“Then you’re too far in by some three miles,” answered the policeman.
“Thank you, cap’n,” acknowledged the sailing master of the sloop.
“You’re welcome,” the policeman continued, “but ease off your sheet and lay to. We want to come aboard.”
“You can’t!” flatly retorted the skipper.
“You’re wrong there,” retorted the policeman. “This is a police party, and I tell you that we are coming aboard. Lay to, or we shall have to start a lot of trouble for you.”
In the policeman’s hand suddenly glistened a revolver. Tom ran the motor boat close alongside. With a snarl the man left off his sheet. The policeman and Dick Prescott leaped aboard the craft, Tom and Harry following.
“This is a cheeky outrage!” snarled the skipper, scowling at the invaders.
“Then keep the change, and welcome,” laughed the policeman, taking his stand close to the skipper.
Dick Prescott made a dive at the cabin door, which was closed.
“Open this door!” he summoned.
As the door did not open Dick placed his shoulder against it.
“Open the door, or I’ll break it down,” Dick insisted.
There was still no answer. Thereupon Prescott proceeded to put his threat into execution. Harry bounded forward to help. Under their combined assault the door gave way.
Lieutenant Prescott was the first to enter the dark little cabin. Poor as the light was his eyes caught sight of something that made him gasp.
“This is the big capture of the season!” cried Dick jubilantly.
A NEW MYSTERY PEEPS IN
“Get out of here, or you’ll get something you don’t want,” roared an ugly voice at the farther end of the cabin.
At sound of that voice Tom Reade started. He thrust his head in the open doorway.
“Hullo, Evarts!” called the young chief engineer.
“Get out of here!” came the furious order.
“So you’ve openly joined the enemy, Evarts?” demanded Tom, as his eyes fell upon the object that had first claimed Lieutenant Dick Prescott’s attention.
“You’ve no business here! Get out, or I’ll shoot,” cried Evarts, defiantly.
“Don’t be too quick on the shoot,” warned the Blixton policeman, who still had his own revolver in his hand. “This is a police party, and you’re under arrest. Start any shooting trouble, and the air will be full of it.”
“Clear out, and I’ll come outside and talk with you,” proposed Evarts, for it really was the discharged foreman.
“All right,” nodded the policeman. “Gentlemen, let him step outside.”
The others left the entrance to the cabin, As Evarts, his pistol now back in his pocket, stepped sullenly outside, Harry Hazelton dropped back into the doorway.
“Glad to meet you, Mr. Evarts,” grinned the police officer, deftly slipping handcuffs on the fellow’s wrists.