Chapter X. A Scene in a Cemetery
 

"Hurrah, Fred Garrison says he will go with us!" cried Sam, two days later. "I have just received a telegram from him. He says he will come on to-morrow."

"And here is word from Songbird Powell," put in Dick. "He will go, too. He is to meet us at Pittsburg, any time I say."

"And Hans Mueller will go," said Tom. "That makes three of our friends to start with. I hope the Lanings and the Stanhopes go."

"So do I," answered Dick, who could not get that talk with Dora in the hallway of the hotel out of his head.

Sam was anxious to meet Fred Garrison, and on the following afternoon drove down to the railroad station at Oak Run to greet his chum.

The train was late, and after finding this out Sam took a walk around the village to see what changes had been made during the past few months. But Oak Run was a slow place and he look in vain for improvements.

"Guess I'll have my hair cut while I am here," he said to himself, and started to enter the only barber shop of which the railroad village boasted.

As he pushed open the door a young fellow got out of one of the chairs and paid the barber what was coming to him. Then he reached for his hat and started to leave.

"Lew Flapp!" ejaculated Sam. "Is it possible?"

The bully of Putnam Hall whirled around and gave a start. He had not dreamed of meeting one of the Rovers.

"What--er--what do you want?" he stammered, not knowing what to say.

"Where did you come from, Flapp?"

"That's my business."

"It was a fine trick you played on us while we were on the march back to Putnam Hall."

"Trick? I haven't played any trick on you," answered Lew Flapp, loftily, as he began to regain his self-possession.

"You know well enough that you robbed that jewelry shop and then tried to lay the blame on me and my brothers."

"Rover, you are talking in riddles."

"No, I'm not; I'm telling the strict truth."

"Bah!" Lew Flapp shoved forward. "Let me pass."

"Not just yet." Sam placed himself in front of the barber shop door.

"What's the row?" put in the barber, who happened to be the only other person in the shop.

"This fellow is a thief, Mr. Gregg."

"You don't say!" cried Lemuel Gregg. "Who did he rob?"

"He robbed a jewelry shop up near Putnam Hall and then he laid the blame on my brothers and me."

"That was a mean thing to do."

"It is false!" roared Lew Flapp. "Get out of my way, or it will be the worse for you!"

"I'm not afraid of you, Flapp," responded Sam, sturdily. "Mr. Gregg, will you help me to make him a prisoner?"

"Are you certain of what you are doing?" questioned the barber, nervously. "I don't want to get into trouble over this. I once cut off a man's beard by mistake and had to pay twenty-two dollars damages."

"I know exactly what I am doing. Help me to make him a prisoner and you shall be well rewarded."

At the promise of a reward Lemuel Gregg became interested. He knew that the Rovers were well-to-do and could readily pay him handsomely for his services.

"You--you had better stay here, young man," he said, to Lew Flapp. "If you are innocent it won't hurt you. We'll have the squire look into this case."

"I won't stay!" roared the bully, and making a sudden leap at Sam he hurled the youngest Rover to one side and tried to bolt through the door.

"No, you don't!" came from the barber, and leaping to the front he caught Lew Flapp by the end of the coat and held him.

"Let go!"

"I won't!"

"Then take that!" And the next instant Lew Flapp hit the barber a telling blow in the nose which made the blood spurt from that member. Then Flapp dove for the door, pulled it open, and sped up the street with all speed.

"Oh, my nose! He has smashed it to jelly!" groaned the barber, as he rushed to the sink for some water.

Sam had been thrown against a barber chair so forcibly that for the moment the wind was knocked completely out of him. By the time he was able to stand up, Flapp was out of the building.

"We must catch him!" he cried. "Come on!"

"Catch him yourself," growled Lemuel Gregg, "I ain't going to stand the risk of being killed. He's a reg'lar tiger, he is!" And he began to bathe his nose at the sink.

Lew Flapp was running towards the railroad, but as soon as he saw that Sam was on his track he made several turns, finally taking to a side road which led to the Oak Run Cemetery. Here he saw there were numerous bushes and cedar trees, and thought he could hide or double on his trail without discovery.

But he forgot one thing--that Sam was a splendid runner and good of wind as well as limb. Try his best, he could not shake the youngest Rover off.

"The fool!" muttered the bully to himself. "Why don't he give it up?"

Flapp looked about him for a club, but none was at hand. Then he picked up a stone and taking aim, hurled it at Sam. The missile struck the youngest Rover in the shoulder, causing considerable pain.

"I reckon two can play at that game," murmured Sam, and he too caught up a stone and launched it forth. It landed in the middle of Lew Flapp's back and caused the bully to utter a loud cry of anguish.

"Stop, Flapp! I am bound to catch you sooner or later!" cried Sam.

"You come closer and I'll fix you!" growled the bully. "I'll hammer the life out of you!"

"You've got to spell able first," answered Sam.

The cemetery gained, Lew Flapp ran along one of the paths leading to the rear. Along this path were a number of good-sized sticks. He picked up one of these, and a few seconds later Sam did likewise.

Near the rear of the cemetery was a new receiving vault, which had just been donated to the cemetery association by the widow of a rich stockholder who had died the year before. The vault was of stone, with a heavy iron door that shut with a catch and a lock.

Making a turn that hid him from Sam's view for the moment, Lew Flapp espied the vault, standing with the door partly open.

"He won't look for me in there," reasoned the bully, and slipped into the place with all possible alacrity. Once inside, he crouched in a dark corner behind the door and waited.

Sam, making the turn at just the right instant, saw Flapp disappearing into the vault. Without stopping he ran forward and closed the iron door, allowing the heavy catch to slip into place.

"Now, Lew Flapp, I guess I've got you!" he called out, after he was certain the door was secure.

To this the bully made no answer, but it is more than likely his heart sank within him.

"Do you hear me, Flapp? You needn't pretend you are not in there, for I saw you go in."

Still Lew Flapp made no answer.

"Do you want me to go away and leave you locked in the vault?" continued Sam. "It would be a beautiful place in which to die of starvation."

"Let me out!" came from the bully, and now he got up and showed his face at the small grating near the top of the door. "Let me out, Rover, that's a good fellow."

"Then you don't want to die of starvation just yet?"

"You wouldn't dare to leave me here, you know you wouldn't!"

"Why not? Don't you deserve it, after the trick you played on Dick and Tom and me?"

"I tell you it's all a mistake. Let me out and I will explain everything," went on Flapp, who was now thoroughly alarmed.

"I'll let you out--after I have summoned the town constable."

"Don't have me locked up, I beg of you, Sam. Give me a chance," pleaded the bully.

"You don't deserve any chance. You tried to send me and my brothers to prison, and you have got to suffer for it."

"Then you won't let me out?"

"No."

"I'll pay you well for it."

"You haven't got money enough to pay me, Flapp, and you know it."

"If you have me locked up I'll say you helped me in that robbery."

"Ah, so you admit you did it," cried Sam, triumphantly.

"No, I admit nothing," growled the bully.

"Good-bye, then."

"Where are you going?"

"I am going after the cemetery keeper and the constable," answered Sam, and walked off without another word.