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Title: The Adventure Club Afloat
Author: Barbour, Ralph Henry, 1870-1944
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Adventure Club Afloat" ***

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Author of _Left End Edwards_, _Left Tackle Thayer_, etc.

With Illustrations by E. C. Caswell


[Illustration: The two cruisers were chug-chugging out of the harbour.]











The Adventure Club had its inception, one evening toward the last of
June, in Number 17 Sumner Hall, which is the oldest, most vine-hidden
and most hallowed of the seven dormitories of Dexter Academy. It was a
particularly warm evening, the two windows were wide open and the
green-shaded light on the study table in the centre of the room had been
turned low--Sumner prided itself on being conservative to the extent of
gas instead of electricity and tin bathtubs instead of porcelain--and in
the dim radiance the three occupants of the room were scarcely more than
darker blurs.

Since final examinations had ended that afternoon and Graduation Day was
only some twenty-eight hours away, none of the three was doing anything
more onerous than yawning, and the yawn which came from Perry Bush,
didn't sound as though it cost much of an effort. It was, rather, a
comfortable, sleepy yawn, one that expressed contentment and relief, a
sort of "Glad-that's-over-and-I'm-still-alive" yawn.

There was a window-seat under each casement in Number 17, and each was
occupied by a recumbent figure. Perry was on the right-hand seat, his
hands under his head and one foot sprawled on the floor, and Joe
Ingersoll was in the other, his slim, white-trousered legs jack-knifed
against the darker square of the open window. Near Joe, his feet tucked
sociably against Joe's ribs, Steve Chapman, the third of the trio,
reclined in a Morris chair. I use the word reclined advisedly, for Steve
had lowered the back of the chair to its last notch, and to say that he
was sitting would require a stretch of the imagination almost as long as
Steve himself! Through the windows Steve could see the dark masses of
the campus elms, an occasional star between the branches, and, by
raising his head the fraction of an inch, the lights in the upper story
of Hawthorne, across the yard. Somewhere under the trees outside a group
of fellows were singing to the accompaniment of a wailing ukelele. They
sang softly, so that the words floated gently up to the open casements
just distinguishable:

      "_Years may come and years may go,
        Seasons ebb and seasons flow,
        Autumn lie 'neath Winters' snow,
      Spring bring Summer verdancy.
        Life may line our brow with care,
        Time to silver turn our hair,
        Still, to us betide whate'er,
      Dexter, we'll remember thee!_

      "_Other memories may fade,
        Hopes grow dim in ev'ning's shade,
        Golden friendships that we made_--"

"Aw, shut up!" muttered Perry, breaking the silence that had held them
for several minutes. Joe Ingersoll laughed softly.

"You don't seem to like the efforts of the--um--sweet-voiced
choristers," he said in his slow way.

"I don't like the sob-stuff," replied Perry resentfully. "What's the use
of rubbing it in? Why not let a fellow be cheerful after he has got
through by the skin of his teeth and kicked his books under the bed?
Gosh, some folks never want anyone to be happy!" He raised himself by
painful effort and peered out and down into the gloom. "Sophs, I'll
bet," he murmured, falling back again on the cushions. "No one else
would sit out here on the grass and sing school songs two days before
the end. I hope that idiot singing second bass will get a brown-tail
caterpillar down his neck!"

"The end!" observed Steve Chapman. "You say that as if we were all going
to die the day after tomorrow, Perry! Cheer up! Vacation's coming!"

"Vacation be blowed!" responded Perry. "What's that amount to, anyway?
Nothing ever happens to me in vacation. It's all well enough for you
fellows to laugh. You're going up to college together in the Fall. I'm
coming back to this rotten hole all alone!"

"Not quite alone, Sweet Youth," corrected Joe. "There will be some four
hundred other fellows here."

"Oh, well, you know what I mean," said Perry impatiently. "You and Steve
will be gone, and I don't give a hang for any other chaps!"

He ended somewhat defiantly, conscious that he had indulged in a most
unmanly display of sentiment, and was glad that the darkness hid the
confusion and heightened colour that followed the confession. Steve and
Joe charitably pretended not to have noticed the lamentable exhibition
of feeling, and a silence followed, during which the voices of the
singers once more became audible.

      "_Dexter! Mother of our Youth!
      Dexter! Guardian of the Truth!_"

"_Cut it out!_" Perry leaned over the windowsill and bawled the command
down into the darkness. A defiant jeer answered him.

"Don't be fresh," said Steve reprovingly. Perry mumbled and relapsed
into silence. Presently, sighing as he changed his position, Joe said:

"I believe Perry's right about vacation, Steve. Nothing much ever does
happen to a fellow in Summer. I believe I've had more fun in school than
at home the last six years."

The others considered the statement a minute. Then: "Correct," said
Steve. "It's so, I guess. We're always crazy to get home in June and
just as crazy to get back to school again in September, and I believe we
all have more good times here than at home."

"Of course we do," agreed Perry animatedly. "Anyway, I do. Summers are
all just the same. My folks lug me off to the Water Gap and we stay
there until it's time to come back here. I play tennis and go motoring
and sit around on the porch and--and--bathe--"

"Let's hope so," interpolated Joe gravely.

"And nothing really interesting ever happens," ended Perry despairingly.
"Gee, I'd like to be a pirate or--or something!"

"Summers _are_ rather deadly," assented Steve. "We go to the seashore,
but the place is filled with swells, and about all they do is change
their clothes, eat and sleep. When you get ready for piracy, Perry, let
me know, will you! I'd like to sign-on."

"Put me down, too," said Joe. "I've always had a--um--sneaking idea that
I'd make a bully pirate. I'm naturally bloodthirsty and cruel. And I've
got a mental list of folks who--um--I'd like to watch walk the plank!"

"Fellows of our ages have a rotten time of it, anyway," Perry grumbled.
"We're too old to play kids' games and too young to do anything worth
while. What I'd like to do--"

"Proceed, Sweet Youth," Joe prompted after a moment.

"Well, I'd like to--to start something! I'd like to get away somewhere
and do things. I'm tired of loafing around in white flannels all day
and keeping my hands clean. And I'm tired of dabbing whitewash on my
shoes! Didn't you fellows ever think that you'd like to get good and
dirty and not have to care? Wouldn't you like to put on an old flannel
shirt and a pair of khaki trousers and some 'sneakers' and--and roll in
the mud?"

"Elemental stuff," murmured Joe. "He's been reading Jack London."

"Well, that's the way I feel, lots of times," said Perry defiantly. "I'm
tired of being clean and white, and I'm tired of dinner jackets, and I'm
sick to death of hotel porches! Gee, a healthy chap never was intended
to lead the life of a white poodle with a pink ribbon around his neck!
Me for some rough-stuff!"

"You're dead right, too," agreed Steve. "That kind of thing is all right
for Joe, of course. Joe's a natural-born 'fusser.' He's never happier
than when he's dolled up in a sport-shirt and a lavender scarf and
toasting marshmallows. But--"

"Is that so?" inquired Joe with deep sarcasm. "If I was half the
'fusser' you are--"

"What I want," interrupted Perry, warming to his theme, "is adventure!
I'd like to hunt big game, or discover the North Pole--"

"You're a year or two late," murmured Joe.

"--or dig for hidden treasure!"

"You should--um--change your course of reading," advised Joe. "Too much
Roosevelt and Peary and Stevenson is your trouble. Read the classics for
awhile--or the Patty Books."

"That's all right, but you chaps are just the same, only you won't own
up to it."

"One of us will," said Steve; "and does."

"Make it two," yawned Joe. "Beneath this--um--this polished exterior
there beats a heart--I mean there flows the red blood of--"

"Look here, fellows, why not?" asked Steve.

"Why not what?" asked Perry.

"Why not have adventures? They say that all you have to do is look for

"Don't you believe it! I've looked for them for years and I've never
seen one yet." Perry swung his feet to the floor and sat up.

"Well, not at Delaware Water Gap, naturally. You've got to move around,
son. You don't find them by sitting all day with your feet on the rail
of a hotel piazza."

"Where do you find them, then?" Perry demanded.

Steve waved a hand vaguely aloft into the greenish radiance of the lamp.
"All round. North, east, south and west. Land or sea. Adventures,
Perry, are for the adventurous. Now, here we are, three able-bodied
fellows fairly capable of looking after ourselves in most situations,
tired of the humdrum life of Summer resorts. What's to prevent our
spending a couple of months together and finding some adventures? Of
course, we can't go to Africa and shoot lions and wart-hogs--whatever
they may be,--and we can't fit out an Arctic exploration party and
discover Ingersoll Land or Bush Inlet or Chapman's Passage, but we could
have a mighty good time, I'd say, and, even if we didn't have many
hair-breadth escapes, I'll bet it would beat chasing tennis balls and
doing the Australian crawl and keeping our white shoes and trousers

"We could be as dirty as we liked!" sighed Perry ecstatically. "Lead me
to it!"

"It sounds positively fascinating," drawled Joe, "but just how would we
go about it? My folks, for some unfathomable reason, think quite a lot
of me, and I don't just see them letting me amble off like that;
especially in--um--such disreputable company."

"I should think they'd be glad to be rid of you for a Summer," said
Perry. "Anyhow, let's make believe it's possible, fellows, and talk
about it."

"Why isn't it possible?" asked Steve. "My folks would raise objections
as well as yours, Joe, but I guess I could fetch them around. After all,
there's no more danger than in staying at home and trying to break your
neck driving an automobile sixty miles an hour. Let's really consider
the scheme, fellows. I'm in earnest. I want to do it. What Perry said is
just what I've been thinking without saying. Why, hang it, a fellow
needs something of the sort to teach him sense and give him experience.
This thing of hanging around a hotel porch all Summer makes a regular
mollycoddle of a fellow. I'm for revolt!"

"Hear! Hear!" cried Perry enthusiastically. "Revolution! _A bas la_
Summer Resort! _Viva_ Adventure!"

"Shut up, idiot! Do you really mean it, Steve, or are you just talking?
If you mean it, I'm with you to the last--um--drop of blood, old chap!
I've always wanted to revolt about something, anyway. One of my
ancestors helped throw the English breakfast tea into Boston Harbour.
But I don't want to get all het up about this unless there's really
something in it besides jabber."

"We start the first day of July," replied Steve decisively.

"Where for?"

"That is the question, friends. Shall it be by land or sea?"

"Land," said Joe.

"Sea," said Perry.

"The majority rules and I cast my vote with Perry. Adventures are more
likely to be found on the water, I think, and it's adventures we are
looking for."

"But I always get seasick," objected Joe. "And when I'm seasick you
couldn't tempt me with any number of adventures. I simply--um--don't
seem to enthuse much at such times."

"You can take a lemon with you," suggested Perry cheerfully. "My

Joe shook his head. "They don't do you any good," he said sadly.

"Don't they! My grandmother--"

"Bother your grandmother! How do we go to sea, Steve? Swim or--or how?"

"We get my father's cruiser," replied Steve simply. "She's a
forty-footer and togged out like an ocean-liner. Has everything but a
swimming-pool. She--"

"Nix on the luxuries," interrupted Perry. "The simple life for me.
Let's hire an old moth-eaten sailboat--"

"Nothing doing, Sweet Youth! If I'm to risk my life on the heaving ocean
I want something under me. Besides, being seasick is rotten enough,
anyhow, without having to roll around in the cock-pit of a two-by-twice
sailboat. That cruiser listens well, Steve, but--um--will papa fall for
it? If it was my father--"

"I think he will," answered Steve seriously. "Dad doesn't have much
chance to use the boat himself, and this Summer he's likely to be in the
city more than ever. The trouble is that the _Cockatoo_ is almost too
big for three of us to handle."

"Oh, piffle!"

"It's so, though. I know the boat, Perry. She's pretty big when it comes
to making a landing or picking up a mooring. If we were all fairly good
seamen it might be all right, but I wouldn't want to try to handle the
_Cockatoo_ without a couple of sailors aboard."

"I once sailed a knockabout," said Perry.

"And I had a great-grandfather who was a sea captain," offered Joe
encouragingly. "What price great-grandfather?"

"Don't see where your grandfather and Perry's grandmother come into
this," replied Steve. "How would it do if we gathered up two or three
other fellows? The _Cockatoo_ will accommodate six."

"Who could we get?" asked Joe dubiously.

"Neil Fairleigh, for one."

"How about Han?" offered Joe.

"Hanford always wants to boss everything," objected Perry.

"He knows boats, though, and so does Neil," said Steve. "And they're
both good fellows. That would make five of us, and five isn't too many.
We can't afford to hire a cook, you know; at least, I can't; and someone
will have to look after that end of it. Who can cook?"

"I can't!" Perry made the disclaimer with great satisfaction.

"No more can I," said Joe cheerfully. "Let Neil be cook."

"I guess we'll all have to take a try at it. I dare say any of us can
fry an egg and make coffee; and you can buy almost everything ready to
eat nowadays."

"Tell you who's a whale of a cook," said Perry eagerly. "That's Ossie
Brazier. Remember the time we camped at Mirror Lake last Spring?
Remember the flapjacks he made? M-mm!"

"I didn't go," said Steve. "What sort of a chap is Brazier? I don't know
him very well."

"Well, Oscar's one of the sort who will do anything just as long as he
thinks he doesn't have to," replied Joe. "If we could get him to come
along and tell him that he--um--simply must _not_ ask to do the cooking,
why--there you are!"

"Merely a matter of diplomacy," laughed Steve. "Well, we might have
Brazier instead of Hanford--or Neil."

"Why not have them all if the boat will hold six?" asked Joe. "Seems to
me the more we have the less each of us will have to do. I mean," he
continued above the laughter, "that--um--a division of labour--"

"We get you," said Perry. "But, say, I wish you'd stop talking about it,
fellows. I'm going to be disappointed when I wake up and find it's only
a bright and gaudy dream."

"It isn't a dream," answered Steve, "unless you say so. I'll go, and
I'll guarantee to get the _Cockatoo_ without expense other than the cost
of running her. If you and Joe can get your folks to let you come, and
we can get hold of, say, two other decent chaps to fill the crew, why,
we'll do it!"

"Do you honestly mean it?" demanded Perry incredulously. "Gee, I'll get
permission if I have to--to go without it!"

"How about you, Joe?"

"Um--I guess I could manage it. How long would we be gone?"

"A month. Two, if you like. Start the first of July, or as soon after as
possible, and get back in August."

"How much would it cost us?" inquired Perry. "I'm not a millionaire like
you chaps."

"Wouldn't want to say offhand. We'd have to figure that. That's another
reason for filling the boat up, though. The more we have the less
everyone's share of the expense will be."

"Let's have the whole six, then, for money's scarce in my family these
days. Let's make it a club, fellows. The Club of Six, or something of
that sort. It sounds fine!"

"Take in another fellow and call it The Lucky Seven," suggested Joe.

"We might not be lucky, though," laughed Steve. "I'll tell you a better


"The Adventure Club."



And that is the way in which it happened. It began in fun and ended
quite seriously. They sat up in Number 17 Sumner until long after
bedtime that night, figuring the cost of the expedition, planning the
cruise, even listing supplies. The more they talked about it the more
their enthusiasm grew. Perry was for having Steve send a night message
then and there to his father asking for the boat, but Steve preferred to
wait until he reached home and make the request by word of mouth.

"He would just think I was fooling or crazy if I telegraphed," he
explained. "Tomorrow we'll try to dig up three other fellows to go
along, and then, as soon as we all get home, we'll find out whether our
folks will stand for it. You must all telegraph me the first thing.
Don't wait to write, because I must know as soon as possible. I dare say
there's work to be done on the _Cockatoo_ before she's ready for the
water, and we don't want to have to wait around until the end of July.
The fun of doing anything is to do it right off. If you wait you lose
half the pleasure. Now you'd better beat it, Perry. It's after ten. If
you meet a proctor close your eyes and make believe you're walking in
your sleep."

Perry reached his own room, on the floor above, without being sighted,
however, and subsequently spent a sleepless hour in joyous anticipation
of at last finding some of those adventures that all his life he had
longed for. And when he did at length fall asleep it was to have the
most outlandish dreams, visions in which he endured shipwreck, fought
pirates and was all but eaten by cannibals. The most incongruous phase
of the dream, as recollected on waking, was that the _Cockatoo_ had
been, not a motor-boat at all, but a trolley-car! He distinctly
remembered that the pirates, on boarding it, had each dropped a nickel
in the box!

Fortunately for the success of the Adventure Club, the next morning held
no duties. In the afternoon the deciding baseball game was to be played,
but, except for gathering belongings together preliminary to packing,
nothing else intervened between now and the graduation programme of the
morrow. Hence it was an easy matter to hold what might be termed the
first meeting of the club. Besides the originators there were present
Messrs. Fairleigh, Hanford and Brazier. After Steve had locked the door
to prevent interruption, he presented to the newcomers a summary of the
scheme. It was received with enthusiasm and unanimous approval, but Neil
Fairleigh and Oscar Brazier sadly admitted that in their cases parental
permission was extremely doubtful. George Hanford, whose parents were
dead and who was under the care of a guardian, thought that in his case
there would be no great difficulty. The other two viewed him a trifle
enviously. Then, because one may always hope, they had to hear the
particulars and each secretly began to fashion arguments to overcome the
objections at home. Finally Oscar Brazier inquired interestedly:

"Who is going to cook for you?"

"Oh, we'll take turns, maybe," answered Joe. "Or we might hire a cook."

Joe stole a look at Steve. Oscar only shuffled his feet.

"I say hire," remarked Perry. "Any of us could do it after a fashion, I
dare say, but you get frightfully hungry on the water and need good
stuff well cooked, and lots of it."

"Yes," agreed Steve, "any of us would make an awful mess of it.
Cooking's an art."

Oscar cleared his throat and frowned. "You'd have to pay a lot for a
cook," he said. "It isn't hard, really. I could do it--if I were going

"That's so," George Hanford confirmed. But the rest seemed
unflatteringly doubtful. The silence was almost embarrassing. At last
Joe said hurriedly:

"Well, we don't have to decide that now. Besides, if you can't come with
us--um--" His voice trailed off into a relieved silence. Oscar smiled

"That's all right," he said. "If you prefer a cook, say so. Only, if I
did go I'd be willing to do the cooking, and I'll bet I could do it as
well as any cook you could hire. Isn't it so, Han?"

"Yes, I call you a mighty nifty cook, Ossie. I've eaten your biscuits
more than once. Flapjacks, too."

"Well," said Joe politely, "camp cooking is um--different, I guess, from
regular cooking. Of course, I don't say Ossie couldn't do it, mind you,
but--we wouldn't want to take chances. On the whole, I think it would be
best to have a regular cook."

"We might let Ossie try it," suggested Perry judicially.

"Oh, I'm not crazy about it," disclaimed Oscar, piqued. "If you prefer
to pay out good money for a cook--"

"Not at all," interrupted Steve soothingly. "We want to do the whole
thing as cheaply as we can. I see no harm in leaving the cooking end of
it to you, Brazier; that is, if you can go."

"I'm going to make a big try for it," declared Oscar resolutely. "If my
folks won't let me, they--they'll wish they had!"

Whereupon, emboldened by Oscar's stand, Neil Fairleigh expressed the
conviction that he, too, could manage it some way. "I dare say that if I
tell my dad that all you chaps are going he will think it's all right.
It wouldn't be for all Summer, anyway, would it?"

"The idea now," responded Steve, "is to start out for a month's cruise
and extend it if we cared to. I suppose any of us that got tired could
quit after the month was up." He smiled. "We'd all have to sign-on for a
month, though."

"Right-o," agreed Hanford. "What about electing officers? Oughtn't we to
do that? Someone ought to be in charge, I should think."

"Sure!" exclaimed Joe. "We'll ballot. Throw that pad over here, Ossie."

"Wait a minute," said Steve. "I've been thinking, fellows. The
_Cockatoo_ will hold six comfortably. The main cabin has berths for four
and the owner's cabin for two, but if I'm not mistaken the berths in the
owner's cabin are extension, and if they are we could bunk three fellows
in there, or even four at a pinch. That would give us room for seven or
eight in all. Eight might make it a bit crowded, but she's a big, roomy
boat and I think we could do with seven fellows all right. And seven's a
lucky number, too. So suppose we take in one more while we're at it?"

"The more the merrier," agreed Joe. "Who have you got in mind?"

Steve shook his head. "No one, but I guess we can think of a fellow.

Steve was interrupted by a knock on the door, and when Hanford, who was
nearest, had, at a nod from Steve, unlocked the portal a tall, rather
serious-faced youth of seventeen entered.

"Oh, am I butting-in?" he asked. "I didn't know. I'll come back later,
Joe." Philip Street smiled apologetically and started a retreat, but
Steve called him back.

"Hold on, Phil!" he cried. "Come in here. You're the very fellow we
want. Close the door and find a seat, will you?"

"By Jove, that's so!" exclaimed Joe, and the others heartily endorsed
him. Oddly enough, not one would have thought of Phil Street in all
probability, but each recognised the fact that he was the ideal fellow
to complete the membership. Steve, Joe aiding and the others attempting
to, outlined the plan. If they had expected signs of enthusiasm from
Phil they were doomed to disappointment, for that youth listened
silently and attentively until they had ended and then asked simply:

"When are you planning to get away?"

"As near the first of the month as we can," replied Steve.

"I'm afraid I couldn't go, then," said Phil. "I'm a delegate to the C.B.
Convention, you see, and that doesn't end until the sixth."

"I'd forgotten that," said Joe disappointedly.

"What's C.B. stand for?" inquired Hanford.

"Christian Brotherhood," supplied Steve. "Look here, Phil, could you go
after the sixth?"

"Yes, I'd love to, thanks."

"All right then, you're signed-on. If we get away before that we'll pick
you up somewhere. If we don't you can start with us. How is that?"

"Quite satisfactory," answered Phil.

"But are you sure your folks will let you?" asked Perry.

"Oh, yes, I spend my Summers about as I like."

"Think of that!" sighed Perry. "Gee, I wish my folks were like that."

"I guess," said Steve, "that Phil's folks know he won't get into
trouble, Perry, while yours are pretty certain that you will. It makes a
difference. Now we can go ahead with that election, can't we? How about

"No need of them," declared Joe. "What officers do we want?"

"Well, this is a club--the Adventure Club, Phil, is the name we've
chosen--and so I suppose we ought to have a president and a
vice-president and--"

"Rot!" said Perry. "Too high-sounding. Let's elect a captain and a
treasurer and let it go at that."

"I never heard of a club having a captain," Oscar Brazier objected.

"Nor anyone else," agreed Joe. "Let's follow the Nihilist scheme and
elect a Number One, a Number Two and a Number Three. Number One can be
the boss, a sort of president, you know, Number Two can correspond to a
vice-president and Number Three can be secretary and treasurer. How's

"Suits me," said Steve. "Tear up some pieces of paper, Perry. We'll each
vote for the three officers, writing the names in order, then the fellow
getting the most votes--"

"I don't know as I ought to vote," said Neil Fairleigh, "because I'm not
sure I can go. Maybe I'd better not, eh?"

"Oh, shucks, never mind that," replied Perry. "You can join the club,
anyway, and be a sort of non-resident member. Here you are, fellows.
Who's got a pen or something?"

During the ensuing two or three minutes there was comparative silence in
Number 17, and while the seven occupants of the room busy themselves
with pens or pencils let us look them over since we are likely to spend
some time in their company from now on.

First of all there is Steve Chapman, seventeen years of age, a tall,
well-built and nicely proportioned youth with black hair and eyes, a
quick, determined manner and an incisive speech. Steve was Football
Captain last Fall. Next him sits George Hanford. Han, as the boys call
him, is eighteen, also a senior, and also a football player. He is big
and rangey, good-natured and popular, and is president of the senior

Joe Ingersoll's age is seventeen. He is Steve's junior by two months. He
is of medium height, rather thin, light complexioned and has peculiarly
pale eyes behind the round spectacles he wears. Joe is first baseman on
the Nine, and a remarkably competent one. He is slow of speech and
possesses a dry humour that on occasion can be uncomfortably ironical.
Beside him, Perry Bush is a complete contrast, for Perry is
large-limbed, rather heavy of build, freckle-faced, red-haired and
jolly. He has very dark blue eyes and, in spite of a moon-shaped
countenance, is distinctly pleasing to look at; he is sixteen.

Neil Fairleigh and Phil Street are of an age, seventeen, but in other
regards are quite unalike. Neil is of medium height, with his full
allowance of flesh, and has hair the hue of new rope and grey-blue eyes.
He is even-tempered, easy-going and, if truth must be told, somewhat
lazy. Phil Street is quite tall, rather thin and dark complexioned, a
nice-looking, somewhat serious youth whose infrequent smile is worth
waiting for. He is an Honor Man, a distinction attained by no other
member of our party save Steve. The last of the seven is Oscar Brazier,
and Ossie, as the boys call him, is sixteen years old, short and
square, strongly-made and conspicuous for neither beauty nor scholarly
attainments. Ossie has a snub nose, a lot of rebellious brown hair, red
cheeks and a wide mouth that is usually smiling. Renowned for his
good-nature, he is nevertheless a hard worker at whatever he undertakes,
and if he sometimes shows a suspicious disposition it is only because
his good-nature has been frequently imposed on.

When the last pencil had stopped scratching Joe gathered the slips
together and after a moment's figuring announced that Steve had been
elected Number One without a dissenting vote, that he himself had been
made Number Two and that Phil was Number Three. If Perry felt
disappointment he hid it, and when Phil declared that in his opinion
Perry should have been elected instead of him, since Perry was, so to
say, a charter member, Perry promptly disclaimed any desire of the sort.

"No, thanks," he said. "If I was secretary I'd have to keep the accounts
and all that sort of thing, and I'm no good at it. You're the very
fellow for the job, Phil."

The assemblage broke up shortly after, to meet again that evening at
eight, Steve undertaking to have a map on hand then so that they might
plan their cruise. As none of the seven was bound to secrecy, what
happened is only what might have been expected. By the time the ball
game was half over Steve and Joe had received enough applications for
membership in the Adventure Club to have, in Joe's words, filled an
ocean liner. It is probable that a large proportion of the applicants
could not have obtained permission to join the expedition, but they were
each and all terribly enthusiastic and eager to join, and it required
all of Steve's and Joe's diplomacy to turn them away without hurting
their feelings. Wink Wheeler--his real name was Warren, but no one ever
called him that--refused politely but firmly to take no for an answer.
Wink said he didn't care where he bunked and that he never ate anything
on a boat, anyway, because he was always too seasick to bother about

"One more won't matter, Steve," Wink pleaded. "Be a good chap and let me
in, won't you? My folks are going out to California this Summer and I
don't want to go, and they'll let me do anything I like. Tell you what,
Steve. If you'll take me I'll buy something for the boat. I'll make the
club a present of--of a tender or an anchor or whatever you say!"

Steve found it especially hard to turn Wink down, because he liked the
fellow, just as everyone else did. Wink was eighteen and had been five
years getting through school, but he was a big, good-hearted, jovial
boy, and, as Steve reflected, one who would be a desirable companion on
such an adventure as had been planned. Steve at last told Wink that he
would speak to the others about him that evening, but that Wink was not
to get his hopes up, and Wink took himself off whistling cheerfully and
quite satisfied. But when Steve tentatively broached the matter of
including one more member in the person of Wink Wheeler, Joe staggered
him by announcing that he had promised Harry Corwin to intercede for the

"He pestered the life out of me," explained Joe ruefully, "and I finally
told him I'd ask you fellows. But I suppose we can't take two more. Nine
would--um--be rather overdoing it, eh?"

Everyone agreed that it would. Han suggested that Wink Wheeler and Harry
Corwin might toss up for the privilege of joining the club. "After all,"
he added, "we aren't all of us certain that we can go. If one or two of
us drop out there'll be room for Wink and Harry, too."

"Seems to me," said Phil Street, "it might be a good plan to enlarge
the membership to, say, twelve, and let the new members find a boat of
their own. I dare say they could. Then--"

"Fine!" exclaimed Joe. "Harry and his brother have some sort of a
motor-boat. He told me so today. That's a bully idea, Phil! With twelve
of us we could divide up between the two boats--"

"How many will Corwin's boat hold?" asked Neil.

"I don't know. I'll see him and find out. But it ought to be big enough
to hold four, anyway. There are seven of us now, and Wink and Harry and
his brother Tom would make ten, and we could easily pick out two more."

"Let's make the membership thirteen," said Perry.

"Thirteen!" echoed Han. "Gee, that's unlucky!"

"Rot! Why, you've got thirteen letters in your name. George Hanford."
Perry counted on his fingers. "This is the Adventure Club, isn't it?
Well, starting out with thirteen members is an adventure right at the

"Sure!" agreed Ossie. "Let's take a chance. It's only a silly
what-do-you-call-it anyway."

"Meaning superstition?" asked Steve. "Well, I'm agreeable. Who else do
we want? Bert Alley asked to join, and so did George Browne."

"And Casper Temple," added Joe. "And they're all good fellows. But I
want it distinctly understood that I'm going on the _Cockatoo_."

"Me too!" exclaimed Perry. "All of us fellows must go on the _Cockatoo_.
We were the first."

"But suppose Corwin's boat won't hold five?" said Han.

"We can squeeze eight into the _Cockatoo_, if we have to," said Steve.
"Joe, you cut along and find Corwin and bring him up here. We might as
well settle the thing now."

"All right, but don't settle about the cruise while I'm gone," answered
Joe. "I'll have him here in ten minutes."

When the meeting adjourned that evening the club had added six new
members and enlarged its fleet by the addition of the cabin-cruiser,
_Follow Me_. It was just half-past ten when Joe and Steve produced the
last of their supply of ginger-ale from under the window-seat and,
utilising glasses, tooth-mugs and pewter trophies, the members present
drank success to the Adventure Club.



Some two weeks later, or, to be exact, sixteen days, making the date
therefor, the eighth day of July, a round-faced, freckle-cheeked youth
in a pair of khaki trousers, white rubber-soled shoes, a light flannel
shirt that had once been brown and was now the colour of much diluted
coffee and a white duck hat sat on the forward deck of a trim motor-boat
with his feet suspended above the untidy water of a slip. By turning his
head slightly he could have looked across the sunlit surface of
Buttermilk Channel to the green slopes of Governor's Island and, beyond
the gleaming Statue of Liberty. But Perry Bush was far more interested
in the approach that led from the noisy, granite-paved street behind a
distant fence to the pier against which the boat was nestled. As he
watched he sniffed gratefully of the mingled odours that came to him;
the smell of salt water, of pitch and oakum, of paint from a
neighbouring craft receiving her Summer dress, of fresh shavings and
sawdust from the nearby shed whence came also the shriek of the
band-saw and the _tap-tap_ of mallets. Ballinger's Yacht Basin was a
busy place at this time of the year, and the slips were crowded with
sailboats and motor-boats, while many craft still stood, stilted and
canvas-wrapped, in the shade of the long sheds. Perry whistled a gay
tune softly as he basked there in the warm sunlight and awaited the
arrival of the rest of the boat's crew.

Much had happened since that Thursday when they had toasted the
Adventure Club in Steve's and Joe's room in Sumner. Graduation Day had
sent them scurrying homeward. Then had followed much correspondence with
Steve. After an anxious four days, Perry and the rest had each received
a brief but highly satisfactory telegram: "_Cockatoo_ ours for two
months. Meet Ballinger's Basin, Brooklyn, fourth." But work on the
cruiser had delayed the starting date, and they had now been kicking
their heels about New York for four days. Perry and Phil Street had been
taken care of by Steve, and Joe had had Neil, Han and Ossie as his
guests. At Bay Shore, on the south side of Long Island, the _Follow Me_
was awaiting them impatiently. The _Follow Me_ had been ready to put to
sea for a full week.

Although Steve and Joe had provisioned the _Cockatoo_--which, by the
way, was no longer the _Cockatoo_, but the _Adventurer_, having been
renamed during the process of painting--the crew had not been altogether
idle during their wait. Each had thought of something further to add.
Ossie, who, as a special favour, was to be allowed to try his hand at
cooking, had made several trips between a big department store on Fulton
Street and had returned to the basin laden each time with mysterious
packages, many of which rattled or clinked when deposited in the galley.
Perry had purchased an inexpensive talking machine and a dozen records.
Neil had contributed a patent life-preserver that looked like a
waistcoat to be used by an Arctic explorer and was guaranteed to keep
Barnum and Bailey's fat man afloat. Phil had supplied the cabin with
magazines, few of them, to Perry's chagrin, of the sort anyone but a
"highbrow" would care to tackle. Joe, as an after-thought, had stocked
up heavily with Mother Somebody's Cure for Seasickness. George Hanford
had tried to smuggle on board a black and white puppy about a foot long
which he had bought on a street corner for two dollars and a half.
Steve, however, had objected strenuously and Han had been forced to see
the puppy's former owner and sell his purchase back for a dollar, the
value of it having decreased surprisingly in a few hours. Even Steve
had supplemented the boat's contents the day before by stowing two
desperate-looking revolvers and several boxes of cartridges in a locker
in the forward cabin.

Then, too, they had each outfitted more or less elaborately, according
to their pocket-books. Steve and Joe had pointed out that, with seven
aboard, locker room would be at a premium, and had urged the others to
take as little in the way of personal luggage as they could get along
with. But when the out-of-town boys got into the stores the advice was
soon forgotten. Neil had outfitted as if he was about to set forth on a
voyage around the world, and Han was not far behind him. Perry would
have liked, too, to become the proud possessor of some of the things the
former fellows brought aboard, but Perry's finances were low after he
had paid for that talking machine, and so, with the exception of a new
grey sweater, he had made no additions to his wardrobe. This morning he
had volunteered to go to the basin early and superintend the loading of
ice and water, and now, those things aboard, he was wondering, a trifle
resentfully, why the others didn't come. They were to cast off at eleven
and it was now well after ten.

"Probably," he muttered, edging back so that he could have the support
of the big, round smoke-stack, "Neil's buying another necktie! It would
serve them right if I started the thing up and went off without them."
As, however, Perry knew absolutely nothing about a gasoline engine,
there was little likelihood of his carrying that threat into action. In
any case, there would have been no excuse, for less than a minute later
he descried the tardy ones skirting the shed and coming along the wharf.
They looked, Perry thought with satisfaction, very hot and disgruntled
as, each carrying his belongings in a parcel so that there would be no
bags to stow away, they approached the boat. Although Perry was no
mechanician, he quite understood the operation of an electric horn, and
now, swinging nimbly down to the bridge deck, he set the palm of his
hand against a big black button. The result was all that he desired. An
amazing, ear-splitting shriek broke the ordinary clamour of the scene.
Perry smiled ecstatically and peered out and up from under the awning.
But the half-dozen countenances that looked down at him expressed only
disgust, and Joe's voice came to him even above the blast of the horn.

"Don't be a silly fool, Perry!" shouted Joe peevishly. "Let that alone
and catch these bundles!"

Perry obeyed and one by one the fellows scrambled from wharf to boat.
And, having reached the bridge deck, they subsided exhaustedly onto the
two cushioned seats or the gunwale. Perry viewed their inflamed,
perspiring faces in smiling surprise. "What did you do?" he asked. "Run
all the way?"

"Joe got us on the wrong car," panted Neil, "and we went halfway to
Coney Island, I guess."

"It wasn't my fault any more than it was yours," growled Joe. "You had
eyes, hadn't you?"

"We had eyes," replied Ossie from behind his handkerchief, as he wiped
his streaming face, "but we aren't supposed to know where these silly
cars go to."

"I didn't have any trouble," murmured Perry.

"Well, we did," said Han resentfully. "We waited ten minutes on a
broiling-hot corner and then, when we did get another car, it got
blocked behind ten thousand drays and we had to foot it about eleven
miles! Got any ice-water aboard?"

"We've got ice and we've got water," replied Perry. "If you mix 'em in
the proper proportions--"

"Oh, dry up and blow away," muttered Han, dragging himself painfully
down the companion on his way to the galley. Phil Street smiled.

"Seems to me we're starting our adventure rather inauspiciously," he
said. "If we have a grouch before we leave the dock what's going to
happen later?"

