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Left Guard Gilbert by Ralph Henry Barbour

Get your buckets and your men together


"Must

be going ninety miles an hour!" gasped Clint.

"Suppose we bust something!" said Tom awedly.

Don braced his feet against the foot-rail. "Let it bust!" he answered exultantly.

That was a memorable ride. Tim owned afterward that he thought he had ridden fast once or twice before, but that he was mistaken. "I watched that speedometer from the time we turned the second corner," he declared, "and it never showed less than fifty-three and was generally around sixty! If I hadn't been so excited I'd been scared to death!"

Now and then one of the boys behind looked back along the road, but if anyone was following them the fact wasn't apparent. Almost before they were conscious of having travelled any distance the car topped a slight hill at a dizzy speed and the conflagration was in sight. A quarter of a mile distant a big barn was burning merrily. The car slowed down at the foot of the descent, swung into a lane and pitched and careened toward the burning structure. Other buildings were clustered about the barn and a good-sized white dwelling house stood in dangerous proximity. Between house and barn, standing out black against the orange glow of the fire, was a group of women and children, while a few men, not more than a half-dozen it seemed, were wandering hither and thither in the radiance. A horse with trailing halter snorted and dashed to safety

as the automobile turned from the lane and came to a stop under an apple tree.

"Far as we go!" shouted Mr. Brady. "Come on, boys, and lend a hand!"

The lights dimmed, the engine stopped and the occupants of the car scrambled out and ran up the lane. "They can't save that barn," panted Mr. Brady, "but they'd ought to save the rest of them."

A man attired principally in a pair of overalls and a flannel shirt and carrying an empty bucket advanced to meet them.

"Is the engine coming?" he asked listlessly.

"They hadn't started when I left," answered Mr. Brady, "and I guess you needn't look for them for fifteen or twenty minutes. Got any water handy when it does come?"

"I've got a tank full up there, and there's a pond behind the house. But I don't know's they can do anything. Looks to me like everything's bound to go. Well, I got insurance."

"Got plenty of buckets?" asked Mr. Brady, peeling off his coat. "How many men are here?"

"About six or seven, I guess. Yes, there's buckets enough, but the heat's so fierce----"

"Animals all out?"

"There's some pigs down there. We tried to chase 'em out, but the plaguy things wouldn't go. We got the horses and cows out and a couple o' wagons. All my hay's done for, though. And there's a heap o' machinery in there----"

"Well, we can save the other buildings, can't we?" asked Mr. Brady impatiently. "Get your buckets and your men together, Corrigan. Here are five of us, and we can make a line and keep the roofs wet down until the engine comes, I guess. Send the women for all the pails and things you've got. Get a hustle on, man!"


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