It was the queerest topsy-turvy morning I ever spent. After Mother came down and told us that Gregs was fixed and that Doctor Topham had given him something to make him sleep, we all went in and had lots of breakfast.—Mother and the Bottle Man, too, for neither of them had had any. You would never have thought we’d eaten the bread and potted beef there on the Monster, if you’d seen the way we devoured the eggs and bacon and honey and toast that Katy and Lena kept bringing in. They both brought the things, because they were so glad to see us and so afraid that it had been their fault that we went to Wecanicut. But we told Mother that it wasn’t.
While we ate. Mother told us everything that had happened at home. She and Father came in on the six o’clock train and found Katy and Lena quite worried because we hadn’t come back yet, but no one got really frightened until later. Father thought of Wecanicut and went to the ferry to ask, but Captain Lewis wasn’t there, and of course the cross new captain that we’d seen looking at the book hadn’t even noticed us and wouldn’t have known us if he had. Our nice Portuguese man remembered our going over and was perfectly certain that he’d seen us come back, too, which of course he hadn’t. So, after setting the policeman and every one else to search town, Father and Captain Moss went to Wecanicut on the chance. They reached the point at a quarter after nine, which was when we saw the lights, and they never for a moment thought of the Sea Monster, because no one had missed the old dinghy from the ferry-slip and they didn’t imagine that we could get there. They didn’t find any trace of us at the usual picnic place on Wecanicut, because we had everything with us, and though some of the Fort soldiers searched, too, nothing could be found. Father had been up all night and was still out, telephoning to all sorts of places.
If I deserved any punishment for its being my fault, I think I had it when I thought of how hard Father had been working and how wretched and anxious they all were. I hadn’t quite realized that before.
Strangely enough, right after breakfast Jerry and I began to yawn tremendously, and Mother bundled us off to bed. We hadn’t had time to think of it, but of course we hadn’t slept particularly well on the Sea Monster. Just as we were going upstairs, Aunt Ailsa came running in with her hat on, crying:
“Is Katy telling the truth?”
And then we both leaped on her from the stairs. When she ducked her head up from our hugs, the Bottle Man was standing in the doorway, looking queer.
“Ailsa!” he said; and that really did floor us, because we knew we’d never even mentioned her existence to him. She stood staring, and then put her hand up against her throat, exactly like somebody in a book.
“Andrew!” she said, in a faint little voice.