“No thanks to you that I was not killed! You meant to end my life when you pushed me over the cliff, and, as soon as this business is settled I intend to see that you are punished for your crimes. You have gone too far, Carson Blowitz.”
“Not as far as I intend to go!” suddenly exclaimed the other, with a change in his manner. The two boats were now side by side, not twenty feet away. “You have guessed it,” he went on. “I am after the derelict brig, and I intend to get her. I am going to finish you before I am through. That ship is mine, and all the cargo on her. If you attempt to touch it I shall have to take stringent measures to prevent you. I warn you not to interfere with my property!”
“Your property!” cried Maurice De Vere. “That brig and all on it is mine, by every legal claim, and I shall maintain my rights to the uttermost.”
“Very well then, it is to be a fight!” answered Blowitz. “We are to be rival seekers after the derelict. Possession is nine points of the law, and I intend to take possession.”
“First you’ll have to find it.”
“Never fear. I am on the track. Good-bye, my recent partner. Sorry I can’t keep you company.”
Blowitz waved his hand, as though in friendly farewell, but Mr. De Vere turned aside, refusing to notice him, for the scoundrel had greatly wronged him, and was now adding insult to injury.
There was a ringing of bells on the tug, and the powerful vessel forged ahead, leaving the Ripper astern.
“Shall we speed up?” asked Jerry. “We can easily beat them, for ours is the faster boat.”
“No, let him go,” replied Mr. De Vere. “He has no more idea, than have I, where to look for the derelict. He is taking the same chances we are, but I’ll not follow him. As he says, we are rivals now. I hope I win, for my whole fortune depends on it.”
“We’ll do our best to help you,” said Bob.
“That’s what we will,” added Jerry, and Ned nodded an assent.
“Bear off to the left,” suggested Mr. De Vere, as a cloud of black smoke from the funnel of the tug showed that the engineer was crowding on steam. “We’ll part company from them.”
Speeding up the engine Jerry steered the Ripper out of the course of the Monarch. The hunt of the rivals to locate the derelict brig was now on.
“They don’t seem to be following us now,” observed Ned, after they had watched the tug continuing on her course.
“No, it looks as if they were taking another tack,” said Maurice De Vere. “I wonder if he can have private information as to the location of the brig? If he has he may get ahead of me and discover her first.”
“I don’t believe he has,” was Jerry’s opinion. “I think he is on a blind search, just as we are.”
“I hope so. It means a great deal to me to find that derelict.”