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- The Rover Boys on the Great Lakes - 36/37 -

One end of the plank still rested on the sloop, and Fairwell quickly placed the board in position again.

By this time the Baxters were crawling out of the lake. Sam caught hold of Dan while Tom tackled the father.

With a heavy boathook in his hand Randy Fairwell now ran ashore, followed by Ruff.

"You had better give up the fight," said Fairwell to Arnold Baxter. "If you are in the right, you shall have justice done to you."

"I will never give in!" growled Arnold Baxter savagely, and did his best to get away. Seeing this, Sam let Dan go and started in to help Tom. The struggle lasted several minutes, but Fairwell put an end to it by catching Arnold Baxter from behind and holding him in a grasp of iron, and then the rascal was made a close prisoner by being bound with a rope.

"Now for Dan!" cried Tom, and turned around, to find that Dan Baxter had taken time by the forelock and disappeared. It was destined to be many a day before any of the Rovers set eyes on him again.



"Dan is gone!"

"Which way did he go?"

"I don't know."

"He ran up the shore, in that direction!" called out Dora, pointing with her hand.

Leaving Arnold Baxter in the grasp of Fairwell and Ruff, Tom and Sam hurried off.

But Dan Baxter had disappeared in a perfect wilderness of rocks and bushes and could not be located.

"Never mind," said Tom; "let him go, if he wants to remain on this lonely spot."

All were soon on board the sloop, and Tom and Sam told their tale, to which Dora, as well as the others, listened with close attention.

"Then my mother is safe!" burst out the girl. "Thank Heaven for that!"

"She was safe when last we saw her," said Tom. "I guess the best thing we can do will be to get back to the wreck of the _Wellington_ without delay."

"Yes! yes! take me to my mother at once. I have been hunting for her ever since she disappeared."

"But how did you happen to come here?"

"I found out that Josiah Crabtree had hired the _Wellington_, and day before yesterday we ran across a steamboat which had sighted the schooner headed in this direction."

"How did he get her away in the first place?"

"We were stopping at a hotel in Canada and I went out to do some necessary shopping. When I got back my mother was gone. She had received a bogus note, written I presume by Crabtree, asking her to come to me at once, as I had been taken sick in one of the stores. I immediately hired a detective, Mr. Ruff here, and we tracked Mr. Crabtree to the lake."

"Good for you, Dora,--a man couldn't have done better," cried Sam so enthusiastically that Dora had to blush.

"But now I want to get to mother without further delay."

"Let us set sail at once, then," said Tom. "The distance to the wreck is not over two miles."

Without delay the anchor was hoisted, the mainsail set, and the sloop left the shore. She was a trim-built craft, and under a good breeze her bow cut the shining waters of the lake like a knife.

The only one on the boat who was not in good humor was Arnold Baxter. When he got the chance he called Tom Rover to him.

"Rover, what do you intend to do with me?" he asked.

"We intend to hand you over to the authorities."

"You are making a great mistake."

"I'll risk that."

"If you'll let me go I'll promise to turn over a new leaf, and, more than that, I'll help your father to make a pile of money out of that mine in Colorado."

"Your promises are not worth the breath they are uttered in, Arnold Baxter. You belong in prison, and that is where you are going."

At this Baxter began to rave and utter words unfit to print. But Tom soon stopped this.

"Keep a civil tongue in your head, or we'll gag you," he said, and then Baxter relapsed into sullen silence.

The breeze was favorable, and it was not long before the sloop rounded a point of the island and came in sight of the _Wellington_.

"Let us surprise old Crabtree," suggested Sam. "We can keep out of his sight until the last moment."

Tom was willing, yet Dora demurred, wishing to get to her mother as soon as possible. Yet, as they drew closer, the girl stepped behind the cabin for a minute.

"A ship!" cried Peglace, who was on watch on deck. "A ship at last, and coming to shore!"

He uttered the words in French, and they speedily brought to the deck his companion and his companion's fat wife.

"A ship, sure enough," said the other Canadian, while his wife shed tears of joy.

Josiah Crabtree had just been interviewing Mrs. Stanhope in the cabin. He was trying again to hypnotize her, and she was trying to keep from under the spell.

"A boat must be coming, by the cries," said the former teacher. "I will go to the deck and investigate."

He ran up the companion way, and Mrs. Stanhope followed. The lady felt weak and utterly discouraged.

"If I only had Dora with me!" she murmured to herself.

"Did you speak?" asked Crabtree, looking over his shoulder.

"Not to you," she answered coldly.

Soon Crabtree was at the stern. The sloop came closer, and a rope was thrown to the _Wellington_ and made fast by the Canadians. The smaller craft drew so little water that she did not ground, even when lying at the larger ship's stern.

"Hullo!" began Josiah Crabtree, addressing Randy Fairwell. "This is most fortunate."

"I see you are wrecked," returned Fairwell calmly.

"Exactly, sir--a very unfortunate affair truly. Will you rescue us?"

"Anybody else on board?"

"Yes, a lady to whom I am engaged to be married," and Crabtree smiled blandly. "Will you come on board?"

"I guess I will," answered Fairwell. "Eh, Mr. Ruff?"

"Yes," answered the detective, and leaped on the deck of the wreck.

By this time Mrs. Stanhope was on deck also, gazing curiously at those on the sloop.

"I believe this is Mr. Josiah Crabtree?" went on Ruff coldly.

"Eh? Why--er--you have the advantage of me!" stammered the former teacher of Putnam Hall, falling back in dismay.

"Are you Josiah Crabtree or not?"

"I am; but--"

"Then consider yourself my prisoner, Mr. Crabtree."

"Your prisoner!"

"That is what I said."

"But why do you say I am arrested? Who are you?"

"You are arrested for plotting against the welfare of Mrs. Stanhope there and Dora Stanhope, her daughter; also for forging Dora Stanhope's name to a letter sent to the girl's mother."

"It is false. I--I--Oh!"

Josiah Crabtree staggered back, for Dora had run forward. In a second more mother and daughter were in each other's arms. An affecting scene followed. Josiah Crabtree turned a sickly green, and his knees smote together.

The Rover Boys on the Great Lakes - 36/37

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