This officer, who was introduced by Mr. Perry as Mr. Harrison Buckley, seemed to take no interest in his mission until he saw the evening meal in course of preparation in real kitchen-like manner; then he took the prisoner in charge and proceeded to “sweat” him in the approved style of a police captain’s private office. The prisoner squirmed about for a time, successfully evading the inquisitorial probe aimed at him, but at last he “confessed” as to his name and address. He said that his name was Grant Howard and that his residence was at Gananoque, Ontario. Then a call to supper was issued and the composite aggregation of humans gathered around the table, which was never intended to accommodate quite so many guests.
However, with the exercise of due ingenuity, the supper was properly disposed of with the unexpected discovery of more appetite than was originally expected. Max Handy proved to be a healthy eater and the savory smell of juicy broiled steak from the Catwhisker’s refrigerator, loosened even the nervous tension of Mr. Baker’s worry over the fate of his son, so that he was able to do fair justice to the cooking of Cub, Hal, and Bud, who had full and joint charge of the preparation of the gastronomic spread.
After the meal the four boys cleared the table and washed and wiped the dishes, while the three men joined forces in the continued “sweating” of the prisoner. The latter adhered stubbornly to his earlier “confession” as to what he and his three companions had done with Mr. Baker’s son, but failed to make a satisfactory statement as to his own business and the use to which he and his friends had put “their island possession”. To the question as to the character of his business, he replied, after some hesitation:
“I work in a store.”
“What kind of store?” asked Mr. Buckley.
“A grocery store.”
“What do you do there?”
“What was the price of butter the last day you worked?” asked the inquisitor so quickly and sharply that the victim of the thrust actually turned pale, in spite of a strong front of bravado. But he made a brave enough effort to get over the hurdle.
“A pound?” asked Mr. Buckley.
“Yes,” replied the prisoner.
“What did you sell butter at a loss for?” the inquisitor demanded. “It hasn’t been down that low anywhere that I know of since the war.”
“I meant butterine,” “corrected” the “sweat subject” hurriedly.
“Well, you’ve hit it about right, by accident, of course. Now, let’s see if you know anything more about grocery business. What did you sell eggs and potatoes for the last day you worked?”
“I didn’t sell any.”
“All you sold was butter?”
“You mean butterine, don’t you?”
“No, I sold butter and butterine and a few other things.”
“And buttermilk and cheese,” the officer amended.