“Yes, Dabney, there can. You and Ham and Ford and Frank go to the yacht, quick as you can, and bring the spirit-heater, lamp and all, and bread and milk, and every dry napkin and towel you can find. Bring Keziah’s shawl.”
Such quick time they made across that sand-bar!
They were none too soon, either; for, as they came running down to their boat a mean-looking, slouching sort of fellow walked rapidly away from it.
“He was going to steal it!”
“Can’t go for him now, Dab; but you’ll have to mount guard here, while we go back with the things.”
There was a good deal of the “guard mounted” look in Dab’s face, when they left him, a few minutes later, standing there by the boat, and he had one of the oars in his hand. An oar is almost as good a club as the lower joint of a fishing-rod, and that was exactly the thought in Dab’s mind.
Ham and Frank and Ford hurried back to the other beach, to find that Mrs. Kinzer had taken complete possession of that baby. Every rag of his damp things was already stripped off; and now, while Miranda lighted the “heater,” and made some milk hot in a minute, the good lady began to rub the little sufferer as only an experienced mother knows how.
Then there was a warm wrapping-up in cloths and shawls, and better success than anybody had dreamed of in making the seemingly half-dead child eat something.
“That was about all the matter with him,” said Mrs. Kinzer. “Now, if we can get him and his mother over to the house, we can save both of them. Ford, how long did you say it was since they’d eaten any thing?”
“About three days, they say.”
“Mercy on me! And that cabin of ours holds so little! Glad it’s full, anyhow. Let’s get every thing out and over here, right away.”
“No, Hamilton, the provisions.”
Not a soul among them all thought of their own lunch, any more than Mrs. Kinzer herself did; but Joe and Fuz were not among them just then. On the contrary, they were over there by the shore, where the “Jenny” had been pulled up, trying to get Dab Kinzer to put them on board “The Swallow.”
“Somebody ought to be on board of her,” said Fuz, in as anxious a tone as he could assume, “with so many strange people around.”
“It isn’t safe,” added Joe.
“Fact,” replied Dab; “but then, I kind o’ like to feel a little unsafe.”
The Hart boys had a feeling, at that moment, that somehow or other Dab knew why they were so anxious to go on board; and they were right enough, for he was saying to himself, “They can wait. They do look hungry, but they’ll live through it. There ain’t any cuffs or collars in Ham’s locker.”
All there was then in the locker was soon out of it, after Mrs. Kinzer and the rest came, for they brought with them the officers of the wrecked bark; and neither Joe nor Fuz had an opportunity to so much as “help distribute” that supply of provisions. Ham went over to see that the distribution should be properly made; while Mrs. Kinzer saw her little patient, with his father and mother, safely stowed on board “The Swallow.”