- زمان مطالعه 49 دقیقه
- سطح سخت
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
Telescope Hill Trouble
DON’T kid me, fellows,” chubby Chet Morton said, moving his metal detector about the Hardys’ front lawn. “You can find all kinds of swell things on the beaches with this gadget.”
“Like what?” blond-haired Joe asked, winking at his brother Frank.
“Lost jewelry, money, gold-plated pens-“
Chet was interrupted by the arrival of a tall, broad-shouldered youth.
“Hi, Biff!” Frank called out. “Chet’s trying to find a treasure.”
Biff Hooper examined the new device and raised his eyebrows. “I know just where you can use this, Chet. You might find a lot of valuable stuff.”
“At the Honeycomb Caves. My grandfather told me a freighter was sunk off the point during a hurricane.
Lots of stuff was washed up.”
“Just what I told you,” Chet said with a supercilious glance at the Hardy brothers.
Frank, eighteen, and Joe, a year younger, looked skeptically at their enthusiastic friends.
“There are a lot of important things to be found!” Chet burbled. “How about the four of us going on a trip together?”
“To the Honeycomb Caves?” Joe asked. “Sure. Why not? It’s only fifty miles down the coast. Good swimming and fishing there, too.”
“I’ll explore the caves for hidden jewels,” Joe said dryly, “while you and Biff pick up a million dollars’
worth of rusty nails.”
“It’s a deal,” Biff said, laughing. “Let me try that gimmick, Chet.”
The stout boy removed the earphones from his head and handed Biff the long, thin tube with a metal disk at the end.
“When you hear a loud clicking,” Chet said, “you know that something metallic is under the ground.”
His face intent, big Biff moved about the grass with the detector. Suddenly a voice from inside the house called, “Frank! Joel”
“Okay, Dad, we’re coming,” Joe answered. He leaped up the front steps three at a time, with Frank athis heels.
Inside, Mr. Hardy, a tall athletic man, motioned his sons into his study.
Fenton Hardy’s reputation as a sleuth was worldwide. A former crack New York City police officer, he had moved to Bayport to become a private detective. Now his sons seemed destined to follow in their father’s footsteps.
“What’s cooking, Dad?” Frank asked as the two boys sank into comfortable seats.
“Another mystery?” queried Joe.
Mr. Hardy flashed a smile, then became serious and opened a dossier before him on the desk. “I’ve got important news,” he said.
“About what, Dad?” Joe asked.
“Where the U. S. is erecting the Coastal Radar Station?” asked Frank.
“What’s going on there?” Joe asked.
“Trouble. That’s all I know so far,” Mr. Hardy replied. He told his sons that he had been deputized by the U. S. Government to aid in security at the gigantic installation designed to protect the coast of North America.
“To hunt out spies?” Joe asked.
“More likely saboteurs. There have been some strange, unexplained accidents at the site.”
“Attack from within?” Frank queried.
“Yes. Perhaps a guard. That’s my guess. So I’m going to reorganize the guard security system and nip any trouble in the bud. I thought you boys might like to help.”
“Sure, Dad!” Frank said. “Will we need disguises or anything?”
“But,” Joe began, “Chet wants us to-“
“That can wait,” Frank interrupted impatiently. “Can’t you see, Joe, we might be heading into a dilly of a mystery?”
Just then the quiet of the balmy June afternoon was shattered by a wild shriek in front of the Hardys’
home. Frank and Joe jumped up, startled.
“Good grief, something’s happened!” Frank exclaimed.
Both boys dashed out of the house, followed by Mr. Hardy. Chet was jumping up and down on the front lawn, while Biff, looking excited, made the metal disk hover above a spot on the lawn.
“He’s found a treasure!” Chet cried out. “This thing’s clicking like fury. We’ve really got something,Frank!”
Several cars passing the Hardy home slowed down as the drivers watched Chet’s antics. Then a huge trailer truck, carrying a load of construction steel, came to a halt while the driver honked for the cars to move on.
“More material for the radar installation,” Frank thought as the long vehicle rumbled out of sight down the street.
“Look, it’s right about here,” Biff said. He took off his earphones and marked an X on the grass.
“Do you expect us to dig up this fine lawn to satisfy your tomfoolery?” Joe said in mock seriousness.
“We just can’t let it lie there,” Chet protested. “Suppose it’s an old coin worth hundreds and hundreds of dollars.”
Now Mr. Hardy was interested. With a wink he said, “Okay, boys, dig it up. Let’s see what good detectives Chet and Biff are.”
Chet ran to the garage and returned with a shovel. With it he carefully cut the turf, placed it to one side, and probed the dirt with the point of his shovel. He hit something hard and metallic.
“What did I tell you?” Chet beamed. “This detector is the greatest. Oh boy, are we going to have fun at Honeycomb Caves!” He dug up a shovelful of dirt, which he deposited beside the hole.
From the soil fell the metallic object The Hardys recognized it as a tiny toy fire engine, rusted and corroded.
As the others crowded about, Joe picked up the toy and wiped off the crumbling earth which clung to the wheels. “Thanks, Chet,” he said gravely, “I lost this fire engine seven years ago when I was ten.”
“You were probably trying to hide it from me,” said Frank, and laughed.
“Well,” said Biff, “we’ve found Chet’s Number One treasure. What’s next? A ship’s compass at Honeycomb Caves?”
Chuckling, Mr. Hardy excused himself, while the boys chatted about the trip.
“I’m afraid we can’t go, fellows,” Joe said.
