“See!” exclaimed Bud. “This makes things look bad. If those fellows are robbers they’re armed. We haven’t a gun on board, and if we had we wouldn’t want to get in a fight over an affair that looks more like a joke than a tragedy.”
“And yet it may be a tragedy,” said Hal.
At this moment Cub reappeared in the cabin and the situation was explained to him.
“It begins to look like a tragedy,” he admitted; “and yet if we treat it as a tragedy and it proves to be a joke, we’ll feel like a comedy of errors.”
“Now, you’re getting highbrow, Cub,” was Hal’s mock objection.
“It’s common sense, isn’t it?” the youthful philosopher reasoned.
“Yes, but you forget one thing,” the sly-eyed Hal rejoined: “With so much Q R M, it’s very hard to pick out common sense in an affair like this.”
“That’s true,” replied the other. “We’ve had more interference in this trip thus far than anything else.”
“And the big question now is, how’re we goin’ to tune it out?”
“I confess, I’m stumped,” said Cub. “Guess we’ll have to refer the whole matter to father, but I bet he’ll be up against it just as much as we are.”
Cub turned toward the companionway with the intention of seeking an interview with Mr. Perry in the wheel house, but Hal delayed him again.
“Wait a minute,” said the operator. “Here’s our island friend again.”
Cub and Bud donned their phones once more. The message received was more startling than any preceding.
“They are coming ashore,” was dot-and-dashed into the three boys’ ears. “I see four bad-looking men. I am going to run before they see me and—maybe—swim. Good-bye.”
“What in the world shall we do?” exclaimed Bud.
“I’m going to find out,” declared Cub, as he dashed out of the cabin.
Hal, meanwhile, was busy again. The mysterious amateur who had persistently attempted to turn the supposed near-tragedy into a joke was spitting the Catwhisker’s call again.
“Fools!” he flashed spitefully. “Goodnight.”
A Mystery and Cub’s “Goat”
Cub hastened to his father and gave him a rapid narrative of events as they had been received by wireless.
“Well, that’s interesting, to say the least,” observed Mr. Perry with a look of curious amusement.
Cub waited a few moments for further comment, but as it was slow coming, he asked impulsively:
“What are we going to do?”
“What do you think we ought to do?” inquired the man at the wheel, looking sharply at his son.
“I don’t know; I’m stumped,” was the boy’s reply.
“That’s a frank admission. First time I’ve known you to admit such absolute defeat. Do you think we’d better turn about and go back home?”
“No,” Cub replied with a revival of decision in his tone of voice.