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Bill Bolton and the Winged Cartwheels

Bill Bolton and the Winged Cartwheels
Title: Bill Bolton and the Winged Cartwheels
Release Date: 2018-12-04
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
Count views: 126
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Bill Bolton and the Winged Cartwheels

BILL BOLTON
and the
Winged Cartwheels

BY
Lieutenant Noel Sainsbury, Jr.

Author of
Bill Bolton, Flying Midshipman
Bill Bolton and the Flying Fish
Bill Bolton and the Hidden Danger

THE GOLDSMITH PUBLISHING CO.
CHICAGO

Copyright, 1933
The Goldsmith Publishing Company
MADE IN U. S. A.

To Ashton Sanborn, who is even a finer fellow than I have depicted, and who has done even more exciting and more interesting things than are narrated in this story.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE
I The First Find 15
II Number Fifty-seven 32
III Stolen! 49
IV What Happened at the Dixons’ 61
V Bill’s Hunch 72
VI Heartfield’s 82
VII Beyond the Falls 95
VIII A Near Thing 107
IX At a Dead End 118
X Enter Washington 133
XI The Man with the Wheeze 145
XII Argument 159
XIII Plans 168
XIV A Friend in Need 182
XV The Shooting Flame 200
XVI The Professor Talks 211
XVII Mizzentop 224
XVIII The Elephant Gun 237
15

Bill Bolton and the Winged Cartwheels

BY LIEUT. NOEL SAINSBURY, JR.

Chapter I
THE FIRST FIND

“You and I, Bill,” said Osceola, “are ontop of the world and throwing rocks at rainbows!”The young Seminole chief, stoopingquickly, picked something out of the shortgrass at the side of the Bolton driveway. “Acouple of months ago I was a slave in a cypressswamp without a dollar to my name. Now Istumble over them!”

“That’s queer,” said Bill, staring at thesilver disk in his friend’s hand. “It’s one ofthose cartwheels they hurl at you out westinstead of dollar bills.”

“Nobody,” declared Osceola, “ever hurleddollar bills at me!”

16

“I mean,” said Bill, “it’s queer finding onehere. Wake up—don’t let this new-foundwealth cramp your usual technic. You’rein New Canaan, Connecticut, now—not faraway on the western pl—”

“There’s something queerer than that aboutthis cartwheel—look!”

Bill took the extended silver piece and examinedit. The coin seemed genuine enough.Minted in 1897, the head of Liberty wasportrayed on one side and backed by the well-knownNational Bird, who flaunted a streamerof E Pluribus Unum in his beak. But thisparticular silver dollar was no longer goodas “coin of the realm.” Across Liberty’s facea pair of spread wings was cut deep into themetal, while the American eagle was defacedby two numerals, 1 and 3.

“Somebody’s pocket-piece, don’t youthink?” suggested Osceola.

Bill nodded. “That design and the numeralsare diecut. Those wings over poor oldLiberty’s pan look like an aviator’s device.”

17

“Some cloud-dodger’s mascot, I expect.Thirteen’s probably his lucky number.”

Bill handed back the coin. “Stick it inyour pocket. If we see it advertised, you caneasily return it. In the meantime, the mascotmay help you to keep the luck you were crowingabout just now.”

“And why shouldn’t I crow? Instead ofhaving to work my way through my last yearat Carlisle, your father puts me in charge ofthe foundation he has inaugurated to help theSeminole Nation. Now, Deborah and I canget married in the fall. Why shouldn’t Itake the count on my worries? And you’vegot no kick coming. You’re sitting prettyyourself.”

“I sure am,” admitted Bill. “Our Navy’sa swell outfit but I never expected to stay inafter my two years’ sea duty when I’d finishedup at the Academy. Now thatthe President himself has let me resignand put me on Secret Service work—well,there’s only one thing I don’t like about it.”

18

“What’s that?”

“Oh, people—my friends, I mean, thinkI’m loafing. They don’t understand why Ishould suddenly leave the Navy. And ofcourse I can’t tell them. This other job mustbe kept a secret. The President said so.”

