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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesBoy Scouts In The Canal Zone - Chapter XXI. THE TANGLE STRAIGHTENED OUT
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Boy Scouts In The Canal Zone - Chapter XXI. THE TANGLE STRAIGHTENED OUT Post by :kferneau Category :Long Stories Author :G. Harvey Ralphson Date :April 2012 Read :816

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Boy Scouts In The Canal Zone - Chapter XXI. THE TANGLE STRAIGHTENED OUT

CHAPTER XXI. THE TANGLE STRAIGHTENED OUT

It was nearly daylight when the tired party entered the lobby of the hotel at Culebra. The eight men who had been captured were all under strong guard, the bombs had been taken from the dam, and the danger was over.

"Now," Lieutenant Gordon said, "we'll go after the men higher up."

He started back as he uttered the words, for Mr. Shaw, Harvey Chester, Col. Van Ellis, George Tolford, and Tony Chester came hastening toward him.

"There are three of the men higher up!" the lieutenant shouted. "I arrest you, gentlemen, for treason!"

The three men drew back in surprise and Mr. Shaw stepped forward.

"What does it mean?" he asked. "I sailed from New York the day after the boys left, but reached Culebra only to-night. When I came here I found Mr. Chester and Mr. Van Ellis waiting for news from Ned Nestor. What does it mean?"

"It means!" shouted Gordon, "that your dupes are all under arrest, through the efforts of Nestor, and that the Gatun dam is no longer in danger. It also means that you three men are under arrest! I suspected, that night in your house in New York, Shaw, that you were trying to lead me to a false trail."

Mr. Shaw glanced indifferently at the officer and motioned to a distinguished looking gentleman who had been observing the scene from a distance.

"This," he said, "is Colonel Hill, your chief, Gordon. He came on from New York with me. Let him speak."

"But the others are prisoners," insisted Gordon.

"I have an idea," Mr. Shaw said, "that Nestor knows more about the complications of this case than any one else. Suppose we let him sum it up?"

"I am sure he can do it!" growled Gordon.

Although it was now broad daylight, and all were tired and in need of sleep, the party went to a private parlor and Ned began the story of the case, first having a short talk with Jimmie, who had listened to a confession from Gaga.

"The plot against the Gatun dam," he said, "did not originate with the business men who were looking for emeralds along the line of the cut. When I first sized up the case it seemed to me that the men interested in emeralds, including Mr. Shaw, were willing to delay the completion of the canal in order that they might have time to develop mines believed to be fabulously rich in emeralds."

"That is the way it looked to me," the lieutenant said.

"I began work along that line," continued Ned, "for the news that Mr. Shaw was interested in emerald mines, and his refusal to reveal the contents of the papers he had secured, led me to the opinion that he had been approached by his partners with a proposition to destroy the Gatun dam, that he had their proposals in writing, and that he had refused to become a party to such an outrage."

"Then why didn't he tell us who the men were?" demanded Gordon.

"Because," was the reply, "he did not think his partners, Mr. Harvey Chester and Col. Van Ellis, would go to the extremity proposed. He thought they would change their minds when the enormity of the crime was set before them. In fact, he suspected from the first that they were being urged on by others having private ends to gain by the destruction of the dam. Besides, he thought himself capable of handling the situation alone. Is that true, Mr. Shaw?"

"All true," was the reply, "but I don't see how you found out what was in my mind," he added, with a laugh.

"It was all very clear to me, in time," was the reply. "Unless I am very much mistaken, you, Mr. Shaw, fearful that the enemies of the canal scheme might act too quickly, gave the information to the government which led to Lieutenant Gordon being put on the case. Is that right?"

"Yes," was the reply, "that is right, but how--"

"All in good time," Ned went on. "Now, the fact that you had warned the officers of the government became known to your associates in the emerald business. That is, it became known to the men who were drawing the associates into this crime. It was then necessary for them to get the papers they had given to you, the maps and plans of the best points of attack. The papers mentioned names, and would have convicted every one of them of treason."

"Where did you get a glimpse of the papers?" asked Mr. Shaw.

"I have never seen them," was the reply, "but what took place shows what they contained. When you left the Isthmus, Pedro, real name Pedrarias, was induced by some of the conspirators to go with you as your servant. His real duty in your house was to steal the papers before you turned them over to the government."

"I had no intention of doing that," the editor said.

"But the conspirators did not know that," Ned went on. "Now, while Pedro went into your employ for the purpose of stealing the papers he also went for a purpose of his own. It was his longing to possess the emerald necklace--which had long been in his family--that induced him to become a servant, though the large sum of money the conspirators paid him was a consideration, he being very poor.

"You all know what happened. Pedro did not succeed in getting either the papers or the necklace. He remained in the house until the others became anxious and sent three men on to New York to accomplish what Pedro did not seem capable of doing. One of these men was Gaga and one was Itto.

