“He would just think I was fooling or crazy if I telegraphed,” he explained. “Tomorrow we’ll try to dig up three other fellows to go along, and then, as soon as we all get home, we’ll find out whether our folks will stand for it. You must all telegraph me the first thing. Don’t wait to write, because I must know as soon as possible. I dare say there’s work to be done on the Cockatoo before she’s ready for the water, and we don’t want to have to wait around until the end of July. The fun of doing anything is to do it right off. If you wait you lose half the pleasure. Now you’d better beat it, Perry. It’s after ten. If you meet a proctor close your eyes and make believe you’re walking in your sleep.”
Perry reached his own room, on the floor above, without being sighted, however, and subsequently spent a sleepless hour in joyous anticipation of at last finding some of those adventures that all his life he had longed for. And when he did at length fall asleep it was to have the most outlandish dreams, visions in which he endured shipwreck, fought pirates and was all but eaten by cannibals. The most incongruous phase of the dream, as recollected on waking, was that the Cockatoo had been, not a motor-boat at all, but a trolley-car! He distinctly remembered that the pirates, on boarding it, had each dropped a nickel in the box!
Fortunately for the success of the Adventure Club, the next morning held no duties. In the afternoon the deciding baseball game was to be played, but, except for gathering belongings together preliminary to packing, nothing else intervened between now and the graduation programme of the morrow. Hence it was an easy matter to hold what might be termed the first meeting of the club. Besides the originators there were present Messrs. Fairleigh, Hanford and Brazier. After Steve had locked the door to prevent interruption, he presented to the newcomers a summary of the scheme. It was received with enthusiasm and unanimous approval, but Neil Fairleigh and Oscar Brazier sadly admitted that in their cases parental permission was extremely doubtful. George Hanford, whose parents were dead and who was under the care of a guardian, thought that in his case there would be no great difficulty. The other two viewed him a trifle enviously. Then, because one may always hope, they had to hear the particulars and each secretly began to fashion arguments to overcome the objections at home. Finally Oscar Brazier inquired interestedly:
“Who is going to cook for you?”
“Oh, we’ll take turns, maybe,” answered Joe. “Or we might hire a cook.”
Joe stole a look at Steve. Oscar only shuffled his feet.
“I say hire,” remarked Perry. “Any of us could do it after a fashion, I dare say, but you get frightfully hungry on the water and need good stuff well cooked, and lots of it.”
“Yes,” agreed Steve, “any of us would make an awful mess of it. Cooking’s an art.”