After the negro’s disappearance toward the cabin, the boys again gathered about Jack, eager for the next development.
“After Doright’s lucid explanation, I think we have reduced our troubles to just one,” he announced in a tone of finality.
“Just one trouble on earth,” shouted Harry. “Oh my!”
“And what, pray, might that be?” queried Frank.
“That is just the question of whether or not there really is a treasure and if there is whether or not it is getatable, and whether Wyckoff and Lopez and their gang of rascals will make us the trouble they have been trying to make if we endeavor to get the chest.”
“Well,” speculated Charley, “if there isn’t a treasure, there might just as well be one for Wyckoff and Lopez and their gang believe there is one, and they’re ready to fight to the last breath to get it.”
“They’re surely scrappers,” Arnold announced. “We know that.”
“Yes,” agreed Harry, “they’re scrappers from the very word.”
“Look at what we’ve had to contend with before we fairly start.”
“What I’m worried about,” Jack announced, “is that although Lawyer Geyer gives minute instructions about everything else he doesn’t give any information as to the site of the chest. The fort must have been an acre or so in extent, yet he doesn’t say whether it was buried in this corner or that, or out near the wood shed or what.”
“We’ll have to dig it all up,” laughingly declared Frank.
“I can fix that,” boasted Harry. “I know exactly the spot where we should turn the first shovelful of earth.”
A FRIEND AND AN ENEMY
“Yes, you know all about this business,” scorned Arnold. “I’ll wager you were there when the stuff was buried.”
“No I wasn’t there, but I know where to dig just the same. I can tell you within two feet of where the chest was planted.”
“Harry,” Jack said soberly, “this is getting to be almost too serious a matter to joke about. If you have any information that would be of help to us, let’s have it, but don’t joke us.”
“I’m not joking,” bridled Harry. “I’ve got some information that I believe to be pretty near the exact thing we’re looking for. I got it from a man who wouldn’t have parted with it for his right hand if he’d known about it, so I think it is all right.”
“Where did you get it and what does it look like?”
“I got it in the cabin in the woods that was burned down. When Lopez left us that time to go for Wyckoff in order to have his captives appraised and disposed of, I remembered that I had seen him just before supper step over to a chest in the corner of the room. He unlocked the chest, took an envelope from his pocket, put it in the chest and dropped the lid. It was a spring lock for he didn’t lock it again, but tried it to see if it was fast.”