Just as soon as Dory dropped the painter of the tender into the water,
the wind drove the boat away from the La Motte in the direction of the
shore. Mackwith and Chuckworth, the two robbers who had appeared on the
shore after their search in the woods for Angy, were too far off to
“Now, we must not allow ourselves to be seen or heard,” said Dory, as
soon as he had let go the painter. “They will find the boat, and come on
“But don’t you think they will suspect that something is wrong for their
side of the question?” asked Mr. Jepson.
“Why should they think so?” asked Dory.
“Since they left the schooner, she has been moved to her present
position; and the boat in which Angy left the vessel is found on the
“They may not be able to account for what they see, but it does not
follow that they will suspect any thing; though it will not make much
difference if they do,” replied Dory, shrugging his shoulders.
“Of course, they will understand that the fellows they left on board
have moved the schooner; but I am afraid they will suspect something
when they find the boat on the beach,” continued the machinist.
“Perhaps they will; they have a perfect right to do so: but they have
been up all night, and I don’t believe they will be very sharp. Possibly
they drank beer enough while they were on board of the La Motte to
reduce them to the condition of the fellows in the steerage. But it is
not so much of a question of what they will think, as of what they will
“Well, their actions will be guided by their thoughts.”
“That is so; but they will be guided by their conclusions, and not by
all the suspicions that come into their heads,” argued Dory. “Of course,
it is important for us to be able to foresee what they will do, so that
we may be prepared for them.”
“Then, we must fathom their thoughts if we can.”
“They are standing on the beach just now.”
“And they are a quarter of a mile from us.”
“But they are moving this way, though very slowly.”
“I have no doubt they are about worn out, for they have been beating
about the woods for an hour or more,” said Dory, as he raised himself so
as to see over the bulwarks of the schooner.
“Of course, they must see the vessel.”
“I don’t think they discovered her till this moment, for they have only
just begun to move this way. Now what will they do?”
“They will wonder why the position of the schooner has been changed.”
“Let them wonder: they will not be able to make any thing of it. When
they reach the tender, they will do some more wondering.”
“And they will begin to take account of the facts in their possession,”
added the machinist.
“That will be a sensible thing for them to do. The two principal facts
before them will be the change in the position of the vessel and the
presence of the tender on the shore. But the first thing they do, will
be to hail the La Motte; but they will not get any answer. What will
they conclude from the silence of those on board?”
“I have an idea, Dory; but what do you say?” added the machinist, with a
smile which seemed to mean more than his words.
“They will conclude that the fellows on board are tired out, and have
gone to sleep,” replied Dory confidently. “Then they will take the boat,
and come on board. About that time, our work will begin.”
“I don’t quite agree with you, Dory,” answered Mr. Jepson. “You are the
manager of this enterprise, and I think you have arranged things to lead
them to another conclusion from that you suggest.”
“What do you think they will do?” asked Dory, disappointed that the
machinist did not seem to approve his action.
“When they find the boat on the beach, with the vessel where she is,
they will conclude that the two fellows have gone ashore, and are
looking for Angy, and for their absent companions,” replied the
machinist, with more earnestness in his manner than he had displayed
Dory bit his lips, for it seemed to him that there was a great deal of
force in what his companion said.
“If you had left the schooner where she was, they might have reasoned
that the boat was where Angy had left it,” continued the machinist.
“But they would not have found the boat in that case. They would not
have been likely to see her on the beach, a quarter of a mile away from
them. Besides, I was not sure that the boat would be blown where they
would be in the way of finding it, if I turned it adrift a mile from
this shore,” reasoned Dory rather warmly.
“There are difficulties, whichever way you look at the question,” said
the instructor, laughing at the energy of Dory. “I think we had better
drop the discussion, and act upon the facts as soon as they are
“All right: you think they will do one thing, and I think they will do
another. The only important thing is, whether or not they will come on
board of the vessel. We will wait and see.”
“It is too late to alter things as you have arranged them; and I do not
say that the course you have taken was not the wisest, Dory. We shall
They could do nothing but wait. It would be some time before Mack and
Chuck reached the beach off the schooner; and Dory went below to see the
prisoners, taking care not to show his head above the bulwarks. The two
captives in the steerage were still asleep; it was a beer-slumber,
though they were doubtless very tired; and they were like a pair of
stone posts, so far as their appearance was concerned. Persons who were
not boozy could hardly have slept so soundly in the uncomfortable
positions in which they were confined.