“Not at this time, anyhow,” Frank chimed in. “We have to work on a case with Dad.”
“Say, what is going on?” Biff demanded.
“We can’t tell,” Frank replied. “It’s confidential.”
“Whatever it is,” Chet said, “count me out of any dangerous stuff.” Their stout friend bemoaned the fact that every time they were about to have fun, some sort of detective work had to come up.
Chet already had been involved in some deep mysteries which the Hardy boys had solved. But in each case, although reluctant at first, their staunch friend had joined in the sleuthing as an invaluable ally.
“When can you come with us?” asked Biff, evidently as eager as Chet to explore around Honeycomb Caves.”That depends,” said Frank, “on-“ His eyes were suddenly diverted by someone walking up the street.
The other three boys turned to see an attractive girl, about their age, hurrying along the sidewalk. She had wavy jet-black hair, flashing brown eyes, and a gait that told the world she was in a hurry.
“A new neighbor?” Biff whispered, grinning.
“I’ve never seen her before,” Joe said.
The girl, heels clicking, hastened to the Hardys’ front walk. There she stopped suddenly, turned toward the boys, and took a few steps forward.
Chet gave a low whistle and rolled his eyes. The girl, although she had a pretty face, wore a sad, worried look. “I would like to speak to the detective,” she said nervously.
Joe’s face brightened. “My brother Frank and I are detectives,” he replied. “May we help you?”
“Don’t mock me,” said the girl, and her lower lip quivered.
Frank and Joe were taken aback. But they were even more nonplused when their caller suddenly burst into tears!
Over the Fence
“HEY, wait a minute!” Joe blurted. “Don’t cry!” But tears continued to course down the girl’s face.
As the boys looked on in embarrassed silence, Mrs. Hardy hurried out of the door, followed by her husband.
“Goodness gracious!” exclaimed Laura Hardy, a slim, good-looking woman. She hastened to the girl and put an arm about her shoulder. “Come inside, dear. Perhaps we can help you.”
Frank whispered to Chet and Biff, “Wait here until we find what this is all about.”
Mrs. Hardy sat on the living-room sofa beside the young caller. The girl dried her eyes and announced that her name was Mary Todd. She sobbed once more and said, “My father was a friend of yours, Mr.
“Oh, yes. George Todd of the Redding Machine Company. A fine man. I haven’t seen him for years.”
“Well, Dad passed away, and Mother, too,” the girl said.
The Hardys all expressed sympathy. Then Mary explained, “That’s not why I’m crying, though. It’s about my brother.”
Mr. Hardy leaned forward in his chair and said, “His name is Morgan, isn’t it? As I recall, a very bright boy. A little older than my sons.”Bravely fighting back tears, Mary told the Hardys that her brother, Morgan Thomas Todd, an instructor of foreign affairs at Kenworthy College, had disappeared.
“And I want you to find him, Mr. Hardy,” Mary said pleadingly. “The police are working on the case, but have discovered no leads.”
The girl explained that she was a freshman at Kenworthy College, which had just ended the spring semester. Her plan had been to spend the summer with relatives on the West Coast, but since her brother had disappeared several days before, she had canceled her trip and come to Bayport.
“I just don’t know what to do, Mr. Hardy,” she said. “Please help me.”
Frank and Joe looked at their father. What would his decision be? He thought for a moment before speaking. “As I recall, your brother spent some time studying political methods in a foreign country.”
“Yes, he did,” Mary said, and mentioned the nation, which was unfriendly to the United States. She added that while he was there, Morgan Todd had suffered a fall and injured his head. “He seemed all right when he came back, but now I’m afraid he’s lost his memory and just wandered away from the college.”
“You mean as the result of his fall?” Mrs. Hardy asked.
“Yes. Sort of a delayed reaction.”
“Fenton, I hope you take the case,” Mrs. Hardy said earnestly.
The detective now gave Mary a reassuring smile. “Of course I will” He turned to Frank and Joe. “You know I have already accepted an important case, but if you boys pitch in, I can also undertake the search for Morgan.”
“Dad, you know we will!” Joe said eagerly.
Mary Todd’s face brightened. “Oh, thank you, thank you,” she said. “Boys, please forgive me for being such a crybaby.”
“That’s all right,” Joe replied, a little embarrassed.
“Sure,” Frank put in. “I don’t blame you. Maybe we acted a little too smart. Have you a picture of your brother?” he added.
Mary took a snapshot from her purse and gave it to Frank. “Just don’t lose it,” she said, smiling. Then she rose to bid them good-by. “I’ll be staying at the Bayport Hotel,” she said.
At that moment the doorbell rang. Mrs. Hardy answered it and an attractive dark-haired girl walked in.
She was Iola Morton, Chet’s sister, who was a schoolmate of the Hardys and a particular favorite of Joe’s.
“Hello, Iola,” Joe said, reddening slightly.
Then Frank said, “Iola, this is Mary Todd.”
The two girls smiled and exchanged greetings. Then Iola said, “Joe, what did you and Frank do to my poor brother? He’s simply crushed that you two won’t go treasure hunting at Honeycomb Caves.”
“You can guess what the reason is,” Frank said.Iola giggled. “A mystery?”
Frank and Joe, after a nod of approval from their father, told her about Mary Todd’s problem.
“Oh, you poor dear,” Iola said kindly. Her eyes sparkled. “I have an idea! Suppose you stay at our home until Mr. Hardy and the boys find your brother.”
“Oh, I couldn’t impose.”
