“No, they didn’t have anything to do with it,” Hal assured his friend.
“You’d better tell the truth about where my son is,” warned Mr. Baker, addressing the prisoner. “I won’t stand any more trifling from you.”
“He’s there unless somebody took him off the island, same as these boys were taken off the island we put them on,” declared “the captain” in sullen tone and manner.
“Well, it’ll be an unhappy circumstance for you if we don’t find any evidence of their having been there,” Mr. Baker remarked.
“I think we’d better take him along with us,” said Hal. “Then there’ll be no doubt about our going to the right island. Come on, Bud; let’s go down to the boat and tell Mr. Leland and Mr. White what we want to do.”
Hal and Bud were soon out of sight on their way to perform the mission they had imposed on themselves, and a few minutes later they returned with one of the motor-boatmen, a clean-cut athletic man of middle age, wearing a tan Palm Beach suit. Hal introduced him as Mr. White.
“The boys have told us all about your trouble,” he said, addressing Mr. Baker; “and we’d like to do all we can to help you out. They tell me that your son is believed to be on an island about a mile from here, and that this prisoner of yours knows exactly where that island is. Well take him along with us and make him make good.”
“I’m very much obliged to you,” said Mr. Baker warmly. “I’ve promised this fellow that if he returns my son to me, I’ll let him go, so the instant you find my son you may turn him loose.”
“I don’t believe he ought to be turned loose,” declared Mr. White energetically. “I believe he ought to be made to pay the penalty of his crime—kidnapping. However, we’ll do as you say. Come along, my fine fellow,” he added, taking the prisoner by the arm. “We’ll keep those hands of yours securely tied behind your back, so you can’t get into mischief.”
With these words, he led “the captain” toward the landing, followed by Hal and Bud.
Half an hour later they returned, with the prisoner, his hands still shackled with the rope strands. They had been unable to find Mr. Baker’s son on the island where the prisoner said he and his companions had left him.
Meanwhile Mr. Perry had returned in the Catwhisker to Friday Island. He was accompanied by Max Handy and a Canadian government officer.
“Sweating” the Prisoner
It was now supper time, but nobody except the Canadian officer was hungry enough to think of eating. The latter, being a disinterested party, save as one commissioned with the duty of enforcing the law, had not diverted to a subject of absorbing interest the energies that ordinarily create a human appetite, hence he was normally hungry. Moreover, he was a man of good physical proportions and organic development, and consequently hunger with him meant a good plateful, or dissatisfaction.