“It would serve him right to leave him here,” he muttered resentfully. “Anyway, I’m not going to yell at him any more. I suppose he’s so taken up with his poison-ivy business that he can’t think of anything else. Wonder if I got into that stuff, too!” The idea was distinctly unwelcome. He thought he recalled brushing through leaves as he crossed the wall. He had never had any experience with poison-ivy and didn’t know whether or not he was susceptible, but it seemed to him that there was a distinct itching sensation on his back. He squirmed uncomfortably. Then a prickly feeling on his left wrist set him to rubbing it. He examined the skin and, sure enough, it was quite red! He had it, too! You had blisters all over you, Han had said. Perry looked for blisters but found none. Still, he reflected miserably, it was probably too early for them yet. He suddenly found himself rubbing his right wrist too. And that, also, was distinctly inflamed looking, although not so red as the other. Gee, he’d ought to do something! Alcohol! That was it! He ought to bathe the places in alcohol! He jumped out of the dingey, pushed it down the beach into the water and sprawled across the bow. Then he shoved further off with an oar and sudsided onto a seat.
“Back in ten minutes for you, Han!” he shouted. “You wait here! I’ll bring some alcohol!”
When a dozen choppy strokes had taken him out of sight of the shore his panic subsided a little and two thoughts came to him. The first was that he was treating Han rather scurvilly and the second was that he hadn’t more than the haziest notion where the Adventurer lay! But, having embarked, he kept on. Probably ten or fifteen minutes wouldn’t make much difference in Han’s case, while, as for finding the cruiser, he would shout after he had rowed a little further and doubtless someone aboard would hear him.
So he went on into the mist, occasionally stopping to scratch a wrist or wiggle about on the seat in the endeavour to abate the prickling sensation in back or shoulders. It seemed to him now that he was infected from head to toes. Presently, having rowed some distance, he began to hail. “Adventurer ahoy!” he shouted, “O Steve! O Joe!”
He stopped rowing, rubbed a wrist, peered into the fog and waited. But no answering hail reached him. He lifted his voice again. “Ahoy! Adventurer ahoy! Are you all dead? Where are you?”
This time there was an answer, faint but unmistakable, and, somewhat to Perry’s surprise, it came from almost behind him. “Shout again!” he called. “Where are you?”
“He-e-ere! Hurry up!” At least, that was what the answer sounded like. Perry grumblingly turned the boat around and rowed in the direction of the voice. “I suppose,” he thought, “I rowed in a circle. I always did row harder with my right. But I don’t see what they want me to hurry for. And they might blow their whistle if they had any sense.”