The Radio Boys in the Thousand Islands
J. W. Duffield
Part 3 out of 3
"I must confess my ignorance."
"Well, I have a surprise for you. There are other stakes driven about a
hundred feet apart clear across this island east and west. That is the
dividing line between the United States and Canada. You are a Canadian,
"Well, that line there means that you are now in Canada and we are in
the United States. If you come over here to take us you are invading
the United States. If you shoot at us, you are shooting across the
border line at citizens of the United States. I defy you to commit any
Mr. Baker was "almost taken off his feet" by the shrewdness of this
argument, and for several moments he was unable to make any intelligent
reply. Cub also was nonplused at the "international situation". However,
the ludicrous element of the affair did not escape them, and presently
Mr. Baker was hurling the following heated rejoinder at the spokesman of
the unfriendly four:
"Now, see here, my fine fellow, I'm not going to listen to this nonsense
any longer. My son has been kidnapped by you scoundrels, and I am a
desperate man right now. I am in a mood at this moment to snap my fingers
at international lines, if what you say is the truth. I don't care to
dispute your word on so flimsy a subject. But here is the only compromise
I am willing to make with you. One of you has got to stay here a prisoner
until those boys are returned to us. I'm in dead earnest, believe me. If
you try to escape, I'll shoot, and if necessary, I'll shoot to kill. Now
you come right over here into Canada as quick as ever you know how, for
if you don't, in a very few seconds I'm going to begin to shoot. I'm a
good shot and my bullets will hit your feet first. Your companions may go
and as soon as they bring back those three missing boys you may go, too.
Now, come along into Canada. Hurry up, I'm going to count ten, and if
you're still over there in the United States contaminating the soil and
atmosphere of Uncle Sam with your impudence after I've stopped counting,
I'm going to begin to shoot. If I have to bring you over into Canada,
you'll come on a stretcher--see? Now I'll begin to count--one, two,
three, four, five, six, seven, eight--"
The brave spokesman of the unwelcome visitors collapsed at Number 8 and
shuffled rapidly toward the counter with the automatic pistol. His three
companions, inspired, no doubt, with an eagerness commensurate with his
panic, broke into a run and soon disappeared in the thicket at the rear
of the camp.
"You'd better call after your friends and remind them that it's up to
them to bring those boys back or your fate hangs by a thread," Mr.
Baker advised as he proceeded to examine the fellow's pockets for
But the prisoner was either too sullen or too much frightened to respond
to any suggestion requiring the exercise of wits. He merely obeyed
clear-cut orders and turned a deaf ear to all other utterances on the
part of his captors.
"We'd better secure him so that there'll be no chance of his getting
away," Cub suggested. "There are some pieces of guy-rope in the tent.
I'll get them and we'll fix him in a condition of safety."
Accordingly he went into the tent and a moment later reappeared with two
pieces of rope, the strands of which he unplaited and knotted together,
end to end, and then tested the knots by straining them across his knee.
"Now, we're ready," he said, addressing the prisoner. "Turn around and
put your hands together behind you. There, that's right. I'll try not to
be too cruel, but I must tie this rope pretty tight. Holler if it
tortures you, but I must be the judge as to whether you can stand it.
There, you won't be able to do any mischief with your hands. Now, come
on; well go into the tent and take care of your lower extremities, as you
know we couldn't afford to let you walk away. We have to hold you for
ransom, you know, and the ransom is three healthy, uninjured boys."
The prisoner obeyed without a word, and a few moments later he was tied
on the ground in the tent with legs also securely bound.
"Now, I'll proceed to report developments to our radio friend at
Rockport," Cub announced as he and Mr. Baker came out in the open again.
With these words he sat down at the table, donned the phone headpiece and
began to work the key. He had no difficulty in getting into communication
with the Canadian amateur again, and gave him a detailed account of what
had taken place since his last report of earlier developments.
"My father is on the way alone in the Catwhisker, bound for Rockport,"
the boy added after finishing his account of the dispute with the
professed owners of the island. "Can you get word to him of what has
happened? Tell him to come back with a few armed men as soon as
"I will run down to the docks and meet him," returned Max. "Maybe I will
That ended their code conversation for the time being, and Max started at
a brisk pace for the municipal docks.
Meanwhile, Mr. Baker and Cub kept an alert watch over their prisoner and
the camp in general to guard against a surprise, for they were not
unmindful of the danger of an attempt on the part of the three departed
visitors to overthrow the advantage the man and the boy had gained
through the instrumentality of two dangerous weapons. But soon they found
time dragging heavily on their hands, so that it is no wonder that before
long they began to cast about them for something to do that would add to
the small degree of hopefulness of their situation.
"Let's bring that fellow out here and see what we can get out of him,"
Cub proposed at last. "Maybe we can induce him to tell us something,"
"All right," Mr. Baker replied; "but we must not forget to keep a sharp
lookout while we're quizzing him."
"You go in and bring him out, and I'll keep watch to prevent a surprise,"
This being agreeable to Mr. Baker, the plan was soon put into effect. The
rope strands around the prisoner's ankles were removed and he was led out
into the open. True to his resolve not to be caught napping, Cub now kept
on the move and on the alert, describing a small circle around the
position of the two men who were seated on camp chairs about twenty feet
from the tent.
"I've brought you out here for a sociable chat," Mr. Baker explained,
while Cub gave close attention in order that he might not lose a word. "I
hope you'll be as sociable as I shall try to be, for if you're not, I
shall have to take you back into the tent and shackle your feet again."
The fellow did not reply, although his silence could hardly be attributed
to a spirit of sullenness.
"Maybe you'll tell me a little more than you were willing to tell me in
the presence of your friends," Mr. Baker continued. "I'd like to know
something about the business and associations of you and your friends, so
that we may know how to treat your demands. Now, rest assured that none
of us has any desire to do any illegal trespassing, and as soon as you've
proved to us that you own this island and that we are unwelcome on these
premises, we'll get off and beg your pardon for our intrusion. But you
don't seem to have established any camp here and you don't seem to be
able to produce as much evidence of ownership as we can."
Mr. Baker now waited a few moments for a response to his introductory
statement, but none came. The fellow seemed to be almost embarrassed
by the straightforward and well connected ideas of the man who
"Well, let's see," Mr. Baker continued. "How can I present the matter so
as to start you out right? Perhaps you will be willing to tell me who you
are and what your business is. But first. I'll be fair and introduce
myself. My Name is James C. Baker. I live in Port Hope, and my business
is that of hay, grain and feed merchant. Now, will you tell me your name?
One of your friends called you Captain. Do you run a boat on the river?"
Whether the fellow was about to reply or would continue in stubborn
silence may not be known, for the thus-far-one-sided conversation
was suddenly interrupted by a shout of eager joy from the pacing
"Oh, there they come, there they come," the latter shouted. "There are
Hal and Bud."
Sure enough, two boys had just emerged from the narrow belt of bushes
between the camp area and the only practical landing place of the island.
The "Crusoe Mystery" Deepens
"Now, where have you boys been? Did those men take you away? Where did
they take you? Did you escape? How did you escape?"
This rapid-fire succession of questions was hurled by Cub at Hal and Bud
as they approached the place where Mr. Baker was quizzing his prisoner
under the protection of the boy sentinel against a surprise attack from
the prisoner's friends. Some of these questions were encouraged by nods
and smiles of assent to preceding interrogatories.
"Yes, yes, but one question at a time," Hal replied. "You're on the
right track, Cub, but that isn't the way to get our story out of us. I
see you have one of the rascals a prisoner. Keep him. He's the worst of
The "rascal" winced at the characterization.
"Who are they, anyway," asked Cub. "What are they doing here? Do they own
"Now, you've added three more questions," Hal remarked with a smile, for
he was much pleased at the opportunity to tease the tall and usually
super-wise youth in something of the latter's characteristic manner. "We
can't answer all your questions, Cub, but we know there's a mystery about
this fellow and his friends, and I suppose we'll have to wait for your
father's mathematics to solve it."
"Was it those four men who made prisoners of you?" inquired Cub, who, in
his eagerness to get some definite information, resolved to ask one
question at a time and pursue his inquiry in an orderly manner.
"Yes," Hal replied.
"They grabbed me first while I was down at the landing," put in Bud, who
was almost as impatient to tell the story as Cub was to hear it. "I went
down there when I saw a rowboat pulling up and didn't recognize the men
in it until they came ashore. I thought they were still on the island,
for when they left us a few hours before, they didn't go toward the
landing, and we didn't see them go toward it since then. I hollered when
they grabbed me, and Hal came rushing to see what was the matter."
"Yes, and then I ran back to the radio table and telegraphed to Max Handy
at Rockport," added Hal, taking up the narrative at this point and
indicating a disposition to volunteer details more readily. "While I was
still in the act of sending, two of the them appeared and seized me. They
took me into their rowboat with Bud at the landing and rowed to a yacht
almost a duplicate of Mr. Perry's. We were confined in the cabin until
after dark and then put ashore on an island half a mile from here. That
was the last we saw of them."
"But how did you get away?" asked Cub.
