Carl said something about being "glad that they had sense enough to stop and rest," and the four boys skated on in silence to overtake their companions.
All the while Carl was secretly wishing that he had kept on with Peter and Ben, as he felt sure he could easily have come out winner. He was a very rapid, though by no means a graceful, skater.
Ben was looking at Peter with mingled vexation, admiration, and surprise as the boys drew near.
They heard him saying in English, "You're a perfect bird on the ice, Peter van Holp. The first fellow that ever beat me in a fair race, I can tell you!"
Peter, who understood the language better than he could speak it, returned a laughing bow at Ben's compliment but made no further reply. Possibly he was scant of breath at the time.
"Now, Penchamin, vat you do mit yourself? Get so hot as a fire brick--dat ish no goot," was Jacob's plaintive comment.
"Nonsense!" answered Ben. "This frosty air will cool me soon enough. I am not tired."
"You are beaten, though, my boy," said Lambert in English, "and fairly too. How will it be, I wonder, on the day of the grand race?"