Chapter XXV A Call for Assistance - The Rover boys on a Tour by Edward Stratemeyer

Ada Waltham did all she could to make herself agreeable to Sam and the others, but the youngest Rover was in no mood for raillery, and on the way back to Larkinburg had but little to say.

Chester Waltham had lost no time in assisting Grace into his runabout and in getting his car out of the congestion in the parking space. Then he put on speed, and soon the pair were whirled away out of the sight of the others.

"It's a dandy night for a ride," was Tom's remark. There was some moonshine, and the stars glittered clear in the heavens overhead.

"That is true, Tom," answered his wife, "but don't you think we had better get back to the hotel and go to bed? I heard Dick say something about a long day of it to-morrow."

"Oh, yes, Nellie, we'll get back. It wouldn't be fair to go off and leave mother and Mrs. Stanhope alone."

When they reached the hotel at Larkinburg the Rovers expected to find the Waltham runabout in the garage, and they were consequently somewhat surprised when they saw no sign of the machine.

"We certainly couldn't have passed them on the road," observed Dick. He turned to his youngest brother. "You didn't see them, did you?"

"No. They went on ahead," answered Sam, shortly; and his manner of speech showed that he was thoroughly out of sorts.

Having placed the touring cars in the care of the garage keeper, the Rovers joined the others on the piazza of the hotel. Then Dora slipped upstairs to see if her mother and Mrs. Laning were all right. She found both of them sleeping soundly, and did not disturb them.

Sam could not content himself with sitting down, and so lounged around in one place and another, and finally said he would go inside and write a letter to the folks at home. He was still writing when Tom came in to join him.

"Sam, did Chester Waltham say anything about where he was going to take Grace?" asked Tom, as he sat down beside his brother.

"No, he didn't say a word to me," was the short reply, and Sam went on writing.

"Did Grace say anything?"


Tom said nothing for a moment, drumming his fingers on the writing table. At last he heaved something of a sigh.

"Seems to me if they were going on a long ride they might have said something to us about it," he observed. "Nellie is rather worried."

"Oh, I guess they've got a right to take a ride if they want to," came rather crossly from Sam. He finished his letter with a flourish, folded it, and rammed it into an envelope which he quickly addressed.

"Oh, of course, but----" Tom did not finish, and as Sam, after stamping his letter, arose, he did the same. "I wonder if we had better stay up for them."

"I think I'll go to bed."

"Sam!" and Tom looked sharply at his younger brother.

"Well, what's the use of staying up?"

"A whole lot of use, Sam Rover, and you know it. If I were you I wouldn't let Chester Waltham ride over me."

"Who says I am letting him ride over me?" retorted Sam; and now his manner showed that he was quite angry.

"I say so," answered Tom, bluntly. "If you have got half the sand in you that I always thought you had, you wouldn't stand for it. All of us know how matters were going on between you and Grace. Now to let this fellow step in, even if he is a young millionaire, is downright foolish.

If you really care for Grace it's up to you to go in and take her."

"Yes, but suppose that she cares for Waltham and his money more than she cares for me?" asked Sam, hesitatingly.

"Do you think Grace is the kind of a girl to be caught by money, Sam?"

and now, as the two were in a deserted part of the hallway, Tom took his brother by both arms and held him firmly.

"N--no, I--I can't say that exactly," faltered Sam. "But just the same, why does she favor him at all?"

"Maybe it's because you haven't been as outspoken as you ought to be.

It's one thing for a girl to know what you think of her, but just the same the average girl wants you to tell her so in plain words. Now, it may not be any of my business, but you know that I want you to be happy, and that I am unusually interested because of Nellie. It seems to me if I were you I'd go to Grace the first chance I had and have a clear understanding."

"I--I can't go to her now. She's out with Waltham," stammered Sam.

"Then hang around until they get back and see to it that you have a chance to talk with her before she goes to her room," returned Tom; and then, as some other people came up, the conversation had to come to an end.

A half hour passed and Ada Waltham excused herself. "Chester and Grace must be having a fine ride," she observed on retiring, "otherwise they would have returned by this time."

"Maybe they had a breakdown," observed Dick. "I've been told that some of the roads around here are far from good."

"Oh, don't say that!" cried the girl. "Chester hates to have to make any repairs when he is alone. Time and again he has run to a garage on a flat tire rather than put another one on himself."

Another half hour dragged by, and now Dora turned to whisper to Dick.

"Don't you think we had better retire?" she asked. "I never supposed Grace was going to stay out as late as this."

