“Mother won’t be expecting us so soon, and our cook’s gone out for the day. Annie knows something.”
“She can help me, then. Those Hart boys’ll die if they’re not fed pretty soon. Look at Fuz. Why, he can’t keep his mouth shut.”
Joe and his brother seemed to know as if by instinct that the dinner question was under discussion, and they were soon taking at least their share of the talk. Oh, how they did wish it had been a share of something to eat, instead!
“The Swallow” was carefully moored, after discharging her passengers; but Dab did not start for the house with his mother and the rest. He even managed to detain some of the empty lunch-baskets, large ones too.
“Come on, Mr. Kinzer,” shouted Joe Hart. “Let’s put for the village. We’ll starve here.”
“A fellow that’ll starve here, just deserves to, that’s all,” said Dabney. “Ford, there’s Bill Lee’s boat and three others coming in. We’re all right. One of ’em’s a dredger.”
Ford and Frank could only guess what their friend was up to, but Dab was not doing any sort of guessing.
“Bill,” he shouted, as Dick Lee’s father came within hearing,—“Bill! put a lot of your best panfish in this basket, and then go and fetch us some lobsters. There’s half a dozen in your pot. Did those others have any luck?”
“More clams’n ’ysters,” responded Bill.
“Then we’ll take both lots.”
The respect of the city boys for the resources of the Long-Island shore in a time of famine began to rise rapidly a few moments later; for, not only was one of Dab’s baskets promptly laden with “panfish,” such as porgies, blackfish, and perch, but two others received all the clams and oysters they were at all anxious to carry to the house. At the same time Bill Lee offered, as an amendment on the lobster question,—
“Yer wrong ’bout de pot, Dab.”
“Yes, you’s wrong. Glorianny’s been an’ biled ebery one on ’em, an’ dey’re all nice an’ cold by dis time.”
“All right. I never did eat my lobsters raw. Just you go and get them, Dick. Bring ’em right over to Ford’s house.”
Bill Lee would have sent his house and all, on a suggestion that the Kinzers or the Fosters were in need of it; and Dick would have carried it over for him.
As for “Glorianna,” when her son came running in with his errand, she exclaimed,—
“Dem lobsters? Sho! Dem ain’t good nuff. Dey sha’n’t have ’em. I’ll jes’ send de ole man all roun’ de bay to git some good ones. On’y dey isn’t no kine ob lobsters good nuff for some folks, dey isn’t.”
Dick insisted, however; and by the time he reached the back door of the old Kinzer homestead with his load, the kitchen beyond that door had become almost as busy a place as was that of Mrs. Miranda Morris, a few rods away.
“Ford,” suddenly exclaimed Dab, as he finished scaling a large porgy, “what if mother should make a mistake!”