eyes and his fingers
played over the line of spark plugs of the
twelve-cylinder motor, as a skilled musi-
. ciau. plays over the keys of an organ.
Then his face went blank. “
“Changed.” he muttered. “ Somebody's
been-here. That spark plug there; never
had oné like that. And that one; I cracked
the enamel when I put one in there, It's
gone, Perfectly good-looking one there now,
e pau » Dark suspicjon had entered
his mind. Would Bob do a thing like that?
Block him. . Lose for him the prize, and
for. the company its contract? It seemed
unbelievable. But who else?
The next .moment he was all action.
Dropping to the fusilage, he dragged from
within the space back of the seat, numerous
odds and ends of wooden rods, coils of wire,
clamps, bolts,-and glass insulators, These
he pieced together with incredible speed.
At length, a wire-strung pole was thrust
into the air. Wires were attached at the bot-
tom, a receiver thrust over his head, and
then, seated in his place before the wheel,
he allowed his fingers to play upon the
key of a wireless, -
“ Sput—sput—sput—” The snap of the
electric current sounded above him, Ife was
sending out an 8. O. 8S, addressed to Bob at
the home station, Fort Timberward. 1
there was still any doubt in his mind, this
would settle it.
“ Sput-sput-sput.” the instrument sound-
ed again and again. Each time he waited
for an answer, At last. to his great joy, it
“ Bob Martin on the wire,” it said.
The boy on the plane could not tell which
gave him the greater relief, the fact that he
might get assistance in-time, or that this
essage exonerated Bob from all possible
blame. Fort Timberward was two hun-
dred miles away.
Then there came to Barney's mind an-
other thought: he would be obliged to ask
Rob to assist him, then he would go on
and win the position which wae coveted by
cach, of them. It seemed unfai
“Well!” he éxclaimed, “company’s in-
Again his fingers were playing on the
keys, Ife was instructing Bob to bring
twelve spark plugs to the island on Lake
As Bob came scudding along with the engine shut off, Barney heard him shout, “ Watch this!”
June 24, 1922.
Poncetrane, He was to make a landing
there if possible, then to bring the spark
plugs to the northeast corner of the island
where he, Barney, would be waitin
Ile listened until the other boy's O. K, -
rang in his ears, then- removing the re-
ceiver from his head, he settled back in his
seat. It would be two hours before Tiob
arrived, But even this would give him
time, if— Suddenly he sat up straight, his
brow wrinkled. “If he can land on the
island!" he exclaimed, “and I doubt if he
can, There’s a small bare space in the very
center, and tha covered with rocks; the
rest is timbered. If he can’t land, we Jose!"
Just at that time his eye caught sight of
a maroon-colored paper floating in the wa-
ter beside the plane. Climbing down, he
fished it out; then, having carefully dried
it between two pages of an old newspaper,
thrust it into his pocket.
“May be evidence,” he murmured,
Ife had just completed bis tusk of re-
Me sent the skiff flying over the water,
moving the, spark plugs, when there came to
his waiting car the drum of a powerful
*“Bob!" he murmured. “ Good old Bob!
He's made it in record time.’
The: fog. had cleared. Barney could see
the plane like some gigantic dragon-fly
drifting down upon him. Before it reached
the spot in the sky, above him, it swerved
to the right and went skimming low over
the tree-tops of the island.
“Looking for landing,” Barney's heart
Ile made no move to go ashore; There
would be time enough for that after Bo
had affected a landing. For a second or
two the drum of the motor ceased, and Rar-
ney’s heart stepped beating with it. Could
he make it?
jut again came the thunder of the motor,
Again the plane appeared above the trees.
He had not found a safe landing place.
Four times he attempted it; four times
“Can't do it! It's no use!”
sank limply down into his seat.
But Bob was swinging around, Tle was
preparing to pass low over the hydroplane.
What could he want?
As he came scudding along with engine
shut off, Barney heard him shout:
“ Watch this!”
The next moment he saw Bob's hsad
Straight down it fell, then like a parachute
it filled withair‘and floated to the surface
of the water.
Quickly Barney. leaped ‘into his skiff and
wvas away to the spot where this miniature
parachute fell, The thing’ was heavy,
Could he reach it, before it
para vchute to the bottom of the lake?
(Continued on page 7%)
Something drapped from it)
dragged the -