“There they are! Get the gun!” yelled the doctor’s son.
“Two dangerous burglars!” cried Snap. “Wonder where they came from?”
“W—–we ar—–are not burglars!” spluttered Carl. “We are—–”
“Do—–don’t sh—–shoot!” wailed Ham Spink. “We di—–didn’t mean—–”
Bang! went the shotgun Snap had picked up. He fired at the corner of the building, into a mass of rubbish. A piercing yell of terror came up from below, and down dropped Ham and Carl into the water once more. They were too afraid to come up under the boathouse again and so struck out for the river bank some distance away.
“They are going away!” called out Shep. “They are two desperate burglars! Give them another shot!”
“Perhaps they have been robbing some stores,” called out Snap. Then he discharged the shotgun once more, and down ducked Ham and Carl again, yelling wildly in their fright. They swam with energy and soon reached the shelter of another boathouse. Here they crawled from the water and took to their legs with all the speed at their command. Both were frightened nearly out of their wits, and for the time being paid no attention to the foul-smelling paste and mud that covered them.
“They—–they thought we were thi—–thieves!” panted Carl, after he and his crony had covered several blocks.
“Yes, and we came near being shot dead!” added Ham.
“I didn’t know they were going to stay there to-night.”
“Neither did I.”
“Those shots will wake up the whole town.”
“Yes, and we must get out of sight. Phew! what a smell!”
“They dumped something down on us.”
“Must have been rotten eggs. What are we going to do?”
“I don’t know—–go home, I guess.”
“I can’t go home looking this way.”
“You’ll have to go.”
“Well, it’s lucky they didn’t recognize us.”
“That’s true. But this suit is about ruined.”
“So is mine. And we didn’t hurt their outfit at all.”
“Never mind, we’ll get square with them another time.”
After that Carl and Ham separated and each lost no time in sneaking home and washing up and trying to clean his garments. They did not dare to tell their parents of what had occurred and so had to suffer in silence.
The shots from the gun aroused some folks living near the river front, and several men came down to the boathouse to learn what was the matter.
“Two fellows tried to get in here, but we scared them away,” said Snap.
“Who were they?” asked one man.
“Two fellows dressed in dark suits and with slouch hats.”
“Did you hit them?”
“No, we only fired to scare them off.”
“Where did they go?”
“Ran back of Dickson’s boathouse,” answered the doctor’s son.
A brief search was made, but the prowlers, of course, were not located. Then the men went home, and Snap and Shep settled down to make themselves comfortable for the rest of the night.