With his felt hat in his right hand, Tom reached up, hitting a window pane smartly with the hat. At the same instant he brought the bottle crashing down over the brick. As the bottle smashed against the brick Mr. Finbrink, in the dining room of the house, jumped up so quickly that he dropped his pipe. "Some young rascal has smashed a front window!" he gasped, as he bolted into the parlor.
Tom demanded. "My father," replied Timmy Finbrink. "What have you been doing?" "Pop told me to be upstairs and in bed by nine o'clock, without fail," Timmy explained. "I came along just five minutes ago, and found that pop has the house planted for me. I can't slip in without his knowing it." "Oho!
"Hang it, I don't believe I can catch him!" That guess proved well founded. After running a short distance Mr. Finbrink halted. He had not caught sight of the fugitive, nor could he now hear the running steps. "I wonder how many panes of glass the young scamp broke?" muttered the irate Mr. Finbrink. Retracing his steps quickly, Mr. Finbrink halted in front of his house, scanning the windows.
"Hello, Timmy!" "'Lo, Reade." "Warm night," observed Tom Reade, as he paused not far from the street corner to wipe his perspiring face and neck with his handkerchief. "Middling warm," admitted Timmy Finbrink.
But I'd be glad if you'd wake up and tell me who put you up to that game." Master Timmy, however, was disobliging enough to slumber on. "All right, then," nodded the father. "I say again, it was a good joke. Good night!" Only a little louder snore served as the son's answer. Mr. Finbrink went out, closed the door and his footsteps sounded down the hallway.
Not a crack in a window pane could he discern, which was not remarkable, in view of the fact that no panes of glass had been broken. "I need a lantern," Mr. Finbrink said to himself, and went inside the house. Soon afterwards he came out with a lighted lantern, and began his inspection. Three windows showed no sign of damage. Nor did the fourth. Then Mr.
"What are you going to " Timmy began breathlessly, but Tom interrupted him with: "Keep quiet, and be ready to follow orders fast." As they gained the front gate of the Finbrink yard Tom's keen eyes noted a brick lying on the grass. As that was just what he wanted, he pounced upon it.
That was just what the noise had sounded like, and Tom Reade had intended that it should do so. "I'll catch the young scamp!" gasped Mr. Finbrink, making a rush for the front door, which he pulled open. Pausing an instant, he heard the sound of running feet in the distance. "The young scoundrel went west, and he has a good start," grunted Mr. Finbrink, as he gave chase in that direction.
Finbrink chuckled many a time over the remembrance of the pranks of his boyhood days. "But we had no Tom Reade in our crowd in those good old days," he repeated to himself several times. "If we had had a Tom Reade among us, I think we would have beaten any crowd of boys of to-day!" Meanwhile Tom's love of mischief was speeding him into other experiences ere he reached his bed that night.
Finbrink chanced to glance down at the ground. There rested the brick, the fragments of the broken bottle lying around it. "Say, what's that? What's that?" ejaculated Mr. Finbrink, much puzzled. Soon, however, he began to see light on the riddle. His lips parted in a grin; the grin became a chuckle. "Humph!