Doc Savage swung to the instrument, scooped it up, seemed to hesitate and consider for the briefest of intervals, then spoke. From his lips came an astoundingly exact reproduction of the brisk, birdlike voice of Attorney Hallet. Monk and Ham grinned in appreciation, although they had heard the bronze man's unusual command of voice mimicry exercised on other occasions.
"The office of Fountain of Youth, Inc.," Doc said quietly.
"Kel Avery can be found at 1120 Fish Lane," said a man's voice over the wire.
The voice was surprising. It sounded youthful and as full of bubbling life as a mountain brook, a voice which suggested a rather ridiculous vision of a boy joyfully turning handsprings as he spoke.
Doc Savage began, in Hallet's tones, "But I thought Kel Avery―"
"Was on a plane bound foah New Yawk," said the spontaneous voice. "You are mistaken. Kel Avery is at 1120 Fish Lane."
So exuberant was the voice that the pronounced accent of the South had not been noticeable at first, but as the informant spoke this second time, the twist of speech was more apparent on certain words.
"Who is this?" Doc demanded, impersonating Hallet. "The receiver does not seem to bring your voice clearly enough for me to recognize it."
"You nevah heard mah voice before, Mistah Hallet," said the tone of youth.
"Then who are you? You know my voice."
"You take care of Kel Avery," advised the other. "I'll explain who Ah am later."
The distant receiver went clank on its hook. Doc Savage put his own instrument down slowly, eyes on his two men.
"That was the strangest voice," he said. "It sounded indescribably young and joyful, as if it belonged to an irresponsible lad."
"What'd he say?" Monk queried.