"We flagged a motor boat just a little while ago. There were two men and
two boys in it. We told them our story and they volunteered to bring us
back here and see if you had returned. Hello, Uncle James," addressing
Mr. Baker and seizing the latter by the hand. "I didn't recognize you at
first, though I knew you were coming."
"Where is Alvin?" asked Mr. Baker anxiously. "Didn't you see him on the
island over there?"
"No," Hal replied with a look and tone of surprise. "That is another
desert island--not a person there."
"What does that mean?" demanded Mr. Baker, turning to the prisoner. "You
told us all three of the boys that you took away from here were together
on that island over there."
"I didn't mean that," the fellow snarled, with something of a look of
"Well, what did you mean?"
"I meant they were on two islands not far apart; the other fellow is on
the island a little further on."
"Is that motor boat that brought you here down at the landing yet?" Mr.
"Yes," Bud replied.
"I wonder if we couldn't induce them to make a run over to the island
where this fellow says he left my son and bring him here."
"I think they'd be glad to do it," Bud replied. "They seemed to be
very much interested in this affair and offered to do anything they
could to help us."
"All right; suppose you go down there and tell them the situation. I
suppose we could wait till Mr. Perry gets back, but I can't stand any
delay that isn't absolutely necessary."
"Why, where has your father gone, Cub?" asked Hal.
"He started out to get police help," answered the boy addressed. "His
first call was to be at Rockport, but no doubt he'll come right back here
when he gets the message I sent for him. I telegraphed to our wireless
friend, Max Handy, and asked him to go down to the docks and tell father
what happened since he left. He's on the way now; maybe he's talking to
father this minute."
"What was it that happened?" Bud inquired.
Cub gave a description of the visit of the four "owners" of Friday Island
and the dispute that resulted in making a prisoner of one of them and
sending the other three away on a mission of restitution.
"I thought when I just saw you come up from the landing that they had
released you according to agreement," he added; "but on second thought, I
decided they couldn't have had time to do that; besides, when they left
us they went in the other direction."
"No, they didn't have anything to do with it," Hal assured his friend.
"You'd better tell the truth about where my son is," warned Mr. Baker,
addressing the prisoner. "I won't stand any more trifling from you."
"He's there unless somebody took him off the island, same as these boys
were taken off the island we put them on," declared "the captain" in
sullen tone and manner.
"Well, it'll be an unhappy circumstance for you if we don't find any
evidence of their having been there," Mr. Baker remarked.
"I think we'd better take him along with us," said Hal. "Then there'll be
no doubt about our going to the right island. Come on, Bud; let's go down
to the boat and tell Mr. Leland and Mr. White what we want to do."
Hal and Bud were soon out of sight on their way to perform the mission
they had imposed on themselves, and a few minutes later they returned
with one of the motor-boatmen, a clean-cut athletic man of middle age,
wearing a tan Palm Beach suit. Hal introduced him as Mr. White.
"The boys have told us all about your trouble," he said, addressing Mr.
Baker; "and we'd like to do all we can to help you out. They tell me that
your son is believed to be on an island about a mile from here, and that
this prisoner of yours knows exactly where that island is. Well take him
along with us and make him make good."
"I'm very much obliged to you," said Mr. Baker warmly. "I've promised
this fellow that if he returns my son to me, I'll let him go, so the
instant you find my son you may turn him loose."
"I don't believe he ought to be turned loose," declared Mr. White
energetically. "I believe he ought to be made to pay the penalty of his
crime--kidnapping. However, we'll do as you say. Come along, my fine
fellow," he added, taking the prisoner by the arm. "We'll keep those
hands of yours securely tied behind your back, so you can't get into
With these words, he led "the captain" toward the landing, followed by
Hal and Bud.
Half an hour later they returned, with the prisoner, his hands still
shackled with the rope strands. They had been unable to find Mr.
Baker's son on the island where the prisoner said he and his companions
had left him.
Meanwhile Mr. Perry had returned in the Catwhisker to Friday Island. He
was accompanied by Max Handy and a Canadian government officer.
"Sweating" the Prisoner
It was now supper time, but nobody except the Canadian officer was hungry
enough to think of eating. The latter, being a disinterested party, save
as one commissioned with the duty of enforcing the law, had not diverted
to a subject of absorbing interest the energies that ordinarily create a
human appetite, hence he was normally hungry. Moreover, he was a man of
good physical proportions and organic development, and consequently
hunger with him meant a good plateful, or dissatisfaction.
This officer, who was introduced by Mr. Perry as Mr. Harrison Buckley,
seemed to take no interest in his mission until he saw the evening meal
in course of preparation in real kitchen-like manner; then he took the
prisoner in charge and proceeded to "sweat" him in the approved style of
a police captain's private office. The prisoner squirmed about for a
time, successfully evading the inquisitorial probe aimed at him, but at
last he "confessed" as to his name and address. He said that his name was
Grant Howard and that his residence was at Gananoque, Ontario. Then a
call to supper was issued and the composite aggregation of humans
gathered around the table, which was never intended to accommodate quite
so many guests.
However, with the exercise of due ingenuity, the supper was properly
disposed of with the unexpected discovery of more appetite than was
originally expected. Max Handy proved to be a healthy eater and the
savory smell of juicy broiled steak from the Catwhisker's refrigerator,
loosened even the nervous tension of Mr. Baker's worry over the fate of
his son, so that he was able to do fair justice to the cooking of Cub,
Hal, and Bud, who had full and joint charge of the preparation of the
After the meal the four boys cleared the table and washed and wiped the
dishes, while the three men joined forces in the continued "sweating" of
the prisoner. The latter adhered stubbornly to his earlier "confession"
as to what he and his three companions had done with Mr. Baker's son, but
failed to make a satisfactory statement as to his own business and the
use to which he and his friends had put "their island possession". To the
question as to the character of his business, he replied, after some
"I work in a store."
"What kind of store?" asked Mr. Buckley.
"A grocery store."
"What do you do there?"
"What was the price of butter the last day you worked?" asked the
inquisitor so quickly and sharply that the victim of the thrust actually
turned pale, in spite of a strong front of bravado. But he made a brave
enough effort to get over the hurdle.
"A pound?" asked Mr. Buckley.
"Yes," replied the prisoner.
"What did you sell butter at a loss for?" the inquisitor demanded. "It
hasn't been down that low anywhere that I know of since the war."
"I meant butterine," "corrected" the "sweat subject" hurriedly.
"Well, you've hit it about right, by accident, of course. Now, let's see
if you know anything more about grocery business. What did you sell eggs
and potatoes for the last day you worked?"
"I didn't sell any."
"All you sold was butter?"
"You mean butterine, don't you?"
"No, I sold butter and butterine and a few other things."
"And buttermilk and cheese," the officer amended.
"How much did you charge for butter?"
"Fifty cents a pound," the prisoner replied, desperately or doggedly, it
was difficult to determine which.
"Do you know that butter is selling now for thirty-nine or forty
cents a pound?"
"Then it's come down."
"No, it hasn't. It's been around forty cents a pound for several months."
The prisoner fixed his eyes on the ground and said nothing.
"The trouble is, you haven't done your wife's grocery shopping, or you
could tell a more plausible string of lies," Mr. Buckley commented. "Now,
let me tell you this: It's been a long time since you saw the inside of a
"If you don't want to believe me, it's up to you," snarled the prisoner.
"Now, Mr. Howard," the inquisitor continued, "your friends, I am told,
addressed you as Captain. Why was that?"
This query stimulated a little brilliance in the fellow.
"I run a grocery boat on the river," he said. "I don't do much clerking,
but supply groceries to several stores from a wholesale house."
"So that is your explanation for not being very familiar with retail
prices, is it?" Mr. Buckley inferred.
"Well," the Government "sweater" went on, "your story doesn't hang
together very well."
"You don't want it to hang together," the prisoner snapped. "You're here
to make me out a liar. You don't want the truth. You haven't got no right
to keep me here."
"He claimed the rights of a citizen of the United States and defied us to
interfere with him," interposed Mr. Baker, who, together with Mr. Perry,
had been listening eagerly to this quizzing process.
"How's that?" Mr. Buckley demanded.
"Why, Mr. Perry's son and I pulled guns on him and his three
companions, when they threatened us with clubs, and this fellow pointed
out what he said was the international boundary line between them and
us and defied us to cross over and capture them. I made my bull-dog
look at him squarely in the eye and hypnotized him over onto this side
of the boundary line between the United States and Canada and made a
prisoner of him."
"Where is that international boundary line?" Mr. Buckley asked.
"Right here," Mr. Baker replied, rising from his camp chair and walking
about fifteen feet to the stake that the prisoner had designated as
indicating the line beyond which any hostile advance must be regarded as
a foreign invasion.
"Who put that stake there?" he inquired, shifting his penetrating glance
from one to another of the three men before him.
"I don't know," replied Mr. Perry and Mr. Baker almost in one breath.
