“We oughtn’t to feel that way,” said Jerry. “He’s doing us a favor.”
“Of course,” admitted Bob. “I know it, and I suppose I shouldn’t feel that way, but I do, and I can’t help it. I don’t want any favors from him. He’s the kind, who, if he does something for you, will want you to do twice as much for him in return.”
“Well, I’ll be more careful next time I run this motor boat,” said Jerry. “It’s too bad.”
“Might be worse,” said Ned as cheerfully as he could.
“Don’t you want to go ashore, boys?” called Mr. Blowitz.
“I guess we’d better,” murmured Bob. “The water is quite deep except for the place where the Ripper went on the rocks.”
“The motor boat will stay there all right until high tide,” the man went on. “Better anchor her well, however, it might come on to blow.”
Jerry attended to this, throwing over a strong anchor which was aboard. Then the three boys joined the others in the rowboat.
“Can you find your way to shore, through this fog?” asked Rose.
“Oh, yes, we’re not far from the beach,” replied Mr. Blowitz. “I’ve been out to see an old fisherman, on business, and I was slowly coming back through the fog, when I saw your boat. I didn’t know you owned that.”
“We don’t,” replied Jerry shortly, for he did not want to get too friendly with Mr. Blowitz, even if that man did show a desire to do so. “We hired it.”
“I thought I’d seen it in the bay before,” went on the man. “It’s a fine boat. I suppose you could go out quite a way to sea in her.”
“You could,” said Bob. “It’s big enough to weather quite a gale, and you could carry provisions enough for two weeks.”
“It certainly is a fine craft,” went on Mr. Blowitz, as if he was thinking of something. “A fine craft.”
“Did you ever hear anything more of your brig, the Rockhaven?” asked Nellie.
“Yes, I did,” was the unexpected answer. “In fact that was why I went out rowing to-day. I had a telegram from the captain of the brig last night. It seems she did not sink as at first supposed, but is a derelict, drifting about somewhere off this coast.”
“Has any one seen her?” asked Ned.
“Yes, the captain of a fishing smack. He was the man I went to interview to-day. He says as he was cruising along, day before yesterday, he sighted what he took to be a small boat. When he got closer he saw it was an abandoned brig. From his description I knew it was the one I was interested in.”
“But if you only got a telegram from the captain of the brig last night, telling you it had not sunk, how did you know the fishing smack captain had sighted her, and how did you go out to see him to-day?” asked Jerry, for he thought there was something queer in the story Mr. Blowitz told, while the man’s manner did not favorably impress him.
“Oh, that,” and Mr. Blowitz glanced sharply at Jerry, and then resumed his rowing toward shore. The fog had lifted a bit, and the beach could be made out. “Well, that was rather queer,” admitted the man, slowly, as if searching about for a good answer. “You see I didn’t know the fishing captain had seen the derelict. When I got the telegram, telling me the brig was still afloat, I thought it might be a good plan to go about among the fishermen, making inquiries.”