The Rover Boys in Southern Waters or The Deserted Steam Yacht

Juvenile Fiction/
#Juvenile Fiction #Transportation
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Excerpt CHAPTER I THE ROVER BOYS AND THEIR FRIENDS "The houseboat is gone!" "Tom, what do you mean?" "I mean just what I say, Sam. The houseboat is gone—vanished, missing, disappeared, drifted away, stolen!" ejaculated Tom Rover, excitedly. "Tom, don't go on in such a crazy fashion. Do you mean to say the houseboat isn't where we left it?" "It is not,—and it is nowhere in sight on the river," returned TomRover. "Come, we must tell Dick and the others about this." "But we left the Dora in charge of that big planter last night," insisted the youngest of the Rover boys. "He said he would take good care of the craft." "Well, he is gone too. I hunted high and low for the houseboat, and for that planter, but without success." "Maybe the boat drifted away, with the planter on board, Tom. The current has been pretty strong since those heavy rains." "She was tied up good and tight," answered Tom Rover, his usually merry face wearing a troubled look. "I can't understand it." "I must say I didn't like that planter's manner much. He looked to be rather a sly one. Come on, let us find Dick and the others at once," went on Sam Rover. "If the houseboat has been stolen we want to know it right away, so we can get on the trail of the thief." "True for you, Sam." Tom Rover heaved a short sigh. "My! what a lot of troubles we have had since we started on this houseboat trip!" "Yes—but we have had lots of sport too." The two brothers were standing near the bank of the broad Mississippi River, just below the town of Shapette, in Louisiana. The party to which they belonged had reached the town on their journey down the Father of Waters the day before, and an hour later the houseboat had been tied up at a bend in the stream and left in charge of a planter who had appeared and volunteered for the task. The planter had given his name as Gasper Pold, and had stated that his plantation lay half a mile inland, on higher ground. He had mentioned several people in Shapette as being his close friends—among others the principal storekeeper—and the boys had thought it all right to get him to look after the houseboat while they paid a visit to a sugar plantation where one of their party had a distant relative living. To my old readers the Rover boys, Sam, Tom, and Dick, need no special introduction. Sam was the youngest, fun-loving Tom next, and cool-headed and clever Dick the oldest. When at home the three boys lived with their father, Anderson Rover, and their uncle Randolph and aunt Martha in a pleasant portion of New York State called Valley Brook, near the village of Dexter's Corners. From that home they had gone, as already related in "The Rover Boys at School," to Putnam Hall, an ideal place of learning, where they made many friends and also some enemies. A term at school had been followed by a brief trip on the Atlantic Ocean, and then a journey to the jungles of Africa, where the lads went in a hunt for their father, who had become lost. Then they had gone west, to establish a family claim to a valuable mine, and afterwards taken two well-deserved outings, one on the Great Lakes and the other in the mountains....
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