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   Chapter 17 CHAPTER XXI

The Motor Boat Club and The Wireless; Or, the Dot, Dash and Dare Cruise By H. Irving Hancock Characters: 3188

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


THE SPARK FINDS A FRIEND THROUGH THE GALE

The time had dragged on far into the night. Joe was still at the wireless sending table, sleepless, patient, brave-a sailor born and bred.

Jasper, like many another rascal a superstitious coward in the face of impending death, was seeking to appease the sting of his conscience by doing everything in his power to make amends in these grave moments. He stood by, pallid-faced yet collected enough to obey any order instantly.

Captain Tom remained on deck all the time now, though Hank often relieved him briefly at the wheel. Both Hepton and Jasper stood by to help as deck-hands. Powell Seaton came up on deck occasionally, though he remained more in the motor room.

Again and again Joe signaled-always that desperately appealing "C.Q.D.!" It was all the signal he needed to send out. Wherever heard, on land or water, the first operator to catch it would break in at once with a demand for further particulars.

Yet Joe's soul grew sick within him as time 220 passed, and no such break came through the storm-laden air. For Dawson, as well as had he stood on deck, knew that this endless, malignant fury of the gale must sooner or later start the seams of the staunch little craft. Or else, struck by a wave bigger than any others, she would lie so far over on her beam ends that she must finish the man?uvre by "turning turtle"-lying with her keel uppermost, and the crew penned underneath to drown in haste.

"Nothing to report yet, Joe, old fellow?" came down Captain Tom's brave though anxious voice for perhaps the fortieth time.

"No reply to our signals, Tom," went back the answer.

"Do you think our spark is still strong enough to carry far?"

"Plenty of electric 'juice' left," Joe responded. "The spark is as strong as ever. Oh, if we only had as much gasoline!"

"Oh, if we only had!"

But ten minutes after that last call Joe again sent forth:

"C.Q.D.! C.Q.D.!"

Then down the receivers traveled a click-not loud, yet unmistakable.

"Where are you? Answer!" came the response, out of the air from some quarter. 221

In frantic haste Joe Dawson fell upon his key once more.

Motor yacht "Restless!" Under no power whatever. Gasoline almost gone-saving the last for any emergency chance that comes to us. All canvas blown overboard. Do you get this?

It seemed to frenzied Joe Dawson as though many minutes passed, yet the response came promptly:

Give us your present position, "Restless," as best you know it!

Joe obeyed with fingers that seemed themselves to be worked by electricity. The receiver of the message repeated Joe's response, to make sure that it was correct.

"Who are you?" Joe now broke in to answer.

Havana liner, bound north, and, we believe, within thirty miles of you. Have you been signaling long?

"Seems as though I had been signaling for years," sent back Joe, laughing nervously to himself. The answer came:

We'd heard you before, then, but there was a little mishap to our installation. You keep at your table to send and receive. I'll do the same at my end. Keep up your courage until we reach you. Be ready to burn Coston lights when we ask you to.

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