That something of this nature had happened was evident a few minutes later, for the Monarch had to slow up, and the Ripper was soon so far in advance that to catch up with her was out of the question.
“I guess the chase is over,” announced Mr. De Vere. “I think they’ve had an accident. Still Blowitz will not give up. I must expect a legal battle over this matter when I get ashore. He will try to ruin me, and claim these papers and the gold. But I will beat him.”
The Ripper, urged on by her powerful motor, soon lost sight of the tug, which, from the last observation Mr. De Vere took, seemed to have turned about, to go back to the brig.
Two days later, having made quick time, and on a straight course, the voyagers sighted the harbor of San Felicity a few miles away.
“Now for home!” cried Ned.
“And the bungalow ‘The Next Day,’ Ponto and a good square meal!” added Bob.
“And the girls,” came from Jerry. “I guess they’ll be glad to see us.”
“If Blowitz doesn’t turn up to make trouble for me,” put in Mr. De Vere, rather dubiously.
The Ripper docked that afternoon, and, Mr. De Vere, promising to call on the boys and pay them their prize money as soon as he had seen his lawyer, and deposited the gold and papers in a safe place, bade them good-bye at the wharf, and hurried off. He was fearful lest he should be intercepted by some agent of Blowitz, though there was no sign that the tug had arrived.
The three boys were warmly welcomed by the girls and Mr. Seabury, when they got to the bungalow.
“I congratulate you,” said the elderly gentleman. “You deserve great credit for what you did.”
“Well, we had good luck,” admitted Jerry. “But where is the professor?”
“Out searching for horned toads and web-footed lizards,” said Nellie. “He has enlisted the services of Ponto, and they are continually on the hunt. I hope he gets what he wants.”
“He generally does,” said Bob. “If he doesn’t he finds something else nearly as good.”
Some days later Mr. De Vere called at the bungalow. He had finished up his business affairs, and brought the boys the prize money, as their reward for the parts they had played in the finding of the derelict.
“But this is too much,” protested Jerry, when Mr. De Vere had given him and his comrades nearly half as much again as was originally promised.
“Not a bit of it,” was the reply. “I can well afford it. Those papers were more valuable than you supposed, and I find I will be able to collect insurance on the cargo of the abandoned brig. I have heard from the captain of it, and he tells me, just as I supposed, that he and the crew left her because of the peculiar fumes, so that my theory was right, after all. They tried to take the dogs, which belonged to the first mate, but could not.”
“Did you hear anything more of Blowitz?” asked Ned.