Signals had been sprung to the steam-launch fleet, but the launches were far down the bay, and many minutes must pass before relief could be looked for from that quarter. Two or three of the sailboats would, in fact, be at hand first.
Though there were some excellent swimmer among the wrecked midshipmen, the best of these were already standing by midshipmen who did not swim well. Dave Darrin was the only one free to go to Page’s assistance should he show up.
“Every man keep his eyes peeled for Mr. Page!” shouted Dave. “We simply can’t stand the loss of any member of the crew!”
“There’s a hat!” cried Dan, a few moments later. “Can you make it out, sir.”
Dalzell was pointing further down the bay.
“A cap, yes,” called Dave, striking out lustily for the spot. “But I don’t see any head there. Watch, all of you, and give me a hail if you see Mr. Page’s head show up anywhere.”
Midshipman Farley was in agony over the thought of the loss of his roommate. Yet Farley was at this time engaged in standing by a less-skilled swimmer.
“That looks like a face, fifteen yards west from the cap!” shouted one of the crew.
Dave Darrin made the greatest spring, he could up out of the water. It gave him a chance for a better view.
“I see the face!” he roared back. “Look after yourselves. I’ll get in close to Mr. Page.”
Dave swam as he had never done before, taking swift yet long, powerful strokes. He reached the spot, only to see what he had taken for a face sink slowly below the surface.
“That must be the second time going down!” throbbed Darrin, with a feeling of horror.
More powerfully than ever he surged forward. He was too late to catch another glimpse of the white face. But he had noted the point at which it had sunk.
Taking a breath, Darrin took a dive downward, duck fashion. Holding his breath, he went below, his eyes wide open, seeking as best he could.
Down where the light of day reached him poorly Darrin caught sight of something floating slowly past. It might have been a fish, for all the sense of shape that reached Dave.
With an inward prayer the young crew captain surged downward and forward. He grappled with—something—then fought his way the surface, holding that something tightly.
As they shot above the water Darrin’s blood danced for joy.
It was Page—“good old Page!”—whom he had brought to the top.
“Got him safe?” bellowed Farley, over the water.
Dave was too winded to answer. He thrust one hand above his head, waving it joyfully. Then he let the hand fall that he might better attend to his work.
For a few moments they floated there. The nearest of the sailing cutters was now nearing the victims of the wreck.
The boat, however, would reach Darrin last of all.