instant he felt sick and faint Clearly the Jap and Kenworth had forgotten[Pg 132] to take the glasses with them, for following his binding Ned had been stripped of everything he possessed. They lay with the small ends toward him. The sun streaming through the large lenses became concentrated into two tiny, burning dots of white light at the small end of the glasses bvi company setup.

The binoculars had, in fact, become converted into a burning glass, and the sharp sting on Ned's hand had been caused by one of the discs of concentrated heat. Ned was still engaged on this explanation of his pained hand when there was borne to his nostrils the sharp, acrid odor of burning cloth.

He realized in a flash what had happened. When he rolled over, the disc of burning essence of light had left his hand, but centered itself on some portion of his garments. The cloth was on fire and was smoldering.

He was powerless to feel with his hands where the cloth had ignited and could feel as yet no[Pg 133] pain. But the odor of the burning fabric was unmistakable.

It is a curious fact, but it was not until some seconds later that Ned realized, with a thrill of horror, what that odor of burning cloth really meant.

If he could not extinguish that slowly consuming fire, it might presently burst into flame. Powerless to save himself, he would be burned alive!

For an instant he felt sick and faint. Then he rallied his faculties and began to roll over and over in the sand. After some moments of this, the odor of burning ceased.

Thank heaven for that, thought the boy with a shudder, as he sensed his terribly narrow escape.

Suddenly his heart gave an exultant throb. A glad thought had been born in his mind. From whence the inspiration came, he did not know. It was enough that it had come Karson Choi .