There was little time for conversation, for darkness was coming fast, but Steve heard a brief account of the Catspaw’s experiences, and, while helping to make fast the cables, told of the night aboard the Adventurer. “It was fierce,” Steve said. “No one had much sleep, I guess. We almost pitched on our nose time and again. If it hadn’t been for you chaps we’d have cut and run about midnight. We lost sight of your lights several times; they were so low in the water, and thought that you’d gone down at first. The Follow Me had to run for it, and I guess they weren’t very happy either. But we’ll make it this time. It’s clearing up nicely and we’re only forty miles from Portsmouth. Keep your lips stiff, fellows, and we’ll be eating breakfast ashore!”
The dingey pulled off again, narrowly escaping capsizing more than once, and ten minutes afterwards the Catspaw was once more wallowing along in the wake of the cruisers. Supper, with bacon and potatoes and lots of bread, perked the crew up mightily, and when the stars began to peep through the scudding clouds and the sea stopped tormenting the poor old Catspaw they got quite cheerful. That second night was an easy one for all hands. The weather cleared entirely by two o’clock and the sea calmed to almost normal conditions. The Catspaw strained along at the ends of the cables at about three miles an hour until she got close enough to the shore to feel the tide. After that she went more slowly. At early dawn—and it was a real dawn this time, with sunlight on the water and a golden glow in the eastern sky—the Isles of Shoals lay six miles to the southwest and the blue shore line was beckoning them. At a little before eleven that forenoon the Catspaw passed Portsmouth Light and half an hour later, having been given over to the care of a tug, was lying snugly against a wharf.
It was a tired but triumphant dozen that stretched their legs ashore at noon and set out in search of dinner. Already they had answered a score of questions and told their story half a dozen times, and even after they were seated at table in the best restaurant that the city afforded—and it was a very good restaurant, too—an enterprising newspaper reporter found them out and Steve, as spokesman, recounted their adventures once more between mouthfuls.
And when at last they could eat no more and the reporter had gone off to write his story, Steve, Joe and Wink set forth to an address they had secured on the wharf and the others adjourned to the porch of a nearby hotel to await their return. “Tell him,” instructed Perry as they parted, “that we won’t accept a cent less than a thousand dollars! And,” he added to himself, “I wouldn’t go through it again for fifty thousand!”