"No, we'll stay up," he answered. "Nellie has told Tom that she isn't going to bed until her sister gets back, so it won't do for us to leave them here on the piazza alone."

"Mr. Rover! Telephone call for Mr. Rover!" came the announcement from a bellboy, as he appeared upon the piazza.

"Which Mr. Rover?" demanded Sam, eagerly.

"The party said any of 'em would do," answered the bellboy.

"I'll go," said Sam, eagerly, before either of his brothers or their wives could speak.

"All right, Sam. I'll follow in case you want me or any of the others,"

answered Tom.

The telephone booths were located in the lobby of the hotel, and Sam was quickly shown to one of them. While he talked Tom stood by, but caught only a few words of what was said.


"Oh, is this you, Sam?" came over the wire in Grace's voice. "I'm so glad! I have been trying to get somebody for the last ten minutes but they couldn't give me the hotel connection."

"Where are you?" questioned the youth. "Has anything happened?" for the tone of the girl's voice indicated that she was very much agitated.

"Oh, Sam! I want you or some of the others to come and get me," cried Grace. "The runabout has broken down, and I don't think Mr. Waltham can fix it. And we are miles and miles away from Larkinburg!"

"A breakdown, eh? Why, sure, I'll come and get you, Grace. Where are you?"

"I am at a farmhouse on the road between Dennville and Corbytown--the Akerson place. If you come, take the road to Dennville and then drive toward Corbytown. We'll hang a lantern on the stepping block, so you will know where to stop."

"All right, Grace, I'll be there just as soon as I can make it,"

answered Sam; and then he added quickly: "You weren't hurt when the breakdown happened, were you?"

"Not very much, although I was a good deal shaken up. Mr. Waltham had his face and his hand scraped by the broken wind-shield."

"Well, you take good care of yourself, and I'll start right away,"

returned the youngest Rover, and after a few words more hung up the receiver.

It did not take Sam long to acquaint the others with what had occurred, and then he ran down to the hotel garage to get out one of the touring cars.

"Don't you think I had better go along?" asked Tom. "Chester Waltham may be in a fix and need assistance. And, besides, they may both be more hurt than Grace said."

"Yes, I guess you'd better come," answered his brother. And soon, having received directions from the garage keeper as to how to get to Dennville, the pair were on the way.

"How did Grace seem to be when you spoke to her?" questioned Tom, as Sam ran the car as rapidly as the semi-darkness of the night permitted.

"She seemed to be all unstrung," was Sam's thoughtful reply.
"Then the accident may have been worse than she admitted, Sam."

"I hope not, but we'll soon see." And then, as a straight stretch of fairly good road appeared before them, Sam turned on the power and the touring car sped onward faster than ever.

Inside of half an hour they reached Dennville, a sleepy little town, located in the midst of a number of hills. All the houses were dark and the stores closed up, and not a soul was in sight. They ran into the tiny public square and there found several signboards.

"Here we are!" cried Sam. "Corbytown four miles this way," and he pointed with his hand.

"We'll look at the other signboards first to see whether there is another road," answered his brother. But there was only the one, and so Sam turned the touring car into this, and they sped forward once more, but now at a reduced rate of speed, for the road was decidedly hilly and far from good.

"What possessed Waltham to take such a road as this," remarked Tom, after they had passed a particularly bad spot.

"Don't ask me!" was the reply. "It's no wonder he had a breakdown if he took this road on high speed."

They were going up a long hill. At the top a large and well-kept farm spread out, and, beyond, the hill dropped away on a road that was worse than ever.

"Hello! there's a light!" cried Tom, as they approached the house belonging to the farm.

"I see it," answered his brother; and in a few seconds more they ran up to the horse-block and brought the touring car to a standstill, Sam, at the same time, sounding the horn.

But the summons was unnecessary, for their approach had been eagerly looked for by Grace, and hardly had the machine come to a standstill when she flew out of the farmhouse to meet them.

"Oh, I'm so glad you've come!" she burst out. "If you hadn't, I don't know what I should have done!" She was somewhat hysterical and on the verge of tears.

"Are you sure that you're not hurt, Grace?" asked Sam, quickly; and as he spoke he caught her by one hand and placed an arm on her shoulder.

"I--I don't think I am hurt, Sam," she faltered, and then looked rather tearfully into his face. "But it was an awful experience--awful!" and then as he drew a little closer she suddenly burst into a fit of weeping and rested her head on his shoulder.