Snap’s next thought was to go back and tell his chums of his discovery. But then he reasoned that this would take time and in the meanwhile someone of the other crowd might come down to the boat and take away some of the things.
“I’ll take this boat around to where we left the raft,” he told himself, and set to work to shove the Snapper into deep water without delay. This was no light task, for the outfit on board was heavy, and Snap had to work like a Trojan to accomplish it.
The Snapper safely floated, another idea popped into the young hunter’s mind and made him grin broadly.
“Tit for tat,” he murmured, and set to work to float out the other rowboat and the canoe. Once they were free of the shore he tied both to the stern of the Snapper, and then settled down to row along the lake shore.
“Hi there!” came a sudden call out of the darkness. “Who are you?”
Snap was startled, but he did not drop his oars nor did he stop rowing. He was just rounding one of the points of the cove, and now he saw somebody running toward the point at top speed.
“I say, who are you?” continued the party on shore, and now Snap recognized Ham Spink’s voice.
“None of your business!” answered Snap gruffly and in as heavy a tone as he could command.
“You are running away with our boats!” continued Ham, in consternation. “Hi, fellows, come here! Somebody is running away with all the boats!” he bawled.
His cries soon reached those around the campfire, and a grand rush was made to the water’s edge. By this time Snap had rounded the point of the cove and was rowing as rapidly as possible in the direction where the raft lay.
“He has all the boats!”
“Who can he be?”
“Must be somebody from that other camp!”
Such were some of the cries uttered. Then someone ran for a shotgun, but by this time Snap was out of sight around a fringe of brushwood. He continued to row his best, and before very long gained the spot where the raft rested. Then he leaped ashore and ran in the direction of the campfire.
“This way, fellows!” he cried. “I have the boat! Back to the raft! Back to the raft!” And he gave the well-known whistle.
In a few minutes he encountered Giant and Whopper and learned that Shep had gone forward, to find out what the cries at the lake front meant.
“We must get him to come back,” he said. “You go down to the boats and the raft and get them ready to shove off on short notice.” And he ran closer to the campfire.
The entire camp was now in wild commotion, for each lad present understood that all the boats were gone. Ham Spink and Carl Dudder were in a rage.
“We should have placed somebody on guard,” cried Ham. “We were chumps not to do it.”
“I didn’t think anybody would be over here so quick,” answered Carl. “How could they do it without a boat?”