“If the company’s officers order us to let up on the gambling,” proposed Harry, “we can resign and get out of this business altogether.”
“We won’t resign, and we won’t knuckle down to any lot of swindlers either, Harry!” cried Tom. “Some one is fighting us, and this wreck of a sea-wall is the first proof. All right! If any one wants to fight us he shall find that we know how to fight back, and that we can hit hard. Harry, from this minute on we’re after those crooks, and we’ll make them realize that there’s some sting to us!”
“Good enough!” cheered Hazelton. “I like that old-time fight talk! But are you going to do anything to protect the wall to-night, Tom?”
“I am,” announced the young chief engineer.
“What’s the plan?”
“Let me think,” urged Reade. “Now, I believe, I have it. We’ll send one of the motor boats out here, with a foreman and four laborers. They can arm themselves with clubs and patrol the water on both sides of the wall. The ‘Thomas Morton’ has a small search-light on her that will be of use in keeping a close eye over the wall.”
“That ought to stop the nonsense,” Harry nodded. “But I don’t imagine that any further efforts to destroy the wall will be made tonight, anyway.”
“We’ll have the night patrol out every night after this,” Tom declared. “But I’m not so sure either, that another effort won’t be made to-night, if we don’t put a watch on to stop this wicked business. Harry, do you mind remaining out here while I run back and get the boat out?”
“Why should I mind?” Hazelton wanted to know.
“Well, I didn’t know whether you would, or not—–after seeing that imaginary something behind you.”
“Don’t laugh at me! I may have had a start, but you ought to be the first to know, Tom, that I haven’t frozen feet.”
“I do know it, Harry. You’ve been through too many perils to be suspected of cowardice. Well, then, I’ll run back.”
Tom Reade had really intended to leave the flash lamp with his chum, but he forgot to do so, and, as he jogged steadily along over the wall he threw the light ahead of him. As he got nearer shore Tom increased his jog to a brisk run.
Once, on the way, he passed the prowling negro without knowing it. That huge fellow, seeing the ray of light come steadily near him, hesitated for a few moments, then took to the water, swimming well out. After Reade had passed, the fellow swam in toward the wall.
Up on the wall climbed the negro. For a few minutes he crouched there, shaking the water from his garments. Then, cautiously, he began to crawl forward.
“Boss Reade, he done gone in,” muttered the prowler. “Boss Hazelton, Ah reckon he’s mah poultry!”
Harry, keeping his lone vigil away out on the narrow retaining wall, was growing sleepy. He had nearly forgotten his scare. Indeed, he was inclined to look upon it as a trick of his own brain.