“You’re at the foot of the rocks— on the cliff near the ocean,” said Jerry. “You had a fall. Are you badly hurt?”
The man groaned in reply. Then an angry, light shone in his eyes.
“No! I didn’t fall!” he exclaimed. “I was shoved over the cliff. He wanted to get me out of the way so he could claim everything! He’s a villain!”
“Who?” asked Ned quickly.
“Who? Who else but Carson Blowitz! I suppose he thinks I am dead, and he can have all that is on the ship! But I’ll—”
The man stopped suddenly, and a spasm of pain passed over his face.
“What is it?” asked Jerry.
“My arm— Oh, I’m afraid it is broken!”
The boys remembered how the left arm of the man was doubled up under him in a peculiar manner. He had doubtless fallen on it.
“Wait a minute and we’ll lift you up so that you will rest more comfortably,” said Jerry, and, with the aid of his chums he made from their coats and some seaweed a rude sort of bed for the man.
There was no doubt that the stranger’s left arm was broken. It hung limply down, and the least motion of it produced terrible pain. Fortunately the man did not again lose his senses, and he directed the boys how to bandage the arm close to his side, with their handkerchiefs tied together, so that the injured member would not swing about, and further splinter the broken bones.
“Do you think you can walk down to our boat?” asked Jerry. “We can take you to a doctor, for I think you need one.”
“Need one? I should say I did,” replied the man. “It is a wonder I was not killed by that fall. I’m afraid my ankle is sprained, but, after I rest a bit, and get over this dizzy feeling, I’ll try to walk to the boat. It’s lucky you boys happened to come along, just when you did.”
“We didn’t ‘happen’ to come along,” said Jerry. “We were looking for you.”
“Looking for me’?”
“Yes, we saw you and Blowitz talking on the cliffs in the moonlight, and then we saw you disappear. We thought it was queer at the time,” and Jerry related the subsequent events.
“I’m glad you witnessed that,” said the man, when Jerry had finished. “This will be additional evidence against that scoundrel who intends to rob me, and who tried to get me out of his way. However my time of reckoning will come. But would you mind telling me your names?”
Jerry introduced himself and his companions, briefly, telling the reasons for their presence in California.
“My name is De Vere,” said the man. “Maurice De Vere. I was in partnership with Blowitz, in several ventures, including the one in which a brig named the Rockhaven is concerned.”
“Are you interested in that?” asked Jerry eagerly. “Why that is the derelict Blowitz wanted us to go in search of in the motor boat.”
“He did? Now I understand why he wanted to get me out of the way!” cried Maurice De Vere, quickly. “He was afraid I would meet you boys.”