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The Secret Battleplane

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187 pages2 hours

Summary

"That rotter of a garage fellow!" exclaimed Athol Hawke explosively. "He hasn't done a thing to the wheel; and, what is more, he rushed me sixpence for garaging the bike, the young swindler." "Didn't you go for him?" enquired his chum, Dick Tracey. "He wasn't there to go for," replied Athol. "He was away on some job, and left the explanations to a youngster. But, my word, it is snowing! Think she'll stick it with that groggy wheel?" The scene was the Market Square, Shrewsbury. The time, nine o'clock on a Saturday morning, March, 1916. It was, as Athol remarked, snowing. A week or more of intermittent blizzards had culminated in a steady fall of large, crisp flakes, and judging by the direction of the wind, the heavy, dull-grey clouds and an erratic barometer, the worst was yet to come. Athol Hawke was a lad of seventeen, although he looked several years older. He was tall, lightly yet firmly built, of bronzed complexion, grey eyes and with dark hair. The fact that he was wearing waterproof overalls, leggings and fur gloves tended to conceal his build. His companion, who was similarly attired, was Athol's junior by the short space of three days. In height he was five feet seven—four inches less than that of his chum; build, thick-set; complexion might have been fair but exposure to wintry conditions had resulted in his face being burnt to a reddish colour. His hair was light brown, with a tendency to crispness; his eyes blue. By disposition he was remarkably bright and cheerful, characteristics that served as a foil to Hawke's almost invariable staidness. The two chums were riding a motor-bicycle and side-car. They had "been on the road" nearly a week. What possessed them to select a time of blizzard and equinoctial gales to go tearing across England; why they were apparently "joy-riding" in wartime; why they chose a district that was most decidedly within the region of activity of hostile air-craft—all this will have to be explained in due course...

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