“How many will Corwin’s boat hold?” asked Neil.
“I don’t know. I’ll see him and find out. But it ought to be big enough to hold four, anyway. There are seven of us now, and Wink and Harry and his brother Tom would make ten, and we could easily pick out two more.”
“Let’s make the membership thirteen,” said Perry.
“Thirteen!” echoed Han. “Gee, that’s unlucky!”
“Rot! Why, you’ve got thirteen letters in your name. George Hanford.” Perry counted on his fingers. “This is the Adventure Club, isn’t it? Well, starting out with thirteen members is an adventure right at the start!”
“Sure!” agreed Ossie. “Let’s take a chance. It’s only a silly what-do-you-call-it anyway.”
“Meaning superstition?” asked Steve. “Well, I’m agreeable. Who else do we want? Bert Alley asked to join, and so did George Browne.”
“And Casper Temple,” added Joe. “And they’re all good fellows. But I want it distinctly understood that I’m going on the Cockatoo.”
“Me too!” exclaimed Perry. “All of us fellows must go on the Cockatoo. We were the first.”
“But suppose Corwin’s boat won’t hold five?” said Han.
“We can squeeze eight into the Cockatoo, if we have to,” said Steve. “Joe, you cut along and find Corwin and bring him up here. We might as well settle the thing now.”
“All right, but don’t settle about the cruise while I’m gone,” answered Joe. “I’ll have him here in ten minutes.”
When the meeting adjourned that evening the club had added six new members and enlarged its fleet by the addition of the cabin-cruiser, Follow Me. It was just half-past ten when Joe and Steve produced the last of their supply of ginger-ale from under the window-seat and, utilising glasses, tooth-mugs and pewter trophies, the members present drank success to the Adventure Club.
Some two weeks later, or, to be exact, sixteen days, making the date therefor, the eighth day of July, a round-faced, freckle-cheeked youth in a pair of khaki trousers, white rubber-soled shoes, a light flannel shirt that had once been brown and was now the colour of much diluted coffee and a white duck hat sat on the forward deck of a trim motor-boat with his feet suspended above the untidy water of a slip. By turning his head slightly he could have looked across the sunlit surface of Buttermilk Channel to the green slopes of Governor’s Island and, beyond the gleaming Statue of Liberty. But Perry Bush was far more interested in the approach that led from the noisy, granite-paved street behind a distant fence to the pier against which the boat was nestled. As he watched he sniffed gratefully of the mingled odours that came to him; the smell of salt water, of pitch and oakum, of paint from a neighbouring craft receiving her Summer dress, of fresh shavings and