The Radio Boys in the Thousand Islands
J. W. Duffield
Part 2 out of 3
"We'll investigate and see what we can find in the way of a water passage
into the interior," Mr. Perry announced.
"That means a little more circumnavigating," Bud inferred.
"Right you are," said Cub. "Me to the pilot house again."
Accordingly he resumed his position at the wheel and the boat was put in
motion again. His father followed him and cautioned him against too much
speed in such places.
Slowly the Catwhisker crept around the island-surrounded island until
they discovered a passage somewhat wider and apparently deeper than
others they had seen thus far in the outer rim.
"It looks as if we might get through there," suggested Hal. He and Bud
had followed into the pilot house soon after Cub and his father repaired
to that place.
"It does look a little that way," replied Mr. Perry.
"We might creep in there slowly, and if we find the passage obstructed so
as to block our way, we could back out," Hal continued.
"We have some long fender poles," Cub amended. "We could feel our way
with them and probably keep out of serious trouble."
"All right, let's make the attempt," said Mr. Perry. "I'd very much like
to get in there with this boat."
Cub started the engine and the Catwhisker began slowly to nose its way
through the passage. In a few minutes the little craft was alongside a
ledge of rock that projected as a sort of forehead from the top of a
perpendicular short front, and the pilot brought her to a full stop.
The Deserted Camp
Both the inner island and the surrounding rim of elongated isles were
covered with a thick growth of trees and bushes, a condition that caused
Hal to exclaim:
"I bet this is the place."
"What makes you so certain of that?" inquired Mr. Perry, looking sharply
at the boy.
"Because it's an ideal place for a Crusoe to be hidden so that passing
ships could not see him," Hal replied.
"But might he not swim over to one of these surrounding islands and
attract attention from there?"
"Yes, if there's a place to get ashore after swimming across," said Cub.
"There's nothing but high steep banks all along here, so far as I can
see," Bud remarked.
"That's a good line of observation," was Mr. Perry's commendation. "Now,
let's explore this island and see if your points are well taken."
Even the landing at which the boat now rested was not particularly
attractive as such at first view because of a rather difficult climb
between it and the main level of the island. However, all the members of
the band of "Crusoe hunters" were good climbers and they soon made their
way up the stony steep to the surface land level.
"It's funny somebody hasn't picked this place as a site for a summer
home," Mr. Perry remarked as he took a hurried view of his surroundings.
"The trouble is it doesn't look like a very interesting place from a
view out on the river, and there are hundreds of islands to choose
from," said Cub.
"Yes, I suppose so," his father agreed; "but in my opinion the place
deserves a second look-over. I'm going to keep it in mind as a future
"We'll have to put up a radio station here then," said Cub.
"Oh, sure, we can't do without that wherever we go now-a-days," his
They skirted the entire shore of the island and found Bud's suggestion
regarding high, steep banks to be true in every quarter. Not another
practical landing place, except with derrick or rope ladder, was
discovered. They estimated the island to be about five acres in extent.
"Well, we haven't found much evidence yet, indicating that this is the
place we were looking for," Cub remarked as they arrived back at the
starting point of their exploration.
"I suppose the next thing for us to do is to explore the interior of the
island, and then perhaps we'll be in a position to form some sort of
conclusion," said Mr. Perry.
"All right, let's finish this job as soon as possible," Bud proposed, as
he started toward a thicket of bushes and small trees a few yards from
the landing place.
All being in harmony with this plan, there was a general move toward the
interior. The thicket, however, proved to be only about twenty feet in
depth, and beyond this was a clear area a quarter of an acre in extent.
"Somebody's had a camp here not many days ago," Cub announced, as he
pressed forward eagerly toward the center of the open area.
"Yes, and a tent has stood right here," said Mr. Perry, indicating
several guy-rope stakes driven in the ground.
"Whoever it was didn't leave more than a day or two ago," Hal declared.
"See how the grass is tramped down around here?"
"What's this?" exclaimed Bud as he ran back toward the thicket through
which they had passed and picked up a pole about ten feet long and two
Mr. Perry and the other two boys rushed forward and made an eager
examination of Bud's discovery.
"This looks interesting," said Bud significantly as he called attention
to several worn places at both ends and the middle of the pole, as if
with iron rings or wire held close around it under a strain.
"There's another just like this one over there," cried Hal, suddenly
darting forward toward a slender pine tree about a hundred feet away and
standing a short distance out from the thicket border of the open area.
Mr. Perry, Cub, and Bud rushed after Hal, who picked up, under the pine
tree, a pole almost the exact duplicate of the one found by Bud. After a
careful examination of them both, Mr. Perry announced:
"It looks to me, boys, as if you had discovered the spreaders of a
"No doubt of it," Hal agreed. "Somebody used this tree and that one over
there as masts of an aerial."
"But trees are not supposed to be good for aerial masts," Bud objected.
"They're all right if you have your insulation well out beyond the
branches," said Cub.
"Yes, that's true," Bud admitted. "And look up there--see that wire? The
fellow who took down this aerial didn't do his work very well."
All looked up in the tree and saw a wire hanging down among the branches
and appearing to be attached at the farther end near the top of the pine.
"It was probably done in a hurry," Mr. Perry observed.
"And that is one more point to the argument that this is the island we
were looking for," said Bud.
"Yes, but the fellow we came to rescue is gone and left no trace where
he's gone to," added Cub.
"Still, don't you think the search has been worth while?" the latter's
"I do," put in Hal, who had been noticeably quiet and meditative since
the last very important discovery. "This makes it look as if that last
distress message we got from the island was no fake affair?"
"Why?" asked Bud.
"Why!" flashed Hal. "It's plain enough to me. Those four fellows, he said
were coming to attack him, probably overpowered him and swept away his
camp, radio outfit, and all."
"And what did they do with him?" demanded Cub, eager for the last chapter
of the plot.
Hal seemed about to make answer to this question, but something of the
nature of a "lump in his throat" checked his utterance. His friends read
his mind without difficulty.
"Never mind, Hal," said Cub with his bravest effort at consolation; "if
the prisoner on this island was your cousin, we'll follow those enemies
of his to the end of the world and make them give him up, won't we, dad?"
"Don't you worry too much over this affair, Hal," urged Mr. Perry by way
of response to his son's extravagant assurance. "If the person you got
those messages from was your cousin, I don't believe the fellows who were
after him had reason to do him any serious harm. But you may be sure that
we will not leave a stone unturned in an effort to solve this--this--"
"Mystery," suggested Cub mischievously grasping at the opportunity to
give his father a good-natured dig.
"Call it what you wish," smiled Mr. Perry. "But under any name you may be
pleased to style this problem, we are going to go after it with some more
"And geography," interposed Cub.
"Yes, and geography, and you boys know what success we have had with
mathematics and geography in this search of ours thus far. Now,
meanwhile, I'm going to make a new suggestion which I hope you boys will
look upon with favor. Let's establish a camp of our own right here on the
spot where the Canadian Crusoe had his camp."
The boys were delighted with the suggestion of Mr. Perry that they
establish a camp on the island and needed no urging to begin work on the
project. With true outing instinct they had come prepared for just such
an emergency as this. They had brought with them a tent large enough for
four and a complete set of camp tools, including spade, shovel, axe,
pickaxe, hatchet, saw, hammer, and nails.
Returning to the Catwhisker, they hauled all these supplies out on deck
preparatory to taking them ashore.
"Let's make a better ascent up this steep bank before we carry these
things up," Mr. Perry proposed. "It's quite a climb, as it is, without a
load in our arms to hamper us."
"Only one person can work at a time to any advantage," Bud suggested.
"That's true," replied the director of the expedition. "But we can work
in rapid shifts and finish this job quickly. I'll take the first trick
and make things fly for about fifteen minutes, and then one of you can
take my place."
With these words, he stripped off his coat, seized the pickaxe and shovel
and stepped over the side of the boat onto the landing ledge. Then he
began a vigorous attack on the steep incline between the ledge and the
land level above.
The task consumed a little more than an hour of speed labor, and by that
time it was after one o'clock and each of the hillside stairway builders
had worked up a very healthy appetite. So they prepared and ate luncheon
on board the yacht, and then began the work of moving tent and other
supplies to the site selected for their camp. By the time this was done
and the tent pitched, it was 3 o'clock.
"Now, what next?" asked Cub as he sat down on a camp chair after the last
guy rope had been drawn taut and fastened securely to its peg. "It seems
to me that it's about time for another pow-wow of the Catwhiskerites."
"I agree with you, Bob," said his father, also unfolding a camp
chair and sitting down, followed by similar action on the part of
the other two boys.
