Seven Knott was brought to his senses in a short time, and, after staring about a bit, murmured:
“Well, I didn’t get it, did I?”
“Not your fault, my man,” declared Ensign MacMasters cheerfully. “Wait till Lieutenant Commander Lang, of the Colodia, hears about it. You have done well, Hertig. He will be proud of you.”
At that the petty officer smiled, for he was inordinately fond of the commander of the destroyer.
Mr. MacMasters made it plain to the boatswain’s mate that apprentice seaman Morgan had saved him, as well as the rest of the ship’s company, from disaster, and Hansie Hertig grinned broadly.
“That Whistler—he can do something besides make tunes with his mouth, eh?” he observed.
Most of the crew of the submarine chaser, as well as the members of the squad going aboard the Kennebunk, personally congratulated Whistler on his courage and quick action.
“This is an awfully small boat, Torry,” he complained to his chum. “There isn’t any place for a fellow to get away by himself. There are too many folks here.”
He did not take kindly to so much approbation. He felt that Lieutenant Perkins had already said enough.
Although Whistler and his mates had no duties to perform on the S. P. 888, they did not turn in that night at all. To tell the truth the chaser was making an awfully rough passage of it, and although they were inured to the discomforts of their beloved Colodia in stormy weather, this was even worse.
They kept out of the way of the watch on duty, but remained for the most part on deck, as they were free to do. The watchlights on the shore, those in the lighthouses and the lamps in certain seaside hamlets, gave them their position from time to time. They were aware long before daylight that they were drawing near to the harbor mouth of the port where the superdreadnaught lay.
It was blowing a whole gale (in nautical language, sixty-five miles or more an hour) and as the submarine chaser was meeting the seas on a slant, it might almost as well have been a hurricane. As Frenchy said:
“The smaller the boat, the bigger the wind seems. And a ‘happy thought’ like this chaser will kick up like a frisky colt in a dead calm, I do believe. By St. Patrick’s piper that played the last snake out of Ireland! I’ll be a week gittin’ over this pitchin’. What d’you say, Mister Torrance, acushla?”
“Don’t blather me!” growled Torry.
“Hast thou a feeling that all is not well in the daypartment av the intayrior?” teased the Irish lad, who would joke at all times and upon the most serious subjects.
“Torry does look a bit green about the gills,” put in Whistler.
“Serves him right for eatin’ crab-meat salad there at Yancey’s,” declared Ikey Rosenmeyer. “That’s nice chow to go to sea on, yet.”
“I don’t have to ask you what to eat,” said Torry gruffly.