Chapter XXVII. Dan Baxter Gives Aid
 

The next morning was a busy one for Dick. He visited the lawyer's office at an early hour and then went to the police station.

"We are watching those offices in Wall Street," said the officer at the desk in the station. "But so far neither Pelter nor Japson has shown himself. The clerks say they are out of town one in Boston and the other in Philadelphia, but can't give any addresses."

"Well, don't let up on the watch," replied Dick. "We want to get them if it can possibly be done. I may have another charge to make against them," and he told of how Tom had been struck with the footstool and was now in the hospital.

"They sure must be rascals," returned the man at the desk. "Well, we'd do all we can. But maybe they've cleared out for good."

Towards noon came a telephone message from Sam to the hotel. Dick had just come in and he answered it.

"Tom is a little better," said the youngest Rover. "He is conscious and has asked about dad and you. He has taken a little nourishment, too."

"What does the doctor say about the case?" questioned Dick, anxiously.

"He said it is a strange case and that he will watch it closely. I heard him say to the nurse to watch Tom very closely."

"Why, that he was so low?"

"No, that he might go out of his mind. Oh, Dick, wouldn't that be awful!" and Sam's voice showed his distress.

"You mean that he might go-- go insane, or something like that?"

"Yes,-- not for always, you understand, but temporarily."

"Well, all they can do is to watch him, Sam. And you keep close by, in case anything more happens," added Dick, and then told his brother of what had been done in the metropolis towards straightening out the business tangle.

Mr. Powell was to see some people in Brooklyn regarding the land deal in which Anderson Rover held an interest, and he had asked Dick to meet him in that borough at four o'clock. At three o'clock Dick left the Outlook Hotel to keep the engagement.

"You had better stay here until I get back, in case any word comes in about Tom," said he to his father.

"Very well, Dick; I shall be glad of the rest," replied Anderson Rover.

He had already given the particulars of how he had been kidnapped while on his way to meet Japson. The broker had come up accompanied by the disguised Crabtree, and he had been forced into a taxicab and a sponge saturated with chloroform had been held to his nose. He had become unconscious, and while in that condition had been taken to some house up in Harlem. From there he had been transferred to the Ellen Rodney on the evening before the boys had discovered his whereabouts.

"They treated me very harshly," Mr. Rover had said. "Mr. Crabtree was particularly mean."

"Well, he is suffering for it," Dick had answered. "Sam telephoned that his leg was in very bad shape and the doctors thought he would be a cripple for life."

To get to Brooklyn Dick took the subway, crossing under the East River. He did not know much about the place, but had received instructions how to reach the offices where he was to meet Mr. Powell and the others.

There was a great rush on the streets, owing to a small fire in the vicinity. Dick stopped for a minute to watch a fire engine at work on a corner, and as he did so, somebody tapped him on the shoulder.

"Dick Rover! of all people!" came the exclamation. "What are you doing in Brooklyn?"

Dick turned quickly, to find himself confronted by a tall, heavy-set youth, dressed in a business suit.

"Dan Baxter!" he cried. "How are you?" and he shook hands.

As my old readers well know, Dan Baxter was an old acquaintance of the Rover boys. When at Putnam Hall he had been a great bully, and had tried more than once to get the best of our heroes. But he had been foiled, and then he had drifted to the West and South, and there the Rovers had found him, away from home and practically penniless. They had set him on his feet, and he had gotten a position as a traveling salesman, and now he counted the Rovers his best friends, and was willing to do anything for them.

"Oh, I'm pretty well," answered Dan Baxter, with a grin. "My job agrees with me."

"What are you doing, Dan?"

"Oh, I'm still selling jewelry-- doing first-rate, too," added the former bully, a bit proudly.

"I am mighty glad to hear it."

"How are you and the others getting along, Dick?" went on Baxter curiously. "Thought you were at Brill College."

"I'm here on business," and Dick gave the other a brief account of what had happened.

"Sorry Tom got hurt and hope he will come out all right," said Dan Baxter, sympathetically. "But who are those men you mentioned?"

"A firm of brokers; named Pelter, Japson & Company."

"What!" ejaculated Dan Baxter. "Did you say Japson?"

"Yes, Dan. Do you know him?"

"Sure I do. He used to be in a jewelry firm in Albany. They tried to stick our firm-- but we shut down on 'em. But that isn't all, Dick. I saw Japson to-day-- not two hours ago."

"You did? Where?" And now Dick was all attention.

"I visited a-- er-- a lady friend of mine. She lives in an apartment house near Prospect Park. I might as well tell you that some day we are going to be married. Well, when I was coming out of the place I saw Japson go in-- he and two other men."

"Dan, show me that place-- and do it as quickly as possible!" cried Dick. "Come on-- don't tell me you can't. I'll pay you for your time!" And Dick caught the other youth by the arm.

"I'll do it willingly, Dick, and there won't be any time to pay for, even if it takes a week!" cried Dan Baxter. "I am glad to be able to do you a favor, indeed I am!" And he gazed admiringly at the oldest Rover boy. "Just you come with me."

Dan Baxter led the way to the nearest elevated station and they ran upstairs to the platform and soon boarded a car bound for the vicinity of Prospect Park.

"The young lady lives in the Nirwick Apartments," explained Baxter. "It is a big place, with elevator service. I don't know to which apartment Japson went, but maybe the elevator man can tell us."

"Describe the other two men to me, if you can, Dan."

The young traveling salesman did so, and Dick came to the conclusion that one of the men must have been Pelter. The identity of the third was a mystery.

"Maybe it was that Belright Fogg," thought the youth. "Well, I'll soon find out-- if they are still at the apartment house-- and I hope they are."

At last the elevated train reached the proper station and Dick and Baxter alighted. The latter led the way for a distance of two blocks.

"There is the apartment," said Baxter, pointing the building out. "If you want those men arrested, hadn't you better call a policeman or two?"

"I can do that later,-- after I have spotted them," answered Dick.

A colored man ran the elevator. He had often seen Dan and knew him.

"The gentlemen you mean went up to the fourth floor-- to the apartment that was rented last week."

"May I ask who rented it?" asked Dick.

"A lawyer, sah-- a Mr. Fogg. He's got a queer first name."

"Belright?"

"That's it, sah; Belright Fogg."

"Just as I thought," murmured Dick "They didn't go out, did they?"

"I don't think they did. I didn't see 'em, and I don't think they would go downstairs without using the elevator, although they could use the stairs."

"Which apartment is it?"

"On the fourth floor-- the apartment in front, on the right," answered the elevator man.

"I'll go up," said Dick. He motioned Baxter to one side. "Dan, will you go out and get a policeman or two, just as quickly as you can?" he whispered.

"I will," returned the young traveling salesman, and hurried out on the street again.

Dick stepped into the elevator and in a few seconds was deposited on the fourth floor of the apartment house. He walked to the front and to the right, and stopped in front of one of the doors. From the room beyond came a murmur of voices. He listened intently. The voices were those of Pelter, Japson and Fogg.