"Well, what's the question?" asked Bud.
"I'll offer a question if somebody'll take the chair and preside," Hal
"All right," Bud agreed. "You act as chairman, Mr. Perry."
"I am elected by Bud, there being no opposition," announced the owner of
the Catwhisker. "Now, what is the question, Hal?"
"I'll put it this way," the latter replied: "Resolved, that mathematics
is more useful to a detective than a flashlight or a skeleton key."
"That isn't half-bad at all," declared Cub in the midst of general
laughter and applause. "The main trouble is that we can't find anybody on
this island to take the other side of the question."
"Very well," ruled the chair; "this question being decided in favor of
the affirmative, we will now proceed to the next."
"Which is as follows," Bud announced; "to-wit, why have we established
our camp on this island, how long are we going to remain here, and what
shall we do while here?"
"Now, we're getting down to business," said Cub. "But that's a composite
question. First, why are we here?"
"We're here because we're here," Hal replied solemnly.
"The chair is willing to accept that as a good and valid reason provided
other collateral questions are answered satisfactorily," Mr. Perry
"Next question, how long are we going to stay here?" Cub continued.
"I should say we will stay here until we find a reason for moving on to
the next place," said Bud.
"Another excellent answer and fully supporting answer number one," Mr.
Perry announced. "Now, for an answer to question number three--What shall
we do while here?"
"I'll answer that," said Cub; "well fish, cook, eat, sleep, explore and
keep our eyes peeled."
"Peeled for what?" asked Hal.
"More mathematical evidence."
"Good!" exclaimed Bud. "We mustn't lose sight of the purpose of this
expedition. If our radio Crusoe is really Hal's cousin, we're bound by
the ties of friendship to stick to our task till it's finished."
"Very well," said the chair. "Having settled the question of general
policy, let's get down to some more detail. What shall we do next?"
"Complete our exploration of the islands," said Cub. "There's no telling
what we may find."
"Now, you're beginning to look at things the way your father does," put
in Hal shrewdly.
"How's that?" Cub inquired.
"Why you're willing to look for a trail. I'm not saying you were any
worse than Bud and I were before we got started on this hunt. We just
stumbled on a trail to begin with, but when we lost it we didn't know
what to do next until your father told us it was up to us to scout around
and find it again."
"Yes, that's right," Cub admitted. "We scouted around in the air and
found the trail that brought us here."
"Moral: Whenever at a loss, do some broadcasting," suggested Mr. Perry.
"Right," declared Bud; "Now the thing for us to do is some physical
broadcasting on this island."
"In other words, we'll all go in different directions and examine every
square foot of this island," Cub inferred.
"Exactly," assented Mr. Perry. "It ought not to take very long. There are
only about five acres here, although the place is pretty well covered
with bushes and trees."
Without further ado they separated toward different points of the
compass. It was indeed a random exploration, well characterized as
something of a "broadcast," but the task was well executed by all. They
had no definite expectation in view, and hence they had to content
themselves with examining every physical feature as a naturalist or a
topographer, perchance, would look for the feature demands of his
specialty, and in about half an hour reconvened in front of their tent.
Hal was the only person present with a look of excitement or eagerness on
his face, and consequently the general interest of the others was
directed toward him.
"You've found something, I know, Hal," Bud declared. "You came running
through the bushes as if you were chased by a catamount or else you had
something on your mind that threatened to burst your cranium."
"I didn't meet a catamount," replied the boy to whom these remarks were
addressed; "but I did find something that excited me very much. I've
learned two important things."
"What are they?" Cub demanded.
"I've learned the name of this island and made sure of the name of the
person we came here to find."
"You don't say!" Cub exclaimed. "I don't see how the name of this island
can mean anything to us, but we should be very glad to know who the
fellow is that we came here to find."
"Well, the name of this island is important, or at least interesting,"
Hal returned; "and I am going to give you that first. It is Friday Island
and was given that name by the Robinson Crusoe who was marooned here
because he landed here last Friday. Now, I'll tell you the other
important item. The fellow who was marooned with a wireless outfit was no
other person than my cousin as I suspected. And I have learned why he was
"Why?" demanded Hal's three companions in chorus.
"Because he was a college freshman and some of the upper classmen had it
in for him and they simply strong-armed him, captured him, and brought
him here to haze him."
Every one of Hal's three companions gasped with astonishment. The
possibilities of such an explanation of this strange "radio-island
affair" had never occurred to one of them.
"Robinson Crusoe's" Diary
"How in the world did you find that out?"
"Who told you all o' that?"
"Where is your cousin now?"
These questions and others of like character were fired at Hal in rapid
succession, indicating the eagerness of all the members of his audience
for more light on the subject. As for Hal, he was moved by conflicting
emotions, which puzzled his friends considerably at first. He did not
burst forth with a storm of replies, a thing that he might well have done
consistently with boy nature. He seemed to be meditating how to begin, as
if there was so much on his mind he did not know what to say first.
In reality, although this confusion of ideas probably had something to do
with his momentary silence following the storm of questions rained at
him, Hal was much elated with the good fortune that had thrown some
remarkable information into his possession; still, he was deeply
concerned over the possible fate of his cousin. It was the latter
concern, no doubt, that tempered and held in check his jubilation over
"I think, Mr. Perry, you will admit now that there is such a thing as a
mystery," he said.
"Why?" inquired the individual at whom this remark was directed.
"No, I am merely very curious," replied Mr. Perry, with a smile.
"Oh, hurry up, Hal, and tell us what this means," urged Cub impatiently.
"What's the use o' keepin' us guessing all this time. Bud and I'll
admit we're mystified."
"Yes," grinned Mr. Perry; "you'd better hurry up and enlighten us, or
I'll have to drag the secret out of you with mathematics."
"Addition or subtraction," asked Hal.
"Extraction," replied "the man who couldn't be mystified" with
significant emphasis on the "ex".
Laughter followed this quip, the levity of which caused Hal to feel more
like "loosening up".
"Well," said the latter, producing a small leather-back notebook from one
of his pockets; "here is the secret of my information."
"Where did you get that?" Cub demanded.
"I found it."
"Yes, on this island. It's a diary of my cousin, beginning with the time
he was left here by a bunch of college hazers."
"Does it give any hint where he is now, Hal?" inquired Mr. Perry.
"I don't think so," replied the boy with the notebook. "I ran my eye
through it hurriedly, but didn't have time to read it all. If you'll sit
down and listen, I'll read it to you from the beginning."
All being agreeable to this proposition, they seated themselves on camp
chairs in front of the tent and Hal began as follows:
"First, I'll begin by telling you where I found this book. I'll take you
back to the spot after I've finished reading. Before I found this book, I
discovered a sign, or notice, written on a piece of paper and pinned to
the trunk of a tree about four feet from the ground. On that paper was
written with lead pencil these words under date of last Friday:
"'I Alvin Baker, a student at Edwards College, hereby name this island
Friday island, because I was marooned here alone, like Robinson Crusoe,
on Friday, June 9, 1922.'"
"I'd like to make the acquaintance of that boy," said Mr. Perry warmly.
"He has both imagination and a sense of humor in the midst of adversity."
"Naturally I began to look about me for some trace of the person who had
pinned the notice on the tree," Hal continued. "I was standing in an open
space about thirty feet in diameter. The tree on which this notice was
pinned is at the edge of that space. There are a few small bushes here
and there in the open, but the ground there is covered with long coarse
grass. The first thing that attracted my attention, as I began to look
about me was the fact that the grass was trampled down over a
considerable area. I examined it carefully and while doing so found this
notebook in the grass. It didn't take me long after that to reach the
conclusion that Cousin Alvin had been attacked by somebody and in the
struggle lost this notebook out of his pocket."
"It was probably the four ugly looking men he said were coming ashore
when he sent his last distress message to us," Cub inferred.
"I wonder why he didn't tell us the truth," Bud put in. "Why didn't he
tell us he was being hazed by some college boys?"
"He explains that in his diary," Hal replied. "Now listen and I'll read
the first entry."
