“I don’t know whether they do or not. I didn’t hear them say anything about that.”
“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 me?”
“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?” asked Hal.
“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,” Bud reasoned.
“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.