In a short time Harry brought the sailboat up to the landing. The motor boat had followed, but did not come all the way in. After the sail had been lowered and made snug the party took up its way, on foot, to the nearby town of Blixton.
Justice Sampson was found, and consented to open court immediately. Officer Carnes brought his prisoners forward, stating the charge. The young engineers and the army officer gave their testimony.
“The prisoners are held for trial, and bail fixed at five thousand dollars in each case,” decided the court.
The torpedo had been left on the sloop, in charge of a foreman. The justice now ordered two officers to go back and bring over the torpedo, which was to be held until a chemist could examine and take samples of whatever explosive might be found inside.
As Dick was a United States Army officer, under orders to proceed to his post within the next few days, the court reduced his testimony to writing, and permitted Prescott to sign this under oath.
It had been a busy forenoon. Now it was time for luncheon, and the three chums returned to the house to eat. In the afternoon they visited the wall, remaining there until four o’clock. On their return to the house Tom and Harry were greeted by Mr. Prenter, who had been waiting for them.
“I heard the news of last night’s doings, and to-day’s, and came right down,” explained the treasurer of the Melliston Company. “Reade, I’m glad to be able to say that you appear to have brought us to the end of the explosion troubles.”
“Or else we’re just starting with that trouble,” Reade smiled wistfully. “Mr. Prenter, I must say that there appears to be no end to the surprises with which our enemies are capable of supplying us.”
Tom then nodded to Dick to come forward and presented him to the treasurer.
“An army officer?” asked Mr. Prenter eagerly. “Then I’m doubly glad to meet you, Mr. Prescott. You’ve seen the breakwater work? As an army officer and an engineer what do you think of it?”
“It’s great!” said Dick, though he added laughingly: “Reade and Hazelton are such dear old friends of mine that any testimony in their favor is likely to be charged to friendship.”
“I’ll believe what an army officer says, even in praise of his best friends,” smiled Mr. Prenter.
Foreman Johnson, who had been over in town, now came along. He halted some distance away, beckoning to Reade.
“Mr. Reade,” murmured the foreman, in an undertone, “over in Blixton I just heard some news that I thought would interest you. Evarts is out on bail.”
“He furnished a five thousand surety?” queried Tom.
“Yes, sir, and who do you suppose went on his bond?”
“I can’t imagine who the idiot is.”
“The man who signed Evarts’s bond,” continued Foreman Johnson solemnly, “was Mr. Bascomb, president of this company!”