"Maybe it's a good thing to have it now and get over it," laughed Steve.
"It was hot, though! And it isn't much cooler here. Let's get under way,
fellows, and find a breeze. It will take us the better part of four
hours to get to Bay Shore, anyway, and I telephoned Wink yesterday that
we'd be there by three. Every fellow into sea-togs as quick as he can
make it. Joe and Phil and I bunk aft, the rest of you in the main cabin.
Get your things put away neatly, fellows. Anyone caught being disorderly
will be keel-hauled. Have a look at this thermometer, Joe. It's almost
eighty-nine! Let's get out of here in a hurry!"

For the next ten minutes the fellows busied themselves as Steve had
directed. All, that is, save Perry. As Perry was already dressed for sea
he used his leisure to sit in the hatchway of the after cabin and
converse entertainingly with the occupants until, on the score that he
was keeping the air out, he was driven up to the cockpit. There he
perched himself in one of the four comfortable wicker chairs, placed his
feet on the leather-cushioned seat across the stern and languorously
observed a less fortunate person scrape the deck of a sloop on the far
side of the slip.

Suppose that, while the _Adventurer's_ crew prepares for service, we
have a look over the boat. The _Adventurer_, late the _Cockatoo_, was a
forty-foot V-bottom, military type cruiser, with a nine-foot beam and a
draught of two feet and six inches. Below the water-line she was painted
a dark green. Above it she was freshly, immaculately white as to hull,
while decks and smoke-stack were buff. The exterior bulkheads were of
panelled mahogany, and a narrow strip of mahogany edged the deck. There
was a refreshing lack of gold in sight, and, viewed from alongside, the
_Adventurer_ had a very business-like appearance. As she was of the
raised-deck cabin type, with full head-room everywhere, she stood well
above the water, and the low, sweeping lines that suggest speed were
lacking. But the _Adventurer_ had speed, nevertheless, for under the
bridge deck was a six-cylinder 6x6 Van Lyte engine that could send her
along at twenty miles an hour when necessary. On the stern was the
legend "ADVENTURER: NEW YORK," and the name appeared again on each of
the mahogany boards that housed the sidelights. The cockpit, which was
self-bailing, was roomy enough to accommodate seven persons comfortably.
A broad leather-cushioned seat ran across the stern and there were four
wicker chairs besides. Life preservers were ingeniously strapped under
the chair seats and two others hung at each side of the after cabin

The after cabin, or owner's stateroom, held two extension seats which at
night were converted into wide and comfortable berths. At the forward
end a lavatory occupied one side and a clothes locker the other. Other
lockers occupied the space between the seats and the three ports. This
compartment, like the main cabin, was enamelled in cream-white with
mahogany trim. Three steps led to the bridge deck, a roomy place which
housed engine, steering wheel and all controls. The engine, although
under deck, was readily accessible by means of sectional hatches. On the
steering column were wheel, self-starter switch, spark, throttle and
clutch, making it easily possible for one person to operate the boat if
necessary. Two seats were built against the after bulkhead, chart boxes
flanked the forward hatchway and the binnacle was above the steering
column. Forward, the compartment was glassed in, but on other sides
khaki curtains were depended on in bad weather. When not in use the
curtains rolled up to the edge of the awning, which was set on a

From the bridge deck three steps led down to the main cabin. Here in the
daytime were two longitudinal couches with high upholstered backs. At
night the backs swung out and up to form berths, so that the compartment
supplied sleeping accomodations for four persons. There were roomy
lockers under the seats and at meal times an extension table made a
miraculous appearance and seated eight. Forward of the main cabin was
the galley, gleaming with white enamel and brass. It was fitted with a
large ice-chest, many lockers, a sink with running water, a two-burner
alcohol stove with oven and a multitude of plate-racks. It was the
lightest place in the boat, for, besides a light-port on each side, it
had as well a hatch overhead. The hatch, although water-tight, was made
to open for the admission of ice and supplies. Still forward, in the
nose of the boat, was a large water tank and, beyond that, the rope
locker. The gasoline tanks, of which there were four, held two hundred
and fifty gallons. The boat was lighted by electricity in all parts by
means of a generator and storage battery. An eight-foot tender rested on
chocks atop the main cabin. The boat carried no signal mast, but
flag-poles at bow and stern and abaft the bridge deck frame held the
Union Jack, the yacht ensign and the club burgee. All in all, the
_Adventurer_ was a smart and finely appointed craft, and a capable one,
too. Steve's father had had her built only a little more than a year ago
and she had seen but scant service. In the inelegant but expressive
phraseology of Perry, "she was a rip-snorting corker of a boat." The
consensus of opinion was to the effect that Mr. Chapman was "a peach to
let them have it," and there was an unuttered impression that that
kind-hearted gentleman was taking awful chances!

For, after all, except that Steve had had a brief week or so on the boat
the preceding Summer and that Joe had taken two days of instruction in
gasoline engine operation, not a member of the crew knew much of the
work ahead. Still, George Hanford had operated a twelve-foot motor
dingey at one time, Phil Street had sailed a knockabout and all had an
average amount of common-sense, and it seemed that, with luck, they
might somehow manage to escape death by drowning! Mr. Chapman surely
must have had a good deal of faith in Steve and his companions or he
would never have consented to their operating the cruiser without the
aid of a seasoned navigator. As for the boys themselves, they
anticipated many difficulties and some hazards, but, with the confidence
of youth, they expected to "muddle through," and, as Neil said, what
they didn't know now they soon would.

At exactly seven minutes past eleven by the ship's clock the
_Adventurer_ gave a prolonged screech and, moorings cast off, edged her
way out of the basin and dipped her nose in the laughing waters of the
bay, embarked at last on a voyage that was destined to fully vindicate
her new name.



Two days before they had decided that Steve was to be captain, Joe,
chief engineer, Phil, first mate, Perry, second mate, Ossie, steward,
Neil, cabin boy and Han, crew. Neil and Han had naturally rebelled at
being left without office or title and the omission had been laughingly
remedied to their entire satisfaction. In fact, Han was quite stuck up
over his official position, pointing out that it might be possible for a
boat to get along without a captain or mate or even a steward, but that
a crew was absolutely essential. He declared his intention of purchasing
a yachting cap at the first port of call and having the inscription
"Crew" worked on it in gold bullion.

When the _Adventurer_ left her berth each member of the boat's company
was at his post, or, at least, at what he surmised to be his post.
Steve, of course, was at the control, Joe, with the hatches up, was
watching his engine approvingly, Phil, boat-hook in hand, was on the
forward deck, Perry hovered around Steve, begging to be allowed to blow
the whistle, Ossie and Neil watched from opposite sides of the bridge
deck and Han, in the role of crew, hitched his trousers at intervals,
touched his cap when anyone so much as looked at him and said "Ay, ay,
sir!" at the slightest provocation. And with all hands on duty the
cruiser pointed her white bow towards The Narrows.

Steve never took his eyes from the course for more than a moment until
they had passed Coney Island Light, for there were many craft bustling
or slopping about and it really required some navigation to get through
The Narrows and past Gravesend Bay without running into something. Perry
suspected that Steve was working the whistle overtime, but realized that
too many precautions were better than too few. It was Perry's ambition
to learn navigation so that he might ultimately be entrusted with the
wheel, and to that end he stood at Steve's elbow until, when they gained
the Main Channel, Ossie's dulcet voice was heard proclaiming, "Grub,
fellows!" from below. Steve was rather too preoccupied to be very
informative, but Perry did manage to imbibe some information. For
instance, he learned that a sailing craft had the right of way over a
power craft, something he had not known previously, and observed that a
large proportion of them used that right to its limit. He got quite
incensed with a small, blunt-nosed schooner which insisted on crossing
the _Adventurer's_ course just as they were passing Fort Hamilton. Steve
had to slow down rather hurriedly to avoid a collision and Perry viewed
the two occupants of the schooner's deck with a scowl as they lazed
across the cruiser's bows.

"Cheeky beggars," he muttered.

He also learned the whistle code that morning: one blast for starboard,
two for port, four short blasts for danger and three for going astern.
Joe, who had applied oil to every part of the engine that he could
reach, supplied the added information that a sailboat under way on the
starboard tack had the right of way over anything afloat--with the
possible exception of a torpedo!--and that other craft had to turn to
port in passing them. Joe had wrested that bit of knowledge from a
volume entitled, "Motor Boats and Boating," which he carried in a side
pocket every minute of the trip, and passed it on with evident pride.
For the next few days he discovered other interesting items in that
precious book and divulged them at intervals with what to Perry seemed
a most offensive assumption of superiority.

"You just read that in your old book," Perry would grumble. "Anybody
could do that!" Nevertheless, he hearkened and remembered against the
time when the conduct of the boat should be handed over to the hands of
the efficient second mate. When Joe became insufferably informative
Perry blandly asked him questions about the engine, such as, "What's the
difference, Joe, between a two-cycle and a four-cycle motor?" or "What
happens when the water-jacket becomes unbuttoned?" and was delighted to
find that Joe lapsed into silence until he had had time to
surreptitiously consult his book.

Today, however, Joe's ignorance of motors mattered not at all, for the
engine ran sweetly and the _Adventurer_ churned through the green water
without a falter. More than once Joe might have been observed gazing
down at the six cylinder-heads surmounted by their maze of wires with an
expression of awe. Joe's thoughts probably might have been put into
words thus: "Yes, I see you doing it, but--but _why?_"

Steve didn't go down to the cabin for dinner, but ate it as best he
could on the bridge. Neil, in his capacity of cabin-boy, arranged a
folding stool beside him, and from that, at intervals between moving the
wheel, blowing the whistle or anxiously scanning the course, Steve
seized his food. The others descended to the main cabin and squeezed
themselves about the table, which, adorned with a cloth of wonderful
sheen and whiteness that bore the cruiser's former name and flag woven
in the centre, held a plentiful supply of canned beans, fried bacon,
potato chips, bread and butter and raspberry jam. Everything was
thrillingly fine, from the pure linen tablecloth and napkins to the
silverware. The plates held the same design that was worked into the
napery, as did even the knives and forks and spoons. Ossie was
apologetic as to the menu, although he need not have been.

"There wasn't time to do much cooking," he said, "and, besides, I
haven't got the hang of things yet. I never tried to do anything on an
alcohol stove before. It takes longer, seems to me. I couldn't get the
oven heated until about five minutes ago, and so if those potato-chips
aren't very warm--"

"I'm warm enough, if they aren't," said Neil. "How do you open these
little round window things?"

"Turn the thumb-screws," advised Han. "I think everything's bully, and
I'm as hungry as a bear. Pass the beans, Perry. Got any more tea out
there, cook?"

"Yes, but I'm steward and not cook," replied Ossie, arising from his
camp-stool and stepping into the galley. "Hand over the bread plate,
someone, and I'll cut some more. Bet you it's going to cost us something
for grub, fellows!"

"Well," responded Han, "I'd rather go broke that way than some others.
What kind of tea is this, Ossie?"

"Ceylon. Doesn't it suit you?"

"Oh, I can worry it down, thanks. Sugar, please, Phil. I generally drink
orange pekoe, though. You might lay in a few pounds of it at the next

"I might," said Ossie, resuming his place at the end of the board, "and
then again I might not. And the probabilities are not. If you don't want
all the potatoes, Joe, you may shove them along this way."

The repast was frequently interrupted by the shrill blast of the
whistle, and whenever that sounded most of the diners scrambled up to
peer interestedly through the ports. In fact, so loth were they to miss
anything that might be happening that they finished dinner in record
time, consuming dessert, which consisted of bananas and pears, outside.
Ossie alone remained below, and from the galley came the clatter of
dishes and a cheerful tune as the steward cleared away and washed up.
Joe smiled at Phil.

"Ossie's having the time of his life now," he said, "but wait until the
novelty wears off. Then we'll hear some tall kicking about the
dishwashing, or I miss my guess."

"We'll have to take turns helping him at that," said Steve. "If we don't
he's likely to mutiny. There's Coney over there, fellows."

The others gathered on the port side to gaze across the water at the
crowded beach and the colourful maze of buildings. "It looks jolly,
doesn't it?" asked Han. "Couldn't we run in closer, Steve?"

"We could, but it would take us out of our course. I'm heading for
Rockaway Point over there. We've got a good ways to go yet before we
reach Fire Island." Steve had the chart opened before him and he laid a
finger on the point mentioned.

"Looks like it would be more fun to duck in there," said Neil, vaguely
indicating the neighbourhood of Hempstead Bay.

"Maybe it would," answered the Captain, "but there are too many islands
and things to suit me. I'd rather stay outside here and slip in through
Fire Island Inlet. After I get used to running this hooker I'll take her
anywhere there's a heavy dew, but right now I'm all for the open sea,

Phil and Han, who had never before gazed on the marvels of Coney Island,
even from a distance, were listening to Joe's tales of the delights of
that entrancing resort and following his finger as he pointed out the
features he recognised. "There's the coaster where I bounced up and came
down on a nail," he chuckled. "It was a fine, able-bodied nail, too, and
I--um--had to stay on it all the rest of the trip because the car was so
crowded there wasn't room to shift."

"Smell the peanuts, fellows," murmured Perry dreamily. "Gee, I wish I
had some!"

Ossie appeared on deck ten minutes later and was very indignant because
he had not been informed that they were passing Coney. "I think some of
you lobsters might have sung out," he mourned. "I've never seen Coney

"Well, have a look," laughed Han. "That's it back there."

"Huh! Can't see anything at this distance," growled Ossie. "It's just a
smear of buildings. What's the place ahead there!"

"Rockaway," answered Joe, "and that's Jamaica Bay in there. Say, there's
some sea on, isn't there?"

In fact the _Adventurer_ was now doing a good deal of plunging as she
made her way through the long swells that swept around the sandy point.
And she wasn't satisfied with merely kicking her head and heels up,
either, for with the forward and aft motion there was considerable
rocking, and as the point came abreast a shower of spray deluged the
forward deck and spattered in on the bridge. At Steve's direction the
windows were closed, Han performing the task with many "Ay, ay, sirs!"
Joe looked anxious and presently sought the forward cabin, reappearing a
minute later to ask all and sundry if they knew where he had put his
supply of "anti-seasick stuff." No one could tell him and he again took
himself off, and before he could locate the medicine the _Adventurer_
had passed the inlet and had settled down on an even keel again. Han and
Ossie spread themselves out on the forward cabin roof and the others
made themselves comfortable on the seats of the bridge deck, Phil
pointing out seriously and with evident satisfaction that the cushions
were not only cushions but life-preservers as well. Perry was for
borrowing Phil's fountain-pen and putting his name on one.

There was no longer any talk of being too warm, for the breeze was
straight from the southeast and soon sent them, one after another, into
the cabins for their sweaters. They passed Rockaway Beach a good three
miles to port and by half-past one were off Point Lookout. Every instant
held interest, for many pleasure boats were out and their white sails
gleamed in the crisp sunlight. Three porpoise appeared off Short Beach
and proved very companionable, for they stayed with the _Adventurer_ for
quite ten minutes. One placed himself directly in front of the boat and
the others took up positions about six feet apart on the starboard bow,
and for two miles or more they maintained their stations, their dusky,
gleaming backs arching from the water with the regularity of clock-work.
Most of the boys had never seen the fish before and were much
interested. Joe called them "puffing pigs" and Perry insisted that they
were dolphins, and a fervid argument followed. They finally agreed, at
Phil's suggestion, to compromise and call them "porphins." Possibly the
discussion bored the subjects, or maybe they were insulted by the title
applied to them, for about the time Joe and Perry reached an agreement
the porpoise disappeared as suddenly as they had arrived on the scene
and it was minutes later before the puzzled mariners descried them
heading shoreward some distance away.

They missed Ossie after that and when he was found he was stretched out
on a seat in the main cabin sound asleep and snoring. Neil came back
with the news that one of the "puffing pigs" had flopped aboard and was
asleep below. Steve took advantage of plain sailing to instruct Joe,
Phil and Perry in the handling of the wheel and controls, and each of
the pupils took his turn at guiding the cruiser along the sandy coast.
Fire Island Inlet was reached shortly before three and Steve took the
wheel again and ran the _Adventurer_ past Jack's Island, around the
curve of Short Beach and into the waters of the Great South Bay. There
was still a six-mile run to their anchorage, however, and it was nearly
four when the cruiser at last crept in among the clustered craft off Bay
Shore and dropped her anchor. A hundred yards away a cluster of boys on
the deck of a sturdy cabin-cruiser swung their caps and sent a hail
across. Steve seized the megaphone from its rack and answered.

"_Follow Me_, ahoy!" he shouted.

"Ahoy yourself!" was the ribald reply. "We're coming over!"

The crew of the _Follow Me_ tumbled into a tiny dingey, cast off and
were lost to sight beyond the intervening craft. Then they reappeared,
their small boat so deep that the water almost spilled over the sides,
Wink Wheeler struggling with a pair of ludicrously short oars and the
other five laughingly urging him on.

"Throw a couple of fenders over, Han," instructed Steve, "and stand by
with your boat-hook."

The _Follow Me's_ tender crept alongside amidst noisy greetings, Perry
performing excruciatingly on the whistle until pulled away, and in
another moment the visitors were aboard. They were a nice-looking,
upstanding lot, already well sunburned by a week afloat. Wink Wheeler
was the oldest of the six, for he was eighteen. Harry Corwin, Bert Alley
and Caspar Temple were seventeen and George Browne, or "Brownie," as he
was called, and Tom Corwin were sixteen. First of all they had to see
the boat and so the whole gathering trooped from one end to the other,
exclaiming and admiring.

"The _Follow Me_'s a regular tub compared with this palace," said Harry
Corwin. "Why, there isn't anything finer than this along the South
Shore, I guess!"

"Don't you call our boat names," protested "Brownie." "The _Follow Me_
may not be as nifty as this, but she's one fine little boat, just the
same. How long did it take you to come from New York, Joe?"

"Nearly four hours and a half, but we ran slow. I guess we could have
done it in three hours easily if we'd tried to. This boat can do twenty
at a pinch. How fast is the _Follow Me?_"

"She's done eighteen," answered Harry Corwin, "but fourteen's her
average gait. She burns up gas like the dickens when she does any more.
Yesterday we went to Freeport in fifty-seven minutes, and that's a good
seventeen and a half miles. She had to hump herself, though."

After the wonders of the _Adventurer_ had been exhausted the boys
gathered on the bridge deck and Steve laid a chart on the floor and they
discussed their plans. It had already been decided that they should
cruise northward as far as Maine. As there was no hurry in getting
there, they were to take things easy, stopping at such points as
promised interest and putting into harbour at night. As it was already
after four o'clock, they finally concluded to stay where they were until
morning, although the _Follow Me_ crowd were eager to be away. "Our
first harbour would be Ponquogue," said Steve, "and that's a good
forty-six or-seven mile run. Personally, I don't care much about messing
around outside after dark. This is all new water to me. If we start in
the morning we'll have plenty of time to run as far as Shelter Island,
if we want to."

This was agreed to, although Perry protested that as the charts showed a
life-saving station every five miles or so all down the shore it was a
shame not to take a chance. "I've always wanted to be taken off a
sinking ship in a breeches-buoy," he said.

"Would you mind being wrecked in the daytime?" asked Neil. "I'd love to
see you in a breeches-buoy, Perry, and I couldn't if it was dark."

"Let's all go up to the hotel for dinner," suggested Wink Wheeler. "They
have dandy feeds there, and maybe we can scare up some fun. Any of you
fellows like to bowl?"

"First of all," said Han, "we want to see your boat, fellows. Let's go
over now. I'm ready for hotel grub if the rest of you are. Can we all
go, Steve, or does someone have to stay behind and look after the

"That's the crew's duty," said Phil gravely. "We'll bring you back a
sandwich, Han."

"Yes, a Han-sandwich," added Perry.

When he had been toppled backward down the after cabin steps Harry
Corwin said that they'd been in the habit of leaving the _Follow Me_
unguarded for hours at a time and that so far no one had molested her,
and Steve decided that it would be safe enough if they locked the
cabins. So presently the _Adventurer's_ tender was lifted off the chocks
and put overboard and after hasty toilets the boys piled into it and the
two dingeys, each loaded to the limit, set off for the _Follow Me_. The
latter was a thirty-four foot craft, with a hunting cabin that reached
almost to the stern, leaving a cockpit scarcely large enough to swing a
cat in; although, as Perry remarked, it wasn't likely anyone would want
to swing a cat there. The cabin was surprisingly roomy and held four
berths, while a fifth bunk was placed forward of the tiny galley. The
latter was intended for the crew but at present it was the quarters of
"Brownie." The sixth member of the ship's company occupied at night a
mattress placed on the floor and philosophically explained that
sleeping there had the advantage of security; there was no chance to
roll out of bed in rough weather. The engine compartment lay between
cabin and cockpit and held a six-cylinder engine. Steering was done from
the cockpit, under shelter of an awning, but the engine control was
below. The _Follow Me_ was four years old and had seen much service, but
she had been newly painted, varnished and overhauled and looked like a
thoroughly comfortable and seaworthy boat. She was copper painted below
the water-line and black above, with a gilt line and her name in gilt on
bows and stern. Compared to the _Adventurer_ she was a modest enough
craft, but her six mariners asked nothing better and secretly believed
that in rough weather she would put the bigger boat to shame. Captain
Corwin levied on the slender supply of ginger-ale and sarsaparilla
contained in the tiny ice-chest and after that they again set forth,
this time for the nearest landing.

They "did" the town exhaustively and at six-thirty descended on the
hotel thirteen strong and demanded to be placed together at one table.
It is doubtful if the hotel management made much money on the thirteen
dinners served to the boys, for everyone of them ate as though he hadn't
seen food for days. Somewhere around eight or half-past they dragged
themselves back to the boats and paddled out to the _Adventurer_, where,
since the evening was decidedly chilly, they thronged the after cabin
and flowed out into the cockpit. Perry started up his talking machine
and played his dozen records over a number of times, and everyone talked
at once--except some who sang--and, in the words of the country
newspapers, "a pleasant time was had by all." And at ten the _Follow
Me's_ crew got back into their dingey and went off into the darkness of
a starlight night, rather noisy still in a sleepy way, and, presumably,
reached their destination. At least, no more was heard of them that
night. On the _Adventurer_ berths were pulled out or let down and a
quarter of an hour after the departure of the visitors not a sound was
to be heard save the lapping of the water against the hull and the
peaceful breathing of seven healthily tired boys.



Before the sun had much more than climbed to a position where it could
peer over the low yellow ridge of Fire Island and see what the Adventure
Club was up to, the two cruisers were chug-chugging out of the harbour
with all flags flying. First went the _Adventurer_, as flag-ship of the
fleet, to use Neil's metaphor, and, a little way behind came the _Follow
Me_, her black hull and battleship-grey deck reminding the occupants of
the other boat of one of the "puffing pigs" of yesterday. The bay was
almost as smooth as the proverbial mill-pond this morning, and the
slanting shafts of sunlight cast strange and beautiful shades of gold
and copper on the tiny wavelets. It was still cool, and in the shadow of
the bridge deck one felt a bit shivery. But the sun promised a warm day.
The crew was polishing bright-work rather awkwardly but most
industriously and with a fine willingness, explaining that if he
polished brass some other poor Indian would have to swab decks, a remark
which inspired Neil to state with much emphasis that cleaning decks was
not, at all events, within the province of the ship's boy, and that,
anyway, he had helped with the dishes and that right now he was going to
lie in the sun on the galley roof and that if anyone disturbed him
there'd be trouble.

Joe had been having a fine time with his engine. He was getting on terms
of real familiarity with it now, having lost some of the awe with which
he had regarded it yesterday. Today he called it "She" almost
patronisingly and even dared lay his hand on the cylinders with a
knowing cock of his head. Perry, looking on, asked sarcastically if he
was feeling the engine's pulse, and Joe haughtily replied that he wanted
to make sure the cylinders weren't overheating. Ossie, emerging from the
cabin, wiping his hands on his khaki trousers after wringing out his
dish cloths, gave it as his opinion that if there was any overeating
done it would not be done by the engine, accompanying the statement with
a meaning glance at Perry.

About this time the _Follow Me_ left her position astern and began to
creep alongside. Steve supposed she wanted to send a message across and
told the others on the deck to keep still a minute. But the _Follow Me_
kept on her way, the fellows sprawling around her deck and cockpit
looking across the few fathoms of water in silence.

"Well, what do you know about that?" gasped Neil. "She's trying to pass

Steve grunted, smiled and advanced his throttle. The click-click from
under the engine hatches became hurried and louder. Joe wrinkled his
forehead anxiously. The _Adventurer_ stopped going astern of the other
boat and for a little distance they hung bow to bow. They saw Harry
Corwin, at the wheel of the _Follow Me_, lower his head to speak to his
brother in the engine room. The _Follow Me_ began to forge ahead again,
slowly but certainly.

"Give her more gas, Steve," begged Perry. "We can't have a little old
'puffing pig' of a boat like that walking away from us. Look at those
idiots grin!"

"And watch them change their faces," laughed Steve as he drew the
throttle forward another two or three notches. Under the hatches the
engine uttered a new note and a quick jarring became felt. Joe's anxiety
increased to uneasiness.

"Say, Steve, do you think--is it all right--I mean--"

"She's only doing about seventeen," replied Steve calmly. "The throttle
isn't nearly open yet. But I guess that's enough," he added as he
glanced across the water. Perry, leaning across the gunwale, beckoned

"Come on!" he called. "What are you stopping there for?"

The _Follow Me_ replied to the taunt, but what the reply was they didn't
know on the _Adventurer_, for the latter was ahead now by its full
length and gaining perceptibly every moment. Tom Corwin's head appeared
over the cabin roof, he took a look at the rival craft and popped from
sight again. The _Follow Me_ stopped going back and hung with her nose
abreast the _Adventurer's_ stern. Phil, who had been writing a letter in
the cabin, emerged and joined the group outside.

"How fast is she going, Steve?" he asked.

"About seventeen, I think. Still, Harry said the _Follow Me's_ best was
eighteen, and she isn't losing any, and so we may be doing eighteen,
too. Guess we might as well settle the matter right now, though."

With which he pulled the throttle to the limit, and the white cruiser,
quivering from stem to stern, forged ahead. "We're doing a good twenty
miles an hour now," shouted Steve above the hum of the motor, "and she
won't go any faster unless we get out and push!"

But twenty miles was fast enough to distance the _Follow Me_, although
that boat held on gamely all the way across the bay and only slowed down
when, a good quarter of a mile behind the _Adventurer_, she was abreast
Pelican Bar. The _Adventurer_ dropped her gait to twelve and presently
the black cruiser, having negotiated the inlet in the wake of the other
craft, drew within hailing distance and Harry Corwin called across
through the megaphone.

"Some boat, Steve!" he shouted. "We're satisfied!"

Steve waved back and the two cruisers settled down to their forty-mile
run along the shore, the _Follow Me_ gliding smoothly along abaft the
_Adventurer's_ starboard beam. They sighted few other craft this
morning, and, as there was a deal of sameness in the coast, the fellows
settled down to various occupations. Steve conducted a second class in
navigation, with Perry and Han as pupils, and Perry was allowed to take
the wheel all the way from Smith's Point to a position off the Moriches
Life-Saving Station. Phil went on with his letters, Ossie performed
mysterious rites in the galley, with Han looking on interestedly from
atop the dish-board, and Neil, exhausted by his labours as crew,
reclined on the seat in the cockpit and stared sleepily at a blue and
unclouded sky. Joe hunched himself on a seat on the bridge deck and
studied his book on motor boating, becoming, if truth were told, more
and more mystified as to the working of that remarkable affair that was
click-clicking away under his feet.

The _Adventurer_ reached the inlet to Shinnecock Bay a few minutes past
ten and, closely followed by her companion boat, put through and turned
her nose past Ponquogue Point. As Comorant Point drew near the shores of
the bay closed in and the cruiser turned to port and, signalling her way
past various craft, finally came to a pause outside the canal entrance.
When the _Follow Me_ floated alongside Wink Wheeler called across.

"What do you say to going ashore, fellows?" he asked. "It looks like a
jolly sort of place. We've got plenty of time, haven't we?"

"All the time in the world and nothing to do," replied Steve cheerfully.
"We'll make that landing over there and you can come alongside us,

Ten minutes later they were stretching their legs ashore. Canoe Place
held plenty to interest them. The view was magnificent, for on one side
of them lay Shinnecock Bay, across whose still, pond-like waters they
had just sailed, and on the other stretched the blue expanse of Great
Peconic Bay, sun-bathed, aglint with rippling waves and dotted with
white sails. A small boy with one suspender performing the duty of two
and a straw hat minus about everything except the brim offered to guide
them and his proposition was quickly accepted and a bright new quarter
changed hands. The quaint old Inn was visited and their informant
gravely pointed to two sentinel willow trees and told them that "them
trees was planted by Napoleon a couple o' hunerd years ago. He got 'em
some place called Saint Helen. They had him in prison there for
somethin'." The boys viewed the willows doubtfully, but, as Phil said,
it was more fun to believe the extraordinary tale and they tried hard to
do so. Steve attempted to secure more historical information from the
small boy, but the latter appeared to have exhausted his fund. After
that they viewed several Summer estates from respectful distances and,
finding that their guide had nothing further of real interest for them,
went back to the landing and re-embarked.

A quarter-mile or so of artificial canal took them through the narrow
neck of land between the two bays and let them out in a cove beyond
whose mouth the waters of Great Peconic stretched, apparently
illimitable. The course was set northeast by east and they began the
trip to Shelter Island. About half an hour later Joe discovered that the
_Follow Me_ was far behind and it was soon evident that she had stopped.
After a moment Steve decided to turn back and see what was wrong, and
when the _Adventurer_ rounded the smaller boat's stern they learned that
the _Follow Me_ was having engine trouble. For a few minutes the
_Adventurer_ hovered by, and then, as there was a fair breeze blowing
now and Joe and Neil were showing interest in the sea-sickness remedy,
Steve suggested a tow and Harry Corwin, after some hesitation, pocketed
his pride and agreed. A little before one o'clock the two boats slipped
into North Sea Harbour and dropped anchors. While the _Follow Me_
doctored her engine the _Adventurer_ sat down to a delayed dinner. Ossie
gloomily predicted that everything would be spoiled, but if it was, no
one save Ossie apparently knew it. There was broiled bluefish and boiled
potatoes and spinach and sliced cucumbers that day, followed by a
marvellous concoction which the steward called a prune pudding. Perry
said he didn't care what it was called so long as it came, and, please
he'd like some more! No cook can withstand such a compliment as that,
and Ossie cast off his gloom. They all declared that that dinner was
just about the best they had ever eaten, and they meant it, and Ossie
swelled visibly with pride and almost declined Han's half-hearted offer
to help wash dishes!

When the rest went back to the deck and saw the fellows on the _Follow
Me_ eating sandwiches and other items of a cold repast on deck they felt
rather apologetic, and Joe and Steve slung the tender over and paddled
across to lend what assistance they might. But they found Tom Corwin,
very dirty and hot and somewhat peevish, reassembling the engine with
the help of "Brownie," and learned that the trouble had been discovered
and that the boat would go just as soon as they could get her together
again, which, from present indications, would be some time the day after
tomorrow! Harry Corwin told Steve he had better go ahead, that there was
no use in the _Adventurer_ lying around and waiting, but Steve replied
that there was no hurry and that they'd stand by. The atmosphere on the
_Follow Me_ was not very cheerful and the visitors went back to their
own craft after a decent lapse of time. About three the fellows donned
swimming tights and went in from the boat and had a fine time in the
water, and by the time they had had enough of that there came a
heartening _chug-chug-chug_ from the _Follow Me's_ exhaust and Wink
announced that they were ready to go on.

As a result of the delay, it was almost six when they reached Shelter
Island and steered the cruiser to an anchorage. They had supper ashore
at seven, having dressed themselves in shore-going attire, but it was
noticeable that it was the _Follow Me's_ company who made the most of
the meal. Neil met up with an acquaintance on the hotel porch after
supper--they chose to call it supper although it was really a
full-course dinner--and that meeting led to introductions and the boys
"did the society act," to use Perry's disgusted phrase, for the rest of
the evening. As it was a Saturday night there was a dance going on, and
Steve and Joe and Han, of the _Adventurer's_ crowd, and several of the
other boat's company, took part. They didn't get back to the boats until
almost midnight, and Perry fell asleep in the dingey, on the second
trip, and had to be practically hoisted aboard. He muttered protestingly
until he had been dumped in his berth and then promptly went to sleep as
he was.

They spent the next day at Shelter Island, not because anyone
considered it wrong to cruise on Sunday, but because Steve and Joe and
Han had discovered attractions at the hotel. Perry demanded that the
question of staying be put to a vote and the rest agreed, but the result
wasn't what Perry had hoped for because Neil basely cast his ballot with
Steve and Joe and Han. The four went off soon after breakfast, having
spent much time and effort on their various attires, and weren't seen
again until late afternoon. At least, they weren't seen again aboard the
cruiser until that time, although Perry, Phil and Ossie, following them
ashore after dinner, were scandalised to see them strolling around quite
brazenly in the company of an equal number of young ladies.

"Girls!" snorted Perry scornfully. "Why, the big chumps, they look as if
they liked it! Gee, it's enough to sicken a fellow!"



"We've been going two whole days now," declared Perry, "and we haven't
even glimpsed an adventure." It was Tuesday morning and the two cruisers
were lying side by side in New Bedford harbour. A light drizzle was
falling and even under the awning of the bridge deck everything was
coated with a film of moisture. The _Adventurer_ and the _Follow Me_ had
done just short of a hundred miles yesterday, reaching the present port
at nightfall. They had averaged fifteen miles an hour and neither engine
had missed an explosion all day long. Joe had been rather stuck-up over
the way his engine had performed and had been inclined to take a good
share of the credit to himself. Perry, however, had declared that the
only reason the thing had run was because Joe had left it alone.

"It's lucky for us you're afraid to touch it," said Perry. "If you
weren't we'd have been wallowing around somewhere between here and
Africa two days ago!"

It had been too late to go ashore for sight-seeing last evening, and
they had put it off until morning. And now it was drizzling in a steady,
whole-hearted way that promised to make sight-seeing a miserable
business. Some of the crew of the _Follow Me_ had come aboard to discuss
plans and the question was whether to remain in harbour and await better
weather or to set out again and run as far as Martha's Vineyard. Perry
was all for action, and he had the support of numerous others, but Steve
pointed out that running the cruiser in such weather in strange waters
was not over pleasant. "It's all well enough for the rest of you, for
all you have to do is lie around and read, but it's another thing to
stand up there at the wheel and keep from running into the landscape!"

"Give her to me," advised Perry. "I'll get her to Edgartown or wherever
you want to go, right-side-up with care."

"If you take the wheel," said Han, "I get out and walk every foot of the

"Better put your rubbers on," suggested Wink Wheeler.

"You fellows make me very tired," continued Perry severely. "You call
yourselves the Adventure Club and start out to see some sport, and then
the first time there's a heavy mist you want to stick around an old
harbour for fear you'll get damp! We've been going two whole days now,
and we haven't even glimpsed an adventure!"

"An adventure is one thing," said Ossie, "and getting drowned is
something else again. Tell you what, Perry; if you are so keen for sport
why don't you slip into the tender and run over to Vineyard Haven
yourself? We'll follow along tomorrow, or maybe this afternoon."

"I want to see this town," said Joe. "There's lots to look at in here.
Whaling ships and a museum and--and lots of romantic things."

"The whaling ships are all gone now," said Perry disdainfully. "They've
chopped them all up and sold them by the cord for fire wood. I know, for
we bought a lot of it once. It cost dad about ten dollars for express
and didn't burn any different from any other wood. My grandmother--"

Steve groaned. "For the love of lemons, Perry, don't resurrect your
grandmother. Let the poor old lady lie."

"She isn't dead," denied Perry indignantly. "She's ninety-one and a heap
smarter than you are."

"Perry," charged Joe severely, "I distinctly remember you telling us
that your grandmother died of sea-sickness."

"I didn't. I told you she ate lemons and--"

"Died of acid stomach? Oh, all right. I knew she was dead."