“I don’t believe anybody thinks you’re aquitter or a loafer,” argued the chief, “—notafter the three big stunts you’ve pulled offthis summer, and all the newspaper publicityyou’ve had out of them. You’re talkingthrough your sombrero, old son. Bill Boltonis front page news from Maine to California.If you keep hitting any more bullseyes, they’llslap your phiz on a postage stamp!”

“Oh, yeah? Speak for yourself, John—orwords to that effect. Looks like a deadheat to me. How about it?”

Osceola abruptly changed the subject. “Ifthis silver dollar was lost by an aviator,” heobserved, fingering the coin, “he neverdropped it out of an airplane, I know.”

19

“And so what?” Bill was mildly interested.

“Well, the fool thing was lying on a leaf—andthe leaf was only slightly bruised—”

“Maybe it bounced or rolled onto the leafafter it fell onto the driveway?”

“Not this cartwheel. There’s not a scratchon it, except for the wings and the numberthirteen. Six bits to a counterfeit two-centpiece with a hole in it, the yap who owns thishas a hole in his trousers pocket!” Osceoladropped to his knees and studied the shortgrass at the edge of the drive. “Yep, just asI thought—” He stood up and flecked a dabof mold from his immaculate flannels, “here’sthe fella’s spoor. He wore rubber-soledshoes.”

20

“I thought,” said Bill, “that DorothyDixon was the one and only Sherlock Holmesin this village. You certainly run her a closesecond, though. What did the aviator whodidn’t aviate do next? Keep on out to thegarage and scratch his initials on that newde luxe roadster you bought last week?”

“Not on this hop, he didn’t. He—wait asec till I get a squint at this. Yes! by Jove!it wasn’t me he was interested in, but yourown sweet self.”

“How do you get that way so soon afterbreakfast?”

“Listen, you blind paleface, even fromhere I can see that his tracks go straight overto the house. He climbed up to the fartherwindow of your room by way of that leader,and the ivy. Several pieces of the vine arelying on the grass where he broke them offgetting up or down! Even you ought to beable to see that the wire on that window-screenhas been tampered with. If you don’tbelieve me, shin up there and take a look!”

21

“Oh, I’ll take your word for it.” Severaltimes before, in his career, Bill had encounteredevidence of the young Seminole’struly marvelous eyesight. “Do those scintillatingorbs of yours tell you when all thisoccurred?”

“They most certainly do, you mole.”

“When, then?”

“Between nine and nine-thirty last night!”

“Sure it wasn’t quarter to ten?”

“Quite sure,” smiled Osceola.

“I know,” said Bill, “that you can spot anythingin daylight, or in the dark, for thatmatter, but when you claim to turn yourselfinto a human time clock, I ha’e me doots—”

“Oh, yeah? Well, listen, kid, and I’llprove to you that Red Men aren’t as bad asthey’re painted. Last night I left you withthe girls over at the Dixon’s, and walked inthe front door just as your hall clock wasstriking nine-thirty.”

“That’s right. You came over here to workon some figures for your new Seminoleschools.”

22

“O and likewise K. I went straight up tomy room and took my work out on the sleepingporch, where it was cooler. You foundme there when you got back at eleven, didn’tyou?”

“That’s all right, too. But what’s that gotto do with the climbing aviator?”

“Why, just this. From nine-thirty untileleven-thirty I was out on that porch withthe light going. Then I went to bed thereand slept till this morning. And let me tellyou, Bill, old son, that the man has yet tobe born who can shin up a rainpipe thirty feetaway from me and I not know it, awake orasleep!”

“Maybe he came before nine.” Bill wasalready convinced that his friend knew whathe was talking about, but he wasn’t haulingdown his flag without a last struggle.

“It wasn’t dark last night until nineo’clock, daylight saving time,” Osceola explainedpatiently. “Also, last night therewas a heavy dew, even you can see it on thegrass still, and—”

23

“And the silver dollar was wet while theleaf remained bone dry, showing that saidcartwheel was dropped early in the evening!”

“You certainly are the boy to ring thequoits,” mocked the chief. “But now that weknow all about it, we really aren’t much forwarder.I don’t suppose you’ve missed anythingin your room? You haven’t saidanything about it.”

