Harrie Hancock.

The Motor Boat Club off Long Island: or, A Daring Marine Game at Racing Speed





Well just drop down to Change, announced their employer. You can wait outside, if you wish, until I get an idea how the market is going.

When Mr. Delavan again joined them before the Stock Exchange Building the confident smile had not left his face.

P. & Y. is up to 74, he announced, but all the shorts are making savage assaults. Boys, this is a rather interesting game. It means about two million dollars a point for Moddridge and myself. A point up means the money in our pockets; a point down simply means that our pockets are being picked. However, Im going to stop fussing until to-morrow. Im off, now, in the auto, so you two will have to walk down to the pier. Expect me aboard with a party at about six oclock. Well sail outside to-night. Tell Hank Butts I want a first-class dinner for six this evening. And now, bye-bye.

Well, hes a wonder, ejaculated Joe Dawson, as the motor boat boys turned to walk down the street He may get wiped out yet, but if he does hell buy a fresh cigar, laugh and sit down to plan what hes going to do to make a new fortune.

He can have Wall Street all to himself, though, as far as Im concerned, declared Tom Halstead. If I went there every day Im afraid Id grow to be more like Mr. Moddridge.

To the intense astonishment of both boys, when they boarded the Rocket, Hank informed them that Eben Moddridge was in his berth below and sound asleep.

Why, I really believe Mr. Moddridge is acquiring some nerve, laughed Halstead.

As Hank went below to look over his larder and galley, Halstead and his chum turned to busy themselves with the boat. After her long trip at racing speed there was much to be done in cleaning and trimming up her machinery, and the time was short. Yet, by team work, they accomplished much, and were on deck, in their best uniforms, when two cabs arrived at the pier.

Out of the first stepped Mr. Johnson, Banker Oliver and a stranger, the latter one of Mr. Delavans Wall Street friends.

Out of the second cab came Mr. Delavan. He turned while a second gentleman alighted. At sight of this last man Tom Halstead and Joe Dawson looked in swift delight at each other, then straightened up more than ever. For the man with the owner was George Prescott, the Boston broker, who had organized the Motor Boat Club and was now its president.

How do you do, boys? Im heartily glad to see you, was Mr. Prescotts greeting. Stepping across the gang-plank, he shook hands vigorously with each youth in turn.

Ive been hearing some fine things of you both, he added. Im proud of my Motor Boat Club members. I shall have a long talk with each of you on the trip to-night.

Down the Bay, through the Narrows, and then anywhere, Captain; say, down along the Jersey coast. Well be out all night, announced Mr. Delavan, though youll not need to put on much speed. Be back at eight in the morning, as you were this morning.

Yes, sir, replied Captain Tom, saluting lightly.

Hank cast off, bow and stern, then hurried below, getting into his white jacket and busying himself with the dinner.

By the time they were a mile from the pier dinner was announced.

They were through the Narrows, and some miles down the New Jersey coast when the gentlemen came out of the cabin again. It was a fine, starlit night. While the others seated themselves in chairs on the after deck, Mr. Prescott climbed up the steps, pulling up an arm chair so that he could sit close to the young captain. As the Rocket was going along at less than ten miles an hour and the sea was smooth, the young skipper had not much in the way of duty to occupy his attention.

Tom, began the Boston broker, I cant tell you how pleased I am that you have been able to be of such grand service to my friend, Delavan. I recommended Dawson and yourself to him, and he says it has proved to be the greatest service I ever did, or could do him.

Is it a proper question if I ask whether Mr. Delavan is now safely on his feet again? ventured Halstead.

Itll take to-morrows dealings on Change to show whether hes sage, replied Mr. Prescott. But, if he hadnt been on hand to-day, just as he was, nothing could have saved him. By three oclock this afternoon the Delavan-Moddridge combination would have been wiped off the slate for good. Frank Delavan will be back and fighting again to-morrow. Perhaps the greatest strain of all will be to-morrow, for the shorts are powerful and they simply must fight. But Delavan isnt by any means cast down.

As if to prove this, Mr. Delavans voice was heard, at that moment, as he broke into a roar of laughter over a story that had just been told by one of his guests.

He doesnt seem to know what fear or nerves mean, smiled Captain Tom. I never knew a man who seemed to care so little about the things that worry most men to death.

I think most likely, replied Mr. Prescott, musingly, he is no more a stranger to worry than other men. But he has wonderful courage and perfect control of himself. Frank Delavan will never allow himself to be frightened until he has found out just what it was that scared him.