"Oh, dry up! She ate lemons to keep from being sea-sick, you idiot. And
if you ate them you wouldn't have to lug around a lot of silly medicine
that doesn't amount to a row of pins. And if--"

"All very interesting," interrupted Phil mildly, "but it isn't deciding
whether we're to stay here or go on. Personally, I think that that
should be up to the captain. If he isn't to decide whether the weather
is right or wrong, who is?"

"That's so," agreed several. "Steve's the captain. What you say goes,

"Very well. Then we'll stay here until it stops misting, or, at any
rate, until tomorrow. If it's still nasty then and you fellows want to
go on, I'll go. Now let's go ashore and see what's doing."

"O Harry!" called Wink. "We're going to stay until tomorrow. Come

In spite of the drizzle they found a good deal to interest them in New
Bedford, and Joe actually did find a whaler, although it was no longer
in commission. At noon, Ossie, having made many purchases in the town,
served a dinner that made the world look a lot brighter. Afterwards the
crews of the two boats exchanged calls, read, dozed, played the
graphophone and didn't much care whether it drizzled or not. Toward the
end of the day the sun peered forth experimentally and there followed
another expedition ashore. But the sun soon gave up its attempt to do
any business that day and the drizzle set in harder than ever. In the
evening the entire club attended a moving picture show and thus disposed
of several hours that might otherwise have proved difficult to get
through. A motor-boat, no matter how large or luxurious, is not the most
interesting place to live on in wet weather.

The next morning the mist had ceased, but the sun was hidden behind dark
clouds and the world was still rather dreary. But plenty of hot coffee,
some of Ossie's baking powder biscuits and the almost invariable fried
bacon cheered them remarkably, and at a little past eight the order was
given to weigh anchor and the two cruisers, the _Adventurer_ showing the
way, set forth across Buzzard's Bay for Edgartown.

It was a sixteen-mile run to the channel between Nonamesset Island and
the mainland, and Steve followed the steamboat course closely. The
chart showed many rocks and ledges in the first six miles, but neither
of the cruisers drew enough to make it necessary for their skippers to
worry. There was rough water, however, and Joe was seen to look
anxiously toward the after cabin. A flukey breeze came out of the
southeast and made sweaters comfortable. The shore of Naushon Island was
grey and indistinct when the _Adventurer_ straightened out for the run
across the bay. Behind her the _Follow Me_ plunged gallantly, doing her
fourteen miles without a murmur. As they neared Penzance the sea
moderated and they swung into the channel on an almost even keel. Good
harbours beckoned, and the plan of lying by until after dinner was
discussed and finally abandoned. Edgartown was only another hour's sail
and it would be better to keep on and lie in there for dinner. But when
the _Adventurer_ had passed into Vineyard Sound Steve began to wish he
had waited. A bank of grey mist hid the island toward which they were
headed and he feared they would find themselves in it before they could
reach the nearest harbour, which was Vineyard Haven. But since the
_Adventurer_ had already left Wood's Holl two miles behind and Vineyard
Haven Harbour was only some four miles further it seemed silly to turn
back. There was always the chance that the fog would blow off, besides.
Nevertheless Steve frowned dubiously through the moist pane ahead and,
without saying anything of his fears to the rest, drew the throttle a
few notches down and kept the _Adventurer_ close to her course. Behind,
the _Follow Me_ speeded up as well and the two boats hurried for where,
out of sight in the grey void ahead, West Chop pointed a blunt nose to

But it was a losing race, for ten minutes later Steve saw that the fog
bank was rolling down upon them and from somewhere to the eastward came
the dismal hoot of a steamer feeling her way along. Joe, too, saw what
they were in for and turned anxiously to Steve. "That's fog, isn't it?"
he asked.

Steve nodded. "Get the fog-horn ready, will you? We don't want anyone
bumping into us. I'm going to slow down to six miles. There's too much
water here to drop anchor in." He eyed the advancing fog distastefully
and then shrugged his shoulders. "You've got to learn some time, I
suppose, Joe, and here's where I learn to make harbour by the compass.
Now we're in it!"

At that instant the grey mist enveloped them silently, chillingly. Joe
drew a long wail from the fog-horn and in response a similar but
higher-keyed wail came through the fog from the _Follow Me_. And at the
same moment the other members of the ship's company stuck inquiring
heads through the companion ways.

"Hello," exclaimed Perry. "Fog! Gee, that's exciting! Say, you can't see
a thing, can you? Look, fellows, the boat hasn't any bow!"

"Nor any stern," added Han. "You can almost taste the stuff. Say, Steve,
isn't it hard to steer in a fog?"

"Not a bit," answered Steve cheerfully. "Steering's perfectly easy. The
only trouble is to steer right."

"To-o-ot!" said the fog-horn and was answered from astern. Then
somewhere to the south-eastward a siren sent a wailing cry, subdued by
distance. The fog settled on everything and shone on the boys' sweaters
in little beads of moisture. The _Adventurer_ seemed to be standing
still, for, with nothing to judge by, progress was made known only by
the slow lazy throb of the engine. Even the water alongside was scarcely
discernible. Joe pulled the lever of the fog-horn again, and this time,
beside the response from the _Follow Me_, an answering bellow came
across the water.

"A steamer," muttered Steve, peering uselessly into the grey void.
"She's a good ways off, though. Give her another pull, Joe."

Again the _Adventurer_ proclaimed her position but there was no answer
from the steamer. "She doesn't seem very talkative," said Phil. "How
fast are we going, Steve?"


"And how far is Edgartown?"

"About twelve, but we're not going there. I'm trying to make Vineyard
Haven. It's only about two miles." He glanced puzzledly at the compass
and moved the wheel a fraction. "There's a jetty comes out there and I
guess we'd better give it a good wide berth." Collars were pulled up to
keep the moisture from creeping down necks, and Perry begged to be
allowed to manipulate the fog-horn. He went at it whole-souledly and
Steve had to curb his enthusiasm. "Once a minute will do, Perry," he
said. "You sound like a locomotive scaring a cow off the track."

"How do you know there isn't a cow ahead?" demanded Perry. "Or a whale?
Gee, wouldn't it be a surprise if we bust right into a whale? Who would
get the worst of it, Steve?"

"I guess we would. Shut up a minute, fellows, please!"

Silence held the bridge deck, silence save for the subdued purr of the
engine under their feet and the drip, drip of the drops from the awning
edge. Steve peered anxiously ahead, his senses alert. At last:

"Hear anything?" he asked.

They all said no.

"I guess I was mistaken then," Steve explained, "but I could have sworn
I heard surf." He leaned over the chart. "This doesn't show anything,
though, nearer than the land. Toot your horn, Perry."

Perry obeyed. At long intervals the unseen, distant steamer bellowed her
warning and more frequently the _Follow Me_ groaned dismally on a hand
horn. It was ten minutes later, perhaps, when Steve suddenly swung
around and looked back past the bow of the dingey on the after cabin

"That's funny!" he exclaimed. "The _Follow Me_ sounded away over there!"
He looked anxiously at the compass, hesitated and shook his head. "If I
didn't know this thing was all right, fellows, I'd say it was crazy. Or
if there was a strong current here--" His voice dwindled away to a
murmur as he studied the chart again. Just then the _Follow Me's_
fog-horn sounded and it was undeniably further away and well over to
port. "Either he's off his course or I am," muttered Steve. "And I
simply don't see how I can be. Give them a long one, Perry!"

Perry sent a frantic wail across the water and they listened intently.
But no reply came from the _Follow Me_. Instead, from somewhere off
their port bow travelled the steamer's bellow. That, too, seemed
considerably further away. Then the distant siren sounded, and after
that there was silence again. But the silence lasted only a moment, for
before anyone could hazard a conjecture as to the _Follow Me's_ erratic
behaviour, Phil's voice arose warningly.

"Listen, Steve!" he cried. "Isn't that surf I hear?"



Steve's hand flew to the clutch as the rest joined Phil at the side of
the boat, and, in the grey silence that ensued, strained their ears.

"You're right," said Neil, after an instant. "There's surf there, or I'm
a Dutchman. And it isn't far away."

Steve, who had handed the wheel to Joe, nodded. "It's surf, all right,"
he agreed, "but it hasn't any business there. What are you going to do
when you can't depend on the chart? Well, the only thing for us to try
is another direction." He swung the wheel well to port and slid the
clutch in gently and, with the engine throttled down, the _Adventurer_
nosed forward once more. "Phil, beat it out to the bow and keep your
ears open, will you? Watch that deck, though; it's slippery." An anxious
silence held for several minutes. Then Phil's voice came from the
fog-hidden bow:

"Surf dead ahead, Steve!" he called.

"Can you see anything?" shouted Steve as he again disengaged.

"No, but I can hear the waves breaking."

They all could now that the propeller had stopped churning. Steve gazed
dazedly from fog to compass and from compass to chart, and finally shook
his head helplessly.

"It's too much for me, fellows," he said. "I'm going back as straight as
I know how, or--" He stopped. "Hang it, there can't be land on _all_
sides!" He pulled the bow still further to port and again started. "Keep
your ears open, Phil," he called. "I'll run her as slow as she'll go. If
you hear the surf plainer, shout."

The _Adventurer_ went on again. After a moment Han, leaning outboard
over the deck rail, said: "It's not so loud, Steve. I think we're going
away from it slowly."

"Or else running parallel," suggested Perry. "Anyhow, it isn't any

Another minute or two passed, with all hands listening intently. Then
Phil sounded another warning. "Hold up, Steve! I may be crazy, but I'll
swear there's surf dead ahead again!"

Steve motioned to Joe and, yielding the wheel after throwing out the
clutch again, swung around a stanchion and crept cautiously along the
roof of the main cabin and galley until he reached Phil's side. Then,
dropping to his knees and steadying himself by the flag-pole, he
listened. Quite plainly and, as it seemed, from alarmingly nearby, came
the gentle _swish-swash_ of tiny waves breaking on a beach. In the fog
it was difficult to tell whether the sound came from directly ahead or
from starboard. At all events, when Steve turned his head to port the
sound was certainly at his right or behind him.

"I'll try it again," he said. "You stay here, Phil." He climbed back to
the bridge deck. "Perry, are you working that fog-horn?" he demanded.
"If you aren't, get busy with it!" Once more the cruiser picked up and
stole forward, her nose slowly swinging around to port. Steve had given
up watching the compass now. All he wanted to do was find clear water.
The _swish_ of surf died away by degrees as the _Adventurer_ edged
cautiously along and, after five minutes, Steve gave a sigh of relief.
"I guess we're all right now," he muttered to Joe, "but I'm going to
keep her just moving. We might anchor, I suppose, but it's dollars to
doughnuts we'd have to spend the night here; wherever here is," he
added, scowling resentfully at the chart. "Look here, Joe." He reached
forward and laid a finger on the map. "Here's where we were, or where
we ought to have been, when we heard the surf first. According to this
we were a good mile from the shore and the only shoal is that one and
it's marked six feet at mean low water. There's a black-and-red spar
buoy there, as you see, but we haven't sighted it. Now, what I want to
know is how the dickens we could have got a mile off our course to
starboard. Also, if we are off our course, where are we? Unless we've
slipped over the beach and got into that pond down there--"

"_Steve! Back up! We're running on the rocks!_"

It was the frenzied voice of Phil in the bow. Steve thrust Joe aside and
seizing the clutch put it quickly into neutral.

"Bring the boat-hook here!" shouted Phil. "Reverse, Steve! Hard!"

But Steve had already slammed the clutch into reverse and pulled down
the throttle. A mighty thrashing and foaming sounded astern and the
_Adventurer_ trembled, hesitated and began to churn her way backward.
Perry, boat-hook in hand, was sliding and stumbling along the wet deck.
He reached the bow just in time to see the menacing face of a high stone
jetty disappear again into the mist. Phil, clinging to the flag-pole,
was sprawled on the deck with his legs stretched out to fend the boat

"Just in time!" he muttered, pulling himself back to safety. "Did you
see it, Perry!"

"Did I see it? I almost fell overboard! That's enough, Steve!"

The _Adventurer_ stopped going astern and Steve called anxiously from
the wheel. "What was it, Phil?" he questioned.

"A breakwater about ten feet high! We almost hit it!"

"A breakwater!" Steve turned swiftly to the chart. "Then I know where we
are at last! Look here, Joe!" He pointed. "We're cornered in here, see?
Here's the shore on that side and the jetty dead ahead of us. How we got
here I don't know, but here we are. If we can find the end of the jetty
we're all right. Keep that horn going, Perry!"

"Why not drop an anchor where we are?" asked Joe.

"We could do that, of course, but here's the harbour right around the
end of the jetty. Seems to me we might as well get in there, Joe."

"All right," agreed the other doubtfully, "but this feeling around in
the dark is making me nervous. First thing we know we'll--um--we'll be
running into the First National Bank or the Congregational Church or
something! Still, if you think we can find our way, all right. I'm

Steve eyed the compass thoughtfully and in silence for a moment. Then:
"You still there, Phil?" he called.


"Keep your eyes and ears open. I'm going to try to run along the side of
the jetty and find the harbour. If you see a red spar buoy, sing out.
Sing out if you see anything at all. Everyone keep a watch. We're going
to eat dinner in the harbour or know why!"

The cruiser moved slowly on once more, her nose turning sharply. Then
she paused, went back and again moved forward, Steve turning the wheel
slowly with his eyes on the compass. "Now watch on the starboard side,
Phil!" he called.

"Which is that? My right?"

"Yes, you land-lubber! Hear anything?"

"N-no! I didn't _hear_ anything before until we were almost on the
breakwater. Sometimes I think I can hear--"

Phil's voice died away to silence.

"Hear what?" asked Steve.

"Well, water sort of lapping. It may be against our boat, though."

"Neil, you go forward, too, will you?" said Steve. Neil joined Phil and
for some minutes the _Adventurer_ stole quietly along through the grey
void with little sound save the slow working of the engine below deck
and the lazy thud of the propeller. It was so quiet that when Perry
suddenly worked the fog-horn Han almost fell over the wet rail on which
he was sitting. It was Ossie who broke the silence finally.

"Well, I guess we've got to eat, whether we run ashore or stay afloat.
I'm going to put some potatoes on."

"All right," replied Steve quietly. "But if you feel a bump, put out
your alcohol flame the first thing you do, Ossie."

"Sure, but you can bet I won't wait down there to see whether the
potatoes are done!"

"How about it, you chaps?" asked Steve presently.

"Don't hear a thing," answered Phil.

"All right. I'm going to bring her around now. Yell the minute you see
anything. You needn't worry. She's only crawling and I'll have her going
astern before you can shout twice."

Very slowly Steve moved the wheel to starboard. In the stillness they
could hear the gear creak under the deck. No warning came from the two
lookouts and, after a moment, Steve again turned gingerly. For all the
watchers could tell, the _Adventurer_ never altered her course, but
Steve, his gaze on the compass card, knew that she was headed now
straight east. Now and then he peered questioningly forward, but his
gaze was defeated by the fog. At intervals Perry sent a groaning wail
from the fog-horn. Presently Steve heard the boys talking on the bow and
in a moment Neil's voice hailed him:

"Surf off to starboard, Steve! Not very near, though."

The others listened, but there was just enough noise from the engine to
drown the sound heard by the lookouts.

"Tell me if it gets louder," called Steve. "Still hear it?"

"Not so well," answered Phil. "I think we're going away from it."

"Waves against the end of the jetty," explained Steve. "I think we're
all right now." He moved the wheel over slowly, spoke by spoke. "Keep
your horn going, Perry. We're entering the harbour. Watch for buoys,
fellows. Take it on this side, Joe."

Followed a dubious five minutes during which the only sounds that
reached them from outside the boat were distant fog signals and, once,
the unmistakable moo of a cow!

"Gee," murmured Perry, "that's the best thing I've heard all day! That
means we really are in the harbour, doesn't it?"

"Might be a sea-cow," suggested Ossie, from the companion.

"Ready with the bow anchor!" called Steve.

Han scuttled forward into the mist. "All right, sir!" he announced in
his best nautical manner.

Steve disengaged the clutch. There was a moment of silence aboard the
_Adventurer_. Then: "Over with it, Han," directed Steve. There was a
splash, followed by the rasping of the cable through the chock and then
a cheerful whistle from the crew as he made fast. "About eighteen feet,
Steve, I should say," he called.

"Sixteen," corrected the Captain gravely. Joe smiled.

"Mean it?" he asked.

Steve nodded and put a finger on the chart. "We're right here," he said.
Then he covered the compass and drew down the lid of the chart box and
stretched his arms luxuriously. "That's over with," he added, "and I'm
glad of it! How about dinner, Ossie?"

"On the fire, Cap! Ready in five minutes."

"Then I'm going to get into a dry shirt. I'm soaked through. Some of you
chaps pull the side curtains down on the port side. We might as well
keep as dry as we can."

"Looks to me as if the fog was rolling in from the starboard, though,"
said Han.

"Yes, it's coming from the southeast, but we'll swing around in a few
minutes because the tide's coming in. Wonder where the _Follow Me_ is."

"Harry would probably make for harbour, too, wouldn't he?" asked Joe,
following the other down to the cabin. "I wouldn't be surprised if we
found them here when the fog clears."

A yacht, hidden somewhere in the fog ahead, sounded eight bells and was
instantly echoed from further away. "Great Scott!" exclaimed Steve. "Is
it twelve already?"

Joe nodded, glancing at the ship's clock at the end of the cabin. "Two
minutes after if our clock's right. Say, Steve, the next time we go out
in a fog we'll--um--we won't go, eh?"

"Not while I'm running this hooker," agreed Steve with intense
conviction. "Now that it's over, Joe, I don't mind telling you that I
was a bit worried. I wanted like anything to drop anchor back there by
the jetty."

"Why didn't you then?"

"I don't quite know," replied the other thoughtfully, "but I think it
was chiefly because I didn't like to be beaten."

"Dinner!" called Ossie from the forward cabin. "All hands to dinner! Get
a move on!"



They stayed aboard all that day, for the fog held tight, and, if Steve's
calculations were right, the _Adventurer_ lay well down toward the
entrance to the harbour and the nearest settlement was a good mile and
three-quarters away. None of the seven felt sufficiently ambitious to
put out for shore in that smother of mist. They managed to pass the time
without much trouble, however. There was always the graphophone,
although they were destined to become rather tired of the records, and
Steve, Joe, Han and Neil played whist most of the afternoon. Phil curled
up on a couch and read, and Ossie and Perry, after having a violent
argument over the proper way to make an omelet decided to settle the
question then and there. By the time the two omelets were prepared the
whist players were ready to stop and the entire ship's company partook
of the rival concoctions and decided the matter in favour of Ossie.

"Although," explained Joe, "I'm not saying that Perry's omelet is bad.
If he had remembered to put a little salt in it--"

"I did!" declared Perry resentfully. "You don't know a decent omelet
when you see it. Look how light mine was! Why, it was twice as high as

"That's just it," said Steve gravely. "It was so light that it sort of
faded away before you could taste it. An omelet, Perry, should be
substantial and filling."

"That shows how much you know about it," jeered Perry. "There were just
as many eggs in mine as there were in his. Only I made mine with water
and beat the eggs separately--"

"Ah, there it is, you see," drawled Joe. "You beat the poor little eggs.
I'm surprised at you, Perry. Any fellow who will beat an inoffensive

"Huh, I found one that wasn't inoffensive by a long shot! Someone will
have to get some eggs tomorrow, for there are only eight left."

"What!" Han viewed Perry in disgust. "Mean to say you went and used them
all up making those silly omelets?"

"I notice you ate the silly omelets," said Ossie. "One egg apiece is
enough for breakfast, isn't it?"

"Not for me. The doctor ordered two every morning. If I don't have two
eggs for breakfast I shall mutiny."

"If you do you'll be put in irons," said Joe. "Or swung from the
yard-arm. Say, how long before we're going to have something to eat,
Ossie? I'm hungry. That egg thing sort of whetted my appetite."

"Gosh, you fellows would keep me cooking all the time," grumbled the
steward. "It's only five, and we don't have supper until six. So you can
plaguey well starve for an hour."

"Then I shall go to sleep and--um--forget the pangs of hunger. Move your
big feet out of the way, Phil."

"I like your cheek, you duffer! Go on back to your own bunk."

"Too faint for want of food," murmured Joe, stretching himself out in
spite of Phil's protests. "Someone sing to me, please."

Supper went very well, in spite of the mid-afternoon luncheon, and after
that the riding light was set for the night, the hatches drawn shut and
all hands settled down to pass the evening in whatever way seemed best.
But bedtime came early tonight and, by half-past nine, with the sound of
a distant siren coming to them at intervals and the yacht's bells
chiming the hours and half-hours, all lights were out below and the
_Adventurer_ was wrapped in fog and silence.

The fog still held in the morning, although at times it took on a
yellowish tinge and made them hopeful that it would burn off. Steve said
it was not quite so thick, but no one else was able to see much
difference in it. Han managed to subsist on one egg, in spite of gloomy
predictions, but after breakfast he and Perry decided to paddle ashore
and find a place where they could purchase more. They tried to add to
the party, but no one else wanted to go, and so they disappeared into
the mist about nine o'clock, agreeing to be back at ten-thirty, at which
time, unless the fog should have lifted, those aboard the boat were to
sound the whistle.

They landed on a narrow beach after a short row, and, stumbling through
a fringe of coarse sand, discovered a lane leading inland. They stopped
and strove to remember the location of the boat, and then followed the
lane. The fog was amber-hued now and the morning was fast losing its
chill. Perry broke into song and Han into a tuneless whistle that seemed
to give him a deal of satisfaction. They soon found a main-travelled
road and, after fixing the turn-off in their minds, wheeled to the left.

"It would be a fine joke if we couldn't find the dingey again," chuckled

"I think you've got a punk idea of humour," responded Perry. "Anyway,
all we'd have to do is find the beach and keep along until we barked our
skins on the boat. Bet you, though, this pesky fog will be gone in an

The road left the shore presently and the travellers found that the fog
was thinner and sometimes lifted entirely over small spaces, and it
wasn't long before they stopped to take off their jackets and swing them
across their arms. Possibly they passed houses, but they saw none, and
the only incident occurred when the sound of wheels came to them from
the highway ahead and, presently, a queer, old-fashioned two-wheeled
chaise drawn by a piebald, drooping-eared horse passed slowly from the
mist ahead to the mist behind. The boys gazed at it in wonderment, too
interested in the equipage itself to heed the occupants. When it was out
of sight again Han ejaculated: "Well, I'll be switched, Perry! I didn't
suppose there was one of those things left in the world!"

"Neither did I. And there won't be pretty quick, I guess, for it looked
and sounded as if it would fall to pieces before it got to--to wherever
it's going. Bet you anything that was the deacon's one-horse chaise in
the poem!"

  "_Have you heard of the wonderful one-hoss shay
  That was built in such a logical way
  It ran a hundred years to a day?_"

quoted Han. "Wouldn't that look funny alongside a Rolls-Royce, Perry?"

"It would look funny alongside a flivver," answered the other. "Say, how
far do we have to walk? Seems to me we've done about five miles

"Rot! We haven't walked more than a mile. Not being able to see things
makes it seem farther, I guess." The encouraging sound of a cow mooing
reached them the next minute. "That must be the one we heard yesterday,"
said Han. "I suppose there's just one on the island and it's set to go
off at the same time every day."

"If there's a cow over there," said Perry, staring into the fog, "maybe
there's a farmhouse. Let's have a look."

"All right, but we're just as likely to walk into a swamp as find a

But a very few steps off the highway put them on a narrow lane and
presently the big bulk of a barn loomed ahead. The house was soon
located and ten minutes later, having purchased two quarts of milk and
four dozen eggs, they retraced their steps. The fog had now apparently
changed its mind about lifting, for the yellow tinge had gone and the
world was once more grey and chill. They donned their coats again and,
carrying their precious burdens, trudged on. Occasionally a puff of air
came off the sound and the fog blew in trailing wreaths before them.
When they had walked what they considered to be the proper distance they
began to watch for that lane. And after they had watched for it for a
full quarter of an hour and had walked a deal farther than they should
have they reached the entirely justifiable conclusion that they were

Perry set down the battered milk can on which they had paid a deposit of
twenty-five cents, took a long breath and, viewing the encompassing fog,
exclaimed melodramatically: "Lost on Martha's Vineyard, or The Mystery
of the Four Dozen Eggs!"

"Well, we won't starve for awhile," laughed Han. "Say, where _is_ that
lane we came up, anyway? Think we've passed it?"

"About ten miles back," sighed Perry. "Come on and let's try dead
reckoning. The beach is over there somewhere and if we can find it--"

"Great! But when we have found it, which way shall we go?"

Perry pushed his hat back and thoughtfully scratched his head. "Give it
up!" he said at last. "You might go one way and I another. Anyway, let's
find the old beach."

They scrambled across a wall into a bush-grown tract, Han discovering in
the process that he had chosen a place prettily bedecked with
poison-ivy. "That does for me," said Han gloomily. "I'll have a fine
time of it now for a couple of weeks. I can't even look at that stuff
without getting poisoned!"

"Maybe it didn't see you," said Perry cheerfully. "In this fog--"

"Don't be a silly goat," interrupted the other fretfully. "I tell you
I'll be all broken out tomorrow! And it's perfectly beastly, too. You
have blisters all over you and they itch so you can hardly stand it."

"Too bad," said Perry, trying to sound sympathetic but failing because
he caught his foot in a bramble at the moment and almost pitched on his

"Well," continued Han, more cheerfully, "there's one good thing. Salt
water is fine to bathe in when you have ivy poisoning, and there'll be
plenty of that around."

"Sure; and it won't cost you a cent, either." They reached the beach
then and gazed hopelessly about them as they crossed the softer sand.
"If only they'd blow their old whistle we'd know where we are."

"If I had some alcohol I might backen it," observed Han.

"Alcohol? Backen what?"

"The ivy poison."

"Oh! Well, there's plenty of alcohol on board. Wonder what time it is,"
Perry drew out his watch and whistled surprisedly. "Only a quarter to
ten, Han! We couldn't have walked very far, after all. And they won't
signal us until ten-thirty. Here, I'm going this way."

"It's the alkali that counteracts the poison," explained Han. "They say
that if you can bathe the places in alcohol soon after you come in--in
contact with the ivy--"

"For the love of Pete!" exclaimed Perry. "Forget about it, Han! You'll
worry yourself to death over that poison-ivy. Maybe it didn't bite you,
after all."

"Of course it did!" replied the other resentfully. "It always does. If I
had some alcohol, though--"

"Well, come on and get some. We've got to find the boat first, haven't

"Yes, but I don't think it's that way."

"Then you try the other way, and if you find it, sing out so I'll hear

"All right." They separated, each following the edge of the water, and
presently Perry's voice rang out. "Here she is, Han!" he called. A faint
hail answered him and Perry stowed the milk-can in the bow of the little
boat and seated himself to wait. A few minutes later, as Han still
tarried, he shouted again. This time there was no reply however, and
Perry muttered impatiently and found a more comfortable position. When
some five minutes more had passed he got to his feet and yelled at the
top of his lungs. "Get a move on, Han! The milk's getting sour and I'm
getting cold!" he shouted. An answering cry came from closer by, but
what it was that Han said Perry couldn't make out. He turned his coat
collar up, plunged hands in pockets and viewed the grey mist
scowlingly. Then he began to listen for footsteps crunching the sand.
But no sound save the lapping of water on the beach and the creaking of
a boom on an unseen boat reached him.

"It would serve him right to leave him here," he muttered resentfully.
"Anyway, I'm not going to yell at him any more. I suppose he's so taken
up with his poison-ivy business that he can't think of anything else.
Wonder if I got into that stuff, too!" The idea was distinctly
unwelcome. He thought he recalled brushing through leaves as he crossed
the wall. He had never had any experience with poison-ivy and didn't
know whether or not he was susceptible, but it seemed to him that there
was a distinct itching sensation on his back. He squirmed uncomfortably.
Then a prickly feeling on his left wrist set him to rubbing it. He
examined the skin and, sure enough, it was quite red! He had it, too!
You had blisters all over you, Han had said. Perry looked for blisters
but found none. Still, he reflected miserably, it was probably too early
for them yet. He suddenly found himself rubbing his right wrist too. And
that, also, was distinctly inflamed looking, although not so red as the
other. Gee, he'd ought to do something! Alcohol! That was it! He ought
to bathe the places in alcohol! He jumped out of the dingey, pushed it
down the beach into the water and sprawled across the bow. Then he
shoved further off with an oar and sudsided onto a seat.

"Back in ten minutes for you, Han!" he shouted. "You wait here! I'll
bring some alcohol!"

When a dozen choppy strokes had taken him out of sight of the shore his
panic subsided a little and two thoughts came to him. The first was that
he was treating Han rather scurvilly and the second was that he hadn't
more than the haziest notion where the _Adventurer_ lay! But, having
embarked, he kept on. Probably ten or fifteen minutes wouldn't make much
difference in Han's case, while, as for finding the cruiser, he would
shout after he had rowed a little further and doubtless someone aboard
would hear him.

So he went on into the mist, occasionally stopping to scratch a wrist or
wiggle about on the seat in the endeavour to abate the prickling
sensation in back or shoulders. It seemed to him now that he was
infected from head to toes. Presently, having rowed some distance, he
began to hail. "_Adventurer_ ahoy!" he shouted, "O Steve! O Joe!"

He stopped rowing, rubbed a wrist, peered into the fog and waited. But
no answering hail reached him. He lifted his voice again. "Ahoy!
_Adventurer_ ahoy! Are you all dead? Where are you?"

This time there was an answer, faint but unmistakable, and, somewhat to
Perry's surprise, it came from almost behind him. "Shout again!" he
called. "Where are you?"

"He-e-ere! Hurry up!" At least, that was what the answer sounded like.
Perry grumblingly turned the boat around and rowed in the direction of
the voice. "I suppose," he thought, "I rowed in a circle. I always did
row harder with my right. But I don't see what they want me to hurry
for. And they might blow their whistle if they had any sense."

"Shout again!" he yelled presently.

"Hello-o-o!" came a hail from somewhere back of the boat, and: "Come
ahead!" called a voice from the fog in front. Perry exploded.

"Shut up, one of you!" he called exasperatedly. "I can't row two ways at
once! Where's the boat?" But his remarks evidently didn't carry, for all
he got was another hail from behind. "All right," he muttered. "Why
didn't you say so before?" He swung the dingey around a second time and
rowed on a new course. "Wonder who the other chap was," he thought. "I
dare say, though, there are boats all around here if a fellow could see
them." A minute later he called again: "Come on, you idiots! Where are

"Don't bust yourself," said a voice from almost over his shoulder. "And
watch where you're going if you don't want to stave that boat in."



Perry was so surprised that he almost fell off the seat, while,
forgetting to obey injunctions, he let the dingey run until there was a
sudden bump that toppled the milk-can over and nearly treated him the
same way. He looked startedly about. Six feet away lay a black boat and
a boy with a boat-hook was threatening him from the deck.

"You silly idiot!" called the boy impatiently. "Look where you're going!
If I hadn't got you with the hook you'd have knocked half our paint

The boy and the boat slowly vanished in the mist like a "fade-out" at
the movies, before Perry found his voice. Then: "Who the dickens are
you?" he gasped.

"I'm the man who put the salt in the ocean," replied the voice
jeeringly. "Come on easy and I'll get you."

"Well, but--but--what boat's that?"

"U.S. Battleship _Pennsylvania_, Pride of the Navy! Come on, you

Perry came on and again the boy with the boat-hook took form in the
fog. "You're Cas Temple," said Perry stupidly. "That's the _Follow Me_!"

"Surest thing you know, son! Hello! Why, it's Perry Bush. I thought you
were Bert. What did you do with the fellows?"

"What fellows?" asked Perry, puzzled, as Cas pulled the dingey alongside
the cruiser.

"Why, Bert and Wink and the rest of them."

"Haven't seen 'em."

"Haven't? Where'd you get the boat, then?"

"What boat?"

"That one! The one you're in! Say, are you dippy?"

"This is our boat and I got it--"

"Your boat nothing! That's our boat, you silly chump! Think I don't know
our own tender?"

"Wh-what!" gasped Perry. "So it is! Then, where's mine! I mean ours? How
did I get this one?"

"Search me! If you don't know, I'm blessed if I do," chuckled Caspar
Temple. "You must remember something that's happened since yesterday

"Han and I went ashore," said Perry, staring puzzledly at the milk-can
from which a tiny stream was trickling past the loosened stopper. "Then
we went to look for our boat and I found this and I yelled to him and he
didn't come and so I started back to the boat to get some--" Perry
suddenly remembered his affliction. "Say, got any alcohol?" he asked

"Alcohol? I don't know. Why?"

"I want some." Perry started to scramble out of the tender. "I got

"Snake?" asked Cas hopefully and eagerly.


"Oh!" The other's voice held keen disappointment. "Well, what do you
want alcohol for?"

"It's good for it," explained Perry, reaching the cockpit. "See if
you've got any, will you, Cas?"

"Y-yes but, honestly, Perry, I wouldn't try it if I were you."

"Why not!"

"Why--why, if you go and drink a lot of alcohol--Besides, I'm all alone
here, and if you got--got troublesome--"

"Drink it, you silly goat! Who's going to drink it? I'm going to rub it
on the places!"

"Oh, I see! That's different. I'll have a look, Perry." Cas was visibly
relieved as he scrambled down to the cabin. Perry dropped into the
dingey again and set the milk-can upright, and then, after another
minute, Cas returned empty-handed. "I'm sorry," he said, "but we haven't
a bit. Would peroxide do?"

"I don't know," answered Perry doubtfully. "Maybe. Hand it here and I'll
give it a chance. Say," he continued as he laved his wrists, "did your
crowd leave this boat on the beach?"

"I suppose so. That's where you found it, wasn't it! You'd better hustle
back with it, too, for they said they'd be back about eleven. They went
to Vineyard Haven."

"It's all well enough to say hustle back with it," replied Perry
morosely, "but where's your pesky beach?"

"Why, over there," said Cas, pointing. "The way you came."

"I came forty-eleven different directions," answered Perry. "All right,
though. I'll try it. But I'm likely to be paddling around all day and
night. Got anything to eat on board?" Cas found some cookies and these,
with a glass of water, raised Perry's spirits. "Farewell," he said
feelingly, as he shoved off again. "I die for my country."

"Did you fellows have any trouble finding this place yesterday?" asked
Cas as the departing guest dropped the oars in the locks.

"Trouble?" Perry looked blank. "What sort of trouble?"

"Why, the fog, you know. We had an awful time finding the harbour."

"Oh, that!" Perry shrugged. "Why, we went straight for the jetty and
didn't have any trouble at all finding it. But then we've got a
navigator on our boat. So long!"

Perry discovered that rowing was raising a blister on each palm and that
his arms were getting decidedly tired. The trouble with a dingey, he
decided, was that while it might do excellently as a bathtub, it was
certainly never meant for rowing. The oars were so short that the best
strokes he was capable of sent the boat ahead scarcely more than three
or four feet, and, being almost as broad as it was long, the tender
constantly showed a tendency to go any way but straight ahead. While he
had been aboard the _Follow Me_ the fog had again taken on its amber hue
and now was unmistakably thinning out. But it was still thick enough to
hide objects thirty feet away and Perry couldn't for the life of him be
certain that he was sending his craft toward the beach. To be sure he
had started out in the general direction of the shore, as indicated by
Cas, but there was always the possibility that he was rowing stronger
with one oar than the other. He strove to curb that tendency and fancied
he was succeeding, but when, after being afloat a good quarter of an
hour, he still failed to see land or hear the break of waves on the
beach he was both puzzled and annoyed. The sun pierced the mist hotly
and he was soon panting and perspiring. He heartily wished that he had
never agreed to accompany Han on the search for eggs. Presently he
rested on his oars, and as he did so he heard voices quite close. He

"Hello, there! Where's the beach?"

"Here," was the answer.

He rowed on and in another minute land came abruptly out of the fog. Two
blurred forms resolved themselves into men as Perry beached the dingey
and tiredly dropped the oars. The men came toward him and proved, on
nearer acquaintance, to be middle-aged and apparently natives. "Quite a
fog," drawled one of them. "What boat you from, sir?"

