"Have a care!" he said, reluctantly drawing forth a small blue flask. "This is schnapps. A little is enough."
A little WAS enough. The paleness gave way to a faint flush. Jacob opened his eyes, and, half bewildered, half ashamed, feebly tried to free himself from those who were supporting him.
There was no alternative, now, for our party but to have their exhausted comrade carried, in some way, to Leyden. As for expecting him to skate anymore that day, the thing was impossible. In truth, by this time each boy began to entertain secret yearnings toward iceboats, and to avow a Spartan resolve not to desert Jacob. Fortunately a gentle, steady breeze was setting southward. If some accommodating schipper would but come along, matters would not be quite so bad after all.
Peter hailed the first sail that appeared. The men in the stern would not even look at him. Three drays on runners came along, but they were already loaded to the utmost. Then an iceboat, a beautiful, tempting little one, whizzed past like an arrow. The boys had just time to stare eagerly at it when it was gone. In despair, they resolved to prop up Jacob with their strong arms, as well as they could, and take him to the nearest village.
At that moment a very shabby iceboat came in sight. With but little hope of success Peter hailed at it, at the same time taking off his hat and flourishing it in the air.
The sail was lowered, then came the scraping sound of the brake, and a pleasant voice called from the deck, "What now?"
"Will you take us on?" cried Peter, hurrying with his companions as fast as he could, for the boat as "bringing to" some distance ahead. "Will you take us on?"
"We'll pay for the ride!" shouted Carl.