Hal's injunction being met with quiet, eager attention, he read as
"Friday, June 9, 1922. Last night while I was walking through the grove
of trees near the campus of Edwards College, I was attacked and
overpowered by several sophomores, who slipped a bag over my head and
carried me to a motor-boat moored a short distance away. They tried to
conceal their identity, but I recognized the voices of Jerry Kerry and
Buck Hardmaster. They kept me a helpless prisoner, with arms and legs
bound and eyes bandaged, in the cabin for several hours, during which I
could feel the boat constantly on the move. About 3 o'clock in the
morning I was carried ashore on this island. My hands were untied, and
then I could hear my captors hurrying away. I removed the bandage from my
eyes and with my pocket-knife cut the rope around my ankles. It was too
dark yet to see anything distinctly, so I had to wait for break of day
before doing anything. An hour later I discovered near the landing place
a considerable layout of supplies and equipment most of which I
recognized as my own property. Then I recalled that one of my captors had
thrust something into one of my pockets just before they took me ashore
and I put my hand into that pocket and drew out an envelope that I knew I
had not put there. In the envelope I found a typewritten note, which read
"'Alvin Baker, you have succeeded during all of your freshman year to
date in frustrating every attempt to haze you and have boasted that there
was no "gang" of boys at Edwards smart enough to do the trick. We are now
performing the trick in a manner that ought to convince you that such a
boast is the freshest of freshman folly. We raided your room and took
therefrom your radio sending and receiving outfit, and have added thereto
necessary equipment for erecting an aerial. This we leave with you in
order that you may summon help through the atmosphere. Meanwhile, you may
comfort yourself with the distinction of being the first college freshman
ever given a radio hazing. Now, put up your aerial and send out a message
for help. Radio is your only hope. Nobody ever stops at this island and
it is impossible for passing vessels to see any signal of distress you
may devise. If you are too proud to admit defeat and refuse to send out a
broadcast for help, you must remain here two weeks, at the end of which
time you will be captured again after dark, bound and blindfolded, and
taken back to the mainland and released. The identity of the persons
responsible for your defeat you will never be able to discover. Enough
canned food has been left with you to keep body and soul together a week.
At the end of that time, if you have failed to effect your own rescue by
radio, more canned food will be left here for you. We are leaving also a
tent, a few camp utensils, matches, and fishing tackle. You must drink
river water. Now prove yourself as big as your boast.'
"I decided to defeat those fellows, if possible, by getting away from the
island without broadcasting an admission that I had been marooned by
sophomore hazers. So I pitched the tent and then constructed an aerial
out of material supplied by them and began to broadcast messages of
distress, saying that I had been marooned by river thieves who had stolen
my boat. But soon I found that there was someone 'in the air' who was
determined to defeat this purpose. It is now 11 p.m., and he seems to
have been successful in his attempts to make it appear that I am a faker.
Nobody has offered to come to my rescue."
Saturday's entry in the diary opened as follows:
"Last night, between 2 and 3 a.m., I was awakened by a slight noise
outside near the tent. I stole cautiously to the entrance and peered
out. It was a bright moonlight night and in front of the tent I saw two
men apparently examining the camp with much curiosity or evil intent,
perhaps both. Evidently they saw me watching them, for they suddenly
turned and fled. I followed them cautiously and saw them get into a
power boat and motor away. I called to them, explaining my situation and
offering to pay them if they would take me away from the island, but
they gave me no answer. Probably they were river thieves and the boat
they had was stolen."
More Light and More Mystery
The next two days, Saturday and Sunday, were devoted by the island
prisoner to the sending out of further calls, for help, and these calls
were met by a campaign of ridicule, similar to that begun by his nemesis
on the first day of his imprisonment, according to the diary read by Hal
to his companions. A few listeners-in indicated a willingness to come to
his rescue, in spite of the plausible ridicule from anonymous source, but
when asked where he was imprisoned, ignorance on that subject frustrated
all good intentions along that line until his S O S reached Cub at the
latter's home on the following Monday.
"I tried to make this mysterious enemy of mine identify himself," wrote
the diarist under Saturday date; "but he professed to have a wager posted
against me which bound us both to secrecy. This caught me in the solar
plexus of my conscience, for I was broadcasting my appeals for help under
a false identity. Two or three amateurs looked me up under the name,
call, and address that I gave and then broadcast a denunciation of me. It
begins to look as if my hazers are going to win a full revenge for the
way I laughed at them at college. This day's experience has convinced me
that I am in bad throughout the radio atmosphere. It begins to look as if
I am up against it and will have to stay here the full two weeks to which
those hazing kidnappers of mine sentenced one. I wonder if they will make
the term longer because I resorted to the method I have pursued thus far
in order to avoid admitting that I had been hazed. Well, I have this
consolation, anyway, that they have to pay for my food as long as I am
here. They had to furnish me a tent also."
"Caught half a dozen fish today and named this place Friday island
because of the day, or night, I was brought here and my subsequent
Robinson Crusoe experiences," began the entry for Monday.
Then followed a gleeful memorandum of his apparent success in interesting
Cub Perry with an account of his predicament, in spite of the efforts of
his radio nemesis to prove him a trifler with the truth. Tuesday's entry
closed with a notation of the announcement from Cub that the Catwhisker
was about to start on a rescue trip from Oswego to the Lake of the
Thousand Islands and would endeavor to find him by radio compass.
"The situation is cleared up very much," Mr. Perry remarked after Hal had
finished reading the diary. "The chief problem now remaining to be solved
is, what became of your cousin?"
"In other words, that's the mystery before us," said Bud, with a twinkle
of fun in his eyes.
"Call it what you will," smiled Mr. Perry. "But it doesn't strike me as
in the least mysterious. Evidently he was taken away from this island by
the fellows who put him here."
"And what did they do with him?" was the query with which Cub
supplemented his father's observation.
"That, of course, we don't know," the latter replied. "They may have
taken him over to the Canadian shore and released him for reasons of
"Then it's up to us to find out," Cub inferred.
"Surely. We've had remarkable success thus far. It would be a pity for us
to meet with failure. That would spoil our story."
"Story!" exclaimed Bud. "What story?"
"Our story--the one we've been enacting thus far. Look back over our
experiences in the last two days and see if you can make anything but a
very fascinating yarn out of them."
"It's a radio-college story, isn't it?" Hal suggested.
"Yes," Mr. Perry agreed; "that would be one good way to put it."
"If it didn't involve my cousin in a critical situation, I'd hope the
story wouldn't end yet," said Hal. "I'd like to see it run thirty or
"How many chapters do you figure it would make thus far?" asked the
director-general of the expedition with a look of keen interest.
"Oh, about ten or fifteen," Hal replied.
"Then, to suit your taste, it ought to be only about half finished."
"Yes, but for my cousin's sake, I wish it were finished right now and
Alvin were safe with us or at home."
"But wishes won't produce results nor cut off chapters," Cub
"No, the denouement will work itself out along natural lines under
natural laws," Mr. Perry predicted.
"I don't think this story is going to amount to anything as a yarn," Cub
announced with a look of superior wisdom.
"Why not?" asked his father.
"Because there's no villain in it. I never did like a story with a tame
ending, and the worst kind of a story on earth is one that starts with a
thrill and ends with a nap in a sunparlor."
Laughter greeted this grotesque contrast.
"I don't think you need expect any such up-shot in this affair," Mr.
"Do you expect a villain to show his hand?" Bud inquired.
"It seems to me that we have some villains in the plot already."
"Who are they?" asked Hal.
"How about those sophomores who kidnapped your cousin and marooned
"Oh, they're only play villains," Cub put in disdainfully.
"How do you know they wouldn't do something worse than haze freshmen?"
"I don't; but until they do they're just play villains, and that doesn't
"I see," Mr. Perry observed; "you want people to be either very good or
"No," Cub returned slowly. "I wouldn't put it that way; I don't want
anybody to be bad at all; but the fact of the matter is there are lots of
good people in the world and a good many bad."
"And to make a good story you think it is necessary to bring good people
and bad people together, eh?"
"Well, that's what makes fireworks, isn't it?"
"Oh, ho, I get you now," said Mr. Perry. "You're fond of
"No, I wouldn't put it that way," Cub replied; "but I don't like to see
anybody make a bluff at anything and not make good. Now, we've started
out with a glorious bluff at some very clever rascality, and it looks as
if it's going to prove to be just an ordinary hazing affair."
"It looks to me like a very extraordinary affair, whether it was hazing
or not," returned his father.
"And you think we'll find a villain if we investigate it to the end?"
"Why, sure," Mr. Perry smiled. "I shouldn't be surprised if we'd find
Captain Kidd's treasure buried on this island."
"Now you're joking," Bud put in.
"What kind of mathematics would you use to locate that treasure?" Hal
inquired with a kind of jovial challenge.
"Cube root," was the reply.
"That means dig at the roots of a four-cornered tree and you'll find a
box of pieces of eight shaped like a gambler's dice," Cub inferred.
"That's pretty good imagination, and, I think ought to put us in a frame
of mind well suited for further investigation," said Mr. Perry. "Now
let's go to the spot where Hal found that diary of his cousin and see if
we can't discover something more of significant interest."
