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- The Rover Boys on the Great Lakes - 30/37 -

know you well, and I shall take no further chances with you. Now will you go or not?"

"I suppose, if we don't go, you'll bring some officers here to compel us to do as you wish."


"You may as well give in," said Peterson. "This island is not large, and even if you try to run away you'll be found, sooner or later. The _Peacock_ is probably already captured, and those on our boat will see that no other boat comes near here until we have you safe on board. The jig is up."

"I won't give in!" cried Arnold Baxter. "Come, Dan!" He caught his son by the arm, and both turned and sped into the nearest brush.

It was dark, the torches having died low, and before Dick could shoot, even if he wished to do so, the pair of rascals were out of sight.

"Stop!" said Dick to Peterson, who was for following them up. "We can do nothing in the darkness. Let them go. To-morrow is another day. Let us return to the _Rocket_ and take steps to capture the _Peacock_."

"Yes, and we must get back to Larry," said the lumberman.

It was no easy matter to find their way back to the treasure cave, and they missed the direction half a dozen times. When they did get back it was so gloomy in the bushes that they had to call out to Larry, in order to locate him.

"Gracious! I was afraid you would never come back," said the youth.

"We've had quite an adventure," replied Dick, and related the particulars.

Larry's ankle was somewhat better, and by leaning on both Dick and Peterson he managed to hobble along to where the _Rocket's_ small boat had landed them.

The steam tug was close at hand, and they were soon on board.

"Is the screw repaired?" was Dick's first question.

"Not quite, but it will be inside of half an hour," answered Jack Parsons.

"Have you seen anything of the _Peacock_? She is sailing around the island."

"No, haven't seen any sail since you left. We--"

A cry from the lookout interrupted the captain.

"Here comes the _Peacock_!"

The report was true, and all crowded forward to catch sight of the schooner in the darkness.

The stars made it fairly light on the water and, as the schooner came up close to the steam tug, Dick made out several figures on board.

"Ahoy, what tug is that?" came from the schooner.

"The _Rocket_" answered Parsons. "What schooner is that?"

To this there was no answer.

"What are you doing here?" asked Captain Langless instead.

"We are in trouble," returned Parsons, after whispering with Dick.

"What's up?"

"We've had a breakdown."

"Seen anybody from the island?"

"Why, we thought this island was deserted."

"So it is."

"Come up closer and give us a lift."

"Can't, we are behind time now."

Then, without warning, a Bengal light was lit on board of the schooner. A large reflector was placed behind the light, which was thus cast on the deck of the _Rocket_. At once Dick, Peterson, and the others were exposed to the gaze of Captain Langless.

"Ha! I suspected as much!" roared the master of the schooner. "Sheer off, Wimble, or the game is up!"

The helm of the _Peacock_ was at once thrown over, and she began to move off. A stiff breeze caused her to make rapid progress.

"Stop!" cried Dick. "Stop, or we will fire on you!"

He had scarcely spoken when the report of a pistol rang out and a bullet cut through the air over his head.

"Let that be a warning to you to leave us alone!" cried Captain Langless.

Then the schooner increased her speed, the flare from the Bengal light died out, and soon the _Peacock_ was lost to view in the darkness.



"How is this for a turn of fortune?" remarked Tom, as he and Sam stood on the deck of the _Wellington_ and watched the shore of Needle Point Island fading from view in the distance.

"It's all right, if only we can make those Canadians obey us," replied the youngest of the Rovers. "They don't seem to like matters much. They look dark and distrustful."

"I don't think they'll make trouble, Sam."

"Josiah Crabtree seems thoroughly cowed."

"Don't trust him. He is worse than a snake in the grass and he hates us worse than poison."

The two paced the deck thoughtfully. Mrs. Stanhope was still in the cabin, in the company of one of the sailors' wives, while the former teacher of Putnam Hall also kept out of sight.

"This seems an old tub of a boat," went on Tom, a few minutes later. "I wonder that Crabtree didn't hire something better. She just crawls along, and no more."

"Probably he got the boat cheap. He always was the one to go in for cheap things." And in his surmise the lad was correct.

It was not long before one of the Canadians took hold of a hand-pump near the bow of the boat and began to pump the water out of the hold.

"Hullo, your old tub leaks, eh?" said Tom.

"Yees, heem leak some," answered the fat Canadian. "Heem want some what-you-call-heem, tar; hey?" And he smiled broadly.

"Any danger of sinking?"

At this the Canadian shook his head. Then he went to pumping at a faster rate than ever.

"I believe he is afraid," said Tom to Sam. "She must leak fearfully, or he wouldn't pump up so much water."

"Well, the journey to the mainland won't last forever--that's one satisfaction, Tom. I reckon the tub is good for that much of a run. I don't care what becomes of her after we are ashore."

"Nor I. She can sink if she wishes, with Crabtree on board, too."

"Sink!" cried a voice behind them. "Is there danger of the ship going down? I noticed that she was leaking yesterday."

It was Josiah Crabtree who spoke. He had just come up and he was very pale.

"I guess she'll keep up a few minutes longer," said Tom soberly.

"A few minutes! Oh, dear! if we did sink what would become of us?"

"Why, if we did sink we'd sink, that's all."

"I mean, if the ship sunk what would we do?"

"You might wade ashore, if your legs are long enough."

"But this is no joking matter, Thomas. The lake is very deep out here."

"Then you had better find a life-preserver."

Josiah Crabtree gave something of a groan and moved away. He did not know whether Tom was poking fun at him or not. Yet he did search for a preserver--and in doing that he was wiser than the boys had anticipated.

Presently the wind veered around and the yards came over with a bang. The _Wellington_ gave a lurch, and there was a strange creaking and cracking far below the deck. The Canadian pumped more madly than ever, and shouted to his companion in French.

"Is she leaking worse?" asked Tom.

The Canadian nodded. Then the _Wellington_ gave another lurch, and Tom noticed that her bow gave an odd little dip.

"Filling with water, I'll be bound," he muttered, and running to the

The Rover Boys on the Great Lakes - 30/37

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