A MAROONED BOY SCOUT
Rushing ashore in the small boat, the boys paused scarcely long enough to draw their craft to a safe position on the beach before they raced to the spot where the stranger had fallen.
They were abreast as they approached his prostrate form lying face down in the sand. With one accord they stooped to examine him. Jack rolled the body over tenderly searching for the mark of the villain’s bullet but found none.
Slowly the prostrate boy opened his eyes staring about in amazement. Jack supported his head while the two chums stood by anxious to be of assistance in rendering aid to the fallen lad.
“Where are you hurt?” questioned Jack tenderly.
“Nowhere!” replied the lad. “I heard a shot just as I tripped over something in the sand and then the next thing I knew you had me. What happened, anyway? Who shot and at what?”
“I don’t know the fellow’s name, but he was at one time a passenger on our boat, I believe. He is a villain if ever there was one!” replied Jack with some warmth.
“Maybe it’s the same fellow I know!” declared the stranger. “But may I ask to whom I am indebted for the pleasure of this call?”
Jack introduced himself, and then his two chums. In turn the stranger gave his name as Frank Evans of the Bob White patrol of St. Louis. The boys now started toward the rowboat, keeping a glance around for foes as they walked.
“Hadn’t we better get your things from on shore if you go with us?” asked Arnold, as the boys approached the boat.
“I haven’t a thing of my own here!” declared Frank. “If we except, of course, my fire stick and the remains of a flounder.”
“A fire stick and flounder!” cried Arnold. “Where are they?”
“Up there by that old bit of wreckage,” replied Frank. “You see, I had nothing but my pocket knife when I landed here, and haven’t had much chance to import goods since my arrival.”
“How long have you been here?” queried Harry. “We thought you must be in desperate need from the looks of the fires.”
“I think this is the third day,” replied Frank. “Yesterday I slept most of the time while the schooner was standing off and on, and the day before that was the day they put me ashore. I’ve had a rush with the pirates that infest these waters under the guise of honest working fishermen. They’re a bad lot, too,” he added.
“Pirates?” gasped the three members of the Fortuna’s crew.
“That’s what I’d call them,” replied Frank. “You see, my chum and myself came down the Mississippi River in a gasoline launch. She was a beauty—a thirty-footer. She had a trunk cabin over three-quarters of her, and an open cockpit aft. We had her fitted up in pretty good shape, too. We wanted a little pleasure trip, so we made up our minds we’d bring the launch down here and if we got a good chance