“Be careful, won’t you, sir?” urged Conlon, in a somewhat awed voice. “Mr. Reade, we can’t afford to lose you until this job is completed. Men with all the nerve you show are scarce in the world.”
“I know where there are forty thousand men with at least as much nerve, many of them having several times as much as I,” laughed Tom.
“Where on earth are they?” demanded the Irishman.
“In the United States Navy. If there were a battleship here the jackies would be fighting for the honor of going down after these bombs.”
Then Reade dropped out of sight, once more. Nor was it long before he had the third and the fourth bombs aboard the boat. Then he climbed in himself, dripping like a shaggy Newfoundland dog.
“Put in at the dock now,” the young chief ordered, and the boat started on its way.
“Some one signaling from the wall lower down,” Tom soon informed the negro pilot. “Put in where you see the signaling.”
“It is I, Corbett,” called the foreman of that name. “Mr. Reade, these two men with me belong to the Blixton police.”
“Perhaps you had rather walk down to the dock, then, instead of getting into the boat,” laughed Reade. “We have four bombs aboard, just taken out of the wall above here.”
Accordingly the three turned and walked. At the landing the policemen gazed curiously at the bombs.
“Do you want to take charge of these?” Reade queried.
“Not particular about it,” replied the policeman, with a shrug. “We’d be scorched for endangering the town if we took those things into Blixton. Your foreman, Mr. Reade, called us out here to see if we could get trail of your missing Mexican servant.”
“That’s a vastly more important thing to do,” Tom replied with enthusiasm. “I want to find Nicolas before I do another thing.”
“Come here, Bill,” called one of the officers.
Out of the shadows near the shore came a youth leading a dog on a leash.
“This dog is a bloodhound,” announced one of the policemen with visible pride. “Take him to where the scent of the Mexican starts, and the dog will follow as long as there’s any scent left. But, first, we’ll have to have something that the Mexican has worn, so that the hound will know the true scent.”
“That will take but a few minutes,” declared Reade energetically. “Come up to the house, and I’ll find something that Nicolas has worn.”
Corbett remained behind to take care of the bombs. Tom led the officers and the youth with the hound on a brisk walk up to the house.
“Wait out here,” murmured Tom, “and I’ll bring something out. If we all go into the house we’ll wake my partner, Hazelton, and he has enough work to do in the daytime, without being kept up at night.”
While the others remained outside Tom stole into the house. There was a room in the rear, off the kitchen, where Nicolas slept. Into that room Reade stepped noiselessly.