The Hook-Up on Shore
Arrived at the open area where Hal had found his cousin's "Crusoe diary",
the three boys and Mr. Perry began a careful examination of the
surroundings for further evidence that might throw light on the strange
affair, which, for the time at least, appeared to defy the mystery
First they scrutinized every foot of ground where the grass had been
trampled so violently, it seemed, as to suggest a physical combat. But
they were not sufficiently skilled in the arts and subtleties of the
aborigines to work out the "code" of footprints and twists, tears, and
breaks in the grass, twigs and foliage. So the result of the inspection
of an apparently recent battle ground was nil.
"I believe we've exhausted every possibility of a clew to the mystery in
this spot," declared Cub at the end of half an hour's search. "Let's not
waste any more time here."
"What'll we do next, then?" asked Bud.
"Go fishin'" Cub replied.
"I think that's a good suggestion," said Mr. Perry. "We've concentrated
our minds and efforts on this problem all day thus far, and a little
relaxation probably will do us good."
"Where's the best place to fish?" Hal inquired.
"I think I know," Bud replied. "I found a place where we can climb down
the bank to a dandy little beach while I was looking over my section of
the island. A little spur of land runs out at that point, so as to form a
small bay, and the water there is quiet and looks deep."
They returned to the camp and got their fishing tackle and soon were
casting baited hooks into the bay. Bud's prediction as to the hopeful
appearance of this place, from an angler's point of view, proved well
founded. In less than an hour they caught more fish than they could eat
at supper and breakfast.
After supper they formed a campfire circle in front of the tent--without
a fire, however, for the normal heat of the atmosphere was all that
comfort could demand--and held a further discussion of the situation and
the problem with which they were confronted.
"I don't know, boys, but we ought to make a trip somewhere in the
Catwhisker and get police help to solve this problem," Mr. Perry remarked
with a reflection of years and judgment in his countenance. "Hal's cousin
may be in serious trouble, for all we know, and it's our duty to enlist
every agency at our command to aid him."
"But while we're gone something might develop here that would throw light
on the mystery," said Bud. "Excuse me, Mr. Perry, for insisting on
calling it a mystery. I can't think of it as anything else."
"Oh, goodness me!" returned the one thus addressed. "I'm afraid you boys
failed to get what I was driving at. I didn't mean there was no such
thing as mystery. That depends on your point of view. It is only people
who are easily startled or confused by unusual things who are easily
mystified. I don't mean to say that it would be impossible to mystify me
under any circumstances. For instance, if the man in the moon should
suddenly jump down on the earth and give me a brick of green cheese, and
then jump back again before I could say 'thank you' I presume I'd be
"Your illustration won't stand a test of reason, dad," Cub objected. "To
test whether it is possible for you to be mystified you must offer a test
that is possible."
"That's precisely why I offered that impossible illustration," Mr. Perry
smiled. "I wanted to see if any of you boys would catch the
inconsistency. You just call this affair a mystery as long as you think
it is one, but after it is cleared up, I fancy you'll have difficulty in
looking back and picturing it as a mystery in your minds. But I didn't
intend to take us off our subject. I was going to answer Bud's argument
that something of importance might develop while we were gone. Yes, that
is true, but it wouldn't be necessary for all of us to go. Two of us
might make the trip and the other two remain here."
"That's a good idea," declared Hal. "Suppose you and Cub go and leave Bud
and me here to look after the camp and watch for developments?"
Mr. Perry did not reply at once. Something new seemed to have slipped
into his mind and appeared to be giving him some concern.
"On second thought," he said after a few moments of silence; "I'm
inclined to withdraw my suggestion."
"What's up now, dad?" Cub inquired.
"I was just recalling a portion of Hal's cousin's diary," his father
replied. "According to that, it seems that rough characters visit this
"Oh, we're not afraid," Hal protested. "Besides, you could make the trip
there and back in a few hours."
"Well, we'll think it over and decide in the morning what we'll do," said
"Meanwhile, I tell you what we ought to do," Bud proposed. "It's an hour
before dark and we'd have time to bring Hal's wireless outfit up here and
hook it up before the sun sets."
"That's a peach of an idea," declared Cub, jumping to his feet in his
eagerness. "I've got two hundred and fifty feet of extra wire and some
insulators on the boat and we can put up an aerial here without taking
down the one on the Catwhisker. Then we can shift the radio outfit back
and forth to the island and to the boat as we please."
"Good!" exclaimed Hal. "I'm with you on that. Let's get busy and not
waste a minute of daylight."
They worked rapidly, and as they were well supplied with material and
tools the progress made by them measured up to expectations. They
fashioned a two-wire antenna with the spreaders left on the island by
Hal's cousin; connected a lead-in to this, and then Cub and Bud climbed
the two trees and, with the aid of ropes tied around their waists and the
guiding assistance of their companions below, drew the "ether-wave
feeler" up to a lofty elevation and fastened it as nearly taut as they
could stretch and hold it. In this work they took due consideration of
the professional objection to tree entanglements in aerials so that the
insulators were well beyond the reach of the longest limbs.
"It's a simple matter now to bring the outfit ashore and hook it up with
the aerial," said Hal. "Let's do it."
Enthused by the novelty of their enterprise, they continued the work,
even though dusk was rapidly gathering. Several electric-battery
flash-lights were produced, so that the twilight did not seriously hinder
them. By the time the stars had become a billion glittering gems in the
sky, the hook-up had been completed with Hal's sending and receiving set
on a table that had been transported from the yacht to a convenient
position directly under the aerial and near the opening of the tent.
"Now, let's see what's going on in the air," said Cub. "Hal, you take the
first whirl through the atmosphere."
Hal sat down by the table and put a pair of phones to his ears. Then he
began to tune. First there came to him a discordant confusion of static
and other noises, including an admixture of "ham impudence".
"W H Q's on," announced Hal presently, pushing over the horn switch,
whereupon the clear tones of a quartet from the Rochester station was
thrown with amplified resonance out upon the reamplifying atmosphere of a
They "sat through" the program with a degree of enjoyment never before
experienced by them under a radio spell. They could almost imagine
themselves on an enchanted isle with a band of fairy songsters teasing
harmonious echoes out of their surroundings.
"My! I didn't suppose such weird beauty of sound could be produced under
any possible conditions," exclaimed Mr. Perry at the close of the last
number on the program.
"Now the air will be free for all for a short time," said Hal, putting on
the phones and throwing back the horn switch, while the other boys also
donned their phones. "I'm going to see if I can get any of those fellows
we talked with on the way up here."
"Get that amateur with the radio compass who proved Mr. Perry's
mathematical theory," suggested Bud.
"All right I remember his call and wave length; so here goes."
Hal tuned for several moments and sent the call of the Canadian amateur
in question. Then suddenly he gave a little gasp of surprise. Only Mr.
Perry felt a curiosity as to what it meant, for the other two boys knew
as soon did the boy at the transmitting key. Someone was calling them and
the call he gave as his own was the Canadian V A X. Then came the
"Have you not given it up yet, boys? I did not mean to carry the joke so
far. Better go back home."
Mr. Perry was waiting patiently for an explanation of the tense interest
manifest in the attitudes of the three boys. Presently Cub gave it to
"We're on the trail again, dad. This fellow we've got is posing as Hal's
cousin and he's advising us to go back home."
Running Down a Radio Fake
"You say you are V A X?" dot-and-dashed Hal to the amateur who had thus
"Yes," was the reply.
"What is your name?"
"Where do you live?"
"At Port Hope."
"Where are you now?"
"On the river with some friends."
"Have you any relatives in the United States?"
"Where do they live?"
"In New York."
"New York City?"
"I have forgotten."
"Is it Rochester?"
"I do not know."
"Is it Oswego?"
"I am not certain."
"Have you a cousin named Hal?"
"What is his last name?"
"Have you any relatives named Stone?"
"I think so."
"Is the name Hal Stone familiar to you?"
"Never met the gentleman."
"Then your name is not Alvin Baker?"
"Maybe you know my name better than I do."
"No, but I know just as well as you do that you are not Alvin Baker."
"How do you know that?"
"Because Alvin Baker is my cousin. I am Hal Stone, and I live in Oswego,
"I do not believe you. You are an impostor."
"Let me tell you a secret. I have penetrated your plot. You are an enemy
of my cousin. There was no wager between him and you, but you don't want
us to find him. You had better keep out of the atmosphere or I will have
you arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct in the air."
"V A X, V A X, V A X," called Hal.
