“Oh, I’ll tell you about that,” answered Han. “You see I was afraid about that poison-ivy and so I took a dip in the ocean. And—”
“But I called you and called!”
“Yes, and I answered a couple of times. And then I may have had my head under water.”
“A monstrous pity you didn’t keep it there!”
“When,” continued Han, “I went to look for you I couldn’t find you. So I—so I came back here.”
“Yes, you thought maybe I’d swum across, eh! Or found a boat?”
“Sure! You did find a boat, didn’t you?”
“You make me tired,” growled Perry amidst the laughter of the others. “And I hope that poison-ivy gets you good and hard!”
“I don’t believe it took,” replied Han gently, “Maybe it wasn’t poison-ivy, after all!”
At that instant the outraged countenance of Ossie appeared in the companion way. “What,” he demanded irately of Perry, “do you mean by bringing back half a gallon of sour milk?”
Perry looked despairingly about at the unsympathetic and amused faces and wandered limply aft to the seclusion of the cockpit.
The next morning the Adventure Club chugged around to Edgartown, and then, after putting in gasoline and water, set out at a little after eleven, on a fifty-mile run to Pleasant Bay.
THE FOLLOW ME DISAPPEARS
There had been talk of going through the Cape Cod Canal and so obviating the outside journey, but most of the voyagers thought that would be too tame and unexciting. Besides, a barge had managed to sink herself across the channel near the Buzzard’s Bay end a week or so before and no one seemed to know for certain whether she had yet pulled herself out and gone on about her business, and, as Steve pointed out, they’d feel a bit foolish if they got to the canal entrance and had to turn back again. They had fair weather and light breezes all the way to New Harbour and from there, the next day, around the tip of the Cape to Provincetown. They dropped anchor off the yacht club landing at Provincetown at four o’clock Friday afternoon and went ashore as soon as the boats were berthed and sought the post-office. Provincetown had been selected as the first certain port of call and most of the thirteen boys found mail awaiting them. Only Neil, however, received tidings of importance, and his letter from his parents brought an exclamation of dismay to his lips.
“Anything wrong?” asked Ossie, sitting beside him on the rail of the hotel porch.
“Rotten,” replied Neil disgustedly. “I’ve got to go home!”
“Go home!” echoed the other. “What for?”
“Dad’s got to go to England on some silly business or other,” explained Neil gloomily, “and he wants me to stay with mother. Of course I ought to. Mother’s sort of an invalid and there’s no one else. But it’s rotten luck.” He stowed the letter in his pocket and stared disappointedly at the passing traffic. “I was having a bully time, too,” he muttered disconsolately.