“No,” Bill said thoughtfully, “I haven’tnoticed anything, but we’d better go in andhave a look. I wonder who that bird was andwhat he wanted. Funny! Nothing was disturbedso far as I can remember.”

The two tall lads turned back toward thehouse.

24

“And there’s where our second-storyaviator swung off the grass on to the drivewhen he was going home,” exclaimedOsceola, pointing to a thin spot on the gravelwhich bore a well-defined footprint, pointingtoward the road. “If it was worth while,which it isn’t, we could probably find the tire-marksof the car he drove off in beyond thestone fence down yonder.”

Bill grunted. “When you say ‘secondstory,’ you probably hit the nail on the head.In future we’ll substitute worker for aviator,if you don’t mind. There are a lot of bumflyers with licenses, and a lot of bums whofly, but I wouldn’t insult the worst of themby classing him with a cheap sneak thief.”

“Maybe,” remarked Osceola, “he wasn’tso cheap at that. But we’ll soon find out.”

They went up the front veranda steps, intothe house and upstairs to Bill’s room.

“I don’t run to jewelry,” observed Bill, hiseyes travelling around the bedroom, “but hehasn’t touched my silver-backed brushes, orthat string of cups on the mantelpiece. Andthe maids didn’t report any silver missingdownstairs, either. I wonder what in thunderhe was after.”

25

“Got anything of value in that drawer?”his friend inquired, pointing to a flat-toptable desk between the windows. “Somebody’sbeen fooling with the lock. I can seethe scratches on the wood—”

“Nothing but some papers, worth nothingto anybody but me. Old newspaper clippings,Navy orders, my honorable discharge and thelike. By gosh!” he cried, “the lock’s busted!And somebody’s messed up the entire drawer.Look here—these things were in piles withrubber bands around them. Now they’rescattered all over the place—”

“Anything gone?”

“Wait, I’ll see.” Hurriedly he sorted out hispossessions, then shook his head. “Not a thing.What under the sky-blue canopy do you supposethat dollar-dropping buzzard was after?”

“You haven’t said anything to anyone aboutthe new job, have you?”

“You and Dad are the only ones outsideof the people in Washington who knowabout it.”

26

“But this doesn’t look like it, Bill.”

“You don’t mean that the goop who gotin here last night was in the know! Why, Ihaven’t been assigned any work yet. Whatcould he expect to find among my papers?”

“Perhaps,” mused Osceola, “he, or whoeversent him, has an idea that you’ve beenput to work already, and they want to knowhow much you’ve found out or what yourinstructions are.”

“Some gang the government is after, youmean?”

“It’s quite possible.”

“But how could they learn that I—”

“A sieve,” said Osceola sententiously,“isn’t the only thing that leaks. Someone inWashington has spilled the goldarned beans,inadvertently or not.”

“If you’re right, Osceola, this is seriousbusiness.”

“Of course it is. What are you going to doabout it?”

27

“Wait, watch and listen. I’m due inWashington next week to receive my orders.Until then, I shall do nothing.”

“And I guess you’re right, at that. Mysurmises may be all wet, though I doubt it.Just the same, we’ve nothing concrete to goon except that a lad climbs in the window andgoes through your desk.”

Bill closed the drawer. “Let’s forget it,then,” he suggested. “At least for today.You and I, old Rain-in-the-face, have aheavy date. Had you forgotten it?”

“Not likely. When you’re engaged, afella can’t think of anything else but the nextdate!”

“You’ve sure got it bad,” grinned Bill.“Thank goodness, I’m still heart whole andfancy free!”

“What about Dorothy Dixon?”

“Aw, shucks! We’re just good pals, andyou know it.”

“Says you!”

28

“Says both of us. I’m seventeen, and she’sa year younger. Neither of us is thinkingabout getting married, or anything like that.”

“Gee, I forget you’re really only a kid,”laughed Osceola. “Well, let’s shove off. Thegirls are going up there in Dorothy’s plane.They said they’d bring lunch. Where is thisplace we’re going to picnic, anyway?”

“Up in the hills beyond Danbury. It’squite near the far end of Candlewood Lake.”

“Was it up that way you and Dorothy corralledthe New Canaan bank robbers?”

“Yes, quite near there. That’s how welearned of the

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