“Hold your horses,” advised Morgan. “He knows we are aboard. We’ll get there all right, give us time.”
The chaser was circling around, and finally headed toward them. The excited boys in the catboat saw Mr. MacMasters examining them through a glass. The S. P. 888 came to a stop near the usual mooring of the Sue Bridger. Captain Bridger put off in a dory from the float and began to scull out toward the Government boat.
“We’re going aboard!” cried Torry. “Say, Whistler! do you suppose he’s been sent for us? Shall we join up with the crew of that shark?”
“Oi, oi!” groaned Ikey. “No dreadnaught for us, then? What will my papa and mama say? I’ve been tellin’ ’em maybe I get to command a battleship this next cruise.”
“I had no idea Ensign MacMasters was in service again,” Whistler said. “But I am glad he is on this particular boat.”
“Why?” asked Torry, to whom he spoke in a low tone.
“I want to tell him about that oil boat,” returned Morgan, nodding his head.
In a few moments they dropped the sail and fended off from the chaser’s side, just as Captain Bridger reached the spot too.
“You want these four boys, Skipper?” demanded the old fisherman.
“That’s what I do,” said Ensign MacMasters. Then to the chums: “Come aboard, boys; I’ve news for you.”
“They been using my catboat,” said Captain Bridger. “All right, Phil Morgan. You can go aboard. I’ll take charge of the Sue. Got some right nice lookin’ bass, ain’t you?”
“But you won’t take charge of them!” Torry exclaimed. “I caught that big fellow, and I donate it to the officer’s mess of the S. P. Eight-eighty-eight, right now!”
The fisherman looked somewhat disappointed, for he was eager to make a penny. Whistler, however, gave him some of the smaller fish. The remainder were tossed to a grinning sailor upon the deck of the chaser.
“Come right aboard, boys,” Ensign MacMasters repeated. “I am glad to see you looking so chipper.”
He shook hands with them, in rotation, as they came over the side. But the chums did not forget to salute the officer. They lined up before him in a respectful attitude as Captain Bridger got aboard the catboat and shoved her away from the chaser’s side.
“I am only acting commander of this little knifeblade,” said Ensign MacMasters. “Junior Lieutenant Perkins has time off to attend to some private business, and I have been stuck aboard here for a few days. We’re patrolling this stretch of coast, and I ran in to see if I could pick up you boys. Do you know what is going to happen?”
“We’re going to lick the Germans!” exclaimed Frenchy.
The ensign laughed. “Smart boy,” he said. “You will go to the head of the class for that. But my information is new stuff. I am assigned to the Kennebunk and you four boys are to go with me.”