“I won’t go back to jail if I can help it,” laughed Evarts, speaking to the negro. “As soon as I even up one or two grudges I’m going to slip away.”
“Break yo’ bail?” asked the negro, showing his teeth.
“That’s about the size of it,” nodded Evarts.
“Den de w’ite gemman who done fu’nish yo’ bond will be feelin’ bad, won’t he?”
“Let him—–he’s no friend of mine,” grunted the discharged foreman.
“Maybe yo’d like de job ob tendin’ to Boss Reade yo’so’f?” hinted Sambo darkly.
“Oh, I’m going to settle with Reade in some fashion,” boasted Evarts with a leer. “I don’t know that I want to kill him. I’d rather cripple him and let him live a life of misery.”
“Thank you!” thought Tom from his hiding place.
“There’s another chap we’ll have to deal with, too, I’m thinking,” Evarts went on. “Reade and Hazelton have a friend of theirs here, and he’s likely to make some trouble for us. He’s an army officer.”
“I done heah’d ob him,” nodded Sambo. “We can settle wid him, too.”
“We ought to, for he helped arrest me, and he’s to be a witness on the torpedo matter.”
“W’ate’s his name—–de ahmy man’s?” inquired Sambo.
The speaker stopped suddenly, looking about him.
“What was that, Tar?” Evarts demanded.
“W’at yo’ talkin’ ’bout?”
“I heard a noise, and it was right over there,” replied Evarts, pointing to where Tom and Dick lay hidden.
“I didn’t heah nuffin’.”
“I did, I tell you, and it will have to be looked into,” insisted the ex-foreman, drawing his automatic revolver.
“Go ahaid, den,” encouraged Sambo, also drawing his weapon. “Ef anybody been a-lis’enin’, den shoot him full ob holes!”
Evarts darted at the bushes ahead of his companion. Then an exultant yell came from him.
“Hustle, Tar—–and shoot straight! Here are the very people we want—–I caught sight of them!”
“Den watch me!” chuckled Sambo Ebony, flourishing his weapon and dashing forward in the tracks of Evarts.
There was no time for the chums to rise and dart away.
MR. BASCOMB HEARS BAD NEWS
When Evarts used the word “people” he employed it only in a general sense. He had seen no one but Tom Reade, but Tom was the one person in the world whom the ex-foreman wanted most to ‘see’ at a disadvantage.
“Now, I have you!” Evarts croaked hoarsely, rushing in, flourishing his weapon, then letting the muzzle drop to the position of aim.
Dick Prescott, unseen, stirred almost under the fellow’s feet.
Flop! Bump! Caught by the legs, by that famous football player, Dick Prescott, Evarts simply had to go down on his back.
In the same instant Reade leaped, then bent over the prostrate foe.