“Now what I am going to ask of you boys is this: Will you go with me in your motor boat and search for the brig? Wait; do not give me an answer now. I think I can prove to you that I have a right to the abandoned ship, and I will pay you well for your time and trouble. Better than Blowitz offered to. But do not decide in a hurry. I must get in a little better shape myself, and then I have some arrangements to make. But I hope you will decide to go. Of course, if you don’t care to, I can hire some one else, but I would rather have you boys. Now you can go home and think it over, and let me know at your leisure.”
The boys did not know what to say. Events had happened so rapidly that they did not exactly understand all of them. They realized, however, that they had another chance to go on a cruise on the Pacific, in the Ripper, and they felt that they ought to take advantage of it, and aid Mr. De Vere.
“I think I shall have to break up this little party,” said the physician, coming in just then. “I can’t have my patient getting a fever. You boys will excuse me, I know, if I ask you to let him get some rest now.”
“That’s all right,” spoke Jerry. “We’ll see you to-morrow, Mr. De Vere.”
“Very well,” was the answer, and the boys left the injured man to the care of the doctor.
“Well, what do you think of that?” asked Ned, as he and his chums were on their way to the Seabury bungalow. “Isn’t it simply great?”
“Great? It’s immense!” exclaimed Bob. “We’re going, aren’t we, Jerry?”
“If you fellows say so, and outvote me, I suppose you are.”
“But you want to go, don’t you, Jerry?”
“I didn’t say I did not. I think we have a different man to deal with, in this Mr. De Vere, than we had in Blowitz. I think we shall go derelict hunting, boys.”
“And maybe we’ll not have sport!” exclaimed Ned.
They were soon within sight of the bungalow. The storm clouds had continued to gather, and the moon only shone at brief intervals. The wind was blowing considerable, and there was every evidence that it would rain before morning.
“Guess we got in just in time,” said Ned, as they entered the gateway. As he spoke Ned came to a sudden stop. He was looking at a dark figure which seemed to be stealing up to the bungalow.
It appeared to be that of a man, advancing so as to make no noise, and attract no attention. The fitful gleams of moonlight showed him to be stooping over, and, now and then, glints of light about him, indicated that he carried a dark lantern, which he flashed at intervals to enable him to see his way.
“Look!” whispered Ned, grasping Jerry’s arm.
“I see,” was the low answer.
“It’s a burglar,” spoke Bob. “Let’s creep up on him, and make a capture!”
Off on A cruise