But, beautiful as the yacht undoubtedly
was, the sight of it and the sound of the slipping
anchor chains brought a look of perplexity and even
of distress to Eleanor’s eyes.
“That’s very curious,”
she said, thoughtfully. “There are no cottages
or bungalows near here. Those people can’t
be coming here just for a visit, or they would take
another anchorage. And it’s a strange thing
for them to choose this cove if they are just cruising
along the coast.”
“There weren’t any yachts
here last year when we were camping,” said Margery.
“But it is a lovely spot, and it’s public
land along here, isn’t it?”
“No, not exactly. It won’t
be used for a long time, I expect, but it has an owner.
An old gentleman in Bay City owns all the shore front
along here for half a mile, and he has been holding
on to it with the idea that it would get more valuable
as time went on. Probably it will, too.”
“Well, he lets people come here to camp, doesn’t
“Oh, yes. He’s glad
to have people here, I think, because he thinks that
if they see how lovely it is, they will want to buy
the land. I suppose perhaps these people on the
yacht have permission from him to come here, just
as we have. But I do wish they had waited until
we had gone, or else that they had come and gone before
we got here at all.”
“Perhaps they will just stay
for the night,” said Margery. “I should
think that a small boat like that would be very likely
to put in overnight, and do its sailing in the daytime.
Probably the people on board of her aren’t in
a hurry, and like to take things easily.”
“Well, we won’t find out
anything about her to-night, I imagine,” said
Eleanor. “In the morning we’ll probably
learn what their plans are, and then it will be time
to make any changes that are necessary in our own
“Do you mean you wouldn’t
stay here if they did, Miss Eleanor?”
“I won’t say that, Margery.
We don’t know who they are yet. They may
be very nice people-there’s no way
of telling to-night. But if they turn out to
be undesirable, we can move quite easily, I think.
There are plenty of other beaches nearby where we’ll
be just as comfortable as we are here.”
“Oh, but I don’t believe
any of them are as beautiful as this one, Miss Eleanor.”
“Neither do I, Margery.
Still, we can’t always pick and choose the things
we do, or always do what pleases us best.”
On the yacht everything seemed to
be quiet. When the anchor had gone down, the
violin playing ceased, and, though the girls strained
their ears to listen, there was no sound of conversation,
such as might reasonably have been expected to come
across the quiet water. Still there was nothing
strange about that. It might well be that everyone
on board was below, eating supper, and in that case
voices would probably not come to them.
“I’d like to own that
yacht,” said Dolly, gazing at her enviously.
“What a lot of fun you could have with her,
Bessie! Think of all the places one could see.
And you wouldn’t have to leave a place until
you got ready. Steamers leave port just as railroad
trains pull out of a station, and you may have to
go away when you haven’t half finished seeing
all the things you want to look at.”
“Maybe they’ll send a
boat ashore soon,” said Margery, hopefully.
“I certainly would like to see the sort of people
who are on board.”
“So would I,” said Eleanor,
but with a different and a more anxious meaning in
“I wish that man with the violin
would start playing again,” said Dolly.
“I love to hear him, and it seems to me it’s
especially beautiful when the sound comes to you over
the water that way.”
“Music always sounds best over
the water,” said Eleanor. “He does
play well. I’ve been to concerts, and heard
famous violin players who didn’t play a bit
better-or as well, some of them.”
And just at that moment the music
came to them again, wailing, mournful, as if the strings
of the violin were sobbing under the touch of the bow,
held in the fingers of a real master. The music
blended with the night, and the listening girls seemed
to lose all desire to talk, so completely did they
fall under the spell of the player.
But after a little while a harsh voice
on the deck of the yacht interrupted the musician.
They could not distinguish the words, but the speaker
was evidently annoyed by the music, for it stopped,
and then, for a few minutes, there was an argument
in which the voices of two men rose shrilly.
“Well, I guess the concert is
over,” said Dolly, getting up. “Who
wants a drink? I’m thirsty.”
“So am I!” came in chorus
from half a dozen of those who were sitting on the
“Serve you right if you all
had to go after your own water,” said Dolly.
“But I’m feeling nice to-night. I
guess it’s the music. Come on, Bessie-feel
like taking a little walk with me?”
