“‘A defender of his kindred,’” he murmured. “H’m!”
* * * * *
Hardly anything is more annoying than a mysterious elder brother. That Ken was tinkering at the Flying Dutchman (as he had immediately called the power-boat, on account of its ghostly associations) was evident to his brother and sister, but why he should be doing so they could not fathom.
“We can’t afford to run around in her as a pleasure yacht,” Felicia said. “Are you going to sell her?”
“I am not,” Ken would say, maddeningly, jingling a handful of bolts in his pocket; “not I.”
The patch in the Flying Dutchman was not such as a boat-builder would have made, but it was water-tight, and that was the main point. The motor required another week of coaxing; all Ken’s mechanical ingenuity was needed, and he sat before the engine, sometimes, dejected and indignant. But when the last tinkering was over, when frantic spinnings of the flywheel at length called forth a feeble gasp and deep-chested gurgle from the engine, Ken clapped his dirty hands and danced alone on the rocks like a madman.
He took the trial trip secretly—he did not intend to run the risk of sending Phil and Kirk to that portion of Davy Jones’ locker reserved for Asquam Bay. But when he landed, he ran, charging through baybush and alder, till he tumbled into Felicia on the door-step of Applegate Farm.
“I didn’t want to tell you until I found out if she’d work,” he gasped, having more enthusiasm than breath. “You might have been disappointed. But she’ll go—and now I’ll tell you what she and I are going to do!”
On a morning late in May, a train pulled into the Bayside station, which was the rail terminal for travelers to Asquam, and deposited there a scattering of early summer folk and a pile of baggage. The Asquam trolley-car was not in, and would not be for some twenty minutes; the passengers grouped themselves at the station, half wharf, half platform, and stared languidly at the bay, the warehouse, and the empty track down which the Asquam car might eventually be expected to appear. It did not; but there did appear a tall youth, who approached one of the groups of travelers with more show of confidence than he felt. He pulled off his new yachting-cap and addressed the man nearest him:
“Are you going to Asquam, sir?”
“I am, if the blamed trolley-car ever shows up.”
“Have you baggage?”
“Couple of trunks.”
“Are you sending them by the electric freight?”
“No other way to send them,” said the man, gloomily. “I’ve been here before. I’ve fortified myself with a well-stocked bag, but I sha’n’t have a collar left before the baggage comes. As for my wife—”
“I can get your luggage to Asquam in a bit over an hour,” said the businesslike young gentleman.