Chapter XXVIII. The Capture

With bated breath Dick knelt at the door and applied his ear to the keyhole. At first he could hear only indistinctly, but gradually he caught the drift of the conversation between the rascally brokers and the former railroad lawyer.

"Then you want me to date those papers a week back?" he heard Belright Fogg ask.

"That's it," answered Pelter.

"And remember, we signed them just before we went to the West," added Japson.

"And remember also that you saw us take a train at the Grand Central Depot," went on Pelter.

"Oh, I'll remember that," returned the lawyer, with a sly chuckle. "And I'll remember also that I got two telegrams from you-- one from Chicago and one from Detroit." And he laughed again.

"That alibi ought to fix us up," remarked Japson. "Anyway, it will set the authorities to guessing."

"It will help, provided that fellow, Crabtree, doesn't squeel," said Pelter. "He gave his word, when we were in the garret, that he would keep mum, no matter what happened. But if he was badly hurt he may have told everything."

"Fogg, you must try to see him in the hospital," said Japson. "Tell him it will do no good for him to tell anything, and that, if he keeps mum, we will remain his friends and do all we possibly can for him."

"You are piling a lot of work on my shoulders," grumbled the lawyer. "And shady work, too. What do I get out of this?"

"You know what I promised you," answered Jesse Pelter.

"A thousand isn't enough. Just look at the risk I am running."

"Well, if you help us to clear ourselves, we'll make it two thousand dollars," cried Japson. He paused a moment. "Quite a swell apartment, Fogg."

"It's good enough."

"Why can't we stay here for a day or two?" questioned Japson.

"I-- er-- suppose you could," answered the lawyer, with some hesitation. "But don't you think you would be better off out of the State, or in Canada?"

"That's what I say!" cried Pelter. "Canada for mine. I've been wanting to visit Montreal and Quebec. Now is our chance."

"All right, whatever you say," answered Japson. "Maybe we would be safer out of the country until this matter blew over. Hang the luck! It was too bad to have Rover get away from us as he did. If we could have held him back a couple of days longer that land and maybe those stocks would have been ours."

"He's got some smart sons, that man," observed Fog. "I know, for I once ran up against them," and he told about the biplane incident.

"They are altogether too smart," growled Pelter. "I'd like to wring their necks for 'em!"

"Well, we'll turn the trick on 'em yet," said Japson. "Remember, the game isn't ended until the last card is played."

"That's right," thought Dick. "And it won't be long before I play the last card!"

"After this affair is a thing of the past, I am going after those business interests of the Rovers," went on Jesse Pelter. "They are pretty well tangled up-- they got so while Rover was sick. I think we can make something out of them yet."

"Not if I know it," murmured Dick, to himself. "You are a first-class fellow to put in jail-- you and the others, too!"

The talk in the apartment went on, covering the things Belright Fogg was to do while Pelter and Japson were in hiding in Canada. The unscrupulous lawyer was to produce a power of attorney dated some days before, so that he might act in place of the brokers. He was also to do his best to help the brokers prove an alibi when accused of the abduction of Anderson Rover.

"I'm getting dry," remarked Japson, presently. "Fogg, haven't you got something to drink, and some cigars?"

"Sure I have," answered the lawyer, and Dick heard him leave the apartment and go into a dining-room.

While Dick was listening at the door he also kept his ears open for the return of Dan Baxter. Presently he heard the elevator come upstairs, and then there sounded a low whistle-- a whistle Dick had heard many times while he was a cadet at Putnam Hall.

Eagerly the oldest Rover boy tiptoed his way down the corridor. Baxter came forward to meet him, accompanied by two policemen, and the elevator man, who wanted to know what the trouble was.

"The two brokers are in that room," whispered Dick, pointing to the door of the apartment. "They are planning to skip out to Canada and leave their affairs in the hands of the lawyer who has rented this apartment. He is almost as much of a rascal as any of them, for he is to take their power of attorney dated some days back, and is going to try to prove an alibi for them. I heard 'em arrange the whole thing."

"The rascals!" murmured Baxter. "Glad you cornered 'em, Dick."

"You helped, Dan-- I shan't forget that," returned Dick, warmly.

"What do you want us to do?" asked one of the policemen.

"I want all three men arrested," answered Dick. "I'll make a charge against them. Don't let 'em get away. They'll do it if it's possible."

"All right, but you must come along to make the charge," answered the bluecoat.

"All right."

"Please don't make no more row in the house than you can help," put in the elevator man. "This is a swell apartment and we don't like rows. I didn't know that lawyer who took this apartment was a crook."

"We'll do the job as quietly as possible," answered the second policeman, who chanced to know the elevator man.

"Dan, I think you can help me out," suggested Dick. "You might go to the door and call out that there is a telegram for Belright Fogg. Then, when he opens the door, push into the room and we'll follow."

"Want me to help?" asked the elevator man, who was becoming interested.

"If you will," said Dick. "You can guard the stairs-- so they can't run down that way."

"I'll do it."

Without further delay Dan Baxter walked to the door at which Dick had been listening. He chanced to have an old telegram envelope in his pocket and this he produced. He knocked loudly on the portal.

"Who is there?" cried the lawyer, in a somewhat startled voice, and Baxter heard several chairs shifted back as the occupants of the apartment leaped to their feet.

"Telegram for Mr. Fogg-- Belright Fogg!" drawled Dan, in imitation of an A. D. T. youth.

"A telegram, eh?" muttered the lawyer. "Wonder what is up now?"

He came to the door and unlocked it cautiously. He was going to open it only a few inches, to peer out, but Baxter threw his weight against the portal, sending the lawyer backwards and bumping into Jesse Pelter.

"Hi, what's this?" stammered Belright Fogg. "What do you mean by----"

He got no further, for at that instant Dick came into the apartment, closely followed by the two policemen.

At once there was a wild commotion. Pelter and Japson let out yells of alarm, and both tried to back away, into the next room. But Dick was too quick for them and barred their progress.

"Let me go!" yelled Pelter, and tried to hurl Dick to one side. Then Japson struck out with his fist, but the oldest Rover boy dodged.

"So that's your game, is it?" cried Dan Baxter, as he saw the attack. "Two can play at that!" And drawing back, the young traveling salesman hit Japson a blow on the chin that bowled the broker over like a tenpin.

In the meantime Dick had grappled with Pelter and was holding the rascally broker against the wall. One of the policemen already held Fogg, who was trembling from head to foot in sudden panic.

"Surrender, in the name of the law!" said the bluecoat. And he made a move as if to draw a pistol.

"I-- I sur-- render!" gasped Belright Fogg, and up went his hands, tremblingly.

The other policeman produced a pair of handcuffs and in a twinkling they were slipped upon Japson's wrist. Then the bluecoats turned towards Pelter.

"You shan't arrest me!" yelled that broker, savagely, and with a wrench, he tore himself from Dick's grasp and started through the rooms to the rear of the apartment.