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- The Rover Boys on the Great Lakes - 6/37 -
"I have determined to stop off at Cleveland," he said to Captain Jasper. "If there is anything I can do for this poor fellow, I will do it willingly."
"Why, I thought you were going through to Buffalo," returned the captain in surprise.
"I was going through, but I've just remembered some business that must be attended to. I'll take the train for Buffalo to-morrow. If you want me to see to it that this poor fellow is placed in the hospital, I'll do it."
The offer appeared a good one, and relieved Captain Jasper's mind greatly.
"You are kind, sir," he said. "It isn't everyone who would put himself to so much trouble."
"I was wrecked myself once," smiled Arnold Baxter. "And I know how miserable I felt when nobody gave me a hand."
"I suppose the authorities will take him until his brothers come in on that yacht."
"There is no need to send him to a public institution. I will see to it that he gets to a first-class hotel," went on Arnold Baxter smoothly.
There was a little more talk, and then Dick was carried ashore and a coach was called.
By this time the freight steamer was ready to leave, and a minute later she proceeded on her way.
Arnold Baxter and Dan looked around and saw only a few people at hand. In the crowd was Luke Peterson, who now came forward.
"Want any help?" asked the lumberman respectfully.
"You might keep an eye open for that yacht," replied Arnold Baxter.
"All right, sir. Where are you going to take young Rover?"
"To the Commercial Hotel. I am well known there, and can easily get him a good room and the necessary medical attention."
"Then, if I see anything of the yacht, I'll send his brothers up to the hotel after him."
"That's it," returned Arnold Baxter. He turned to the driver of the coach. "To the Commercial Hotel," he went on, in a loud voice. "And drive as easy as you can."
Dan was already in the coach, supporting poor Dick in his arms. Arnold Baxter leaped in and banged the door shut. Soon the coach was moving away from the water front and in the direction of the hotel which had been mentioned.
"Of course you are not going to the Commercial Hotel," observed Dan, as soon as he felt safe to speak.
"Leave it all to me, my son," was Arnold Baxter's reply. "We got him away nicely, didn't we?"
"Never mind the future, Dan. How is he?"
"Dead as a stone, so far as knowing anything is concerned."
"I trust he remains so, for a while at least."
The coach rattled on, and presently came to a halt in front of the hotel which had been mentioned.
"Wait here until I get back," said Arnold Baxter to his son and to the coach driver, and then hurried inside of the building.
Instead of asking for a room he spent a few minutes in looking over a business directory.
"It's too bad, but they haven't a single room vacant," he said, on coming back to the coach. "I've a good mind to take him to some private hospital, after all. Do you know where Dr. Karley's place is?" he went on, turning to the coach driver.
"Then drive us to that place."
Again the coach went on. Dr. Karley's Private Sanitarium was on the outskirts of Cleveland, and it took half an hour to reach it. It was an old-fashioned building surrounded by a high board fence. Entering the grounds, Arnold Baxter ascended the piazza and rang the bell.
A negro answered the summons, and ushered him into a dingy parlor. Soon Dr. Karley, a dried-up, bald-headed, old man appeared.
"And what can I do for you, sir?" he asked, in a squeaky voice.
"Just the man I wanted to meet," thought Arnold Baxter.
He was a good reader of character, and saw that Dr. Karley would do almost anything for money.
The doctor's sanitarium was of a "shady" character. Among the inmates were two old men, put there by their relatives merely to get them out of the way, and an old lady who was said to be crazy by those who wished to get possession of her money.
"I have a peculiar case on hand, doctor," said Arnold Baxter, after introducing himself as Mr. Arnold. "A young friend of mine has been almost drowned in the lake. I would like you to take charge of him for a day or two."
"I will pay you well for your services," went on Arnold Baxter.
"You have him with you?"
"Yes, in a coach outside. He was found drifting on a log and almost out of his head on account of exposure to the water and the hot sun. I think a few days of rest and medical attention will bring him around all right."
The little old doctor bobbed his head. "I will go out and see him," he said.
Quarter of an hour later found Dick in an upper room of the sanitarium, lying on a comfortable bed, and with Dr. Karley caring for him.
In the meantime Arnold Baxter had gone out and paid the coach driver.
"Do you generally stand down by the docks?" he asked.
"No, sir; my stand is uptown," was the reply. "I had just brought down a passenger when you hailed me. But I can go down for you, if you wish."
"It will not be necessary. The doctor has a carriage, and I will hire that later on, when I see how the patient is making out"
"All right, sir; then I'm off."
As the coach passed out of sight Arnold Baxter chuckled to himself.
"I reckon that was well done," he muttered. "I don't believe the Rovers will find their brother very soon, if they ever find him!"
THE SAILING OF THE "PEACOCK."
"Oh, my, what a bad dream I have had!"
Such were the words which Dick uttered to himself when he came once again to the full possession of his senses.
He gazed around him curiously. He was in a plainly furnished room, lying on the top of a bed covered with a rubber blanket, so that his wet clothing might not soil the linen beneath. His coat and shoes had been removed, likewise his collar and tie, but that was all.
The shades of the two windows of the apartment were tightly drawn and a lamp on the table lit up the room but dimly, for it was now night. No one was present but the sufferer.
"Well, one thing is certain, I didn't drown, after all," he went on. Then he tried to sit up, but fell back exhausted.
He wondered where he was, and if Tom and Sam were near, and while he was wondering he fell into a light sleep which did a great deal toward restoring him to himself.
When Dick awoke he found Dr. Karley at hand, ready to give him some nourishing food. The doctor had just come from a long talk with Arnold Baxter, and it may as well be stated that the two men understood each other pretty thoroughly.
"Where am I?" he asked, in a fairly strong voice.
"Safe," said the old doctor soothingly. "Here, take this. It will do you a whole lot of good."
"Are my brothers around?"
"We'll talk later, after you are stronger."
The old doctor would say no more. Dick took the medicine offered, and did really feel stronger. Then a light breakfast was brought in, of which he partook readily. The food gone, the doctor disappeared, locking the door after him, but so softly that Dick was not aware of the fact until some time later.
While Dick was trying to get back his strength the Baxters were not
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