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   Chapter 28 TREASURE AT LAST

The Phantom Violin / A Mystery Story for Girls By Roy J. Snell Characters: 6281

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

Vincent Stearns and Percy O'Hara bade their young friends farewell at dawn. With Swen they went gliding away toward Rock Harbor Lodge. They would wait the coming of a passing steamer that would carry them home.

When the chill damp of morning was gone, the three girls spread blankets on the sand and fell fast asleep.

It was mid-afternoon when they sat down to the first meal of the day. It was a regal feast, for Swen had left two large, juicy steaks, and Vincent had contributed a large box of chocolates.

While they were in the midst of this repast there came from the bay a piercing scream. It was followed by a most ludicrous laugh.

"That," exclaimed Florence, jumping up, "is old Dizzy, the dear, crazy old loon! He survived the storm."

She threw him a large piece of fresh meat. After swallowing it at a gulp, he favored her with one more burst of laughter, then went splashing away.

"Do you know," she said as she resumed her place, "we've got a few days left here? I, for one, am through with mysteries. I'm all for having a hilarious good time-boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, and never a care!"

This program was carried out until quite suddenly out of a clear sky mystery once more caught them. Nor will any of them live to regret it.

It all came about because Florence suggested that they row out to the reef where the unlucky Pilgrim had gone aground.

To them the reef was a mournful sight. Nothing appeared above the placid surface. A little way down on the jagged rocks were the boilers and engines of the Pilgrim.

"And look!" Florence exclaimed. "Barrels down there. Three barrels. Not very far down either. Barrels of oil, Swen said they were. Must have shaken out of the hull, like peas out of a pod. But barrels of oil. You'd think they might be worth something."

Then, like a flash, a thought came to her. "That man on the schooner, the diver, what was he after? Could it be-?" She dared not trust herself to think further. Swen was coming that night with supplies. She would tell him about the barrels.

"Yes," Swen agreed at once when he had been told of the discovery, "those barrels of oil are worth quite a little. If it's linseed oil they'd be worth fifty dollars apiece. Lubricating oil is cheaper, but would be worth going after. Dive down and put on grappling hooks. Drag them up on the reef. That should be easy."

"Well!" Florence exclaimed. "We've been 'three last passengers' and castaways. Now we are about to turn wreckers!"

And wreckers they were. They found it an easy task to attach the grappling irons, then with a cable attached to Swen's small power boat to drag the first two barrels to the dry surface of the jagged reef.

The third barrel presented difficulties. It appeared unusually heavy. Twice the hooks slipped off. The third time the capstan on the boat gave way. But in time this third barrel lay beside its two companions on the reef, well above water.

"There you are!" Swen exulted. "A fine day's work! We'll just tie up and have a look." He nosed the boat inshore.

"Huh!" he grunted a short time later. "Two barrels of lubricating oil.

Not so good.

"But look!" he exclaimed. "What's this? This third barrel has rubbed against the rock until it got a hole in its side. No oil in that."

Just at that moment Florence caught sight of something that set her heart racing-a glint of gold from that hole in the barrel.

"Sw-wen!" she said shakily. "Just help me roll that barrel over."

"Why? What?" Swen complied, and as he did so a golden coin rolled from the hole in the barrel.

"A barrel of gold!" Florence sat down suddenly. She sat in a puddle of water on the concave side of a rock and did not know it.

A barrel of gold it was-no less. The head of the steel barrel had been removed. A great number of gold coins, wrapped in paper, had been packed inside, then the head had been sealed up by steel welding. When the barrel had been painted it looked just like any other.

Three hours later when the little fishing boat pulled away she carried a considerable treasure all in gold coins.

"Of course," Swen warned, "it's not our gold. But there's something in it for us all the same. Salvage, I guess you would call it."

The mystery of that barrel of gold was not solved at once. Little by little it became known that a very rich and stubborn man had refused to give up his hoarded gold when the United States Government, for the good of all its people, demanded that he should. Thinking to evade the law, he had packed his gold in a metal barrel and had attempted to ship it to Canada, and, as we know, had failed.

Just who the men were on the schooner, with the diver on board, will probably never be revealed. Were they hired by the rich man to retrieve the treasure? Were they plain thieves who, having got some knowledge of the gold, proposed to take it for themselves? Who can say?

Before the girls left the island a rumor was set afloat that there were bears to be found on the island. It was traced to the mainland. It was discovered there that a certain man of doubtful character had started the rumor. As proof of his story he displayed scratched hands and tattered clothing. He had met the bear, he said, by the old lighthouse at the end of Rock Harbor.

"That," Jeanne laughed, "must have been the head hunter. It was my bear he met. I'm glad, though," she added, "that he escaped with his life. It is too terrible to die. The bear punished him quite enough."

The three girls were back in their city homes when the salvage on their barrel of gold arrived. Finding it to be quite a tidy sum, they promptly divided it in two parts and sent one part to Swen to be used for the best interests of his fisherfolk. That which remained they placed in the bank, a treasure hoard to be spent, in part at least, on some further adventure. If you care to know what those adventures might be you are invited to read the book called Gypsy Flight.

Transcriber's Notes

Copyright notice provided as in the original printed text-this e-text is public domain in the country of publication.

Silently corrected palpable typos; left non-standard spellings and dialect unchanged.

In the text versions, italic text is delimited by _underscores_.

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