The wind was indeed “just right;” but even Dab forgot, for the moment, that “The Swallow” would go faster and farther before a gale than she was likely to with the comparatively mild southerly breeze now blowing. He was by no means likely to get home by dinner-time. As for danger, there would be absolutely none, unless the weather should again become stormy; and there was no probability of any such thing at that season. And so, after he had eaten his breakfast, and, with a genuine boy’s confidence in boys, Frank Harley came on board “The Swallow” as a passenger, the anchor was lifted, and the gay little craft spread her white sails, and slipped lightly away from the neighborhood of the forlorn-looking, stranded steamer.
“They’ll have her out of that in less’n a week,” said Ford to Frank. “My father’ll know just what to do about your baggage, and so forth.”
There were endless questions to be asked and answered on both sides; but at last Dab yawned a very sleepy yawn, and said, “Ford, you’ve had your nap. Wake up Dick, there, and let him take his turn at the tiller. The sea’s as smooth as a lake, and I believe I’ll go to sleep for an hour or so. You and Frank can keep watch while Dick steers: he’s a good steerer.”
Whatever Dab said was “orders” now on board “The Swallow;” and Ford’s only reply was,—
“If you haven’t earned a good nap, then nobody has.”
Dick, too, responded promptly and cheerfully; and in five minutes more the patient and skilful young “captain” was sleeping like a top.
“Look at him,” said Ford Foster to Frank Harley. “I don’t know what he’s made of. He’s been at that tiller for twenty-three hours by the watch, in all sorts of weather, and never budged.”
“They don’t make that kind of boy in India,” replied Frank.
“He’s de bes’ feller you ebber seen,” added Dick Lee. “I’s jes’ proud ob him, I is!”
Smoothly and swiftly and safely “The Swallow” was bearing her precious cargo across the summer sea; but the morning had brought no comfort to the two homes at the head of the inlet, or the humble cabin in the village. Old Bill Lee was out in the best boat he could borrow, by early daylight; and more than one of his sympathizing neighbors followed him a little later. There was no doubt at all that a thorough search would be made of the bay and the island, and so Mr. Foster wisely remained at home to comfort his wife and daughter.
“That sort of boy,” mourned Annie, “is always getting into some kind of mischief.”
“Annie!” exclaimed her mother indignantly, “Ford is a good boy, and he does not run into mischief.”
“I didn’t mean Ford: I meant that Dabney Kinzer. I wish we’d never seen him, or his sailboat either.”
“Annie,” remarked her father a little reprovingly, “if we live by the water, Ford will go out on it, and he had better do so in good company. Wait a while.”