Tom took a look up at the sky to see how the weather lay. Mr. Prescott took a few puffs at his cigar before he continued:

By the way, Tom, I saw Horace Dunstan the other day, and, for the first time, got a complete account of all you and Dawson were able to do to serve him and his interests perhaps I should say, his sons interests down at Nantucket. It was a thrilling yarn to hear, but made four-fold more interesting by the knowledge that boys of mine thats what I call you Motor Boat Club boys were the ones who had acquitted themselves so magnificently.

Then the two fell to talking over the happenings at Nantucket. Readers of the second volume in this series are already familiar with the occurrences at Nantucket. Then, by degrees, the two went back to the subject of those days in the Kennebec waters, which resulted in the organization of the famous Club, as told in the first book of this series.

When they had exhausted other topics Tom Halstead ventured to inquire:

Can you tell me how Justin Bolton came out to-day?

Oh, Bolton is still putting up a big fight on Change, or was when the gong sounded this afternoon. Yet he is a few millions of dollars poorer than he was this morning. He will put up a plucky fight, for in the battle of finance he is very nearly as game as Delavan himself.

After an hours chat Mr. Prescott dropped down into the engine room and enjoyed a long talk with Joe Dawson. When the Boston broker came on deck again the Rockets young steward was standing beside the youthful skipper at the wheel.

Mr. Prescott, spoke Captain Tom, respectfully, Butts is very anxious to be enrolled as a member of the Club. He can handle a boat like this from the deck as well as anyone, and he promises to pitch in and study the running of a motor hard.

Youre a member, then, Butts, laughed Mr. Prescott. Tom Halsteads nomination of a young man for membership is as good as election into the Motor Boat Club.

Thank you, sir, and thank you, Tom, said Hank, very earnestly. I am going to do everything I know how to become one of the members of the Club.

Then you like motor boating, do you? inquired the Boston broker.

Like it? echoed Hank. Why, sir, motor boating is the only sport for a rich man, and the only job for a poor one. I came near saying Id sooner be cabin boy on a motor craft than a member of Congress. And Im not sure, sir, but what thats right.

Eleven oclock found the cabin darkened, and all but the necessary lights out. Owner and guests were in their berths. Halstead was soon sound asleep and Joe dozed in a berth in the engine room, where he could be ready for duty instantly if the engine needed his attention.

Hank, at the wheel, handled the craft carefully, though he was dreaming a goodly bit under that fine August night sky.

A member of the Club, he repeated to himself over and over again. Whee! I hope Im skipper of a craft like this myself one of these days. Being steward and crew aint so bad, yet I surely do envy Tom Halstead.

In the morning, as on the day before, the Rocket was berthed punctually. This time Tom and Joe were not invited to go up to the Stock Exchange. They would have liked immensely to have seen the days doings, but there was an abundance of work to be done aboard.

I shall probably have the same party again to-night, said Mr. Delavan, before going ashore. Coggswell will be with us, too, if it is possible to get him to come.

At one oclock that afternoon Captain Tom was summoned to the telephone office nearest the pier to talk with his employer.

That you, Captain Halstead? came the voice of Delavan over the wire. Good enough. What I have to say is that Im going to give the Rocket a rest for a little while.

Are you going to lay the boat up, sir? asked Tom, feeling a start of disappointment, for he had grown very fond of his present work.

Oh, I am going to keep on the water, replied the Wall Street man. But Im going to make a change for a day or two anyway. Take your crew and go over to Macklins shipyard, South Brooklyn. Theres a boat over there, the Soudan, that I want you to bring around to Pier Eight, North River, by six oclock to-night. Ive arranged it all by telephone. Youll find gasoline, provisions and everything aboard, ready for a start. As youll have some time to spare, you can try the boat up the Hudson a little way, if you like, in order to get used to running her. Macklin has your description from me, and will turn the boat over to you, all right.

Am I too forward, Mr. Delavan, if I ask how things are going on Change? Halstead ventured.

Oh, things are coming our way, I believe, was the cheery response. Its too early to be wholly sure, but were a lot more ahead in the two million dollars a point game. Oh, by the way, I came near forgetting poor Moddridge. Give him my compliments, please, and ask him to go over to South Brooklyn with you.

After everything had been locked up aboard the Rocket the start for South Brooklyn was made.

Im more than glad of this programme, confessed the nervous one. I have an idea that a change of boat will make our change of luck a complete one.

