ereabouts with a grizzly red beard."
"Is he a crook or a fugitive from the law?" Penny demanded.
"Not that nobody ever heard of. Ezekiel and his two boys, Hod and Coon, tend purty much to their own business. But they don't go fer strangers hangin' around."
"And do they own the island?"
"Not an inch of it--all that swamp's government land. Can't figure why, if 'twas Ezekiel, he'd drive you away from there. Unless--"
"Unless what?" Penny asked as the trapper fell silent.
"Jest a'thinkin'. Well, I'll keep an eye out fer the dog and maybe have a talk with Ezekiel."
Penny and Louise thanked the swamper and paid him for use of the boat. Gathering up the flowers they had picked, they started toward the road where they had parked Penny's coupe.
The trapper walked with them to the front gate.
"By the way," Penny remarked, "who is the woman on the farm just above here?"
"At the edge of the swamp? That's the Ezekiel Hawkins' place."
"Not the fa