“Every time that one of us opens his mouth,” laughed Mr. Prenter, “I am expecting to hear a big bang down by the breakwater to punctuate the speaker’s sentence. I wonder whether the scoundrels back of Sambo have any more novel ways for setting off their big firecrackers around our wall?”
“It might not be a bad idea for me to get out on the watch again,” Tom suggested, rising. “If I get in more trouble than I can handle I’ll just yell ‘Mr. Prenter,’ for I shall know that he’ll be within easy hearing distance.”
The treasurer laughed, as he, too, rose.
“My being so near you before, Reade, was just accident. I was prowling about on my own account, when you and your army friend passed me in the deep woods. I had an idea that you were out for some definite purpose, and so I just trailed along at your rear in order to be near any excitement that you might turn up.”
“And I suppose you’re going to follow us this time, too,” smiled Tom Reade.
“Prenter,” suggested the president of the company, “what do you say if you and I prowl in some other direction? I’ve been such a miserable coward all through this affair that now I’d like to go with you. If we run into any trouble I’ll try to show you that I’m not all coward.”
“Come along, Bascomb,” agreed the treasurer cordially. “Reade, I give you my word that we won’t intentionally follow on your trail.”
At a nod from Tom, Dick was at his side. The two high school chums started off with brisk steps.
“Which way are you going?” whispered Dick.
“Let’s go down to the breakwater,” suggested Tom. “I really ought to visit it once in the night, despite the fact that Corbett is a wholly reliable foreman, and that he has his own pick of workmen on patrol duty there.”
As the chums stepped out from under the trees in full view of the breakwater site they beheld the lanterns of the patrol, like so many fireflies, twinkling and bobbing here and there along the narrow-topped retaining wall.
Tom and Dick went out on the wall until they encountered the first workman on patrol. Tom took this man’s lantern and signaled the motor boat as it stood in shore.
“All going right, Corbett?” the young engineer hailed, as soon as the “Morton” had come up alongside.
“As far as I can see, Mr. Reade, there’s not a sign of the enemy to-night. But of course you know, sir, that we’ve been just as sure on other nights, only to have a large part of the wall blown clean out of the water.”
“All I can say,” Tom nodded, “is to go on keeping your eyes and ears open.”
“Yes, sir; you may be sure I’ll do that,” nodded the foreman.
Then Reade and his army chum returned to the shore.
“I guess it will be a wholly blind hunt,” Tom laughed, “but I’ve a notion for returning to the spot where we encountered Sambo Ebony before this night.”