Still no reply.
"I cornered him, proved he was an impostor, and now he won't talk to me
any more," said Hal, addressing his companions. Then he translated the
code conversation, just completed, for the benefit of Mr. Perry.
"Well, that disposes of him for the time being, at least," was the
"But leaves a mystery as to his identity," put in Bud with a
"No, I don't think there's any question as to his identity."
"Have you worked it out by mathematics, dad?" Cub inquired.
"Yes, by sines and cosines."
"What are sines and cosines?" asked Hal.
"You'll find out when you go to college and study trigonometry," Mr.
"Oh, I've seen those words," Cub answered, with some of his alleged
characteristic "highbrow eagerness". "You spell sine, s-i-n-e, and
"Exactly," smiled Mr. Perry. "Those are terms used in higher mathematics.
But, in order that you youthful minds may not work too hard over my
trick, I'll admit that in my mind I spelled sine s-i-g-n, and cosine,
"No use to try to get ahead of my father," Cub declared, shaking his
head. "He could prove that water runs uphill by mathematics. He means the
signs and cosigns indicate that--. What do they indicate, dad? We got off
the question just because you wanted to carry your point with a pun."
"I meant to say that this fellow whom you cornered and chased out of the
air is one of the fellows who hazed Hal's cousin by marooning him on this
island," Mr. Perry answered.
"Gee! that never occurred to me," exclaimed Cub, swinging his long arm
with a snap of his finger like the crack of a whip. "I bet anything
"We get one step nearer every time we make a move," said Bud eagerly.
"Yes, but the question is, how many steps do we have to take before we
settle this--this--mystery?" Cub demanded.
"Don't look ahead so far," Mr. Perry warned. "Here's a rule in such
matters that applies to all men--and boys--of small or large capability.
Be careful never to look ahead so far you can't see the step you are in
the act of taking."
"All right," Cub assented. "What is the next step for us to take?"
"Find out who the fellows are that hazed Hal's cousin." Bud replied.
"Yes, that's a good suggestion, though it'll probably require several
steps to gain that information. Still, you're not looking so far ahead,
when you propose that move, as to be unable to see your first step."
"Why not try to get in touch with some amateur in Cousin Alvin's home
town by wireless?" Hal suggested.
"That's the very thing I was in hope one of you would propose," Mr. Perry
replied. "You boys haven't by any means exhausted the possibilities of
your radio outfit."
"We have no Canadian call book," said Hal, "but perhaps I can induce one
of the amateurs we've been talking with to look up the call of one or
more amateurs in Port Hope and give them to me."
Without more ado, he swung the switch into sending position and began to
call the amateur who had given them the information that had enabled them
to locate Friday Island. Success rewarded his efforts almost immediately.
The curiosity of the Rockport amateur, however, had to be satisfied
before further service could be had from him. This Hal did with due
patience and speed, reciting their experiences since their arrival at the
island. Meanwhile the Canadian consulted his call book, and was ready
with the desired information by the time his very excusable curiosity had
been satisfied. He supplied Hal with two Port Hope calls, together with
their wave lengths.
Then began the task of getting into communication with the Port Hope
amateurs. Hal sent the call of each of them a score or more of times, but
got no answer from either. At last, however, another Port Hope amateur,
who chanced to be listening in, answered for them. He informed Hal that
the sending outfit of one of these Port Hope boys was out of working
order and the other amateur was out of town. Then the operator on Friday
Island put the following questions to him:
"Do you know Alvin Baker?"
"Yes," was the reply.
"Is he at home?" Hal continued.
"I think not. He is at college."
"I am his cousin, Hal Stone, from Oswego, New York. I am with some
friends on an island in the St. Lawrence River. I have learned that Alvin
is in trouble. He was hazed by some sophomores, who left him alone on an
island in the river. We found the island, but Alvin had been spirited
away and is probably being held prisoner by them. This hazing gang seems
to consist of some pretty rough characters. I want to get in touch with
my uncle, Alvin's father."
"I will call your uncle on the telephone and tell him what you say," the
Port Hope amateur dot-and-dashed in reply.
"Ask him to come over to your house, and tell him I will explain
everything to him through you, and then perhaps he can form a plan for
his son's rescue."
These and subsequent proceedings, in furtherance of the plan outlined
"over the wireless" by Hal, took considerable time, but at last the
situation was made clear to Mr. Baker, who announced his intention to
start on a search for his son at once. Meanwhile Bud and Cub listened-in
eagerly and translated the code messages for Mr. Perry.
"I tell you what we'll do," the latter said after the communication of
events had been completed for the benefit of Mr. Baker. "Tell him to take
a train to some river port, the nearest possible to this island, and
we'll meet him with the motor boat."
Hal did as requested, and presently Mr. Baker caused this message
to be sent:
"I will meet you at Rockport about noon to-morrow."
"Step number one proved to be well worth while," observed Mr. Perry. "Now
let's go to bed and in the morning we'll take step number two."
Next morning the day's program was discussed at the breakfast table, the
latter being a light collapsible affair carried as an item of equipment
of the Catwhisker. Hal introduced the subject by saying:
"Mr. Perry, don't you think two of us ought to stay here while the other
two of us make the trip to bring Uncle John over here?"
"What's the use?" Mr. Perry returned. "Nobody's going to run away with
"No, but we've established a camp here, pitched a tent, and brought
ashore a lot of camp material and supplies. If we all go we'll have to
strike the tent and take all these things back on the boat."
"Well, I don't know that it makes any particular difference to me," the
owner of the yacht replied. "It'll be broad daylight and we'll be gone
only a few hours. It isn't at all likely that anything will happen during
"I'll stay here with Hal, if he wants to stay," Bud volunteered.
"That would be about the only way to arrange it," said Mr. Perry. "I
don't like to have any of you boys make the trip without my being along,
and as Cub knows the engine of the Catwhisker better than any other
member of our party, I think I'd better take him with me."
"That's the best arrangement," said Hal. "And while you're gone, Bud and
I'll play Robinson Crusoe and Friday."
"Who'll be Crusoe and who'll be Friday?" Cub inquired.
"Oh, we won't quarrel about that," Bud replied. "Hal may have his choice
and I'll take what's left."
"This plan will simplify matters, to say the least," Mr. Perry announced.
"About all we'll have to do when we decide to start is start."
"You don't need to wash any dishes before you go," said Bud.
"Friday'll do that."
"There you go already," laughed Mr. Perry. "I predict a revolution on
this island before we return."
"No, nothing of the kind," Bud returned. "I was assuming that the lot of
Friday would fall to me. In other words, I volunteer to wash the dishes."
"I think you'll both have to be Fridays," Cub advised. "The real Crusoe
of this place has disappeared and we don't want anybody usurping his
honors in his absence. It is our duty to find him, reinstate him here,
and then rescue him."
"And make prisoners of the buccaneers who marooned him," suggested
"Yes, and make them walk the plank," added Bud.
"We're not exactly right in calling Hal's cousin a Robinson Crusoe, are
we?" asked Cub reflectively. "You know Crusoe wasn't marooned; he was
shipwrecked on his island."
"Yes, but Crusoe was just a hero in fiction, you know," Mr. Perry
replied. "Alexander Selkirk, the real Crusoe, was marooned on an island
in the south Pacific."
"Too bad he didn't have a wireless outfit," said Hal.
"Well, boys, my portion of the breakfast is stowed away, and I must
remind you that the moments are fleeting rapidly," announced the director
of the expedition presently. "Cub, are you ready to start?"
"All ready," the latter replied, rising from his chair and turning the
"finish" of a cup of coffee down his throat.
"I would suggest that you boys try to raise some amateur over in Rockport
and probably you can stir up some local interest there in this affair,"
Mr. Perry suggested. "I'm always in favor of all the publicity that can
be had in cases of rascality, and this looks to me like something more
than a mere hazing."
"Why, dad, I haven't heard you say anything like that before," said
Cub, with a curiously inquiring look at his father. "What do you
mean by that?"
"I don't know," was the reply. "Maybe it's our remarks about Crusoe,
buccaneers, marooning, and walking the plank that worked on my mind and
set me to thinking about outlaws. I've just got a feeling that this
affair isn't going to be explained along any play lines."
"But Hal's cousin didn't have any suspicion that it was anything more
than a hazing affair, according to his diary," Cub reminded.
"I'm not so sure about that, either. You know he explained his
distress messages by saying that he had been marooned by some river
thieves or bandits."
"But he said in his diary he didn't want to tell the truth," said Hal.
