Something spurred him on. He stumbled into the office in time to hear Peter saying:
“I want to hold a wire for a long despatch to the New York Scorcher. I’ve got a big account of the wreck.”
“Where’s your copy?” asked the young man in charge of the clicking instruments.
“I’ll have it ready for you in a minute,” replied Peter, sitting down to a table, and beginning to dash off words and sentences as fast as his pencil could fly.
“I can’t hold any wire for you,” said the operator. “If you have any press stuff to file let me have it. That’s the only way you can keep a wire.”
“I’ll have it for you in a second,” Peter replied as he looked anxiously at the door.
“That will not answer. I must have copy in order to keep the wire busy.”
“Here it is!” cried Larry, as he entered at that moment and pulled from his pocket his hastily written account of the wreck, including the list of passengers. “I’ll be obliged to you if you can get this off to the New York Leader as soon as possible.”
“I was here first!” angrily cried Peter.
“But I have his copy first,” the operator said. “It is the filing of the despatch first that counts, not who gets here first. I’ll get this off right away for you,” he added, turning to Larry.
And thus it was that Larry got his scoop, for his account took so long to telegraph that, when the operator began on Peter’s, the Leader had the story in the office, and was preparing to get out an extra.
A STRANGE DISAPPEARANCE
Remaining only long enough to see that the operator got off the first part of his story, and finding, on inquiry, that the telegrapher had no difficulty in reading his writing, Larry started back to the scene of the wreck. He wanted to learn if all the passengers and crew were saved, and get an interview with the captain, if he could.
So he left his old enemy, Peter, there grinding out his story in no pleasant frame of mind. But it was part of the game, and Larry’s “beat” was a cleanly-scored one, especially as Peter had tried to win by a trick.
The young reporter found the work of rescue almost completed. The life savers had labored to good advantage and had brought nearly all the passengers ashore in the breeches buoy. They were cared for temporarily at the beach station, though the small quarters were hardly adequate.
With the bringing ashore of the crew and officers, the captain coming last, the life savers found their work finished. And it was only just in time, for, not more than an hour after the commander had staggered up the beach, worn and exhausted by the strain and exposure, the after part of the vessel slid from the bar and sank in deep water.
Larry, who had been introduced to Captain Needam by Bailey, told the former of his desire for an interview with the commander of the Olivia, and the matter was soon arranged, though Captain Tantrella was in dire distress over the loss of his ship.