Good old Marlin.
When Thad came in later on he declared that the chances were now that the boat would hold her own during the balance of that stormy night.
“Always providing,” he added, with due caution, “that it don’t get any worse, and the wind shift to the northeast, which would be bad for us here.”
So they started in again to try and keep watch-and-watch, one securing a little sleep while the other stood guard.
It was only a poor makeshift at best, for what Maurice called “cat-naps” were the best they could do at any time.
That night would not soon be forgotten by the boys, for it seemed to be about forty hours long.
And as time crept on at a snail pace the howling of the wintry gale continued unabated, with the roar of the wind through the tree-tops ashore, the dash of the waves on the point above, and the constant wabbling motion of the shanty-boat to remind them of their peril.
It may have been a couple of hours before the time for morning to come along that Thad, after a trip of investigation outside, returned with some news.
“Wind’s shifted!” he announced, as he came staggering in again.
Maurice jumped up.
“Then we ought to get busy if we don’t want to be dragged out of this comfortable pocket again!” he exclaimed.
“Hold on, old fellow; you don’t catch on. The wind has taken a notion to back into the west, and is now whooping it up from across the old Mississip,” said the other, sinking into a seat, and holding both shivering hands out to the cheery blaze.
“Oh! that’s a different thing. I reckon then we’re more in danger of going ashore, than being sent adrift again,” admitted Maurice.
“I guess the anchors are good to hold, if only we don’t get banged on a nasty rock. I’ve got a notion there are a lot around here, even if we can’t see ’em. But the chances don’t amount to much; and it’s me for another little snooze.”
With which Thad sought his bunk, and bundled in “all standing” in sea parlance, not even removing his boots, for he did not know but that he might have to turn out at any moment.
But the next thing he knew was when a most appetizing odor came stealing to his sense of smell, and he realized that his chum was cooking breakfast.
“Hello, there, going to have a midnight meal?” queried Thad, drowsily, as he sat up, rubbing his eyes.
Whereupon the other stepped to the little window, raised the shade and allowed the awakened sleeper to see that dawn was at hand, gray and forbidding, but daylight all the same.
“Well, all I can say, pard, is, that I’m mighty glad to see her come along. That was the most ding-dong night I ever spent, for a fact. And I guess I dreamed about you going in swimming with all your duds on, too. That was what woke me up just now with a jump.”