The prisoner said nothing, and Mr. Baker spoke for him as follows:
"If this fellow would answer, I presume the only statement he could make
is that it was put there by surveyors of the Canadian and United States
"Humph! Funny surveyor's stake, isn't it?" grunted the Canadian officer,
"Methinks we shan't go much farther to prove this fellow a fabricator of
fairy tales. So that's the international boundary line, is it?" he asked,
eyeing the prisoner keenly.
"I was told it was; that's all I know about it," the latter
"Well that was a lucky reply if you intend to persist in your policy of
evasion," Mr. Buckley declared. "I was about to denounce you as an
illustrious liar. The boundary line between the United States and Canada
along here, my dear sir, doesn't cut islands in two. If you will examine
a map or chart of the Lake of the Thousand Islands, you will see that the
boundary line winds like a snake, dodging the islands through its entire
course in this part of the St. Lawrence river."
"It was foolish of me to swallow such a yarn as that," said Mr. Baker.
"But I called his bluff good and strong. However, I'm much relieved to
discover that my credulity was imposed upon; otherwise I might be accused
of trying to drag the United States and Canada into war."
All of his auditors, except the prisoner, smiled at this remark. The
boys, who had just finished washing the dishes, joined the inquisition
group in time to hear Mr. Buckley's last statement and Mr. Baker's
"confession of folly."
"I think we have got as much out of this man as we may hope to get at the
present time," the officer announced a moment later. "I think I had
better take him back with me and you had better come along, Mr. Baker,
and swear out a warrant charging him with kidnapping."
"That's exactly what I'm going to do if my son is not returned to me
to-night or early in the morning," answered the man thus addressed. "I
suppose you have no objection to remaining here over night."
"Oh, no; it'll be easier to take care of the prisoner here over night
than to work overtime, going back at night, and jail him. But we'll have
to keep careful watch over him to-night and see that he doesn't escape."
"Maybe we'd better lock him up in one of the staterooms of the yacht,"
Mr. Perry suggested.
"Yes, and keep a good watch over him all night," Cub put in. "We want
to make sure those three friends of his don't come back after dark and
let 'im out"
"I'll watch with Mr. Buckley," Mr. Baker volunteered. "We're both armed
and I don't think there's any chance of our being taken by surprise."
"We'll watch in two-hour shifts," Mr. Buckley proposed. "In that way
we'll keep fresh and on the alert, so that there'll be less danger of
being taken by surprise."
"Very well, that's agreed upon, if it's satisfactory to Mr. Perry," the
Further attempts to get information out of the prisoner, bearing on the
whereabouts of the place of concealment of Mr. Baker's son, were
unavailing, and at last they separated into two parties for the night,
Mr. Buckley and Mr. Baker taking charge of the prisoner on board the
Catwhisker and Mr. Perry and the boys distributing the sleeping quarters
among themselves in the camp.
But before the latter retired a new radio thrill was added to their
"Something's going to happen to-night," Bud remarked to his three boy
friends when the four found themselves alone after the departure of the
prisoner under guard. Mr. Perry had accompanied the officer and Mr. Baker
to the yacht to aid them in arranging comfortable quarters for the night.
"What makes you think that?" Cub inquired, while he and Hal and Max all
gathered around the speaker, whose remark afforded stimulus in harmony
with the weird twilight shadows around them.
"I bet I said only what you fellows were all thinking about when I
spoke," Bud ventured by way of indirect reply.
"I felt it in my bones," Hal declared. "Bud didn't have any more reason
to think something is going to happen to-night than all of us have. If
something surprising doesn't happen, I shall be--"
"--surprised," finished Max, whereupon there was a chorus of laughter.
"Whatever happens, or doesn't happen, Hal is going to be surprised," Cub
"I think we all will be surprised," said Bud.
"Surprise party," shouted Hal.
"Bum surprise party without any girls," Cub added.
"Well, anyway, I think we ought to keep watch here to guard against the
kind of surprise party we wouldn't like," Bud declared.
"I agree with you there, old boy," Cub put in quickly. "Whether or not
anything happens, it would be jolly to have watches and relieve one
another the way they used to do out west among the Indians and outlaws
and road agents."
"I bet they do it yet in some places out there," said Max.
"Course they do," Cub concurred. "You can't tell me that the day of
outlaws is gone. Think of the automobile bandits we have now-a-days.
They'll be raiding with airplanes next."
"No, I don't believe that," Hal objected. "They couldn't use an airplane
to any advantage. We won't have any more stage coach robbers or pirates
on the high seas, and I don't think there's any chance of much of that
sort of thing in the air, but there's a good chance for some bad doings
in the air in another way."
"How's that?" asked Max.
"We've all had some experience with it, and you ought to know what I
"Oh, I know," declared Bud. "You mean radio."
"Sure," replied Hal. "There are going to be a lot of con men at work in
the air or some way in connection with radio; you see if there are not."
"They've been at work already," said Cub. "There's been a good deal in
the papers about the games they work. But I'd like to know the truth
about the fellow who tried to keep us from coming on this trip to find
Mr. Baker's son."
"I bet he's somethin' more than a college sophomore," said Bud. "I
wouldn't be surprised if he's connected in some way with the fellows who
kidnapped our Thousand Island Crusoe."
"A big radio plot, eh?" Hal inferred.
"Maybe," Bud replied.
"What for? What could they be up to? Pretty far fetched isn't it?"
"Yes, maybe; but, you know, it's our business to think up every possible
solution and then find out which one fits the facts."
"All right, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, but where's the sense in figuring
this as a big radio plot unless we can see a sensible answer to it?"
"Yes, Bud, it's pretty far fetched," ruled the dominating Cub. "You'll
have to think up an answer to your conundrum before we can consider it.
Why should a college freshman be hazed in the manner that Mr. Baker's son
was hazed just so that some men, confederates of the hazers, could kidnap
him? And then why should one of the hazers work the kind of game that
that mysterious fellow worked to checkmate us in this rescue trip of ours
if the purpose was just to kidnap Mr. Baker's son, after all? The
sophomores had to kidnap him in the first place. Why go through all that
Robinson Crusoe nonsense if the end was to be just a plain kidnapping?"
"Then you think there's no connection between the hazing and the
kidnapping," said Bud.
"I don't see how there can be. There's nothing showed up yet that makes
it look reasonable."
As Cub was making his last statement Mr. Perry returned to the camp. The
speculative subject of discussion was then dropped for others more
"What did you do with the prisoner?" Hal inquired. "Did you lock 'im up
in a stateroom?"
"That's what we did, and I don't believe there's much chance of his
getting away with an armed guard constantly near his door," Mr.
"Are his hands and feet tied?" asked Cub,
"No, we decided that wasn't necessary. There's no way he could open
the door without making a noise; so we thought we'd let him rest
easy, and perhaps he'd be in a better humor in the morning and more
willing to talk."
"We've been talking the matter over and we're all afraid something's
going to happen to-night," said Hal.
"What do you think is going to happen?" asked Mr. Perry.
"We haven't any idea."
"Some more mystery, eh?" smiled the leader of the expedition. "Well, that
isn't at all surprising, in view of the gloominess of our surroundings.
Suppose we have a light on the subject. Cub, bring out the flash-lights."
The latter went into the tent and soon reappeared with four dry-battery
lights. These he laid on the table in fan-like arrangement, so that they
threw a flood of light in all directions.
"I don't feel like going to bed yet," said Cub. "Let's stay up a
"--listen-in," finished Hal.
"Yes, let's do," exclaimed Bud eagerly.
"I wasn't thinking of that," Cub admitted; "but it's better than what I
had in mind. All right, Hal, tune 'er up. This is a peach of a night for
long distance receiving."
Hal needed no second bidding and soon he was busy with coil and detector.
Cub's "weather report" proved to be accurate, for in a few moments he
"Here's Schenectady, New York, with some opera."
Over went the switch and with the move came a hornful of vocal
resonance. They listened eagerly to the end of the program and then
Hal began to tune about for "something else doing" in the ether.
Presently he "straightened up" in an attitude of close attention, and
his radio friends all realized that he had found something of more
than ordinary interest.
"Here's a Watertown newspaper looking for information about us," he
announced excitedly after a few moments of tense listening.
The other boys sprang forward with exclamations of wonder, Bud and Cub
donning the other two phone head-pieces.
"Shall I give him the information?" Hal asked a few moments later,
turning to Mr. Perry.
"Whom is he talking to?" the latter inquired.
"Some Canadian amateur who's been listening in to us a good deal of
"I don't see why you shouldn't tell him everything, Mr. Perry. He's a
reporter, isn't he?"
"Yes, I think he has his own private set and he's looking for a
"Give it to him, by all means," Mr. Perry directed heartily. "Now the
whole country will be aroused over this affair."
Hal managed to attract the attention of the reporter, although he did not
know his call, and pretty soon the ether was alive with a torrent of
thrills for the ambitious representative of the Fourth Estate. For half
an hour the "radio interview" continued, during which many names and
addresses were given and dramatic details were recited in the most
approved manner of exciting spontaneity. At last, however, the close came
with an announcement from the reporter that he was going to get a motor
boat, make a dash to Friday Island, and "scoop the world". Hal gave him a
careful description of the location of the island and assured the
reporter that they probably would remain there a day or two longer.
