“This is the worst luck yet,” observed the doctor’s son, with something like a groan. “Supposing we can’t get our boat and outfit back—–”
“Oh, we’ve got to get ’em back!” burst out Whopper. “We’ll do it if we have to scrape the lake with a fine-tooth comb.”
“I wish it was morning—–we can’t see much in the dark, even with the torches,” said Shep.
Giant was examining the shore, for the possible discovery of strange footprints. But he could discover none that looked different from their own.
“If I was an Indian I might distinguish them, but to me they all look alike,” he said.
What to do next the young hunters did not know. Had they had a second boat they might have rowed up and down the lake, but even this move was denied to them.
“Let us go up and down the shore on foot,” suggested Snap. “It is all out of the question to go back to bed—–I couldn’t sleep a wink.”
It was decided that Shep and Snap should go north while Whopper and Giant went south. All procured new torches, and each took along a gun.
“If you discover anything give the old whistle,” said the leader of the club.
The way Snap and Shep had chosen was anything but easy. To the northward the shore of Lake Cameron was rocky and uneven, with many gullies and little streams flowing over the rocks. More than once they thought they heard somebody or some animal moving but the sound proved to be nothing but the falling water. Once Shep stepped into a hollow and was scared by the sudden appearance of several big bullfrogs.
“Wish they were rabbits or squirrels, I might shoot them,” he said.
“Well, you can shoot the frogs if you wish,” answered Snap. “The hind legs are as sweet as squirrel meat.”
“I know that—–but I’m not out for frogs just now. I want to find that boat.”
The two young hunters covered a quarter of a mile when they came out on a small point of land overlooking the broad lake. As they, did this Snag uttered a cry:
“What is that out yonder, Shep?”
“Why, I declare, it looks like the boat!”
“Just what I was thinking. How can we get to her?”
“I don’t know—–unless we swim over.”
“Is anybody on board?”
“I can’t make out—–in fact, I am not at all sure it is the boat,” was the slow answer.
The object they had discovered was quite a distance out on the lake and the light from their torches reached it but faintly. The thing was drifting down the lake slowly, and as they watched it almost passed from view.
“Here, this won’t do,” cried Snap. “If it is the boat we must catch her and bring her in.”
“It’s kind of cold swimming—–this time of night,” answered the doctor’s son, who did not relish such a bath.
“Here, you hold my things and I’ll swim out,” declared Snap, “I don’t think the water is any colder now than in the day time.”