"Working under instructions from his confederates, Pedro let Gaga into the house about six o'clock one rainy night. He remained inside so long without reporting to those outside that they demanded admittance, and Pedro was obliged to let them in. This must have been about nine o'clock. When Itto and the other man entered, they went at their work roughly. They assaulted Mr. Shaw and searched his rooms which had already been searched by Gaga. Then they went upstairs to search Frank's room, and Pedro tried to turn them back.

"He did not trust them, being afraid they would secure the necklace. By the way, the chances are that he did not know that Gaga was still in the house. Well, when Pedro opposed their passage and Frank ran out, the two fled, finding the night-bolt off at the street door. Then Gaga got the necklace and got out of the house during the excitement.

"It may be well to say here that Pedro did not leave the house to further conspire with the canal plotters. When he found that Gaga had indeed stolen the necklace he went after him. He did not care where the others went, or whether they secured the papers or not. It was the second man, the one with Itto, who followed us on board the boat and was named His Nobbs by the boys.

"Pedro went back to Mr. Chester, who had been prominent in locating him in the Shaw house, and waited for a chance at Gaga. By this time both Mr. Chester and Col. Van Ellis had decided to turn the plotters over to the government and take their chances on arrest, for of course the arrested men would accuse them of being at the head of the conspiracy."

"Col. Van Ellis was going to lock us up and see how long we could go without food!" Frank exclaimed. "That doesn't look much like the work of a contrite heart!"

"You would not have been starved," Van Ellis replied, with a smile. "At that time our friends, the Japs, were watching our every movement, and Mr. Chester and myself agreed to let them play their game a little longer in order that they might be caught and punished."

"What about the mysterious Jap men you are talking about?" demanded Jack Bosworth. "I am anxious to know how they tangled these three business men up in the game."

"Is it true," Ned asked of Mr. Shaw, "that Gostel and Itto first proposed delaying the work on the canal?"

"Yes; they first suggested it."

"They told you of emerald mines under there?"

"Certainly."

"But they never took you to see the mines?"

"No; we took their word for it."

"Well, they lied to you. There are no emerald deposits under the line of the canal. Their purpose was to get you involved in a scheme to blow up the dam, believing that you, by your influence, would be able to ward off suspicion after the job had been accomplished."

"But why?"

"Because they are cranks. They believed they would be doing their Emperor a great favor by destroying the canal. They were insane on the subject. They believed that Japan could never become mistress of the Pacific with the canal in operation and the fleets of the world passing through it.

"Well, they carried on the plotting, made their bombs, and fought us boys, as you all know. Their plans were progressing satisfactorily, for they did not know that Mr. Shaw, Mr. Chester, and Col. Van Ellis would have stopped them at the risk of their own lives, had they been able to do so, until the Japanese government got wind of what was on.

"Then these cranks were warned by the Japanese officials to stop. Instead of doing so they abducted Lieutenant Gordon and advanced the date of the crime one night. The abduction was cleverly planned and executed, but Mr. Chester learned of it, and there was a row about it. But there was no suspicion on the part of Mr. Chester that the job was set for last night, I take it. Is that true?" he asked, turning to Mr. Chester.

"Yes, I was completely deceived, and only that you boys were on guard the dam would have been blown up!"

"I overheard their plans in the stone house," Ned continued. "Mr. Chester and Col. Van Ellis went there to call the whole thing off, but Gostel and Itto lied to them. I heard Gaga admit to Itto that there were no emeralds under the canal line. I found there another map of the dam, with marks where the bombs were to be placed. Then, when I got back to Culebra and found that Lieutenant Gordon had been abducted, I knew that the job was set for that night."

"I was sorry you went without me," Mr. Chester said.

"I wanted you here when the end came," Ned replied, "and so sent for you. I wanted you where you could not be accused of complicity in the crime, for I knew that you were innocent. Your only fault was in listening to the men at all."

"Yes, we should have listened to Mr. Shaw instead of the Japs," Mr. Chester admitted, "but it has come out all right. The peril is over. Now, what about the necklace?"

"Gaga carried it with him, lugged it about on his person," Ned said, "and Jimmie secured it after his arrest at the stone house. Pedro would not have been captured if he had not followed Gaga there with the intention of murdering him and securing the necklace. Yes, the bauble is in Frank's possession again!"

"And that closes the case," laughed Mr. Shaw, "and you boys may as well go back to New York with me. The reward for your work, Mr. Nestor, will be large, and you may as well take a rest. We will leave the prisoners in the hands of the law."

"Wait a moment!" said Col. Hill. "We are in need of a herd of Boy Scouts, just like this one, up in the Philippines. Will you go, boys?"


(The end)
G. Harvey Ralphson's book: Boy Scouts in the Canal Zone

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