Chapter XXVII A Telegram from New York - The Rover boys on a Tour by Edward Stratemeyer

It was not until the small hours of the morning that the two Rovers and Grace returned to the hotel in Larkinburg. They found Dick and his wife and Nellie anxiously awaiting their return.

"Oh! I am so glad that you weren't hurt," cried Nellie, as she embraced her sister. "I was so worried," and she hugged her again and again.

"You can rest assured, Nellie, that I'll never go out with Chester Waltham again! Never!" cried Grace. "Come on, I am going to my room.

Good-night, everybody," she called back, and in another moment had retired from their view, followed by her sister.

"Why, Sam! what does it mean?" cried Dora, as she looked on in bewilderment.

"It means that Chester Waltham ought to have had a good thrashing,"

declared the youngest Rover; and then he and Tom told of what had occurred.
"I guess it will be a good job done if we part company with the Walthams," remarked Dick, after the subject had been discussed for some time. "He is not of our class, even if he has money."

"I feel rather sorry for his sister," added Dora. "Although once in a while she shows the same haughtiness of manner that Chester displays.

It's too bad, too, for they might be really nice company."

With so much excitement going on, it was small wonder that the Rover party did not come downstairs that morning until quite late. Sam was the first to show himself, he being anxious to know how Grace had fared.

"Here is a letter for your brother, Mr. Rover," said the clerk at the desk, when Sam approached him. "It was left here by that Mr. Waltham."

"Hand it over," returned the youth, and then added: "Did Mr. Waltham bring his wrecked runabout to the garage here?"

"No, sir, he just came here, got his sister, paid his bill, and went off."

"Oh, I see." Sam could not help but show his surprise. "I'll take this letter to my brother," he added, and hurried off.

The communication was a short one, yet the Rovers and the others read it with interest. In it Chester Waltham said that in consideration of the way he had been treated by some members of the party he considered it advisable for his sister and himself to continue their tour separately.

He added that he trusted Miss Laning did not feel any ill effects because of the breakdown on the road.

"And just to think that Ada went off without saying good-bye!" cried Grace, when she saw the letter. "I didn't think she would be quite so mean as that."

"Probably she took her brother's part. She usually did," returned her sister. "Well, I think we are well rid of them."

"So do I," put in Tom. "Personally I don't care if we never see them again."

"He said he was going to put a spoke in our wheel," mused Sam. "I wonder if he'll dare to do anything to harm us?"

"Oh, it's likely he was talking through his hat," returned Dick; but for once the oldest Rover was mistaken.

Now that our friends were by themselves there seemed to be a general air of relief. The only one of the party who was rather quiet was Grace, but Sam did everything he could to make it pleasant for her, and before nightfall she was as jolly as ever.

The run during that day was through a particularly beautiful section of the country, and about one o'clock they stopped in a grove and partook of a lunch which had been put up for them at the Larkinburg hotel. Then they moved forward once again, with Dick and Tom at the steering wheels of the cars.

"Still seventy-three miles to go if we want to make Etoria to-day,"

announced Dick, after consulting the guide book. "I'm afraid that will be quite a ride for you ladies," he added, turning to Mrs. Stanhope and Mrs. Laning.

"Oh, yes, let us go on to Etoria by all means," pleaded Sam.

"Any particular reason for going to that city?" asked Tom, quickly.

"Yes, I've got a reason, but I'm not going to tell you," returned his younger brother. And then, as both Dick and Tom looked at him questioningly, he blushed and turned away.

"Oh, go ahead. I think I can stand it," said Mrs. Stanhope, with a smile.

"I am getting used to traveling," declared Mrs. Laning. "It's much more comfortable than I at first supposed it would be."

Nightfall found them still ten miles from Etoria and Dick asked the others if they wished to stop anywhere along the way for supper. All declared, however, that they would rather keep on until the city was reached.

"They tell me that they have got a dandy hotel there--something new,"

said Sam. "We ought to get first-class accommodations there."

Etoria was a city of some fifty thousand inhabitants, with a long main street brightly lighted up. The new hotel was opposite a beautiful public park, an ideal location. Sam seemed to be in unusual haste to finish his supper, and immediately it was over he asked Grace if she would not take a walk with him.

"We are going to do up the town, so don't worry if we get back a little late," he told Mrs. Laning, and then whispered something in her ear which made her smile and gaze at him fondly.

They pursued their way along the main street of the town, and while doing so the youngest Rover kept his eyes on the various shops that were passed. At last they came to a large jewelry establishment and here he brought the girl to a halt.

"It's open!" he cried. "That's what I call luck! I was afraid they would all be closed."

Grace looked at the store, and at the display of jewelry in the window, and then looked at Sam.

"I guess you know what it's going to be, Grace," he said rather tenderly, and looked her full in the eyes. "I want you to have just as good a one as Dora or Nellie."

