Powerful as the stranger was he was no football player. Harry “tackled” him in the neatest possible way, then strove to rise with this great human being.
In the first instant it seemed to the young engineer as though he were trying to lift a mountain. His back felt as though it were snapping under a giant’s task. Yet, but for one fact, Hazelton would have risen with his man, and would have hurled the mysterious one over into the waters of the gulf.
Just in the instant of victory Harry’s injured right foot gave out under him. With a stifled groan he sank down just as he threw his opponent.
The black, instead of going into the water, landed hard on his back on the top of the wall. He was up again, however, before Hazelton could repress the pain in his foot and leap at the wretch.
“Ha, ha! Ho, ho!” came the tantalizing challenge.
“Put-put-put!” sounded over the water, coming nearer all the time.
“Re—–e—–e—–e a d e! T o m R e a d e! Help—–quick!” yelled Harry, lustily.
This, doubtless, was the first call that Tom, at the bow of the motor boat, thought he heard.
Uttering a snort, this time, instead of the laugh, the black sprang at his intended prey. Their heads met, with considerable force. Then, with a wild chuckle, the black wound his apelike arms around the young engineer.
“Reade! Tom Reade! Reade!” bellowed Hazelton lustily, as he tried desperately to free himself from the crushing embrace of the other.
* * * * *
Over the waters came the penetrating beam of a small search-light. The “Morton” was coming nearer all the time, but the ray did not yet reach with any great clearness the point where Harry Hazelton had been fighting for his life against his strange foe in the black night.
“Keep parallel with the wall, Evarts,” Tom ordered, crisply. “Conlon, are you pushing the engines for all it’s worth?”
“Yes, sir,” came from the engine-tender. “This old craft isn’t good for quite seven miles’ an hour, anyway.”
“There! Now I’ve picked up the part of the wall where there isn’t any wall in sight just now,” said Tom, wincing over his own bull. “Hazelton ought to be just this side of there.”
“There’s no one near the breach,” replied Evarts.
“So I see,” Reade admitted, in a tone of worriment. “Oh, well, Harry isn’t such an infant as to be wiped out all in one moment.”
“Where is Mr. Hazelton then?” inquired Evarts, as Tom swung the arc of the searchlight in broad curves.
“Great Scott! I wish I knew!” gasped Reade, his perplexity and his anxiety growing with every second. “There appears to be no one on top of the wall.”
Evarts ran in within a few feet of the wall, on the shore-side of the breach.
“Shall I land you there, sir?” questioned the foreman.
“Presently,” Tom nodded. “But now, back out a few feet and swing the boat’s nose around so that I can make a search with this light.” Evarts obeyed the order. Despite the smallness of the light, Reade was able to send the searching beam of light back nearly one-half of the way to shore. Nowhere was there any human being visible on the wall.