“Is that Alligator Island?” one of them called.
“It certainly is,” Townsend answered. “I’ll come over and get you; the boat is leaving right away.”
“Have your fares ready,” Pee-wee called in a voice of thunder.
As Townsend approached the mainland there was much whispering and giggling among the girls. “We came from Edgemere,” said one of them; “we’re in the Edgemere High School and we came over on the trolley to see the Bridgeboro High School beaten. We saw a small boy in the street with a sign——”
“That was me,” shouted Pee-wee; “I saw you on Main Street. Have your fares ready and he’ll bring you over. All aboard! All aboard to Alligator Island with its tropic vegetarians and boat races!” And, in his excitement and enthusiasm he added, “Step this way! Step right this way!”
“Did you ever hear of such a thing,” laughed one girl.
“He means after you step out of the boat,” said Townsend.
You would have thought that Pee-wee was selling desert islands out of a basket. He stood on the extreme edge nearest to the field, shouting, “Here you are, this way for your desert isle! See the tropic variations——”
“He means vegetation,” said Townsend.
“He means fresh vegetables,” called Brownie.
“Here you are for your fresh vegetables,” Pee-wee shouted, hardly knowing what he said at this actual prospect of business which he saw before his very eyes. “The races encircle this island. Here you are for your best seats! Come early and avoid the rush!”
“That’s the wild man of the island,” Townsend said; “he’s perfectly harmless: step right in the boat.”
They were rowed over and escorted to seats, where they did not have to wait long, for scarcely were they settled on one long bench when a chorus of shouts arose down at the boat-house, as out into the river shot two canoes.
“Oh, they’re coming! They’re coming!” the girls carolled in great excitement and anticipation.
“Oh, look! Do look!” one of them said, clutching the shoulder of her neighbor. “He’s in the red canoe! It’s Willie Dawdle, and he’s ahead! Hurrah for Edgemere! Oh, he’s coming, he’s coming! I knew we’d annihilate them, I just knew it! Oh, it’s simply glorious!”
“Hurrah for Bridgeboro!” shouted Pee-wee.
“Hurrah for Edgemere!” shouted the girls.
The two canoes, with Edgemere a little ahead as well as they could see, came gliding up the river, two streaks, red and green, in the sunshine . . .
The canoe race, which was the first of the events, was also the best—as well as the last. Never was there wilder excitement on Pee-wee’s island than when the green and red canoes glided northward, approaching the turning point.