“It looks as if our search was going to be longer than I at first thought,” said Mr. De Vere on the fifth day. “It is a good thing we are well provisioned and have plenty of gasolene.”
“Yes, we could stay out for three weeks if necessary,” replied Jerry.
“I hope we don’t have to,” went on the owner of the brig. “A week ought to bring us within sight of her, if she still floats. But there is no telling what that scoundrel Blowitz may have done. He is capable of having some one of the crew bore holes in the ship before they deserted hEr, so she would slowly sink, and he could collect the insurance. In fact he may have done so, and only be pretending that she is a derelict. I wish we would get sight of her. A great deal, so far as my fortune is concerned, depends on the result of this search.”
The boys, no less than Maurice De Vere, were anxious to sight the derelict, not so much for the prize money, but because they wanted to be successful, and have their cruise result in something.
Another day went by, and, though they sighted several vessels in the distance, no water-logged craft or slowly drifting derelict greeted their eyes.
“We’ll hope for better luck to-morrow,” said Mr. De Vere as darkness began to fall, “though from the weather indications, I would say we were in for a blow.”
“It does look as if getting ready for a storm,” admitted Jerry.
There was a curious stillness to the air, and the ocean had a queer oily look, the waves heaving restlessly as though they were impatient at their slow motion, and wanted to break into a wild revel.
Off to the west there was a murky, yellowish look to the sky, and, now and then, there came puffs of wind that had in them a hint of great force and power.
“We had better make everything as snug as possible,” advised Mr. De Vere. “If it comes on to blow in the night we’ll have our hands full to manage the boat.”
In A bad storm
Shortly after midnight, Jerry who was to take the last, or dog-watch was awakened by Ned shaking him in his bunk.
“What— what’s the matter?” asked Jerry sleepily.
“You’d better get up I think. The boat is pitching something fierce, and it’s beginning to blow great guns.”
“Um!” exclaimed Jerry, as he got out of his bunk, and was thrown up against a bulkhead by a roll of the boat. “I should say it was pitching some. Where’s Rob? Where’s Mr. De Vere?”
“I didn’t call them. I thought I’d tell you first and see what you thought.”
“Wait until I take a look outside,” said Jerry, dressing as best he could while swaying to and fro with the motion of the Ripper.
“Here! Quit your fooling!” suddenly exclaimed Bob, as he rolled from his bunk, and barely saved himself from a bad shock by landing on his hands and feet in a crouching attitude, as does a cat. “What did you do that for?”