When Jack reported again aboard the Fortuna the boys agreed that the best thing to do would be to wait for their chance at the ways.
All felt that it would be far safer to replace the plank through which Wyckoff had put the auger hole in his dastardly attempt to turn the boys from their course.
“It will give us a chance to examine her bottom,” Jack argued, “and we can see how the barnacles like her. I believe that I’ll get some copper paint and give the hull a coat while she’s out.”
“Hurray,” joyfully cried Arnold. “Then I can say truthfully that I’m a marine painter! Won’t that be fine.”
“There are many things you might say truthfully,” agreed Harry in a tantalizing tone. “Of course I emphasize ‘might.’”
“Boys, boys,” cautioned Jack. “Have a joke, but don’t let it go too far. We must constantly remember our motto and no one can ‘Be Prepared’ to resist the many temptations of life unless he is constantly in training. Sunshine and pleasant skies are best.”
“I think those chaps are like a lot of young animals,” Frank observed. “They must have a certain amount of tussle and wrestle in order to develop their muscle. They’ll need a lot of it later on.”
“No doubt you’re right,” Jack laughed. “Maybe I’m a little too severe. I hope not. I love the boys and want them to be men in every sense of the word. They’re good boys all of them.”
“When will we get off the ways again, Captain Jack?” asked Harry, after surveying the town and shipping through the glasses.
“We can’t get on until late this afternoon, so that means we won’t get the carpenter work done until tomorrow some time,” Jack replied. “Possibly we’ll be able to put her into the water again tomorrow night, if everything goes along well. After the carpenters replace the plank, I want the caulkers to search the seams for soft places in the oakum and after that we’ll paint her.”
“Well, then, if it’s agreeable to you, Harry and I want to go up the river for a fishing trip. We haven’t had a chance to catch fish for a long while and that mackerel this morning gave us the fever. We can’t be of any use here today so let us go.”
“I can’t see any objection to that at all,” replied Jack. “I should be real glad to have a mess of fresh fish and if you’ll promise to return before dark you may go for the day.”
“Captain, we’ll vote you a leather medal,” declared Arnold.
“Yes,” agreed Harry, “and not only that, but we’ll fetch him back a mess of fish that’ll keep the crew busy for a week.”
“Let’s go over and see the ship carpenter. He can tell us where the good fishing spots are and what bait to use,” Harry suggested.
“While they are over there getting information, let us put up a lunch for them,” Tom said. “I’ll pack a lot of sandwiches and put in a can of coffee and some pickles. That ought to last them.”