"True, but he may have had a suspicion, nevertheless, that he felt was
not tangible enough to incorporate in his diary. However, that will all
be explained in due time, let us hope. Now, let's hurry. Good-bye, Hal,
Bud. We'll be back as soon as possible."
A few minutes later that Catwhisker was backing out of the narrow harbor
with Cub and his father aboard and Bud and Hal on shore watching their
departure. Presently the yacht was out of sight from their hemmed-in
position, the view being obstructed by trees and tall bushes on an
intervening isle, which constituted a link of the insular chain that
surrounded Friday Island.
"Now, let's wash the dishes," said Bud, turning back toward the camp.
"I thought Friday was going to do that work," Hal reminded with a broad
grin on his face.
"Wasn't it ordered that both of us should be Fridays?" Bud
"You win," laughed Hal. "But here's a better way to handle the subject in
view of another duty before us. You know we're supposed to try to get in
touch with somebody by radio at Rockport and we haven't much time to
spare before the Catwhisker arrives there. You get busy on the job and
I'll take care of the dishes."
"Not on your lightning switch," returned Bud emphatically. "I volunteered
to be Friday, and I'm not going to slip out of my promise through your
generosity. You get busy with the key and the phones and I'll get busy
with the dishrag."
As no reasonable argument could be adduced to defeat this proposition,
the two boys were soon busy as prescribed by the last speaker. Bud's task
required only about fifteen minutes, and after it was finished he
rejoined his companion at the radio table.
"Well, what luck?" he inquired.
"Nothing doing," Hal replied. "I've managed to get the calls and waves of
two amateurs at Rockport, but neither of them answers."
"Keep it up anyway," Bud urged, "and I'll take a tackle and go over to
the place where we took in our haul of fish yesterday, and see what I can
do this morning. Call me if you get anything interesting."
Hal promised to do as requested and then Bud hurried away. The former
continued his efforts unsuccessfully with the sending key for nearly
half an hour, hearing no sound from his friend in the meantime. Then he
was about to take the receivers from his ears and go in search of the
fisher-boy to find out what success he had had, when the latter appeared
on the scene with a look in his face that startled the youth at the
"What's the matter, Bud?" Hal inquired, as he literally tore the phones
from his ears. "Has anything happened?"
"Not exactly," the other replied. "But I've made a discovery that
may mean trouble for us. At least, we'll have to be on the lookout
from now on."
"Why--what do you mean? Hurry up; don't keep me in suspense. What kind of
discovery have you made?"
"I've discovered that we're not the only persons on this island," was
Bud's chilling response.
"Why, Bud, what do you mean?" Hal demanded, in astonishment. "Who else is
on this island?"
"Some men. I don't know how many," Bud replied in cautious tone. "I heard
them talking about us. But keep your voice low, for this island is small
and they may hear you."
"I was going to remark that this is a small island to contain much of a
hiding place for anybody."
"Yes, but it's wild with bushes. And these men are bad fellows, I could
tell from the way they talked about us. They're as mad as hops 'cause
we're here. They're studying how to get rid of us without making more
trouble for themselves."
"That's funny," Hal remarked. "Why should they care if we're here? Do
they claim they own this island?"
"I don't know whether they do or not. I didn't hear them say anything
"Where are they now?"
"Over near our fishing place, if they haven't left. They were hidden in
some bushes, and I might 'ave run right into them if it hadn't been for
their voices. After I heard them I kept myself under cover and crept
closer till I could get what they said."
"Were you listening to them all the time you were gone?"
"And didn't you find out anything more specific than what you've told
"No, I don't think I did."
"Why did you leave them?"
"They seemed to 've talked the subject dry and turned to other matters,
and I thought I'd better come and tell you about it."
"And they're there yet?"
"So far as I know."
"After they'd talked their subject dry, what did they find to discuss?"
"Something wet," Bud answered with a grin.
"I get you; you mean they had some moonshine with them."
"Or some Canadian whisky."
"Probably that. But this makes the situation look a little better for us.
If they're just a bunch of fellows out for a liquor outing, maybe we
don't need to be much concerned about them if we keep shy of them."
"I don't think that's all there is to it," Bud replied, with a note of
warning in his voice. "I heard one of them say we were likely to make
trouble for them and we ought to be chased away and scared so badly we'd
never come around here again, and the others seemed to agree with him."
"That sounds like a mystery," said Hal.
"I don't believe Mr. Perry would talk mathematics to explain such
conversation," Bud declared.
"If he did, he'd probably make another pun about sines and cosines. But,
say, don't you think we'd better make further investigation?"
"I don't know what we could do unless we did some more eavesdropping,
and that might cause them to get ugly if they caught us in the act,"
"Yes," Hal agreed; "I suppose we'd better wait as quietly as we can till
Mr. Perry and Cub get back; then we can decide better what to do."
"I don't see that there's anything for us to do but get away from here as
soon as possible," said Bud. "Mr. Perry won't want to get into trouble
with four men."
"He'll probably have a talk with them to find out what's on their minds,"
was Hal's conclusion.
"And then get out rather than have a fight," Bud added.
"Oh, I hope there won't be anything as bad as that."
"Why not, if we insist on staying? If these fellows are the rough
characters we suspect them of being, that's the very sort of thing
they'd resort to, provided, of course, that they thought they could get
the best of us."
"Here they come now!" suddenly gasped Hal, indicating, with his gaze, the
direction from which "they" were approaching.
Bud turned quickly and saw four men emerge from the thicket some fifteen
feet to the rear of the tent. They did not look like rowdies, for they
were fairly well dressed, but there was nothing reassuring in the
countenance of any of them. One was tall and angular, another was heavy
and of medium height, another was very broad-shouldered and deep-chested
and had long arms and short legs, a sort of powerful monstrosity, he
seemed, and the fourth was fairly well proportioned, but small. There was
not a reassuring cast of countenance among them.
"We'll just have to stand our ground and hear what they have to say," Hal
whispered: "Maybe they'll be reasonable if we don't provoke them. Be
careful and don't say anything sassy."
"I won't," was the other's reassurance.
The four men approached to a point a few feet from the radio table and
halted, and the tall angular man, assuming the role of spokesman,
demanded in deep tones:
"What're you kids doin' here?"
"We're just waiting for some of our friends to come back," Hal replied.
"Where'd your friends go?" continued the spokesman with a leer that
caused the two boys to shrink back a step or two.
"They just took a trip in the motor boat," replied Hal cautiously.
"They'll be back soon."
"Oh, they will, eh," leered the man as if he penetrated the weakness of
the warning in the boy's answer. "How many are they of your friends?"
"More than we are," replied Hal, having reference to physical size of Mr.
Perry and Cub.
"Oh, come now, kids, tell us the truth," ordered the leering spokesman,
advancing a pace nearer. "Tell us how many went away in your boat and how
soon they'll be back."
"There was a large man and a big boy," Bud interposed with more assurance
that he felt.
Sly grins crept over the countenances of the four men.
"Oh," grunted the spokesman; "you hope by that kind o' talk to scare us
away. Well, nothin' doing along that line. This here island belongs to
us, and we don't allow no trespassin."
"Is the island for sale?" inquired Hal, who thought he saw an opening
through which he might work up the interest of the three men without
arousing their antagonism.
"Fer sale?" repeated the spokesman of the quartet, all four of whom
seemed to exchange among themselves a round of sinister glances. "Well, I
guess nit. They ain't enough money this side o' the United States
treasury to buy this island from us."
"We might be able to scrape up a handsome sum, if necessary," Hal
A suggestion of covetous greed shone in the eyes of all four men, but the
spokesman belied his own looks by saying:
"Nothin' doing. We want you guys to git out o' here. This is our summer
resort, eh, Spike"--turning to the long-armed, deep chested man.
"Spike" nodded grimly and replied:
"You bet it is, cap'n. We're gen'lemen of leisure an' don't care fer
money. All we want is our own, and they's sure to be trouble if anybody
tries to take it away from us."
"Well, we don't want anything that doesn't belong to us," was Bud's
reassuring answer; "and if this island is yours, we surely don't want to
stay here. But we thought that maybe you'd be glad to sell, for a member
of our party said he'd like to buy all of the islands of this group if he
could find the owner."
"Who is he?" asked the quartet's spokesman.
"His name is Perry and he lives at Oswego, New York," Bud replied.
"Well, you all go somewheres else to talk that matter over and then take
it up with my real estate agent. Meanwhile I don't allow no trespassers
on this ground."
"But we can't go until our friends come back with their boat," said Hal.
"They promised to return soon."
"Where did they go?"
"To the Canadian Coast."
"To get another friend who will join us."
"Well, they'd better hurry up or they won't find you when they get back."