“You don’t know my mother,” Iola said. “She’ll insist that you stay. I hope you don’t mind being a little ways out in the country. We live on a farm.”
“I’d really love it,” Mary said. “You’re all so wonderful to me.”
The two girls left the house together. Frank and Joe followed and quickly briefed Chet and Biff on the missing instructor.
“Another mystery! That settles it!” Chet exclaimed. He turned to the Hardys and said gravely, “Gentlemen, the Hooper-Morton treasure expedition will be forced to take off without you.”
“Come on, Chet,” Iola ordered. “Get that old jalopy of yours running, destination Bayport Hotel.”
“What for?” her brother asked, putting his metal detector in the back of the car.
When Iola told about their new guest, Chet opened the door gallantly with a bow. “The two of you can squeeze into the front seat with me,” he said, then gave Biff a big wink and murmured, “Some guys have all the luck.”
“That’s you, pal.” Biff laughed.
At the dinner table that evening Frank and Joe discussed with their father what steps to take first in both mysteries. The brothers, it was decided, would leave the next day for Kenworthy College, in upper New York State. It was located in a town of the same name, about a six-hour drive away.
“And now getting back to my case at the radar site,” Mr. Hardy said, “I’ll show you around the place tonight.”
“Great!” Joe exclaimed eagerly.
Ever since the brothers had been old enough to engage in sleuthing, there had been a great camaraderie among the Hardy “menfolk,” as Laura Hardy referred to them. Frank and Joe had first demonstrated their detective ability in an adventure known as The Tower Treasure. Their most recent challenge was The Shore Road Mystery. By now, crime detection had become the boys’ chief avocation.
The three left the house and Frank backed the boys’ car down the driveway. The vehicle was old but well kept by the brothers, who preferred it to then father’s late-model sedan.
Frank drove five miles north of town to an elevated spot overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and directly below, Barmet Bay.
From the road, they could see Bayport hugging the coast with its many docks stretching like dark fingers into the bay. Frank drove for half a mile farther. Now the road was bordered by a high steel-mesh fence.
Presently he stopped in front of a gate guarded by two uniformed men. Mr. Hardy got out and showed his badge, then introduced his sons to the guards. “I’d like to show the boys around,” he said.”Okay, Mr. Hardy,” one of the guards replied, saluting.
The three Hardys tramped along a wooded lane which snaked upward to the top of Telescope Hill.
“Little did the old pioneers know that their telescope lookout would be used for this giant radar,” Frank said as they approached the summit.
Here the trees had been felled, and the area was covered with heavy construction equipment and piles of steel framework. Already, the radar tower had risen more than a hundred feet into the air, its girders sticking up weirdly into the evening sky.
“Looks like nobody’s around,” Joe said, glancing about. “Sure is quiet.”
“Don’t be fooled,” Mr. Hardy told him. “There’s a large corps of watchmen on duty.”
“Still, it’s a pretty big place to be patrolled one hundred percent efficiently, isn’t it, Dad?” Joe asked.
Just then another uniformed guard walked quietly past the construction equipment twenty yards from them. “Evening, Mr. Hardy,” the man said.
“Evening, Bill.” Fenton Hardy returned his salute, then walked on with his sons. They encountered three more guards before they had circled the hilltop.
Each man was immediately recognized by the detective, although he had met the entire staff only that morning.
On the way back to the gate, Frank left the lane. Walking waist-high through weeds and brush, he observed the fence. “I wonder if they’re planning to electrify the fence?” he called out to his father.
Before Mr. Hardy could answer, Frank was startled by rustling noises. A dim figure rose up from the brush about ten feet away. Stealthily as a cat, a man raced to the fence.
“Stop!” Frank yelled and sprinted after him. The fellow clawed his way to the top of the steel mesh and leaped down with the agility of a panther. He hit the ground with a thud on the other side and bounded off into the woods. Mr. Hardy and Joe dashed to Frank’s side.
“Jumpin’ catfish!” Joe declared. “You’ve already flushed one of the spy pack.”
“I hope not for good,” Frank said. “I’d rather have grabbed him.”
Suddenly his eye was caught by an object snagged on a bush. Frank plucked it off and triumphantly held out an odd-looking cap. “We’ve got a clue, anyhow.”
The trio examined the cap. It was dark red with a small green peak. There was no label inside.
“I’ve never seen one like this,” Joe commented. “It could be an import.”
“Good guess,” Frank agreed.
It was growing dark, so Mr. Hardy voted against pursuing the intruder. He kept the cap, however, for more careful study.
Next morning Frank and Joe were up early. They hastily packed for the trip to Kenworthy College, thenhad breakfast with their parents.
“You have a plan mapped out, boys?” Mr. Hardy asked.
Frank nodded and laid down his fork. “We’ll see the police and the dean, then get permission to examine Morgan Todd’s quarters.”
“Check carefully on any close associates he might have had,” Mr. Hardy advised.
“And do be careful,” Mrs. Hardy added. “Of course, I know you’re perfectly capable of taking care of yourselves.”
“You can say that again, Laura,” Mr. Hardy remarked as a smile crinkled his eyes.
Joe checked the gas and oil in their car while Frank loaded the baggage into the trunk. “All set.”
“Okay.” Joe took the wheel and zigzagged through the Bayport streets until they came to the highway which led directly west. Early-morning traffic was light, consisting mainly of large trucks heading east toward the radar construction.
The road, level at first, rose in a long curve toward the top of a hill, three miles out of town.
Joe kept far to the right side as a truck crested the hill and headed down. It was pulling a long flatbed trailer, on top of which was balanced a huge crane.
