“Jus’ de t’ing for a handsome young feller like Dick,” she muttered to herself.
“Wot for’d an ole woman like me want to put on any sech fool finery? He’s de bestest boy in de worl’, he is. Dat is, onless dar ain’t not’in’ happened to ’im.”
Her husband brought her home no news when he came, and Dick’s good qualities were likely to be seen in a strong light for a while longer.
But if the folk on shore were uneasy about “The Swallow” and her crew, how was it with the latter themselves, as the darkness closed around them, out there upon the tossing water?
Very cool and self-possessed indeed had been Captain Dab Kinzer; and he had encouraged the others to go on with their blue-fishing, even when it was pretty tough work to keep “The Swallow” from “scudding” at once before the wind. He was anxious, also, not to get too far from shore; for there was no telling what sort of weather might be coming. It was curious, moreover, what very remarkable luck they had; or rather, Ford and Dick, for Dab would not leave the tiller for a moment. Splendid fellows were those blue-fish, and hard work it was to pull in the heaviest of them. That was just the sort of weather they bite best in; but it is not often that such young fishermen venture to take advantage of it. No, nor the old ones either; for only the stanchest old “salts” of Montauk or New London would have felt altogether at home in “The Swallow” that afternoon.
“I guess I wouldn’t fish any more,” said Dab at last. “You’ve caught ten times as many now as we ever thought of catching. Some of them are whoppers too.”
“Biggest fishing ever I did,” said Ford, as if that meant a great deal.
“Or mos’ anybody else, out dis yer way,” added Dick. “I isn’t ’shamed to show dem fish anywhar.”
“No more I ain’t,” said Dab; “but you’re getting too tired, and so am I. We must have a good hearty lunch, and put ‘The Swallow’ before the wind for a while. I daren’t risk any more of these cross seas. We might get pitched over any minute. They’re rising.”
“Dat’s so,” said Dick. “And I’s awful hungry, I is.”
“The Swallow” was well enough provisioned for a short cruise, not to mention the bluefish, and there was water enough on board for several days if they should happen to need it; but there was little danger of that, unless the wind should continue to be altogether against them.
It was blowing hard when the boys finished their dinner, but no harder than it had already blown several times that day; and “The Swallow” seemed to be putting forth her very best qualities as a “sea-boat.”
There was no immediate danger apparently; but there was one “symptom” which Dab discerned, as he glanced around the horizon, which gave him more anxiety than either the stiff breeze or the rough sea.
The coming darkness?
No; for stars and lighthouses can be seen at night, and steering by them is easy enough.