"Oh, Sam! I--I don't understand," she stammered.

"It's an engagement ring. We are going in here and see what sort of rings this man has got. It looks like a reliable place."

"Oh, Sam!" and now, blushing deeply, Grace clung to his arm. "An engagement ring?"

"Sure! You ought to have had it long ago, then maybe we wouldn't have had any trouble."

"There wasn't any trouble, Sam--at least, I didn't make any trouble,"

she repeated; and then, as he caught her arm and dragged her into the shop, she murmured: "Oh, I--I feel so funny to go into a store for a thing like that! Don't you think I had better wait outside?"

"You can if you want to, after the jeweler has measured your finger, Grace. But what's the use of being so backward? As soon as we get back home you are going to be Mrs. Sam Rover, so you might as well get used to such things first as last."

Fortunately for the young couple it was a very elderly man--quite fatherly in appearance--who came to wait on them.

"A diamond ring?" he queried. "Why, certainly, I'll be pleased to show everything we have;" and then he measured Grace's finger, and brought forth several trays of glittering gems.

Grace would have been satisfied with almost any of the rings, but Sam was rather critical and insisted upon obtaining a beautiful blue-white diamond which was almost the counterpart of the stone Dick had bestowed upon Dora.

"Now you've got to promise to have this engraved by eight o'clock to-morrow morning," said the youngest Rover to the jeweler. "We are on an automobile tour and we can't wait any longer than that." And thereupon the shopkeeper promised that the order should be duly filled.

"Oh, Sam, how extravagant you are!" murmured Grace, when the pair were returning to the hotel. "Why, that ring cost a dreadful lot of money."

Her eyes were shining like stars.

"It isn't a bit too good for such a girl as you," he declared stoutly, and then gave her hand a squeeze that meant a great deal.

When they left Etoria the next morning Sam had the engagement ring tucked safely away in his pocket. He had confided in Dick, and the oldest Rover managed it so that that noon they stopped at a large country hotel and obtained the use of a private dining-room. This, Sam had decorated with flowers, and just before the meal commenced he slipped the engagement ring upon Grace's finger.

"Oh, Sam! Oh, Grace!" shrieked Nellie when she saw the sparkling circlet on her sister's finger.

"Oh! so that's what's going on, is it?" cried Dora, joyfully. "Grace, allow me to congratulate you," and then she kissed the girl and immediately afterward kissed Sam. Numerous other kisses and handshakes followed, and for the time being Sam and Grace were the happiest young people in the world.

"Let us send telegrams home, announcing the affair," suggested the youngest Rover, after the meal was at an end. "I know dad, as well as Aunt Martha and Uncle Randolph, will be glad to hear of it."

The telegrams were quickly prepared and sent off. In the messages Sam notified those at home where the touring party would be for the next ten days.

After that several days slipped by quickly. The tourists had covered a good many miles and were now approaching the Mississippi River. The weather had been ideal, and not a single puncture or blowout had come to cause them trouble. Sam and Grace were much together, and, as the youngest Rover declared, "were having the time of their lives."

"It's queer I don't get more word from New York," remarked Dick one evening, when they had reached a city which I shall call Pemberton. "Dad acknowledged that telegram of Sam's, but he didn't say a word about that Lansing deal or anything about the Bruno bonds."

"Well, let us hope that no news is good news," returned Tom. "Anyway, I'm not going to worry until I know there is something to worry about."

That evening came word from Valley Brook, stating that everything was going along well at the farm and that Mr. Anderson Rover was confining himself closely to business in New York.

The Mississippi was crossed, and then the tourists headed in the direction of Colorado Springs. It was their intention to make the Springs the turning point of the trip, with a side trip by the cog railway to Pike's Peak. They would return by the way of Denver. Some days later found them in Topeka, where they had decided to rest up for a day or two. During that time only one short telegram had come from Mr.

Anderson Rover, stating that the Bruno bonds had been sold at a fair profit, but that the Lansing deal was still uncertain.

"We stand to win or lose quite a lot of money on that Lansing deal,"

Dick explained to Sam. "It's rather a peculiar affair. The whole thing is being engineered by a Wall Street syndicate."

On the morning of the second day in Topeka, when Sam and Grace and some of the others had gone shopping, Dick heard one of the bellboys call his name.

"Telegram," he said to Tom. "I hope this is from dad and that it contains good news."

The telegram proved to be what is known as a Night Letter, and its contents caused the two Rovers much astonishment. The communication ran as follows:

"Have been following up the Lansing deal closely. Affairs are getting rather clouded and I am afraid we may lose out. A new opposition has appeared, a combination headed by your former friend, Waltham. He is still in the West but his agents are working against us. He has also bought controlling interest in the Haverford deal. Evidently means to hit us as hard as possible. Will know more in a day or two and will let you know at once of any change in affairs.