“Yes, we will help you,” answered Tom.
“You are certain they have all gone?” went on Dick, as he got out some oil and bandages, while Tom ran for water.
“Where did they go?”
“They went—oh, my legs and feet! How they smart! They went to the—the—house! Lesher said you must have set the ship on fire, and Baxter said the same. They—oh, what a pain! Please be careful!” Bostwick gulped down the water Tom gave him. “That is good.”
“What did they say, Bostwick?” asked Dick, as he continued to work over the hurt man.
“They said they were going to pay you back. They all went armed; that is, all but me and Shular. Shular was burnt up. They said they were going to shoot you down on sight, and then run the house to suit themselves. I said—oh, the pain. I—I—how weak I am!”
And with those words the burnt sailor fell back in a dead faint.
THE DEFENSE OF THE CAVE-SAVED!
“He has fainted, poor fellow!” said Dick, as he bent over the unconscious form of Bostwick.
“We ought to git back to the house at once!” put in old Jerry. “We must warn the cap’n and the others of what Lesher and his crowd intend to do.”
“That is true, but we can’t leave this poor chap here. He might die for the want of care,” came from Tom.
“We’ll take him along,” said Dick. “Come, lift him up.”
As carefully as they could they lifted the unconscious form up and bore it to where the rowboat was lying. Soon all were on board, and while Tom did his best to revive Bostwick, Dick and old Jerry bent their back to the oars, pulling as they had seldom pulled before.
The beach in front of the house was almost gained when they heard a shot ring out, followed by several others.
“Just as I feared!” groaned Dick. “Lesher and the others have begun the attack!”
“Then we’ll have to be careful how we land,” said old Jerry. “If we aint, we may run right into ’em!”
There was no moon, but the stars shone brightly, so the beach line was dimly visible in the distance. Standing up in the bow, Tom saw a flash of fire from the jungle below the house, and heard the crack of a firearm. Then he saw some dark forms running along the beach.
“Our party is making for the cave!” he cried. “We had better turn in that direction.”
Several other shots followed, but they could not tell if anybody was hit. In the distance several rum-crazed sailors were yelling like so many Indians.
Bostwick came to his senses just as the sand was reached.
“Whe—where am I?” he asked feebly. “Oh, my feet!”
“We have brought you with us, Bostwick,” answered Dick. “Keep still, and we will do what we can for you.”
As soon as possible they took the hurt man up, and all started for the entrance to the cave.