“‘Help!’ he howls. ‘Help! I’m drowning!’
“I got him by the collar, took one stroke and bumped against the weir-nets. You know what a fish-weir’s like, don’t you, Mr. Brown?—a kind of pound, made of nets hung on ropes between poles.
“‘Help!’ yells Allie, clawing the nets. ’I can’t swim in rough water!’
“You might have known he couldn’t. It looked sort of dubious for a jiffy. Then I had an idee. I dragged him to the nighest weir-pole. ‘Climb!’ I hollers in his ear. ‘Climb that pole.’
“He done it, somehow, digging his toes into the net and going up like a cat up a tree. When he got to the top he hung acrost the rope and shook.
“‘Hang on there!’ says I. ‘I’m going after the boat.’ And I struck out. He yelled to me not to leave him, but the weir had give me my bearings, and I was bound for my power-boat. ’Twas a tough swim, but I made it, and climbed aboard, not feeling any too happy. Losing a good skiff was more’n I’d figgered on.
“Soon’s I got some breath I hauled anchor, started up my engine and headed back for the weir. I run along-side of it, keeping a good lookout for guy-ropes, and when I got abreast of that particular pole I looked for Allie. He was setting on the rope, a-straddle of the pole, and hanging onto the top of it like it owed him money. He looked a good deal more comfortable than I was when he and Prince had treed me. And the remembrance of that time come back to me, and one of them things they call inspiration come with it. He was four feet above water, ’twas full tide then, and if he set still he was safe as a church.
“So instead of running in after him, I slowed ’way down and backed off.
“‘Come here!’ he yells. ‘Come here, you fool, and take me aboard.’
“‘Oh, I don’t know,’ says I. ’You’re safe there, and, even if the yacht folks don’t come hunting for you by and by—which I cal’late they will—the tide’ll be low enough in five hours or so, so’s you can walk ashore.’
“‘What—what do you mean?’ he says. ‘Ain’t you goin’ to take me off?’
“‘I was,’ says I, ’but I’ve changed my plans. And, Mr. Allie Vander-what’s-your-name Davidson, there’s other things—low-down, mean things—planned for this night that ain’t going to come off, either. Understand that, do you?’
“He understood, I guess. He didn’t answer at all. Only gurgled, like he’d swallered something the wrong way.
“Then the beautiful tit for tat of the whole business come to me, and I couldn’t help rubbing it in a little. ’As a sartin acquaintance of mine once said to me,’ I says, ’you look a good deal handsomer up there than you do in a boat.’
“‘You—you—etcetery and so forth, continued in our next!’ says he, or words to that effect.
“‘That’s all right,’ says I, putting on the power. ’You’ve got no kick coming. I allow you to—er—ornament my weir-pole, and ‘tain’t every dude I’d let do that.’