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- The Rover Boys on the Ocean - 10/38 -


"You think that you are a smart boy," growled Baxter uneasily.

"Thank you for nothing."

"Don't get impudent."

"That is what old Crabtree used to say."

"The Rovers always were too important for their own good, young man."

"We know how to do the fair thing by others -- and that is more than you!"

"Shut up; I'm in no humor to listen to your preaching."

"Then open the door and let me go."

"Not just yet. I want to know how much you overheard of my talk with Buddy Girk."

"I reckon he heard all of it," growled the fool.

"If I was you, Baxter, I wouldn't let him go at all."

"You would keep him a prisoner?"

Buddy Girk nodded.

"But we can't guard him, Buddy."

"We won't want to guard him. Just bind him hands and feet, and stuff a gag in his mouth, and there you are."

"Would you leave him in this room?"

"I don't know." Girk scratched his tangled head of hair. "No, I wouldn't. I'll tell you where to take him."

He finished by whispering into Arnold Baxter's ear. At once the rascal's face brightened, and he nodded. "Just the thing!" he muttered.

"It will serve him right."

"Are you going to let me go?" demanded Dick uneasily, for he saw that the two were plotting to do him injury.

"No," came from both.

Without another word Dick leaped for the door. The key was in the lock, but ere he could turn it Buddy Girk hauled him back. A scuffle followed, which came to a sudden termination when Arnold Baxter raised his heavy cane and struck the boy, on the back of the head. With a million stars dancing before his eyes, poor Dick went down completely dazed.

Girk lost no time in following up the advantage thus gained, and by the time Dick felt like rising he found his hands bound behind him and a gag of knotted cloth stuffed into his mouth. Then his feet were fastened together, and he was rolled up in an old blanket much the worse for wear and the want of washing.

"Now, come on, before anybody else spots us!" exclaimed Baxter. "If you can lift him alone I'll bring the light. I'm no good on the carry yet."

"All right, light the way," answered Buddy Girk, and took up the form of the boy.

Taking up the smoky lamp, Arnold Baxter led the way out of a rear door to a side hallway. Here two flights of stairs led to a low and ill ventilated cellar. The underground apartment had never been used for anything but old rubbish, and this was piled high on all sides.

"Here we are," said Baxter, as he paused in front of what had once been a stone coal bin. "Dump him in there and shut the door on him. I don't believe he'll get out in any hurry."

Dick's form was dropped on a heap of dirty newspapers and straw. Then Girk and Baxter left the bin. There was a heavy door to the place, and this they closed and shoved the rusty bolt into the socket. In a second more they were on their way upstairs again, and Dick was left to his fate.

CHAPTER VIII

THE SEARCH FOR DICK

"Dick is taking his time, that's certain."

The remark came from Sam, after the boys who had been left in the alleyway had waited the best part of half an hour for the elder Rover's reappearance.

"Perhaps he has found something of interest," suggested Frank.

"And perhaps he has fallen into a trap," put In Tom. "I've a good mind to hunt him up."

"If you go I'll go with you," said Sam.

"I don't want to be left out here alone," said Frank. "Let us wait a little longer."

The best part of an hour passed, but of course nothing was seen or heard of Dick.

"I shan't wait any longer," began Tom, when they saw the front door of the tenement opened and two men hurried forth. Both had their hats pulled far down over their eyes and had their coat collars turned up, even though the night was warm.

"Out of sight!" cried Sam in a low voice, and they dropped down behind the stoop of the second tenement.

"One of those men was Buddy Girk!" ejaculated Tom, when the pair had passed up the alleyway.

"And don't you know who the other was?" demanded Sam. "It was Dan Baxter's father!"

"Impossible, Sam. Arnold Baxter is in the hospital, and -"

"It was Dan Baxter's father, as true as I'm born, Tom. No wonder he walked with a cane! Am I not right, Frank?"

"I don't know, I'm sure I don't remember Dan's father. But that was Buddy Girk, beyond a doubt."

All of the boys were considerably excited and wondered if it would be best to follow up the vanishing pair.

"I'd do it if I was certain Dick was safe!" cried Tom. "I'm going to hunt for him," he added, and before the others could stop him he entered the tenement. He stumbled around the lower hallway for several minutes and then called out softly:

"Dick! Dick! Where are you?"

No answer came back, and he continued his search. Then, lighting a match, he mounted the rickety stairs and called out again.

"Phat are ye a-raisin' such a row about?" demanded an Irish voice suddenly, and a front room door was thrown open. "Can't ye let a dasent family slape?"

"I'm looking for my brother," replied Tom. "Sorry to disturb you. Have you seen anything of him?"

"Sure an' I don't know yer brother from the side av sole leather, Vy. Go 'long an' let me an' me family slape," replied the Irishman.

"I've got to find my brother, sir. I'm afraid he has met with foul play. He came to see the men who just went out."

"Oh, is that so now? Foul play, is it? I thought them newcomers was up to no good. I heard 'em carryin' on in their room a while ago."

"Which room is it, please?"

"There ye are -- the wan on the lift. Is the dure open?"

Tom tried the door. "No, it's locked -- the two men just went out." He raised his voice. "Dick! Where are you? Dick!"

"If yez call like that yez will have the wholt tiniment aroused," said the Irishman. "An' it's' a bad crowd on the nixt flure, I kin tell ye that."

"I can't help it -- I am bound to find my, brother," replied Tom desperately.

Disappearing for a moment, the Irishman came out half dressed and with a lighted candle in his hand. By this time Sam and Frank had followed Tom to the upper floor. Soon several men and women put in an appearance, including Dutch Jake.

"Who vos dot poy you vos look for?" asked the aged German. "Vos he der von vot was standin' by dis door apout an hour ago?"

"I guess so," said Tom.

"Dem mans vot got dis room open der door und took him inside."

"Took him inside!" burst out Sam and Tom simultaneously.

"Yah," replied Dutch Jake, but failed to add that he had had anything to do with the capture.

"Von of dem say dot poy vos stole some money alretty."


The Rover Boys on the Ocean - 10/38

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