“What happens,” asked Harry Corwin, looking at the chart over Steve’s shoulder, “when there aren’t any soundings shown?”
“Just what I was wondering myself,” replied the navigator. “It doesn’t tell you anything after you pass that last red spar buoy. Still, with those two rivers coming in beyond up there, there must be enough water for us if we can find it. I’ve about arrived at the conclusion that the Follow Me was mighty well named, Harry. We’ve been following her for twelve hours, pretty near, and as things look now we’ll be still following her a week from Christmas!”
“I suppose,” sighed the captain of the lost boat, “that what we should have done was report it to the police and stayed right where we were. Dad’s going to be somewhat peeved if we lose that boat.”
“I thought she belonged to you and Tom,” said Wink Wheeler.
“So she does, but dad gave her to us and he’s rather fond of her himself.”
“Well, it’s too bad,” Wink answered, “but I don’t believe we’ll ever find her now. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, this sort of thing. We don’t even know for sure that she isn’t down around New York somewhere by this time!”
“Yes, we do,” said Steve quietly.
“We do? How do we?”
“Because I’m looking at her,” was the reply. Steve nodded ahead and pushed back the throttle. “If that isn’t the Follow Me I’ll—I’ll eat her!”
A half-mile or so beyond a black cruiser lay at anchor at the mouth of a cove on the island side of the sound. She was broadside-to and one look at her was enough for Harry Corwin. “It is!” he cried. “We’ve got her, fellows!”
“Not yet,” warned Phil as the fellows clustered from all parts of the boat. “That’s her, but how are we going to get her back? Hadn’t we better stop here, Steve, and decide what to do? Those men aren’t going to give her up just for the asking, I guess.”
“Right,” agreed Steve. “Bow anchor, Han! Let her go as soon as you’re ready. Now then, fellows, let’s think what’s to be done.” The Adventurer pulled at the anchor line with her nose, found further progress stopped and slowly began to swing around with the tide. “There are three of them at least, according to the gasoline chap back there, and there are twelve of us, but if they have guns—”
“We’ve got two revolvers,” said Perry eagerly. “Shall I get them, Steve?”
“Yes, fetch them up here, but we don’t want to use them unless in self-defence. Don’t forget the cartridges, Perry. Now suppose we mosey up to where we can talk to them, fellows.”
“That’s the ticket,” agreed Wink Wheeler. “If they get to acting ugly, why, I guess there are enough of us to handle them. I think the best way is to beat it right up there and tell them to hand the boat over.”