“I’ll save that baby, anyhow,” she said to Miranda; “and Ford says his father’s a farmer. We can find plenty for ’em to do. They’ll never see a thing of their baggage, and I guess they hadn’t a great deal.”
She was just the woman to guess correctly about such a matter.
At that moment Dabney was saying to Annie Foster,—
“Whom do you guess I’ve seen to-day?”
“I can’t guess. Who was it?”
“The same one?”
“The very same. There he goes, over the sandhill yonder, with old Peter the wrecker. We’ve got to hurry home now, but I’m going to set Ham Morris on his track before we get through.”
“You’ll never find him again.”
“Do you s’pose old Peter’d befriend a man that did what he did? Right on the shore of the bay? No, indeed! There isn’t a fisherman from here to Montauk, that wouldn’t join to hunt him out. He’s safe to be found whenever Ham wants him, if we don’t scare him away now.”
“Don’t scare him, then,” almost whispered Annie.
The wind was fair; and the home sail of “The Swallow” was really a swift and short one, but it did seem dreadfully long to her passengers.
Mrs. Kinzer was anxious to see that poor baby and his mother safely in bed. Ham wanted to send a whole load of refreshments back to the shipwrecked people. Dab Kinzer could not keep his thoughts from following that “tramp.” And then, if the truth must come out, every soul on board the beautiful little yacht was getting more and more painfully aware with every minute that passed, that they had had a good deal of sea-air and excitement, and a splendid sail across the bay, but no dinner,—not so much as a red herring and a cracker.
DAB AND HIS FRIENDS TURN THEMSELVES INTO COOKS AND WAITERS.
As for the Kinzers, that was by no means their first experience in such matters; but none of their friends had ever before been so near an out-and-out shipwreck.
It is quite possible, moreover, that they had never before been so nearly starved as they were that day. At least, something to that effect was remarked by Joe Hart and Fuz, more than a dozen times apiece, while “The Swallow” was threading the crooked inlet, and making her way to the landing.
“Ham,” said Dab, “are you going right back again?”
“Course I am,—soon as I can get a load of eatables together, from the house and the village. You’ll have to stay here.”
“Why can’t I go with you?”
“Plenty for you to do at the house and around while I’m gone. No, you can’t go.”
Dab seemed to have expected as much; for he turned to Ford with,—
“Then, Ford, I’ll tell you what we must do.”
“We must see about the famine. Can you cook?”
“I can, then. Ham’ll have one half of our house at work getting his cargo ready, and that baby’ll fill up the other half.”