"What's that you got there?" asked the man who had been addressed as
"Spike", indicating the radio table and outfit thereon.
"That's a wireless outfit, you goof," replied the tall, angular
"I tell you what we'll do," Hal announced, taking inspiration from the
attention thus called to his radio apparatus. "We'll call our friends by
wireless and have them return at once and take us away. How's that?"
"All right," was the assenting response. "Go ahead, but be careful, no
tricks, or our revenge will be speedy, and that's no name fer it."
With this warning the four men walked away and Hall got busy with a
diligence inspired by a sense of danger and, at the same time, a sense of
the opportunity afforded by the possibilities of the world's latest great
"S O S" from Friday Island
Max Handy, the Canadian youth at Rockport, who gave the crew of the
Catwhisker, by wireless, directions whereby the latter were able to
locate "mathematically" the whereabouts of the "Canadian Crusoe's Friday
Island" listened in much of the time thereafter, in the hope of being
able to keep in touch with developments to the end of this interesting
And this hope was realized in a degree that could hardly have been
expected with moderation. But he was well equipped, and, being
mechanically inclined, and industrious, he was able to get a maximum of
results with his sending and receiving outfit.
He had traced the rescue yacht all the way from Oswego to Friday Island,
and the last message he had picked up from the three young radio
Americans was the one that completed the agreement under which the yacht
was to proceed to Rockport next day and meet the father of the "missing
Crusoe". Then he attempted to get in communication with the island
operator, but Mr. Perry had just announced that the next number on the
program would be "everybody to bed at once", and there was no more
listening-in before the next morning.
Max stayed up late that night, with phones to his ears, eager to get
another message from the island, and he was a very much disappointed
enthusiast when at last he gave up his efforts, convinced that they were
useless. He slept late next morning and consequently lost an opportunity
to respond to Hal's first call to enlist the aid of the Rockport amateurs
in the campaign to rescue the missing "Crusoe".
But at last he caught a message from the island, and the conversation,
translated from code, that took place between him and Hal, following a
few introductory inconsequentials, was as follows:
"I listened-in last night and heard your arrangements for today," the
Canadian dot-and-dashed. "When are you coming to Rockport?"
"Two of us are on the way," Hal replied. "They ought to be there by
"Is there anything I can do to help you?"
"Yes. Can you go to the dock and ask them to hurry back? There are four
ugly acting men here on the island, who have ordered us off. They
threatened to make trouble for us if we do not go soon."
"Don't your friends know those men are there?"
"No; we discovered them after the boat left."
"All right, I will run down to the dock and tell them."
Max literally kept his promise relative to his manner of travel. He ran
all the way to the dock, half a mile. The Catwhisker was there, tied fast
with cables, but nobody was on board.
"They've gone to the depot," he concluded; then he turned his steps
toward the railroad station.
He ran and walked alternately, with a dozen changes of speed, and arrived
just as the train from the west was pulling in. He had no difficulty in
identifying Mr. Perry and Cub when they introduced themselves to Mr.
Baker, as the latter stepped from a coach, and a moment later he was
addressing the owner of the Catwhisker thus:
"Is this Mr. Perry of Oswego, New York?"
The latter turned quickly and beheld a youth about the age of his own
son, but of considerably shorter stature.
"It is," he replied somewhat apprehensively, in view of recent stirring
events and the logical probability of more of the same sort.
"Well, I have something important to tell you," Max continued. "I'm the
boy who gave you the radio compass information that made it possible for
you to find Friday Island."
"Gee! I'm glad to meet you," exclaimed Cub, seizing the Canadian youth by
the hand and forgetting, in his eagerness, the announcement from the
"radio compass detective" that he had "something important" to
But the latter, although equally pleased to meet the young amateur from
the States, was on his guard against a delay of this sort and soon broke
through the effusion of cordiality with which Cub greeted him and
continued his communication thus:
"I was just telegraphing with one of the boys on the island, and he told
me to tell you to hurry back. There are four men on the island who
ordered them away and threatened to make trouble for them if they didn't
get away soon."
"What's that!" exclaimed Mr. Perry, seizing the youth by the arms. "You
say you got that kind of message from those boys?"
"Sure I did," the boy replied; "and they want you to hurry back."
"What kind of men are they--rough characters, bad men?"
"That's what I understood him to mean."
"Come on, Mr. Baker, Bob; we must hustle along. Thank you, my boy; you'll
hear from me again."
"I'll hurry back and tell the boys I found you and you're on your way,"
shouted Max as he ran down the street toward home.
Mr. Perry led the way toward the dock at a rapid pace. Presently they
found themselves in front of a hardware store, and the owner of the
Catwhisker stopped and said:
"I'm going in here a minute."
He entered, and Mr. Baker and Cub followed, wondering a little as to the
motive of the boy's father. But they were not long left in doubt.
"Have you any fire-arms on sale here?" Mr. Perry asked, addressing the
"Small or large?" the latter inquired.
"Right this way."
He stepped behind a show case in which was a display of automatics and
revolvers. Mr. Perry selected one of the former and a box of cartridges
and took out his pocketbook to pay for them.
"I believe I'll take one, too," interposed Mr. Baker, also
producing a purse.
The storekeeper looked somewhat curiously at the two men.
"I'm supposed to exercise care and judgment in selling these weapons," he
"Of course, of course," returned Mr. Perry. "The situation is this: We
belong to a yacht on the river and have run up against some bad
characters. I am the owner of the yacht and have decided that we need
"Sure, sure, that's perfectly satisfactory," said the hardware man. "You
can buy out my whole arsenal on that explanation."
"We won't need it," Mr. Perry smiled. "These two guns are enough."
The purchase completed, the two men and the boy left the store and
hastened on toward the municipal docks.
Meanwhile Max arrived at his home and went direct to his radio room.
There the first thing he did was to don his phones, and the result was
He had left the instrument tuned to the Friday Island wave length and the
aerial switch in receiving position.
"S O S, S O S, S O S," crashed into his ears in rapid, energetic, excited
succession, it seemed to his susceptible imagination.
Quickly he threw over the switch, and called for an explanation. It came
"Those men have seized my friend, and now are coming after me. S O S, S
That was all--not another dot or dash. Desperately Max appealed for
further details, but it was like calling for life in a cemetery. The
ether was dead, so far as Friday Island was concerned.
When the Catwhisker arrived at Friday Island again, the place appeared to
The camp was as they had left it, except that the breakfast dishes were
washed and put away. "Friday" had performed his duty, but both boys had
disappeared, and there seemed to be only one explanation of their
disappearance, namely, the premonition of danger at the hands of the four
strange men that the Rockport amateur, Max, had received from the boys on
the island. No damage had been done to the tent or any of the camp
paraphernalia, even the radio outfit being exactly as it had been when
they left it in charge of Hal and Bud a few hours previously.
"This is getting pretty serious," Mr. Perry said, after they had made an
unsatisfactory review of the situation. "I confess I don't know what to
make of it."
Cub felt an impulse to brand this new affair as the most puzzling mystery
that had yet confronted them, but he checked the utterance wisely enough
as entirely too facetious for the occasion.
"We've got to get the authorities busy on this case," Mr. Perry added
after a few moments' hesitation. "We may be sure now that it's more than
a hazing affair. There must be a retreat of some bad men around here
"What authorities shall we ask to help us?" Cub inquired.
His father seemed about to answer, but he hesitated a moment or two, with
a puzzled look, first at his son, then at Mr. Baker.
"That's so," he said presently. "Where are we--in Canada or the
"I think we ought to apply for help in both New York and Ontario," said
Mr. Baker, who was ordinarily a man of quiet demeanor, but now was worked
up to a state of nervous worry over the fate of his son.
"It's going to take some time to make trips to both sides of the river
and get the authorities of New York and Ontario busy," said Mr. Perry;
"but I suppose that's the only thing to do, and every minute wasted is an
opportunity lost. So let's go right away."
"Hold on, father," Cub interrupted; "you forget that we have a means of
calling help right here."
"It won't do to depend on your radio messages" his father replied. "You
know the experience Mr. Baker's son had trying to get help that way."
"Yes, but there were conditions that queered his calls," Cub replied.
"Just remember the results we got by calling our new friend, Max, at
Rockport, and what he did for us. Unless I'm badly mistaken, we can look
for more help from him."
"Yes, you're right, Bob," Mr. Perry admitted. "But I don't like the idea
of staying here and depending on a few boys to take care of so big a
proposition. We need to arouse the whole country around here, including
all people along the shores, on the islands and those boating up and down
"In other words, there must be some real broadcasting," Cub interpreted.
