“Let go of him!” he cried. “Let go, I say!” and he caught Ham Spink by the arm.
“Capture him, fellows!” shouted Carl Dudder, and at once several of the Spink crowd fell upon Snap.
But Snap was not to be made a prisoner thus easily, and hitting out with all his might he sent Jack Voss reeling to the ground. Then he hit Ike Akley in the nose.
“Ouch!” yelled Ike, and put up his hand, to withdraw it covered with blood. “He has broken my nose!” And he fell back in alarm.
A rough and tumble struggle ensued, in which blows were given and taken freely. Snap was struck in the breast and in the cheek, but not seriously hurt. In the melee Shep managed to squirm free from those who held him and he quickly ranged up by his chum’s side.
“What did you say about our outfit?” he panted.
“We’ve got it,” answered Snap. “Come, we had better be going.”
“Don’t let them get away!” yelled Ham Spink, and made a jab for Snap. But just then the doctor’s son hit out desperately and the rich youth received a blow in the mouth that loosened two teeth and caused him to retreat in a hurry.
For the moment the enemy were disconcerted, and taking advantage of this, Snap and Shep started on a run through the dark forest, moving as swiftly as the condition of the ground would permit. The Spink crowd came after them, shouting to them to stop. Carl Dudder called out that he would shoot if they did not halt.
“Do you think he’ll do it?” asked Shep uneasily.
“I guess it’s a bluff—–I don’t think he has a gun or pistol,” answered Snap, and he was right, for no shot followed.
When at last the two boys reached the spot where the raft had been moored they found everything in readiness for departure. Whopper and Giant had strung all the craft together in a line, making quite a flotilla.
“They are after us—–we’ve got to dust out lively!” cried Shep, as he and his chum struck the water’s edge.
“You can’t get in the Snapper,” explained Whopper. “The outfit is in such a jumble there is no room.”
“You stay where you are,” ordered Snap. “I’ll get in their rowboat and Shep can get in the canoe. There will be no hurry, once we are away from the shore.”
There was little time to say more, for a crashing in the brushwood told them that the enemy was close at hand. They had missed the trail but now found it again. They came out on the lake shore while yet those on the water were close by.
“Here they are!”
“They have the boat and the canoe!”
“Where did that raft come from?”
“Good-bye!” sang out Whopper. “Hope you enjoy yourselves. You can get another boat down to Fairview, if you want one.”
“You come back here!” yelled Ham Spink, in great rage.
“If you don’t come back with our boats I’ll have you arrested,” put in Carl Dudder.