“They can’t make me take a back seat,” went on the mate. His head was still far from clear.
“I told them that you were second in command—Captain Blossom being first—but they wouldn’t listen. They said they were on land, and you didn’t count.”
“Don’t I count!” cried Jack Lesher, his blood-shot eyes taking on an ugly look. “I’ll show ’em!”
Just then old Jerry came from the house. Jack Lesher staggered toward him.
“Ahoy there!” he called out.
“What do you want, Mr. Lesher?” questioned old Jerry, and touched his forelock.
“Bring me some liquor, and be quick about it.”
“I haven’t any liquor.”
“I said I haven’t any liquor.”
“Aint there any more liquor ashore?”
“If there is, I don’t know where it is.”
“Then find out, and be quick about it, or I’ll give you the rope’s-end!” roared the unreasonable mate.
The loud talking aroused Dick, and he soon came out.
“What’s the matter here?” he asked. “Oh, so you have woke up,” he went on to Jack Lesher.
“Yes, I’m awake, Rover. And I want to know where the liquor has been placed.”
“It’s been placed where you won’t get hold of it, Mr. Lesher.”
“What! This to me!” yelled the mate, in fury. “To me, the first mate!”
“A first mate doesn’t count for anything here. This is a private camp, and if you don’t behave yourself we’ll pitch you out of it.”
“You—you—” Jack Lesher could not go on, and shook his fist in Dick’s face.
“I told you what they intended to do,” whispered Dan Baxter in Lesher’s ear. “They have the upper hand and mean to keep it. But don’t forget that we have nine sailors in our camp to back us up,” he went on suggestively.
“Don’t grow abusive, Mr. Lesher,” said Dick as calmly as he could. “Just think the matter over. It may save a good deal of trouble.”
“I don’t have to think it over!” bellowed the mate. “During Cap’n Blossom’s absence I am in command, just as much as if we were on the deck of the wreck over there. You were only passengers, but Jerry Tolman was a sailor, and he’s under my command. I told him to bring me some liquor, and he has got to do it. If he won’t obey, it’s mutiny, just you remember that!” And he shook his finger warningly in old Jerry’s face.
“I told ye I don’t know where the liquor is,” answered old Jerry doggedly.
“And he tells the truth,” said Dick. “I put it away myself.”
“Then I command you to bring it to me.”
“I told you before your commands don’t hold water here. Even old Jerry hasn’t got to obey you. When the Golden Wave was abandoned that ended your authority. We have simply made Captain Blossom our leader because he acted fair and square. But we don’t have to obey him if we don’t want to.”
“What of the nine sailors who are with me?”