As it approached, Frank suddenly cried out, “Joe . . . the trailer . . . it’s cut loose!”
The flatbed veered toward the center of the road on a collision course with the Hardys’ car.
Joe tried desperately to swerve out of its way. To make matters worse, the huge crane began to topple over.
“Look out!” Frank cried in warning.
FRANTICALLY Joe looked about for a way to dodge the runaway trailer. He spied a small turnout and spun his wheel sharply. But before he could reach that haven, the crane hit the top of the Hardys’ car with a ripping crash! Joe clutched the wheel as the car swerved and shuddered, finally coming to rest on the dirt shoulder. Both boys glanced back. The huge crane lay twisted in a ditch, the flatbed trailer alongside on its back. Frank and Joe hopped out to look at the damage.
“Wow! Look at this. Pretty close!” Frank said, pointing to a long jagged cut in the roof of the car.
A quarter mile down the hill, the truck driver had stopped his vehicle and walked back. He came up to the Hardys and the three talked over the strange accident. As they surveyed the broken crane, and the trailer with upturned wheels still spinning, the truck driver said glumly, “More bad luck.We’re really getting it on this radar job!”
“What do you mean?” Frank asked. “Have things like this happened before?”
The driver hooked his thumbs into his suspenders and gave a low whistle. “Happened before! I’ll say!”
He told the boys that in three days this was the third accident to heavy equipment bound for the radar project.
“So now I’ve got to make out more papers and reports for the construction company,” the driver said, as if this were even more difficult than driving his unwieldy rig.
Joe took out his wallet. “We have to report to our insurance company,” he said. “They’ll take care of everything.”
After Joe and the trucker had exchanged information, the boys set off again. As they drove along the highway, the Hardys speculated on the unusual accident. Was this a case of sabotage? Did it have anything to do with their father’s assignment, or the intruder they had seen the night before?
“I don’t see how it could have been aimed at us personally,” Joe said.
“I agree,” his brother replied. “Could’ve been a weak coupling. Or perhaps the trailer brakes didn’t hold.
The claims investigators will find out.”
The brothers stopped for a quick lunch along the way, and arrived at the outskirts of Kenworthy an hour later with Frank at the wheel.
“Keep an eye open for a place to stay,” he said as he reduced speed.
They passed several motels, none of which looked particularly inviting.
“Hey, Frank, what about that place up ahead?” Joe suggested. A large billboard announced that the Palm Court Motel offered the traveler the latest luxuries.
“Not a bad-looking place.” Frank pulled into a driveway which led to a cottage with a simulated thatched roof. It bore the sign OFFICE. To the left stretched a long, low building made up of the motel units.
Before each door stood an artificial palm tree. Frank and Joe got out and looked around. To the right of the office they counted twelve neat little cottages of the same thatched-roof variety. The ubiquitous palm tree stood before each one.
“Kind of corny,” Joe remarked.
“But comfortable looking,” his brother said. “We might do worse.”
In the office they were greeted by a middle-aged man with a thin fringe of hair circling his head an inch above the ears. He stroked his bald head and greeted the boys with a smile. “College students visiting from somewhere else?”
Frank evaded the question and asked the price of a motel room. When he was told, Frank registered for himself and his brother, took the proffered key, then drove the car in front of Unit Seven.
As the boys entered with their baggage, Joe grinned. “Some people are pretty nosy.”
“The less people know about our business the better,” Frank said as he put his suitcase on a rack, then opened it.After they had refreshed themselves, the boys went out, locked the door, and hopped into the car.
“First port of call,” Frank said, “will be the police station.”
“Good idea.” Joe nodded. “Let’s learn what the local cops found out.”
Police headquarters was in the basement of the newly built town hall. The chief was out of town so the boys introduced themselves to the desk sergeant and asked for background regarding the Todd case.
“Morgan Todd just walked out and disappeared,” said the sergeant. “Absent-minded professor kind of stuff, you know.”
“Any clues at all?” Joe asked.
“Nope, nothing,” the sergeant replied. “But we’ll probably hear from him in a few days.” He leaned forward. “Confidentially, I think he was one of these overworked eggheads. You know, studying all the time. Too much strain!”
The boys did not comment, but thanked the officer and left.
“Talk about jumping to conclusions!” said Joe when they were in the car again. “The sergeant takes the cake!”
They decided next to talk with the dean.
After getting directions from a passer-by, Frank drove to the outskirts of town, where the small college nestled on a wooded knoll. Frank stopped in front of the administration building. He and Joe climbed the marble steps and entered the lobby.
They quickly found the office marked DEAN EASTLAND, and went inside. After telling a receptionist that the nature of their business was confidential, the Hardys were ushered into the official’s private office.
Dean Eastland was a tall, spare man with a shock of unruly gray hair. He rose as they entered. “Be seated, young men. You say your mission is confidential? That sounds mysterious.”
The brothers took chairs before the dean’s desk, and Frank began by saying that they were trying to find Morgan Todd.
“Yes, yes, good for you,” the dean said. “Matter of fact, we’re all trying to locate him.”
“Our father, Fenton Hardy, has taken on the case,” Frank explained “and we are here to do a little spadework.”
“Ah, yes, yes. I hope you have better luck than we have had,” the college official said. “Strange! Very strange, indeed!” He shook his head.
“How’s that?” Frank asked.
“Well, I mean, the circumstances surrounding his departure.” As the boys listened intently, Dean Eastland told how the instructor apparently had prepared an examination for his students, left it on his desk, and disappeared into the night.
