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

"I--er--that is, we--the lady and myself--there is some mistake." He tried to go on, but failed utterly.

"You fraud, you!" cried Tom, and came forward, followed by Sam. "Now, Josiah Crabtree, we are on top, and we mean to stay there. Mr. Ruff, you had better handcuff him."

"I will," returned the detective, and brought forth a pair of steel "nippers."

"Handcuff me!" groaned Crabtree, "Oh, the disgrace! No! no!"

"You ought to have thought of the disgrace before," was Ruff's comment, and the next minute the handcuffs were fast on the prisoner.

A shout was now heard from one of the Canadian sailors. He was pointing to the north of the island, where a steam tug had just hove into sight.

The tug was coming on rapidly, and as she drew closer Tom and Sam made out a youth standing on the cabin top, eagerly waving his hand to them.

"Dick!" cried both of the Rovers. "Dick, by all that is wonderful!"

It was indeed Dick and the _Rocket_, and soon the steam tug came up to the stern of the sloop and made fast.

"Tom and Sam, and safe!" burst out Dick, and then his eyes fell upon the Stanhopes. "Dora!" He shook hands and blushed deeply, and so did the girl. "Why, I never expected this!"

"None of us did," answered Dora with a warm smile.

"And your mother, too!"

"It's like a fairy tale," put in Tom, "and I guess it's going to end just as happily as fairy tales usually do."

It took some time for each to tell his story. When it came to Dick's turn, he said the steam tug had done her best to follow up Captain Langless and his schooner, but had failed because of the darkness.

"She's now out of sight," he concluded, "and there is no telling where she is."

"Well, let him go," said Tom. "We have Arnold Baxter, and he is the chief villain. I don't believe Captain Langless will ever bother us again."

After a long conversation it was decided that all of the party should return to the mainland in the steam tug and the sloop, the latter to be towed by the former. Dick remained on the sloop with the Stanhopes, while Josiah Crabtree was placed in the company of his fellow-criminal, Arnold Baxter. With the party went the Canadian who was married, and his wife, leaving the other Canadian to look after the wreck until his partner should return with material with which the boat could be patched up.

The run to the mainland was a pleasing one to the Rovers, and also to Larry and faithful Aleck Pop. The negro was on a broad grin over the safety of the brothers.

"Dem boys beat de nation," he said. "Nebber gits into trouble so deep but wot da paddles out ag'in in short ordah; yes, sah!"

During the trip it was decided by the Stanhopes, on Dick's advice, to prosecute Josiah Crabtree to the full extent of the law. Mrs. Stanhope demurred somewhat to this, but Dora was firm, and when the case was brought to trial Crabtree was sent to prison for two years.

The first thing the Rover boys did when on shore was to telegraph to their father, telling him of their safety. This telegram caught Mr. Rover just as he was about to arrange for sending the ten thousand dollars to Arnold Baxter. He was overjoyed at the glad tidings, and came on as far as Detroit to meet the whole party.

"My boys, how you must have suffered!" he said, as he shook one after another by the hand. "In the future you must be more careful!"

Arnold Baxter wished to see Anderson Rover, hoping thereby to influence the latter in his behalf, but Mr. Rover refused to grant the interview, and on the day following Arnold Baxter was sent back to the prison in New York State, there to begin his long term of imprisonment all over again.

There was much speculation concerning Dan Baxter, and when the Rovers went back to the island on the steam tug,--to obtain what had been discovered in the cave,--they asked the Canadian on the wreck if he had seen the youth.

"Yes, I see him," was the answer. "But he is gone now. He went off in a small boat that torched here yesterday."

"It's just as well," said Tom. "We didn't want to see the fellow starve here."

But at the cave which Dick and the others had discovered he changed his tune, for there were many signs that Dan Baxter had visited the locality. The money which had been lying on the dust-covered table was gone, likewise the map and the dagger.

"We are out that much," said Dick to Larry and Peterson.

"The boxes and casks are not disturbed," replied the old lumberman.

"He couldn't carry those," said Larry. "Perhaps he thinks to come back for these later."

"Then we'll fool him," replied Dick.

All of the goods were transferred to the steam tug and taken to Detroit, where, after remaining unclaimed for some time, they were sold, the sale netting the Rovers and their friends several thousand dollars.

One odd-shaped box Dick kept as a souvenir. It had been a money casket and was lined with brass. Little did the youth dream of all the strange adventures into which that casket was to lead him and his brothers. What those adventures were will be told in another volume of this series to be entitled, "THE ROVER BOYS IN THE MOUNTAINS; or, A HUNT FOR FUN AND FORTUNE."

The home-coming of the three boys was celebrated in grand style, not alone by the Covers, but by many of their friends, who flocked in from far and near to see them. Captain Putnam was there, along with many of their old schoolfellows.

"It's good to be home once more," said Sam.

"Especially with so many friends around you," added Tom.

"And after escaping from so many perils," came from Dick.

And here let us leave them, wishing them well, both for the present and the future.


The Rover Boys on the Great Lakes - 37/37

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