“He must have heard that we lost our steamer.”
“That was relayed last night to the Kennebunk, I believe. The Huns are sowing many mines in these waters. There is a flock of U-boat chasers and destroyers out after the German submarines.
“But there is something else of moment in the wind,” added the revenue officer. “The Kennebunk,” he added, mysteriously, “will not be long in these waters.”
“It is expected that there will be a great naval movement on the other side. The report of the Kennebunk’s manoeuvres, and her gun record, is said to be so good that she may be sent across.”
Whistler, standing by, could scarcely suppress a cry of delight.
“What do you think of that, Morgan?” the ensign cried. Then to the revenue officer: “After this cruise, I suppose you mean, sir?”
“She may be sent on the jump—and within a few hours. I have orders to take you to sea at once and find the Kennebunk. Our operator is sending out feeler messages for the battleship right now.”
“Then you will do nothing toward looking into this nest of trouble-makers on the island—if there is such—immediately?”
“Not until we return.”
“And then,” said Mr. MacMasters seriously, “if you do stir up these snakes, look for a fellow named Franz Linder. He is wanted in Elmvale, up there in New England, for blowing up a dam, destroying munition factories and drowning twelve innocent people. We’ll be glad, Morgan here, and I, to hear about the capture of that scoundrel.”
The revenue cutter was a speedy craft, and by midforenoon she was far outside the string of islands near which the crew of the Kennebunk’s steamer under Ensign MacMasters had experienced so many adventures.
The wireless operator picked up the superdreadnaught at last. She was two hundred miles away, and when she gave her course to the cutter the boys noticed that it occasioned a deal of excitement upon the quarterdeck.
Unless the message is spread on the notice-board by the door of the wireless room, the members of the crew of any vessel are not likely to know what is going on in the air. The operator, like the usual telegraph operator, is bound to secrecy.
“There’s something up besides the blue peter, just as sure as you’re a foot high, Whistler,” Al Torrance declared eagerly. “I’d give a punched nickel to know just what it is.”
Having nothing to occupy their time on the cutter, the four Navy boys naturally gave their attention to rumor and gossip. They believed the Kennebunk was no longer headed up the coast; but where she was going was a question.
“Crickey!” groaned Al, “if she gets into any muss without our being aboard, I’ll be a sore one.”
“They wouldn’t be so mean,” wailed Ikey, “as to have a fight without us being in it. Oi, oi! Oi, oi!”