“We found the test there next morning,” the dean said, “or rather a colleague found it, had it mimeographed, and Mr. Todd’s students took the examination that day.”The dean picked up a pencil and tapped it on his desk. “But, as you know, Mr. Todd never returned.
“Who found the exam?” Joe asked impetuously.
The dean looked up in surprise. “Mr. Quill did. Cadmus Quill is Mr. Todd’s colleague and dose associate.”
Frank and Joe exchanged meaningful glances. They would have to question Cadmus Quill.
“Well, that is about as much as I can tell you, boys,” said the dean, rising. “Morgan Todd, I’m afraid, is suffering from loss of memory.”
“We’d like to meet Cadmus Quill,” Frank said, “and also examine Todd’s room if we may, Dean Eastland.”
The educator jotted down the address and handed Frank the slip of paper. He walked to the window and pointed across the quadrangle. “Shelly Row is behind that building. It’s where we house graduate students and instructors.”
The boys thanked the dean and hurried out. As they walked across the quadrangle, they passed groups of students who had just registered for the summer session.
Presently the brothers found themselves behind a short man in his early twenties, noticeable because of his tiptoed bouncy gait and a loud sports jacket. Joe could hardly keep from imitating the peculiar walk as he fell in behind him.
Frank nudged his brother, and as they stepped past the man, Joe could not restrain himself from taking a backward glance at the fellow’s intelligent, round face.
Quickly finding Shelly Row, the boys made their way to Number 19 and rang the doorbell. They were so intent on listening for someone inside that they did not hear a person walking up behind them. “Looking for me?” asked a cheerful voice.
Frank and Joe whirled about to face the bouncy fellow with the sporty clothes. “Are you Cadmus Quill?”
“Yes, I am. May I help you?”
The boys introduced themselves, and Quill ushered them into his room. Frank quickly told all that they had learned about the case and asked Quill if he knew anything further.
“I do indeed,” he replied, “but the local police think it isn’t important!”
“Do you have more facts?” Joe asked eagerly.
“Not exactly,” Quill replied. “You might say it’s confidential information.” He motioned the boys to be seated, then drew up a chair close to them. “Todd was going to be married soon. Did you know that?”
Taken by surprise, the Hardys said No.
Quill told them that Todd had confided in him that he was going to return to Europe to marry a girl he had met while studying in the unfriendly country. “He didn’t even tell his sister for fear she might object.”
“Then you don’t believe he lost his memory,” Frank said.Quill shook his head. “Not at all.”
The graduate assistant had no further information to offer, whereupon the Hardys asked if he would show them to Todd’s quarters.
“Indeed,” Quill said with an officious little smile. “Right next door.”
He produced a key and entered the adjoining apartment.
“You see? Everything is neat and orderly,” he pointed out. “It’s very obvious to me that Morgan deliberately planned to leave.”
“What’s this?” Frank asked, bending down to look at some mimeographed sheets on Todd’s desk.
“I put those there,” Quill replied, “-a few of the examination papers which were left over the day after Morgan disappeared.”
The young sleuths scanned the room, but did not wish to examine it closely with Quill present.
“Thank you,” Frank said. “Guess that’s all for now. May we come back later and check the room further?”
“Indeed, yes, be my guests,” Quill said, and he handed the key to Joe.
As they returned to their car, Frank teased his brother. “Joe, you nearly made a faux pas when we first saw bouncy Quill walking across campus.”
Joe laughed. “He’s kind of odd, but I suppose a very smart cooky.”
The boys stopped for supper at an inn near the campus, then returned to their motel. Frank opened the door and gasped. Inside was an elderly couple. The man was reading a newspaper while the woman primped her hair before the mirror on the dresser.
“Excuse me!” Joe said. “We must be in the wrong room!”
“No, we’re not,” said Frank. “This is ours- Number Seven.”
The woman turned and smiled. “Oh, you must be the Hardy brothers,” she said. “The manager moved your baggage out.”
“What for?” Frank asked, puzzled and annoyed. “We’re registered here overnight.”
Then he realized there was no use in arguing. It apparently was not the couple’s fault. Frank and Joe hastened to the manager’s office. The man smiled broadly. “Well, I’ve done as you asked. You have a very nice little bungalow and I know you’ll enjoy it.”
“Wh-what?” asked Joe.
“Your college friends relayed your message,” the man said, stroking his bald head.
The Hardys were dumfounded but listened to the manager’s explanation. “Three boys came here and told me you Hardys wanted one of the cottages where it would be quieter. So we moved you in there bag and baggage.” The man added, “It only costs two dollars more a night. You’re getting a bargain.”
“Where is this cottage?” Joe asked.”Over there,” the man said, pointing to one of the little houses. It was lighted inside.
The boys hastened over, and as they passed the window they saw a stocky youth standing inside. Frank flung open the door. “What’s the meaning of this?” he demanded.
The young man whirled around. Frank and Joe saw that he was wearing a black half-mask. At the same time, the closet door burst open and out jumped four other masked youths.
“Hey, what kind of a joke is this!” Joe cried out as the intruders jumped both Hardys. They struggled furiously, but the combined weight of the masked boys finally bore Frank and Joe to the floor. They were bound and gagged, then tied securely to two long planks.
Without saying a word, the Hardys’ assailants loaded them into a station wagon parked behind the cottage. They were driven out of the motel grounds and along the main highway for several miles. Then the driver turned left onto a dirt road and stopped a mile farther on.
