Of course, everybody aboard the Catwhisker was astonished, but Mr. Perry signaled Cub to reverse the engine. This was done, and the yacht soon lost all headway. Then the runabout glided close up to the larger power boat, and the boy who had hailed her sprang over the two adjacent rails. Another boy could be seen in the pilot seat of the smaller craft.
“My name is Halstone,” announced the visitor. “I am from—”
His announcement was drowned with exclamations of surprise from his audience.
“Hal Stone!” repeated several in chorus, including the Catwhisker’s Hal Stone himself.
“Yes, Halstone,” reiterated the challenged youth; Frederick Halstone. “Anything funny about that? I’m the reporter from Watertown who was dot-and-dashing with you folks last night. I got in touch with a friend of mine right away who owns that motor boat, and he was crazy to make the trip here after this big scoop. I’m here representing not only my paper, but the Associated Press. We located Friday Island here without any difficulty. But I brought my radio outfit and loop antenna along and listened in just a short time ago to some messages between somebody who said he was a prisoner on the Catwhisker and another fellow on a boat in the cove I just came out of. You’d hardly think a boat of its size could get in there. It’s about the same size as the Catwhisker, and is built and painted like it. I think you’ll find the solution of your big mystery is right there. They’re loading a lot of stuff in boxes from a cave in the steep bank of that small island next to the big one. The cove is between these two small islands, which, you see, have high banks and are covered with bushes and trees, so that their boat could rest there and be invisible to anybody out on the river or on the shore of the larger island that you call ‘Friday’. They’re making a big hustle to get away.”
“Is there a boy in there?” asked Mr. Baker eagerly.
“Yes, several of them and four men. The men were pretty sore at me for running in there, and they ordered me out. I don’t think, however, that there’s much love lost between the men and the boys. I suspect the men are smugglers, and the boys have got into a scrape they don’t like. There was an exchange of hot words going on just as I ran into their hiding place.”
No more time was wasted in the making of explanations. The little revenue cutter was signaled and in less than fifteen minutes half a dozen men, including Mr. Buckley and Mr. Baker, were on the cabin-runabout which again saucily invaded the retreat of the Catwhisker’s “double.”
The Result of a Radio Hazing
The raid was a speedy success. “Captain” Howard and his crew of lawbreakers offered no resistance when they saw the odds against them, for each of the men from the revenue cutter was armed and promised to shoot to kill if a hostile hand was raised against them.