"The _Adventurer_." Perry viewed the immediate foreground with
misgiving. The beach looked more abrupt than he recalled it. "What
beach is this?" he inquired.

"Well, I don't know as it's got any name exactly. What beach was you
lookin' for?"

"The beach between Vineyard Haven and--and some other place."

"Oh, West Chop? Why, that's across the harbour, son. This is Eastville,
this side."

Perry groaned. He had rowed in a half-circle then. Unless Cas had
directed him wrong. Presently the true explanation came to him. The tide
had turned between the time the _Follow Me's_ crowd had gone ashore and
the time that Perry had reached that boat, and Cas had not allowed for
the fact that the cruiser had swung around! "Well," he said wearily, "I
guess I've got to row across again."

"Too bad," sympathised one of the men. "It's most a mile. Guess, though,
you'll be able to see your way pretty soon. This fog's burning off

Out of sight of the men Perry again laid his oars down and reached
behind him for the can of milk. It was rather warm, but it tasted good
for all of that. Then, putting the wooden stopper back in place, he once
more took up his task. Perhaps he might have been rowing around that
harbour yet had not the fog suddenly disappeared as if by magic. Wisps
of it remained here and there, but even as he watched them, they curled
up and were burned into nothingness like feathers in a fire. He found
himself near the head of a two-mile-long harbour. The calm blue water
was rippling under the brushing of a light southerly breeze and here and
there lay boats anchored or moored. While the fog had hidden the harbour
he had supposed that not more than half a dozen craft were within sight,
but now, between mouth and causeway, fully two dozen sailboats and
launches dotted the surface. Over his shoulder was a little hamlet that
was doubtless Vineyard Haven. Facing him was a larger community, and he
decided that that would be Oak Bluffs. Half a mile down the harbour lay
the _Adventurer_ and, nearer at hand, the _Follow Me_. But what was of
more present interest to Perry was a group of figures on the opposite
beach. They appeared to be seated and there was that in their attitude
which, even at this distance, told of dejection. So, reflected Perry,
might have looked a group of marooned sailors. He sighed and bent again
to his inadequate oars. He was under no misapprehension as to the sort
of welcome awaiting him, but, like an early Christian martyr on the way
to the arena, he proceeded with high courage if scant enthusiasm.

With the sun pouring down upon him, with his hands blistered, with his
breath just about exhausted and his arms aching, he at last drew to the
shore amidst a dense and unflattering silence. Five irate youths stepped
into the tender and crowded the seats. Harry Corwin took his place
beside Perry and relieved him of the port oar. Perry would have yielded
the other very gladly, but none offered to accept it and he hadn't the
courage to make the suggestion. The dingey floated off the sand again,
headed for the _Follow Me,_ and then the storm broke. It didn't descend
all at once, however. At first there were muffled growls of thunder from
Harry Corwin. Then came claps from Wink Wheeler. After that the elements
raged about Perry's defenceless head, even "Brownie" supplying some fine
lightning effects!

Perry gathered in the course of the uncomplimentary remarks directed
toward him that the crowd, being unable to find the dingey where they
believed they had left it, had spent some twenty minutes searching up
and down the beach, that subsequently they had waited there in the fog
for a good forty minutes more and that eventually Perry Bush would
sooner or later come to some perfectly deplorable end and that for their
part they didn't care how soon it might be. By the time the _Follow Me_
was reached Perry was too worn out to offer any excuse. Cas, however,
did it for him, and, as the others' tempers had somewhat sobered by then
amusement succeeded anger. Perry faintly and vaguely described his
wanderings about the harbour and the amusement increased. As dinner was
announced about that time he was dragged to the cabin and propped in a
corner of a bunk and fed out of hand. An hour later he was transported,
somewhat recovered, to the _Adventurer_ by Harry and Tom Corwin and Wink
Wheeler and delivered, together with his precious can of milk, into the
hands of his ship-mates.

The _Adventurer's_ tender bobbed about at the stern and the first person
Perry set eyes on as he scrambled onto the bridge deck was Han. Perry
fixed him with a scathing gaze. "Where," he demanded, "did you get to,

"Oh, I'll tell you about that," answered Han. "You see I was afraid
about that poison-ivy and so I took a dip in the ocean. And--"

"But I called you and called!"

"Yes, and I answered a couple of times. And then I may have had my head
under water."

"A monstrous pity you didn't keep it there!"

"When," continued Han, "I went to look for you I couldn't find you. So
I--so I came back here."

"Yes, you thought maybe I'd swum across, eh! Or found a boat?"

"Sure! You did find a boat, didn't you?"

"You make me tired," growled Perry amidst the laughter of the others.
"And I hope that poison-ivy gets you good and hard!"

"I don't believe it took," replied Han gently, "Maybe it wasn't
poison-ivy, after all!"

At that instant the outraged countenance of Ossie appeared in the
companion way. "What," he demanded irately of Perry, "do you mean by
bringing back half a gallon of sour milk?"

Perry looked despairingly about at the unsympathetic and amused faces
and wandered limply aft to the seclusion of the cockpit.

The next morning the Adventure Club chugged around to Edgartown, and
then, after putting in gasoline and water, set out at a little after
eleven, on a fifty-mile run to Pleasant Bay.



There had been talk of going through the Cape Cod Canal and so obviating
the outside journey, but most of the voyagers thought that would be too
tame and unexciting. Besides, a barge had managed to sink herself across
the channel near the Buzzard's Bay end a week or so before and no one
seemed to know for certain whether she had yet pulled herself out and
gone on about her business, and, as Steve pointed out, they'd feel a bit
foolish if they got to the canal entrance and had to turn back again.
They had fair weather and light breezes all the way to New Harbour and
from there, the next day, around the tip of the Cape to Provincetown.
They dropped anchor off the yacht club landing at Provincetown at four
o'clock Friday afternoon and went ashore as soon as the boats were
berthed and sought the post-office. Provincetown had been selected as
the first certain port of call and most of the thirteen boys found mail
awaiting them. Only Neil, however, received tidings of importance, and
his letter from his parents brought an exclamation of dismay to his

"Anything wrong?" asked Ossie, sitting beside him on the rail of the
hotel porch.

"Rotten," replied Neil disgustedly. "I've got to go home!"

"Go home!" echoed the other. "What for?"

"Dad's got to go to England on some silly business or other," explained
Neil gloomily, "and he wants me to stay with mother. Of course I ought
to. Mother's sort of an invalid and there's no one else. But it's rotten
luck." He stowed the letter in his pocket and stared disappointedly at
the passing traffic. "I was having a bully time, too," he muttered

"That's a shame," said Ossie sympathetically. "When will you have to

"He wants me to meet him in New York Sunday. He sails early Monday
morning. I suppose I'll have to go tomorrow. Guess I'd better get a time
table and see how the trains run."

"Gee, I'm sorry," murmured Ossie.

And so, for that matter, was every other member of the _Adventurer's_
company for Neil was well liked. And the _Follow He's_ crew were
scarcely less regretful. A study of the railroad schedule showed that
the next train for Boston left at five-fifty-five in the morning and
that the only other train was at two-forty in the afternoon.

"Five-fifty-five's a perfectly punk time for a train to leave anywhere,
even Provincetown," objected Neil. "And the two-forty will get me to
Boston too late for anything but a midnight train to New York."

"Bother trains," said Steve. "We'll run you to Boston tomorrow in the
boat. We can do it in four hours or so. If the _Follow Me_ crowd want to
stay here another day we'll wait for them at Boston, or we'll go on and
meet them further up the shore."

"But I don't want to hurry you chaps away from the Cape," expostulated
Neil. "You were going to Plymouth, weren't you?"

"Yes, we were, but there's nothing important about that. Hold on,
though! I say, look up the Plymouth trains, Neil. There must be more of
them from there and we can put you across to Plymouth in a couple of

They found that a train leaving Plymouth at ten would put Neil in Boston
shortly after eleven, in plenty of time for the one o'clock express to
New York, and so it was decided that the _Adventurer_ was to leave her
present port at seven in the morning. The _Follow Me_ was to follow
more leisurely and the boats would spend the next night at Plymouth.
Neil and Ossie went off to send telegrams and the others roamed around
the town until it was time for supper. Afterwards Neil packed his
belongings in two pasteboard laundry boxes, having no bag with him, and
constantly bewailed his ill-fortune. Later the _Follow Me_ crowd came
over and they had quite a jolly evening and Neil cheered up vastly.

The next morning dawned clear and hot and, after an early breakfast, the
_Adventurer_ weighed anchor. The _Follow Me's_ whistle signalled
good-bye until they were half-way to Long Point and the _Adventurer_
replied. Once around the point the boat headed across the wide bay for
the mainland at a good sixteen-mile clip. The voyage was uneventful and
Manomet Hill was soon sighted. Then Plymouth Beach stretched before them
and presently they were rounding the head and pointing the
_Adventurer's_ nose for the town. There was still the better part of an
hour left after the anchor was dropped and they all tumbled into the
dingey and found a landing and spent the next three-quarters of an hour
rambling around the historic town, Ossie and Perry bearing Neil's
strange-looking luggage. Neil insisted on viewing Plymouth Rock,
declaring that he might never get another opportunity, and after that
there was not much time left to them. They installed Neil on the train
impressively, stowed his luggage around him and then took up positions
outside the window, where, to the mingled curiosity and amusement of
other travellers, they conducted farewell exercises. These included an
entirely impromptu and unsolicited duet by Perry and Han, a much
interrupted speech by Joe, and, finally, as the train moved out of the
station, a hearty Dexter cheer with three "Neils!" on the end. In such
manner the _Adventurer_ lost her cabin boy and the ranks of the club
were depleted by one.

Neil's departure left a hole and as the others returned from the station
they spoke of him rather as though he had passed on to a better world,
recalling his good points and becoming quite sad in a cheerful way. In
view of their bereavement, they decided to have luncheon at a hotel and
during that meal recovered their spirits. More sight-seeing followed,
but the day was a hot one and by half-past three they had had enough and
so returned to the landing and pulled back to the cruiser. Steve, who
had supplied himself with yesterday's New York and Boston papers,
pre-empted a seat on the bridge deck and stretched himself out on it,
his legs crooked over the railing. The others found places in the shade
as best they could and talked and watched for the _Follow Me_ and
listened to occasional snatches of news from Steve. There was
practically no breeze and the afternoon was uncomfortably hot even under
the awning. Joe finally solved the difficulty of keeping cool by
disappearing below and presently re-emerging in his swimming trunks and
dropping overboard. That set the fashion, and they all went in save
Steve, who was too absorbed in his papers to know whether he was warm or
not. The _Follow Me_ came up the harbour just before five and tooted a
greeting as she swung around to a berth near the _Adventurer_. The
fellows, who were still in bathing attire, swam across to her, and very
shortly their ranks were increased by just half a dozen more. The sight
of Steve's feet hanging over the canvas was too much for Perry and he
yielded to temptation. Swimming up very quietly he deftly pulled off one
of Steve's "sneakers" and, in defiance of the owner's protests, they
played ball with it until the inevitable happened and it sank out of
sight before Wink Wheeler could dive for it. "Brownie" said then that
Steve might as well let them have the other one, since one shoe was no
use to him, but Steve's reply was not only non-compliant but actually
insulting in its terms. He took off the other "sneaker" and laid on it.

That bath left them feeling both refreshed and hungry and Ossie had a
hard time finding enough for them to eat. Perry described the
astonishment of some Plymouth fisherman when he opened a codfish some
fine day and discovered a rubber-soled shoe inside. "You'll read all
about it in the paper, Steve, and won't you laugh!" he added.

Steve, who had been forced to don a pair of leather shoes, didn't seem
to anticipate any great amount of amusement, however, and suggested that
it would be a gentlemanly act if Perry would hie himself to a store and
purchase a pair of number 8 "sneakers," a suggestion which Perry weighed
carefully and discarded. "You see," he explained, "it wouldn't be fair
to make me spend my hard-earned money for two 'sneakers' when I only
lost one. If the store would sell me half a pair, Steve, I'd make good
in a minute, but you see my point of view, don't you?"

Steve didn't seem to.

While they were still at table Harry Corwin's voice was heard and Ossie
investigated by the simple expedient of climbing on top of the galley
locker and thrusting his head through the open hatch. "He wants to know
if we'll go to the movies with them," said Ossie, ducking back into

"Surest thing you know," agreed Perry.

"We might as well, eh?" asked Joe. "It'll be beastly hot, though."

"I'll go if they've got Charlie Chaplin," said Han. "Ossie, ask him if
they have, please."

"He says he doesn't know," responded Ossie after an exchange of remarks.
"I told them we'd go, though," he added, dropping to the floor. "They're
going to wait for us on the landing in half an hour."

"Half an hour!" grumbled Perry. "You told them that so I couldn't get
enough to eat, you stingy beggar! Got anything more out there?"

"Great Jumping Jehosaphat!" ejaculated Ossie wildly. "I've cooked two
messes of potatoes and toasted a hundred slices of bread--"

"Oh, all right. Bring on the dessert, then."

"The dessert's on now," answered Ossie shortly. "Cookies and jelly.
That's all you get, Piggie."

"Won't we have to buy some more grub pretty soon?" asked Steve.

Ossie nodded and glanced darkly at Perry. "If _he_ stays around we
will," he answered. "We've got enough for three or four days yet,
though. Better have some canned stuff, I guess. And some flour and

"How's the treasury, Phil?" inquired Han.

"Still holding out. Where's the next stop, Steve?"

"We said Portsmouth, but Harry wants to put in at Salem. I don't suppose
it matters much."

"Then we cut out Boston altogether?"

"Why, yes, it's out of the way a bit. Besides, we didn't start out on
this cruise to visit cities."

"We started out to look for adventures," said Perry sadly, "but I don't
see many of them coming our way."

"What do you call adventures?" asked Han. "Didn't you have a fine time
being lost in the fog the other day?"

"Huh!" replied Perry, scraping the last of the jelly from the glass.
"Being lost in the fog isn't an adventure. It's just plain punk. What I
mean is--is pirates and--and desert islands and--and that sort of

"You were born a hundred years or so too late," said Joe, shaking his
head. "Toss me a cookie, Han. Thanks. If you saw a pirate, Perry,
you'd--um--you'd drop dead."

"If I saw a pirate," replied Perry indignantly, "I'd--um--live as long
as you would! Besides, I've got a perfect right to drop dead if I want

"Go ahead," said Joe lightly. "Any time you like, old chap."

"The reason I spoke of Boston," reverted Phil, "was that I thought it
might be a good place to buy our supplies. There's no use paying any
more for them than we have to and going broke before the cruise is half

"Yes, but don't forget that gasoline's pretty expensive stuff these
days, Phil," said Steve. "I guess we'd burn up enough gas getting to
Boston to make up for any saving on supplies, eh? I suppose there are
stores in Salem."

"Thought it burned up awhile ago," said Han.

"Part of it did, but I don't suppose it stayed burned up, you idiot.
What time is it? We'd better beat it for shore."

"Right-o," agreed Han. "I hope they have Charlie Chaplin, though."

By some strange inadvertency, however, Mr. Chaplin's eccentric person
was missing from the screen. In spite of that, though, Han managed to
enjoy the evening. Afterwards Perry suggested light refreshments and
they set out in search of a lunch counter. But anyone who knows Plymouth
will realise the hopelessness of their search. After roaming around the
quiet and deserted streets and at last being assured by a policeman that
their quest was worse than idle they went back to the tenders. "I
suppose," said Perry disgustedly, "they close all the stores early so
they can go to the movies. I wish now we'd had some soda at that drug
store where the man had insomnia."

"We've got food on board," said Ossie. "I'll fix up some sandwiches. I
wish you'd get enough to eat for once, though," he added as he took his
place in the dingey. "Don't they ever feed you at home, Perry?"

"Huh, I'll bet you're as hungry as I am! What are they yelping about
over there?"

The other tender had left the landing a moment before the _Adventurer's_
boat and now its occupants were heard shouting confusedly across the
moonlit water.

"Can you make out what they're saying?" asked Steve of the rest.

"Just nonsense, I guess," answered Phil, tugging at his oar.

"Stop rowing a minute and listen," Steve directed. "Now then!"

"Something about the boat," murmured Han. "I can't make it out, though."

"By Jove, I can!" exclaimed Steve. "The _Follow Me's_ gone! She must
have slipped her anchor or dragged or something. Row hard, fellows!"



Whatever had happened, one fact was plain, and that was that the smaller
of the two cruisers was not swinging at anchor where they had left her.
Nor could they see her anywhere. That she had dragged her anchor was
impossible, since the harbour was almost land-locked and the night was
still, with hardly enough breeze to stir the water. After the first few
minutes of stunned surprise the twelve boys, gathered on the
_Adventurer_, held council. It was Phil who eventually summed up the
situation quietly and tersely as follows:

"The boat's gone. She isn't in the harbour, because if she were we could
see her. Either she's been taken off as a joke or stolen. I can't
imagine anyone doing it as a joke. In any case it's up to us to find
her. We went ashore about eight, and it's now ten to eleven. It's
probable that whoever swiped her waited until we were safely ashore and
out of the way. I mean, they probably allowed us at least half an hour."

"They were probably watching us," suggested Steve.

"Why didn't they take this one instead of the other?" asked Cas Temple.

"Perhaps," replied Steve, "because they found the control locked. All
they had to do on the _Follow Me_ was break the padlock on the companion
way doors. Still, that's just a guess. They may have preferred the
_Follow Me_ for some other reason."

"Never mind that," said Joe impatiently. "The question now is how we're
to find her. Go ahead, Phil."

"I was going to suggest that we inquire among the other boats between
here and the harbour entrance. Two or three still have lights aboard.
Maybe they saw the _Follow Me_ pass out."

"Somebody look after the tenders," said Steve briskly. "Haul ours out
and tie the other astern. Give her a short line, so she won't switch
around and fill with water. All ready, Joe?"

Five minutes later the _Adventurer_ slid through the still water toward
the mouth of the harbour. On her way she stopped twice to shout
inquiries, and the second time a sleepy mariner, leaning, in pajamas
across the rail of a small launch, supplied the information they sought.

"Yes, there was a cruising motor-boat went by about nine, or a little
after, headed toward the Pier Head. I didn't notice her much, but she
was painted dark. Come to think of it, it must have been pretty nearly
half-past, for I remember hearing three bells strike just afterwards."

"You didn't see her after she went by here?" asked Steve.

"No, I was getting ready for bed and saw her through a port. Anything

"Nothing," replied Steve dryly, "except that she belongs to us and
someone's evidently stolen her. Thanks very much. Good night."

"Good night," was the answer. "I hope you get her."

"Well, we know she got this far," said Joe, "but--um--which way did they
take her when they got outside?"

"That's the question," said Harry Corwin. "They might have gone across
to Provincetown and around the Cape, or taken her up the shore or down.
I guess the best thing for us to do would be to hike back and give the
alarm. If we telegraphed--"

"She went north," said Phil with conviction.

"How do you know?" demanded Joe.

"I don't _know_, but think a minute. If you were stealing a boat you'd
want to keep out of sight with her, wouldn't you?"

"Suppose I should."

"Then you wouldn't mess around in Cape Cod Bay. You'd set a course as
far from other craft and harbours as you could. If they went south
they'd be among boats right along, and they'd know that we'd work the
wires and that folks would be on the lookout."

"Then where," began Steve.

"Let's look at the chart from here north," said Phil. The cover of the
chart box was thrust back and the lamp lighted and as many as could do
so clustered about it. Phil traced a finger across Massachusetts Bay
past the tip of Cape Ann. "There's clear sailing for ninety miles or so,
straight to Portland, unless--How much gas has she aboard, Harry?"

"Only about twelve gallons." It was Tom Corwin who answered. "We were
going to fill again in the morning."

"How far can she go on that?"

"Not more than seventy at ordinary speed, I guess. She's hard on gas."

"Good! Then she'd have to put in at Gloucester or Newburyport or

"Unless she ducked into Boston Harbour," said Steve. "I dare say she
could tuck herself away somewhere there quite safely. A coat of white
paint would change her looks completely."

"That's possible," agreed Phil, "but painting a boat of that size would
take a couple of days, wouldn't it? It doesn't seem to me that they'd
want to take the chance."

"Then your idea is that they're on their way to Portland?"

"Somewhere up there. They'd argue that we wouldn't be likely to look for
them so far away."

"Well, here we are," said Steve. "We've got to go one way or another."
The rougher water outside was making the _Adventurer_ dip and roll. "As
far as I can see, Phil's theory is as good as another, or maybe better.
Shall we try going north, fellows?"

No one answered until, after a moment's silence, Perry remarked
philosophically: "I don't believe we'll ever see her again, but we can't
stop here, and we were going northward anyhow."

Murmurs of agreement came from the others. The only dissentient voice
was Bert Alley's. "_I_ don't see your argument," he said. "If I had swiped
the _Follow Me_ I'd hike out for New York or some place like that and
run her into some little old hole until I could either change her looks
or sell her."

"And be nabbed on the way," said Joe.

"Not if I stayed at sea."

"But you couldn't stay at sea if you had only twelve gallons of gasoline
aboard. Wherever she's going, she will have to put in for gas before
long." Phil stared thoughtfully at the chart. "I'll allow," he went on,
"that she may have gone any other direction but north. For that matter,
she may be anchored just around the corner somewhere. It's all more or
less guesswork. But, looking at the probabilities, and they're all we've
got to work on, I think north is the likeliest trail for us to take."

"Right-o," said Steve, turning the wheel and pointing the boat's slim
bow toward Gurnet Point, "We've got to take a chance, fellows, and this
looks like the best. In the morning we'll get busy with the telegraph
and tell our troubles, but just now the best we can do is keep a sharp
lookout and try to think we're on the right course. I'm going to speed
her up, Joe, so you might dab some more oil and grease around your old

"All right. You fellows will have to clear out of here, though, while I
get this hatch up. Some of you might go forward and keep your eyes
peeled. I don't suppose, however," he added as he pulled the engine
hatch up, "that they'll show any lights on her."

"Not likely to," agreed Harry Corwin. "They'll run dark, probably, until
they get near a harbour. Look for anything like a boat, fellows. It's a
mighty good thing we've got this moonlight."

"Yes, and we'll have to make hay while the moon shines," added Wink
Wheeler as he climbed out of Joe's way, "for it won't last much longer.
It'll be as dark as pitch by one or two o'clock, I guess."

"Well, we've got a searchlight," said Perry.

"There's no need for more than three of us to stay up," said Steve.
"I'll keep the wheel and Joe will stay here with me. Phil, you take the
watch for a couple of hours and then wake someone else."

"Huh!" said Perry. "I'm not going to bed! Who wants to sleep, anyway?"

Apparently no one did, for although presently the dozen fellows were
distributed over the boat, not one went below. Phil and Han stretched
themselves out at the bow, Steve, Joe, Harry and Tom Corwin and Cas
Temple remained on the bridge deck and the rest of the company retired
to the cockpit, from where, by looking along the after cabin roof, they
had a satisfactory view of the course. Perhaps one or two of the boys
did nod a little during the next two hours, but real slumber was far
from the minds of any of them. The _Adventurer_ was doing a good twenty
miles an hour, the propeller lashing the water into a long foaming path
that melted astern in the moonlight. Ossie busied himself in the galley
about midnight and served hot coffee and bread-and-butter sandwiches.
Only once was the _Adventurer_ changed from her course, which Steve had
laid for Gloucester, and then the light which had aroused their
suspicions was soon seen to belong to a coasting schooner beating her
way toward Boston. Of small boats there were none until, at about one
o'clock, when the two white lights of Baker's Island lay west by north
and the red flash on Eastern Point showed almost dead ahead, Phil called
from the bow.

"Steve, there's something ahead that looks like a boat or a rock. Can
you see it?"

"Which side?"

"A little to the left. Port, isn't it? Han doesn't see it, but--"

"I've got it," answered Steve. After a moment he added with conviction:
"It's a boat. Has she changed her position, Phil?"

"Not while I've been watching. Looks as if she was going about the same
way we are." The others came clustering forward from the stern to stare
across the water at the dark spot ahead which, in the uncertain light of
the setting moon, might be almost anything. If it was a boat, it showed
no light. Anxiously the boys watched, and after a few minutes Steve
announced with quiet triumph:

"We're pulling up on her, fellows, whoever she is!"

"She's the _Follow Me_," declared Harry Corwin. "She must be, or she
wouldn't be running without lights."

"We'll know before long," said Steve. "I wish the moon would stay out a
little longer, though. Joe, try the searchlight and see if you can pick
her up."

But the craft ahead was a good mile away and the _Adventurer's_ small
searchlight was not powerful enough to bridge that distance with its
white glare. "They're making for the harbour, anyway," said Harry
Corwin, "and so she can't get away from us if we lose her now." Even as
he ended the last pallid rays of the moon vanished and they found
themselves in darkness save for the wan radiance of the stars. Lights
unnoticed before sprang up in the gloom along the shore and a dim
radiance in the sky showed where the town of Gloucester slumbered.

"If they double on us now we'll lose them," muttered Steve. "Put that
light out, Joe. We can see better without it."

"How far off is the harbour?" asked Harry.

"About two miles. You can hear the whistle buoy. That white light to the
left of the red flash is the beacon on the end of the breakwater." He
moved the helm a trifle and examined the chart. "There are no rocks,
anyway, and that's a comfort. I can't say I like this running at night.
How far away was she when the moon went back on us, Harry?"

"Oh, three-quarters, at a rough guess."

"Nearer a mile and a quarter, I'd say. Well, if she doesn't dodge along
shore we'll have her in the harbour. Always supposing, that is, that she
really is the _Follow Me_."

"She can't be anything else," answered Harry. "No sensible skipper would
go ploughing around at night without a light. Hello! Isn't that a light
there now?"

"Where? Yes, you're right! She's lighted up at last! Afraid to go in
without lights, I dare say, for fear of arousing suspicion. I'm getting
to believe she _is_ the _Follow Me_, Harry."

"I haven't doubted it once. Do you suppose she knows we're after her?"

"She knows we're here, of course, but she can't be certain we're after
her. Still, turning that searchlight on was a sort of give-away. If she
really does go inside it's just because she's afraid of her fuel giving
out. We'd better anchor as far out as we can and keep our eyes open
until daylight comes."

"She couldn't get gas before morning, I guess," said Joe. "Looks to me
as if, if she _is_ the _Follow Me_, they've run themselves into a trap!"

"Hope so, I'm sure," said Wink Wheeler. "If we've caught her we've
certainly been lucky, fellows!"

"Don't count your chickens until they're hatched," advised Ossie. "Maybe
she isn't the _Follow Me_ at all."

"I can't see her light now," called Phil from the bow. "Hold on, there's
a green light, I think! No, I guess I was wrong. Can't see anything now,
Steve. Can you?"

"No, she's turned and run inside back of the breakwater. Keep your ears
and eyes open for that whistling buoy, Phil. I want to pass it to port."

"It's pretty near. There it is now! Look!"

"I've got it! All right. Now it's straight for the white beacon." Steve
sighed relievedly. "No use hurrying any longer, I guess." He eased the
throttle back and the _Adventurer_ slowed her pace. "Have a look at the
chart, Harry. Isn't there a buoy near the end of the breakwater?"

"Yes, a red spar buoy."

"What's the depth just inside?"

"Four fathoms, shoaling to one."

"Good enough. We'll drop anchor just around the breakwater and train the
searchlight across the channel. I don't believe, though, they intend to
run out again before morning. All I'm afraid of is that they swung off
when darkness came and are sneaking around the Cape."

"I'll bet anything we'll find her at anchor when daylight comes,"
replied Harry. "She had only enough gas for seventy miles, and she's
gone about sixty at top speed. We've got her, Steve. Don't you worry."

"Hope so. Get your bow anchor ready, Han, and stand by to heave. When
you let go make as little noise as you can. I'm going to turn the
lights out, fellows, so don't go messing about or you may walk
overboard. Switch them all off below, Ossie, will you? If those chaps
have anchored just inside the breakwater there's no sense in letting
them know that this is the _Adventurer_. Got your anchor ready, Han?"

"Ay, ay, sir!"

"All right. Don't let your windlass rattle. Keep quiet, fellows."
Suddenly all the lights on deck save that in the binnacle went out,
leaving the boat in darkness. Nearby the red flash of the lighthouse
glowed periodically, while, ahead, shone the white beacon. In silence
the _Adventurer_ drew nearer and nearer to the latter, put it abeam and
then swung to starboard. "Let her go, Han," called Steve softly. Those
on the bridge deck heard the faint splash of the hundred-pound navy
anchor as it struck the water. Han crept back and swung himself down to
the bridge.

"All fast, sir," he reported.

Somewhere in the darkness at the head of the harbour, where tiny
pin-pricks of light twinkled, a town clock struck two.



Waiting was weary work after that. It was two hours and a half to
sunrise and, since two of their number were sufficient to keep watch,
the others presently went below and napped. Steve and Bert Alley
remained on deck. Steve, although he perhaps needed sleep more than
anyone, refused to trust other eyes than his own, and while darkness
lasted he watched the white path cast across the water by the
_Adventurer's_ searchlight. But darkness and silence held until shortly
after four, when the eastern sky began to lighten. The next half-hour
passed more slowly than any that had gone before. Gradually their range
of vision enlarged, and Steve, peering into the greyness, drew Bert's
attention to a darker hulk that lay a few hundred yards up the harbour.
They watched it anxiously as the light increased. That it was a boat of
about the size of the _Follow Me_ and that is was painted dark became
more and more apparent. Then, quite suddenly, a ray of rosy light shot
up beyond Eastern Point and the neighbouring motor-boat lay revealed.
Steve sighed his disappointment. She was not the _Follow Me_ after all,
but a battered, black-hulled power-boat used for gill-netting.

One by one, as the light strengthened, the others stumbled on deck,
yawning and rubbing their sleepy eyes. The _Adventurer_ was anchored
more than a mile from the inner harbour, and between her and Ten Pound
Island lay a big, rusty-red salt bark, high out of water, and five
fishing schooners. But these, aside from the disreputable little
gill-netter, were all the craft that met their gaze.

"Either," said Steve wearily, "she never came in at all or she's up in
the inner harbour. I'll wager she didn't get out again last night. We'll
go up and mosey around, I guess. Ossie, how about some coffee?"

"I'll make some, Steve. Guess we'd better have an early breakfast too."

"It can't be too early to suit me," murmured Bert Alley, as he dragged
his feet down the companion way and toppled onto a berth. The
_Adventurer_ weighed anchor and in the first flush of a glorious Summer
dawn, chugged warily up the still harbour. She kept toward the eastern
shore and the boys swept every pier and cove with sharp eyes. Then
Rocky Neck turned back them and they picked a cautious way over sunken
rocks to the entrance of the inner harbour. By this time it was broad
daylight and their task was made easier. Still, as the inner harbour was
nearly a mile long and a good half-mile wide, and indented with numerous
coves, the search was long. They nosed in and out of slips, circled
basins and ran down a dozen false clues supplied by sailors on the
fishing schooners that lined the wharves. And, at seven o'clock they had
to acknowledge defeat. The _Follow Me_ was most surely not in Gloucester
Harbour. Nor, for that matter, was there a cabin-cruiser that resembled
her in any way. It was the latter fact that puzzled them, for they had
somehow become convinced that the darkened craft that had led them past
the breakwater last night was, if not the _Follow Me_, at least a boat
of her size. "And," said Harry Corwin, "we know that that boat did come
in here, for we saw her light disappear behind the breakwater. Let's
look around again."

"If she came in for gasoline," said Phil, "we might find out whether she
got it. There can't be many places where she could fill her tanks." The
_Adventurer_ was slowly rounding a point that lay between the cove from
which she had just emerged and Western Harbour, and Wink Wheeler, who
was sitting on the rail on the starboard side of the deck, gave
utterance to an exclamation of surprise and pointed ahead to where a
drab-coloured power-boat had suddenly emerged into sight nearly a
half-mile away.

"Look at that!" he cried.

"That's not the _Follow Me_, you idiot," said Joe.

"No, but where'd she come from?" demanded Wink.

For a moment the boys stared and then Steve leaned quickly over the
chart. "By Jiminy!" he muttered. "There's a way out there. Look,
fellows! See where it says 'Drawbridge'? Evidently you can get through
there into the Squam River, and the river takes you out into Ipswich
Bay! It's dollars to doughnuts that's where they took the _Follow Me_!"
Steve drew down the throttle and the cruiser lunged forward in response.
"We'll have a look, anyway," he said. "It was stupid of me not to have
noticed that on the chart, but it's hardly big enough to be seen."

Straight for the beach at the curve of the wide cove sped the
_Adventurer_, her nose set for the drawbridge that showed against the
blue sky. As they got closer an outlet showed clear, a narrow space
between the bridge masonry, with a strong current coming through from
the further side.

"Gee, it doesn't look very big," said Joe. "And how about head-room,

"Room enough," was the answer, as the _Adventurer_ slowed down. "They'll
raise the draw if we whistle, I suppose, but we don't need to."

"We'll scrape our funnel, as sure as shooting!" cried Perry as the
cruiser neared the bridge.

"We'll miss by two feet," answered Steve untroubledly.

They held their breaths and watched nervously as the shadow of the
bridge fell across the boat. Then, with the sound of the engine and
exhaust echoing loudly, the cruiser dug her nose into the out-running
tide and shot safely through to emerge into a narrow canal that
stretched straight ahead before them until it joined the river. They
breathed easier as the bridge was left behind. Once in the river it was
necessary to go cautiously and watch the channel buoys, for the chart
showed a depth of only four feet at low tide for the first mile and a
half. If they had not all been so absorbed in the fate and recovery of
the _Follow Me_ they would have enjoyed that journey down the Squam
River immensely, for it was a beautiful stream, quiet and tranquil in
the morning sunlight. Summer camps and cottages dotted the shores and
green hills hemmed it in. They had breakfast on the way, eating it for
the most part on deck. Now and then the _Adventurer_ paused while they
examined a motor-boat moored in some cove.

"There's one thing certain," said Steve. "Those folks couldn't have
brought the _Follow Me_ through here in the dark. If they did come
through that cut last night they anchored and waited for light. Keep a
watch for gasoline stations, fellows."

They found the first one at Annisquam, near where the yacht club pier
stuck out into the channel. Steve sidled the _Adventurer_ up to a
landing and, while Han held her with the hook, made inquiry of a
grizzled man in faded blue jumpers.

"We're looking for a motor-boat called the _Follow Me_," he explained.
"Have you seen her?"

The man shook his head. "What was she like?" he asked.

Steve described her, aided by Harry Corwin, and the man pushed his old
straw hat back, and rubbed his forehead reflectively. Finally: "There
was a launch answerin' to that description stopped here about"--he gazed
at the sun--"about two hours ago, I cal'ate. She was black, but she
didn't have no name on her so far as I could see. I sold 'em thirty
gallons o' gas an' they went on out toward the bar."

"Who was on her?" asked Steve quickly.

"Two or three men I never seen before. Three, I cal'ate there was. She
wasn't here very long. They come up to the house an' got me up from the
breakfast table. Said they was in a hurry. Come to think on it, boys, I
believe they'd painted the name out on the stern. They ain't stolen her,
have they?"

"That's just what they have done," answered Steve. "Shove off, Han!
Thank you, sir. About two hours ago, you say?"

"Might be a little less than two hours. Well, I hope you get her. I
didn't much like the looks of the fellers aboard her."

"Where do you think they'd take her?" called Joe as the boat swung her
stern around.

"I dunno. They might switch around into the Essex River, or they might
take her in Ipswich way, or they might head straight for Newburyport. If
they wanted to hide her I cal'ate they might run in behind Plum Island

"Sounds pretty hopeless," said Steve as the _Adventurer_ took up her way
again. "Look at this chart and see all the places she _might_ be, will
you? It's a regular what-do-you-call-it--labyrinth!"

"It certainly is," agreed Joe. "And there's a lot of shallows about
here, too. Where's this Plum Island he spoke of?"

