The Rover Boys at School





 

CHAPTER XXVIII

 

THE RECOVERY OF THE WATCH

 

 

Arnold Baxter hesitated but a moment on gaining the depot

platform.  A freight train was passing the station at a slow rate

of speed, and, running to an empty car which stood wide open, he

leaped on board.

 

Dick was close behind him, and as the man boarded the freight car

caught him by the leg.  As Dick held on like a bulldog there was

nothing left for Arnold Baxter to do but to drag the youth up

behind him.

 

"You imp!" he snarled, as the two faced each other on the car

floor.  "What do you mean by following me in this fashion?"

 

"And what do you mean by running away in this fashion?" panted

Dick.

 

"I have a right to do as I please."

 

"And so have!"

 

"You have no right to follow me."

 

"That remains to be seen, Arnold Baxter.  I would like to ask you

a few questions."

 

"Would you, indeed?" sneered the tall man.

 

"Yes.  I won't waste words.  Were you and my father enemies years

ago?"

 

At this direct question Arnold Baxter scowled darkly.  "Yes, if

you are anxious to know," he muttered.

 

"I fancied as much.  You tried to swindle him out of some Western

mining property."

 

"The boot was on the other leg--he tried to swindle me--ran

off to Africa with my papers, I think, or else left them somewhere

where I can't find them."

 

"I do not believe you, for my father was an honest man, while you

are the boon companion of a thief."

 

"Have a care, boy--I won't stand everything!" snarled Arnold

Baxter, his eyes gleaning like those of an angry cat.

 

"I am not afraid of you, Arnold Baxter.  I shall hand you over to

the police at our next stopping place!"

 

"Will you!" hissed the man, and leaped at Dick, bearing him down

to the car floor.  At once his hand sought the lad's throat.

 

"I've a good mind to choke the life out of you," he went on.  "I

hate you all--everyone who bears the name of Rover!"

 

"Le--let up!" gasped Dick, growing purple in the face, while his

eyes bulged from their sockets.

 

"I'll pitch you off!" was Arnold Baxter's answer, and suddenly he

lifted Dick up in his strong arms and stepped to the open doorway.

They were passing over a trestle spanning a wide gully, at the

bottom of which were bushes, rocks, and a tiny mountain stream.

 

"Don't!" cried Dick, and snatched at the handle of the car door.

He had just clutched it, when Arnold Baxter launched forth his

body into space.

 

The next instant, and while Baxter stood by the edge of the door,

the long train swung around a sharp curve.  There was a quick

jerk, and with a yell of fright which sounded in Dick's ears for

days afterward, Arnold Baxter slipped through the doorway and went

tumbling head foremost down into the gully!

 

Dick shut his eyes at the sight and clung fast mechanically.

Then, as soon as he could recover, he swung himself into the car.

He could not stand, and sank like a lump of lead to the car floor

unconscious.

 

When he recovered, several train hands surrounded him, and his

face was wet from the water they had poured over him.  It was

fully an hour before he could tell his story, and then a hand-car

was sent back to the spot where Arnold Baxter had had his terrible

fall.

 

The rascal was found at the foot of the gully, a leg and several

ribs broken and otherwise bruised.  He was carried to the hand-car

like one dead, and later on transferred to a hospital at Ithaca.

Here it was announced that he might possibly recover.

 

"He's a bad one," said Tom, when he heard Dick's story.  "I would

like to know what Buddy Girk has to say about him."

 

Buddy had been taken to the Rootville jail and searched, and a

pawn-ticket for the stolen watch found in his vest pocket.  The

ticket was on a Middletown pawnbroker, and showed that fifteen

dollars had been loaned on the timepiece. Buddy had more than this

amount in his pocket, and some time later the money was forwarded

to the pawnbroker, and then the precious watch and chain came back

to Dick, in as good a condition as ever.

 

"I haven't got nuthin' to say," said Buddy, when Dick tried to

make him talk.  "I didn't steal the watch, and I didn't do nothin'."

 

"You won't tell me anything about Arnold Baxter?" questioned Dick.

 

"Ain't got nuthin' to say," repeated Buddy, who was planning to

escape from jail that very night.

 

And escape he did, through a window the bars of which were bent

and broken.  The authorities searched for him for nearly a week,

but the search proved unavailing.

 

"I don't care particularly," said Dick, in commenting on the affair.

"I have my watch back and that's the main thing."

 

"But Buddy ought to be punished.  Now if it was Arnold Baxter who

had gotten away--after that terrible fall--I wouldn't say a

word," answered Tom.

 

The encampment came to an end in a blaze of glory on the Fourth of

July, with firecrackers and fireworks galore.  The cadets stayed up until

after midnight,and Captain Putnam gave them a free rein. 

"Independence Day comes but once a year," he said.  "And I would not

give much for the boy who is not patriotic."

 

"You are right there, captain," returned George Strong.  "Our boys

are true blue, every one of them."

 

Out on the parade ground the cadets were singing loudly and

marching at the same time.  Everyone was in the best of high

spirits, and it was a time never to be forgotten.

 

 

With the termination of the encampment the school term came to an

end, and the Rover boys returned to their home with their uncle

and aunt.  But more adventures were in store for them.   


The boys arrived at the homestead two days after the Fourth and were

met at the door by their Uncle Randolph and Aunt Martha.

 

"Welcome home, all of you!" cried Randolph Rover.  And as their

aunt kissed them, he continued, "And what do you think of your

school?"

 

"What do we think?" repeated Tom.

 

"Why, we think Putnam Hall is the best boys school on earth!"

 

And Dick and Sam agreed with him.

 

 

The End

 



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