“I found both the stateroom door and the cabin door locked with the keys on the outside,” Mr. Perry explained. “Well, we have this consolation at least: While we were losing one prisoner, we were capturing another.”
“What do you mean by that?” Mr. Buckley; demanded quickly.
“Here’s the new prisoner right here,” was the other’s reply, indicating the catapult victim who had suddenly found himself able to stand with his weight on his uninjured leg and aided by two of the Catwhisker boys.
“Who is he—one of that gang?” asked the officer.
“He’s a son of one of them, probably the one who was rescued from you.”
“Lock him up in that stateroom at once, and I’ll have something more to tell you,” Mr. Buckley ordered.
The order was speedily obeyed; then all gathered eagerly about the government officer.
“The situation is this,” the latter began. “When those rascals raided this boat they robbed me of my gun and I suppose they got yours, too, didn’t they, Mr. Baker?”
The father of the missing freshman slapped his hand on his “pistol pocket” and then gasped:
“Yes, it’s gone.”
“I thought so,” continued the officer. “Now, we have an armed enemy to contend with. If they get wind of the fact that we have the son of one of them a prisoner on this yacht, you can expect a fusillade of bullets popping through your portholes any time. My advice is to get out of here as soon as possible.”
“Where’ll we go?” asked Mr. Perry.
“We’ll decide that after we get away. If you want to keep your prisoner, don’t stay here.”
“Dad’s got his automatic yet,” Cub reminded with youthful confidence in a chamber full of shells.
“And I’ve got my slingshot,” chimed in Bud.
“Tee-hee,” laughed Hal.
“Oh you can laugh all you want to, Tee-hee, but if it hadn’t been for my slingshot, we wouldn’t have any prisoner at all right now,” Bud flung back with a suggestion of resentment.
“Yes, we must give Bud credit for all he’s done,” Mr. Perry agreed. “We owe a good deal to his ingenuity.”
“We ought to take our prisoner over to Rockport and put him in jail,” suggested Mr. Baker.
“On what ground?” asked Mr. Buckley. “What would you charge him with? He hasn’t done anything except spy around your camp here. You couldn’t put him in jail for that and keep him there any time. Besides, his father claims to own these islands—maybe he does.”
“Well, what are you in favor of doing?” asked Mr. Baker.
“I think we ought to move your entire camp outfit to this boat and then stand off from the shore for a while and keep our eyes on this place with spyglasses—have you got a pair?”
“Yes,” Mr. Perry replied; “two good strong pair.”
“Then we’d better get busy at once before they suspect what has become of this boy we have here.”