Steve pointed it out, a seven-mile stretch of sand behind which emptied
four or five small rivers. "Shall we try it?" he asked.

"Might as well be thorough," Joe replied. "What do you say, Harry?"

"I say yes. Seems to me they'd be mighty likely to slide into some such
place if only to paint a new name on."

"We'll have a look then," agreed Steve. The _Adventurer_ dipped her way
across Squam Bar and Steve swung the wheel. "Southeast, one-fourth
south," he muttered, looking from the chart to compass. "Watch for a
black spar buoy off the lighthouse. If they took the _Follow Me_ into
Essex Bay, though, we're running right away from her."

To port, the sand dunes shone dazzlingly in the sunlight and a long
stretch of snow-white beach kept pace with them as they made for the
entrance to Plum Island Sound. Several boats, sailing and power craft,
had been sighted, but nothing that looked in the least like the _Follow
Me_. The sun climbed into a hazy blue sky and the day grew hot in spite
of the light westerly breeze. Steve picked up his buoys, a black and
then two red, and swung the cruiser in toward the mouth of the Ipswich
River. The chart showed feet instead of fathoms in places and Steve
slowed down cautiously until they were in the channel. They left Ipswich
Light on the port beam and kept on past the river mouth and into the

"What happens," asked Harry Corwin, looking at the chart over Steve's
shoulder, "when there aren't any soundings shown?"

"Just what I was wondering myself," replied the navigator. "It doesn't
tell you anything after you pass that last red spar buoy. Still, with
those two rivers coming in beyond up there, there must be enough water
for us if we can find it. I've about arrived at the conclusion that the
_Follow Me_ was mighty well named, Harry. We've been following her for
twelve hours, pretty near, and as things look now we'll be still
following her a week from Christmas!"

"I suppose," sighed the captain of the lost boat, "that what we should
have done was report it to the police and stayed right where we were.
Dad's going to be somewhat peeved if we lose that boat."

"I thought she belonged to you and Tom," said Wink Wheeler.

"So she does, but dad gave her to us and he's rather fond of her

"Well, it's too bad," Wink answered, "but I don't believe we'll ever
find her now. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack, this sort of
thing. We don't even know for sure that she isn't down around New York
somewhere by this time!"

"Yes, we do," said Steve quietly.

"We do? How do we?"

"Because I'm looking at her," was the reply. Steve nodded ahead and
pushed back the throttle. "If that isn't the _Follow Me_ I'll--I'll eat



A half-mile or so beyond a black cruiser lay at anchor at the mouth of a
cove on the island side of the sound. She was broadside-to and one look
at her was enough for Harry Corwin. "It is!" he cried. "We've got her,

"Not yet," warned Phil as the fellows clustered from all parts of the
boat. "That's her, but how are we going to get her back? Hadn't we
better stop here, Steve, and decide what to do? Those men aren't going
to give her up just for the asking, I guess."

"Right," agreed Steve. "Bow anchor, Han! Let her go as soon as you're
ready. Now then, fellows, let's think what's to be done." The
_Adventurer_ pulled at the anchor line with her nose, found further
progress stopped and slowly began to swing around with the tide. "There
are three of them at least, according to the gasoline chap back there,
and there are twelve of us, but if they have guns--"

"We've got two revolvers," said Perry eagerly. "Shall I get them,

"Yes, fetch them up here, but we don't want to use them unless in
self-defence. Don't forget the cartridges, Perry. Now suppose we mosey
up to where we can talk to them, fellows."

"That's the ticket," agreed Wink Wheeler. "If they get to acting ugly,
why, I guess there are enough of us to handle them. I think the best way
is to beat it right up there and tell them to hand the boat over."

"And if they decline?" inquired Phil.

"Go in and take it!"

"And, as like as not, get shot full of holes! No, thanks!" This from

"How would it do for some of us to land and keep out of sight and come
around back of them?" asked Cas Temple.

"What are we going to do with them if we catch them?" Tom Corwin wanted
to know. "Take them back and hand them over to the police?"

"I don't believe they'll let us catch them," answered Phil. "Either
they'll take to that small boat they've got astern there or they'll try
to make a dash past us."

[Illustration: "It is!" he cried. "We've got her, fellows!"]

"Much good that would do them!" Harry shrugged his shoulders. "The
_Adventurer_ can sail all around our boat."

"We're not getting anywhere," observed Steve, who had been all the while
watching the other craft attentively. "And they've seen us at last, for
they're looking over the top of the cabin."

"Well, let's do something," said Perry, who was back with the two
revolvers and as many boxes of cartridges. "Can they go the other way or
do they have to pass us to get out of this place, Steve?"

"They can go the other way for about five miles according to the chart,
but they can't get out. There's a bridge there. And, anyway, I guess
it's only navigable for small boats at high tide. Perry, for the love of
lemons, drop those things and let them alone."

"They aren't loaded," said Perry, injuredly.

"That's the kind that always blow your head off. Well, what's the
decision, fellows?"

Everyone talked at once for a minute, and, at last, Phil said: "Why not
do the natural thing and ask for our boat? Why let them think that we
expect trouble? Perhaps when they see that the game's up they'll give in

"That's the idea," agreed Harry and most of the rest. "Let's breeze
right up to them and talk big."

"We'll never get the _Follow Me_ by lying here, anyway," said Steve,
turning to the wheel. "Get your anchor up, Han. Give him a hand,
someone. Wink, open a box of those cartridges and load the revolvers,
will you? But keep them out of Perry's way! All right now. Settle down,
fellows, and we'll try a bluff."

The _Adventurer_ went on and the distance between the two boats lessened
rapidly. They could see two men watching them over the top of the cabin,
but there was no sign of alarm visible aboard the _Follow Me_. When the
_Adventurer_ was almost opposite the black cruiser Steve threw out the
clutch, turned the wheel and let her run shoreward. "We're getting out
of the channel," he said to Harry. "Watch for sand-bars." He slipped the
clutch in again and again disengaged it. The two boats were some twenty
yards apart now and the men on the _Follow Me_ were observing the
newcomers unblinkingly from the cockpit.

Steve leaned over the rail and sent a hail across. "_Follow Me_, ahoy!"
he called. "We'll trouble you for that boat, please."

For a moment there was no answer. Then one of the two men in sight
moved forward and drawled: "Speaking to us, are you? What was it you

"I said we'd trouble you for that boat," repeated Steve. "It happens to
belong to us, you see."

"This boat?"

"That identical boat."

"Belongs to you!"

"You've got it."

"That's a good joke, friend. We've owned this boat three years. Where do
you come in?"

"She's the _Follow Me_, even if you have painted her name out, and you
took her from her anchorage in Plymouth Harbour last night. What's the
use of throwing a fool bluff like that?"

The man laughed hoarsely and his companion joined him. "Run away, kids!"
he said finally. "You're crazy with the heat. This boat's the
_Esmeralda_, of Providence, and she belongs to me and this feller. What
do you mean, took her? Callin' me a thief, are you?"

"I'm not taking the trouble to. If you know what's good for you you'll
dig out of there and do it quick."

"Is that so?" drawled the man. "Well, ain't that nice? An' supposin' it
don't suit me to hand over my boat to you? Then what you goin' to do?"

"Take her," answered Steve quietly. "There are twelve of us here and
we've followed you all the way from Plymouth, and we aren't likely to
let you bluff us off now. Come on, now, what do you say?"

"Come on and take her, kids!" was the answer. "We're scared to death!"
The men thought that extremely funny, and laughed a lot over it. Just
then, Steve, leaning outboard over the railing, felt someone tug at his

"Look at the middle port, Steve," whispered Phil.

Steve looked. The nearer side of the _Follow Me_ was in shadow, but a
quivering beam of sunlight, reflected from the surface of the water,
glinted on the muzzle of a revolver held just inside the open port.

"Every fellow under cover," said Steve quietly. "That means you, too,
Joe. Duck! They've got a gun trained on us. Who's the best shot here?"

"Wink," answered Joe.

"Give him one of the revolvers. Are you there, Wink?"

"Yes," answered the other from the forward companion way.

"Get a bead on that middle port. You'll see a gun sticking through
there. Don't shoot unless they shoot first. Better go into the other
cabin. There's no harm in letting them see you, but don't keep your head
exposed. Someone hand me that other revolver."

On the other boat Steve's silence was accepted as a confession of
indecision and a jeering laugh came across the water. The _Adventurer_
was drifting toward the shore now, and Steve turned and slipped the
clutch into reverse and churned back a few yards. Then he faced the men

"You can't get away with it, you know," he said untroubledly. "We can
stay here as long as you can. If you run we'll follow you, and at the
first port we'll hand you over to the authorities. You've only got
thirty gallons of gas and that won't take you far. If you have any sense
you'll pile into your tender and light out while you've got a good

It was evident that those on the stolen boat had glimpsed Wink's
revolver, for one of the men leaned toward his companion and spoke in
low tones and their eyes sought the port. After a moment the spokesman
replied placatingly. "Maybe you're right, Sport. Guess you've got us
this time. But this ain't any place to go ashore. Tell you what we'll
do. We'll run her back to Gloucester and hand her over to you there.
That's fair, ain't it?"

"It doesn't listen well," answered Steve. "You land on the other side
there and you'll only have to walk a few miles to a train."

"Yeah, walk about six miles across sand dunes in a sun hot enough to
blister you! Nothin' doin', Sport. Take it or leave it."

"Leave it, thanks."

For answer one of the men climbed to the cabin roof and went forward.
"He's going to pull up anchor," warned Joe, peering over the rail.
Steve's voice rang out sharply:

"If you touch that cable we'll shoot!"

The man paused, stared across doubtfully and went on.

"Can you hear me, Wink?" asked Steve softly.

"Yes," came from the after cabin.

"If he lays a hand on the anchor cable, shoot, but shoot wide."

"All right, Steve!"

"Say," called the man in the cockpit, "don't you start nothin', because
we got you covered. If there's any shootin' you'll get the worst of it."

The man forward dropped to a knee, his gaze turned warily toward the
enemy, and took hold of the anchor cable. As he did so Steve whipped his
revolver into sight and flattened himself against the bulkhead. A sharp
report broke the silence and a bullet sang its way across the _Follow
Me's_ bow. The man dropped the rope and sprang back along the roof to
tumble frightenedly into the cockpit. From the cabin of the _Adventurer_
floated up the acrid smoke of Wink's revolver. The man at the stern of
the other boat had instantly disappeared.

"Look out," shouted Perry from the forward cabin. "They're going to
shoot from the ports! Come down from there, Steve!"

But Steve's hand was on the clutch and, as the _Adventurer_ began to go
astern, his other hand turned the spokes of the wheel and the cruiser's
bow came slowly around toward the _Follow Me._ "Come up here, Wink," he
called, and then: "Put that hatch up all the way and keep behind it," he
added as Wink slipped to his side. "Can you get them from there?"

"Fine!" answered the other cheerfully.

"I'll try to keep her bow-on. Careful not to kill anyone, old man. Shoot
for their arms."

"How can I when they're out of sight down there?" Wink complained. "All
I can do is shoot for the ports."

"Don't shoot at all unless you have to," Steve cautioned. "We don't want
to knock any more splinters off her than necessary."

"We're too near, Steve. The deck's getting in the way."

"I'll back her off." The _Adventurer_ retreated until Wink, his elbow
resting on the closed cover of the chart-box, could train his revolver
on the _Follow Me's_ ports. Several of the others emerged from the
cabins and huddled from sight on the deck.

"What's the next act, Steve?" inquired Phil.

Steve shook his head. "I'm wondering," he answered. "About all we can do
is keep them from running away until they talk sense."

"Why not let them run? We can go faster than they can."

"I'm afraid of tricks," responded Steve. "I don't know these waters, and
I suspect that they do. They might manage to give us the slip as they
did last night. I guess when they find they can't get away they'll come
to terms." Steve raised his head cautiously above the chart-box on his
side and a bullet promptly ploughed through the frame of the open
window in front of him and went singing astern.

"Rotten shooting," observed Wink, as Steve ducked to safety. "Shall I
give 'em one, Steve?"

Steve hesitated and then shook his head. "What's the use? You'd only
plug a hole in the _Follow Me's_ cabin. Wait until they show

"Well, you take care not to show yourself," advised Wink, peering warily
past the smoke-stack. "Those murderous pirates are shooting to kill, I

Another shot rang out across the dancing water and a bullet flattened
itself against a pipe stanchion. "Guess you'd better put a shot into
each of those ports," said Steve. "Maybe they'll keep away from them.
Sorry to damage your boat, Harry."

"Bother the damage!" said Harry. "Plug her full of lead if you like!"

Wink's revolver spoke, and: "Bull's-eye," he announced calmly. Another
shot followed. "Got that one, too," he muttered. "Can't see the other
port from here, Steve. Smokestack's in the way. You try it."

Steve tried and missed, the bullet knocking a long splinter from the
edge of the cabin roof, and at the same moment a pistol aboard the
_Follow Me_ barked and Perry, sitting crouched on one of the seats,
uttered an exclamation. Phil, beside him, turned anxiously. Perry's face
expressed blank amazement as he pushed his right sleeve up and gazed at
a wound from which the blood was spurting.

"Gosh," he said awedly, "I'm shot!"



"I should think so!" cried Phil. "Come on down and let me fix it."

"What is it?" asked Steve anxiously.

"Perry's hit in the arm. They must have shot along the side, and the
bullet glanced from something. Come on, Perry."

"All you fellows get out of here," commanded Steve. "It might happen
again, and you're not doing any good here, anyway. The chest's in the
bottom locker in our cabin, Phil. Is it bad?"

"Don't think so," was the reply from the companion way. "Only a flesh
wound, I guess. I'll look after it."

Steve had forgotten to try a second shot at the port, but Wink again let
go at where the glint of a revolver muzzle showed and a cry of pain came
across the water.

"Got him!" said Wink.

"You must have," agreed Steve. "I hope you didn't hurt him much."

"Suffering snakes!" ejaculated Wink. "Why shouldn't I hurt him? They
potted Perry, didn't they? What are we supposed to do! Lie around here
and let them shoot us full of lead and just smile? Why, you pig-headed,
solid concrete--"

But Wink's flow of eloquence was interrupted by two shots from the
_Follow Me_. There was a tinkling of glass as one of them smashed
through the upper frame of the window on Steve's side. The other
ploughed into the chart-box. Wink instantly fired back twice, aiming at
the two ports he commanded. "Harry's boat will look like a sieve," he
chuckled as he broke his revolver and jammed fresh cartridges into it.
"Get busy there, Steve!"

For answer Steve's revolver spoke twice and the thud of the bullets came
to them. "Got the boat anyway," chuckled Wink. "We can scare 'em even if
we can't pot 'em! Better back up a little, Steve. I don't want to bust
our flag-pole."

Once more the _Adventurer_ increased the distance between her and the
adversary, and once more the engine beneath their feet relapsed into a
quiet purr as the load was taken off again.

"If it wasn't that we'd bust the _Follow Me_," exclaimed Steve savagely,
"I'd ram them! They're knocking our paint off and breaking our glass and
raising the dickens!"

Wink glanced across the deck. Steve, his revolver laid on the floor
beside him, was knotting a handkerchief about his hand with his teeth.
"Hello!" exclaimed Wink. "Did they get you!"

"No, it's only a piece of glass. It's bleeding a bit, that's all." Steve
gave a final tug at the knot and seized his revolver again. "I wish
they'd show themselves!"

"They probably wish the same of us," laughed Wink. "How long does this
keep up? I'm getting hungry!"

"It keeps up until they give in," responded Steve determinedly. "Below
there! Tell Ossie to start on the dinner."

"Dinner!" exclaimed Ossie from the aft companion. "Suppose they plugged
a bullet into the galley?"

"Don't be an idiot," begged Steve impatiently. "You've got four inches
of planking and a pile of rope and a refrigerator and a lot of other
stuff between you and the bullets. Get busy and do your bit!"

"All right, Steve. I'd forgotten about the refrigerator. But you can bet
I'm not going to leave the door open!" This jest was rewarded with a
laugh from the others as Ossie pushed his way past them and dived
hurriedly across the deck to the forward companion way. "Pistols and
coffee for twelve," he added as he disappeared.

For several minutes there was no further sound or movement aboard the
_Follow Me_. "They're probably fixing up the chap who got plugged,"
opined Wink cheerfully, as he watched the ports. "Wish we had a rifle,
Steve. We could get them right through the hull, I guess."

"Yes, and if we had a torpedo we could sink her," said Cas Temple from
the hatch. "Suppose they've run out of cartridges, Steve?"

"I don't believe so. I guess they don't think it's worth while wasting
what they've got."

A cheering aroma of coffee stole up from the galley and murmurs of
satisfaction were heard. Perry, his forearm bandaged neatly and
scientifically, crowded his way up the after companion. "Say, Steve, let
me have a shot at them, will you?" he begged earnestly. "Just one,
Steve, like a good fellow!"

"How's the arm, Perry?"

"Oh, all right, I guess. It hurts a little. Phil's got it so blamed
tight that I can't close my fingers. Will you, Steve?"

Steve was denied an answer by a sudden interruption from Wink. "She's
moving, Steve!" he cried. "They've started her!"

"But they're anchored!" exclaimed Joe.

"They've cut the line. Probably reached through a port on the other
side," said Steve, working quickly at the controls. "It's lucky we
didn't have ours down, too!"

The _Follow Me_, gathering headway, pushed for the channel, and the
_Adventurer_ lunged forward with a mighty splashing of her screw, Steve
bringing her head around as fast as he could. "How the dickens are they
steering her, Harry?" he demanded, staring in puzzlement at the empty
cockpit of the other craft.

"There's an auxiliary wheel forward, in the stateroom. They're coming
around, fellows. Get under cover! Steve, you'd better drop!"

The others scuttled for the companion ways, and none too soon, for, as
the _Follow Me_ swung around into the channel those behind her ports had
a clean sweep of the _Adventurer's_ bridge deck and a fusillade of shots
swept across the forty or fifty yards dividing the boats. Steve and Wink
had dropped below the rail, while, in the cabins, the others were taking
good care to crouch beneath the level of the ports. Some eight shots
were fired, but, although several took effect on various parts of the
bridge, the fact that the _Adventurer_ was now plunging around in a
half-circle at a full twelve miles an hour and the other boat was
running at top speed down the channel made accuracy impossible. Neither
Steve nor Wink had a chance to reply until it was too late for their
shots to be effective. By that time the two cruisers had straightened
out on the course and the chase had begun.

Harry Corwin was entrusted with Steve's revolver and, standing on the
dining table set from locker to locker across the galley, he could
thrust head and shoulders through the hatch. But the cockpit of the
_Follow Me_ remained empty and the entrance to the cabin was closed.
Wink, his revolver ready, had returned to his post and watched grimly
while the _Adventurer_, her engine fairly humming, slowly wore down the
distance that separated her from the enemy.

"They're certainly getting some speed out of her," called Wink
admiringly. The rest of the company had returned to the bridge and were
watching eagerly. Tom Corwin, who had remained unaffected by the potting
of the _Follow Me's_ hull, was fighting mad now because the thieves had
lost the bow anchor, and sputtered wrathfully as he gazed over Steve's
shoulder. "If I was Harry I'd put a bullet through that door," he
muttered. "I wish someone would let me have a shot at them!"

"You couldn't hit her at this distance, with the boats swinging," said
Steve. "Wonder why it doesn't occur to them to cut away that tender.
It's taking a mile off their speed."

"Afraid of getting hit, I guess," replied Joe.

"It doesn't seem to me that we're gaining very fast."

"We're not, but we're gaining fast enough. Hello!" The _Follow Me_,
having approached the end of the island, had turned her nose to port
straight for the end of the beach. "How much does she draw, Tom?"

"Two feet and a half; same as this."

"And the chart shows two feet of water there at low tide!" exclaimed
Steve. "And it's nearly dead low now, I guess. She's taking a chance,
all right!"

The channel ran straight ahead, close to the shore of the mainland, and
if the _Follow Me's_ exploit proved successful she was due to increase
her dwindling lead by a good mile unless the _Adventurer_ accepted the
challenge and followed her example. For a minute Steve hesitated. Then:
"If she can do it, we can," he muttered, and slowly turned the wheel,
his eyes darting to the chart. "No depth shown here," he said. "Two feet
further along. Then four and seven. If we can get to the point of sand
there we're all right."

They watched the _Follow Me_ breathlessly. She was dancing almost in the
breakers now and for a long moment it seemed that she would surely pile
herself on the spit that ran seaward from the end of the island. But she
got by safely and the _Adventurer_ plunged after her. There were
strained faces on the bridge deck then and Ossie was seen to lay a
tentative hand on the cushion of the nearer seat. Steve, with grim
countenance, kept his eyes on the rollers, trying his best to follow in
the wake of the other boat. Here and there white water hinted at shoals
and it was between two of these that the _Follow Me_ had gone. Steve
eased the wheel and slowed the engine a trifle and the _Adventurer_,
rocking in the long swells that were breaking on the beach hardly more
than a stone-throw to port, went on. Steve was in the act of breathing a
long sigh of relief when there came a jar that threw several of the boys
off their balance and brought cries of consternation to their lips. For
one horrid moment the _Adventurer_ hung with her propeller churning the
sand, and then shook herself free and lunged forward again.

Shouts of relief went up and a smile of triumph came to Steve's face as
he pulled her back into the course and slipped into deeper water. The
_Follow Me_ was still a good eighth of a mile ahead and swinging
northward around the curve of beach. "They're going to make for
Newburyport," said Steve. "Watch them try to get me into trouble now,

"How do you mean?"

"They're keeping in close to shore. See? Look on the chart."

"I see twelve little black crosses about there. What do they mean? Oh, I
get you. 'Emerson Rocks,' eh? But I don't see them!"

"No, they're sunken. The _Follow Me's_ running as near them as she
dares, hoping that we'll try to cut the corner more and strike. Those
fellows know this coast as I know the inside of my hat! But we'll fool
them this time!"

So close to the submerged danger did the _Adventurer_ go that Perry,
watching over the side, caught a glimpse of a dark mass under the green
water. Then the chase straightened out once more and Steve drew the
throttle wide, experimented with the spark for a moment and sent the
white cruiser surging along in pursuit. There could be no doubt as to
the outcome of the race. It was only a question of time. The thieves had
staked all on the attempt to elude the _Adventurer_ in the shallows, and
now they were doomed to open water, for Plum Island ran straight and
unbroken for seven miles, and not until the entrance to Newburyport
Harbour was reached was there the smallest chance to slip out of sight.

Ossie announced that dinner would be ready in a few minutes, but no one
paid any attention. Every eye was fixed on the _Follow Me_, which, dead
ahead, was scurrying along at a rate which Tom, who had thought he knew
the engine thoroughly, marvelled at. But the distance was shortening
between pursued and pursuer. Off the life-saving station the fleeing
craft was scarcely a hundred yards in advance, and it became more and
more certain that the boats would be on even terms long before the
seven-mile stretch was half traversed.

Wink went below and summoned Harry Corwin down from his perch, much to
the relief of Ossie, whose preparations for dinner had not been made
easier by having to dive under the table every time he sought the
ice-chest, and posted him at a port in the forward cabin. "If they won't
give up," he explained, "we'll have to go on plugging them. I'll take
it in the other cabin. Better fire first from one port then from
another. That'll keep them guessing. It's just as well for them not to
know that we've got only two pieces of artillery!"

"All right," said Harry, "but there's no use staying here now, is there?
There's nothing in sight but a sea-gull!"

"No, but be ready when we get abreast, Harry. I think that gun pulls to
the right a little. You might watch it."

Wink returned to the deck, followed by Harry as far as the companion,
and looked forward at the _Follow Me_. Since he had gone below the
positions of the boats had altered noticeably, and now, had he wished,
he might easily have put a bullet through the mahogany door beyond the
cockpit. Steve was bearing seaward a little, intending to run up on the
starboard side of the black cruiser.

"I'll bet they're doing a whole lot of thinking about now," said
"Brownie." "Guess I'll go down and sit on the floor again. They'll be
able to plug us in another minute or so."

"You'd all better beat it," said Steve. "If the bullets begin to fly
again someone will get hurt."

Slowly but certainly the bow of the _Adventurer_ crept up on the
_Follow Me's_ stern. Some sixty feet of water divided them. Beyond the
black cruiser lay the long yellow beach, dazzling in the noonday
sunlight. Suddenly the _Follow Me's_ bow turned straight for the
breakers and Steve gave a cry.



"They're going to run her ashore!" shouted Steve.

He slid out the clutch, throttled down the engine and swung the boat's
nose to starboard as the others piled back to the deck. The _Adventurer_
swept around in a long circle while the _Follow Me_, churning the
shoaling water into white froth, ran straight for the shore.

"Gosh, what a mess!" groaned Harry Corwin. "We'll never get her off

Steve made no answer, nor did the others. They were all watching that
wild rush of the black cruiser. On and on she went, rising and falling
with the gentle swells, until it looked as though she must surely be
churning the sand with her hurrying screw. Suddenly the cabin doors flew
open and three men, one hatless and with a white towel bound around his
head, leaped out and scampered along the roof to the bow. Wink raised
his revolver, but Steve pulled his arm down.

"Don't!" he said. "Let them go if they will."

At that instant the _Follow Me_ faltered, stopped, and went on again for
another yard or so as a breaking wave rushed under her keel, and then
rolled over to starboard and subsided so, her propeller still beating
and her stern slowly working around. Into the two feet of water dropped
the trio on the bow and, keeping the _Follow Me_ between them and the
enemy, scuttled to land, and then, once on the hard sand, ran as hard as
their legs would take them up the beach to the north. Wink sent one shot
hurtling after them, just, as he explained afterwards, to encourage
them, and Steve, having cautiously edged the _Adventurer_ as near shore
as he dared, gave his orders hurriedly.

"Get the big cable from the rope locker, Han," he directed. "Joe, you
and Harry jump into the tender and stand by here. When you get the cable
pull in to the _Follow Me_ and make it fast to the stern cleat. Tom,
you'd better go along, too. Put your engine into reverse and try to back
off. The tide's still running out and if we don't get her off now we'll
have a hard time later. I'll pull on the stern and you jockey her with
her own power. I think we can do it. Now then, Han, give me that. Here,
take this end forward and make it fast around the cleat. Pass it
outside that stanchion, you chump! Catch, Harry! All right! Get a move
on, fellows!"

Off plugged the tender, Joe bending furiously at the short oars, the big
cable paying out astern. A minute or two later they were tumbling aboard
the _Follow Me_, Tom to dart below to the engine, Harry to make fast
their end of the line and Joe to look after the tender. Then Harry waved
a hand and shouted, and the _Adventurer_, which had been going slowly
astern, taking up the slack of the cable, settled to her task. The big
rope tightened, throwing a spray of water into the sunlight along its
length, strained and creaked and the _Follow Me's_ propeller, reversed,
did its part. There was an anxious two minutes. Very grudgingly the
black cruiser's stern came around. Steve drew the _Adventurer's_
throttle down a couple of notches. The _Follow Me_ gave up her notion of
spending her declining years on the sands of Plum Island and slowly
backed away. A shout of delight arose from a dozen throats as, with the
water once more under her she bobbed sedately to an even keel and
followed the tug of the big hawser.

A quarter of an hour later the two boats continued their way up the
shore, the _Follow Me_ poorer by one eighty-pound anchor and richer by
one cedar dingey which the six boys aboard seriously suspected of having
been stolen. They ate dinner at half-past two, anchored on Joppa Flats,
the two crews once more assembled around and about the _Adventurer's_
hospitable board, and as they ate, very hungrily and quite happily, they
discussed the day's adventure.

The _Follow Me_ showed numerous signs of Steve's and Wink's
marksmanship, both outside and in, but there was no damage that nails
and hammer, paint and putty wouldn't repair. The stolen boat's larder
was sadly depleted and, as Tom said disgustedly, the cabin looked as
though a dozen pigs had lived in it a week! But, all in all, the cruiser
had come off well. As for the lost anchor, why, as Wink pointed out, the
tender would more than buy them a new one. There was some discussion as
to their right to dispose of that tender and in the end they agreed that
the proper thing to do would be to leave it at Newburyport and mail an
advertisement to the Plymouth papers. If the owner claimed the boat he
would pay for the advertisement. If he didn't, they would recover it
later on their way back down the coast. The _Adventurer_, too, showed
numerous scars. One bullet had plugged straight in at one side of the
smokestack and out the other, the glass in one window had been shattered
to bits and in various other places damage had been wrought. But they
had recovered the _Follow Me_, and that, viewing the affair in
retrospect, had been something of an achievement. Everyone, even Tom by
now, was more than satisfied at the outcome of their first real
adventure. Dinner, delayed as it was and none too palatable by reason of
having been prepared for a much earlier hour, was a merry meal.

After it was over they went on up to Newburyport, found a berth and set
out to look for a yard where they could have the two cruisers patched.
Repairs kept them there two days, and then, having acquired a new anchor
for the _Follow Me_ and left the extra dingey in safe storage, the
Adventure Club set forth once more in the early hours of a drizzly

They passed the Isles of Shoals before nine and in the middle of the
forenoon Steve pointed through the haze to where an indistinct blot
against the sky line proclaimed Boon Island. After that the cruisers
kept well toward shore, for, although the drizzle had stopped, the
navigators feared that a fog might take its place, and that one
experience in Vineyard Sound had been sufficient to last them for the
balance of the cruise. Off Cape Porpoise the boats found rough seas and
the crew of the _Follow Me_ were secretly delighted to observe that the
smaller craft made much easier going. The _Adventurer_ seemed to be
having a thoroughly good time, for she kicked up her heels and waved her
nose and fairly rolled in merriment as the seas came sliding under her
quarter. The bridge deck was a damp place until both side curtains were
lowered and laced to the rails and stanchions. Poor Joe stood it as long
as he could, getting paler and paler and sitting, hands in pockets,
gazing fixedly at the brass kickplate at the top of the forward
companion way, about the only thing in his range of vision that was
fairly steady, and at intervals lurching below with an assumption of
carelessness that deceived nobody, to dose himself with his sea-sickness
remedy. That remedy, however, failed him, and it was not very long
before the Chief Engineer was conspicuous on the bridge by his absence,
while those who listened could hear at intervals a low moaning sound
proceeding from the after cabin. But Joe was not the only one aboard the
_Adventurer_ who suffered qualms of uneasiness, although he alone gave
up the struggle. Both Perry and Han showed pale countenances and looked
big-eyed and pathetic. Neither displayed the least interest in dinner,
while Joe, when cruelly summoned by Ossie, only groaned lugubriously and
turned his pallid face to the wall. At two o'clock the sun broke through
and dyed the sea a wonderful green, and the _Adventurer_ began to meet
other boats. As she left Scarboro Beach on her port beam and began to
nose in toward Peak's Island the sea calmed and by the time the cruiser
was ready to drop her anchor in Portland harbour, Joe, albeit still
rather greenish, had pulled himself back to deck to gaze approvingly at
the shore.

A week went by during which the Adventure Club, one and all, had a
glorious time without anything that in the least resembled adventure.
They spent a whole day in Portland--spent, also, a deal of money there
replenishing an utterly exhausted galley--and then, to use Perry's
inelegant phrase, "bummed around" Casco Bay for three days more. Joe
fell in love with more islands during that time than he had known
existed. "I've always wanted to own an island," he would explain, "and
that's the very island. Let's go ashore, Steve, and look around."

Steve humoured him several times, until the others complained that they
were getting tired of stopping at every bunch of rocks on the Maine
Coast, and pointed out, besides, that, as Perry had owned to having but
nine dollars in his pocket just a few days before, it wasn't at all
likely that he would find an island within his means. After exhausting
the interest of Casco Bay the two boats ran further up the shore and
spent another forty-eight hours at Camden. Steve had friends there and
the whole tribe of mariners were invited to dinners and luncheons and
found that "home cooking" was all that it was popularly believed to be.
Ossie had a most perfect time during those two days.

"Nothing to cook but breakfast," he said ecstatically, "and real food
the other two meals! Gee, but it's fine to eat something some other poor
duffer has cooked! Say, Joe, what is it that pigs have that kills them
off in bunches: sort of a--an epidemic?"

"Hog cholera," hazarded Joe. "Aren't you feeling well, Ossie?"

"Well, I wish they'd all have it," said Ossie devoutly. "I'm so plumb
sick of cooking bacon!"

The rest agreed, away from Ossie's hearing, that it was a very fortunate
thing that the period of eating ashore had arrived when it did, for
Ossie had been showing symptoms of mutiny of late and his cooking had
noticeably fallen off. "He was due to strike in another few days," said
Han. "Then someone else would have had to take the job, and we would all
have starved to death."

"In the absence of the cook," observed Perry gravely, "the job falls to
the crew."

"No, sir, to the second mate," corrected Han. "Isn't that so, Joe?"

"I'm not sure. The only thing I am sure of is that--um--it doesn't fall
to the chief engineer."

"I should say not!" retorted Perry. "Think of eating food flavoured with
engine oil!"

"Couldn't be any worse than pudding flavoured with onion extract,"
chuckled Joe, referring to a viand prepared by Ossie while at
Newburyport. Ossie had meant to put in a spoonful of vanilla, but the
two bottles looked so much alike--

The pudding was never eaten, unless the fish consumed it, and the
mention of it still caused Ossie great pain and humiliation.

They went into the water every morning before breakfast, lived almost
every minute in the open air--for even at night the wide-open ports and
doors made the cabins like sleeping porches--ate heartily, got enough
exercise to keep them lean and hungry and became tanned with sun and
wind to the colour of light mahogany. Khaki trousers, sleeveless shirts
and rubber-soled canvas shoes made up their ordinary attire, although
for shore visits they "dolled up" remarkably. Those early morning baths
were fine appetisers, as will be understood by the reader who has had
experience of the water along the Maine coast, and the number of eggs
and slices of crisp bacon that came off the alcohol stove would sound
like a fairy tale if told. At Camden the two cruisers lay side by side,
with just enough room between to allow them to swing, and by keeping the
tenders alongside the gangways it was only a momentary task to ferry
from one boat to the other. In consequence the two crews mingled a good
deal and it was no unusual thing for one breakfast table to be thronged
while the other was half empty of a morning. When the boys got tired of
swimming they simply climbed over the rail of the nearer craft and,
after partly drying themselves, went down to breakfast. As getting dry
was a somewhat perfunctory proceeding, the linoleum in the forward cabin
was covered with pools of salt water by the time the last platter of
bacon and eggs was empty.

Many friends were made and the boys spent more time on shore than
aboard. There was tennis to be played, for one thing, and Phil, Steve
and Joe were all dabsters at that game. And then there was a big,
freckle-faced youth named Globbins who spent most of his waking hours in
the driver's seat of a high-powered roadster automobile and who ran the
fellows many miles over the roads and was never, seemingly, more
contented than when every available inch of the car was occupied. Its
normal capacity was three, but by careful packing it was possible to get
seven in, on or about it. In return, Globbins was entertained aboard the
_Adventurer_ and given a thirty-mile cruise one evening, but it was easy
to see that he wasn't really enjoying himself and that his hands fairly
ached for the feel of that corrugated wheel of the roadster. They had
such a jolly time at Camden that they promised faithfully to stop there
again on the return voyage, and really meant to keep the promise when
they chugged out of the harbour one crisp morning and turned the
cruisers' bows eastward for the run across Penobscot Bay.

They lazed that day, for, as Steve said, it was too fine to hurry.
Dinner was eaten with the two boats side by side, with only fenders
between, in a fairy pool. They found the place quite by accident when
exploring the shore of an island whose name they are to this day
ignorant of. There was an entrance to the tiny bay through which a
schooner might barely have scraped her way. Beyond the mouth lay a
wonder land. The pool was as round as a dish and its water the bluest
they had ever seen. Straight across from the entrance a cliff of granite
towered for a hundred feet or more, its tree-clad summit almost leaning
over the boats at anchor. Its face was clothed with vines and dwarf
evergreens and birches. On the other encircling shores of the pool
tumbled boulders hung over the blue depths and were reflected so clearly
that, looking down, one received the same impression of air and space as
when lying on one's back staring into the sky. There never were such
reflections, they declared. No one came to disturb them, and only the
songs and chirpings of birds and the sleepy sigh of the faint breeze in
the boughs broke the silence. Green and blue was that fairyland, warm
with the sun and redolent of the sea and the sappy fragrance of
sun-bathed foliage.

