Part 4 out of 4
Sailing low, almost touching minor elevations at times, the great
airship came on, straight to the spot where the boys stood--where
the Indians awaited them with guns in their hands!
In a moment Jimmie saw why this course was being taken. Unless the
rascals in the twin valleys had seen the light when it first
appeared they would not see it at all, for the bulk of the mountain
shut off their view of the rough country over which Ned was
Ned did not seem to mind the fire signals. Perhaps, Jimmie thought,
he had recognized the warning as a "Good News" signal. In that case
the boy thought, the end of everything, for them, would come right
Moving slowly and softly, with little noise of motor or propeller,
the Nelson approached the spot, circled about, and dropped in a
little depression just below the place where Jimmie was standing.
Then the strangest thing happened!
The boy had expected to hear rifle shots, to see his friends
attacked, perhaps murdered before his eyes. But the first one to
spring from the machine was the Indian who had given the Boy Scout
salute some days before!
The Indians on guard saluted him gravely and stood eyeing the
aeroplane critically. No hostile move was made. It was the
strangest thing! Where had Ned taken the Indian up, and why had the
latter volunteered to render this assistance?
It was no use to wonder, so Jimmie and Jackson sprang toward the
machine, grasped Ned by the hand, and swung into seats. The Indian
who had piloted the Nelson to the place and prevented an attack by
the guards, stood with his arms folded across his broad breast. For
a moment Ned grasped his hand. The others followed, with what
emotion may well be understood, and the Nelson was away, purring
through the sweet air of the morning as if there were no perils at
all in life!
Later revelations showed that the Indian, wishing to protect the Boy
Scouts, had made his way to the elevation where the Nelson had first
dropped down, signaled to Ned, and informed him of the plans of the
Collins people. Frank and Jack had been left farther down the
slope, as it was feared that the Nelson would not be able to get
away with so much weight to carry. It is almost needless to say
that the Indian was rewarded for his loyalty to the Boy Scouts, and
that he carried back with him enough money to make each of the
guards a substantial present.
When the Nelson first rose above the rim of the twin valleys shrill
cries came from the direction of the cavern, and half a dozen shots
were fired. But all to no purpose. The last the boys saw of
Collins and his adherents they were shouting angrily at the Indians,
who were rapidly disappearing from sight over the west wall.
After a time the aeroplane dropped down again, and Jimmie's eyes
nearly popped out of his head when he saw Jack and Frank sitting
complacently on a rock watching him with grins on their faces. The
greeting of the three boys may well be imagined.
"You're a nice bunch!" Jimmie cried, after many handshakes and much
pulling about. "We left you on the way to little old N.Y. Where
"We just took a run in the Black Bear!" was the reply.
"The Black Bear!" repeated the little fellow actually rubbing his
eyes to see if he was awake. "Where is the Black Bear?"
"Down in the Madeira river," laughed Ned, "and there's no knowing
where she would have been by this time only for the--"
"Cut it out, Ned!" broke in Jack. "Let us break it to him gently.
He'll have fun enough with us without getting it all in a bunch!"
Jackson was introduced to the two boys, and then a council of war
was held. It was finally decided that Jackson should be taken to
Sicuani in the Nelson and left there, with money enough to make his
way out. Pedro was found at Sicuani and richly rewarded. He did
not return to Lima.
Then Ned was to return for the boys and proceed straight to
Asuncion, where the search for the missing cattleman was to be
renewed. This programme was carried out. Later the boys met
Jackson in New York and royally entertained him at the Black Bear
club room and saw that he secured a fine position.
When the Nelson reached Asuncion Ned proceeded directly to the
office of the president, taking the boys with him. There the story
of the trip was told, and Frank and Jack saw to it that Ned's
official position was made known to the head of the republic.
"And so this Mr. Thomas Q. Collins is the man at the bottom of the
trouble?" asked the official. "Well, he will be taken care of if he
returns here. And this military chief? He shall be sent out of the
It transpired later on that the president had been deceived in the
two men, and that Collins had secured the assistance of the general
by false statements and by offers of large sums of money in case the
cattle concession was taken from Lyman. A good many officials were
found to be mixed up in the conspiracy, and there were numerous
vacancies in the government service.
"And now," the president said, after the whole truth was known, "the
next thing to do is to find Lyman and restore him to his rights."
"It seems to me," Ned suggested, "that this general ought to be able
to produce him in Asuncion in a few hours' time."
"It may be so," admitted the official. "At least, we'll see what
can be done in that direction."
Lyman was safe in his home in one day. When the general learned
that it was the wish of the president that the cattleman should be
brought forth, the thing was as good as accomplished.
"It seems to me," Ned said to the boys, that night, "that this thing
has been settled without much help from me. All the president
needed was to be set right."
