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- The Rover Boys in New York - 2/40 -
the fancy headgear the dudish student was wearing.
"Oh, I-- er-- I beg your pardon, really I do, don't you know!" stammered William Philander.
"Great Hannibal's tombstone!" spluttered the other student. "What are you trying to do, Tubbs, knock me down?"
"I beg your pardon, Powell, I didn't see you coming," answered the other, as he picked up his hat and commenced to brush it off with care.
"You must be getting blind," growled John Powell, otherwise known as Songbird. "Confound the luck-- you spoilt one of my best rhymes," he added, as he stooped to pick up his writing pad.
"Sorry, upon my honor I am," returned William Philander. "Can I help you out on it?"
"I don't think you can. Did you ever try to write poetry-- real poetry, I mean?"
"No, my dear boy, no. I'm afraid I would not be equal to it."
"Then I don't see how you are going to help me," murmured Songbird, and he passed on a few steps, coming to a halt presently to jot down some words on his pad.
"Hello, Songbird!" called out Tom. "How is the Muse to-day, red-hot?"
For a moment John Powell did not answer, but kept on writing. Then his face broke out into a sudden smile.
"There, that's it!" he cried. "I've got it at last! I knew I'd get it if I kept at it long enough."
"Knew you'd get what, the measles?" asked the fun-loving Tom.
"'Measles' nothing!" snorted the would-be poet. "I have been writing a poem on 'The Springtime of Love,' and I wished to show how----"
"'The Springtime of Love!'" interrupted Tom. "That must be a second cousin to the ditty entitled ''Tis Well to Meet Her at the Well.' "
"I never heard of such a poem," answered Songbird, with a serious air. "How does it go?"
"It doesn't go, Songbird; it stands still. But what have you got on the pad?"
"Yes, let us hear the latest effusion," put in Sam.
"But not if it takes too long," was Dick's comment. "I've only got about ten minutes before that lecture on 'The Cave Dwellers.'"
"I can give Songbird six minutes," said Stanley, as he consulted his watch.
"This is-- er-- something of a private poem," stammered Songbird. "I wrote it for a-- er-- for a personal friend of mine."
"Minnie Sanderson!" cried Sam, mentioning the name of a farmer's daughter with whom all were well acquainted, and a young lady Songbird called on occasionally.
"Read it, anyway, Songbird," said Dick.
"Well, if you care to hear it," responded the would-be poet, and he began to read from the pad:
"In early Spring, when flowers bloom In garden and on fields afar, My thoughts go out to thee, sweet love, And then I wonder where you are! When pansies show their varied hues And birds are singing as they soar, I listen and I look, and dream Of days when we shall meet once more!"
"Grand! fine! immense!" murmured Tom. "Byron couldn't hold a candle to that, Songbird!"
"I listen to the tiny brook That winds its way o'er rock and sand And in the running water see A face that-- that-- that----"
"Go ahead, Songbird!" cried Sam, as the would-be poet stumbled and halted.
"I-- er-- I had the last line, but Tubbs knocked it out of me," grumbled Songbird. "And say, he knocked something else out of me!" he exclaimed suddenly. "I was going to tell you an important bit of news."
"You were?" cried Dick. "What?"
"The word just came in over the telephone, from the weekly newspaper office. Doctor Wallington said you would want to know about it."
"But what is it?" demanded Sam, impatiently.
"Josiah Crabtree has escaped from jail."
"Escaped!" ejaculated Tom.
"Why, we were just talking about him!" put in Dick "When did this happen?"
"Last night, so the newspaper man said. It seems there was a small fire at the jail-- down in the kitchen. There was great excitement, for supper was just being served. In the excitement three of the prisoners, who were out of their cells, escaped. Josiah Crabtree was one of them."
"Too bad!" murmured Sam. "And we thought he was safe!"
"This spells Trouble for us," was Tom's comment, and Dick nodded his head, to show that he was of the same opinion.
ABOUT THE PAST
"Did you get any more particulars?" asked Sam, of the college poet.
"No. The newspaper man was busy, so the Doctor said, and didn't have time to go into details," answered Songbird.
"Did he say who the other prisoners were who got away?" asked Dick.
"Yes, a tramp who was up for robbing a man on the road and a bank clerk who took some money from the bank."
"None of the crowd we are interested in," said Tom.
"I'm glad of it," returned his older brother. "It is bad enough for Crabtree to get away. I hope they keep a strict guard over the others after this."
"Oh, they will, rest assured of that," came from Stanley Browne. "The head jailer will get a raking over the coals for this, mark my words."
"The Stanhopes and the Lanings will be sorry to learn that Crabtree got away," said Sam. "I wonder if they aren't searching for him," mused Sam.
"Oh, they'll search for all of them," put in Songbird. "I think the newspaper man said the sheriff had a posse out."
"Too bad!" said Dick, shaking his head gravely. "And just when we felt sure old Crabtree wouldn't be able to give us any more trouble!"
"It beats the nation, what that man can do!" cried Sam. "Maybe be hypnotized one of the jailers-- just as he hypnotized Mrs. Stanhope years ago.
"He'd be equal to it-- if he got the chance," answered Tom; and then all of the students had to go in to their classes.
To those who have read the previous volumes in this "Rover Boys Series" of books, the lads we have just met will need no special introduction. For the benefit of my new readers, however, let me state that the Rover boys were three in number, Dick being the oldest, fun-loving Tom coming next, and Sam being about a year younger still. When at home they lived with their father, Anderson Rover, and their Uncle Randolph and Aunt Martha on a beautiful farm called Valley Brook, in New York State.
Years before, and while their father was in Africa, the three boys had been sent by their uncle to Putnam Hall Military Academy, as related in detail in the first volume of this series, called "The Rover Boys at School." At the Hall they had made a number of friends, including Songbird Powell and the dudish student, William Philander Tubbs. They had also made some enemies, who did their best to bring the Rover boys to grief, but without success.
A term at school had been followed by a short cruise on the ocean, and then a trip to the jungles of Africa, whither the lads went to find their father, who had disappeared. Then, during vacation, the boys took a trip West, and then another trip on the Great Lakes. After that they went in the mountains, and then came back to Putnam Hall, to go into camp with their fellow cadets.
This term at Putnam Hall was followed by a long journey on land and sea, to a far-away island of the Pacific, where the boys and their friends had to play "Robinson Crusoe" for a while. Then they returned to this country, and, in a houseboat, sailed down the Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers. After leaving the Mississippi they took an outing on the plains, and then went down into southern waters, where, in the Gulf of Mexico, they solved the mystery of a deserted steam yacht.
"And now for home and a big rest!" said Dick, and they went back to the farm. But here something very unusual occurred, and the boys had as lively a time as ever.
While at school the three Rover boys had become well acquainted with three girls, Dora Stanhope and her cousins, the two Laning sisters, Nellie and Grace. Dora was the only daughter of Mrs. Stanhope, a widow, and soon she and Dick became the warmest of friends, while Tom
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