“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 possible.”
“I will run down to the docks and meet him,” returned Max. “Maybe I will come along.”
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,” Cub proposed.
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 addressed him.