"You bet you, and more than any amateur radio station in the country can
do. Now, we've wasted too much time already. Come on; we've got to get
started without any more delay."
"But let me stay and see what I can do while you're gone," Cub pleaded.
"I bet I can have a police boat headed this way before you reach the
"No, nothing doing," his father ruled unwaveringly. "You'd disappear just
the way the other boys did. We can't afford to run any more such risks."
"I'd be safe enough if you let me have that automatic o' yours, dad,"
"No, sir-ree; I'm not going to leave you here alone to fight any gun
battle with a band of bandits."
But the boy was still undismayed by his father's resoluteness. He had one
more proposal to offer, and he presented it thus:
"You don't need to leave me here alone, dad. Mr. Baker may stay; you can
run the Catwhisker alone."
Both men had started toward the landing place, expecting the boy to
follow, but they stopped suddenly and faced about on hearing this new
proposition. Mr. Baker looked almost eagerly at Mr. Perry, it seemed,
and, observing that the latter's unyielding attitude had softened
somewhat, he said:
"That's agreeable to me if it is to you."
"Well," returned Mr. Perry with slow deliberation, "that sounds pretty
good. If it suits you both, it suits me. I don't think you'll have to use
the guns, even if any bad actors do happen around. If you show them,
that'll probably be enough. Do you know how to handle an automatic, Bob?"
"Sure I do," the latter replied. "All you have to do is keep the nose
pointed away from you and toward the target you want to hit. To shoot,
you just keep pulling the trigger, and when it's empty you're safe from
accident until you fill the chamber again."
"That's a simple statement of facts," Mr. Perry smiled; "but you left out
the most important of all, and until you tell me what that is, I'm not
going to let you have it."
"Oh, I know what it is; you've told it to me lots of times," Cub replied
with eager alertness. "You know, dad, I always remembered what you told
me, and I didn't forget that advice of yours about fire-arms. It is,
'always handle an unloaded gun as if you know it's loaded.' I promise
you, dad, I'll not forget it this time."
"I guess it's safe to let you have it," said Mr. Perry, handing over the
weapon. "All right, now that everything's settled, I'll be gone and you
two see what you can do through the air."
That ended the discussion, and a few minutes later the owner of the
Catwhisker was putting all the speed he could put into the power boat
toward the Canadian shore, while Cub devoted all his energy and skill to
the task of summoning as much aid as possible by wireless, Mr. Baker
standing by and waiting eagerly for results.
And results were not long coming. The yacht was scarcely out of sight
beyond the outer rim of islands, when Cub recognized the call of Max
Handy, the Canadian amateur at Rockport. He acknowledged the call, and
then telegraphed the following:
"I am the boy whom you met at the depot a few hours ago. When we got
back, we found the two boys we left here were gone."
"I knew something had happened," Max replied. "After I left you I got
their S O S. Then one of them telegraphed that some men had seized his
friend and were coming after him. His last message was broken off in the
midst of a new S O S. I couldn't get him again, I called up the police
and they said they would see it got to the proper authorities for
Cub translated this message for the benefit of Mr. Baker and was about to
continue the telegraphic conversation when four men, armed with clubs,
and with anything but friendly demeanor, appeared on the scene. Mr. Baker
saw them first and sounded the alarm.
"Here they come," he said in low tone, the accents of which caused Cub
to start to his feet and reach for his father's pistol which he had laid
on the radio table. "Be careful," the man continued. "Don't shoot unless
I do. Maybe we can get some information from those fellows. Put your gun
in your pocket and don't draw it unless they attack us or you see me
The movement of Cub, transferring the automatic from the table to the
right pocket of his coat, did not escape the notice of the visitors, who
appeared to have come from the wooded depths of the island. But evidently
their uncertain vision left their minds in a condition of doubt as to the
significance of the act, for they continued to advance, however, with
some appearance of caution.
"I'll go forward a few steps to meet them," said Mr. Baker, in a low
voice to Cub. "You stay back here and be careful with your gun. Don't use
it unless you see me use mine; then keep your head. I think we'll be able
to handle this situation without any violence."
He advanced half a dozen paces, then stopped and addressed the unwelcome
visitors, who were now distant from him only about fifteen feet.
"Halt where you are, gentlemen," he said. "We are armed, and any further
advance on your part will be met with the use of our weapons."
The "gentlemen" stopped with due consideration for the warning, but with
scowls that indicated the poor grace of their obedience. A description of
them would mark them as the ones who are heretofore recorded as having
made an unfriendly call on Hal and Bud at the island camp earlier in the
day. The tall, angular man again was spokesman for them.
"What're you fellers doin' on our island?" he demanded, with a deepening
of his scowl.
"I didn't know the island belonged to you," Mr. Baker returned quietly.
"You don't happen to carry a deed to it in your pocket, do you?"
"No, but it's ours, or it belongs to one of us," the angry spokesman
replied. "And we don't intend to allow any trespassing."
"We have no desire to do any trespassing," was the response to this
veiled threat. "But I want to answer you with a clear statement of our
position. We are here with a purpose and we don't intend to be turned
aside from that purpose. To get down to brass tacks, three boys, one of
them my son, have disappeared under remarkable circumstances from this
island, and the indications point directly toward you men as responsible
for their disappearance. What your motive is I have no idea, but you may
be sure that it will be fathomed, and now that we have you in our power,
we don't intend to let you get away from us. We are armed with automatic
pistols that shoot like machine guns and one move either toward or from
us, contrary to order, will start them barking. Now, my instruction to
you is that you drop those clubs and come forward, one at a time, and
allow my companion to search you for weapons."
As he spoke, Mr. Baker drew his pistol from one of his trouser pockets,
and Cub did likewise. Instantly the scowls disappeared from the faces of
the four men and were succeeded by looks suggestive of panic.
"There's no need of any such action by you," said the leader of the
invaders with plaintive whine. "We ain't done nothin' out o' the way. We
did drive those kids off o' the island, but we didn't hurt 'em. They're
all right, and we c'n take you to 'em any time you want to go."
"How could you drive them off of here when they had no boat to go in?"
Mr. Baker demanded.
"Oh, we took 'em in our boat and put 'em on another island. If you'll
agree to go away from here we'll produce those boys and land you anywhere
you want to go."
"Why is it you're so anxious to have us go?" demanded Mr. Baker. "Is
there something going on here that you don't want the authorities to know
This shot seemed to throw confusion into the ranks of the visitors,
judging from the expressions of their countenances. But their spokesman
attempted to brush the inference aside as of no consequence to them by
"That's foolish. If you think there's anything bad going on here, just
bring on the police and investigate; but we don't intend to have anybody
on these islands who hasn't any right here."
"Very well, we'll make a test of the question of rights so there won't be
any dispute about it hereafter," said Mr. Baker. "Robert, will you call
your friend at Rockport and tell him to send some officers here for four
prisoners, but keep your weather eye on these fellows meanwhile and your
pistol beside you ready for instant use."
Cub did as directed and soon was dot-and-dashing a thrilling message to
Max Handy, who had been waiting apprehensively all this time for an
explanation of the island operator's protracted silence.
Meanwhile the four prisoners held a furtive conference among themselves,
and after Cub had finished his telegraphic conversation with the Canadian
amateur, the leader of the worthy quartet addressed Mr. Baker as follows:
"Looky here, Mister man, we've decided that we're not going to stay here
any longer. You ain't got nothin' on us, and you haven't got any reason
to hold us up with those guns. We haven't done nothin' criminal, and we
don't intend to be held for crim'nals. We'll tell you where your kids are
and ev'rything'll be all right if you keep off o' our islands. We own
all these islands here, and we're not goin' to 'low no trespassin'."
"The main trouble with your proposition is that we have no way of
knowing whether you're telling the truth," answered Mr. Baker. "Can you
tell us where the boys are and then prove that they're there before we
let you go?"
"We c'n tell you where they are and you must take our word fer it," was
the fellow's reply. "They're over on the first island in that direction,
pointing to the southwest. You can't miss it. It's an island about the
same size as this one, all by itself. You'll find 'em there if somebody
hasn't taken 'em off."
"No, that won't do," replied Mr. Baker. "We can't afford to let you go."
"All right, then, let me tell you something more," said the spokesman of
the strange quartet, whose self-confidence and courage seemed to be on
the increase. "Do you see that stake there?"--indicating the visible end
of a piece of wood similar to a guy-rope stake, that had been driven into
the ground at a point midway between the two hostile conferees.
"I see it very plainly," Mr. Baker replied.
"Do you know what it means?"
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