"Now, we'd all better go to bed," Mr. Perry announced after Hal had
tapped goodnight to the Watertown scribe.
"We ought to arrange some watches first," Bud urged, unforgetful of his
prediction that something was going to happen before morning.
"Why do you think something more is going to happen?" inquired Hal.
"You're a good forecaster, Bud, for your prediction has been fulfilled
already. Something did happen when I caught that reporter and gave him
"I'll say so," Cub "slanged" wisely. "We'll all have to take our hats off
to you, tee-hee."
"Hal hasn't tee-heed for twenty-four hours in my hearing," Mr. Perry said
"That's right, Cub," declared Bud. "A little while ago I heard him laugh
right down deep from his lungs."
"Out-door exercise is working wonders for him," Cub opined with deductive
"Well, anyway," said Mr. Perry; "I agree with Bud that we ought to have
some watches to-night. I believe in taking warning from Bud's prediction.
There are five of us. Who wants the first watch?"
"I'll take the watch beginning about 1:30 o'clock," said Bud. "If
anything happens, it'll be between then and 2:30."
"Brave boy!" commented Cub solemnly. "I'll take next-best place,
immediately following your watch."
"Give me the one just before Bud's," said Hal. "There may be something
doing between now and then you know. If anybody invades the camp at 1:30
o'clock sharp, I'll call Bud and go to bed and let him repel the
"What a methodical bunch of boys!" Mr. Perry exclaimed.
"Due to the mathematical training we've had under you, dad," Cub
"I'll take the first watch, if it suits everybody," Max announced.
"Say, father, you ought to let us have your automatic while we're on
watch," Cub suggested.
"Nothing doing," replied the cautious adult, shaking his head vigorously.
"I'd rather run the risk of being wiped out by a band of bandits than to
run the risk of your shooting one of us if we should happen to walk in
our sleep. If any of you boys see or hear anything suspicious, just call
me, and I'll do the shooting, if any is to be done. You may arm
yourselves with some good stout clubs if you wish to, however."
And so it was thus arranged, and while Max took his post on a camp chair
in front of the tent, the other four sought rest on their cots under the
For nearly half an hour Bud had kept his eyes fixed almost continuously
on a certain spot in the dark shadow at the edge of the thicket directly
south of the tent, which faced west. His attention had been drawn to this
spot thirty or forty times after he relieved Max at 1:30 o'clock, and the
cause of his interest was a slight movement in the shadow, suggesting a
shifting of position by an animal of considerable size.
The moon was up, but not high enough to shed much light in the open area
in which the tent was pitched. The sky was clear, and because of the deep
shadows in which this spot was merged, the heavens, to Bud's eyes, were
studded with myriads of gem-like brilliants.
In the dim light thus afforded, the boy sentinel was able to make out
what appeared to be portions of the form of a man partly hidden in the
bushes, which grew at heights varying from three feet to six or seven
feet from the ground. Meanwhile he congratulated himself repeatedly for a
bit of very ordinary ingenuity he had resorted to in order to prepare
himself for any emergency of more or less menacing outlook.
Soon after Mr. Perry announced his intention not to allow any of the boys
to have possession of his pistol while on guard, Bud's mind became busy
on plans for the contrivance of a substitute. In accord with Mr. Perry's
concession, each of the boys cut for himself a stout stick to be used as
a weapon of defense if necessary, and to supplement this Bud decided
first to gather a few dozen stones about the size of a hen's egg in order
that he might exercise his skill at throwing if any suspicious looking
objects should appear to his view.
Then he happened to remember that he had a large rubber band in a small
and little-used pocket of his coat. He had put it there for no particular
reason, perhaps merely to save it. He had found it about three weeks
before and the unusual size and strength of elasticity of the band was
enough to interest any boy in the habit of seeing the adventurous
possibilities of little things.
With the aid of his searchlight, Bud found a small forked limb in a tree
at the edge of the open area, immediately after he took charge of the
guard post, and cut it off. Then he returned to his seat near the tent
and began to whittle. The purpose of this whittling must soon have been
evident to an observer, for he held the object up frequently and viewed
it, with the calculating eye of a "dead shot," until at last he was
satisfied with the length and "grip" of the handle and the symmetry and
trim of the prongs of a fork.
Bud was always very methodical in his youthful mechanics. Everything he
made must be "just so," hence the results were usually effective, as well
as artistic to a degree. In this instance, even the notches that he cut
around the extreme ends of the prongs were neatly grooved, in spite of
the limitation of the light in which he worked. The only regret he had
was the fact that he possessed no good strong cord, about the size of
fishline, with which to attach two separate sections of the rubber band
to the prongs at the grooves. As substitute for such cord he had provided
himself with some strands of the rope with which the hands of their
prisoner, "Captain" Howard, had been tied. After all the other details of
his mechanical labor had been completed, he took from one of his pockets
an old and inexpensive pouch-like pocketbook, emptied the contents into a
trouser pocket and proceeded to cut out a section of the pouch to a size
and shape suited to his needs. The rubber band he had cut into two equal
lengths and in the leather section from his pocketbook he cut two small
holes near opposite edges.
The assembling of the parts of his contrivance was now speedily
accomplished, resulting in a very neat hand-catapult of a kind with
which every boy is familiar. After testing the strength of the
connections by stretching the rubbers several times to thrice their
ordinary length, Bud looked about him and soon gathered a supply of
small stones suitable for missiles.
He was thus engaged when he first observed a movement in the shadow of
the thicket to the south of his position. Then, indeed, he congratulated
himself on the preparation he had just made to defend himself and his
companions against stealthy and hostile movements on the part of the
enemy about the camp under cover of the darkness.
Bud was not, by nature, a blood-thirsty boy. All of these preparations
for battle were made without the slightest thought of the actual effect
of one of his missiles should it hit his mark. His industry was inspired
more by the mechanical act than by any picture of human pain that might
result. Hence, when the time came for him to make use of his weapon "with
deadly intent," he found himself in a hesitant frame of mind. He knew
that some animal, human or otherwise, was eyeing the camp with studied
interest, and it was difficult to imagine other than a human being
capable of such interest.
Bud finally came to the conclusion that the animal half hidden in the
shadow of the bushes was a man, and that the latter's interest was
centered in "Captain" Howard, whom he doubtless believed to be held
prisoner within the four canvas walls of the tent.
"I bet he's one of those four men that took Hal and me and marooned us on
that other island," the boy mused. "Of course, he's looking for a chance
to set our prisoner free, but he's doomed to disappointment. My
Bud whirled around suddenly as a new possibility occurred to him,
stimulated by a slight noise like the cautious tread of a man's foot. The
next instant a cry of alarm almost escaped him as he saw a human form
near the entrance of the tent.
"My goodness!" he repeated aloud, but in subdued tone, as he recognized
the approaching youth. "You'd better announce yourself, Max, before you
come onto an armed person under such circumstances as these."
"Armed!" echoed the Canadian youth in surprise. "I thought Mr.
"Oh, yes, he said we couldn't have his automatic, but I've been busy
making a very effective substitute since I came out here--see?"
Bud exhibited his weapon by drawing back the leather sling, thereby
stretching the elastics to their full capacity. His searchlight he had
switched off after finishing the work on his catapult, and the only
illumination in the open area came from the moon over the tree tops.
"Did you make that out here to-night?" demanded Max in astonishment.
"Sure--why not?" was the other's reply.
"Well, you're some boy, all right. I'd never 'ave thought of it. If
anybody means mischief around here, he'd better look out, with a weapon
like that in your hands."
"You bet he had," Bud returned with a sturdiness of purpose, indicating
to his Canadian friend that he meant business. "And there's at least one
prawler around here already. I'm glad you came out here, for I was just
about to come in and wake up the whole camp."
"Is that so?" whispered Max. "Why, what's doing?"
"I don't want to let on that I know anybody is prowling about," Bud
replied; "but if you'll watch those bushes straight south of here for a
while you'll make out the form of a man half hidden there. He moves a
little every now and then. Be careful and don't let him know you known
"I won't," Max replied excitedly. "Why don't you shoot at him?"
"I don't want to do that unless I have to," Bud replied. "Besides,
I'd like to know what he's up to. Why did you come out here? Couldn't
"I didn't sleep a wink; I couldn't. My head was in a whirl all the time.
I was busy imagining just such things as this. Believe me, it was some
spooky job, out here all alone."
"Yes, that's true," Bud agreed. "I'm glad enough to have your company. By
the way, you haven't explained how you happened to come here with Mr.
Perry. We're mighty glad to have you here, but I was wondering how your
folks happened to let you come."
"Mr. Buckley is my uncle," Max replied. "I called him up and told him
what was going on out here, and he asked me to come along."
"Oh, that's it," Bud returned. "I was wondering if you Canadian boys are
way ahead of us Yankee boys when it comes to doing as you please. My
father wouldn't let me come on this trip if Mr. Perry hadn't come along."
