“Oh, your boat always makes good time,” complimented Nellie, as she made her way to the cabin of the Ripper. “That’s the only objection I have. You run her so fast that if you ever hit anything it would sink your boat before you had time to jump overboard.”
“But I’m not going to hit anything,” declared Charlie.
He tied the two rowboats together, the other boys helping him, and then anchored them with a small, spare kedge he carried on his craft.
“All ready?” he asked, looking to see that his passengers were comfortably seated.
“Already, Captain Charlie,” answered Rose.
“Here we go then,” and Charlie threw in the dutch of the engine, that had not ceased working,
The Ripper fairly flew away, so suddenly that Bob, who was near the stern, nearly toppled overboard.
“Look out!” cried Charlie.
“Oh, I’m looking out now,” said Bob. “Say, but she can go!”
“Yes, she has some speed,” modestly admitted Charlie.
He turned on more gasolene and advanced the spark still further, so that the boat increased her rate, piling up waves of white foam on either side.
They had a fine trip about the bay, the girls and boys thoroughly enjoying themselves, the latter being particularly interested in the engine part of the craft. The motor boys told the other lad of the Dartaway and how the craft had been destroyed.
“My, but I certainly would like to run this boat,” announced Jerry with a sigh. “She’s a dandy!”
“Maybe you’ll get the chance,” said Charlie.
“The chance? How? What do you mean?” asked Jerry, while his two chums eagerly waited for Charlie’s answer.
Caught in the fog
“Well,” replied Charlie as he sent the Ripper around in a big circle, “you see it’s this way. I came down here expecting to stay with my uncle until Spring. I was going to learn how to raise oranges. I received word this morning that I would have to go back to my home in San Francisco. My father needs me there, because of a change in his business, and I’ve got to go.”
“That’s too bad!” exclaimed Rose.
“I guess you are thinking more of his motor boat than you are of Charlie,” said Nellie, with a laugh at her sister.
“I was not!” declared Rose, indignantly.
“Well, I’ve got to leave my boat here,” went on Charlie.
“Leave it here!” repeated Olivia.
“Yes, and I’m looking for some one to take charge of it while I’m gone.”
“Take charge of it!” exclaimed Ned and Bob at once, while a joyous look came into Jerry’s eyes.
“What I mean,” said Charlie, “is that I would hire it out. I think that would be a better plan than merely to loan it to some one, for there is a chance that it might be damaged, and would have to be repaired, and, if I got a reasonable rent for it that would cover such a mishap.”