While Cub was thus occupied, Mr. Perry set a hasty supper of prepared foods on the table and “ate a bite”. Then he returned to the chart and wheel house and relieved Hal, sending the latter back to the cabin for his meal and for further radio consultation with the other boys.
A Baffling Situation
The compass worked admirably. Although the principle of the affair was very simple, Hal must be given credit for having done his work well.
So satisfactory did the device prove from the moment when it began to take messages from the “island prisoner”, that all on board the Catwhisker became hopeful of success before sun-down. “V A X” kept a stream of waves leaping from his aerial for their guidance and the motor boat chug-chugged along like a hunting hound made more and more eager by the increasing excitement of the hunt.
“I wonder what’s become of the fellow who tried to head us off,” remarked Hal as he left the supper table and prepared to relieve Cub at the wireless. “You haven’t heard anything from him, have you?”
“No, not a thing all day,” Cub replied. “I guess we’ve tired him out. Did you get anything from him, Bud?”
“Not a shiver of the wires,” answered the latter.
“Maybe he’s given us up as hopeless easy marks,” Cub suggested.
“Why, do you think his story is true and ‘Bobby Crusoe’ is a fake?” asked Hal.
“I don’t know. I wouldn’t be surprised to find almost anything—or nothing—as we get near to the end of our hunt.”
“But he must be on the island,” Bud reasoned. “And he must have a wireless set, or he couldn’t have sent the messages we got. That much is certain.”
“Not all of it,” Hal objected.
“Why?” Bud demanded.
“Maybe he isn’t on an island.”
“You mean, maybe the whole thing’s a fake—eh?”
“If the whole thing’s a fake, then that other fellow who tried to head us off must ’ave been a party to the game,” Cub interposed.
“There wouldn’t be much sense in that,” said Bud.
“I agree with you,” Cub continued. “The scrap between those two hams was genuine enough.”
“But they were holding something back from us,” Hal declared.
“Both of them?” asked Bud.
“I shouldn’t be surprised.”
“Nor I, either,” said Cub.
“Then they’ve put one over on us,” was Bud’s inference. “Are you sorry we came?”
“I? No, sir!” Cub emphasized. “It’s a dandy adventure, whatever the result. I didn’t swallow that Crusoe story whole at any time.”
“Neither did I,” said Hal.
“I thought there were some funny things about it,” Bud announced reflectively; “but I didn’t know how to put them together or take ’em apart.”
“That was my fix,” said Cub; “and it’s my fix yet.”
“I guess we all agree that the whole affair is very strange,” Hal concluded. “We really don’t believe we’ve been told the truth, and yet we get in worse trouble when we try to make something else out of it.”