"What he needed," laughed Jack, "was the proof that Collins had
abducted Lyman, and that he was prepared to prevent his return to
Asuncion until his concession had expired. Perhaps you can tell me
how all this proof could have been obtained if you had not
undertaken the job offered you by the Secret Service men at San
"Of course he can't," Jimmie put in. "Lyman man would have died
there in the mountains and Collins would have taken over his
property. The president might have been in with the deal at first,
but he certainly wasn't willing to stand for such coarse work."
"And when Lyman didn't show up, his heirs would have demanded the
property, and then there would have been an international quarrel--
perhaps work for gunboats," Frank added. "I think the case was
settled just right, and in the right way."
"And what does this Lyman person say?" asked Jimmie.
"Not a thing!" cried Jack. "He just offers Ned all the money there
is in the world in the shape of a reward. I should have taken it!"
"I know better," Ned commented. "We don't need his money, any more
than we need the half million or so Collins offered us."
"Wonder what Collins will do now?" asked Frank.
"He'll duck!" replied Jimmie.
The little fellow was right. Thomas Q. Collins was heard of no
more, either in Paraguay or Peru. When Ned, leaving the others at
Asuncion, speeded over to Lima he found Leroy and Mike lounging
about the hotel, waiting anxiously for news from their chums. They
had been released on the day following Collins' departure, there
being no one to press the charge of assault and battery against
Now there was work cut out for the Nelson. She carried Ned, Mike
and Leroy over to Asuncion and then made two long trips to the
little town on the Madeira where the Black Bear lay.
The meeting between the boys and Harry was an enthusiastic one, and
the latter pointed with a good deal of pride to the motor boat, good
as new and as bright and clean as a new gold piece.
After a few days spent exploring the country up the Beni, the boys
started home, their errand satisfactorily accomplished. Jimmie
decided to go with Jack, Frank, Harry and Mike in the motor boat,
leaving the Nelson to Ned and Leroy.
"One thing I'd like to do," Jimmie said, as the Black Bear lay
waiting for the boys, "and that is to go up into that cannibal
country and have some fun with the fellows who captured the Black
Bear and made the occupants of it look like thirty cents in postage
"They never did capture the Black Bear!" yelled Frank. "They tried
to, and got dynamited for their pains. That's what they got."
"And of course," tormented the little fellow, "you wished the Nelson
had stayed away, and left you all the glory--not!"
"Well," Jack interposed, "we didn't get tied up in a mountain cave
by a lot of cheap skates. We never got where we had to let an
Indian get us out of a mess."
"Rats!" shouted Jimmie. "Ned would have recognized our fire signals
and remained away! We could have gotten off without the Indian."
"You say it well!" laughed Frank. "I think that fire signal was
And so the lads roasted each other all the way down the Amazon, with
the Nelson sailing above them, dropping down at night and, perhaps,
changing passengers each day.
"I wish I had the frame of the Vixen," Leroy said, one day. "I
could make a fine aeroplane out of it. Shame to have an airship
smashed like that!"
Ned pointed to the planes of the Nelson.
"You've got quite a job making this little lady look like new," he
said. "Those tent canvas planes look rather cheap."
"I'll have the new planes in place in a week after we get back to
New York," said the other.
"And send the repair bill to the government," advised Ned. "It will
be paid without a cross word."
At the mouth of the Amazon the Black Bear was taken apart and packed
aboard a fast steamer bound for New York. The five boys accompanied
her, of course, while Ned and Leroy completed the trip home in the
Nelson. When the four reached the Black Bear club room they found
Ned there with a mass of letters and telegrams before him.
"Look here, lads," he said, "we've got more trouble on hand. You
know about the revolution in China, and all that? Well, there's a
lot of gold which belongs to the republic been dumped in the sea,
and I've got to go and help get it out!"
"Let 'em get their own gold," Jimmie said.
"But in this case, it is claimed that there was fraud in the
shipment of gold, also, that the vessel carrying it was rammed for
the purpose of concealing the fraud. Anyway, Uncle Sam wants me to
look it up."
"What's he got to do with it?" asked Frank.
"Something connected with the sub-treasury," laughed Ned. "That is
all I can say to you about it."
"And how you goin' to get it?" demanded Jimmie.
"By working with a submarine," was the reply.
"Down in the bottom of the sea!" sang Frank.
"Well," Ned said, presently, "figure the thing out for yourselves.
Find out if you can get permission to go, and all that. The
government will provide the submarine and all the supplies, of
course, and land us near the spot we are to search."
But the story of the search for the gold is quite another tale. It
will be found in the third volume of this series, entitled:
"Boy Scouts in a Submarine; or, Searching an Ocean Floor."