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HOME > Children's Novel > The Moving Picture Boys on the Coast > CHAPTER XIII A MIMIC FIRE
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 “Sorry I can’t do any more for you,” went on the agent, after a pause, during which he gazed sympathetically at Joe. “I can give you the name of the your father is on, and you can write to Hong Kong, but it will be some time before she arrives. She’s a sailing ship, you know, one of the few left in the trade.”  
“I didn’t know my father was a regular sailor,” said Joe.
“You didn’t know he was a sailor? Say, don’t you know your father’s business?”
“It’s been a good many years since I’ve seen him,” Joe. “In fact, I can’t remember him,” and he told something of how he came to be on the strange quest.
“Well, this is certainly odd,” remarked the agent. “I’ve known Nate some years, more or less, and I’ve often heard him speak of a son he had lost track of. Of late he had given up hope.”
“And just when I was on the of finding him,” added Joe.
“His daughter, too,” continued the agent. “He said he felt sure he’d never locate her, though he’d spent lots of money in hunting. And he felt pretty bad, too, over the thought that he might never see his children again.”
“And have I really a sister?” asked Joe, eagerly.
“I can’t rightly say,” spoke the master. “You had one, but whether she’s alive now or not no one seems to know. There’s one satisfaction, though, you can find your father in time, and as soon as he hears from you, when his ship reaches Hong Kong, he won’t lose any time taking the fastest steamer back. I know Nate Duncan well enough for that.”
“Will he, though?” thought Blake. “Will he come back when he knows of the charge that may be made against him? Even the of seeing Joe may not overbalance that. Yet, I suppose he could send for Joe. They couldn’t make any charge against him over in China. But it’s a bad business.”
Joe talked a little longer with the agent, who gave him the name of the ship on which Mr. Duncan had sailed, and also directions how to address the letter.
“Well, there’s no use staying in ’Frisco much longer,” said Joe, as they finished their business. “We’ll get what other moving pictures of street scenes we want, and as I can’t find Dad here, we’ll leave. We’ll get back to San Diego, and out to the beach colony to film some more dramas.”
A return trip to their hotel, a visit to various localities for films, then to pack their belongings—and the automatic camera did not take them long—and they were soon journeying down the coast again. They were welcomed warmly by the members of the colony.
As I have said, for the purpose of being unhampered in their work of taking films, Mr. Ringold had moved his company from San Diego proper to a small fishing settlement, directly on the beach. This place was called Chester, after the man who owned the fishery there. He had a fleet, consisting of several motor boats, in which the fishermen went out twice each day to pull up the nets that were fast to long poles, sunk into the sand of the ocean bed in water about forty feet deep.
The fish were brought to the main building, and packed in ice for transportation. Numbers of local called each day with to get a load to about. There were only a few houses in the place, and a store or two.
Once some millionaire had built an elaborate cottage on the beach, but gave it up for some . It was in this cottage, which in size was almost a , that the moving picture boys and their friends had their . A boarding mistress was installed, and thus the actors and actresses lived right at the scene of their work, with almost as much comfort as they would have had in a hotel. The place was not far from San Diego, and it had the advantage of a heavy surf on the beach, the big waves making just the background Mr. Ringold wanted. Of course, not all the scenes were on the water-front, some taking place in front of, or within, some of the cottages, which were hired for the short time needed. The fishermen could not seem to understand why a man should pay them good money for the use of their for a short time.
“It just seems foolishness,” declared one grizzled salt. “I don’t see why folks want to make so many pictures of men and women walkin’ in and out of my cottage and sayin’ such outlandish things like: ‘Gal, you shall give me them papers!’ or, ‘Meet me on yonder cliff at midnight!’ I give up!”
“It does seem out of reason, Pete,” agreed another. “But as long as they pay me for it, and don’t go to bustin’ up things, I’m willin’.”
“Oh, so’m I. Keep it up, I says,” and Mr. Ringold did, using different cottages in turn to get a diversity of views.
Sympathy was expressed for Joe on the failure of his mission to find his father.
“But don’t you give up!” exclaimed Mr. Hadley. “China is far off, but it isn’t out of the world. Don’t give up, Joe.”
“I’ll not. I’m going to write to him to-day,” and he did, dispatching the letter to far-off Hong Kong.
There was plenty of work waiting for the boys, some new manuscripts of sea dramas having come in. Mr. Ringold to film several of them, and were already under way.
“I’m going to have a novelty in one of the plays,” said the manager. “It’s going to be a fire scene. We’ll buy one of these cottages, or else have one built that will do well enough for picture purposes, and set it . Then, when C. C. comes running out, carrying Miss Shay—or maybe Miss Lee, for she’s lighter—we’ll——”
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