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HOME > Children's Novel > The Moving Picture Boys on the Coast > CHAPTER XVII AFTER THE WRECKERS
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 Blake Stewart was at a loss. He did not know what to do, and, though he had been expecting to hear this request at almost any time, he was no more prepared for it now than he would have been had it been made directly after Blake learned of Mr. Duncan’s flight.  
“Well?” asked Joe, suggestively, when his chum did not answer. “Aren’t you going to tell me?”
“What makes you think I have a secret, Joe?” Thus Blake tried to , so that he might think what was best to do.
“Oh, I’m sure you have,” declared Joe, “and you might as well tell me now as any time, for I’m bound to find it out. I don’t believe there’s any more danger now,” and he paused to look back along the almost hidden path they had followed. “I can’t see anything of that man,” he added. “We gave him the slip, all right.
“Now go ahead, Blake, and end my . I’ve seen for some time that you’ve been keeping something back from me. I don’t know what it is, but it’s something about my father. And I appreciate why you’re doing it. You want to spare my feelings.”
“That’s it!” cried Blake, eagerly, glad of any chance to put off what he regarded as a most unpleasant duty. “It is for your sake, Joe, that I have been keeping silent, and I wish you would go on letting me do so. Believe me, if I thought it well for you to know I’d tell you.”
“Is it—is it that he isn’t my father, after all?” the lad, following a silence in which all sound of pursuit had died away. The boys felt that they were safe now. “Do you mean to say, Blake, that this man whom I’ve traced after such hard work, isn’t any relation to me—haven’t I any folks, after all?”
“No, Joe, it isn’t that at all. He’s your father, as far as I know, and I will admit there is some secret about him. But I’d rather not tell you.”
“I want to know it,” insisted Joe, firmly.
“If you’ll only wait,” went on his chum, “it may all be explained when—when he comes back. Then there won’t be any need of a secret. Better wait, Joe.”
“No, I’ve got to hear it right away. If it’s any 136disgrace—and it must be, or you’d be willing to tell me—if it’s any disgrace, it’s my duty to stand up for my father when he isn’t here. I’m his son, and I have a right to know about it, and protect his name as much as I can. Tell me, Blake.”
The other hesitated a moment. If he told, it would be, he felt, breaking his promise made to the lighthouse keeper, but then the promise was not so sacred that it could not be broken. It was given under a sort of , and Blake knew that he would be allowed to reveal what had been said if he felt that it was best to do so. The time now seemed to have come to do this. He took a sudden resolve.
“All right, Joe,” he said, “I’ll tell you. There is a secret about your father. I suppose you know what sort of men those were that we just got away from?” and he nodded in the direction of the hill down which they had raced.
“I’ve been puzzling my head about them, Blake,” came the answer, “and all I can say is that they must be either men who are experimenting with a new kind of light, or else they are—wreckers!”
“That’s it, Joe. They are wreckers, and they’re plotting to some on the rocks by means of false lights.”
“The scoundrels!” burst out Joe. “We’ve got to spoil their wicked game.”
“That’s what we have. We’ll tell the police, or some one in authority.”
“But before we do,” broke in Joe, “tell me about my father, though I begin to suspect now,” and there was a look of sadness on his face.
“I presume you pretty well know what is coming,” said Blake, slowly, “now you have heard what those men said. The whole amount of it is, Joe, that your father is suspected of having been in league with those wreckers—that he helped to lure on these same rocks.”
“My father a wrecker!” cried Joe. “It can’t be—I won’t believe it!”
“I didn’t want to either, when I heard it,” said Blake, “and maybe, now that I’ve told you, we can work together and find some way of proving him innocent.”
“That’s it!” cried the son. “Oh, if he were only here to help us! I wonder why he went away?”
“The lighthouse keeper said,” began Blake, “that your father left because he feared to be arrested. And the day after he went away an officer did come for him,” and he proceeded to relate what Mr. Stanton had said.
“I don’t believe it!” cried Joe, when the account was finished. “Of course, I don’t remember my father, and, naturally, I don’t know what sort of a man he was, but I don’t believe he was a wrecker!”
“And I don’t either!” added Blake. “Here’s my hand on it, Joe, and we’ll do our best to find out the truth of this thing,” and the two chums clasped hands warmly.
“But it’s strange what those men said about him,” went on Joe. “To think that we would stumble on the wreckers right at work. We can lead the police to the very place where they have set up their false light.”
“Maybe we can do better than that, Joe.”
“Why, we may be able to help the police catch these same fellows.”
“That’s so. Have you a plan, Blake?” asked his chum, eagerly, as they walked on along the path.
“Not yet, but we&rs............
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