Chapter XVI. The Search for the "Flyaway"
 

"Tom! Sam! Get up at once!"

"What's the row now, Dick?" came sleepily from Tom. "Have you discovered anything?"

"Yes! I've discovered a whole lot. Get up if you want to catch the next train."

"The next train for where?" demanded Tom, as he hopped out of bed.

"The next train for Albany."

"Have they taken Dora to Albany?" questioned Sam, as he too arose and began to don his garments.

"I think so," was the elder brother's reply, and while the pair dressed, Dick told of what had occurred and what he had heard.

"This is getting to be quite a chase," was Tom's remark. "But I reckon you are right, and we'll land on them in the capital."

"If we aren't too late," answered Dick.

"I'd like to know how they are going to take Dora to Albany if she doesn't want to go?" came from Tom, when they were dressed and on their way to the railroad station.

No one could answer this question. "Josiah Crabtree is a queer stick and can do lots of queer things," was what Dick said.

The train left at half past two in the morning, and they had not long to wait. Once on board, they proceeded to make themselves as comfortable as possible, each having a whole seat to himself, and Sam and Tom went to sleep without much trouble. But Dick was wide awake, wondering what would be the next move on reaching Albany.

Poor Doral he murmured. "Oh, but that crowd shall be punished for this! If she comes to harm it will almost kill Mrs. Stanhope." And his heart sank like a lump of lead as he thought of his dearest friend in the power of her unscrupulous enemies.

It was just getting daylight when the long train rolled into the spacious depot at the state capital. Only a few working people and newsboys were stirring. Tom and Sam pulled themselves together with long yawns.

"Sleeping in a seat doesn't come up to a bed, by any means," remarked Tom. "Which way now?"

"We'll go down to the river and look for the Flyaway," answered his elder brother.

"It will be like looking for a needle in a hay-stack," said Sam. "The boats are pretty thick here."

"That is true, but it is the best we can do," replied the elder Rover.

Once along the river front they began a careful inquiry concerning the boat of which they were in search.

"Not much progress," remarked Tom, after two hours had been spent in vain. "This climbing from one dock to the next is decidedly tiring."

"And I'm hungry," put in Sam. "I move we hunt up a restaurant." An eating place was not far away, and, entering, they ordered a morning meal of ham and eggs, rolls, and hot coffee.

While they were eating a man came in and sat down close by them. It was Martin Harris, the fellow who had come to their assistance after the collision between the Spray and the Falcon.

"Hullo, how are you?" he said heartily. "Still cruising around in your yacht?"

"No, we just got back to Albany," replied Dick. "We've been to school since we left you."

"I see. How do, you like going back to your studies?"

"We liked it well enough," put in Tom. "But we left in a hurry!" he went on, thinking Martin Harris might give them some information. "Have you been out on the river yet this morning?"

"Yes; just came up from our place below to do a little trading."

"Did you see anything of a yacht called the Flyaway?"

"The Flyaway? What sort of a looking craft is she?"

"I can't tell you that."

"One boat there attracted my attention," said Martin Harris slowly. "I saw two boys and a girl on board of her."

"How was the girl dressed?" cried Dick.

"She had on a light-blue dress and a sailor hat."

"And the boys?"

"One was dressed in gray and the other in dark-blue or black."

"That was the boat! Where did she go?" ejaculated Dick, who remembered well how Mumps and Baxter had been attired, and the pretty dress and hat Dora was in the habit of wearing.

"She was bound straight down the river."

"We must follow her."

"That's the talk!" burst out Tom. "But how?"

"What do you want to follow the Flyaway for?" asked Martin Harris curiously.

"Those two boys are running away with that girl!"

"Impossible!"

"No, it isn't. One of the fellows -- the fellow in dark clothing -- is the chap who ran into us that day."

"Well, now, do you know I thought it looked like him," was Harris' comment. "And, come to think of it, that boat got as far away from me as she could."

"Do you think you would know her again? I mean the Flyaway -- if we got anywhere near her?" asked Dick.

"I think I would, lad. She had a rather dirty mainsail and jib, and each had a new patch of white near the top. Then, too, her rig is a little different from what we have around here. Looked like a Southern boat."

"Have you your boat handy?"

"Yes, she's right at the end of this street. Do you want me to follow up that crowd?"

"Could your boat catch the Flyaway, do you think?"

"My boat, the Searchlight, is as good a yacht as there is anywhere around, if I do say it myself," answered Martin Harris promptly. "It you don't believe it, try her and see."

"We will try her," came promptly from Dick. "And the sooner you begin the chase the better it will suit me."

"All right; we'll start as soon as I've swallowed this coffee," answered the skipper of the Searchlight. "But, hold on, this may prove a long search."

"Do you want to make terms?"

"I wasn't thinking of that. I'll leave it to you as to what the job is worth, after we're done. I was thinking that I haven't any provender aboard my yacht, if we want to stay out any length of time."

"I'll fix that," answered Dick. "Come, Sam. You say the yacht is at the foot of the street?"

"Yes."

"We'll be there in less than five minutes."

"Where are you going -- to buy provisions?"

"Yes."

Dick made off, followed not only by Sam, but likewise by Tom. He found a large grocery close at hand, and here purchased some coffee, sugar, canned meat and fish, a small quantity of vegetables, and also several loaves of bread and some salt. To this Tom added a box of crackers and Sam some cake and fruit, and with their arms loaded down they hurried to the Searchlight.

Martin Harris was on hand, and ready to cast off. "Hullo, you did lay in some things?" he grinned. "I reckon you calculate this chase to last some time."

"We've got enough for several days, anyway -- that is, all but -- water," returned Dick.

"I've got a whole barrel full of that forward, lad."

"Then we are ready to leave. I hope, though, we run the Flyaway down before noon," concluded the elder Rover, as he hopped on board.

Leaving Sam to stow away the stores as he saw fit, Dick and Tom sprang in to assist Martin Harris, and soon the mainsail and jib were set, and they turned away from the dock and began the journey down the Hudson. As soon as they were clear of the other boats, the skipper set his topsail and flying jib, and they bowled along at a merry gait, the wind being very nearly in their favor and neither too strong nor too slack.

"Now I'd like to hear the particulars of this case," remarked Martin Harris, as he proceeded to make himself comfortable at the tiller. "You see, I want to know just what I am doing. I don't want to get into any trouble with the law."

"You won't get into any trouble. Nobody has a right to run off with a girl against her will," replied Dick.

"That's true. But why are they running off with her?"

"I think they have been hired to do it by a man who wants to marry the girl's mother," went on Dick, and related the particulars of what had occurred.

Martin Harris was deeply interested. "I reckon you have the best end of it," he said, when the youth had finished. "And you say this Dan Baxter is a son of the rascal who is suspected of robbing Rush & Wilder?"

"Yes."

"Evidently a hard crowd."

"You are right -- and they ought all of them to be in prison," observed Tom. "By the way, have they heard anything of those robbers?"

"The detectives are following up one or two clues. One report was that this Baxter and Girk had gone to some place on Staten Island. But I don't think they know for certain."