Then they made an inspection of the cave, which was of considerable size and lighted with an oil lamp, and there the lost victim of a radio college hazing was found chained to a post that had been driven into the ground floor. He had not suffered from malicious mistreatment in any way, but was chafing under restraint and confinement. He was a little older than the Catwhisker boys, but he had no “college airs” and was soon telling his story as one boy to a group of chums, while the men stood around and drank it all in as eagerly as if they themselves were boys again.
“Bill Howard made the biggest mistake of his life when he confederated with three other sophomores to haze me,” Alvin began. “He didn’t know his father had a hide-out here when they marooned me on Friday Island. His father owns several motor boats that are used for pleasure excursions, but, I suspect, he wasn’t making money fast enough and fell for a scheme put up to him from the other men who are now his companions in crime. They were in touch with a gang of burglars and hold-up men who wanted a means of disposing of their loot. They induced Mr. Howard to consent to the use of one of his boats to convey stolen property of various kinds to this cave as a hiding place, and from here, occasionally, to places of disposal, principally in the United States. Well, Bill’s band of hazers unwittingly brought me to these islands, and before long there was a pretty mix-up. The operators of this burglars’ ‘fence’ found me on Friday Island and got the idea, I suppose, that I was spying on them. At first I hoped they would let me go, but I made some foolish remarks, based merely on suspicion, about the character of their business, and they concluded the jig was up and brought me right to this cave, and, of course, after that I could see everything that was going on. Then the hazers appeared on the scene. I suppose they became a little nervous about me. I gathered from conversation I overheard that they stumbled into this place while searching for me and then they were taken partly into the confidence of the lawbreakers. But they’re pretty smart boys, if they are sophomores and if their leader is a son of a smuggler of stolen goods, and soon were putting two and two together—”
“More mathematics,” interrupted Mr. Perry gravely.
Alvin looked at him curiously, but this was no time for academic digression, and the veiled quip had to await later explanation.
Of course there was more discussion of the strange tangle of events, which now seemed to be about to be cleared up. Indeed, it took many days for them to thrash the subject out completely, but it would hardly do to write another book on matters now essentially explained so we must leave those details to the diversion of Friday Island camp.
The camp was rehabitated, Hal’s radio outfit was hooked up again with the island aerial, and all of the Catwhiskerites and their newly discovered radio friends enjoyed a week’s undisturbed outing in the midst of recent personal romantic associations.