“You deserve to win out here, too,” remarked Mr. Prenter. “I have no patience with anything but straight, uncompromising right. We can’t control the men, if they see fit to leave the camp at night, but you have every right—–and it’s your duty—–to see to it that no disorder is allowed within camp limits. I, too, have heard something about your trouble here, Mr. Reade, and I can promise you that the directors generally will sustain you. So Mr. Bascomb demanded your resignation?”
“He did, sir.”
“Let it go at that,” smiled Mr. Prenter. “You may even, sometime, if it will please Mr. Bascomb, hand him your resignation. I will see to it that it doesn’t get past the board of directors. Mr. Bascomb is irritable, and sometimes he is a downright crank, but he is valuable to us just the same. We feel, too, Reade, that you and Hazelton are just the men we need to put this breakwater through in the best fashion.”
“Even though at least eight thousand dollars in damage was done last night?” queried Tom.
“Yes, even in the face of that. I am certain that you will know how to forestall any more such spite work.”
“Now, I’m not altogether so sure of that, sir,” Reade answered, quickly. “Of course we’ll be eternally vigilant after this, but the trick was done last night so cleverly and mysteriously that we may be surprised again by the plotters. Speaking of mystery, could anything be stranger, or harder to explain, than what happened to poor Hazelton?”
“There was mystery for you!” nodded Mr. Prenter. “Have you any ideas whatever on the subject of Hazelton’s disappearance?”
“Not the slightest,” groaned Tom. “I know all the indications are that he has been killed, and I ought to believe that such is the case. But I simply won’t believe it. Why, if he were killed, what became of the body?”
“It’s a puzzle,” sighed Mr. Prenter.
They were now nearing the land end of the breakwater wall. Mr. Bascomb overtook them. Together the three strolled out along the wall, halting frequently, to observe what the men were doing. It was their plan to keep on until they came to the scene of the two explosions of the night before.
“Just what are you doing here?” asked Mr. Bascomb, stopping and pointing to a gang of men at work on a scow moored against the wall.
“I can tell you, after a fashion, sir,” Reade answered. “Yet this was a part of Hazelton’s performance. He had charge here, and knew ever so much about it. Poor old Harry!”
Behind them, at the beginning of the wall, a long, loud whistle sounded.
In a moment fully a hundred of the workmen stood up, waved their caps and cheered as though they had gone mad.
Coming forward, with long strides, was Harry Hazelton, in the flesh!
MR. PRENTER INVESTIGATES