“Wow, wow!” yelled Torry. “Listen to him sling language.”
“Hold on, fellows,” Whistler said, diving for the glass he never went to sea without. “That’s no smack.”
They all had turned to look at the approaching craft which Ikey had first sighted. It was a power boat and was running parallel with the coast in a southeasterly direction and inshore of the anchorage of the Sue Bridger.
She was about forty feet long and was showing some speed; but her hull looked battered, and there was nothing natty or yacht-like about her.
“No pleasure craft, that,” ventured Torry, as Phil trained his glasses on her. “She’s too slouchy.”
“She’s got speed, just the same,” observed Frenchy. “What’s her name, Phil?”
“Can’t make it out,” returned Morgan. Then immediately he uttered a surprised ejaculation.
“What’s up?” Torry asked him.
Whistler said nothing but he drew his chum up beside him and thrust the glass into his hand. “Look at that fellow,” he commanded.
“Which fellow?” asked Torry trying to focus the glass on the strange craft.
“The man forward. He’s looking this way. See! The man with the whiskers,” whispered Morgan.
“I see him,” returned Torry.
The other boys were giving more attention to their fishing again. Whistler was very much in earnest, and he spoke softly in his chum’s ear:
“You’ve seen him before. It’s the man we saw in the bushes up there by the Elmvale Dam the other day. Remember, Al?”
“Gee! Yes!” breathed Torry.
“They told me his name was Blake. He doesn’t look it,” said Whistler earnestly. “He looks more like a German than Hansie Hertig—and that’s enough!”
“Of course, he can’t help that,” agreed Whistler before Torrance could voice objection. “But he is a stranger in Elmvale. He works at the munition factory. You’d think of course they’d be careful who they employ. But he wouldn’t be the first alien that has been employed in such a factory.”
“What are you driving at, Phil?” demanded his chum, much puzzled now.
“I found something up there near the dam that I didn’t tell you fellows about. And it is something that I think that man’s interested in. Now, what’s he out here for?”
“For a sail.”
“In that old tub that is full of oil casks and the like?”
“Whistler Morgan!” breathed Torry in amazement, “how do you know at this distance what kind of cargo that boat has?”
“Why, she fairly reeks of oil!” said Whistler confidently. “See that streak along the water in her wake—that purplish, reddish streak?”
“I see it!” admitted Torry in a moment.
“Nothing but oil would do that. She’s got leaky casks aboard. And where would an oil lighter be going out this way? Where is she coming from and where is she going? And what is that bewhiskered Blake doing aboard her? Tell me that, will you?”