"I guess we're not much different from you Yankees," Max replied. "But,
talkin' about doing as you please, it seems to me that you went pretty
far when you made that slingshot after Mr. Perry said you mustn't have
"Oh, that's nothing like a pistol," Bud replied. "You couldn't kill
anybody with it."
"I don't know about that," Max answered with a shake of his head. "I
wouldn't like to be in front of it when you shot. I bet you could knock a
fellow silly with it."
"Maybe I could. Well, anyway, a slingshot's a long way from being a
pistol. Have you made that fellow out yet?"
"Yes, you bet I have," answered Max. "I've seen 'im move several times."
"Let's sit down and pretend not to suspect that anybody's watching us,"
Bud proposed. "Then maybe he'll be a little bolder."
"All right, but we'll have to keep a close watch out of the corner of
"Sure. Come on. Here are a couple of chairs."
"Let's sit down facing each other, so that nobody can creep onto us
unawares," suggested Max.
"That's a good idea," said Bud.
They seated themselves, face to face and within "whispering distance" of
each other and continued their conversation in low tones, but at the same
time keeping a sharp lookout for developments.
"This experience has proved one thing," Bud remarked in the course of
their continued discussion, "and that is that all our watches ought to be
"Yes, a single watcher gets pretty lonesome, and, besides, it's too easy
for him to be taken by surprise. Now, there's a sample of what I say.
Don't look yet; he'll know we see him. He's moved, farther to the east,
and now he's creeping up behind the tent."
"We must make sure that he's alone, or else rouse the rest of the camp,"
said Bud excitedly. "Keep watch in every direction. I'll turn slowly and
get a look at him, and then turn back and pretend not to see him."
This program was observed carefully for a minute or two. Meanwhile the
spy crept closer and closer, crawling like a serpentine quadruped and
making fairly good progress withal. At last, however, Bud decided that it
was time for him to do something to put a stop to this proceeding.
Without giving his companion any warning as to his intention, he lifted
the catapult eye-line high, pulled back the sling, in which all this time
he had held a stone nearly half the size of a hen's egg, and let it fly.
That the missile hit the mark hard was indicated, first, by the sound of
the blow, itself, and, second, by the muffled cry of agony that followed.
The next instant the victim, who seemed to be struggling to retain his
"quadruped balance," rolled over with a moan of impotent agony.
The Sling Shot Victim
"What's the matter, boys?"
Mr. Perry appeared at the entrance of the tent with this question on his
lips. The boys turned quickly, while Cub's father advanced nearer to
pursue his inquiry.
"I shot somebody," Bud replied.
"Shot somebody!" Mr. Perry exclaimed. "What with?"
"This," the boy answered, exhibiting his slingshot. "Some fellow was
prowling around here and I thought it was time to stop him. He was
standing in those bushes over there for a long time, and I suppose he
thought he was fully concealed, but I saw him. Then he started to crawl
up close to the tent, and I let him have a good solid, heavy stone. It
went like a bullet--these rubbers are awful strong, and I pulled them
"He isn't killed; he's crawling away," Max interrupted at this point.
"We mustn't allow that," declared Bud. "We must find out who he is and
what he was up to."
Just then Hal and Cub appeared on the scene, and a few words sufficed to
explain to them what had occurred. All of the campers on retiring had
kept on their day clothes, in order that they might be ready for action
in case of trouble in the night.
"Come on, we must stop him," Cub announced.
This seemed to be the opinion of all, including Mr. Perry, and a general
move was made in the direction of the slowly retreating injured spy. They
soon overtook him and threw a flood of illumination about him with their
search-lights, which they had picked up in the dark almost as
instinctively as a grandmother picks up her glasses in the morning.
"Why, he's a boy!"
Bud was the only one present who gave utterance to this discovery aloud,
but the "exclamation" flashed mentally in the head of every other
youthful investigator in the group. As Mr. Perry was not easily
mystified, we must take it for granted that he was not easily astonished,
so that probably he did not feel like giving vent to anything of the
nature of an exclamation.
"Well," said the latter quietly; "we must take this youngster back to the
camp and give him some hospital treatment. Can you walk?" he added,
addressing the victim of Bud's slingshot.
"You don't think I'd be down here if I could, do you?" moaned the fellow
sarcastically. "But just wait till I get over this and I'll fix the
fellow that hit me."
"Let's not waste any time with him here," urged Mr. Perry. "Some of you
boys pick him up carefully, so as not to hurt him, and carry him into the
tent. We'll give him a quizzing there."
All the young members of the Catwhisker party had had first aid
instruction, so that they knew how to lift the injured boy and carry him
with a minimum of pain to the sufferer. A minute later the victim was
lying on one of the cots in the tent, with his captors gathered around
him, undoubtedly more concerned about the mystery of his presence than in
the extent of his injuries.
"No, boys, we mustn't try to get his story from him until we take care of
his wound and see to it that he is resting easy"; Mr. Perry interposed.
Accordingly the wound was examined and found to consist of a very bad
bruise on the side of the right hip. Bud's missile had struck the
intruder at a point where there was little flesh, right on a protruding
ridge of the hip bone, and it was easy to see that the blow must have
been very painful.
"I don't think it's very serious," Mr. Perry remarked after examining the
wound; "but I doubt if this boy will want to be running around very much
for several days. About all we can do is to apply some liniment to the
wound and encourage it, by careful treatment, to heal as rapidly as
A bottle of liniment was accordingly produced and an application
administered by Mr. Perry. This seemed to ease the prisoner-patient
somewhat, although he made no effort to stand up, or even to sit up.
"He may have a bone fracture," Mr. Perry remarked, after he had finished
his first-aid ministration, "It's a pretty bad wound, after all. We'll
have to take him to the nearest physician in the morning if he doesn't
show decided improvement by that time. I didn't dare rub the liniment in
because the slightest touch was so painful."
"The skin isn't broken," Bud observed, with a tone of real concern, for,
in spite of the fact that the fellow was there on no friendly mission,
the catapult "dead shot" now felt no exultation over his deed.
"No, or I could not have used the liniment," Mr. Perry replied. "His
clothing protected him against a broken wound. By the way," he continued,
turning to the victim, who lay on one of the camp cots that formed a part
of the regular equipment of the Catwhisker; "who are you and what were
you doing here?"
"Never you mind who I am or what I was doing here," snapped the youth,
who appeared to be a few years older than the boy Catwhiskerites and
their Canadian friend, Max. "You wait till my father gets after you.
He'll clean you all up."
"And who may your father be?" inquired Mr. Perry with provoking calmness.
"You'll find out who my father is, just you wait. You haven't any right
here. These islands belong to my father and--"
"Oh--ho!" interrupted Mr. Perry in tone of sudden discovery. "So that's
the way the wind blows, is it? I get you now. You're the son of one of
The boy's face twitched, possibly with pain, more likely with alarm at
his having betrayed his identity so foolishly.
"We'll get down to the bottom of this mystery yet," Cub declared
"Yes, all we need is a little mathematics, Mr. Perry, and we'll soon
solve the problem."
"We've had some mathematics already," Mr. Perry smiled.
"I didn't see it," returned Cub. "Maybe I'm slow."
"No, you haven't got farther than your One's in the addition table. You
can add 1 to any other number, but you can't tell how much 2 plus 2 are."
"All right, I'm foolish," admitted Cub. "Spring your joke."
"This is a rather serious situation in which to spring a joke,"
reminded the "foolish boy's" father. "But didn't you hear me put two
and two together when this fellow declared that this island belonged to
Laughter greeted this sally, in spite of the seriousness of the
"By the way, I wonder if we haven't got this youngster's father a
prisoner on the Catwhisker," Mr. Perry continued. Then he turned toward
the youth on the cot and inquired:
"Is your father a tall, angular fellow with a smart, flip way of talking,
and do his friends call him captain?"
The catapult victim did not answer, but the expression on his face was
all the evidence that was needed to indicate what an honest reply would
"I thought so," said Mr. Perry. "Now, would you like to make a trip down
to the landing and occupy a stateroom in the Catwhisker with your father?
The Catwhisker, by the way, is a yacht in which we made a trip from
Oswego, New York, to rescue a boy marooned by some young scamps on this
island. After he was marooned, your father and his friends kidnapped him
and took him away. Now, what we want to know is, where is he?"
Still the wounded prisoner made no reply.
"There's going to be some awful serious trouble for your outfit if that
boy isn't returned," Mr. Perry went on, waxing fiercer and more fierce in
his manner as he purposely worked up a towering rage for the sake of its
effect on the boy on the cot. "Would you like me to turn you over to the
father of the boy whom your scoundrel gang kidnapped? What do you think
would happen to you if he got hold of you? Well, he's on the boat down at
the landing, and your father is there too, under lock and key. And before
long we're going to have the whole gang of you under lock and key. Now,
don't you think it is best for you to give up your secret and tell where
that boy is?"
The prisoner was now thoroughly frightened. He shrunk away from the
glowering owner of the Catwhisker as if he feared the man's clenched
fists were about to rain blows on his wounded body. At last he gasped in
"I don't know, I don't know."
"Don't know what?" thundered Mr. Perry.
