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- The Rover Boys in Business - 20/39 -


"There! Stay where you are! Don't move!"

"I can't stay here," said another voice.

"Shall I shoot him now?" put in a heavy bass voice.

"No, wait a minute, I am coming over," said still another voice, and then there was silence. The Rover boys looked at each other in amazement. What did the talk mean?

"Say, sounds to me as if somebody was in trouble!" exclaimed Sam.

"Perhaps we had better go and see," returned Tom.

"All right, but we don't want to get into trouble ourselves. Those fellows, whoever they are, or at least one of them, seems to be armed."

"We'll take a few stones along, Sam, and a couple of sticks, too, if we can find them."

Stones were to be had in plenty, and having picked up several of them, and cast their eyes around for a couple of clubs, the lads lost no time in making their way towards the spot from whence the voices had proceeded. This was at a point where the river made a turn and was divided by a long, narrow island into two channels. The island was covered with brushwood, while the banks of the stream were lined with overhanging trees.

"Now, I am going to shoot him!" cried one of the voices which the boys had heard before.

"No, don't do it, just wait a minute!" answered some one else.

"Maybe they have got some poor fellow, and have robbed him," suggested Sam, as he and his brother hurried forward as quickly as the trees and tangled brushwood would permit.

"One thing is certain, that fellow, whoever he is, is in trouble," returned Tom. "Perhaps we had better yell to those other fellows to stop."

"If we do that, they may shoot the poor chap, and then run away."

"That's so, too! Well, come ahead, let's hurry and see if we can catch sight of them." And then the two boys pushed ahead faster than ever.

Presently the youths came to where there were a number of high rocks covered with trailing vines. As, to avoid these, it would have been necessary to wade in the stream, and thus get their shoes and stockings wet, they began to scramble over the rocks with all possible speed.

"Listen! They are talking again!" exclaimed Sam.

"Grab him! Grab him by the throat!"

"That's all right, Jim, but I don't want the boat to upset," growled another voice.

"Say, you fellows make me tired!" roared the heavy bass voice. "Do you want to keep us here all day?"

"What do you know about this gun? Maybe it will explode."

"Say, Sam, I don't know what to make of this!" panted Tom, who was almost out of breath from the violence of his exertion.

"Maybe they are tramps, and are holding somebody up. Anyway, it sounds bad," returned his brother.

Hauling themselves at last to the top of the rocks, the Rover boys looked ahead. Down in the swiftly-flowing stream, they saw a flat-bottom boat containing two men. One man, a tall, burly individual, had a much smaller fellow by the throat, and was bending him backward. Close at hand, on the shore, stood another man, gun in hand, and with the weapon aimed at the burly individual.

"Now then, shoot!" yelled somebody from the shore of the island opposite, and an instant later the gun went off with a bang. As the report died away, the burly man in the boat relaxed his hold on the other fellow, threw up his arms, and fell over into the river with a loud splash.

CHAPTER XV

A TELEGRAM OF IMPORTANCE

The Rover boys were horrified by what they saw, and for the instant they neither moved nor spoke. They saw the small man in the boat look over the side into the stream where his assailant had plunged from sight, then this fellow caught up a single oar that remained in the craft, and commenced to paddle quickly to shore.

"Oh, Tom, they have killed him!" gasped Sam, on recovering from the shock.

"It certainly looks like it, Sam," returned Tom. "If he wasn't shot dead, he must be drowned. Come on!" and, heedless of possible danger, Tom scrambled down from the rocks and hurried towards the men, with Sam close behind him. They had not yet reached the pair. on the river bank, when, to their amazement, they saw the burly individual who had gone overboard, reappear at a point further down the stream. He was swimming lustily for shore.

"Hello! He can't he so badly hurt!" exclaimed Tom. "Look at him strike out!"

"Maybe he was only scared, and went overboard to escape a second shot," suggested Sam.

"Hi! you fellows over there!" yelled the man who carried the gun. "Was that all right?"

"It looked so to me, although you were a little slow about it," came from the shore of the island; and now, glancing in that direction, Sam and Tom saw two men. One had what looked to be a megaphone in his hand, and the second stood behind a high, thin camera with a handle attached, set on a tripod. At the sight of the camera, both youths stopped short. Then Tom looked at his brother and began to snicker.

"Sold! What do you think of that, Sam?"

"Why, they are only taking a moving picture!" exclaimed the younger Rover. "Talk about a sell, Tom! That's one on us."

"Don't let them know how we were sold," returned the brother, quickly. "If it leaked out we'd never hear the end of it."

"Right you are! Mum's the word!" And it may be added here that the boys kept their word, and said nothing to those at home about how they had been fooled.

By the time they reached the man in the boat and the fellow with the gun, the individual who had gone overboard was coming up the river bank, dripping water with every step.

"Say, was that all right?" he demanded, as he stripped off his coat and wrung the water from it. "I hope it was, because I don't want to go through that again, not even for the extra five dollars."

"So you are taking moving pictures," remarked Tom, pleasantly. "That was sure a great scene."

"Oh, so you saw it, did you?" returned the man with a gun. "I thought we were here all alone," and he did not seem to be particularly pleased over the boys' arrival.

"Going to take some more pictures here?" questioned Sam.

"That's our business," answered the man in the boat, crustily.

"Well, maybe it's ours, too," returned the youngest Rover, quickly, not liking the manner in which he had been addressed. "This land belongs to my folks."

"Oh, is that it?" cried the man, and now he looked a bit more pleasant. "Are you the Rovers?"

"Yes."

"No, we are about done with our picture taking in this vicinity," continued the man in the boat. The next picture in this series is to be at the railroad station at Oak Run."

"Say, I would like to get into some of those movies," remarked Tom. "I imagine it would be a lot of fun."

"Not if you've got to go overboard as I did," grumbled the man who was wet. "Talk about the strenuous life, this takes the cake! Why, in the past ten days, I have gone over a cliff, rescued two women from a burning tenement house, climbed a rope hanging from a burning balloon, and fallen off a moving freight car. Can you beat that for action?"

"Certainly some stunts!" answered Tom. "But one must get a lot of fun out of it."

"Oh, sure! Especially when one of the women you are saving from the burning house gets nervous for fear the flames will reach her, and grabs you by the ear and nearly pulls it off," growled the moving picture actor.

"Say!" yelled the man with the megaphone. "Aren't you coming over here to get us?"

"Of course," returned the man in the boat, hastily. "Bill, give me that other oar," he went on, and having secured the blade, he lost no time in rowing over to the island. In the meanwhile, the fellow with the camera had dismounted the moving picture machine and folded up the tripod, and was ready to depart.

"Would you mind telling me what this picture is going to be called?" asked Sam. "We would like to know so, if we see it advertised anywhere, we can take a look at it."

"This is scene twenty-eight from 'His Last Chance,'" answered the man with the gun.

"All right, we'll take a chance on 'His Last Chance' when we get the


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