Chapter XI. Aboard the Steam Yacht
 

Mr Rover, as well as Tom and Sam, had come in, and all were anxious to hear what Dick might have to report. They were filled with amazement at the story of the robbery.

"I thought I'd wait about telling the police until I had heard what you had to say," said Dick, to his father.

"I am afraid in a big city like New York it won't do much good to tell the police," answered Anderson Rover. "However, we can report it to morrow. But I think Cuffer and Shelley will keep in the shade until they see Sid Merrick and have a chance to get away," and in this surmise Mr. Rover was correct. The matter was reported to the police, and that was the end of it, so far as the authorities went, for they failed to apprehend the evildoers.

Mr. Rover was much worried when he learned that Merrick had fallen in with a captain of a tramp vessel who was ready to go on a hunt for the treasure. And he was still more worried when Dick told him of the letters which had been abstracted from his coat pocket by the thieves. Among them was one from Mrs. Stanhope mentioning the treasure hunt and how she would be on hand at Philadelphia to board the steam yacht with Dora and the Lanings.

"If Cuffer and Shelley turn that letter over to Merrick it will give him some idea of our proposed trip," said Mr. Rover, "and more than likely he will strain every nerve to get ahead of us."

"His vessel may not be able to sail as fast as our steam yacht," said Tom.

"That is true, Tom, but he may get down among the West Indies before we can locate Treasure Isle and then he'll have as good a chance as ourselves. Moreover, if he should land on the isle at the time we did --"

"There'd be a hot time, that's sure," said the fun-loving boy, with a grin.

"Do you think they'd fight?" asked Sam.

"Yes, if they saw a chance of getting the best Of us," answered his father.

"I wish I had caught Tad Sobber," came from Tom, regretfully.

"That might have done some good, but I doubt it," said Anderson Rover. "From what I have learned of this Sid Merrick he is a man bound to do as he sees fit, regardless of those around him. When the freight thieves were captured he managed to get away, and he'll try to get away even if we catch Tad, Cuffer, and Shelley."

"I guess he is a worse man than Arnold Baxter was," was Dick's comment. He referred to an old enemy of the Rovers, who had now reformed.

"Much worse than either Mr. Baxter or his son Dan ever were," answered Mr. Rover. "If caught in a corner I think this Merrick would be capable of any wicked thing."

"What do you advise?" asked Tom.

"We will go to Philadelphia as soon as possible and get the steam yacht ready for the trip. The best way to foil Merrick and his crowd is to find the isle, get possession of the treasure, and get away before they know what we are doing," answered Anderson Rover.

On the following day the party was rejoined by Songbird, and then all journeyed to Philadelphia, taking Aleck Pop with them. They found the Rainbow tied up to a dock along the Delaware River, and went aboard. The master of the craft, Captain Barforth, was on hand to greet them, and he speedily made them feel at home. The captain was a big, good natured man of about forty, and the boys knew they would like him the moment they saw him.

"Well, this is certainly a swell boat," said Sam, after an inspection. "And as clean as a whistle."

"Puts me in mind of the deserted steam yacht we boarded in the Gulf of Mexico," answered Dick, referring to a happening which has been related in detail in "The Rover Boys in Southern Waters."

"Wonder if we'll have as many adventures as we did on that boat," mused Dick. "Those were hot times, eh?"

"We'll not lack for adventures if we come into contact with Merrick and his gang," answered Songbird, who had been told all the details of the adventures in New York.

There were six single and four double staterooms aboard the steam yacht, so the Rovers and their friends were not crowded for accommodations, since even a single room contained two berths, an upper and a lower. Each room was done in white and gold, giving, it a truly aristocratic appearance. There was a good deal of brass and nickel plated work, and the metal shone like a mirror.

"I declare it's most too good to use," said Sam, when on a tour of inspection. "This craft must have cost a sight of money."

"It did," answered his father. "But the owner is a millionaire so he can well afford it."

The boys were as much interested in the machinery as in anything, and they visited the engine room and became acquainted with Frank Norton, the head engineer. They learned that the engine was of the most modern type, and that the Rainbow, in spite of her breadth of beam she was rather wide could make twenty to twenty six knots an hour in an ordinary sea.

"And we've got a licence to go where we please," added the head engineer proudly.

Now that they were aboard the steam yacht the Rover boys were anxious to be sailing. But they were also anxious to greet their friends and they awaited the arrival of the others with interest. Fred Garrison and Hans Mueller came in together, the following noon, Hans lugging a dress suit case that was as big almost as a dog house.

"Here we are again!" sang out Fred, dropping his baggage and shaking hands all around. "I declare it's like when we went on the houseboat trip."

"Maybe I ton't vos glad to drop dot leetle drunk alretty?" said Hans, indicating his baggage. "He vos veigh most a don, I dink."

"Why didn't you let an expressman bring it?" asked Dick.

"Not much!" declared the German youth, shaking his head vigorously. "Vonce I haf a pox mid a new hat in him, und I say to a poy, carry dot und I gif you den cents. Vell he is carrying dot yet, I dink, for I ton't see dot hat no more, nefer!"