Arrived at the ship-yard Mr. Macklin at once conducted the party down to the slip in which the Soudan lay. She proved to be an extremely handsome boat, five feet shorter than the Rocket, though broader of beam in proportion. In other words, she was fifty-five feet over all, and fifteen wide at the broadest part of her hull.

Youll find everything shipshape and ready, I think, said Mr. Macklin, fitting the keys to cabin door, the hatchways and other locked places. I hope youll like the boat, Captain.

From the little Ive seen of her she looks as though she had been built for a gentlemans boat, replied Halstead.

You may well say that, replied the shipyard man. For example, just step into the cabin.

This part of the craft was found to be fitted up with much luxury. Besides berths in the cabin proper, there were a stateroom and bath-room.

Ill leave you in possession, Captain, announced Mr. Macklin. You will find everything ready for starting at a moments notice.

We wont start until Ive had a little time to study the motor of this new craft, declared Joe. Im not going to be caught with a motor on a boat under way until I understand something about that motor.

In two or three minutes more he had the engine running.

Its a smooth mote, all right, Dawson declared, after a few minutes more of observation. I guess you can cast off, Captain, whenever you feel like moving us out of here.

So the Soudan moved out into the stream. The craft behaved beautifully as the young skipper turned her nose toward the Battery.

How do you like this boat, Mr. Moddridge? asked the young skipper, as the nervous one sauntered by on the bridge deck.

Oh, as well as any other craft, replied Eben Moddridge. Shes a handsome and comfortable vessel, but Ive had so many horrors on the salt water lately that, if I get out of Wall Street with my fortune, as I now have some hopes of doing, I think it will be the mountains or the Middle West for me. Anything to be away from the salt water for a good, long while.

As Moddridge turned away Captain Tom could not help sending after him a look of sympathy. Anyone who could not love the sea and the smell of salt water was much to be pitied!

The short spin up the Hudson River, over the same route taken three hundred years before by Hendrik Hudson though our friends did not at this time go as far up the river proved the excellence of the Soudan as a well-behaved craft. Then the young skipper turned back for Pier eight.

A little before six oclock Mr. Delavan and his friends came aboard, Mr. Coggswell among them. The boat left the pier right afterward.

How do you like this boat, boys? asked Mr. Delavan, approaching the chums as they stood together by the wheel after passing below the Battery.

Shes a fine craft, sir, Tom Halstead answered.

Im glad you like her, nodded Francis Delavan, smiling. Ive bought the Soudan, but I bought her in order to present her to you, Halstead, and to you, Dawson.

CHAPTER XXIV
CONCLUSION

TOM HALSTEAD started, then, open-mouthed, gaped at Francis Delavan in sheer amazement.

Youre joking, sir, he said, thickly.

I sometimes do jest, admitted the Wall Street man, but this is not one of the occasions. Did you young men think I would let your services pass without remembering them in some substantial manner? But here, Ill convince you as to whether Im joking or not. Here comes the president of your Club. Mr. Prescott, to whom does this boat belong?

The deed you handed me declares Thomas Halstead and Joseph Dawson to be the joint owners, replied the Boston broker. The deed also names me as trustee until the young men become of age, or until they dispose of the boat with my consent.

Tell them the rest, Prescott, laughed Mr. Delavan, hurrying away to avoid being thanked. They take me for a jester.

Oh, I didnt mean anything like that, protested the young skipper. Only it all seemed so wonderful, so much as though we were dreaming.

Tom Halstead, whats your course? broke in Joe, rather sharply. Are you trying to beach on Bedloes Island, or collide with the Statue of Liberty!

Truth to tell, Halstead had, for a moment, almost forgotten that he was handling the boat.

Its all true, Mr. Prescott went on heartily, and I congratulate both of you youngsters on your fine piece of property. Of course Delavan knows you boys havent the means to run such a craft as this for pleasure, but he hopes and believes you can make a fine thing out of the boat by chartering her to other people and going along to navigate the boat. Until you become solidly established in this business you can draw against me for supplies. Delavan has handed me a small sum for that purpose.

But a boat like this costs a fortune, declared Joe, staggered, for once.

She cost something like fourteen thousand dollars to build, replied the Boston broker. The former owner has had her two years, and now wants a bigger boat, so he put this one up for sale. Delavan heard of it to-day, and asked me, as a favor, to hurry over to Brooklyn and look the craft over. On my report he bought the Soudan for you two.