They ate dinner on the decks, the two boats snuggled so close that it
was the easiest thing in the world to pass dishes from one to another.
After dinner they lolled in the sunlight and gazed up at the sheer
granite bluff or the smiling and cloudless sky and talked lazily or
slumbered a little. And finally Wink Wheeler thought of fishing and in a
few minutes a half-dozen lines were overboard, and, while the catches
were not big, they were fairly frequent, and the question of what they
were to have for supper was solved there and then. It was Harry Corwin's
idea to stay in the pool overnight and everyone instantly applauded it.
Later, a party went ashore and explored, but there were no paths to be
found and Nature was jealous of her secrets and they came back without
more knowledge of this unknown island than they had had before. They
named it Mystery Island and called the little harbour Titania's Mirror,
a suggestion from Bert Alley which elicited jibes and a final agreement.

"It's not 'mushy' a bit," said Steve, in Bert's defence. "It's a fine
name for the prettiest bit of water any of us ever saw, and you know it.
The only trouble with you is that you're afraid someone will laugh at
you for being poetical or imaginative. If Bert had suggested calling it
Put-In Bay or Simpkins' Cove or something like that you'd have said
'Fine!' and secretly thought him a perfect ass!"

Twilight came early and the still, limpid water of the pool took on all
sorts of strange and wonderful hues, like the iridescent surface of a
pearl-shell. It grew very still and a little bit eery as the shadows
crept over the scene, and it was a relief when Cas Temple and Bert Alley
brought forth their mandolins. I am sorry to say that Titania's Mirror
was a bit too thickly inhabited by mosquitoes for comfort, and there
were restless turnings and muttered expostulations to be heard for some
time after lights were out.

The morning broke radiantly and at half-past six Titania's Mirror was
turned into a highly satisfactory bathtub. Brown arms clove the shadowed
surface and dripping heads rose and fell as fully half the number set
out on a spirited race to the entrance. When almost there they emerged
into a flood of pale sunlight, and looking down through the pellucid
water they could see the sloping sides of the basin converging like the
sides of a bowl. Tragedy was surely the last thing to be thought of
amidst such idyllic surroundings, and yet it was hovering very close.



Wink Wheeler reached the little channel first and gingerly climbed out
on a brown ledge that flanked it on one side. Others joined him there to
lie panting in the sunlight. Only Joe and Phil kept on and were
presently swimming within a short distance of each other well outside.
They were both strong rather than fast swimmers, and, although Han
frowned slightly as he watched them bob in and out of sight in the long,
smooth swells, the others soon turned their attention to Wink's
suggestion that they dive from the rock and race around the anchored
boats and back again. Wink offered the others a ten-yard start. All save
"Brownie" accepted the challenge--"Brownie" was built for comfort rather
than speed--and in a moment they were lined up rather unsteadily on the
edge of the boulder awaiting the word. Then three bodies launched
themselves through the air and the race was on. When the others had
taken the first half-dozen strokes after reappearing Wink plunged after
them. "Brownie" watched until the foremost swimmer disappeared beyond
the boats and then turned his gaze seaward. For a moment he could not
find the two venturesome ones, but presently he spied them. They had
turned and were coming back straight for the mouth of the little
harbour, Phil leading and Joe a dozen yards behind. It looked like a
race from the way in which both boys were keeping under and "Brownie"
found it more exciting than the other contest. And then, while he
watched, something happened, and he sprang to his feet and gazed seaward
with wildly beating heart.

Joe had stopped swimming and was on his back with one brown arm held
aloft. If he made any outcry "Brownie" failed to hear it, but apparently
he had, for Phil was turning now and hurrying back with short, quick
strokes. But before he had covered half the distance separating him from
the other, the watcher on shore uttered an involuntary cry of alarm. Joe
was no longer in sight!

"Brownie" looked despairingly toward the boys in the pool, but the
nearest was still a long way from the channel. Confused thoughts of the
boats were cast aside and "Brownie" threw himself from the rock, hitting
the water like a barrel, and turned into the channel. As he felt the
tug of the tide he experienced a revulsion of fright, for he had no
stomach for the task ahead of him. "Brownie's" swimming was usually done
in safer water than that he was making for. But he tried his best to
forget the depths below him and the long swim ahead, to remember only
that Joe was in trouble out there and that Phil, probably by now
somewhat exhausted, would never be able to bring him to shore

The long swells hid the others from him. Once, though, poised for a
moment on the round summit of a bank of water, he glimpsed ere he
descended into the green valley beyond, a darker spot ahead and so found
his direction. He knew better than to tire himself out by desperate
strokes. His only hope of getting there and getting back was to conserve
his strength. All sorts of thoughts came and went in a strange jumble.
Sometimes it seemed that he was making no progress, that the slow waves
were bearing him remorselessly back to the cove, or, at least just
defeating the strokes of his arms and legs. Breathing became laboured
and once a veritable panic seized him and it was all he could do to keep
from turning and swimming wildly back toward shore. Instead, though,
fighting his fears, he turned on his back for a moment with his round
face to the blue breeze-swept sky, and took long, grateful breaths of
the sun-sweet air. Above him a grey gull swept in a wide circle,
uttering harsh, discordant cries. Then, his panic gone, "Brownie" turned
over again and struggled on with renewed strength and courage. And
suddenly, the long swells were behind him and there, but a few yards
away, was Phil, Phil very white of face but as calm as ever.

He was swimming slowly on his side, one arm cleaving the water and the
other supporting the nearly inert body of Joe. "Here comes 'Brownie,'"
the rescuer heard him say cheerfully. "All right now, Joe. We'll get you
in in a jiffy! Roll over, 'Brownie,' and get your breath," he added.
"We're all right for a minute. That's the trick."

"I'm--a bit--tuckered," gasped "Brownie," as he lay and puffed with
outstretched arms.

"Don't blame you," said Phil. "How are you now, Joe?"

"Punk," muttered the other. "Don't you fellows bother too much. If
you'll just stay by for a minute or two--I'll be--um--all right, I

"No need to do that," replied Phil quietly. "'Brownie' and I will take
you between us. Put a hand on my shoulder. Easy, son! That's it. Now the
other on 'Brownie's.' Right you are. Just let yourself float. Ready,
'Brownie?' Don't hurry. Easy does it. We've got an eighth of a mile or
so and there's no use getting tired at the start. I guess the tide will
help us, though."

There were no more words until the shore was nearly reached. By that
time "Brownie" was frankly all-in and Phil was in scarcely better
condition. Joe had so far recovered then, however, as to be able to aid
weakly with his legs, and before they reached the channel half a dozen
eager helpers splashed to their assistance. Anxious questions were
showered on them, but only Joe had the breath to answer them.

"I had a cramp," he explained apologetically. "It hit me all of a sudden
out there. It was fierce!"

"Legs?" asked Steve.

"No--yes--about everywhere below my shoulders. It seemed to start in my
tummy. I got sort of sick all over. Thought--um--thought I was a goner

"All right! Shut up now. Someone give Phil a hand. He's about ready to
quit. 'Brownie,' too." Steve and Wink had taken the places of the
rescuers and Joe was finishing his journey at top speed. It was no easy
task getting him aboard, but they finally accomplished it and hurried
him below. "Brownie," too, had to be pushed and pulled over the side,
and while Phil got aboard almost unaided he slumped onto a seat and, to
use Perry's expression, "passed out." Hot coffee and many blankets and
at least three different remedies from the medicine chest presently left
Joe out of pain, while in the case of Phil and "Brownie" the hot coffee
and rest were alone sufficient.

Breakfast was rather late that morning, and Joe's place was vacant, for
that youth was enjoying a sleep in the after cabin. "Brownie" and Phil,
however, recovered wonderfully at the sight of bacon and eggs and did
full justice to the repast. Steve laid down the law during breakfast as

"After this there'll be no more swimming away from the boats, fellows.
We came on this trip for fun and not funerals. You took a big chance,
Phil, when you went that far out. This water's about ten degrees colder
than what you and Joe are used to. It's a wonder you didn't both have
cramps and drown."

"I guess it was rather foolish," agreed Phil. "The water was a lot
colder out there than inside, too. Still it didn't bother me any." He
lowered his voice, with a glance toward the companion way and the other
cabin. "I thought old Joe was a goner, though, fellows. I was about
forty feet away, I suppose, when I heard him yell, and before I could
get back he'd gone down. I was afraid he meant to keep on going, but he
thrashed his way up again and I managed to grab him. The trouble was
then that he wanted to drown both of us and I had a hard time making him
see reason."

"Someone ought to recommend you for the Carnegie Medal, Phil," said Han,
with a laugh that didn't disguise his earnestness.

Phil shook his head. "I wasn't the hero of the adventure," he replied
quietly. "I'm fairly at home in the water and I've done four miles
without tiring much. It's 'Brownie' who deserves the medal, fellows. He
saw Joe go down and jumped right in and beat it out there; and you all
know that 'Brownie' isn't any swimmer. I think he was just about scared
to death!"

"I'll bet he was," agreed Steve. "He's never been known to go ten yards
from shore or boat. Yes, I guess 'Brownie' is the real hero, as you say,

"He certainly is, because I'll tell you frankly that I never could have
got Joe in alone. I was just about used up by the time we'd tried to
drown each other out there."

"We didn't know anything about it," explained Ossie, filling Phil's cup
again unasked, "until someone happened to look from the _Follow Me_ and
saw you three out there. It was Tom Corwin, I think. I heard him
yelling--I was getting my clothes on down here--and I ran up on deck and
then grabbed the megaphone and shouted to Steve and Wink and the others
who were over on the rock near the inlet. By the time they got it
through their thick heads--"

"Thick heads be blowed!" exclaimed Steve disgustedly. "You were just
yelling a lot of words that didn't mean anything. If you hadn't kept on
pointing we'd never have known what was up. We all thought you had a

All's well that ends well, however, and an hour after breakfast the
incident was, if not forgotten, dismissed. Joe reappeared, looking
rather pale still, but announcing himself quite all right. "I was nice
and sick at my tummy," he explained, "and now I feel fine."

"Being sick at your tummy," remarked Perry unkindly, "is quite the best
thing you do, Joe. If you can't be sea-sick you go and try to drown

Of course "Brownie" was allowed to surmise that he had done something
rather big, and Joe thanked him very nicely, but Mr. Carnegie is still
in ignorance of his exploit!

The two boats floated out of the pool about ten and set off for Bar
Harbor. The barely averted tragedy somewhat modified their regret at
leaving Titania's Mirror and Mystery Island. Later, Steve and Joe tried
to locate that island on the charts but without certain success. There
were so many islands thereabouts that neither dared to more than guess
at the identity of the one they had visited. Looking back at it from a
distance of a half-mile they saw that it was in reality much smaller
than they had supposed, being scarcely more than a huge rock pushed up
from the ocean bed. Ossie, who had a leaning toward geology, furnished
the theory that Mystery Island was no more nor less than the top of an
extinct volcano and that Titania's Mirror was the crater.

"It probably sank, like lots of them did," he elaborated, "and the sea
wore away part of it and flowed into the crater. I'm pretty sure that
that rock we climbed out on this morning when we were swimming was

"Sure," agreed Perry. "It was pumice stone. I meant to bring a bit of it
along for you to clean your hands with."

"I didn't say pumice," replied Ossie haughtily. "It was more probably

"My idea exactly! In fact, it had a very obstinate feeling. It--it left
quite an impression on me!"

The _Follow Me_ developed engine trouble that morning and they lay by
for a half-hour or more while Tom Corwin toiled and perspired, argued
and threatened. It was well after two o'clock when they ran up the
eastern shore of Mount Desert Island and finally dropped anchor in
Frenchman's Bay. They ate only a luncheon on board and then clothed
themselves in their gladdest raiment and went ashore. They "did" the
town that afternoon, mingling, as Wink said, with the "haut noblesse,"
and had dinner ashore at an expense that left a gaping hole in each
purse. But they were both hungry and glad to taste shore food again, and
no one begrudged the cost.

It was when they were on their way back to the landing that the glow of
coloured lanterns behind a trim hedge drew their attention to the fact
that someone was conducting a lawn party. The imposing entrance, through
which carriages were coming and going, met their sight a moment later
and inspired Perry with a brilliant idea.

"Say, fellows, let's go," he said, as they paused in a body to allow a
handsome landau to enter. "I've never been to one of these lawn fêtes,
or whatever they call them in the society papers, and here's the

"Anybody invited you?" drawled Joe.

"No, but maybe they meant to. You can't tell. Maybe if they knew we were

"Might send word in to them," suggested Wink Wheeler. "Say that the
crews of the _Adventurer_ and the _Follow Me_ are without and--"

"Yes, without invitations," agreed Perry. "I get you, but that might
cause our hostess embarrassment, eh? Why not just save her all that by
dropping in sociably?"

"Are you crazy?" demanded Steve.

"Crazy to go and see all the pretty lanterns and things, yes. And maybe
they'll have a feed, fellows! Come on! Take a chance! They can't any
more than put us out! Besides, they probably won't know whether they
invited us or not. It's just a lark. Be sports, fellows!"

The notion appealed to most of them, but Steve and Phil and Bert Alley
declined to countenance it. "What will happen to you," said Steve
grimly, "is that you'll all spend the rest of the night in the town jail
for impersonating gentlemen!"

"Oh, if that's all you're afraid of," responded Perry sweetly, "you
might as well come, too, Steve. They'd never charge _you_ with that."

"Sub-tile, sub-tile," murmured Cas Temple.

"Anyhow, our clothes are perfectly O.K.," continued Perry. "White
trousers and dark coats are quite _de rigor_. Come on, fellows."

They went on, all save the disapproving trio, Perry and Wink Wheeler
leading the way up the winding avenue toward the glow of fairy lights
ahead. No one challenged them, although they were observed with
curiosity by several servants before they came out on a wide lawn in
front of a spacious residence. Fully a hundred guests were already
assembled. A platform overhung by twinkling and vari-coloured electric
lamps had been laid for dancing and, as the uninvited guests paused to
survey the scene, an orchestra, hidden by shrubbery and palms in tubs,
started to play. Chairs dotted the lawn and a big marquee was nearby. On
a low terrace in front of the hospitable doorway of the residence the
hostess was receiving as the carriages rolled around the immaculate
drive and stopped to discharge the guests. The boys viewed each other
questioningly. Perry pulled down his waistcoat and walked boldly across
the lawn and the drive and stepped to the terrace. Wink followed
unhesitatingly, but the others hung back for a moment. Then they, too,
approached, their assurance oozing fast. They reached the terrace in
time to witness Perry's welcome.

"Good evening," said that youth in bored and careless tones, shaking
hands with the middle-aged lady. "Awfully jolly night, isn't it!"

"How do you do, Mister--ah--so glad you could come. Yes, isn't it
splendid to have such perfect weather? Marcia, you remember

Perry was passed on to a younger lady, evidently the daughter of the

"Howdy do?" murmured the latter, shaking hands listlessly.

"How do!" returned Perry brightly. "Bully night, eh!"

"Yes, isn't it?" drawled the young lady. Then Perry gave place to Wink.

"Good evening," said Wink, grinning blandly.

"Howdy do? So nice of you to come," murmured the lady. Wink joined
Perry and they crossed to the other side of the terrace and maliciously
watched the embarrassment of the other boys. Joe and Harry Corwin
carried things off rather well, but the others were fairly speechless.
Perry chuckled as he saw the growing bewilderment on the face of the
hostess. But finally the ordeal was over and Perry led the way back to
the festivities. Ossie groaned when they were safely out of ear-shot.

"She's on to us," he muttered. "I could see it in her eye! I'm off
before they throw me out!"

"Don't be a jay," begged Perry. "The evening's young and the fun's just
starting. Mrs. Thingamabob doesn't know whether she asked us or not. I'm
going to see what's in the big tent over there. Come on, fellows."

They went, dodging their way between chattering groups and impeding
chairs, but when Perry peered through the doorway of the marquee he was
met with a chilly look from a waiter on guard there. "Supper is at ten
o'clock, sir," said the servant haughtily.

"That's all right," replied Perry kindly. "Don't hurry on my account,
old top!"

What to do for the succeeding hour was the question, for, while all
save Perry and Ossie danced more or less skilfully, they knew no one to
dance with. "If you ask me," remarked Cas Temple, yawning, "I call this
dull. I'd rather be in my bunk, fellows."

"Well, let's find something to do," said Joe. "Maybe they've got a
roller-coaster or a merry-go-round somewhere. Let's--um--explore."

By this time the dancing had begun in earnest and the platform was well
filled with whirling couples. The boys paused to look on and, since the
throng was growing larger every minute, were forced to change their
position more than once with the result that presently Perry, Wink and
Ossie found themselves separated from their companions. They looked
about them unavailingly and waited for several minutes, and then, as the
others did not appear, went on.

"We'll run across them," said Perry cheerfully. "Let's stroll around and
see who's here."

"Awfully mixed crowd," said Wink. "Really, you know, Mrs. Jones-Smythe
should be more particular. Why, some of the folks don't look as though
they had ever been invited!"

"I know," agreed Perry, with a sigh. "Society's going to the dogs these
days. One meets all sorts of people. It's perfectly deplorable."

"Beastly," agreed Ossie, stumbling over a chair. "Bar Harbor's getting
very common, I fear."

"Hello, that's pretty!" exclaimed Perry. They had emerged onto a walled
space that looked straight out over the water. Hundreds of lights dotted
the purple darkness and the air held the mingled fragrance of sea and
roses. "This isn't so punk, you know," continued Perry, leaning over the
wall. "Maybe this would suit me as well as an island."

"You're on an island," Ossie reminded him.

"I meant a real island," murmured Perry. Ossie was about to argue the
matter when footsteps approached and they moved off again. A flight of
steps led to a stone-floored verandah and they went up it and perched
themselves on the parapet, to the probable detriment of the ivy growing
across it, and watched the colourful scene. They were quite alone there,
for the porch was detached from the terrace that crossed the front of
the house. Two French windows were opened and beyond them lay a
dimly-lighted library. Perry, hugging one foot in his hands, looked in

"Whoever owns this shanty knows what's what," he said. "Just have a
squint at all those books, will you? Millions of them! Wonder if anyone
has ever read them."

"Well, I'm glad I don't have to," said Wink feelingly. "But that's a
corking room, though. These folks must have slathers of money, fellows."

"Oh, fairly well fixed, I dare say," responded Perry carelessly. "Say,
what time is it! Feed begins at ten, and with all that mob down there
it's the early bird that's going to catch the macaroons. Wonder if
they'll have lobster salad."

"Nothing but sandwiches and ices, I guess," said Ossie. "I wouldn't
object to a steak and onions, myself. Funny how hungry you get up in
this part of the world."

"You sure do," agreed Wink. "Let's move along. If the Corwin family gets
in there ahead of us we might just as well pull in our belts and beat

"Let's go in through here," said Perry. "It's nearer, I guess." He
started toward the first window.

"Oh, we'd better not," Ossie objected. "They might not like it."

"Piffle! They'll be tickled to death. They like folks to see their
pretties." He stepped through the window and, dubiously, his companions
followed. The library was a huge apartment, occupying, as it seemed to
them, more than half the length of the house, with several long windows
opening onto the terrace at the front. The furnishings were sombrely
elegant and the dim lights caught the dull polished surface of mahogany
and glinted on the gold-lettered backs of the shelf on shelf of books
that hid the walls. Deep-toned rugs rendered footsteps soundless as they
made their way toward the wide doorway at the far end of the room. They
had traversed barely a third of the distance when a sudden sound brought
them up short.

One of the windows that opened onto the terrace further along swung
inward and a middle-aged man in evening attire stepped into the room.
Perry, in spite of his former assurance, drew back into the shadow of a
high-backed chair, stepping on Wink's foot and bringing a groan from
that youth. The newcomer, however, evidently failed to hear Wink's
protest, for, closing the window behind him in a stealthy manner, he
crossed the further end of the library and paused beside a huge stone
fireplace. Wink and Ossie had dropped to the protecting darkness of a
big table, but Perry still peered, crouching, from behind the chair. In
the dim light of an electric lamp the intruder's face had shown for an
instant, and in that instant Perry had sensed it all! The stealthy
manner of the man's entrance from the terrace instead of by the door,
the plainly furtive way in which he crossed the room and the anxious
expression of his face, a face which Perry saw at once to be criminal,
was enough! The watcher was not in the least surprised when the man,
hurriedly and still stealthily, drew out a square of mahogany paneling
at the left of the fireplace and revealed the front of a small safe.
Perry's heart began to thump agitatedly at the thought of witnessing a
robbery. The man's fingers worked deftly at the knob. Perry could hear
in the silence the click of the tumblers as they slid into place. Then
the door was pulled open.

Between Perry and the robber lay a full thirty feet of floor, and a big
table impeded his progress, but it took the boy less than a second to
cover the distance, to seize the robber from behind, pinioning his arms,
and to bear him heavily back to the floor.



"Wink!" he cried. "Ossie! Come quick! Help here!"

The robber, having uttered a stifled cry of alarm at the instant of the
unexpected attack, was now thrashing mightily about on the thick rug.

"Help!" he shouted. "Who are you? Let me go!"

"S-sh!" commanded Perry sternly, as the others plunged to his aid,
overturning a chair on the way. "Be quiet! Sit on his legs, Ossie!"
Perry was astride the man's chest, holding his arms to the floor. "Punch
him if he makes a noise, Wink!" Perry, breathing hard, surveyed his
captive in triumph. "Now then," he asked, "what have you got to say for
yourself? What were you doing at that safe?"

The man glared in silence for an instant. To Wink it seemed that the
emotion exhibited on the robber's countenance was amazement rather than

"Come on," urged Perry. "What's the game?"

"Game!" choked the man, finding his voice at last. "Game? You--you young
ruffians! You--"

"Cut that out, or I'll hand you something," growled Wink. "Answer

"Let me up!"

"Nothing doing!" answered Perry. "Come across. What's your name and
where do you come from? As you didn't get anything out of there, maybe
we'll be easy with you if you talk quick."

"Let me suggest, if I may," said the man in a strangely quiet and
restrained tone, "that you get off my stomach. This conversation can
just as well be conducted under more comfortable conditions."

Perry blinked and Wink viewed the captive doubtfully.

"Promise not to try to run?" demanded Perry.

"I have no intention of running, thanks." The robber carefully dusted
his clothes as he arose and then felt anxiously of a bruised elbow.
"Now, if you will inform me what this--this murderous assault means I
shall be greatly obliged to you."

"Suppose you tell us what you were doing at that safe?" said Perry

"Is that any of your business?" asked the other. It was evident that he
was losing his temper again, and Wink drew a step nearer. "I presume I
have a perfect right to open my own safe! What I wish to know--"

"Your own safe!" gasped Perry. "Oh, come now, you needn't try to tell us
that you--you live here. You're a cracksman, my friend, that's what you

Ossie tugged at Perry's sleeve, but Perry failed to notice it.

"One look at that face of yours is enough, old top," continued Perry.
"It's got crook written all over it!"

"It has, has it?" gasped the man. "Let me tell you that my name is
Drummond, sir, and that this is my house, and that is my safe, and--and
if you'll mind your own business--"

"What!" asked Perry weakly. "You mean that you--that this--you mean

"I mean," interrupted the man angrily, "that I was about to deposit some
money in that safe, some money I'd been carrying around in my pocket all
the evening and feared I might lose, when you--you young thugs set on me
and knocked me down! Knocked me down right in my own house, on my own
hearth-rug! Why, you--you--"

Mr. Drummond's wrath got the better of his speech and he only sputtered,
waving an accusing finger at the retreating Perry. Wink was already
glancing about for a means of escape and Ossie was frankly deserting.

"I--I didn't know!" gasped Perry. "I--we saw you come in--and you looked
like--like a--"

"You've said that already!" said the man, "Never mind my criminal looks,
young man!"

"No, sir, we don't--I mean I was mistaken, sir! But, you see, it looked
so--so queer, you coming in like that--"

"Queer! What was queer about it!" demanded Mr. Drummond irascibly, "No
one but a parcel of young idiots would think it queer!" He took an
envelope from his pocket, tossed it into the safe, closed door and panel
and faced them again. "Who are you, anyway? I don't remember you."

"Er--my name--my name--" stammered Perry, "my name--"

"Well, well! Don't you know your name? Who invited you here?"

"Yes, sir, oh, yes, sir! It's Bush. We--you see, we were on the porch
there, and we wanted to get back to the--the front of the house--"

"Who invited you here, tonight? Who--" The host's expression changed
from indignation to suspicion. "Huh!" he ejaculated. "Robber, eh! Well,
what were you doing in this room? Seems to me--hm! We'll look into this,
I think!" He stepped back and touched a button in the wall. "We'll have
this explained! We'll see who the robber is! We--"

"_Good night!_" Perry spurned the table against which he was leaning,
hurdled a chair and plunged down the room. Ossie was at his heels and
Wink was a good third. They fled at top speed and from behind them came
the irate commands of their host:

"Stop! Come back! Stop, I say!"

But they didn't stop. They only ran faster. Wink beat Ossie to the first
window easily and passed out even with Perry. And as they landed on the
stone flagging outside they heard Mr. Drummond excitedly directing the

"Quick, Wilkins! Get them! They tried to rob the house!" Mr. Drummond's
voice pursued them along the verandah. "Help! Robbers! Head them off!"

The boys took the stone steps in two bounds, crashed at the bottom into
a hedge, went tearing through and emerged beyond in a service yard,
dimly lighted by one struggling electric bulb over a back doorway. It
was Ossie who fell into the clothes basket and Wink who collided with
the clothes reel and sent it spinning wildly and creakingly around in
the darkness. Perry fortunately avoided all pitfalls and was leading by
six yards when he reached the top of another flight of steps and saw the
marquee and the dancing platform and the gay lights at his right. To
make their way in that direction would be sheer folly, while in front of
them lay a tangle of shrubbery and trees. Into this they hurtled, as
from behind them came cries of "Stop, thief!" and the crunching of many

Off went Wink's hat as he fled after the scurrying Perry. Ossie went
down in a tangle of briars and prickly things with a grunt, rolled
somehow clear and was off again. "This way!" shouted a voice. "I seen
'em! They went in here! Come on, men!"

Perry was running alongside a wall now, as he hoped, in the general
direction of the street. Behind him came Wink and Ossie, crashing
through shrubbery with a desperate disregard for noise. Then suddenly,
the wall turned abruptly to the right. Perry stopped short, looked and

"We've got to get over!" he gasped, as Wink ran blindly into him. "Give
me a leg-up!"

Wink leaned weakly against the wall and Perry set a foot on his cupped
hands and was just able to reach the top of the wall. But that was
enough. Up he climbed. Then up came Ossie, and together, while the
pursuit drew instantly closer, they pulled Wink to safety. For a brief
moment they sat there and caught their breath while wondering what lay
below them in the gloom of the further side. But there was scant time
for conjectures, for the pursuit was in sight. Three bodies launched
themselves into space, there was a frightful, devastating sound of
breaking glass and the boys disengaged themselves from a cold-frame and
sped on again into the darkness.

A house loomed suddenly before them, a house with lights and folks about
the porch and a panting automobile curving its way down a drive. They
turned to the right and kept along a lawn in the shadows of the trees.
The automobile passed them with a purr and a sweeping flare of white
light. Then Perry was after it and in another moment they were all
three huddled somehow on the gas-tank at the rear and going with
increasing speed out of the grounds and along a road. For a few minutes
they hung there, breathing hard, and then Wink gasped:

"We've got to get off, Perry! It's going the wrong way!"

"If we do, we'll get killed," answered Perry. "Wait till it slows up."

They waited, but it seemed that it never would slow up. It went faster
and faster. It passed houses and stores and a church. It went like the
wind. Ossie groaned as they left the village behind.

"I can't stay on much longer, fellows!" he said hopelessly. "I'm
clinging by my t-t-teeth!"

"You've got to!" answered Perry above the noise of the exhaust. "You'll
break something if you don't! Wait till it slows up!"

_Toot! Toot! To-o-oot!_ said the horn. And then, so suddenly that
Perry's head collided with something particularly hard, the brakes
squeaked harshly, the car slewed into an avenue and the boys, making the
most of the opportunity, fell off. Ossie rolled a full half-dozen yards
before his progress was stayed by a tree, and Wink, or so Perry
declared afterwards, described a beautiful and quite perfect circle.
Bruised, breathless and dizzy, they got to their feet and staggered to
the side of the road and subsided on the turf.

After a long minute Ossie said feebly: "Where--do you--suppose--we are?"

"About ten miles--in the country," answered Wink.

There was silence then, silence long and profound. At last they climbed
to their feet and, without speaking, walked off in the darkness in the
direction from which they had come. Perhaps ten minutes later there came
the first sound to break the silence. It was a choking sort of gurgle
from Wink.

"What's the matter with you?" inquired Perry listlessly.

"I was just--just thinking," replied Wink. "It was so--so--" But words
failed him and he began to laugh. After a dubious instant Perry
chuckled, and then Ossie, and presently they were clinging to each other
convulsively in the middle of the unknown road and sending shrieks of
laughter up to the starlit sky.

Over an hour later they reached the landing. Both tenders were gone. The
_Follow Me_ was dark, but a faint light still burned aboard the
_Adventurer_. Perry cupped his hands and sent a hail across the water. A
sleepy response was followed by the sound of someone tumbling into the
dingey and then by the measured creak of oars. Han was grumbling as he
drew to the float.

"A fine time to be coming back," he said. "Where the dickens did you
fellows get to, anyway? We looked all around the shop for you. Did you
get any grub?"

"N-no," answered Perry, as he sank wearily into a seat. "We got tired of
sticking around there and--and went for a ride."

"A ride? Where to?"

"Oh, just around a bit. Out in the country a ways. Was--was the grub any

"Was it!" Han grew quite animated. "It was the best ever! They had about
a dozen kinds of salad, and cold meats all over the place, and
sandwiches and cakes and ice-cream and ices and coffee and--"

"Oh, shut up!" begged Ossie almost tearfully.

"It was bully! Were you there when we chased the burglars?"

"When you--what?" asked Wink.

"Chased the burglars, I said. Mr. Drummer, or something--I never did
get the name of the folks--found three of them trying to break into his
safe, and they knocked him down and half-killed him, and the servants
chased them, and then everyone took a hand! It was fine and exciting, I
tell you! Had you gone off before that?"

"Why--er--seems to me we did hear something," said Perry. "When--when
was this?"

"Oh, about a quarter to ten, I suppose. We were dancing--"

"_You_ were dancing?" ejaculated Wink.

"Sure! All of us danced. Didn't you?"

"Who with, for the love of Mike?"

"Oh, lots of girls. Mrs. Thingamabob happened to find Joe standing
around and made him tell her his name, and then she took him off and
introduced him to some girls, and then he introduced the rest of us. It
was a peachy floor. Some of the girls were all right, too."

"You seem to have got on fairly well," said Wink, "considering you
weren't invited."

"We were invited just as much as you were," responded Han indignantly.

"Maybe, son, maybe," answered Wink, as he climbed aboard the darkened
_Follow Me_, "but I'll bet they weren't half as sorry to see you go as
they were to see us!"

With which cryptic remark Wink stumbled into the cockpit and



Although the Adventure Club remained in port for another day, neither
Perry, Wink nor Ossie went ashore again, and all the efforts of the rest
of the party failed to coax them off the boats. They were, they
declared, fed up with Bar Harbor. And they hinted that so far as they
were concerned the voyage might continue at any moment without protest.
Han brought back a newspaper that afternoon containing a vivid and
highly sensational account of the attempted robbery of the Alfred Henry
Drummond "cottage." The three read it with much interest, and especially
that portion of it which stated that "the local police force is
investigating and has every expectation of making arrests within
twenty-four hours, since it is not believed the burglars have succeeded
in leaving the island and all avenues of escape are being closely

It might have been observed by the others, but wasn't, that Perry and
Ossie, on the _Adventurer_, and Wink, on the _Follow Me_, exhibited a
strange fondness for the seclusion of the cabins from that time until
the next day at eight, when the cruisers up-anchored and passed out of
the harbour. And as the broad Atlantic rolled under the keels three
hearty sighs emerged from as many throats.

The two boats passed Petit Manan Island toward ten that forenoon, a tiny
rocky islet holding aloft a tall shaft against the blue of the Summer
sky. "A hundred and fourteen feet," said Joe informatively, "and the
highest lighthouse on the coast except one."

"Gee, think of living there in Winter!" said Perry awedly.

"Guess Petit Manan isn't as bad as some of the islands along here, at
that," said Joe. "Some of them are a lot further from the mainland.
Remember Matinicus?"

"Think of folks living on them," murmured Han. "They must be merry
places in Winter with a blizzard blowing around! Lonely, wow!"

"Remember the white yacht we passed the other day near Burnt Coal?"
asked Phil, looking up from the book he was reading. "The _Sunbeam_ was
the name of her. Well, a chap was telling me yesterday about her. It
seems she's a sort of Mission boat, the Sea Coast Mission, I think it's
called. The folks that live on these off-shore islands along here were
in pretty bad shape a few years ago, bad shape in every way. There were
no schools, or mighty few, and no churches, and the folks were just
naturally pegging out from sheer loneliness and--and lack of ambition,
just drifting right back into a kind of semi-civilized state, as folks
do on islands in the Pacific that you read about. Well, someone realised
it and got busy, and this Mission was started. There was a chap named
MacDonald, Alexander MacDonald--"

"Sounds almost Scotch," observed Joe dryly.

"Never mind what he was. He's American now, if he was ever anything
else," replied Phil warmly. "He was teaching school on one of the
islands near Mount Desert in the Summers and going to college the rest
of the time. There wasn't any church on this island and so he used to
conduct services in the place they used for a school. Somehow, that put
it into his head--or maybe his heart--to be a preacher. He preached
around in all sorts of out-of-the-way places, and then this Mission
started up and the folks behind it just naturally got hold of him and
put him in charge. A New York woman had the _Sunbeam_ built for him
three or four years ago and now he lives right on it, he and a couple
of men for crew, and she keeps pegging around the islands, up and down
the coast, Summer and Winter. You fellows know what Doctor Grenfell does
up around Labrador and beyond? Well, this Mr. MacDonald does the same
stunt along this coast, and, by jiminy, fellows, it's some stunt! Think
of plunging around these waters in Winter, eh? Breaking his own way
through the ice often enough--the boat was built for it they say--and
plugging through some of the nor'easters! Say, I take my hat off to that

"Some job," agreed Steve thoughtfully. "Man's work, fellows."

"What does he do for 'em?" asked Ossie.

"Teaches them, son. Teaches them how to live clean, how to look after
the kids, how to keep healthy. And prays with them, too, I guess. And
brings them books and founds schools. Don't you guess that when this
_Sunbeam_ comes in sight of some of those little, forsaken islands the
folks on shore sort of perk up? Guess the Reverend Mr. MacDonald is
pretty always certain of a welcome, fellows!"

"Rather!" said Joe. "That's what I call--um--being useful in the world.
Bet you he's a fine sort. Bound to be, eh?"

"I'd like to make a trip with him," said Perry. "Gee, but it would be
some sport, wouldn't it? Talk about finding adventures! Bet you he has
'em by the hundreds."

"I dare say," said Phil, "that he'd be glad to dispense with a good many
of them. Hope I haven't bored you, fellows," he added, returning to his

"You haven't, old scout," answered Han. "Any time you learn anything as
interesting as that, you spring it. Blamed if it doesn't sort of make a
fellow want to be of more use in the world. Guess I'll polish some

They passed many of those islands during the next few days, lonely,
rock-girt spots scantily clad with wild grass and wind-worried fir
trees. Sometimes there was a lighthouse, and nearly always the rocks
were piled with lobster-traps, for lobstering is the chief industry of
the inhabitants. They touched at one small islet one afternoon and went
ashore. There were but three houses there, old, weather-faded shacks
strewn around with broken lobster-pots and nets and discarded tin cans
and rubbish. The folks they met, and they met them all, from babes in
arms to a ninety-eight-year-old great-grandmother, looked sad and
listless and run-to-seed. Even the children seemed too old for their
years. It was all rather depressing, in spite of the evident kindliness
of the people, and the boys were glad to get away again. They bought
some lobsters and nearly a gallon of blueberries before they went. Ossie
declared afterwards that those lobsters looked to him a sight happier
than the folks they had seen ashore!