The brothers were lifted out, carried a short distance through some low brush, and laid crosswise on a railroad track. Then the masked quintet vanished into the darkness.
Frank squirmed and tugged at his bonds. Joe did too, but neither boy could loosen the ropes which secured them. Beads of perspiration stood out on their foreheads. Then came a sound which struck terror into their hearts. In the distance they heard the ominous growl of an approaching diesel locomotive!
A Hazing Trick
CASTING hopeless glances at each other, Frank and Joe struggled desperately at their bonds while the diesel locomotive drew closer.
The rumble of the wheels grew deafening. But then, as if by a miracle, the engine throbbed past, leaving only the clickety-clack of freight cars trailing in its wake.
Unscathed but shaken, Frank and Joe continued to work at the ropes which secured them to the planks.
By straining until his muscles ached, Frank stretched his bound wrists to where he could dimly see a spike protruding from a railroad tie. Over and over he snagged the knot upon the spike. Each effort loosened the rope a little more. Finally it fell open.
With his wrists released, Frank tore out his gag and reached over to do the same for Joe.
“Whew!” Joe gasped. “I thought our goose was cooked!”
“It would have been an awful way to say good-by to mother earth,” Frank replied grimly, quickly freeing himself from the plank.
Then he released his brother. The two boys stood up and stretched painfully, massaging their cramped muscles. Twenty yards away the polished rails of another railroad line glimmered in the moonlight.”Look, these tracks we were on are rusty,” Frank noted.
“Must be a spur line,” Joe said, “which isn’t used any more.”
“A great way to give a guy gray hair at a tender age,” Frank remarked.
“It wasn’t funny,” Joe said, between clenched teeth.
“I’ll say not,” his brother agreed. “I’d like to find the nut who planned this trick!”
“If I see him first, I’ll take care of that joker,” Joe said.
After walking along the tracks some distance, the boys came to the highway. There they flagged a friendly trucker, who readily agreed to drive them to their motel.
Jouncing up and down in the cab beside the driver, the Hardys continued to speculate.
“You suppose what happened to us was just a crazy mix-up?” Joe asked in low tones. “Why should those fellows pick on us?”
Frank frowned. “I have a hunch the whole thing was intended to scare us away from Ken-worthy before we could find a good clue.”
“Then you think Todd could have been kidnapped?”
“Let’s not rule out that possibility,” Frank said.
As the truck approached the Palm Court grounds, Joe suddenly chuckled. “If Chet and Biff wanted excitement-they should’ve been with us tonight. Honeycomb Caves must be pretty tame compared with the Kenworthy capers.”
Frank grinned widely. “Chet would’ve lost ten pounds from fright.”
The truck swung over and stopped. The Hardys hopped out, thanking the trucker for the lift.
“Sure thing, fellows. So long.”
The brothers made a beeline for the office.
“Now to question Baldy,” Frank said. He stabbed the buzzer beside the door repeatedly until a light shone inside. The manager, sleepy-eyed and holding up his trousers with one hand, opened the door. He was not in a good mood.
“What do you mean waking me up at this hour?” he asked crossly. “If you’re going to check out, wait till morning, for Pete’s sake.”
“Somebody else checked us out,” Frank said. “We’d like to ask you some questions.”
Alarmed by the boys’ determination, the manager let them in. There the Hardys learned that the instigator of the room switch was a member of a local fraternity at Kenworthy College.
“I thought these college kids were just going to have some fun with you,” the man said.
“The police might give it a different label,” Frank replied grimly. “Now what’s this fellow’s name and where does he live?”After the man had jotted down the information, Frank and Joe drove directly to the Delta Sigma fraternity house. Dawn lay like a pink halo on the eastern horizon, but the Hardys’ thoughts were anything but heavenly as they rapped on the fraternity-house door. No one answered. Joe rang the bell while Frank continued banging.
Finally a young fellow in pajamas opened up and yawned in Frank’s face. “Whatever it is, we don’t want any,” he said, then started to close the door.
Frank reached for his shoulder and whirled him about. “This isn’t any joke,” he said. “We’re looking for Jack Hale.”
“Oh, the president,” the youth said, stifling another yawn. “I can’t wake him up-he’s special.”
“I’ll say he is,” Joe declared.
“But you fellows don’t understand.” The college boy regarded the Hardys earnestly with his pale-blue eyes. “We don’t wake the fraternity president until eight o’clock. He doesn’t have his first class until nine.”
“He’s going to have a lesson right now,” Frank said sternly. “Get him up!”
The youth shrugged, and padded off in bare feet to the second floor. Listening below, the boys heard shouts and angry words, preceding the appearance of a thick-set youth several years older than the Hardys. In red-and-white striped pajamas he thumped down the stairs. When he saw Frank and Joe, he stopped with a startled expression.
“Isn’t it kind of early-“ Jack Hale started to say.
“Not for a punch in the jaw,” Joe declared hotly, and stepped forward with fists cocked.
“Wait a minute, Joe,” Frank said. “Let’s get some questions answered before you start swinging.” He walked over to Hale, who backed away nervously. “I’ll put it on the line,” Frank said. “What’s the idea of leaving us on the railroad track? And why did you switch our motel room?”
“Wait a minute, fellows! Hold it!” Hale said. “We thought you’d guess it was just a little pretesting job.
Anyway, why are you working up such a head of steam-“
“Yes, why?” the blue-eyed youth put in.
Hale continued, “You two were never in any real danger. We had a lookout posted to keep an eye on you in case you needed help. Say, you are going to be Delta Sigma pledges, aren’t you?”