But this boat is still worth a fortune, choked Halstead. It wouldnt seem right for us to take such a magnificent present.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Prescott replied, the boat didnt cost Mr. Delavan exactly a fortune. Motor boats are like automobiles, pianos and a lot of other things. After youve used them a while, if you want to sell, youve got to be satisfied with a fraction of the original price. Delavan secured this boat for three thousand dollars. As to its being right for you to accept, I tried to decide that for you. I believe you have a right to such a reward. Without your daring services Mr. Delavan would have been despoiled of his whole fortune.

It was some time before the two young owners of the Soudan got over feeling utterly dazed. It was a much longer time before they outlived the feeling of exultation that this fine piece of property caused them.

I have the deed to the boat for you, boys, wound up Mr. Prescott, displaying a paper. Ill file it away for you until its needed. Now, take as good care of your own boat as you have of the boats of other people.

Hank Butts, while they were talking, passed them on the run, the cabin bell having rung. Soon after Mr. Prescott left Tom and Joe, Hank came out of the cabin, his face a study in amazement.

I I have heard about your great luck fellows, said Hank, eagerly. So this fine boat is yours? Oh, I congratulate you.

Joe and I have just been talking it over, replied Halstead. You have had as much to do with this cruise, Hank, as we have had, and it seems to us you should have a third of the boat. So were going to ask Mr. Delavan

Ask him nothing, advised Hank, promptly. Mr. Delavan was talking with me yesterday, though I didnt know what he was up to. You see, my father is getting old, and my mother isnt always well. Im the only boy left at home, so Ive got to be near them every little while. Mr. Delavan has given me more than I ever thought Id own. That is, Im to have it in a day or two, as soon as Mr. Delavan gets time to go around with me and look things over.

Then you havent been forgotten, or overlooked? queried Halstead. Oh, but were glad of that, old fellow.

Now, I dont get quite such a fine boat as yours, Hank went on quizzically. Mine is to be a thirty-foot launch, suited for taking out pleasure parties in and around Shinnecock Bay. But Mr. Delavan is going to buy me a lot on the bay-front, and build a little pier, so Ill have my own water frontage. Fellows, Ill be fixed for life!

As we are, throbbed Joe Dawson.

But, geewhillikins, fellows, remembered Hank, suddenly, I mustnt get my mind so much on my good luck that I forget theres a dinner to serve.

On this first trip with her new owners the Soudan behaved splendidly. In fact, she afterwards proved to be an exceptionally good, strong and sea-worthy craft.

When the Wall Street party returned to town the following morning, the battle on Change was carried on to a finish. Before the day was over P. & Y. stock was up where it belonged. Steel and the allied securities also behaved in a way that netted large profits for the Delavan-Moddridge combine. Francis Delavan came out of the affair with more than fifteen million dollars of profits, and Eben Moddridge with ten million dollars this in addition to the fortune with which they had started.

The experience has cured Mr. Delavan of any further desire to plunge into Wall Street. He feels that he has more money than he can use, and is now devoting himself solely to advancing the interests of the railway of which he is president.

Eben Moddridge has invested largely in Government bonds, as a rest for his nerves. The balance of his great fortune is invested in securities that do not go up and down on the Wall Street barometer. Mr. Moddridge spends much of his time in the Western States, notably hunting in the Rocky Mountains, and his nerves are coming gradually, surely under control.

Justin Boltons end, financially, came with deserved suddenness and completeness. Unable, with all his millions, to buy in enough P. & Y. stock to cover his immense range of short sales, the worthless fellow found himself with every dollar gone when that last stern day of fighting on Change ended. Bolton is now clerking drudging and scheming, though all in vain.

Ellis and Rexford did not, of course, earn the great sums of money they had expected. Fearing prosecution for their part in the affair, they fled to Europe. Lately the news came that they had been arrested in Paris for swindling American travelers. The pair are now confined in a French prison.

Francis Delavan, generous and forgiving, refused to try to find the crews of the racing launch or of the schooner, or to consider prosecution of these underlings, and they have never been heard of since.

Bolton was the arch-scoundrel, and hes had punishment enough meted out to him, declared the good-humored president of the P. & Y. I never did feel much like going after small fry, anyway. Besides, having to go into court as a witness might upset all the good that has been done to good old Ebs nerves.

Jed Prentiss was soon able to report that his mother had recovered. Jed thereupon took command of Horace Dunstans Meteor for the balance of the season.

Hank Butts has the launch and the water frontage which Mr. Delavan promised him, and is supremely happy. He would rather be a Motor Boat Club boy than anything else he could imagine.

Mr. Delavan continued to cruise for the balance of August, using his own boat part of the time and the Soudan the rest of the time.





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