The Boy Scouts of the Air at Cape Peril/Chapter 21
THE SKIPPER FILLS THE GAPS
It was three hours later before breakfast or luncheon, or whatever else the meal might be called, was forthcoming. Turner's first commission to Luke was to carry a note to Cap'n Buffum telling of the discovery of the criminal and to inform the fishermen that further search was unnecessary. The messenger had to pick his way with some care along the beach, and when he reached Cape Peril, took as long as possible to deliver his message, so that it was quite an hour and a half before he was back on his job again.
Turner was the first one to awake. He decided to let Hardy sleep, but shook up the boys, and such a riot of conversation as resulted had seldom been heard before. At the table they hardly noticed what they were swallowing, so busy were they getting the full story from Turner and comparing notes with one another. In anticipation was the promised arrival of the yacht's captain from Newport News.
About four o'clock, this person, Williams by name, arrived in an auto. Hardy was summoned at once to meet him, and, with the group gathered about, the new arrival first insisted on pumping everyone present for details concerning the apprehension of Blanco, and then told his story, or at least as much as he was at liberty to reveal.
The substance of his revelations was about as follows:
"When that fellow was taken on at Newport News, I didn't like his looks from the start, but the Commodore was clean taken in by his Spanish talk and, as the occasion was a pressing one, he thought he'd be an invaluable man. He was good at the typewriter, too, and seemed to have picked up right smart education. Had letters of recommendation that I reckon were faked. You know, the Commodore wanted to get hold of oil lands down there in Mexico and there were other companies trying to beat him to it. Now, it turns out that this Blanco, or Perkins—if your friend Buffum is right—or whatever else his name was (I don't believe for a second he was a Mexican) was in the pay of the Revolutionists down there, who wanted to get some proof that the regular government was having dealings with foreigners over the oil lands. So he got on to the Commodore's game, landed the place on the yacht, and made off with some papers that time he worked his drowning stunt. The loss of the papers wasn't discovered till later, and then we got the dots on that sailor who was in with him. He had bribed the man for a big sum to be delivered to him by an accomplice in Mexico if things worked.
"When we got to Mexico, we found some of the revolutionists had gone over to the government side and given away some of the secrets. This game was one of them. Blanco hears this by cipher cablegram, I figure out, and, knowing the Commodore intended to turn up heaven and earth to discover him, and that his enemy had planned to stop by Cape Peril to take on his son, he hangs around here and makes one desperate effort to send the boat down with all on board. It was a fool thing to try, as the chances were all against him, but sometimes a hunted criminal will do the craziest things in creation. Anyhow, he slipped his cog this time."
The captain went on to give some minor details that had no great bearing on the main point at issue, and finally announced that he could make no further disclosures.
"Now, young men," he said at last, turning to young Hatton and his two companions, "I've got a message for you. Your parents were scared to death about you boys during that wind storm yesterday and their nerves weren't helped when they heard about that crook being in this neighborhood, so I was told to let you know you must come home to-morrow."
"Oh, Gee!" demurred Cat, with a sour look. "They don't think we're babies, do they? I know my dad wasn't worried."
"I don't bring any full particulars of their state of mind; all I know is that you're directed to come home."
"How're we going to get there?" objected Jimmy. "We can't walk, and Mr. Hardy's plane is at Kitty Hawk."
"'Fraid they wouldn't let you come home in a plane after all this excitement, if there were a hundred here. The Commodore's auto will be waiting at two sharp. That's my message and you've got it."
There was some further grumbling, but, on second thought, towns were pretty good places to spread big news, so the return wasn't so bad after all. However, it was a little ignominious for new-fledged flyers to have to return in such a tame fashion as a motor car.
Williams finally took his departure, and the rest of the day was occupied with intervals of eating, sleeping and talking. The ocean, the hosts decided, was not yet sufficiently tame for a dip. Then came night with a good and much needed ten hours' sleep for every soul in the establishment.