"Well, you won't have to carry any more baggage for a long while to come," said Mr. Rover, with a smile, and then had Aleck take the things below. When Hans saw the elegant staterooms, and the main saloon of the steam yacht with its beautiful mirrors and rich carvings, his eyes bulged out like saucers.

"Mine cracious!" he gasped. "Vos dis der poat we sail in, udder vos dis a poat pelonging to Mr. Vanderfellow, or some of dose udder millionaires?"

"This is the boat," said Tom, with a wink at the others. "Of course it's rather plain, Hans, but maybe you'll get used to it."

"Blain? Vy, Dom--"

"There are only six kinds of baths aboard, cold, hot, soda, milk, mustard, and cream de fizz, but if you want any other kind all you've got to do is to ask the ship's carpenter about it."

"Six kinds of paths! Vy I ton't vos--"

"And then at meals the cook serves only five kinds of dessert pie, fruit, iced cabbage, vinegar sherbit, and hot lardalumpabus. Of course I know you don't like pie and fruit and things like that, but you'll fall dead in love with the lardalumpabus," went on the fun-loving Rover.

"Vot is dot lardapusalump ennahow?" queried Hans, scratching his head gravely. "I ton't remember him."

"Why, it's a compote, with frizzled gizzardinus and pollylolly. It's delicious, served with cream and salt--but you want lots of salt, Hans, lots of salt."

"Maybe I try him, I ton't know," answered the German youth, gravely. And then even Tom had to turn away, to keep from roaring in Hans' face.

The Rover boys went to the depot to meet the train which was to bring in the Stanhopes and the Lanings. There was a little delay, but it was soon over and they were shaking hands warmly all around.

"It seems so delightful to go off on another trip!" said Dora, to Dick. "I know I am going to enjoy it very much!"

"And I know I am going to enjoy it, too--with you along," answered Dick, with a smile which spoke volumes.

"Mother is quite excited--thinking she is going on a treasure hunt," went on Dora. "But I think a few days' rest on shipboard will quiet her nerves."

"I hope for your sake, Dora, our hunt proves successful," added Dick, gallantly.

"I have always wanted to go to the West Indies," said Nellie Lanning to Tom. "I want to pick some ripe bananas and cocoanuts right from the trees.

"Yes, and ripe oranges," put in Grace. "Won't it be jolly?" she added, turning to Sam.

"Too jolly for anything!" murmured Sam, and then he gave Grace's arm a little squeeze and led her through the crowd to where a carriage was in waiting.

There were trunks to be looked after, but the checks for these were turned over to Aleck, and the colored man saw to it that all the baggage was properly transferred to the steam yacht.

It was with not a little pride that the boys took the Stanhopes and the Lanings aboard the Rainbow, for, although they did not own the elegant craft it was something to even have her under charter. Mr. Rover met the newcomers at the gangplank and made them welcome.

"Oh, but isn't this just too lovely for anything!" cried Dora, as she surveyed the double stateroom assigned to her and her mother. "And look at the fine bunch of roses on the stand!" She looked at Dick. "This is some of your doings, isn't it?"

"Yes."

"Thank you very much! But you must have one," and the girl promptly pinned one of the largest in his buttonhole.

"This is more than comfortable," said Mrs. Stanhope, with a sigh of satisfaction. And then she sank down in an easy chair to rest, for the long journey from Cedarville had greatly fatigued her.

In the meantime the other boys had taken the Lanings to another double stateroom, equally luxurious. Here a vase held a big bunch of carnations, the gift of Tom and Sam combined. Nellie and Grace and their mother were much pleased and said so.

"Tom, I could almost hug you for this!" cried Nellie, in a low voice.

"Well, nobody is stopping you," he added promptly.

"All right, I will--on your next birthday," cried Nellie, not to be caught. "But really, I'm a thousand times obliged to you."

"This is like a room in a fairies' palace!" exclaimed Grace. "I know when I go to sleep I'll dream of fairies and rainbows, and pots of gold--"

"The gold we want to unearth," broke in Sam. "Just dream where that is located and then tell us of it."

"Oh, you'll be sure to find that."

"How do you know.

"Oh, you never fail in anything," and Grace gave him a sunny smile.

"I don't know about that, Grace. This is going to be no easy task."

"Oh, I know that, Sam, but you'll win in the end, I know you will."

"I trust we do--for your sake as much as for the others. You know if it is found a good share of the treasure goes to your mother."

"Yes, and that will be awfully nice."

"Maybe, if you get all that money, you won't notice poor me."

"Poor you? Why, you'll have a great deal more than we'll have anyway. You are rich already."

"Well, if you get the money you won't forget me, will you?" persisted Sam.

"What a queer boy you are, Sam! Forget you! Well, just try me with the money and see!" she added, and gave him one of her warmest smiles. Then she danced off to look at the rest of the steam yacht, and the youngest Rover followed her.