"I don't know--I don't know--where he is," stuttered the terrified boy.
"And I don't believe you, young sir. Do you understand me? You're not
telling the truth. Come on, boys, we'll turn him over to the father of
the boy they kidnapped."
"Oh, no, no; don't, please don't, mister," pleaded the scared youngster.
"I don't know where that boy is; please sir, I don't. But I'll ask my
father to tell if you'll take me to him."
"There, I thought we'd get something out of you," said Mr. Perry in tone
"But you didn't do it with mathematics this time, dad," Cub declared in a
voice that indicated full confidence of victory.
"Oh, yes, I did, my youthful minus quality," his father flashed back. "I
multiplied my wrath very righteously, and this fellow is going to have
his woes multiplied and his joys subtracted and his peace of mind divided
into a thousand more pieces if he doesn't get busy on the square and see
to it that young Alvin Baker is returned to his father."
"He isn't hurt nearly as bad as he pretends to be, Mr. Perry," Hal put in
as the "mathematical man" indicated that he had "spoken his speech". "He
moved his leg several times. You better watch out or he'll be jumping up
and making a dash for liberty."
"I'd been noticing that," Mr. Perry replied. "I wouldn't insult Bud's
catapulting powers by intimating that this fellow wasn't pretty badly
hurt; but I do think we've overestimated the extent of the injury. He was
completely knocked out by the blow, but he's been recovering here pretty
rapidly. Come on, now, Master Howard--what's your first name--won't tell,
eh?--all right; we'll find out in due time--come on, let's talk a walk
down to papa and that terrible man whose claws are just aching for
revenge for the loss of his son. What--you can't get up? Well, boys, pick
him up again and carry him. Be careful, of course, for he's in some pain
yet. Now, we'll march. Bud, you bring up the rear with your mediaeval
rubber pistol, and I'll march beside you. If anybody, tries to interfere
with us there'll be some crack-shot shooting."
Hal, Cub, Bud, and Max picked up the wounded boy in approved
relief-ambulance-corps style and carried him, with a few groans and moans
from their burden, across the open area, through the narrow belt of
bushes, to the top of the hill that overlooked the landing. There Mr.
Perry called a halt and then hailed the yacht thus:
"Ahoy, the Catwhisker."
All listened breathlessly, but no answer came. Then the owner of the boat
put greater volume in his voice and repeated the hail:
"Ahoy, the Catwhisker! Ahoy, the Catwhisker!"
This time an answer came, but hardly in the manner expected.
A muffled, rattling, rackety noise came from within the cabin, the door
of which seemed to be closed. It sounded as if someone were pounding and
kicking the walls like an insane patient in an unpadded room.
"What in the world does that mean?" Cub demanded, giving utterance to the
apprehension that thrilled every other member of the party.
"I don't know," his father replied; "but I'm going to find out pretty
quick. You boys stay here with the prisoner. I'm going down there to
With this announcement, he drew his automatic for ready use and began to
descend the steps they had fashioned in the stony hill before
establishing their camp on Friday Island.
The investigation did not take long. The boys watched Mr. Perry as he
crossed the moonlit deck of the Catwhisker and entered the cabin. A few
minutes later he returned on the deck and with him were two men, whom the
observers on shore recognized as Mr. Baker and the Canadian officer. Then
Mr. Perry called out:
"Come on down here, boys."
A minute later they were on board the yacht with their prisoner. Cub, the
most impatient of their number, was first to speak.
"What's the matter?" he asked.
"Matter enough," growled the officer. "Those scoundrels outwitted us,
locked us in the stateroom, and our prisoner is gone."
The boys were so astonished that not one of them uttered a sound.
"I haven't heard their story yet," Mr. Perry interposed. "We'll all get
"It won't take long to tell how they did it," Mr. Buckley began. Then he
seemed to hesitate, glancing in some embarrassment at Mr. Baker.
"I'll take all the blame," the latter confessed at this juncture. "In
fact, there's nobody to blame but me. I wasn't asleep at my post, but my
wits must have been slumbering, for one of those fellows stole up behind
me and gave me a rap on the head that put me to sleep sure enough. When I
woke up I was in a pitch dark stateroom, with the door locked. Luckily my
searchlight had not been taken out of my pocket, and soon I had the place
well enough lighted to determine where I was. I also found something
else; I found Mr. Buckley in the same condition that I had been
in--unconscious. Mr. Buckley can tell you the rest."
"There's absolutely nothing for me to tell," Mr. Buckley replied, "I went
to sleep on the cot in the cabin and woke up with a headache in the
stateroom. Mr. Baker was working over me as if I'd been shell-shocked on
the battlefield. I think we both were sandbagged, for there were no
bruises on our heads. We were locked in and probably would have been
driven to the necessity of breaking the door open if Mr. Perry hadn't
come when he did and let us out."
"I found both the stateroom door and the cabin door locked with the keys
on the outside," Mr. Perry explained. "Well, we have this consolation at
least: While we were losing one prisoner, we were capturing another."
"What do you mean by that?" Mr. Buckley; demanded quickly.
"Here's the new prisoner right here," was the other's reply, indicating
the catapult victim who had suddenly found himself able to stand with his
weight on his uninjured leg and aided by two of the Catwhisker boys.
"Who is he--one of that gang?" asked the officer.
"He's a son of one of them, probably the one who was rescued from you."
"Lock him up in that stateroom at once, and I'll have something more to
tell you," Mr. Buckley ordered.
The order was speedily obeyed; then all gathered eagerly about the
"The situation is this," the latter began. "When those rascals raided
this boat they robbed me of my gun and I suppose they got yours, too,
didn't they, Mr. Baker?"
The father of the missing freshman slapped his hand on his "pistol
pocket" and then gasped:
"Yes, it's gone."
"I thought so," continued the officer. "Now, we have an armed enemy to
contend with. If they get wind of the fact that we have the son of one of
them a prisoner on this yacht, you can expect a fusillade of bullets
popping through your portholes any time. My advice is to get out of here
as soon as possible."
"Where'll we go?" asked Mr. Perry.
"We'll decide that after we get away. If you want to keep your prisoner,
don't stay here."
"Dad's got his automatic yet," Cub reminded with youthful confidence in a
chamber full of shells.
"And I've got my slingshot," chimed in Bud.
"Tee-hee," laughed Hal.
"Oh you can laugh all you want to, Tee-hee, but if it hadn't been for my
slingshot, we wouldn't have any prisoner at all right now," Bud flung
back with a suggestion of resentment.
"Yes, we must give Bud credit for all he's done," Mr. Perry agreed. "We
owe a good deal to his ingenuity."
"We ought to take our prisoner over to Rockport and put him in jail,"
suggested Mr. Baker.
"On what ground?" asked Mr. Buckley. "What would you charge him with? He
hasn't done anything except spy around your camp here. You couldn't put
him in jail for that and keep him there any time. Besides, his father
claims to own these islands--maybe he does."
"Well, what are you in favor of doing?" asked Mr. Baker.
"I think we ought to move your entire camp outfit to this boat and then
stand off from the shore for a while and keep our eyes on this place with
spyglasses--have you got a pair?"
"Yes," Mr. Perry replied; "two good strong pair."
"Then we'd better get busy at once before they suspect what has become of
this boy we have here."
"All right, let's get busy at once," said Mr. Perry. "The boys, however,
must stay here on the boat. We don't want to run any risk of their
falling into the hands of the enemy."
"Oh, Mr. Perry, let me go along with you and get my radio outfit,"
The yachtsman looked at the pleading youth for a few moments in
"I don't know," he replied slowly. "Still, I suppose we could protect
one of you if anything happened. Well, inasmuch as we men don't know
anything about disconnecting a radio hook-up. I guess we'll take you for
one trip. Come on; no more delay. Keep a good lookout, Cub and Bud, and
set up a holler if anything goes wrong. And, Bud, be careful not to
mistake us for the enemy when we return; we don't want to be hit by that
sling of yours."
"We ought to have a signal, so we could be sure to recognize each other,"
"All right, what'll it be?"
"The Catwhisker ought to have an official signal," said Hal. "Why not
make it 'meow'?"
"Very good; it's adopted."
The first trip was made without incident worthy of special note. Hal and
Mr. Baker brought all of the radio set except the aerial, and Mr. Perry
and Mr. Buckley each carried a load of camp equipment on their return
trip. Then Mr. Perry insisted that Hal remain on the yacht, and the three
men went ashore again for another load.
But from this trip they came back sooner than looked for, and the manner
of their return alarmed the boys, who expected momentarily to hear pistol
shots fired at them from the shore. The three men came down the hill to
the landing almost at a run, and as they reached the deck, Mr. Perry
announced in cautious tones:
"Boys, we'll have to leave that camp as it is for a while. Those men are
up there watching for us. We don't want to get into a gun battle with
them; so we're going to back out of here as fast as we can."
