“How did you like it, Maurice,” asked Thad later on, as they were getting ready for bed.
“Oh, it was an interesting experience,” returned the other; “but I don’t know that I’d give much to repeat the dose.”
And Thad was of the same mind. “But that bear hunt will be something different, you bet,” he observed.
SHIPMATES FOR A ROUND THE WORLD CRUISE
Each passing day presented some new and attractive feature along the banks of the great river; and under other conditions Maurice would have been delighted to go ashore and witness the operation of grinding sugarcane, or baling cotton where the cotton gin worked. But these things would have to keep until another occasion, for destiny now beckoned to the two lads, and they felt that their fortunes were wrapped up in this anticipated meeting with the old sailor.
On the twelfth of February, at two in the afternoon, they arrived at the upper stretch of the river metropolis, and from that time on they kept fully on the alert so as to avoid a collision with some passing boat.
At the same time they were also looking for a certain boatyard, to which they had been recommended by Mr. Buckley, who knew the proprietor well, and for whom a letter was reposing in the pocket of Maurice’s coat.
Luckily this boatyard was near the upper part of the city, so that they did not have to pass along the entire water front, in constant danger of a spill from the many vessels moving about, great tows of coal barges such as they had seen on the river many times, ocean steamers, ferry boats, sailboats and numerous other river craft propelled by steam, gasoline or sails.
The proprietor of the boatyard looked at them a bit suspiciously as they drew the ungainly craft that had served them as a home during the long cruise, into his “pocket;” but upon reading the letter Maurice presented his face changed in its expression and he shook hands with both lads heartily.
And thus early in their experience in the world our boys realized what a splendid thing it is at any and all times to have a friend at court, ready to speak a good work in one’s favor.
They could tie up in the yard, and he would see to keeping the shanty-boat with some things aboard, to be given to their friend, Bob Archiable, when he arrived.
And yet Maurice and his friend looked at the Tramp with regret in their eyes when they were saying good-by to the craft; for they had enjoyed many good times aboard the faithful little floating home since leaving the Indiana town, and would have many pleasant memories in the dim future to look back upon.
Mr. Buckley had insisted upon Maurice taking the little snapshot camera along with him when he departed, saying that he had ordered a larger and more expensive one; and that it was worth it to be shown how to develop and print in the clever manner Maurice had done.