He decided to change his plans and sail for the North Cape, thereby adding more than $30,000 to his credit.
Monty was on deck when the inspiration seized him, and he lost no time in telling his guests, who were at breakfast. Although he had misgivings about their opinion of the scheme, he was not prepared for the ominous silence that followed his announcement.
“Are you in earnest, Mr. Brewster?” asked Captain Perry, who was the first of the company to recover from the surprise.
“Of course I am. I chartered this boat for four months with the privilege of another month I can see no reason to prevent us from prolonging the trip.” Monty’s manner was full of self-assurance as he continued: “You people are so in the habit of protesting against every suggestion I make that you can’t help doing it now.”
“But, Monty,” said Mrs. Dan, “what if your guests would rather go home.”
“Nonsense; you were asked for a five months’ cruise. Besides, think of getting home in the middle of August, with every one away. It would be like going to Philadelphia.”
Brave as he was in the presence of his friends, in the privacy of his stateroom Monty gave way to the depression that was bearing down upon him. It was the hardest task of his life to go on with his scheme in the face of opposition. He knew that every man and woman on board was against the proposition, for his sake at least, and it was difficult to be arbitrary under the circumstances. Purposely he avoided Peggy all forenoon. His single glance at her face in the salon was enough to disturb him immeasurably.
The spirits of the crowd were subdued. The North Cape had charms, but the proclamation concerning it had been too sudden—had reversed too quickly the general expectation and desire. Many of the guests had plans at home for August, and even those who had none were satiated with excitement. During the morning they gathered in little knots to discuss the situation. They were all generous and each one was sure that he could cruise indefinitely, if on Monty’s account the new voyage were not out of the question. They felt it their duty to take a desperate stand.
The half-hearted little gatherings resolved themselves into ominous groups and in the end there was a call for a general meeting in the main cabin. Captain Perry, the first mate, and the chief engineer were included in the call, but Montgomery Brewster was not to be admitted. Joe Bragdon loyally agreed to keep him engaged elsewhere while the meeting was in progress. The doors were locked and a cursory glance assured the chairman of the meeting, Dan DeMille, that no member of the party was missing save the devoted Bragdon. Captain Perry was plainly nervous and disturbed. The others were the victims of a suppressed energy that presaged subsequent eruptions.