As Dory had nothing else to do, he took a more careful survey of the
cabin of the La Motte. One of the bunks in the steerage appeared to have
been occupied, while the other five beds had not been disturbed. In the
cabin were several valises and travelling-bags. One of the former bore
the initials of the chief of the robbers. As it was not locked, he
If there was any plunder on board, it had not been put into this valise,
for it appeared to contain nothing but wearing-apparel. In the pocket he
found a letter, addressed to “M. A. Spickles, Esq., Plattsburg, N.Y.” It
was postmarked at New-York City. Dory felt that it was his duty, in
connection with the enterprise in which he was engaged, to obtain all
the information in his power; and he did not scruple to read the
epistle, as he would not have done under ordinary circumstances.
The letter contained a great deal of slang, a good portion of which the
reader could not understand. The writer, who signed himself “Fred
Ripples,” promised to be at Ticonderoga on Friday night, and the La
Motte must take him and his party on board at that point. If the
schooner was not there at that time, the party would take the first
train for Westport, and would be there early Saturday morning.
With the letter in his hand, Dory went on deck, and joined the machinist
under the bulwarks. Mr. Jepson read the document, and looked at Dory,
though its contents did not appear to affect the present situation.
“These fellows are the other members of that club. They must be at
Westport by this time,” said the instructor.
“Probably they are, for a train comes along very early in the morning,”
replied Dory. “But Mr. Fred Ripples had nothing to do with the robberies
at Plattsburg, or the one at Beech Hill; so that we have no particular
business with him.”
“Then, we had better drop him; for the two fellows who did have a hand
in them are within a short distance of the tender,” added the machinist
in a lower tone.
Dory looked out through an opening in the bulwarks which he had arranged
for the purpose. The two robbers looked as though they were worn out,
for they moved with a very heavy step. But they were talking very
earnestly together, as shown by their gestures; though what they said
could not be heard on board of the La Motte. They were evidently
discussing the change in the position of the vessel, and the discovery
of the boat on the beach. The first thing they did was to haul the
tender out of the surf, which was banging it on the gravel.
“Wick! Wick!” shouted one of them.
Then they waited some time for a reply to their hail, but none came.
“Sang! Sang!” called the other of the two.
“On board the La Motte!” yelled Mack, whose voice Dory recognized.
They seated themselves on the rail of the boat, and continued to yell
for half an hour. Then an argument seemed to be in progress between
them, in which one of them frequently pointed to the woods in the
direction from which they had come. Presently they rose from their
seats, and walked off, following the beach by the way they had come.
“Well, Dory, what does that mean?” asked the machinist, as soon as they
were out of hearing.
“It means that you were right, and that I was wrong,” replied Dory
candidly. “I should have done better if I had left the schooner where
“I don’t say that; and if I had thought so at the time, I should have
spoken. We will deal with the present situation,” added the instructor.
“I thought the plan would work all right, and I am disappointed,” said
Dory. “Those fellows believe that Sang and Wick, as they call them, have
gone ashore in the boat, and they have started to look for them. My
strategy has failed, and I am disgusted with it.”
“What shall we do? That is the question now,” suggested the machinist.
“I don’t like to go back to Beech Hill without those fellows, after we
have spent so much time in hunting them down,” added Dory.
“They will come back when they fail to find their companions.”
“But I don’t care about waiting all day for them. If you will go with
me, we will go on shore, and take the bull by the horns. We can handle
“All right, Dory; but how can we get ashore? We have no boat,” replied
the machinist, who was quite as impatient as his younger companion.
“I will bring off the boat for you, and I will go ashore on one of the
Dory handed his revolver to the instructor, and prepared for his trip to
the shore by taking off his coat and shoes. It was a trifling feat for
him, and in a few minutes he was on the beach. It was a harder matter to
get the boat into the water; but he had carried a line to the shore with
him, so that his companion could assist in the work. The machinist
hauled the boat alongside the schooner as soon as it put into the water.
They embarked, and were on the beach in a minute more. They hauled the
tender to a safe place, and then walked along the beach towards the
place where Mack and Chuck had disappeared in the woods. But they had
proceeded only a short distance before Dory discovered a small steamer
buffeting the sea beyond Bluff Point. But she leaped the waves, and
seemed to be making good weather in spite of the roughness of the water.
Both of them were satisfied that the steamer was the Marian.