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HOME > Children's Novel > The Moving Picture Boys on the Coast > CHAPTER XXV A NEW QUEST
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 From where he was by a group of the rescued sailors, Joe Duncan heard what the lighthouse keeper said. The lad rushed forward.  
“Nate Duncan!” he repeated, as he gazed at the two men, who were just beginning to revive under the application of . “Which one of you is Mr. Duncan?” he asked, eagerly.
“I—I am,” the younger of the two men. “Why, who wants me. Oh, it’s you, Stanton,” and he looked at the lighthouse keeper standing near him. “I—I can explain everything. I——”
“It wasn’t I who asked,” the lighthouse keeper. “It was this lad here,” and he indicated Joe. “Your son.”
“My son!” cried the rescued man. “Are you sure—can it be true. Oh, is it possible? Don’t disappoint me! Are you my son?” and he held out his hands to Joe.
“I—I think so, father,” spoke the boy, softly. “I—I have been looking for you a long time.”
“And I have, too, Joe; yes, you are my boy. I can see it now. Oh, the dear Lord be praised!” and there was moisture in his eyes that was not the salt from the raging sea.
“But—but,” went on Joe. “I thought you went to China. I wrote to you at Hong Kong.”
“I did start for there, Joe; but the on which I sailed was , and this craft, bound back for San Francisco, picked us up. So I didn’t get very far. Oh, but I have found my boy!”
The others drew a little aside while father and son, so strangely restored to each other by the fury of the sea, clasped each other close.
“Now, friends,” said Mr. Ringold, up; “those of you who are wet through had better let us take care of you. We have room for you all, and I’ll send word to any of your friends if you’ll give me the addresses. Your , in a way, has been a great thing for me, for I have obtained some wonderful moving pictures of it and this rescue. It will make a great drama. So I want to help you all I can.”
By this time the captain of the vessel had been revived and with his wife and crew was taken to the boarding place, where the women busied themselves getting warm drinks and food,and the men changed into dry garments loaned by the fishermen and the others. Soon after the last one came the wreck broke up and sank.
“Well, of all the wonderful things I ever experienced, this is the most marvelous,” declared Mr. Duncan, as he sat with his son’s hand in his. “I am wrecked twice, and come back to the same place I ran away from, to find Joe waiting for me.”
“It is wonderful,” agreed Joe, wondering how he was going to bring up the subject of the wreckers.
“Yes, this is the very place I left in such a hurry, a few months ago,” went on Mr. Duncan.
“Would you mind telling me why you left so suddenly?” asked the lighthouse keeper, solemnly. “Of course it’s none of my affair; but I might say it concerns you , Nate Duncan. Can you prove your ?”
“Prove my innocence! Of what charge?” cried the man.
“Oh, father, of course we don’t believe it!” burst out Joe, unable to keep silent longer; “but Danforth says you were with him in boats by means of false lights!”
“Hemp Danforth says that!” cried Joe’s father.
“Yes. Tell me—tell all of them—that it isn’t so!” pleaded the lad.
“Of course it isn’t so, Joe.”
“But why did you leave so suddenly, and why did the officer come for you the next day?” asked the lighthouse keeper. “It looked bad, Nate.”
“I suppose it did,” said Mr. Duncan, slowly. “But it can easily be explained. I was mixed up with those wreckers——”
“Father!” cried Joe.
“But not the way you think, son,” went on the former lighthouse worker quickly. “Hemp Danforth and I had a quarrel. It was over some business matters that he and I were mixed up in before I learned that he and his gang were wreckers.
“We quarreled, because he tried to me of my rights, and I had to give him a severe beating. Perhaps I was wrong, but I acted on impulse. Then I heard that Hemp, to get even, had accused me of being a wrecker, and he had his men ready to swear to false about me; even that I let the light go out, which I never did.
“I knew I could not refute it, especially at that time, and as something came up that made it necessary for me to leave for China at once, I to go away. I realize now that it must have looked bad, especially after the charge against me. But now I am ready to stay and face it. I can prove that I had nothing to do with the wrecking, and that as soon as I learned that Hemp and his gang were concerned in it I left them. If we can get hold of Hemp I can easily make him acknowledge this.”
“You can easily get hold of him,” said Blake. “He and his crowd are all in jail. They were caught in the act of setting a false light.”
“And I don’t believe you’ll even have to prove your innocence,” said Mr. Ringold. “They’ll be convicted, and their evidence will never be accepted. You are already cleared, Mr. Duncan.”
“My name cleared—and my son with me—what else could I want?” murmured the happy man.
“But, Dad,” asked Joe, his face showing his delight that he could now use that word. “Why did you have to leave so suddenly?”
“To try and find your sister, Joe.”
“My sister?”
“Yes, I have a daughter, as well as a son,” went on Mr. Duncan. “I have found one, and now to find the other.”
“Where is she?” cried Joe. “What is she like? Did I ever see her when we were both little?”
“Indeed you did, and when your mother died 206I left you with a family, who later disappeared. You must tell me your story, Joe, and how you found me. But now as to your sister.
“Most unexpectedly, after years of searching, I got word that she had been brought up in a minister’s family, and that lately she had gone as a missionary’s helper to China. I had long planned to take a sea voyage, and when I got this news I decided to go at once, and bring her back. Then I was to renew my search for you.
“An agent in San Francisco told me of a vessel about to sail for Hong Kong, and I my post at the lighthouse and sailed. I admit I did wrong in leaving so suddenly, but it seemed to be the best thing to do. I did not want to be arrested as a wrecker even though I was innocent.”
“I’ll forgive you,” said Mr. Stanton............
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