So it did; and so they were,—captain, pilot, passengers, and all.
“Captain Kinzer” found that he could safely run in for a couple of hundred yards or so; but there were signs of surf beyond, and he had no anchor to hold on by. His only course was to tack back and forth as carefully as possible, and wait for daylight,—as the French sailors were doing, with what patience they could command.
In less than half an hour, however, a pair of long, graceful, buoyant-looking life-boats, manned each with an officer and eight rowers, came shooting through the mist, in response to the repeated summons of the steamer’s cannon.
“It’s all right, now,” said Dab. “I knew they wouldn’t be long in coming. Let’s find out where we are.”
That was easy enough. The steamer had gone ashore on a sand-bar, a quarter of a mile from the beach, and a short distance from Seabright on the New Jersey coast; and there was no probability of any worse harm coming to her than the delay in her voyage, and the cost of pulling her out from the sandy bed into which she had so blindly thrust herself. The passengers would, most likely, be taken ashore with their baggage, and sent on to the city overland.
“In fact,” said Ford Foster, “a sand-bar isn’t as bad for a steamer as a pig is for a locomotive.”
“The train you were wrecked in,” said Dab, “was running fast. Perhaps the pig was. Now, the sandbar was standing still, and the steamer was going slow. My! What a crash there’d have been if she’d been running ten or twelve knots an hour, with a heavy sea on!”
By daylight there were plenty of other craft around, including yachts and sail-boats from Long Branch, and “all along shore;” and the Long Island boys treated the occupants of these as if they had sent for them, and were glad to see them.
“Seems to me you’re inclined to be a little inquisitive, Dab,” said Ford, as his friend peered sharply into and around one craft after another; but just then Dabney sang out,—
“Hullo, Jersey, what are you doing with two grapnels? Is that boat of yours balky?”
“Mind yer eye, youngster. They’re both mine, I reckon.”
“You might sell me one cheap,” continued Dab, “considering how you got ’em. Give you ten cents for the big one.”
Ford thought he understood the matter now, and he said nothing; but the “Jersey wrecker” had “picked up” both of those anchors, one time and another, and had no sort of objection to “talking trade.”
“Ten cents! Let you have it for fifty dollars.”
“Is it gold, or only silver gilt?”
“Pure gold, my boy; but, seem’ it’s you, I’ll let you have it for ten dollars.”
“Take your pay in clams?”
“Oh, hush! I hain’t no time to gabble. Mebbe I’ll git a job here, ’round this yer wreck. If you reelly want that there grapn’I, wot’ll you gimme?”
“Five dollars, gold, take it or leave it,” said Dab, pulling out a coin from the money he had received for his bluefish.