“Of course not,” said Joe, his biceps still flexed.
“So you were hazing us?” asked Frank. “Who told you to do that?”
Jack Hale looked embarrassed. He cast a fleeting glance up the stairs and seemed relieved when several other Delta Sigma boys moved quietly down behind him.
“I can’t tell you who it is,” Hale said.
The blue-eyed youth nodded vigorously. “We’re honor bound not to reveal his identity.”
“We thought you were going to be Delta Sigma pledges,” Jack said. “Honest we did.”“Well, then you ought to let prospective pledges in on it, too,” Frank said. He turned away. “Come on, Joe. Let’s get out of here. We have work to do.”
Looking somewhat the worse for wear after their strenuous night, the Hardys nonetheless planned another bit of sleuthing before returning to their cottage for sleep.
“Let’s examine Todd’s room before Quill gets up,” Frank suggested.
Joe readily agreed. “At six A.M. Quill’s probably still asleep.” Joe reached into his pocket. “I have the key to Todd’s apartment.”
The Hardys encountered a few milk-delivery trucks and one newspaper boy as they made their way to Shelly Row. Joe inserted the key quietly and turned it in the lock. The boys entered. Frank pressed his ear against the apartment wall. Silence.
“He’s still in the arms of Morpheus,” Frank whispered.
“Okay,” Joe said. “Let’s look around.”
Enough daylight filtered through the two front windows to allow the boys to examine the apartment carefully. While Joe concentrated on objects of furniture, Frank looked through notes and textbooks lying about. But the boys could find no evidence of where Morgan Todd might have gone.
“I guess the police search was pretty thorough, after all,” Joe commented. “What are you looking at, Frank?”
His brother held one of the mimeographed examination sheets in his hand and was scrutinizing it. Joe watched Frank as he scanned sentence after sentence on the white paper. Then a strange expression came over his face. Joe had seen it before when Frank was on the trail of a clue.
“You found something?” Joe asked excitedly.
“I’ll say I have!” Frank declared, sucking in his breath. “Wow! Look at this!”
JOE glanced over his brother’s shoulder. “All I see is an exam paper-the fill-in type.”
“Yes,” Frank replied. “But there’s a clue right under your nose.”
“I don’t get it, Frank. You must have super vision.”
“Look. Read this first question, Joe.”
” ‘Russia’s present political system was founded by–.’”
“I don’t care about the answer,” Frank said. “Now read the second question.”‘“Only–men from California have been named to the Supreme Court.’”
Joe frowned. “It’s still a riddle to me.”
Enjoying the game he was playing, Frank asked, “How many questions are there?”
“And the first letter of the first word in each question spells what?”
Joe’s eyes quickly roved down the side of the exam sheet. “R-O-C-K-A-W-A-Y.” He whistled. “The name of a town!”
“That’s it-Rockaway,” Frank said. “Todd did leave a clue. And I don’t think the police found it, either.”
“Good for you,” Joe said, slapping his brother on the back. “I guess I’m too bushed for any deep brainwork.”
“We’ll have breakfast and sack out,” Frank said. “Then we’ll go to the post office and find out from their guidebook how many Rockaways there are in the U. S.”
“There’s probably at least twenty-five,” Joe said with a sigh. “By the time we check on them, Morgan Todd could be in Timbuktu.” He yawned deeply, then placed his ear to the apartment wall.
“Hear anything?” asked Frank.
“Bouncy Quill is up,” Joe said. “Let’s get out of here before he discovers us. He’d be sure to ask a lot of questions.”
Because the campus cafeteria was not yet open, Frank and Joe stopped at an all-night diner on the outskirts of town. After eating a hearty breakfast, they returned to their cottage.
“Oh boy, now for a peaceful sleep,” Joe said.
He kicked off his shoes and flung himself on top of the bedspread.
Too exhausted to undress, Frank did the same. The boys slept soundly for several hours.
Frank awakened first and thought he was having a nightmare. A pillow was pressed hard over his face and a powerful hand pinned his shoulder to the mattress.
Trying to cry out, Frank kicked wildly and flung the intruder away from the bed. Someone hit the opposite wall with a thud and crashed to the floor. The noise aroused Joe who sprang up, wild-eyed, and looked around the room.
“Jumpin’ catfish!” Joe glared at the stunned figure on the floor. “Biff Hooper, what’re you doing here?”
Biff aroused himself and shook his head. “Got to clear the cobwebs,” he said. “I was only fooling, Frank.
You jumped me like a wounded panther.”
Frank laughed. “You got off easy, boy.”
At that moment Chet sauntered through the doorway, munching noisily on potato chips. He dipped into a huge cellophane bag and pressed another handful into his mouth. Still munching, he asked, “What’s all the racket?”“Biff making a grand entrance,” Frank said wryly. “Sit down, fellows. We’ll tell you our latest news. How about some chips, Chet?”
The stout lad proffered the crinkly bag, and the Hardys helped themselves. As they ate, they briefed Biff and Chet on their findings at Ken-worthy College and their harrowing experience of the previous night.
“Wowie!” Biff exclaimed. “You Hardys sure stir things up!”
“And now,” Joe said, “we have to find out how many Rockaways there are in the U. S. A.”
“I can tell you one,” Chet said. “It’s near Honeycomb Caves.”
“I never heard of it,” Frank said in surprise.
“Neither did I,” said Chet. “It’s a dinky place.”
Biff explained that they had driven down the coast early that morning and stopped at a small gas station a couple of miles north of Rockaway. “We asked the attendant how to get to Honeycomb Caves,” he went on, “and he warned us not to go.”