A Radio Eavesdropper
The Catwhisker was backed out of the narrow inlet or strait, in which she
had been moored, without interference on the part of the hostile men on
Friday Island. Whether or not the latter knew of the departure of the
yacht, the men and boys on board had no way to determine. It is probable,
however, that they heard the coughing and sputtering of the gasoline
engine and that they watched proceedings from any of the numerous places
of concealment afforded by rocks, bushes, and trees along the shore
At any rate, the most careful scrutiny of the deep shadows revealed
nothing to the Catwhiskerites and their guests as the yacht worked its
way out of the inclosure, and presently they exchanged congratulations
one with another on the assurance that they were well out of pistol-shot
range from the group of islands.
"How far do you think we had better go?" asked Mr. Perry addressing
the Canadian officer after this matter of concern had been well
taken care of.
"Oh, I think we ought to find a mooring place at some island about a mile
from here and try to get a little sleep before daybreak," Mr. Buckley
replied. "I'm sure Mr. Baker and I need some brain rest after the slams
we got on our craniums. I've got the worst headache right now that I ever
had in my life."
"So have I," Mr. Baker chimed in.
"All right, let's not discuss this affair any more to-night," Mr. Perry
proposed. "Boys, you may as well get your wits together to arrange the
most comfortable sleeping quarters possible under the circumstances. I
guess about all our bedding is at the camp."
The boys set about to do as suggested, but it was not long before they
realized that wits could do little for them regarding rest convenience
for the remainder of the night. Presently they reported back the
following results to Mr. Perry:
One lounge in the cabin, bedding enough for one of the berths and enough
other bedding and articles of clothing to be rolled into pillow
substitutes for half a dozen sleepers.
Presently Mr. Buckley, who had been keeping a sharp lookout ahead in the
moonlight, supplemented by the strong headlight of the Catwhisker,
pointed out what seemed to be a suitable mooring place for the yacht for
the rest of the night, and a careful run-in was made, accompanied by
pole-soundings to prevent running aground. The depth proved to be O.K.,
and in a short time the yacht was tied up to a small tree which leaned
over almost far enough to dip some of its branches into the water. As all
were eager to waste no time belonging to nature's nocturnal period of
rest, the pillow substitutes were soon rolled and the various sleeping
quarters assigned according to varying degrees of necessity. Because of
their "sand-bag headaches," Mr. Baker and Mr. Buckley were given the
cabin lounge and the available stateroom berth. Although they felt
reasonably safe against further intrusion in their new quarters,
nevertheless it was deemed wise to maintain a series of one-hour watches,
the first of which fell to Mr. Perry by his own choice. Before the
general retirement of all but the first watch, an inspection was made of
the stateroom prison, and the boy prisoner was found to be fast asleep on
the floor with one arm for a pillow.
Hal was given the last watch, beginning shortly before the break of day.
Bud who had preceded him, handed over his slingshot together with a
supply of stones which he had brought in one of his pockets from Friday
Island. Hal accepted the catapult with profound respect, expressing full
confidence in his ability to repel a formidable array of would-be
boarders with a weapon of such knock-out record.
After it was light enough for him to see what he was doing, Hal occupied
his time by connecting his radio set for service on the yacht once more.
When this task was completed, he set about to prepare breakfast, deciding
that he would let the sleepers get another hour's rest, as he could
prepare the morning meal alone almost as quickly as with the aid of one
or two others. He had already learned the truth of the housewife's axiom
that "two are a crowd in a kitchen, and three are a throng."
At 7 o'clock he called all the sleepers to breakfast. The two "sand-bag
headaches" were no more, and everybody was as cheerful as could have been
expected under the circumstances.
"What are we going to do about Bud's prisoner?" Hal inquired as they were
about to gather around the cabin table, which was well loaded with
appetizing dishes, some of them steaming hot.
"Oh, we'll have to give him some breakfast," replied Mr. Perry, starting
for the prison-stateroom. "I'd quite forgotten him."
Without more ado, the prisoner was produced and supplied with
conveniences to prepare for the morning meal. After he had washed and
combed his tousled hair, he presented a fairly respectable appearance and
was given a place at the table. He sat through the meal without as much
as a "thank you" for dishes passed to him, and the other breakfasters,
observing that he was in anything but a cheerful mood, did not attempt to
draw him into conversation.
After breakfast the three men on board held a conference, the result of
which was an agreement to run back to the Friday Island group and make an
inspection of it with glasses from every possible angle. In this way they
hoped to be able to obtain a clew relative to the headquarters and
activities of the men who had ordered them to move their camp from Friday
Island. Then the engine was started, and the course of the Catwhisker
directed up stream.
"Now, my friend," remarked Mr. Buckley, addressing the young Canadian;
"you'd be perfectly welcome to the freedom of the deck under ordinary
circumstances, but the present are extraordinary circumstances, so we'll
have to ask you to resort to the pleasures and comforts of the cabin.
Boys," he added, addressing the three young Catwhiskerites, "you may go
into the cabin, too, and get acquainted with him." Then in lower tone to
Cub, who stood near the officer, he suggested: "Maybe he'll be more
talkative with you boys than he has been with us men. See if you can't
get something out of him."
Cub "tipped" Hal and Bud as to the purpose communicated to him by
the Canadian officer, and the three conducted "Bud's prisoner" into
But the latter proved to be about as uncommunicative as he had been
when the older members of the yacht's company tried to get something
out of him. He appeared to be bright enough and not especially coarse
grained, so that from the standpoint of quality qualifications, there
seemed to be no reason for his sullenness. Hal frankly made a statement
to him to this effect, but it produced no result of the kind desired
and intended. They got only short, surly returns in response to their
most friendly advances.
At last they gave it up and returned on deck. Before leaving the cabin,
however, Cub said to the prisoner:
"Now, if you'll promise to stay here and not make any attempt to escape,
we won't lock you up. Otherwise we'll have to lock you up in a
"I'll promise," was the fellow's laconic response.
"By the way," Bud remarked, as they were about to leave the cabin, "would
you mind telling us the handle of your name? We know your father's
surname, but we'd like to know how to address you. You're too young for
us to call you Mr. Howard."
"You c'n call me Bill, if you want to," the slingshot victim replied.
Hal was particularly impressed with a sly, cunning look in the eyes of
the prisoner and told himself that the fellow would bear watching to keep
him out of mischief.
"I tell you what I'd like to do," he said to his two friends as they
reached the deck. "I'd like to hide in the closet in the cabin and watch
that fellow. I bet he'd do something that would help us break his
"You could steal down into that little alcove near the entrance of the
cabin and watch him there through the crack in the door," Bud suggested.
"That's second best choice," said Hal, "I think I'll make use of
it at once."
Accordingly he descended the companionway with the greatest caution and
succeeded in ensconcing himself in the position suggested by Bud. He had
not been there long when he was amply rewarded for his diligence.
He could hear the prisoner moving about in the cabin and a peep through
the long narrow aperture along the hinge side of the door acquainted him
with the object of the Canadian boy's interest. The latter, apparently,
had just seated himself at the table, and with phones to his ears, was in
the act of tuning the instrument.
Presently he appeared to be satisfied with this preliminary and put his
hand on the sending key. The fellow seemed to be perfectly at home with
the outfit. Now the key was tapping and the spark was leaping across the
gap. The secret watcher leaned forward eagerly to catch every sound. Yes,
it came in genuine enough dots and dashes, and he read them with ever
First the operator repeated a Canadian call several times. Then,
apparently, the call was acknowledged, and he sent the following message:
"I am prisoner on yacht, Catwhisker, in hands of the fellows I tried to
hold back, with radio, as they were leaving Oswego, N.Y. They are
determined to solve mystery of your doings. Don't bother about me, but
tell pa to clean out his place as soon as possible and then let his
prisoner go. They have government officer with them on his trail and will
soon find his hiding place and raid it."
"My goodness!" Hal breathed excitedly. "Now I'm getting at the bottom
of this affair. That boy is the anonymous amateur who pretended to
have a radio wager with Hal's cousin and tried to make us think his
SOS was a joke."
The End of the "Mystery"
Hal almost held his breath in his eagerness to maintain perfect silence
in order that he might "listen-in" to this radio transmission until the
sender had telegraphed all that he had in mind to send.
"My, if I only had an extension receiver," he thought. "How I would like
to hear what the fellow he's talking with has to say."
Even as this longing came to his mind, "Bill" ceased to send and listened
attentively to something that was coming to him "over the wireless."
Presently he swung the aerial switch over and began to send again.
"I tell you you are in danger," he dot-and-dashed. "That hiding place is
not safe any more. They will have a revenue cutter down on you, before
you know what has happened. The government officer suspects the truth, I
am dead sure."
A few more sentences of similar purport were sent in reply to other
messages received. Then "Bill" cut the radio conversation short with a
warning that he did not dare continue it longer and left the table. As he
got up from his seat, Hal stepped into the cabin and remarked:
"Congratulations, 'Bill'; I didn't know you were a radio fan. But really,
I'm glad to recognize you as an old acquaintance."
"Bill" turned as white as the proverbial sheet and trembled like the
aspen of similar associations. Then he blurted out:
"I don't know what you mean."
"Do you deny that you were just telegraphing a message to a friend of
yours?" Hal demanded.