They went eastward leisurely, making many stops, and had fine weather
until they sighted Grand Manan. Then a storm drove them to shelter one
afternoon and they lay in a tiny harbour for two days while the wind
lashed the ports and the rain drove down furiously. Nothing of great
interest happened, although the time went fast and pleasantly. To be
sure, there were minor incidents that Phil entered in the log-book he
was keeping: as when Han fell overboard one morning in a heavy sea when
the _Adventurer_ was reeling off her twelve miles and was pretty well
filled with brine and very near exhaustion when he reached the life-buoy
they threw him. And once Ossie pretty nearly cut a finger off while
opening a lobster. And then there was the time--it was during those two
weather-bound days and everyone's temper was getting a bit short--when
Perry cast aspersions on Ossie's biscuits at supper. Perry said they
were so hard he guessed they were Ossie-fied, and the others laughed
and Ossie got angry and they nearly came to blows: would have, perhaps,
had not Steve promised to throw them both overboard if they did!

They spent two days at Grand Manan, and Perry, who had never before been
further from Philadelphia than the Adirondacks, was vastly thrilled when
he discovered that Grand Manan was a part of New Brunswick. "This," he
declaimed grandly as he stamped down on a clam-shell, "is the first time
I've ever set foot on a foreign shore!"

The end of the first week in August found them harboured at Eastport.
They stayed there four days, not so much because the place abounded in
interest as because the _Adventurer_, who had behaved splendidly for
several hundred miles, suddenly refused to go another fathom. Steve said
he guessed the engine needed a good overhauling, and Perry chortled and
offered his services to Joe to help take it apart. But Joe, in spite of
his invaluable and ever-present hand-book, acknowledged his limitations,
and the job went to a professional and the _Adventurer_ spent most of
three days tied up to a smelly little dock while the engine specialist
took the motor down before be discovered that a fragment of waste and
other foreign matter had lodged in the gasoline supply pipe.
Fortunately, his charge was moderate. Had it been otherwise they might
have had to stay in Eastport until financial succour reached them, for
the exchequer was almost depleted.

They found a letter from Neil among the mail that was awaiting them at
Eastport. Neil was evidently down on his luck and begged for news of the
club. He got it in the shape of an eight-page epistle from Phil.

Perry made a close study of the sardine industry and laid gorgeous plans
for conducting a similar venture on the banks of the Delaware when he
returned home. "You see," he explained, "a sardine is just whatever you
like to call it in this country. I used to think that a sardine had to
come from Sardinia."

"From where?" asked Ossie, the recipient of Perry's confidences.


"Where's that?"

"I dunno. Spain, I think. Or maybe Italy. Somewhere over there." He
waved a hand carelessly in the general direction of Grand Manan.
"Anyway, there's nothing to it. A man told me this morning that the
sardines they use here are baby herring or menhaden or--or something
else. I guess most any fish is a sardine here if it's young enough.
Unless it's a whale. Now why couldn't you use minnows? There are heaps
of minnows in the Delaware River. Or young shad. A shad's awfully decent
eating when he's grown up, and so it stands to reason that he'd make a
perfectly elegant sardine."

"Nothing but bones," objected Ossie.

"A young shad, say a week-old one, wouldn't have any bones, you chump.
At least, they'd be nice and soft. It's a dandy business, Ossie. All you
have to have is some fish and a lot of oil and some tin cans."

"Sounds easy the way you tell it. I suppose you pour the oil in the tin
can and drown the fish in the oil and clamp the lid on, eh?"

"N-no, there's a little more to it than that. There's something about
boiling them. They have big kettles. Want to go over this afternoon and
see them do it? There's a fine, healthy smell around there!"

"Thanks, but I got a whiff of it a while ago. Unless you want me to sour
on sardines, Perry, you won't take me to the place they build them."

The engine was reassembled in the course of time and, with fresh
supplies, the _Adventurer_ turned homeward, the _Follow Me_ close
astern. They started after an early dinner, having decided to make
Northeast Harbor that evening and proceed to Camden the next day. They
had seen enough of the eastern end of the coast, they thought, while
from Camden westward there were numerous places that had looked
enticing. So "No Stop" was the order, and the _Adventurer_, turning back
into home waters off Lubec, churned her way through the Bay of Fundy at
a good pace. The morning had dawned hazy, but the sun had shone brightly
for awhile in mid-afternoon. Later the sunlight disappeared again and
the northern sky piled itself with clouds. South West Head was abeam
then and Steve half-heartedly offered to run to shelter. But the others
pooh-poohed the suggestion.

"If we duck every time there's a cloud," said Joe, "we'll never get back
to Camden. There isn't any wind and the barometer says fair."

The barometer was rather a joke aboard the _Adventurer_. It hung just
inside the forward companion way and was undoubtedly a most excellent
instrument. But not a soul aboard could read it properly. When it
dropped, the skies cleared and the wind blew. When it rose, it
invariably rained or got foggy. Steve had long since given it up in
despair, but Joe still maintained a belief in his powers of
prognosticating weather by the barometer, a belief that no one else on
the boat shared.

"If the pesky thing says that," remarked Han, "it'll snow before night!
Still, I don't see why we need to run into harbour yet. There's no sign
of fog, and if it's only rain that's coming, why, we've been wet before.
I say let her flicker, Steve."

"I guess so. We're not out far and if it does get very wet we can soon
get under cover somewhere. Find me the next chart, Joe, will you?"

They could see the Seal Islands, or they thought they could, off to port
at a little past three. The _Follow Me_ was hiking along about a quarter
of a mile astern, making better going than the _Adventurer_, just as she
always did in a heavy sea. And today the sea was piling up a good deal.
Joe looked anxious at times, but he had passed his novitiate and now it
took a good deal of tossing to send him below. What happened at about
half-past three occurred so suddenly that no one aboard the _Adventurer_
was prepared for it.

It grew dark almost between one plunge of the cruiser's bow and another,
and before Steve could punch out his warning on the whistle,
preparatory to heading to starboard, a gust of wind tore down on them
from the north like a blast from the pole and set canvas rattling and
flags snapping. Steve headed toward Englishman's Bay, nine miles due
west, and the _Follow Me_ altered her course accordingly. But that storm
had no intention of awaiting anyone's pleasure. The first gust was
quickly followed by a second and the sky darkened rapidly. The spray
began to come over the rail, and Han and Perry tugged down a flapping
curtain and lashed it to the stanchions. The next time Steve looked for
the _Follow Me_ she was no longer in sight, for the darkness had closed
in between the two craft.

"This is a mess," shouted Steve, peering through the spray-wet glass
ahead. "I wish we were about seven or eight miles further along,

"Well, we will be presently," replied Phil cheerfully. "I dare say this
blow won't last long. It's only a squall, probably."

"It's a good one, then," muttered Steve. "If you don't believe it take
hold of this wheel. Feel her kick? Keep a lookout for that island in
there, Joe."

Things went from bad to worse and ten minutes after the first warning
the _Adventurer_ was tossing about like a cork, her propeller as often
out of water as in, and making hard work of it.

They had to hold tight to whatever was nearest to keep from being
pitched across the bridge deck. The seas began to pile in over the roof
of the after cabin and the deck was soon awash. Steve held to the wheel
like grim death, with Joe at his side when needed, and they plunged on.
But it didn't take Steve long to realise that to attempt to make the
haven under such conditions would be folly. There were islands and reefs
ahead and the gloom made it impossible to see for any distance.

"The only thing we can do, fellows," he said presently, shouting to make
himself heard above the wind, "is to run for it straight down the shore.
If we can get in past Wass Island we can anchor, I guess, but if we try
to make Englishman's Bay we'll pile up somewhere as sure as shooting! I
wish I was certain the _Follow Me_ was all right."

"If we are, she's sure to be," said Joe. "She's a nifty little chip in
tough weather. Here comes some rain, Steve!"

Joe's description was weak, however. It was more than "some" rain; it
was a deluge! It swept past the edges of the curtains and splashed on
the deck in dipperfulls. And it hid everything beyond the torn and
tattered Union Jack at the bow. Looking through the dripping windows was
like looking through the glass side of an aquarium, for beyond it was a
solid sheet of water. Steve gazed anxiously from chart to compass under
the electric lights and eased off to port.

"There's too much land around here," he shouted to Joe, "to leave me
happy. And, what's more, I'm none too certain just where we are at this
blessed minute. So it's the wide ocean for yours truly. We'll just have
to run for it and trust to luck!"

"Right-o," called Joe sturdily. "Let her flicker, old man! There's one
thing plumb certain, and that is if we come across an island
we're--um--likely to run clean over it!"

But Joe was wrong.

The words were scarcely off his lips when a cry of mingled astonishment
and alarm sprang from Steve as he threw his weight on the wheel. At the
same moment there was a shock that sent all hands reeling, the
_Adventurer_ quivered from stern to stern, and then, after a moment no
longer than a heart-beat, lurched forward again. Directly over the bow,
glimpsed vaguely through the rain and gloom, rose a towering cliff.
Steve's frantic efforts were in vain, for although he tore at the
clutch and the propeller thrashed the water astern, the _Adventurer_ was
already in the smother of the surf and an instant later she struck.



Afterwards the boys looked back on the ensuing five minutes as a dream
rather than a reality. The cruiser grounded with an impetus that set
pans rattling in galley, lifted again and once more thumped her stern
down, as she did so swinging her stern slowly around in a last frantic
effort to pull clear. Then the boat careened, a sea washed clean across
the deck and, with her keel forward of the engine firmly imbedded in the
sand, she lay still save for the tremors that shook her when the angry
surf rushed in across her beam.

There was confusion enough, but on the whole the six alarmed boys
behaved sensibly. Steve, wet to his waist, turned off the engine and
banged shut the chart-box even as he shouted his orders. "Life
preservers, fellows! Han, get the big cable from the locker. Keep your
heads now!"

Clinging like a leech to the canted roof of the forward cabin, Steve
himself worked along with the rope and, half-drowned in rain and surf,
made it fast to the cleat. The others, struggling into life-belts,
clung to the stanchions or whatever they could find. Steve crawled back
with the coil, drenched and breathless.

"We've got to get off, fellows," he said. "It's only a dozen yards to
the beach and we can make it all right. Close every hatch. Ossie, fetch
a can of biscuits. See that the lid's tight." Wave after wave struck on
the starboard beam and fell hissing across the boat. The side curtains
were ripped from the stanchions and fluttered wildly about them.

"Going to swim for it?" asked Joe above the roar of waves and tempest.

"Yes! We've got to. The boat would swamp in an instant. I'll start ahead
with the line. You fellows wait and then follow it in."

"Better let me go along," said Joe, his hands formed into a

"No need. I'll make it."

"Look out for back-tow!"

The other nodded. He had pulled off his coat and unlaced his shoes and
now he dropped these things through the forward hatch and wrapped the
big rope around his waist. "Better not try to swim with your coats,
fellows," he instructed. "Nor shoes. Don't take any chances. Last man
off see that this hatch is shut tight." He crawled around the
stanchions on the starboard side and crept along to the bow, the others,
huddled together on the sloping bridge, watching anxiously. Then he
slipped from sight. Once they saw his head, or thought they saw it, a
darker blot in the grey-green welter. Joe was already creeping toward
the bow, and, having reached it, he crouched there, blinded by rain and
spray, and waited for the rope to tauten. It seemed a long while before
he waved an arm to the watchers behind and swung himself off. They saw
his hands travel along the rope a moment and then he was smothered up in
the spume.

One by one the others followed without misadventure save when Han
slipped on the deck and would have rolled across and plunged over the
further side had he not fortunately caught the iron support of the
searchlight in front of the funnel. Phil was the last to go. With a
final look about the deck as he clung to an awning pipe, he followed
Ossie. The latter was swinging himself hand-over-hand by the rope with
the waves surging to his shoulders. Then Phil saw him strike out and the
waters hid him. The beach was visible at moments from the bow, and once
Phil, as he prepared to swing himself off, thought he saw figures
there. Then he, too, was battling. The waves swept him under the rope
and would have wrenched him from it had he not clung on desperately.
Holding to it with his right hand, he sought to find it with his left
and so draw himself on, but the surf swirled him about dizzily and he
gave up the attempt. Instead, almost drowned in the smother, he used his
left arm and his legs for swimming, edging his right hand along the
cable as best he could, and presently, although none too soon, felt the
churning gravel beneath his stockinged feet. But when he tried to stand,
the receding water swept his legs from under him so unexpectedly and
forcibly that he lost his grasp of the rope. He went down and felt the
water tugging him back, swam mightily and was lifted to the top of an
in-rushing breaker, filled his lungs with air and felt blindly for the
rope. Then hands seized him and Joe and Han, clinging to the cable,
dragged him ashore.

Phil found himself under the frowning battlement of the huge cliff on a
ledge of sand and shingle scarcely twenty feet wide. But there was less
sweep for the rain here and the _Adventurer_ was plainly visible through
the strange semi-darkness. Steve had made the shore end of the cable
fast to a boulder that stood, half out of the shingle, at the base of
the cliff. For a long minute the six boys huddled there in the storm and
disconsolately gazed at the boat. It was Han who voiced the thought of
most of them.

"She won't stay together long, I guess," he said sorrowfully. "Those
waves will batter her to pieces."

"She'll stand a lot of battering," answered Steve hopefully. "It's
hitting her on the beam and she hasn't swung much since I left her. The
tide's still coming in and--" He stopped. Then: "I ought to have
dropped the stern anchor over," he went on. "What an idiot! If she had
that to hold her from swinging broadside--"

"Would it hold her?" asked Joe dubiously.

"It would help." Steve tightened his belt. "I'm going back," he said.

They remonstrated, but to no purpose. Then Joe and Han wanted to go
along, and were denied. "It's no trick," said Steve resolutely. "I can
do it easily. You fellows stand by when I come ashore again. That's the
only tough part of it. Someone might see if there's a way up from this
beach. If the tide comes much higher it's going to be a bit damp here."

It was Perry who undertook that task, while the others followed Steve to
the breakers' edge and watched him return to the _Adventurer_. He made
no attempt to swim, but pulled himself along by the line,
hand-over-hand, his head for the most of the time under the water. But
presently he emerged and they saw him clamber to the deck, crawl along
it and disappear. He seemed a long time there, but he came into sight
again eventually and began the return trip. Perry was back by then and
they formed a line by clasping hands and Joe stood well above his waist,
battered by the surf, and Steve was helped along from one to another and
presently they were all back on the beach once more.

"I got it over," gasped Steve, "but it was hard work. I think it will
hold. If the storm will only go down pretty soon she may get through. I
think some of her planks are sprung, though. There's a foot of water in
the after cabin. I got some matches and this cup." He pulled a tin cup
from a trousers pocket. "Can we get up the cliff a way?"

"Yes," answered Perry. "There's a sort of a shelf about a hundred feet
beyond there. I'll show you the way."

[Illustration: "Those waves will batter her to pieces"]

They followed. Real darkness was coming fast now and Perry found
difficulty in retracing his steps. But in a few minutes, by dint of
scrambling and pulling themselves upward, they reached the shelf. It
was barely large enough to hold them all and was scarcely ten feet above
the level of the beach below. Nor was it at all level, for it had been
formed by the accumulation of falling debris from the cliff and sloped
outward at a steep angle. Some dwarf firs and low bushes had gained
rootage, however, and it was possible for them to huddle there without
fear of rolling to the rocks beneath. Steve tried to find some dead
branches to build a fire, and did succeed in getting a few, but his
first attempt to set them alight proved the futility of the undertaking.
There was nothing for it save to lie as close together as they could,
for warmth, and await the morning.

That was a miserable night. They all slept at times, and by changing
places they all, for a while at least, found some degree of warmth. But
they had been drenched through to start with and when, at last, the
stormy world began to lighten their garments were still sodden and they
shivered whenever they stirred. Ossie was ill toward morning, but there
was nothing they could do for him except huddle closely about him. He
complained of intense pains in his chest and Steve had horrible visions
of pneumonia until Ossie, asked to locate the trouble more definitely,
laid a trembling hand on a portion of his anatomy and muttered "Here"
through chattering teeth.

"That's not your chest, you idiot," said Steve, vastly relieved. "That's
your stomach!"

"Is it?" returned the sufferer miserably. "Well, it hurts just the

But after an hour he felt considerably better and went off to sleep. By
that time it was early morning and they could see about them. The rain
had almost ceased, but the wind still blew hard and the surf was still
pounding. Once during the darkness the waves had, from the sound,
entirely covered the little beach. Now, however, they had receded and,
as the light grew, they saw that the _Adventurer_ lay, with regard to
the tide, about as they had last glimpsed her. But she had swung her
stern further around, in spite of the anchor Steve had dropped, and the
waves were breaking almost squarely across her. She was a pathetic
sight. Her side curtains were waving in ribands, the forward flag-pole
held nothing but one tiny rag of blue bunting and the tender, torn from
the chocks, was jammed between the stanchions ahead.

"But she's still whole," said Steve from between blue lips. "And the
storm's going down. If she isn't sprung too much, and we could only get
her off of there--"

"Getting her off," said Joe with a pessimism born of hunger and cold and
the gloom of the early morning, "will be about as easy as moving a house
with a toothpick. I dare say the sand's bedded around her two feet

"I'm afraid so," Steve agreed. "Well, let's have something to eat. Will
you have steak or chicken, Joe?"

"Broiled ham and a baked potato, please, and a couple of eggs. Not more
than two minutes for the eggs. And you might bring me a couple of hot

"Oh, shut up," begged Steve miserably.

"Well, you started it! Who's awake here?"

"I am," muttered Perry. "Seems to me I haven't been anything but awake
for ten years."

"Well, want to order your breakfast now, or will you wait?" asked Joe

"Guess I'll wait," answered Perry grimly. "Where are those crackers?"

They got Ossie awake with difficulty and Steve doled out six crackers to
each. The tin cup came in handy, for there was a pool of rain water in a
ledge below them.

"What I can't see," grumbled Ossie, "is why we didn't stay on board the
boat. It would have been a lot drier than this place."

"You may think so now," replied Steve, "but wait till you get aboard
again. We might have stayed on her, as it's turned out, but the boat
didn't look very homelike to me yesterday!"

"How the dickens were we to know that it would hold together, or even
stay on its keel?" asked Joe disgustedly. "Don't talk like a sick
goldfish, Ossie!"

As soon as they had consumed breakfast they scrambled down to the beach
with many groans and stretched their cramped and aching limbs. The rain,
although now little more than a very heavy mist, limited their vision to
a hundred yards or so in any direction. Steve hazarded the opinion that
they were not more than two miles from the mainland, although he made no
attempt to give a name to the island they were on. The fate of the
_Follow Me_ worried them all, but Phil, always the most sanguine in
times of stress, pointed out that as the other craft had not followed
them onto the island she was probably safe.

"She may be piled up further along somewhere," suggested Joe. "I say
we'd better have a look. It would help a bit to know what sort of a
place we've struck, anyway. For all we know there may be a house just
around the corner!"

So they set out in two parties, Steve, Ossie and Phil going one way and
the rest the other. It was agreed that they were to be back in an hour
at the most. Twenty minutes later, each exploration party having stuck
to the beach, they came together again, much to their mutual surprise.

"The pesky thing isn't more than a few acres big!" exclaimed Joe

"And it's entirely surrounded by water," added Perry brightly.

"Most islands are," said Ossie. "We can get up on top easily enough
here, fellows. Let's see what it looks like."

Their island was little more than a rock stuck out of the water. Just
how big it was was difficult to determine since the haze of driving mist
allowed but little view. From the beach, at a point presumably directly
opposite the place where they had come ashore they climbed by the aid of
rocky footholds and bushes to a broken but generally level summit clad
with a tangled growth of blueberry and briars and sprinkled most
liberally with boulders. The ground arose gradually as they advanced,
guided by Steve's pocket compass, and before very long they reached the
wind-swept edge of the cliff against which they had spent the night.
From the summit they could see dimly at brief intervals the form of the
_Adventurer_ far below.

"Well, I don't see that we've accomplished much," said Han. "We're here,
but where are we? And how the dickens are we going to get back again? If
anyone thinks that I'm going to risk my neck sliding down here he's

"We don't ask you to, Ossie dear," said Han. "Your little neck is much
too precious. One thing is certain, anyway, I guess: there's no hotel on
the place!"

"Hotel!" said Joe. "Gee, I'd be satisfied with a--um--cow-shed!"

Nevertheless, they made the return journey in better spirits, for they
had walked the aches from their limbs and warmth into their bodies. On
the way Steve made them gather fagots of dead branches and they found a
number of larger pieces of wood on the beach. By the time they were once
more "at home," as Perry put it, they had all the material for a fire
save paper or some other form of kindling. Steve experimented with twigs
from the fir trees on the ledge, but they were too wet to burn. No one
had any paper, or if they had it was too damp.

"What would Robinson Crusoe have done?" asked Steve, frowning

Joe, who had seated himself tiredly on the wet sand and was digging his
stockinged heels into it, sneered at Mr. Crusoe. "He'd have made a trip
on his raft," he said, "and fetched ashore a bundle of kindling. If it
hadn't been for that wreck to draw on Robinson Crusoe would have starved
to death in twenty-four hours!"

"Of course!" exclaimed Steve. "That's the idea!"

"What, starve?" asked Joe distastefully.

"No, you idiot, go out to the _Adventurer_ and get some gasoline!"

"Sure!" agreed Ossie. "Only--just when we were getting dry at last--"

"What's the matter with stripping," asked Steve cheerfully, suiting
action to word. "Is there a can or anything I can put it in, Ossie?"

"There's a jug in the starboard locker. There's about a pint of vinegar
in it, but I guess we can sacrifice that."

"Drink it, Steve, and save it," suggested Perry.

The tide had retreated further by now and the bow of the cruiser was
almost beyond the breakers and Steve's journey was not difficult. When
he got back, with the vinegar jug filled with gasoline hung around his
neck, he reported the _Adventurer_ waist-deep in water at the stern.
"You fellows start the fire," he said, "and I'll go back and bring some
grub ashore. There's no reason for starving with food handy."

Joe volunteered to accompany him, and, after disrobing and putting his
damp clothes under a stone to keep them from blowing away, he and Steve
plunged back into the water. Meanwhile success met the efforts of the
firemen and soon a good-sized blaze was roaring in spite of wind and
mist. They had located it as near the foot of the cliff as possible and,
although the smoke made itself disagreeable by billowing out in their
faces, it was thereby somewhat sheltered from the elements. Steve and
Joe made three trips and brought back frying-pan, coffee-pot and smaller
utensils, as well as provisions, and a half-hour later they were
beginning a supplementary breakfast of bacon and coffee. And if anything
in all the wide world, from the time of Noah to that of the Adventure
Club, ever tasted sublime to a shipwrecked mariner it was that same
bacon and coffee!

When they had finished, Phil's watch--the only one of six which had
neither run down for lack of winding or been incapacitated by immersion
in salt water--gave the hour as twenty minutes past seven. Comforted by
food and drink, they warmed themselves at the fire and waited for the
tide to recede far enough to allow a survey of the _Adventurer_. The
comfort was too much for Perry and he fell asleep with his feet almost
in the embers and his head on a rock and slumbered emphatically. At last
the line of breakers was well astern of the cruiser and the boys,
leaving their stockings to dry by the fire and rolling their trousers
up, began their investigation.

On the whole the _Adventurer_ had so far come off easily. Her planks had
been strained in several places, but there were no breaks. Steve,
hanging over the stern, tried to get sight of the propeller but failed,
as the sand had settled about it. Joe, wading out into the water, had
better success when he investigated. He came up, dripping, with the
welcome announcement that the blades were intact and that, so far as he
could ascertain by feeling, the shaft was not bent. But things looked
pretty dismal below-decks. The forward cabin was awash, as was the
engine-well, and the after stateroom was knee-deep. They gathered on the
bridge deck and held council.

"We can plug her seams, all right," said Steve, "and by keeping a pump
going get to port, _if_ we can only get her off the beach. But I can't,
for the life of me, see how we're going to do that. Her bow's settled a
foot deep in sand and it's piled up along this side of her. Even her
propeller's buried!"

"Not very much," said Joe. "If we start her she'll kick it away in a

"But there isn't any use starting her," said Steve thoughtfully, "unless
she's afloat a good deal more than she was this morning. If only we had
something to fix a line to astern we might pull her off with the
windlass." His gaze ran seaward and in an instant he was on his feet
gazing intently through the mist. "What's that back there?" he demanded
eagerly. "Isn't it a rock, fellows?"



It was a rock whose brown head was thrust barely two feet above the

"It's the ledge we grazed last night," cried Joe. "Could we get a rope
to that, Steve?"

"Why not? We'll have a go at it, anyway. Help me with the tender,

It was difficult work. As a first step the bow line was replaced by a
smaller rope and taken through the breakers to the out-cropping ledge.
There, working precariously in the water while Joe held him from the
boat and Han did his best to keep the dingey steady, Steve eventually
got the big cable around the rock, protecting it from the rough edges by
a blanket from one of the berths. Fortunately, the rock was so formed
that, once drawn tight, there was no danger of the rope slipping off,
and they returned to the _Adventurer_, Steve towing behind, in triumph.
In the meanwhile the others, directed by Phil, were stuffing the worst
of the seams with strips of muslin, using table knives for caulking
irons. The cable to the rock was led through a ring at the stern and
carried forward to the windlass. By the time the tide had begun to rise
again they had got the hull free of water, taking turns at the hand-pump
and operating the bilge-pump at the same time. Then they waited to see
how well they had succeeded at their caulking. It was noon by that time,
and they ate cold rations in the galley, and while they were below a
transient gleam of sunlight shone for an instant through the hatch above
and they tumbled to deck. The fine rain had almost ceased and although
the sunlight was gone again, the clouds were breaking. Steve whooped for
joy and the others joined him. It might have been only in imagination,
but it seemed that the wind was less fierce and that the in-rolling
breakers were less formidable.

There was little to do save to set the cruiser as much to rights inside
and out as was possible and wait for high tide again. As the water once
more surrounded the boat they were pleased and encouraged to find that
while the water was again coming in through the seams it filled the
bilge so slowly that the pump could easily take care of it. Perry
declared proudly that they had done a "caulking job!" They went ashore
before the water cut them off entirely and built the fire up again.
About four the wind died down appreciably and the sun, which had been
flirting with the world ever since noon, burst forth in a sudden blaze
of glory. The mist disappeared as if by magic and exclamations of
surprise burst from six throats as eager eyes looked shoreward.

There, as it seemed scarcely a half-mile distant, was the mainland;
green fields, grey cliffs, white houses! In reality the distance was
well over a mile and a quarter, but so clear had the atmosphere suddenly
become that the space of tumbled green water intervening looked hardly
more than a swimmer's stunt! They cheered and would have waved their
caps had they had any to wave. A small steamer was ducking her way along
near shore and they could almost see the spray tossing from the bow.
They found a nearer way to the top of the cliff and climbed to the
summit and tried to decide just where they were, but even Steve was at a
loss, although he was fairly certain that Englishman's Bay was well to
the north, probably as far distant as six miles. But, since from where
they gazed islands and mainland melted into each other, even Wass Island
was not determinate. But after all it didn't much matter where they
were. In a calm sea they could reach the shore in the dingey if it
became necessary, while a distress signal would undoubtedly be soon seen
from the nearer head-land. But Steve was not ready to call for aid yet,
and together they made their way back to the beach and settled down
philosophically to await evening and high tide.

With the prospect of release from their desert island to cheer them,
waiting was not so hard. They had some supper about six and after that
the time passed fairly quickly. At half-past eight they made their way
out to the _Adventurer_. The wind had died entirely down at sunset and
now the sea was probably as quiet and well-behaved as it ever was just
there. About nine they began operations. No one was too sanguine of the
results, but when, having started the engine and experimentally moved
the clutch into reverse to clear the sand from around the propeller, no
untoward incident happened they became more encouraged. The heaving
lever was put into the windlass and, with Phil astern to watch the cable
where it ran through the ring bolt, Steve operated the engine while the
others took turns, two and two, at the windlass. Gradually the manila
cable tightened and strained and the screw churned hard, but the
_Adventurer_, save for righting herself a trifle, gave no indication of
moving from her sandy bed. Steve summoned the boys who were not working
the windlass to the after part of the boat in order to lighten the bow
as much as possible, and they worked on. Just when it seemed that not
another inch of the cable was to be conquered there was a shout from
Ossie and Han, who were panting at the lever, and the _Adventurer_

After that it was only a matter of time. Inch by inch the cruiser
dragged her keel along the sand, each minute floating a little freer and
each minute putting her deck more level as the stern found the deep
water. And, perhaps a half-hour from the time they had started, they had
the boat riding clear and slowly going astern to take up the cable. It
was out of the question to get the rope free of the rock and so they had
to cut it, and, having done so, they swung cautiously around in a wide
circle and headed toward the cheerful white beam of a lighthouse that
beckoned from the shore.

They had to keep the pump going, for a leak they had not suspected
developed forward, but that was a small matter and they were so glad to
get out of the adventure with nothing worse than a few sprung planks,
some bent stanchions and the loss of the side curtains that they would
willingly have pumped by hand. Half an hour later, after a slow and
careful passage from island to mainland, with the searchlight picking
out her path, the _Adventurer_ dropped anchor in a narrow harbour.

They stayed there only overnight, for in the morning they found that
there was no prospect of getting repairs made there, and so, with the
bilge pump sucking merrily, they ran ten miles further down the coast
and before dinner time saw the _Adventurer_ on a cradle and hauled high
and dry from the water. The damage to the hull, while nowhere severe,
was more general than they had thought, and the man who was to do the
repairs decreed a week's stay. After discussing the situation it was
decided that all save Steve and Phil were to proceed to Camden by rail
and wait there for the _Adventurer_. Steve was to remain to superintend
the repairs and painting--the cruiser stood in need of paint by
then--and Phil volunteered to keep him company and help take the boat on
when it was ready.

In the meanwhile, after a day of uncertainty, the _Follow Me_ was
located by telegraph at Jonesport. "All well. Sailing for Camden
tomorrow. Meet you there" was the reply from Harry Corwin. Steve and
Phil, watching seaward from the deck of the _Adventurer_, sitting high
up on a marine railway, thought that they made out the _Follow Me_ about
ten o'clock the next morning, but couldn't be sure. The two boys,
captain and first mate, lived aboard and took their meals wherever they
could get them. They were there just six days and had a very happy if
unexciting time. Several absurd epistles reached them from Camden, all
of which indicated that the other members of the Adventure Club were
enjoying themselves hugely. At last, shining with new paint and polished
brass and refurnished with new curtains, the _Adventurer_ slid down the
railway again, floated out from the cradle and pointed her nose toward
Penobscot Bay. In the middle of a bright Friday afternoon she dropped
anchor alongside her companion craft, Phil doing wild and ecstatic
things with the whistle and eliciting no response from the _Follow Me_.
Steve and Phil donned proper shore-going togs and tumbled into the
dingey. The _Follow Me_ was totally deserted, which accounted for the
fact that, while their noisy arrival had aroused not a little interest
on other craft, the _Follow Me_ had received them very coldly. They
found some of the party at the hotel and the others rounded up later.
Everyone was flatteringly glad to see the new arrivals again, but none
more so than Perry. Perry was absolutely pathetic in his greetings and
refused to let Steve out of his sight for an instant.

"I'm quite taken by surprise," declared Steve. "I knew you loved me
devotedly, Perry, but this is--this is really touching!"

Perry grew a trifle red and coughed. "Er--well--I hope so," he blurted.

"You hope so? Hope what?"

"Hope it's touching," explained the other, grinning. "You see, I'm flat
broke, Steve, and so is everyone else, or pretty near, and if you could
lend me a couple of dollars--"

"I feared it wasn't all just affection," sighed Steve, reaching for his
purse. "But it was worth the price, Perry!"

"Much obliged! You--you might make it three, if you don't mind. I owe
Han fifty cents and Ossie a quarter--no, thirty-five--"

"Here's five, you spendthrift. Let me have it back as soon as you can,
though, for I'm down near the bottom myself."

"I will, Steve. I've sent for some and it ought to be along in a day or
two. Money doesn't last any time here!"

Friends and acquaintances made during their former visit had done
everything possible to make the boys' stay so very more than pleasant,
and when the matter of going on was introduced the suggestion met with
scant sympathy. However, Steve was not at all averse to a week or so of
lotus eating and, having satisfied his conscience by the proposal, he
settled down, to enjoy himself with the rest. His friends ashore were
lavish with hospitality, while "Globbins the Speed Fiend," as Perry had
dubbed the freckle-faced proprietor of the restless automobile, was
indefatigably attentive. A second letter from Neil, forwarded from one
port of call to another in their wake, reached them one day, and they
composed a reply between them and all hands signed it. Neil was having
rather a dull time of it, they gathered, and they hoped their letter
would cheer him up a bit.

At last, when they had, after two postponements, fixed a day of
departure, a storm that tied up shipping all along the North Atlantic
Coast for four days caused a final delay, and consequently it was well
toward the last of August when they said good-bye and set forth for
Squirrel Island. No one particularly cared to visit Squirrel Island save
Han, who had friends there, but as there was still a full week at their
disposal they were in no great hurry and one port was as good as
another. They remained there a day and then made Portland. At Portland
supplies were put in, and one Wednesday morning they picked up the
anchor at a little after six o'clock and started for Provincetown with
the fine determination to cover the distance of approximately a hundred
and twenty-five miles before they sat down to supper. That they didn't
do so was no fault of either the _Adventurer_ or the _Follow Me_.

It was about half-past eight that Phil, sitting on the forward cabin
roof with his back braced against the smokestack, called Steve's
attention to an object far off to port. They had then put some thirty
miles between them and Portland and were twenty miles off Cape Neddick.
The morning was lowery, with occasional spatters of rain, and the storm,
which had blown off to the northward the day before, had left a heavy
sea running. For an hour the _Adventurer_ and the _Follow Me_ had been
climbing up the slopes of grey-green swells and sliding down into
swirling troughs, and for a minute Steve couldn't find the dark speck at
which Phil was pointing. When he did at last sight it over the tumbled
mounds of water he stared in puzzlement a moment before he took the
binoculars from their place and fitted them to his eyes. He looked long
and then silently handed the glasses through the window to Phil, punched
two shrill blasts on the whistle and swung the wheel to port.

"Looks like a wreck," said Phil, after an inspection of the distant
object. "Going to see?"

Steve nodded. "Might be someone aboard," he answered. "We can tell in
another mile or so, I guess."

Phil gave up the glasses to the others, who had clustered to the bridge,
while the _Follow Me_ altered her course in obedience to the signal, her
company probably wondering why Steve had suddenly chosen to stand out to
sea. At the end of ten minutes it was plainly to be determined with the
aid of the binoculars that the object which had attracted their
attention and curiosity was without any doubt a wreck, and as the
_Adventurer_ drew momentarily closer her plight was seen to be extreme.
Whether anyone remained aboard was still a question when the cruiser was
a mile distant, but everything pointed against it. The craft, which
proved to be a small coasting schooner, had evidently seen a lot of
trouble. Both masts were broken off, the foremast close to the deck and
the mainmast some dozen feet above it. She lay low in the water, with
her decks piled high with lumber. A tangle of spars and ropes hung
astern, but save for her cargo the decks had been swept clean. She was a
sad sight even at that distance, and more than one aboard the
_Adventurer_ felt the pathos of her.

"No sign of life," said Steve. "If anyone was aboard there'd be a signal
flying. And the boats are all gone, too, although that wouldn't mean
much in itself because they might have been swept away. I guess, though,
it got a bit too strenuous and the crew remembered the 'Safety First'
slogan. There's nothing we can do, anyway."

