But at the depot all was dark and deserted, and if Arnold Baxter was anywhere near he took good care not to show himself, nor was anything seen of him in Oak Run later on.
“He has left the neighborhood by some other way,” said Randolph Rover, and his surmise was correct.
When the boys reached home again they found their parent sitting up in an easy-chair, with his forehead still bandaged. The blows he had received were painful, but by no means serious, and when the doctor was called in he said the patient would speedily recover.
“But you had a narrow escape,” said the doctor. “Had you been struck a little harder your skull might have been broken.”
“Well, I don’t think Arnold Baxter would have cared if he had broken my skull,” answered Anderson Rover. “He is a thoroughly bad man.”
It was broad daylight before a complete examination of the house was made, and then it was learned that Baxter had run away with some silver knives, forks, and spoons, some gold napkin rings, a silver and gold water pitcher, and half a dozen similar articles. From the desk he had taken a pocketbook containing three hundred dollars in cash, and from Anderson Rover’s person his watch and chain, and a diamond stud. He had also tried to rob the unconscious man of his diamond ring, but as the ring would not come off had pried out the stone and taken that.
“He is at his old tricks again,” said Dick. “Evidently his term in prison has done him no good.”
“Guess it has made him worse,” added Sam. “Oh, how I would like to lay my hands on him!” And Tom said the same.
The authorities were notified, including the sheriff of the county, and later still Anderson Rover hired a New York detective to take up the case. But it was of no avail. Arnold Baxter did not show himself, and not a trace of him was to be found anywhere.
“I shouldn’t be surprised if he disguised himself as soon as he got away from here,” remarked Tom. “He could easily put on a false mustache, and a wig would fit capitally over that almost bald pate of his.”
“But where would he get the mustache and wig, Tom?” asked Dick.
“He may have bought them before he came here. I have heard that some robbers prepare themselves for all sorts of emergencies. Only last week I was reading about a fellow who went to a ball, and between the dances went out and robbed a gentleman on the street of his watch. When he was arrested, he tried to prove that he hadn’t been outside of the ballroom all night, and it was by the merest accident that the authorities found out his story wasn’t true.”
“Tom is right; some criminals are very shrewd,” said his father. “And I fancy Arnold Baxter is about as slick as any of them.”
“Well, I hope we run across him some day,” said Dick.
With so much to occupy their minds the days flew by swiftly, and almost before they knew it Monday was at hand, and the three boys set out to return once more to Putnam Hall.