“Why?” Frank asked.
“He said awful things might happen to us if we did.”
“Something very strange is going on there,” added Chet with a great air of knowledge. “It sounded like a real mystery so we thought maybe you’d like to take time out and look into it.”
“I knew you’d try to snag us into going to those caves,” said Frank, chuckling.
Chet flung out his arms dramatically. “After all, Biff and I thought sure you would’ve found Morgan Todd by this time!”
“It’s not going to be so easy,” Frank said. With a wink at his brother, he added, “But thanks for thinking about us. Come on, Joe! Our first stop’s the post office.” He glanced down at his disheveled clothes and grinned. “I mean, after the shower.”
Fifteen minutes later both boys were in fresh clothes and Joe said, “Okay, let’s go.”
He was about to step out the door when he suddenly closed it and motioned to the others. “I think we’re in for a fight, fellows, so get ready.”
“What’s the matter?” Frank asked and looked out the window.
Across the broad lawns of the Palm Court Motel strode four youths. In the lead was Jack Hale!
“Delta Sigmas,” Joe said tersely. “Maybe the ones who made trouble for us last night. If they think it’s four against two, they’re mistaken.”
“Right!” said Biff, who liked nothing more than playing tackle on the Bayport High football team.
“Okay,” said Frank. “You and Chet hide in the closet.” Then, opening the door, he politely invited the four fraternity men to enter.
“Hi,” Jack said with a half-smile. “We have a little surprise for you.”
But before he could utter another word, the closet door was flung open. Biff bolted across the room,putting a rolling block on two of the collegians. Chet pounced on the third. Only Jack remained standing.
His face bore a pained expression.
“We don’t want to fight!” he said.
“Then what did you barge in on us for?” Joe demanded.
Biff dragged two of the students to their feet, and Frank said, “Okay, let’s smoke the peace pipe. What’s up, Jack?”
Embarrassed, the fraternity president said that he had come to offer Frank and Joe invitations to join Delta Sigma should they decide to attend Kenworthy College.
“You’re the kind we like,” he said. “Plenty of sand!”
“Thanks for the invite,” Joe said coolly. “We’ll keep it in mind if you tell us who put you up to that low-down trick last night.”
Jack looked at the floor and the Hardys could see that he was torn between loyalty to the unknown perpetrator and regard for them.
“Really, I can’t tell,” he said finally. “You wouldn’t want me to rat on a pal.”
“No hard feelings,” said Frank, though he thought the youth was foolish to protect such a person. Then he introduced Biff and Chet.
“Wow!” said one of the college boys. “We could use you two on the Kenworthy football team.”
With that, the Delta Sigmas left.
Frank drove the Bayporters to the post office, located beside the town hall. A helpful clerk passed the postal directory over the counter and Frank thumbed through its pages.
“Hey, look at this,” he said. “There are only three Rockaways-one in Oregon, one in New Jersey, and the other on the coast down from Bayport.”
“It’s a cinch we won’t go to Oregon or New Jersey first,” Chet said. “You fellows will investigate the closest one or I miss my bet.”
“O genius of a treasure hunter I” declaimed Joe as he placed the right palm of his hand on his forehead and bowed low. “We, your humble servants, salaam!”
The others guffawed at the sudden look of embarrassment that swept over Chet’s face as he cast his eyes quickly around the post office to see if anybody was watching. Seeing no one, Chet joined in the laughter.
Frank handed back the directory to the grinning clerk and thanked him. The boys, still laughing, trooped out of the post office.
“Well, our next destination-Rockaway!” Frank said. He added thoughtfully, “You know, this isn’t a bad move. We’ll leave here as if we’ve been stymied on our investigation.”
“That’s right,” Joe said. “So if anyone has been tracking us, they’ll think we’ve given up.” As an afterthought he added, “We ought to thank Cadmus Quill and the dean before we leave.”“Let me go, too. Maybe I won’t see the inside of a college again,” Chet quipped.
The four drove to the campus, parked, and entered the administration building.
Dean Eastland, as before, was courteous to his callers. After thanking Frank and Joe for their interest in the case, he promised to relay any new information to them.
“By the way, Dean Eastland,” Frank said, “would you send us the roster of Delta Sigma fraternity?”
“Of course,” the dean replied, and jotted down their Bayport address.
As the boys walked into the hallway they met Cadmus Quill.
“We’re going back to Bayport,” Frank told him. “I’m sorry we couldn’t find your friend Todd.”
“Anyhow,” said Joe, “thanks for your help, Mr. Quill.”
“Not at all,” replied the instructor as he shook hands with the two boys. “I’m sure there’s no need to worry. I feel strongly that he’s in Europe- probably already married.”
“It’s possible,” Frank said. “Well, perhaps we’ll see you again.”
“Come on, fellows,” Biff said as they left the building. “If I hang around this college campus any longer I’ll be as smart as you are “
“I’m itching for Honeycomb Caves,” Chet bantered. “I feel in the need for some ready doubloons.”
As the boys hastened back to the Hardy car, Frank had the feeling that Cadmus Quill had followed them out of the building. When he slid behind the wheel he glanced into his rear-view mirror.
There stood Quill on the steps, gazing at them intently. Then he turned back to the door.
Suddenly, above the sound of the starting motor, Chet let out an Indian war whoop and yelled, “On to Rockaway!”
Frank, with his eyes still on the rear-view mirror, saw Quill stiffen and spin around.
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