“I don’t mind,”
said Bessie, rising, and stretching her arms luxuriously.
“Where are you going?”
“Up the bluff first, to get
a pail of water from that spring. After that-well,
“Just like Jack and Jill,”
said Bessie, as they trudged up the path, carrying
a pail between them.
“I hope we won’t be like
them and fall down,” said Dolly. “I
suppose I’d be Jack-and I don’t
want to break my crown.”
“It’s an easy path.
I guess we’re safe enough,” said Bessie.
“It really hardly seems worth while to fix up
that pipe-line Miss Eleanor spoke about.”
“Oh, you’ll find it’s
worth while, Bessie. The salt air makes everyone
terribly thirsty, and after you’ve climbed this
path a few times it won’t seem so easy to be
running up and down all the time. There are so
many other things to do here that it’s a pity
to waste time doing the same thing over and over again
when you don’t really need to.”
“I suppose that’s so,
too. It’s always foolish to do work that
you don’t need to do-I mean that
can be done in some easier way. If your time’s
worth anything at all, you can find some better use
“That’s what I say!
It would be foolish and wasteful to set a hundred
men to digging when one steam shovel will do the work
better and quicker than they can. And it’s
the same way with this water here. If we can put
up a pipe in about an hour that will save two or three
hours of chasing every day, whenever water is needed,
it must be sensible to do it.”
They got the water down without any
mishap, however, and it was eagerly welcomed.
“It’s good water,”
said Margery. “But not as good as the water
at Long Lake and in the mountains.”
“That’s the best water
in the world, Margery,” said Eleanor. “This
is cold, though, and it’s perfectly healthy.
And, after all, that is as much as we can expect.
Are you and Bessie going for a walk, Dolly?”
“We thought we would, if you don’t mind.”
“I don’t mind, of course.
But don’t go very far. Stay near enough
so that you can hear if we call, or for us to hear
you if you should happen to call to us.”
Dolly looked startled.
“Why should we want to call you?” she
“No reason that I can think
of now, Dolly. But-well, I suppose
I’m nervous. The way they tried to get
hold of Bessie and Zara at Canton to-day makes me
feel that we’ve got to be very careful.
And there is no use taking unnecessary chances.”
“All right,” said Dolly,
with a laugh. “But I guess we’re safe
enough to-night, anyhow. They haven’t had
time to find out yet how Bessie fooled them.
My, but they’ll be mad when they do find out
“They certainly will,”
laughed Margery. “I wouldn’t want
to be in Jake Hoover’s shoes.”
“I hope nothing will happen
to him,” said Eleanor, anxiously. “It
would be a great pity for him to get into trouble
“I think he deserves to get
into some sort of trouble,” said Dolly, stoutly.
“He’s made enough for other people.”
“That’s true enough, Dolly.
But it wouldn’t do us any good if he got into
trouble now, you know.”
“No, but it might do him some
good-the brute! You haven’t seen
him when he was cutting up, the way I have, Miss Eleanor.”
“No, and I’m glad I didn’t.
But you say it might do him some good. That’s
just what I think it would not do. He has just
made up his mind to be better, and suppose he sees
that, as a reward, he gets himself into trouble.
What is he likely to do, do you think?”
“That’s so,” said
Margery. “You’re going off without
thinking again, Dolly, as usual. He’d cut
loose altogether, and think there wasn’t any
sort of use in being decent.”
“Well, I haven’t much
faith in his having reformed,” said Dolly.
“It may be that he has, but it seems too good
to be true to me. I bet you’ll find that
he’ll be on their side, after all, and that he’ll
just spend his time thinking up some excuse for having
put them on the wrong track to-day.”
“I think that’s likely
to keep him pretty busy, Dolly,” said Eleanor,
dryly. “And that’s one reason I really
am inclined to believe that he’ll change sides,
and go to Charlie Jamieson, as Bessie advised him to
“Well, if he does, it won’t
be because he’s sorry, but because he’s
afraid,” said Dolly. “If he can be
of any use to us, why, I hope he’s all right.
I don’t like him, and I never will like him,
and there isn’t any use in pretending about
Everyone laughed at that.