"No, not at all," replied "Bill". "I guess that ought to convince you I'm
not the criminal you're trying to make me out to be."
"I'm not trying to make you out a criminal. I surely hope you're not. No,
I don't believe there are many criminals among radio fans and college
"Say, 'Bill Howard', don't try to play the innocent to a fellow who's
been listening-in to your unconscious confessions ever since you began to
talk in your sleep," Hal scoffed with well simulated disgust. "I know
well enough who you are. You're one of the sophomores of Edward's College
who hazed Alvin Baker by marooning him on that island where his cousin
shot you with a slingshot."
"Bill's" lower jaw dropped, and there was some more aspen trembling in
"You don't need to be so badly scared," Hal went on with a tone of
reassurance inspired by a purpose. "Of course that was a pretty raw
hazing, but you can get by with it yet if you don't carry your prank any
farther. Tell us where your victim is."
"Give me a few days and I'll produce him," the frightened boy pleaded.
"He isn't hurt, and nobody's goin' to hurt 'im."
"Well, I'm glad to get that much out of you," Hal declared with profound
gratification. "But I don't see why in the world you have to be so
mysterious about it. Why not tell me now where he is?"
"I--I--can't," faltered the other.
"Don't you know?"
"No, but I can find out."
Hal was sure the fellow was lying, and he looked at him with accusing
"You'll have to let me do it my own way," the Canadian youth added
Realizing that he could make no further progress with the prisoner at
present, and fearing that it might not be wise to disclose what more he
had learned by listening to the wireless messages the hazer had just
sent, Hal returned to the deck and recounted his experience in the cabin
to his companions. All were assembled at the pilot house when he gave
"This is important," said Mr. Buckley when the account was finished. "I'm
glad you didn't disclose to him the fact that you suspect anything is
going on of interest to the Canadian government. He won't be on his guard
so much perhaps as he would be if you had put all your cards on the
table. By the way, everything seems to be happening in our favor right
now. There's a Canadian revenue boat over there. Let's run over that way
and hail it."
The boat in question was somewhat larger than the Catwhisker and looked
as if it might give the yacht a merry race if the two were matched for a
test of speed. She was 300 yards distant and in a few minutes the evicted
Friday Islanders had run up within short hailing distance of her. Then
Buckley gave a signal, which was recognized, and the two boats were
brought close together. A short conversation between Buckley and the
commander of the revenue boat was sufficient to acquaint the latter with
the situation, and he promised to remain in the vicinity in order that he
might come speedily to the aid of the Catwhisker when needed.
Then began the work of careful examination of the Friday Island group
with binoculars. The yacht was only a few hundred yards from these
islands when the Canadian revenue cutter was sighted. After arrangements
for co-operation had been made with the commander of this boat, the
Catwhisker began to move slowly around the group, while Mr. Perry and Mr.
Buckley examined every detail of their littoral features with strong
glasses. Cub was at the wheel, and Mr. Baker, Bud, Hal and Max stood near
the two men with the glasses, eagerly waiting for significant results.
"I wonder if this is to be the finishing stroke," said Bud, addressing
the two boys near him.
Mr. Perry overheard the "wonder" and replied:
"I am confident that we will solve the whole problem very shortly."
"With mathematics?" asked Hal.
"You see we are moving in a geometric circle, do you not?" Mr. Perry
returned with a smile.
"Oh, look there!" suddenly exclaimed Max. "A motor boat."
But there was no need of calling attention to so conspicuous an
appearance. All saw it at the same time. It darted out from a narrow
passage between two of the smaller islands surrounding the one that Alvin
Baker had denominated "Friday." It was a small cabin runabout, very
neatly designed and constructed; and apparently with a draft measured
only by inches. She made directly for the yacht.
"Catwhisker, ahoy!" called out a youthful voice, and a wide-awake
red-haired boy put his head out of one of the port windows of the cabin.
"I want to come aboard with important information."
Of course, everybody aboard the Catwhisker was astonished, but Mr. Perry
signaled Cub to reverse the engine. This was done, and the yacht soon
lost all headway. Then the runabout glided close up to the larger power
boat, and the boy who had hailed her sprang over the two adjacent rails.
Another boy could be seen in the pilot seat of the smaller craft.
"My name is Halstone," announced the visitor. "I am from--"
His announcement was drowned with exclamations of surprise from
"Hal Stone!" repeated several in chorus, including the Catwhisker's Hal
"Yes, Halstone," reiterated the challenged youth; Frederick Halstone.
"Anything funny about that? I'm the reporter from Watertown who was
dot-and-dashing with you folks last night. I got in touch with a friend
of mine right away who owns that motor boat, and he was crazy to make the
trip here after this big scoop. I'm here representing not only my paper,
but the Associated Press. We located Friday Island here without any
difficulty. But I brought my radio outfit and loop antenna along and
listened in just a short time ago to some messages between somebody who
said he was a prisoner on the Catwhisker and another fellow on a boat in
the cove I just came out of. You'd hardly think a boat of its size could
get in there. It's about the same size as the Catwhisker, and is built
and painted like it. I think you'll find the solution of your big mystery
is right there. They're loading a lot of stuff in boxes from a cave in
the steep bank of that small island next to the big one. The cove is
between these two small islands, which, you see, have high banks and are
covered with bushes and trees, so that their boat could rest there and be
invisible to anybody out on the river or on the shore of the larger
island that you call 'Friday'. They're making a big hustle to get away."
"Is there a boy in there?" asked Mr. Baker eagerly.
"Yes, several of them and four men. The men were pretty sore at me for
running in there, and they ordered me out. I don't think, however, that
there's much love lost between the men and the boys. I suspect the men
are smugglers, and the boys have got into a scrape they don't like.
There was an exchange of hot words going on just as I ran into their
No more time was wasted in the making of explanations. The little revenue
cutter was signaled and in less than fifteen minutes half a dozen men,
including Mr. Buckley and Mr. Baker, were on the cabin-runabout which
again saucily invaded the retreat of the Catwhisker's "double."
The Result of a Radio Hazing
The raid was a speedy success. "Captain" Howard and his crew of
lawbreakers offered no resistance when they saw the odds against them,
for each of the men from the revenue cutter was armed and promised to
shoot to kill if a hostile hand was raised against them.
Then they made an inspection of the cave, which was of considerable size
and lighted with an oil lamp, and there the lost victim of a radio
college hazing was found chained to a post that had been driven into the
ground floor. He had not suffered from malicious mistreatment in any
way, but was chafing under restraint and confinement. He was a little
older than the Catwhisker boys, but he had no "college airs" and was
soon telling his story as one boy to a group of chums, while the men
stood around and drank it all in as eagerly as if they themselves were
"Bill Howard made the biggest mistake of his life when he confederated
with three other sophomores to haze me," Alvin began. "He didn't know his
father had a hide-out here when they marooned me on Friday Island. His
father owns several motor boats that are used for pleasure excursions,
but, I suspect, he wasn't making money fast enough and fell for a scheme
put up to him from the other men who are now his companions in crime.
They were in touch with a gang of burglars and hold-up men who wanted a
means of disposing of their loot. They induced Mr. Howard to consent to
the use of one of his boats to convey stolen property of various kinds to
this cave as a hiding place, and from here, occasionally, to places of
disposal, principally in the United States. Well, Bill's band of hazers
unwittingly brought me to these islands, and before long there was a
pretty mix-up. The operators of this burglars' 'fence' found me on Friday
Island and got the idea, I suppose, that I was spying on them. At first I
hoped they would let me go, but I made some foolish remarks, based merely
on suspicion, about the character of their business, and they concluded
the jig was up and brought me right to this cave, and, of course, after
that I could see everything that was going on. Then the hazers appeared
on the scene. I suppose they became a little nervous about me. I gathered
from conversation I overheard that they stumbled into this place while
searching for me and then they were taken partly into the confidence of
the lawbreakers. But they're pretty smart boys, if they are sophomores
and if their leader is a son of a smuggler of stolen goods, and soon were
putting two and two together--"
"More mathematics," interrupted Mr. Perry gravely.
Alvin looked at him curiously, but this was no time for academic
digression, and the veiled quip had to await later explanation.
Of course there was more discussion of the strange tangle of events,
which now seemed to be about to be cleared up. Indeed, it took many days
for them to thrash the subject out completely, but it would hardly do to
write another book on matters now essentially explained so we must leave
those details to the diversion of Friday Island camp.
The camp was rehabitated, Hal's radio outfit was hooked up again with the
island aerial, and all of the Catwhiskerites and their newly discovered
radio friends enjoyed a week's undisturbed outing in the midst of recent
personal romantic associations.
As for the "radio hazers," they went back home with no spirit of "brag"
over their achievements, and the members of the band of smugglers of
stolen goods were held in custody and eventually punished under sentences
returned in a Canadian court.
Meanwhile Mr. Perry took steps looking toward the purchase of the Friday
Island group from the Canadian government as a summer camping place for
the Catwhiskerites and their friends.
The next volume of this series will be RADIO BOYS AND THE SKY PLOT or
BOTTLING THE BOREALIS.
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