“Well, we’ll take a little,” Jerry said.
“I thought so. Here!” and he clapped his hands to summon the waitress, who soon returned with some cups of cold chocolate.
“Now to business,” went on Mr. Blowitz, after a pause. “Did I understand you to say you had hired that large motor boat?”
“We have; for several weeks,” answered Jerry, who, by consent of Ned and Bob, had been elected spokesman.
“And do you think it could go to sea— say for a couple of weeks?”
“Yes, I think so. But did you think of hiring her from us? Because if you did I don’t believe we can consider it, as we have no authority to let any one but ourselves run it.”
“Oh, no, I was not thinking of running it,” declared Mr. Blowitz. “I wouldn’t know how if I wanted to. But I was thinking I might engage the motor boat and you with it, as a crew, to go on a cruise for me.”
“Yes, out on the Pacific, but not too far from shore, say not more than twenty miles.”
“What for?” asked Jerry.
“To search for that derelict— the brig Rockhaven!”
“The Rockhaven!” exclaimed Ned and Bob together.
“Yes, as I told you it has a valuable cargo aboard, and, in addition a supply of gold, in money, and some important papers.”
“Do you think we could find her?” asked Ned.
“I think so,” answered Mr. Blowitz. “I made some particular inquiries of the captain of the fishing smack, whom I saw to-day, and I got her longitude and latitude, as near as he could give it to me. Of course it would be a rather hard search, and might consume considerable time, but I would be willing to pay for that. What I want to know is, if you boys would care to go out in that boat, the Ripper, and search for the derelict? If you find her I will pay you prize money.”
“If we found her, and she was quite a way out to sea, how would we get her in?” asked Jerry.
“You could tow her, unless there was a bad storm. That motor boat is very powerful.”
“Then there isn’t anyone on board now?” asked Bob.
“Not a living soul,” answered the man. “It’s queer how they came to desert her, but I guess the captain and crew got scared and went off in a hurry, without making a proper investigation. The brig is a small one, and if she hit on a rock, or was in a collision, it would not take much to knock her out.
“Now here is my proposition. You are to take the Ripper, get her in good shape for the cruise, and start out. The sooner the better. I will pay all expenses, such as for provisions and supplies. If you return with the brig I will pay you two thousand dollars. If you don’t succeed in finding her, after say a two weeks’ search, you are to return, and I will pay you five hundred dollars, and all expenses. What do you say?”
“That sounds good to me,” replied Bob.
“Suppose we got the vessel, made fast to her, and started to tow her in and had to abandon her because of a storm?” asked Jerry.