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HOME > Children's Novel > The Moving Picture Boys on the Coast > CHAPTER XXII A LIFE GUARD’S ALARM
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 Fortune played into the hands of our friends in two ways as they sought to capture the wreckers. Otherwise the desperate men might have gotten away, so quickly did they dash out of the clearing at the first alarm.  
But, as he ran along, big Danforth, the leader of the criminals, stumbled and fell. Right behind him was sturdy Tom Cardiff, and the assistant lighthouse keeper was quick to take advantage of the chance thus put in his way.
“I’ve got you!” he yelled, as he fairly threw himself on the wrecker. “I’ve got you! Give up, you varmint!”
There was a struggle, none the less desperate because the wrecker was . The two rolled on the ground until Tom got a grip on his opponent. Then, by putting his enormous strength, Tom quickly the man.
“Give up, I tell you!” panted Tom, breathing hard. “I’ll teach you to ships. Give up!”
“I give up!” was the response.
With a quick turn of the ropes he had brought, Tom had the wrecker trussed up.
Meanwhile the others had been busy. The secret service men had each tackled a man, and had him secure by now, while Joe and Blake, by agreement picking out another member of the party had, after a struggle, succeeded in tying him, too.
But the wreckers outnumbered our friends two to one, and some, if not all, of the desperate characters might have escaped had not reinforcements appeared. These were in the shape of four sturdy fishermen from the little colony where the moving picture boys lived.
“Oh, if we could only capture the others!” cried Tom Cardiff, when he had finished with his man, and saw some of the wreckers struggling to make their way through the thick bush. “Come on, boys!” he yelled to his friends. “When you finish with those fellows keep after the rest of the gang, though I’m afraid they’ll give us the slip.”
“No, they won’t!” cried a new voice, and then appeared the husky toilers of the sea, armed with clubs. At the sight of them the wreckers not yet captured gave up in despair. Counting those tied up, the forces were now equal, and as Mr. Hadley had taken all the moving pictures possible, owing to the struggle taking place out of range of his camera, he left the , and joined his friends.
“Well, we got ’em!” cried Tom Cardiff, as he surveyed the line of prisoners, fastened together with ropes. “Every one of ’em, I guess. You’re a nice crowd!” he at big Hemp Danforth. “A nice lot of men to be let loose!”
“A little later and you wouldn’t have had us!” the leader of the wreckers. “You were too many for us.”
“That’s so,” Tom. “How did you happen to come to help us?” he asked of Abe Haskill, who was one of the reinforcing fishermen. “Who sent you?”
“Old Stanton telephoned over from the lighthouse,” was the answer. “He said you were on your way here, and that the gang might be too much for you. So I got a couple of my friends, and over we came—just in time, too, I take it.”
“That’s right!” exclaimed Blake, trying to staunch the flow of blood from a cut on his face, received in the fight he and Joe had with their prisoner. Joe himself was somewhat . “A little later and we’d had only half of ’em,” went on Blake.
“It looks as if the lantern was nearly finished, too,” went on Joe.
“Um!” sneered the chief wrecker. “You may think you have us, but it’s a long way from proving anything against us. What have we done that’s wrong?” and he looked at Tom Cardiff.
“Wrong!” cried the lighthouse man. “Don’t you call it wrong to set up a false light to unsuspecting captains on the rocks, so you can get your pickings? Wrong!”
“Huh! How do you know but what this light was put here as a range finder for us fishermen?” asked the other.
“Fishermen! Why, you men never did an honest day’s fishing in your lives!” cried Abe Haskill. “Fishing! When you haven’t been you’ve been , or robbing other honest men’s nets. You’re a bunch of scoundrels, and it’s the best day’s work we’ve done in many a year to get you!”
“That’s all right,” retorted Hemp, easily. “Words don’t prove anything.”
“They don’t; eh?” cried Tom Cardiff. “You’ll see what they do. We’ll convict you by your own words!”
“Our own words?” asked Hemp Danforth, uneasily.
“Yes, overheard by these two lads, whom you chased but couldn’t catch. I guess when Blake 175Stewart and Joe Duncan go into court, and testify about hearing you talk of wrecking by your false lantern, the jury’ll convict you, all right!”
Hemp seemed less concerned with what Tom said than with the name Joe Duncan. As this was uttered the wrecker looked at the two lads.
“Did I understand him to say that one of you is a Duncan?” asked Hemp, .
“I am,” replied Joe.
“Are you Nate Duncan’s son?”
“I hope so—yes, I’m sure I am.”
“Ha! Ha!” laughed the wrecker.
“What’s the joke?” inquired Tom Cardiff.
“This, and it’s a good one, too. You think to convict us on the of Nate Duncan’s son. Why, Nate is one of us! His son’s evidence wouldn’t be any good. Besides, a son wouldn’t help to convict his father. That’s a good one. Nate Duncan is one of us!”
“That’s not so!” burst out Joe, jumping toward the big wrecker, as though to strike him. “It isn’t true. My father never was a wrecker.”
“He wasn’t; eh?” sneered Hemp. “Well, I’m not saying we are, either; but if your father isn’t a wrecker why did he run away before the officers came for him? Answer me that—if you can!”
176“I—I—” began Joe, when Blake stepped to his chum’s side.
“Don’t answer him,&rd............
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