“Whew!” muttered Tom aghast. “And that’s all I’ve got to say on this subject.”
“I thought you’d like to know the news,” remarked Johnson, “and so I came to tell you.”
“Please accept my thanks,” Tom answered. Then, as the foreman passed along, Reade went back to his friends.
“You seem staggered about something,” remarked Mr. Prenter, eyeing him keenly.
“Possibly I am,” admitted Tom. “Evarts is out on bail.”
“Now, what fool or rogue could have signed that fellow’s bail bond?” demanded Mr. Prenter in exasperation.
“Careful, sir!” warned Tom smilingly. “I’ve just been informed that the bail bond was signed by Mr. Bascomb, president of the Melliston Company.”
“Well, of all the crazy notions!” gasped Mr. Prenter. “But there! I won’t say more. Bascomb is a queer fellow in some things, but he’s a good fellow in lots of things, and a square, honest man in all things. If he signed Evarts’s bond, there was a reason, and not a dishonest one.”
“But Evarts won’t behave,” predicted Harry dismally. “After all our trouble we shall still have to remain on guard night and day.”
“It’ll be an airship next,” laughed Dick Prescott.
“Unless Sambo Ebony comes forward once more, and finds out how to lay wires by a new submarine route,” retorted Tom Reade.
All the present company felt unaccountably gloomy just at this moment. There could be no guessing what would occur next to hamper or destroy the fruits of their hard labor.
A SECRET IN SIGHT
“Mr. Prenter,” asked Tom suddenly, “is there anything about which you wish to see me just now?”
“Not particularly,” replied the treasurer. “Only, in view of late developments I’m going to remain about for the next few days, unless you order me out of the house. I want to be close to the trouble.”
“Then, if I’m not needed,” gaped Reade, “I’m going to turn in and steal a little sleep. I need rest.”
“As I’m going to stay up to-night, Tom, and keep you company through the dark hours, I’m for the bale of lint, too,” announced Lieutenant Prescott.
“At what hour shall I call you?” asked Harry.
“At eight o’clock to-night,” answered Tom.
Refreshed by a few hours’ sleep Tom and Dick were called, to find their supper ready. Nicolas stood behind their chairs, attentive to their needs.
Mr. Prenter remained out on the porch, but Harry sat at table with his friends.
“Has Mr. Bascomb put in an appearance here?” Tom inquired.
“No,” said Hazelton briefly.
“He certainly has wound up my curiosity,” murmured Tom. “Why on earth should he bail out Evarts?”
“Probably because Evarts asked him to,” suggested Dick.
“But why should he want to please Evarts in such a matter?”