caught sight of what seemed to be its curved and rounded body.
"Now, Hezz—quick! down with the hook. Get a good hold at once. Snatch, lad, snatch!"
But at the crucial moment, when the dark back of the monster slowly rolled up to the surface, Hezz dropped the boat-hook, leaned over the side, hindering his companion's view, and plunged his knife-armed hand down under water.
The next moment there was a slight jar which ran from Lance's fingers right up his arms, the tension ceased, and a yard or two of the stout fishing-line flew up in the holder's face.
For, as if to save his companion from some danger, Hezz had reached down as low as he could, and with a vigorous cut divided the fishing-line, so that the dark round body sank down again like a shadow, leaving the two lads gazing fiercely at each other.
"Oh, I say!" cried Lance. "Only to think of that! Why, Hezz, it's—"
"Never you mind what it is," said the boy roughly.
"And you knew it was, then?"
"Swears I didn't," said the boy fiercely. "Think I should have let you fish there if I had knowed?"
"Why, there must have been a whole string of 'em tied together on a line and sunk there."
"You don't know nothing of the sort," growled Hezz. "You didn't see."
"I saw one; and another coming like a shadow."
"No, you didn't."
"Yes, I did—brandy kegs—smuggled. Here, I'll hail the cutter."
"No, you don't," said Hezz fiercely; and as he stood with the knife in his hand he looked threatening. "They couldn't hear you if you did."
"Then I'll make signals."