“You’re quite right, Dolly,”
said Margery. “When you dislike a person
anyone who can see you or hear you knows about it.
I’ll say that for you-you don’t
pretend to be friends with people when you really hate
“Why should I? Come on,
Bessie, if we’re going for a walk. If we
stay here much longer Margery’ll get so dry
from talking that we’ll have to go and get her
some more water.”
“Let’s go up the path
and get on the bluff again,” said Bessie.
“I like it up there, because you seem to be
able to see further out to sea than you can here.”
“All right. I don’t
care where we go, anyhow, and it is more interesting
up there than on the beach, I think.”
The night was a beautiful one, and
walking was really delightful. Below them the
beach stretched, white and smooth, as far as the cove
itself. At each end of the cove the bluff on
which they were walking curved and turned toward the
sea, stretching out to form two points of land that
enclosed the cove.
“They say this would be a perfect
harbor if there was a bigger channel dredged in,”
said Dolly. “Of course it’s very small,
but I guess it was used in the old days. There
are all sorts of stories about buried treasure being
hidden around here.”
“Do you believe those stories, Dolly?”
“Not I! If there was any
treasure around here it would have been found ever
so long ago. They’re just stories.
I guess those pirates spent most of the money they
stole, and I guess they didn’t get half as much
as people like to pretend, anyhow.”
“It would be fun to find something
like that, though, Dolly.”
“Well, Bessie King, you’re
the last person I would ever have expected even to
think of anything so silly! You’d better
get any nonsense of that sort out of your head right
away. There’s nothing in those old stories.”
“I suppose not,” said
Bessie, and sighed. “But in a place like
this it doesn’t seem half so hard to believe
that it’s possible, somehow. It looks like
just the sort of place for romance and adventure.
But-oh, well, I guess I’m just moonstruck.
Dolly, look at that!”
Her eyes had wandered suddenly toward
the yacht, and now, from their higher elevation, they
were able to see a small boat drawing away from her,
on the seaward side, and so out of sight of the girls
on the beach.
said Dolly, puzzled. “I should think that
if they were going to send a boat ashore she’d
come straight in.”
“Let’s watch and see what happens, Dolly.”
“You bet we will! I wouldn’t
go now until I knew what they were up to for anything!”
“It’s going straight out
to sea, Dolly, and it’s keeping so that the
yacht is between it and the shore. It does look
as if they didn’t want to be seen, doesn’t
“It certainly does! Look,
there it goes through the little gap in the bar!
See? Now it will be hidden from the people on
shore-and it’s going toward West
Point, too. See, I’ll bet they’re
going to make a landing there!”
They hurried along the bluff, and
in a few minutes they saw the boat graze the beach
at the end of West Point. Three men jumped out
and hauled the little craft up on the shore, and then
they began to move inland, toward Bessie and Dolly.
“We’d better work back
toward the camp,” said Dolly, excitedly.
“It wouldn’t do to have them see us-not
until we know more about them.”
“I wonder if they’ll come
back this way, toward the camp? And why do you
suppose they’re acting that way? It seems
very funny to me.”
“It does to me, too. I’m
beginning to think Miss Eleanor had a good reason
for being nervous, Bessie. I don’t believe
that yacht is here for any good purpose.”
“It’s a good thing we came up this way,
“It certainly is, if we can
manage to find out something about them. I say,
do you remember where the spring is? Well, right
by it there’s a mound, with a whole lot of bushes.
I believe we could hide there, and be waiting as they
“Let’s try it, anyhow.
Maybe there’s something we ought to know.”
They found it easy to hide themselves,
and when, a few minutes later, the three men came
along, they were secure from observation.
“Do you think it’s Mr.
Holmes?” whispered Bessie, voicing the thought
both of them had had.
“It’s just as likely as
not! It’s the sneaky way he would act,”
said Dolly, viciously. “They’re pretty
careful about the way they walk-see?”
But then the men came into the range
of their eyes, and the sigh of disappointment that
rose from them was explained by Dolly’s disgusted,
“It’s not Mr. Holmes, or anyone else I
ever saw before.”
The men came nearer, and seemed to
be looking down at the camp.
“They’re the ones!
That’s the outfit, all right,” said one
of them. “Well, it’s easy to keep
an eye on them.”