“This is our boat,” said Snap, as he looked the craft over.
“Humph, can you prove it?” growled Giles Faswig.
“Yes, and I can prove more if I have to,” added the leader of the hunting club.
“That the rope has been cut.”
“What does that signify?” asked Andrew Felps.
“It shows that the boat didn’t drift away. Somebody cut the rope and made off with her.”
“See here—–” began Giles Faswig, and then stopped short. There was a shout, and Giant and Shep burst into view.
“Got the boat, eh?” cried the doctor’s son. “Good!” And then he looked curiously at the men, and so did Giant.
“Come on and shove the boat out,” said Snap. “We’ll talk this over later.” And before anybody could stop him he was in the craft and pushing out of the bushes.
“Say look here—–” began Andrew Felps, but the boys paid no attention. All got on board the Snapper, and in a moment more the craft was out in the middle of the cove.
“Don’t you try to make any trouble for me!” shouted Giles Faswig. “I simply found that boat adrift and brought her in here for safety.”
“And I don’t believe a word you say,” answered Snap. “I think you visited our camp and stole the boat.”
“And that is what I think,” added Whopper.
A wordy war followed lasting fully ten minutes. It was plainly to be seen that Giles Faswig and his companions were much disturbed, thinking the boys would make trouble for them. At last the young hunters rowed away and went back to their own camp. It was now growing quite light.
“Did you ever hear of such meanness,” was Snap’s comment. “They meant to keep our boat hidden until we had left this vicinity. Then maybe, they’d cast it adrift and say they had nothing to do with taking her.”
“Well, we found out how mean they were last year, so it is nothing new,” said Shep. “You were lucky to locate the craft.”
“It was all through that boy,” returned Whopper. “I pity him if he has Giles Faswig for an uncle.”
“I think the best we can do is to leave Lake Cameron at once,” said Giant. “We don’t want to run into that crowd again.”
The others agreed, and by eight o’clock that morning the tent was taken down and stored away and the journey to Firefly Lake was begun.
It was a clear, warm day, with bright sunshine overhead. The woods were full of birds that sang sweetly, and being so near to nature’s heart, the young hunters soon forgot their troubles.
The stream leading from Lake Cameron to Firefly Lake was a tortuous and rocky one, and more overgrown with bushes than it had been the summer previous. At one point the spring freshets had rolled in a number of big stones and these the boys had to roll out of the way before the rowboat could get through. Not wishing to damage the Snapper, they proceeded with care, so by dinner time less than half the distance to the smaller body of water was covered.