He started to swing the cruiser about again, but Perry intervened.
"She's a whatyoucallit!" he exclaimed excitedly. "She's--"

"No, little one," Joe corrected gently, "she's a wreck."

"She's a derelict," persisted Perry eagerly, "and no one belongs to her!
If we got her she'd belong to us, Steve! Wouldn't she?"

"I suppose she would," replied Steve dubiously, his hand hesitating on
the wheel, "but finding her and getting her are two mighty different
things, Perry. If we _could_ get her she'd be a nice prize, I guess, for
lumber's worth real money these days, and although she isn't very big
it's safe to say she's got quite a bunch of it on her, below deck and
above. I guess that lumber is what kept her afloat, from the looks of
the hull."

"Let's see what we can do," said Han. "Someone will find her and--"

"It might as well be us," added Perry enthusiastically. "Couldn't we tow
her, Steve!"

"Tow her! Gee, she'd follow about as easily as a brick house!"

"But if we both pulled--"

"Well"--Steve cast an appraising eye at the weather--"I'm game to try it
if the rest of you say so. Full steam ahead, Mr. Chapman!"



Steve communicated the project to those aboard the _Follow Me_ which had
now drawn up as near as she dared, and there followed a moment of blank
amazement aboard the smaller boat. But discussion there was brief, and
almost at once Harry Corwin raised his megaphone again and bellowed

"Go to it! What do you want us to do, Steve?"

"Nothing yet," was the answer. "We're going to board her first and see
how she looks. If we take on the job we'll want your heaviest cable."

Harry signalled assent. By this time they were within a hundred yards of
the derelict, and, with engines just moving, they tossed about on the
long swells and had a better look at the schooner. She was about eighty
feet long, with a beam of probably twenty-two, and displaced
approximately a hundred tons. She was square-sterned and blunt-nosed,
evidently built for capacity rather than speed. Her name, in gold
letters on the bow, was quite distinct: _Catspaw_. Later, when they
rounded her stern, they saw that her home port was Norfolk. Her cargo,
or at least so much of it as was above deck, consisted of rough pine
boards, and every available foot of space was occupied with it. The
deck-house was all but hidden. The mainmast dragged by a tangle of ropes
aft of the starboard beam and was acting as a sort of sea-anchor. For
the rest, her lumber-piled deck was swept clean save for a splintered
gaff that had become wedged in the boards. Her hull had been painted
black, but not very recently, and a dingy white streak led along the

The two cruisers worked cautiously around to the leeward side of the
_Catspaw_, the _Adventurer's_ tender was dropped over and Steve, Joe and
Han climbed in. Boarding in that sea was no child's work, for the big
swells, which slammed into and sometimes over the schooner without much
effect, tossed the dingey high in air. But by rowing hard at first and
then taking advantage of the quieter water near the schooner they at
last reached the old black hull in safety and, while Han managed the
boat-hook, the other two scrambled aboard.

As they had suspected, the hulk was utterly deserted, and the fact that
the forecastle and the captain's quarters were bare of anything of
value and that the davits were empty indicated that the vessel had been
abandoned in order. There was a good deal of water in her, but, as Steve
pointed out, she wouldn't sink in a dozen years with that load of lumber
to hold her up. "She wouldn't show much speed," he said when they had
completed their investigations and were once more on deck, "and she'll
tow about as easy as a lump of lead, but it's only thirty miles or so to
Portsmouth, and even if we make only two miles an hour, and I guess we
won't make much more, we can get her there tomorrow. That is, we can if
our cables hold and the weather doesn't get nasty. I don't much like the
looks of that same weather, though."

"Well, the barometer is rising," said Joe, "and that means--"

"Never mind your old barometer," laughed Steve. "Anyway, we'll have a go
at this. If we have to give it up, all right, but we'd be silly not to
try it. Come on and we'll get the cables aboard."

Two hours of hard work followed. With the cruisers tagging along nearby,
suiting their pace to the slow drift of the schooner, the boys cut away
the wreckage and rigged a jury-mast at the stump of the foremast. On
this they spread a spare forestaysail which they dug from the sail
locker. That it would aid greatly in the ship's progress Steve did not
expect, but it would, he figured, make steering easier. Then the
cruiser's heaviest anchor cables were taken aboard and made fast at the
bow. A "prize crew" consisting of Joe, Han and Perry, from the
_Adventurer_, and Wink and Bert, from the _Follow Me_, was placed in
charge and enough food for two meals supplied them. The galley stove was
still in running order, although it reeked of grease, and there was a
fair supply of wood handy. Bert Alley, who had volunteered to do the
cooking, objected to an inch or so of water that swashed around the
floor, but the others pulled a pair of old rubber boots from a chest in
the forecastle and he became reconciled. At noon they all returned to
their respective cruisers and ate dinner, which, under the conditions,
was no easy matter. They had to hold the dishes to the table and swallow
their tea between plunges. Joe was inordinately proud of himself that
day, for, in spite of the nasty motion--and there's nothing much more
likely to induce sickness than a long ground-swell--he not only remained
on duty but consumed his dinner with a fine appetite. It rained quite
hard for a half-hour about noon and then ceased just in time for them
to set off to the _Catspaw_ again. It was decided that the _Follow Me's_
tender was to be left with the schooner, in case of necessity, and Joe
acknowledged that he felt a bit easier in his mind when it had been
hoisted, not without difficulty, to one of the davits.

"It's all fine and dandy to say that this old tub can't sink," he
confided to Wink Wheeler, "but--um--suppose she _did_ sink? Then that
little old dingey would be worth about a thousand dollars, I guess."

"It would be worth about ten cents," answered Wink pessimistically,
"after we'd crowded five fellows into her in a sea like this!"

"Well, anyway, she's bigger than ours," said Joe. "And I saw a life belt
downstairs--I mean below."

Joe and Wink were to take watches at the wheel, Perry and Han were to
tend to the sail and keep a lookout and Bert was to cook. Steve issued
his final directions at a little past one and then the two hawsers were
stretched to the cruisers. Another squall of rain set in as the final
preparations were made. A code of signals had been arranged between the
three boats, a flag or piece of sailcloth to be used while the light
held and a lantern after darkness. The "prize crew" cheered gaily as
the others pulled away in the _Adventurer's_ dingey and were cheered in
return, and five minutes later the two cables tautened, the water foamed
under the overhangs of the motor-boats and, reluctantly and even
protestingly, the _Catspaw_ obeyed the summons and started slowly to
follow in the wakes of the distant cruisers.

Han and Perry, at the bow, waved caps triumphantly as the blunt nose of
the schooner began to dig into the waves, and Joe, at the wheel, shouted
back. The three-cornered sail was shifted to meet the following breeze
and soon the _Catspaw_ was wallowing along slowly but, as it seemed, in
a determined way at the rate of, perhaps, three miles an hour. Perry,
protected by a slicker, seated himself on the windlass and felt very
important. Now and then someone aboard one of the cruisers waved a hand
and Perry waved superbly back. Those cruisers were a long way off in
case of danger, he reflected once, but he decided not to let his mind
dwell on the fact.

Joe found that the wheel of the _Catspaw_ required a good deal more
attention than that of the _Adventurer_, and his arms were fairly tired
by the time he yielded his place to the impatiently eager Wink.
Steering the _Catspaw_ with the sea almost up to her deck line was a
good deal like steering a scow loaded with pig-iron, Joe decided. Not,
of course, that he had ever steered a scow of any sort, but he had

The _Adventurer_ and _Follow Me_ were heading West Southwest one-fourth
West to pass Boon Island to starboard, and Kittery Point lay some thirty
miles away. As it was then just short of three bells, and as they were
making, as near as those aboard the _Catspaw_ could judge, very nearly
three miles an hour, it seemed probable that by two o'clock that night
they would be at anchor off Portsmouth Harbour. Of course, there was
always the possibility of bad weather or a broken cable, but the
_Catspaw's_ crew declined to be pessimistic. They were having a royal
good time. There was enough danger in the enterprise to make it
exciting, and, being normal, healthy chaps, excitement was better than
food. Perry proclaimed his delight at last finding an adventure quite to
his taste.

"Being wrecked on that island the other day was poor fun," he declared.
"And it was dreadfully messy, too. But this is the real thing, fellows!
Why, this old hooker might take it into her head to go down _ker-plop_
any minute!"

"Huh," replied Wink Wheeler, "that may be your idea of the real thing,
Perry, but it isn't mine. I'm just as strong for adventure as you,
sonny, but I prefer mine on top of the water and not underneath!"

"Shucks," said Joe, "this thing can't sink. Look at all the lumber on

"Yes, but it might get water-logged," suggested Bert from the door of
the deck-house. "Wood does, doesn't it?"

"Not for a long time," said Joe. "Years, maybe. And this lumber's new.
You can tell by the looks of it."

"Well, don't be to sure," advised Perry, darkly. "You never can tell.
And there's another thing, too. We're top-heavy, with all these boards
piled up on deck here, and if a storm came up we might easily turn

"Oh, dry up," said Han. "You're worse than Poe's raven. Besides, she
couldn't turn over, you idiot, as long as the lumber floated. She'd have
to stay right-side up."

"Wish we had a barometer aboard," said Joe. "We'd know what to expect

"You mean we'd know what you'd tell us to expect," replied Perry
ironically. "And then we'd get something else. For my part, I'm glad
they took their old barometer with them."

"They took about everything that wasn't nailed down except the stove,"
said Wink.

"That's nailed down, too," said Bert. "Or, at least, it's bolted. How
many do you suppose there were on board when the storm hit them?"

"About five, maybe. Perhaps six. I guess five could handle a schooner
this size. Five are handling her now, anyway," Joe added.

Nothing of moment occurred during the afternoon, if we except occasional
squalls of rain, until, at about five, those on the schooner observed a
smudge of smoke to the southward that eventually proved to be coming
from an ocean tug. The tug approached them half an hour later and ran
alongside the _Adventurer_. The boys on the _Catspaw_ saw the boat's
captain appear from the pilot-house and point a megaphone toward the
white cruiser, and glimpsed Steve replying. What was said they could
only surmise, but the tug's mission was evident enough.

"He wants the job," said Joe anxiously. "Wonder if Steve will let him
have it."

"I hope he doesn't," said Wink. "We can do the trick without anyone's
help, I guess. Besides, he'd want half the money we'll get."

"More than half, probably," said Han. "He's still talking. I wish he'd
run away smiling."

He did finally. That is, he went off, but whether he was smiling they
couldn't say. They fancied, however, that he was not, for the _Catspaw_
would have made a nice prize for the tug's owners.

The tug plunged off the way she had come and was soon only a speck in
the gathering twilight. It seemed a bit more lonesome after she had
gone, and more than one of the quintette aboard the _Catspaw_ wondered
whether, after all, it might not have been the part of wisdom to have
accepted assistance. Darkness came early that evening, and by six the
lights on the _Adventurer_ and _Follow Me_ showed wanly across the
surly, shadowy sea. Han and Perry had already prepared the two lanterns
they had found on board and as soon as the cruisers set the fashion they
placed them fore and aft, one where it could be plainly seen from the
boats ahead and the other on the roof of the deck-house. While they were
at that task the darkness settled down rapidly, and by the time they had
finished the cruisers were only blotches against which shone the white
lights placed at the sterns for the guidance of the _Catspaw's_

The boys ate their suppers in relays about half-past six. Bert had
prepared plenty of coffee and cooked several pans of bacon and eggs, and
had done very well for a tyro. Later the _Adventurer_ turned on her
searchlight and against the white path of it she was plainly visible. A
more than usually severe squall of wind and rain broke over them about
eight and when the rain, which pelted quite fiercely for a few minutes,
had passed on the wind continued. It was coming from the northwest and
held a chilliness that made the amateur mariners squirm down into their
sweaters and raincoats. The _Catspaw_, low in the water as she was,
nevertheless felt the push of the wind and keeping her blunt nose
pointed midway between the two lights ahead became momentarily more
difficult. At the end of an hour it required the services of both Joe
and Wink to hold the schooner steady. Perry and Han, huddled as much out
of the chilling wind as they could be, kept watch at the bow. Keeping
watch, though, was more a figure of speech than an actuality, for the
night was intensely dark and save for the lights of the towing craft
nothing was discernible.

The sea arose under the growing strength of the nor'wester and soon the
waves were thudding hard against the rail and the piled lumber and
sending showers of spray across the deck. The _Catspaw_ rolled and
wallowed and the watchers at the bow soon knew from the sound of the
straining cables that the cruisers were having difficulty. Bert crawled
forward through the darkness and spray and joined them.

"Joe says they'll be signalling to cast off the hawsers pretty quick,"
he bellowed above the wind and waves. "He says we aren't making any
headway at all now."

"Gee, it'll be fine to be left pitching around here all night," said
Perry alarmedly. "If we only had an anchor--"

"I'd rather keep on drifting," said Han. "It'll be a lot more

"Maybe, but we'll be going out to sea again. Seems to me they might keep
hold of us even if they don't get along much." Perry ducked before the
hissing avalanche of spray that was flung across the deck. "There's one
thing certain," he added despondently. "We've got to stay on this old
turtle as long as she'll let us, for we couldn't get that dingey off now
if we tried!"

"What's the difference?" asked Han. "They'll stick around us until the
wind goes down again, and we're just as well off here as they are on
the boats. Bet you the _Adventurer_ is doing some pitching herself about

They relapsed into silence then, for making one's self heard above the
clamour of wind and water and the groans and creakings of the schooner
was hard work. They watched the _Adventurer_ for the expected signal for
a long time, but it was nearly ten when a lantern began to swing from
side to side on the cruiser. A moment later they heard faintly the
shriek of the _Adventurer's_ whistle.



"Cast off!" said Han. "Take this one first, Perry. Gee, but it's stiff!"
They had to fumble several minutes at the wet cable before they got it
clear and let it slip over the bow. Then the other was cast off as well
and Bert swung the lantern four times above his head as a signal to haul
in. An answering dip of the light on the stern of the _Adventurer_
answered, just as Joe joined them.

"All right?" he asked anxiously.

"Yes, both clear," replied Han. "What do we do now, Joe?"

"Sit tight and wait. Some of us had better get some sleep. Perry, you
and Bert might as well turn in for awhile. I'm going to. It's ten
o'clock. I'll wake you at two, and you can relieve Han. Bert, you might
make some coffee when you tumble out again. We'll probably need it."

"I'm not sleepy a bit," protested Perry. But Joe insisted and he and
Bert followed the other below and laid down in the bunks in the
captain's cabin. In spite of his disclaimer and the noise and rolling of
the ship, Perry was asleep almost as soon as he touched the berth, and
the others were not far behind.

Joe had the faculty of waking up at any predetermined hour, and at two
he was shaking the others from their slumbers. It was at once evident
that the gale had increased, for it was all they could do to keep their
feet under them as they made their way to the galley. Bert set about
making a fire while the others made their way to the wheel. Wink greeted
them cheerfully enough from the lantern-lit darkness there, but his
voice sounded weary in spite of him.

"I had Han take the sail down," he announced. "She steers better without
it. The wind's pretty fierce, isn't it? Look out!"

A big wave broke over the rail and descended on them in bucketfulls.

"That's what makes it so pleasant," shouted Wink. "Guess I'll take a nap
if I can."

"Bert's making some coffee," said Joe. "Better have some before you turn

Perry made his way cautiously forward and relieved Han. "Seen anything?"
he asked.

"Not a thing."

"Hello, where are the boats?" Perry stared ahead in surprise.

"One of them--I think it's the _Adventurer_--is back there." Han turned
Perry about until he glimpsed a faint flicker of light far off over the
starboard beam. "Don't know where the other is. Guess they're having a
rough time of it."

"I'll bet!" agreed Perry. "You're to have some coffee and turn in, Han."

"Coffee!" murmured the other gratefully. "Have you had some?"

"No, I'll get mine later. Beat it, you!"

Han disappeared in the darkness and Perry, wrapping himself as best he
could in the folds of his slicker, settled himself to his task. Now and
then he looked back for a glimpse of the friendly light at the stern or
for sight of the _Adventurer_. The wind made strange whistling sounds
through the interstices of the lumber and the battered hull groaned and
creaked rheumatically. When he stood erect the gale tore at him
frantically, and at all times the spray, dashing across the deck, kept
him running with water. He grew frightfully sleepy about three and had
difficulty in keeping awake. In spite of his efforts his head would sink
and at last he had to walk the few paces he could manage, accommodating
his uncertain steps to the roll of the boat, in order to defeat slumber.

To say that Perry did not more than once regret his suggestion of
rescuing the _Catspaw_ would be far from the truth. He felt very lonely
out there on that bow, and his stomach was none too happy. And the
thought of what would happen to him and the others if the schooner
decided to give up the struggle was not at all pleasant to dwell on. And
so he did his best not to think about it, but he didn't always succeed.
On the whole it was a very miserable three hours that he spent on
lookout duty that night. Once Bert crawled forward and shared his
loneliness, but didn't remain very long, preferring the partial shelter
of the house. No one was ever much gladder to see the sky lighten in the
east than was Perry that morning. But even when a grey dawn had settled
over the ocean the surroundings were not much more cheerful. As Wink
said, it was a bit better to drown by daylight than to do it in the
dark, but, aside from the fact that the _Catspaw_ was still afloat,
there wasn't much to be thankful for.

One of the cruisers was barely visible off to the northward, but the
other was nowhere in sight. The grey-green waves looked mountain-high
when seen from the water-washed deck of the _Catspaw_, and the wind,
while seeming to have passed its wildest stage, still blew hard. There
was no sight of land in any direction and Joe pessimistically decided
that they were then some forty miles at sea and about off the Isles of
Shoals. Soon after the sun had come up, somewhere behind the leaden
clouds, they sighted a brig to the southward. She was hardly hull-up and
was making her way under almost bare yards toward the west. She stayed
in sight less than half an hour.

The boys had breakfast about half-past six. Except coffee and bread
there was little left, and the outlook, in case the gale continued, was
not inspiring! Perry declared that he'd much rather drown than starve to
death. The first cheerful event that happened was the drawing near of
the _Adventurer_. The white cruiser came plunging up to within a quarter
of a mile about nine o'clock and signals were exchanged. An hour later
the _Follow Me_ appeared coming up from westward and at noon the
schooner and the two convoys were reunited. But there was still no
chance of getting lines aboard. All that they could do was wait. Dinner
hour aboard the _Catspaw_ was dinner hour in name only. There was
coffee, to be sure, but the sugar was low and the condensed milk had
given out completely. All else had disappeared at breakfast time. The
spirits of the "prize crew" got lower and lower as the afternoon began
and they were faced with another night aboard the schooner. Twice they
sighted other craft, once a steamer headed toward the northeast and once
a schooner dipping along under reefed sails. Neither craft showed any
curiosity and each went on its way without a sign.

Once the _Adventurer_ circled close to the windward and Steve shouted
encouragement through his megaphone. Just what was said they couldn't
make out, and Joe's attempts to acquaint the cruiser with the fact that
they were out of provisions was unsuccessful, since he had only his
hands to shout through and the wind was unsympathetic. But having the
cruisers at hand was comforting, and when, at about four, there was a
brief glimpse of sunlight to the south their spirits arose somewhat. The
wind now began to go down perceptibly and by five it no longer roared
down on them from the northwest, but, swinging around to the northeast,
became quite docile and friendly. They put up their sail again and
gradually the _Catspaw_ pointed her nose toward the coast. Just before
darkness came the sea had quieted enough to make possible an attempt to
get the cables aboard again and those on the schooner saw the cruisers
draw together. Steve and Phil caught the line hurled from the _Follow
Me_ after several attempts and then the tender was dropped over and with
the two cables aboard the boys made for the _Catspaw_.

Those on the schooner watched anxiously. At one moment the tiny dingey
was seen poised on the summit of a great green sea and the next was
quite gone from sight. The sun came out momentarily before saying Good
Night, as though to watch that struggle. At last the tender came sidling
down the slope of a wave, the occupants striving hard at the oars, and
after one breathless moment, during which it seemed that the little boat
would be crushed to splinters against the old black hull of the
schooner, Joe caught the painter, Steve made a flying leap for the deck
and gained it in safety, and Phil, boat-hook in hand, worked manfully
and skilfully to fend off while the cables were brought aboard. The
dingey had fetched food as well and a shout of joy went up as Phil,
taking advantage of the calm moments between the rushing waves, hurled
the bundles to the deck.

There was little time for conversation, for darkness was coming fast,
but Steve heard a brief account of the _Catspaw's_ experiences, and,
while helping to make fast the cables, told of the night aboard the
_Adventurer_. "It was fierce," Steve said. "No one had much sleep, I
guess. We almost pitched on our nose time and again. If it hadn't been
for you chaps we'd have cut and run about midnight. We lost sight of
your lights several times; they were so low in the water, and thought
that you'd gone down at first. The _Follow Me_ had to run for it, and I
guess they weren't very happy either. But we'll make it this time. It's
clearing up nicely and we're only forty miles from Portsmouth. Keep your
lips stiff, fellows, and we'll be eating breakfast ashore!"

The dingey pulled off again, narrowly escaping capsizing more than once,
and ten minutes afterwards the _Catspaw_ was once more wallowing along
in the wake of the cruisers. Supper, with bacon and potatoes and lots of
bread, perked the crew up mightily, and when the stars began to peep
through the scudding clouds and the sea stopped tormenting the poor old
_Catspaw_ they got quite cheerful. That second night was an easy one
for all hands. The weather cleared entirely by two o'clock and the sea
calmed to almost normal conditions. The _Catspaw_ strained along at the
ends of the cables at about three miles an hour until she got close
enough to the shore to feel the tide. After that she went more slowly.
At early dawn--and it was a real dawn this time, with sunlight on the
water and a golden glow in the eastern sky--the Isles of Shoals lay six
miles to the southwest and the blue shore line was beckoning them. At a
little before eleven that forenoon the _Catspaw_ passed Portsmouth Light
and half an hour later, having been given over to the care of a tug, was
lying snugly against a wharf.

It was a tired but triumphant dozen that stretched their legs ashore at
noon and set out in search of dinner. Already they had answered a score
of questions and told their story half a dozen times, and even after
they were seated at table in the best restaurant that the city
afforded--and it was a very good restaurant, too--an enterprising
newspaper reporter found them out and Steve, as spokesman, recounted
their adventures once more between mouthfuls.

And when at last they could eat no more and the reporter had gone off
to write his story, Steve, Joe and Wink set forth to an address they had
secured on the wharf and the others adjourned to the porch of a nearby
hotel to await their return. "Tell him," instructed Perry as they
parted, "that we won't accept a cent less than a thousand dollars! And,"
he added to himself, "I wouldn't go through it again for fifty



Mr. Anthony T. Hyatt, attorney-at-law, leaned smilingly back in a
swivel-chair, matched ten pudgy fingers together and smiled expansively
at his clients. There was a great deal of Mr. Hyatt, and much of it lay
directly behind his clasped hands. He had a large, round face in the
centre of which a small, sharp nose surmounted a wide mouth and was
flanked by a pair of pale brown eyes at once innocent and shrewd. Steve
counted three chins and was not certain there wasn't another tucked away
behind the collar of the huge shirt. Mr. Hyatt had a deep and mellow
voice, and his words rolled and rumbled out like the reverberations of a
good-natured thunder storm. From the windows of the bright, breeze-swept
office the boys could look far out to sea, and it was possible that the
faintly nautical atmosphere that appertained both to the office and its
occupant was due to the sight and smell of the salt water. While Steve
told his story the lawyer's expression slowly changed from jovial
amusement to surprise, and when the narrative was ended he drew himself
ponderously from the chair and rolled to a window.

"You say you've got her tied up to Sawyer's Wharf, eh?" he asked.

"Yes, sir."

"I want to know! Well! Well! Where'd you say you came across her?" Steve
told him again. "And you brought her in yourself, eh?"

"The lot of us did. Now what we want to know is what claim have we got
against the owners, Mr. Hyatt?"

The lawyer heaved himself back to his chair and lowered himself into it
with what the boys thought was a most reckless disregard of the
article's capacity and strength. But the chair only creaked dismally.
"Of course you do! Of course you do!" he rumbled smilingly. "But
s'posing I was to tell you you hadn't any claim at all on 'em?"

"What! No claim at all?" exclaimed Steve.

The man laughed and shook. "I only said s'posing," he protested. He
weaved his fingers together again over his ample stomach. "As a matter
of law, young gentlemen, you have an excellent claim, a steel-bound,
double-riveted claim. Whether it's against the owners or some insurance
company is what you'll have to find out first. Most likely that ship and
cargo were insured. As to just what amount you are entitled to, the law
doesn't state. That's a matter generally agreed on between the salvors
and the owners. When no agreement can be reached the case goes to the
Admiralty Court."

"Oh," said Steve. "The first thing to do--"

"I guess the first thing to do is find out who the owners are and see
what they have to say. If they make you a fair offer, well and good.
Now, do you want me to take this case for you?"

"Why, yes, sir, I think so," replied Steve, glancing inquiringly at the
others, who nodded assent. "How much--that is, what--"

"What would I charge you for my services?" boomed the lawyer. "Nothing
at all, boys, unless you get a settlement. If we don't have to go to
court you may pay me a hundred dollars. If we do, we'll make another
arrangement later. That satisfactory?"

"Yes, indeed," answered Steve heartily, and the rest murmured agreement.
"How long will it take to find out, sir?"

"I'll have the owner's name in half an hour. Then I'll send them a wire.
You drop in tomorrow at this time and I dare say I'll have something to
tell you. I'll have a look at the boat this afternoon and get an idea of
her value as a bottom. Then we'll get someone to give an estimate on her
cargo. Would you be willing to pay ten dollars for an appraisement?"

"Yes, sir, if that's advisable."

"Well, I think it is. We'd better know what we've got, eh? All right,
gentlemen. You leave it to me. Where are you stopping?"

"We're staying aboard our boats, sir, the _Adventurer_ and the _Follow

"I want to know! Regular mariners, ain't ye? Well! Well! Guess you're
having a fine time, too, eh?"

"Yes, sir, we've had a pretty good time. About--about how much do you
think we ought to get for the boat, Mr. Hyatt?"

"Including cargo? Well, now, I don't know, Mister--What did you say your
name is?"

"Stephen Chapman."

"Mr. Stephen Chapman, eh?" The lawyer wrote it on a scrap of paper and
thrust it carelessly into a pigeon-hole of the old walnut desk. "Well,
there ought to be a tidy sum coming to you, sir; yes, sir, a tidy sum.
Lumber is fetching money just now, and you tell me the _Catspaw_ is
loaded high."

"Yes, sir, she's loaded up to her rails. Do you suppose we'll get a
thousand dollars?"

"A thousand dollars, eh?" Mr. Hyatt beamed broadly and nodded until all
his chins in sight shook. "Yes, you might look for a thousand dollars,
boys. It isn't sense to get your expectations too high, but I guess you
can safely bank on a thousand. Oh, yes, a thousand isn't unreasonable.
Well, you drop around tomorrow and maybe there'll be something to
report. I'll get right to work, gentlemen. Good afternoon!"

"Funny old whale, isn't he?" commented Joe when they were once more on
the street. "Suppose he knows what he's talking about?"

"Why not?" asked Wink. "He struck me as being rather a canny customer."

"Well, he said a thousand dollars," replied Joe. "That's a lot of money,
isn't it, for an old schooner like the _Catspaw_?"

"It isn't much for the schooner and the cargo, too," said Steve. "I'm
wondering if it oughtn't to be a lot more; say fifteen hundred. You see,
a schooner like that costs quite a lot of money when it's new. And then,
as Mr. Hyatt said, lumber is high right now, and there's a pile of it on

"A thousand will suit me all right," said Joe. "A twelfth of a thousand

"A thirteenth you mean," corrected Steve. "Don't forget Neil."

"And don't count your chickens until they're hatched," Wink advised.
"It's unlucky, Joe."

They found the other members of the expedition in various states of coma
induced by a hearty dinner and lack of sleep, but they were all wide
awake when Steve announced the result of the visit to the lawyer.

"Gee!" exclaimed "Brownie." "A thousand dollars! He's fooling, isn't he?
Why, I thought we'd get maybe three hundred!"

"A thousand isn't a cent too much," said Perry. "Come to think of it,
fellows, I earned that much myself!"

"Just a minute, fellows," said Steve, interrupting the jeers that
greeted Perry's statement. "What are we going to do with the money when
we get it?"

There was a moment of silence. Then Tom Corwin inquired: "Do with it?
How do you mean, do with it, Steve? I thought it would be divided up pro

"Of course," agreed Cas and Ossie in unison.

"Wait a minute," said Phil. "Steve's got something on his mind. Let's
hear it."

Steve swung himself to the porch rail and faced the half-circle of boys.
"It's just an idea," he began, "and if you don't like it you've only got
to say so. As I look at it, fellows, this club has been a good deal of a
success. If we haven't had any whopping big adventures, we've had some
mild ones--"

"Great Jumping Jehoshaphat!" muttered Han. "What do you call

Steve smiled and went on, "At any rate, we've had a whole lot of fun. At
least, I have." He looked about him inquiringly.

"You bet we have!" answered Joe heartily, and the rest echoed him.

"Of course, we got the club up just for this Summer, I suppose, but I
don't see any reason why we shouldn't make it a--a permanent affair."

"Bully!" exclaimed Perry. "Second the motion!"

"Sit down!" growled Wink.

"There's next Summer coming, fellows. We could do something like this
again if we wanted to. We needn't make a trip in motor-boats, but we
could do something just as good. Well, now, why not take this money
when we get it and stow it away in the Club treasury instead of spending
it? Then we'd have enough to do almost anything we liked next year. If
we each got our seventy-seven dollars, or whatever the shares might be,
we'd have it spent in a month and never know where it got to. But if we
put it in the bank at interest we'd--we'd have something. If you don't
like the scheme, just say so. I'm willing to do whatever the rest of you
say, only I thought--"

"It's a corking idea," declared Harry Corwin enthusiastically. "You're
dead right, Steve, too. Seventy-seven dollars would last about two weeks
with me. Why hang it, I've had it spent ten times already, and each time
for some fool thing I didn't really want! I say, let's keep the Club
going, fellows, and put the money in the treasury. And let Phil deposit
it in a bank. At four per cent, or whatever it is banks pay you, it
would come to nearly--nearly thirty dollars by next Summer. And thirty
dollars would buy us gasoline for a month!"

"Right you are," agreed Wink. "We'll make a real club of it."

"How about the rest of you?" asked Steve.

The others were all in favour, although Perry couldn't quite smother a
sigh of regret for the cash in hand he had dreamed of, and there
followed an enthusiastic discussion of plans for next Summer, and Bert
Alley echoed the sentiment of all when he remarked regretfully that next
Summer was an awfully long way off! Ossie made the suggestion that it
might be a good plan to reimburse the members from the salvage money for
what sums they had expended on the present cruise, explaining, however,
that he wasn't particular on his own account. The question was argued
and finally decided in the negative. As Phil put it, what they had spent
would have been spent in any case, whether they had gone on the cruise
or stayed at home, and they had all received full value for their
contributions. Still planning, they went back to the boats and spent the
rest of the afternoon in cleaning them up inside and out, for both the
_Adventurer_ and the _Follow Me_ had been sadly neglected for the past
forty-eight hours.

Being persons of wealth, they supped ashore and went to a moving picture
show, and afterwards, since no one had had his full allowance of sleep
for the past two nights, "hit the hay," in Perry's phraseology, in short
order and slept like so many logs until sun-up.

"I wish," remarked Han at breakfast the next morning, "that we were
just starting out instead of going home."

"Me too," agreed Perry. "It'll be all over in two or three days, and
I'll have to go back to school again. I suppose," he added sadly, "I
shan't see any of you fellows again until next Summer; no one but Ossie,
that is."

"You don't have to look at me if you don't want to," said Ossie,
reaching backward into the galley for the coffee-pot. "I'm not

"You'll see us before Summer," replied Steve. "I've been thinking."

"So that's it," murmured Joe. "I thought maybe you just--um--hadn't
slept well."

"If we're going to keep the Club together," continued Steve, treating
the interruption disdainfully, "we've got to keep in touch with each
other. Suppose now we have a meeting about Christmas time, during

"Good scheme!" applauded Phil.

"I think so. My idea is to keep out about thirty dollars of that money,
or take it out later, I suppose, and have a feed somewhere, a sort of
Annual Banquet of the Adventure Club of America, not Incorporated. We
could hold a business meeting first and then feed our faces and talk
over this Summer's fun and have a jolly old time. What do you say! Pass
the sugar, Han."

[Illustration: "They offer you--" Mr. Hyatt leaned forward in the
protesting chair]

They said many things, but they were all in praise of the idea, and
later the _Follow Me's_ contingent was quite as enthusiastic, and Steve,
in his official capacity of Number One, finally found a calendar and
solemnly announced that Saturday, the twenty-third day of December, was
the date, that the hour was six o'clock, post meredian, and that the
place would be decided on later. After which they all went ashore and
passed the time until dinner in various ways. And at a little before two
Steve, Joe and Wink once more climbed the narrow stairway to Lawyer
Hyatt's office.

"I have here," said Mr. Hyatt, when they had seated themselves and
greetings had been exchanged and the weather duly and thoroughly
disposed of, "a telegram from Barrows and Leland, of Norfolk, Virginia,
agents for the owners of the schooner _Catspaw_. In it they make an
offer of settlement of your claim, subject, of course, to the facts and
conditions being as stated in my telegram to them."

He paused impressively and the boys shuffled their feet in silent

"Hm. Now I'm not going to advise you to accept their offer and I'm not
going to advise you not to," he rumbled. "Only, I do say this,
gentlemen. If you take your case to the Admiralty Court it will cost you
a good deal of money and you won't get a final judgment for a long time.
Of course, you might, in the end, get a better figure. I'd almost be
willing to guarantee that you would. But you want to remember that the
costs of a trial aren't small and that they might eat a big hole in the
difference between the present offer and the court's award."

"What--what do they offer us?" asked Steve as the lawyer paused to clear
his throat.

"There's no doubt that the value of the _Catspaw_ and her cargo is a
sight more than these fellows offer us," resumed Mr. Hyatt, quite as
though he had not heard the question. "But there's the old adage about a
bird on toast being worth more than a bird on the telegraph wire." He
chuckled deeply. "And, of course, no owner ever thinks of paying the
full value of salvaged property. Nor does the court expect him to.
Something like an equable division is what they try to award."

"Yes, sir," murmured Steve nervously. "Yes, sir. Would you mind--"

"You said something yesterday about a thousand dollars, and I told you
you might expect that much, didn't I?"

Steve nodded silently.

"Well--" The lawyer took up a sheet of creased yellow paper from the
desk and ran his eyes along the message thereon. "Well, I've got to tell
you they don't offer you a thousand, boys."

"Oh!" murmured Steve.

"Don't they?" gasped Joe weakly.

"Then what--" began Wink dejectedly.

"They offer you--" Mr. Hyatt leaned forward in the protesting chair and
held the telegram toward Steve--"they offer you four thousand, seven
hundred and sixty-one dollars, young gentlemen."

       *       *       *       *       *

Isn't this a good place to end our story? I might tell how they wired
the good news to Neil, and how they set forth that afternoon for New
York, and how, after a jolly but uneventful trip, the two boats parted
company off Bay Shore, and how the _Adventurer_, having done her best to
deserve the name she bore, at last sidled up to a slip in the yacht
basin and discharged her crew. And I might depict the awed delight with
which, two days later, Steve, Joe and Phil gazed upon a narrow strip of
green paper bearing the wonderful legend "Four Thousand Seven Hundred
Sixty-one Dollars." But we set out in search of adventures, and we have
reached the last of them, and so the chronicle should end. And since it
began with a remark from Perry let us end it so. Perry's closing remark
was made from the platform of the train for Philadelphia.

"Good-bye, you fellows," said Perry, smiling widely to show that he
didn't mind leaving the others the least bit in the world. "We had a
corking good time, didn't we? But just let me tell you something. It
isn't a patch on the fun we're going to have on the next trip of the
Adventure Club!"

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Adventure Club Afloat" ***

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