MR. EWING IS OUTWITTED

“Well, what do you think of that?” gasped Chub.

The boys stared at Mr. Ewing in vexation, and Mr. Ewing regarded the
boys with grim placidity.

“Just as though he hadn’t made trouble enough for us,” muttered Dick.

“Well,” said Roy, starting on determinedly, “I’m not going to put up
with any more of his nonsense.”

“That’s all right,” cautioned Chub, “but remember, chum, that he has a
gun there.”

They walked along the bank until they were opposite the boat. Mr.
Ewing watched them silently, his gaze resting with interest on Dick.
Evidently he couldn’t account for Dick. Chub made the first overtures.

“Salutations,” he called.

“Mornin’,” responded the farmer. A silence followed.

“Want to see us, did you?” asked Chub, cheerfully.

“Ye-es,” drawled the farmer, “I wanted to have a few words with ye.”

“We are deeply honored, sir. Tell the gentleman how deeply honored we
are, Roy.” But Roy only growled. The farmer sniffed.

“What are you going to do?” he asked.

“We’re coming aboard,” replied Chub, making ready to leap the yard of
water that intervened between shore and boat.

“You just stay where you are,” said the farmer, patting his gun stock
significantly.

“But that’s our boat!” cried Roy, wrathfully.

“Maybe, maybe; chances are you stole it, though,” replied Mr. Ewing,
calmly.

“Well, you’re the most suspicious man I ever did see,” declared Chub,
disgustedly. “Suppose we insist on going aboard; what’s going to
happen?”

“I might have to put a load of buckshot in your legs,” answered the
farmer, showing his yellow fangs in a grim smile. “This boat is
confiscated.”

“You don’t say? What for?”

“Pendin’ the arrival of the constable. You can talk to him when he gets
here; I guess he’ll answer all the questions you want to ask him.” The
farmer chuckled. Roy appeared to be in real danger of exploding with
anger.

“Leave this to me,” whispered Chub. Then, “and about how long do you
think we’ll have to wait for the constable?” he inquired of Mr. Ewing.
The farmer cast an eye toward the sun.

“About half an hour, I guess,” he replied. “He promised to be over
about nine.”

“As early as that, eh?” murmured Chub, reflectively. “I hate to put
him to so much trouble. I do hope you and he didn’t lose much time
last night looking for us. We were so sorry we couldn’t stay until you
returned, but we had an engagement we just had to keep.”

“Don’t you bother about me,” growled the farmer. “Think you’re pretty
smart, I guess, don’t ye? Maybe you did fool me last night, but I sort
o’ guess I’ve got ye this time, eh?”

“It does look like it,” admitted Chub, reluctantly. “But then you’re
too smart for us, anyway, I suppose.”

“Huh,” grunted the farmer, suspiciously.

“We might as well sit down and take it easy while we wait,” said Chub
to the others. “Me for a nice spot in the shade.”

He moved down the shore a little way and Roy and Dick followed. When
they sat down under the shade of the trees they were out of hearing of
the farmer.

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