When the Catwhisker arrived at Friday Island again, the place appeared to be deserted.
The camp was as they had left it, except that the breakfast dishes were washed and put away. “Friday” had performed his duty, but both boys had disappeared, and there seemed to be only one explanation of their disappearance, namely, the premonition of danger at the hands of the four strange men that the Rockport amateur, Max, had received from the boys on the island. No damage had been done to the tent or any of the camp paraphernalia, even the radio outfit being exactly as it had been when they left it in charge of Hal and Bud a few hours previously.
“This is getting pretty serious,” Mr. Perry said, after they had made an unsatisfactory review of the situation. “I confess I don’t know what to make of it.”
Cub felt an impulse to brand this new affair as the most puzzling mystery that had yet confronted them, but he checked the utterance wisely enough as entirely too facetious for the occasion.
“We’ve got to get the authorities busy on this case,” Mr. Perry added after a few moments’ hesitation. “We may be sure now that it’s more than a hazing affair. There must be a retreat of some bad men around here somewhere.”
“What authorities shall we ask to help us?” Cub inquired.
His father seemed about to answer, but he hesitated a moment or two, with a puzzled look, first at his son, then at Mr. Baker.
“That’s so,” he said presently. “Where are we—in Canada or the United States?”
“I think we ought to apply for help in both New York and Ontario,” said Mr. Baker, who was ordinarily a man of quiet demeanor, but now was worked up to a state of nervous worry over the fate of his son.
“It’s going to take some time to make trips to both sides of the river and get the authorities of New York and Ontario busy,” said Mr. Perry; “but I suppose that’s the only thing to do, and every minute wasted is an opportunity lost. So let’s go right away.”
“Hold on, father,” Cub interrupted; “you forget that we have a means of calling help right here.”
“It won’t do to depend on your radio messages” his father replied. “You know the experience Mr. Baker’s son had trying to get help that way.”
“Yes, but there were conditions that queered his calls,” Cub replied. “Just remember the results we got by calling our new friend, Max, at Rockport, and what he did for us. Unless I’m badly mistaken, we can look for more help from him.”
“Yes, you’re right, Bob,” Mr. Perry admitted. “But I don’t like the idea of staying here and depending on a few boys to take care of so big a proposition. We need to arouse the whole country around here, including all people along the shores, on the islands and those boating up and down the river.”
“In other words, there must be some real broadcasting,” Cub interpreted.