“My, if I only had an extension receiver,” he thought. “How I would like to hear what the fellow he’s talking with has to say.”
Even as this longing came to his mind, “Bill” ceased to send and listened attentively to something that was coming to him “over the wireless.” Presently he swung the aerial switch over and began to send again.
“I tell you you are in danger,” he dot-and-dashed. “That hiding place is not safe any more. They will have a revenue cutter down on you, before you know what has happened. The government officer suspects the truth, I am dead sure.”
A few more sentences of similar purport were sent in reply to other messages received. Then “Bill” cut the radio conversation short with a warning that he did not dare continue it longer and left the table. As he got up from his seat, Hal stepped into the cabin and remarked:
“Congratulations, ‘Bill’; I didn’t know you were a radio fan. But really, I’m glad to recognize you as an old acquaintance.”
“Bill” turned as white as the proverbial sheet and trembled like the aspen of similar associations. Then he blurted out:
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Do you deny that you were just telegraphing a message to a friend of yours?” Hal demanded.
“No, not at all,” replied “Bill”. “I guess that ought to convince you I’m not the criminal you’re trying to make me out to be.”
“I’m not trying to make you out a criminal. I surely hope you’re not. No, I don’t believe there are many criminals among radio fans and college students.”
“Say, ‘Bill Howard’, don’t try to play the innocent to a fellow who’s been listening-in to your unconscious confessions ever since you began to talk in your sleep,” Hal scoffed with well simulated disgust. “I know well enough who you are. You’re one of the sophomores of Edward’s College who hazed Alvin Baker by marooning him on that island where his cousin shot you with a slingshot.”
“Bill’s” lower jaw dropped, and there was some more aspen trembling in his frame.
“You don’t need to be so badly scared,” Hal went on with a tone of reassurance inspired by a purpose. “Of course that was a pretty raw hazing, but you can get by with it yet if you don’t carry your prank any farther. Tell us where your victim is.”
“Give me a few days and I’ll produce him,” the frightened boy pleaded. “He isn’t hurt, and nobody’s goin’ to hurt ’im.”
“Well, I’m glad to get that much out of you,” Hal declared with profound gratification. “But I don’t see why in the world you have to be so mysterious about it. Why not tell me now where he is?”
“I—I—can’t,” faltered the other.
“Don’t you know?”
“No, but I can find out.”
Hal was sure the fellow was lying, and he looked at him with accusing penetration.
“You’ll have to let me do it my own way,” the Canadian youth added stubbornly.