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- The Rover Boys on the Great Lakes - 10/37 -


"It's not the end of it, Dr. Karley. We want to know how you came to let Arnold Baxter have your horse and carriage."

"I didn't know the horse and carriage were out of the stable. The man must have taken them on the sly."

"It's not likely. Open the door and let us in--it will be best for you."

"Ha, you threaten me!"

"I've done more than that-I've sent for a policeman."

At this announcement the old doctor grated his teeth savagely. He was much disturbed and knew not how to proceed.

"I was a fool to go into this thing," he muttered. "It may lead to all sorts of trouble. I must get myself clear somehow."

"Are you going to let us in?" went on Tom.

"Yes, I will let you in. But allow me to state that you are acting very foolishly," answered the doctor, and dropped the window. A few minutes later he appeared at the door, which he opened very gingerly.

"You can come into the parlor," he said stiffly.

"We'll remain right here," answered Tom, afraid of some sort of a trap.

"Well, what do you want?"

"I want to know where that young man, my brother, is."

"The man who was with him said he was his nephew."

"It was a falsehood. Now where is my brother?"

"Honestly, I have not the slightest idea."

"What was that man doing with your carriage?"

"I repeat, young man, I did not know he had the carriage." The old doctor drew a long breath, wondering how soon an officer of the law would appear. "Of course if anything is wrong I am perfectly willing to do all I can to set it right. My institution is above reproach, and I wish to keep it so."

"Are you willing to let me look through your place?"

"So you think your brother is here?"

"I do."

"You are very forward. Still, to convince you that you are mistaken, you are at liberty to go through my place from top to bottom. But you must not disturb any of the patients."

"All right; let us go through. Sam, you remain here, on the watch for that policeman."

With bad grace Dr. Karley led the way and took Tom through the sanitarium from top to bottom, even allowing him to peep into the rooms occupied by the "boarders," as the medical man called them. Of course there was no trace of Dick.

"Now I trust you are satisfied," said the doctor, when they were again at the front door.

"I am not satisfied about that carriage affair," returned Tom, as bluntly as ever.

"Well, I have told you the truth."

At this moment the coach driver came in sight, accompanied by a policeman.

"What's the trouble?" demanded the officer of the law.

Tom and Sam told their tale, and then the doctor had his say, and the driver related what he knew.

"Certainly a queer mix-up," remarked the policeman. He turned to the Rovers. "What do you want to do?"

"I want to find my brother, who has disappeared," said Tom.

"You say you have searched through here?"

"I have--after a fashion."

"You can go through, if you wish," said the doctor to the officer.

"I reckon my brother is gone," went on Tom. "But this doctor helped the rascals who spirited him away."

"I did absolutely nothing," cried Dr. Karley. "I am willing to aid you all I can. But I am innocent. I received no pay for giving the unfortunate young man some medicine to strengthen him, and my horse and carriage were taken without my knowledge."

A long and bitter war of words followed, but in the end the doctor was left to himself.

"We'll make no charge against him yet," said Tom to the policeman. "But I wish you would keep an eye on the institution--in case that rascal puts in an appearance again."

"I will," returned the officer.

A little while later Sam and Tom set out to rejoin Luke Peterson. When they gained the dock they saw nobody.

"He ought to be somewhere about," said the younger Rover.

They tramped about from place to place for fully an hour.

Presently they came close to where the _Swallow_ lay. Had they but known it, the _Peacock_, with poor Dick on board, lay but three blocks further away.

"My gracious!" cried Sam suddenly.

He had seen a form stretched motionless across some lumber lying near.

The form was that of Luke Peterson, and his cheek and temple were covered with blood.

CHAPTER VIII.

ON THE LAKE AGAIN.

"Peterson!" cried Tom, in dismay.

"Can he be dead?" came from Sam. Then he bent over the lumberman. "No, he still lives. But he has been treated most shamefully."

"This must be some more of Arnold Baxter's work"

"Or else the work of some footpad."

Both boys knelt over the prostrate form of the lumberman and did what they could to restore him to his senses.

In this they were partly successful.

"Don't hit me again! Please don't hit me!" the man moaned, over and over again.

"You're safe," said Tom. But Peterson paid no attention, and only begged them not to hit him.

"Let us carry him to the _Swallow_," suggested Sam, and between them they did so.

"Wot's dis?" asked Aleck Pop, in astonishment.

"He is our friend, and has been struck down," answered Tom. "Get some water in a basin, and a little liquor."

When the colored man returned with the articles mentioned both boys washed the wounded man's head and bound it up with a towel. Then Tom administered a few spoonfuls of liquor. This seemed to give Peterson some strength, but he did not fully recover for some hours.

"Follow the _Peacock_," were his first rational words. "Follow the schooner _Peacock_."

"The _Peacock_?" repeated Tom. "Why should we follow her?"

"Your brother is on board." And having spoken thus, the lumberman sank again into semi-unconsciousness.

"Can he be telling the truth, or is he out of his head?" questioned Sam.

"I'm sure I don't know, Sam."

"Perhaps we had better look around for the schooner he mentioned."

"All right, I'll do so. You stay here with Aleck."

"Hadn't I better go with you?"

"No, I'll keep my eyes open," concluded Tom, and hurried away.

It was now dawn, and the early workers were just getting to their employment. Soon Tom met a couple of watchmen and hailed them.

"I am looking for the schooner _Peacock_," said he. "Do you know anything of the craft?"

"Sure, an' that's Gus Langless' boat," said one of the watchmen. "She's lying at the end of Bassoon's wharf, over yonder."

"Thank you," and Tom started away.


The Rover Boys on the Great Lakes - 10/37

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