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- The Rover Boys on the Ocean - 30/38 -


"Dat's it," put in Buddy Girk. "I'm afraid the police will let down on us any minit."

"The trouble is, that other boat I mentioned is after us."

"How many are on board?"

"The three Rover boys and an old sailor."

"Four, and we'll be five, not counting the woman you mentioned. I don't think I am afraid of the Rovers," returned Arnold Baxter. "Besides, can't we get away from them in the dark without their knowing what is up?"

"Perhaps we can," said the son slowly. "The trouble is -- What's that?"

Dan Baxter stopped short, as a cracking sound broke upon their ears.

Dick had stepped on a rotten board, and it went down. His foot was caught and held at the ankle, and before he could extricate himself Arnold Baxter and Buddy Girk had him in their grasp.

"Dick Rover again!" ejaculated Arnold Baxter. "Where did you come from?"

"Your son can tell you that," answered Dick. "Let go of me!"

"To be sure I will!" returned the elder Baxter sarcastically. "Are you alone?"

"You can look for yourself."

"I don't see no buddy here," announced Girk, as he held up the candle. "Maybe somebody is downstairs."

"I'll go down and see," put in Dan Baxter.

Fearful that Sam might be caught, Dick did his best to break away. "Sam! Sam! look out for yourself!" he yelled. "Don't let them catch you! Call Tom and Harris, and the police, quick!"

"Hang the luck!" muttered Arnold Baxter. "We must cut for it, and be lively about it, too."

"Take de swag," said Girk, referring to a tin box hidden under the flooring of the factory. In this was hidden the money and securities stolen from Rush and Wilder.

He ran off to get the box. In the meantime Arnold Baxter stood undecided as to what to do. Then he raised his fist and struck Dick with an unexpected blow to the temple.

"Take that, you imp!" he cried, and the youth went down at full length more than half stunned.

In the meantime Sam heard the rapid footsteps and the cry of alarm, and his heart leapt to throat. Then, as Dan Baxter and Mumps came towards him, he retreated in the direction of the Searchlight, giving the danger signal as he ran.

"I've got de box!" shouted Buddy Girk to Arnold Baxter. "Wot's de next move?"

"Follow me," said Dan Baxter. "And lose no time. That other boy will soon have the whole neighborhood aroused."

Away went the crowd out of the factor, the bully leading. Once down in the meadow, Dan Baxter hurried them off in the direction of a tiny cove where the Flyaway lay at anchor, with Bill Goss on watch at the stern and Mrs. Goss in the cabin with Dora.

As quickly as they could do so, one after another tumbled on board of the yacht. They heard cries in the distance, as Tom and Martin Harris leaped ashore to join Sam.

"Up the mainsail!" roared Dan Baxter, and Goss obeyed the order with alacrity. At the same time Dan Baxter and Mumps pulled up the anchor; and in less than two minutes the Flyaway was standing out into the bay.

CHAPTER XXIII

DOWN THE STATEN ISLAND SHORE TO SANDY HOOK

"Dick! Dick! What ails you?"

"My head, Sam! Arnold Baxter struck me down," came with a groan.

"Can you get up? We want to follow them," cried Tom, as he caught his brother by the arm. He had just reached the factory on a dead run, lantern in hand, to find Dick.

"I guess I can stand, Tom. But I can't run yet."

"Here, take the lantern and I'll carry you," came quickly, and in a moment more Tom Rover had Dick on his back and was running for the Searchlight as rapidly as the nature of the meadow land permitted, Dick holding the light over his head so that both might see.

The alarm had now become general, and by the time the yacht was gained two police officers, who had been on the hunt for harbor thieves, appeared.

"What's the row about?" demanded one of the officers of the law, as he came into view.

"Is that an officer?" questioned Dick feebly,

"I am an officer -- yes."

"We are after some thieves and some parties who have abducted a girl. Will you help us?"

"Certainly, if what you say is true. Where is the crowd?"

"They ran off in that direction," came from Sam, as he loomed up out of the darkness. "They have a yacht out there somewhere."

"Then we can't catch them -- unless we get a boat," answered Sergeant Brown.

"We have a boat, out this way," and Sam pointed with his hand. "But I guess we had better make certain that they go out first."

"True for you, young man. Lead the way and we'll be with you."

All ran on again, Tom bringing up in the rear with Dick. Soon the cove previously mentioned was gained. They were just in time to see the Flyaway disappearing in the darkness.

"Come back here!" cried Tom. "If you don't it, will be the worse for you!"

"Don't you attempt to follow us!" came savagely from Arnold Baxter. "If you do, somebody will get shot!"

"By crickety, he's a bad one!" cried the second police officer.

"Stop! I order you to stop, in the name of the law!" shouted Sergeant Brown.

"It's the police!" howled Mumps in sudden terror. "Oh, dear! I knew we should catch it."

"Shut up," muttered Dan Baxter. "Run up the jib, Goss, and be quick about it!"

"You do it -- I'll have to steer here," answered the sailor, and Dan Baxter leaped for the sheet mentioned.

"Are you going to stop?" cried Sergeant Brown, after a few seconds' pause.

To this there was no answer. The sergeant drew his pistol, but before he could use it, even if he so intended, the yacht was nothing but an uncertain shadow in the gloom of the night.

"We had better get to your boat," said the police officer.

"All right; come on," said Sam, and showed the way, which was decidedly uncertain. At one point there was a wide ditch to cross, and Tom had his hands full getting Dick over.

Martin Harris was watching for them, and had all ready to cast off should this be required.

"I'm mighty glad you found the police," he said to Dick, who now felt able to do for himself once more. "Will they go with us?"

"You are certain those folks on the other boat are thieves?" demanded Sergeant Brown. "Carter and I don't want to go off on any wild goose chase."

"They are not only thieves, but abductors," said Dick. "We can easily prove it. They must be caught if it is possible to do so."

"All right then, we'll go with you. Come, Carter," and the two officers hopped on board. Soon the mainsail was set, followed by all the other available canvas, and the Searchlight was continuing the chase which had been so curiously broken off.

Martin Harris was in the dark so far as knowing what course the Flyaway had taken, and had to trust to luck to fall in with the fleeing craft.

"If she's going outside of Staten Island, I reckon I can spot her before long," he said.

"It looks to me as if the clouds were blowing away," said Tom. "If they do, the starlight will help us a good deal."


The Rover Boys on the Ocean - 30/38

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