Being cast away on the Pacific was productive of additional adventures and surprises. On a ship that picked the girls and boys up they fell in again with Dan Baxter, and he did all in his power to make trouble for them. When all were cast away on a deserted island, Dan Baxter joined some mutineers among the sailors, and there was a fight which threatened to end seriously for our friends. But as luck would have it, a United States warship hove into sight, and from that moment the boys and girls, and the friends, who had stuck to them through thick and thin, were safe.
Before the warship left the island a search was made for Dan Baxter and for those who had mutinied with him. But the bully and his evil-minded followers kept out of sight, and so they were left behind to shift for themselves.
“Do you think that we will ever see Dan Baxter again?” Sam had questioned.
“I hardly think so,” had been Dick’s reply. But in this surmise the elder Rover boy was mistaken, as later events will prove.
The journey across the Pacific to San Francisco was accomplished without incident. As soon as the Golden Gate was reached the boys, and also the girls, sent telegrams to their folks, telling them that all was well.
Mrs. Stanhope was staying at Santa Barbara for her health. All of the girls had been stopping with her, and now it was decided that Dora, Nellie, and Grace should go to her again.
“It’s too bad we must part,” Dick had said, as he squeezed Dora’s hand. “But you are coming East soon, aren’t you?”
“In a month or two, yes. And what will you do?”
“Go back to Putnam Hall most likely—if the scarlet fever scare is over.”
“Then we’ll be likely to see you again before long,” and Dora smiled her pleasure.
“It will be like old times to get back to the Hall again,” Sam had put in. “But first, I want to go home and see the folks.”
“Right you are,” had come from Tom. “I reckon they are dead anxious to see us, too.”
And so they had parted, with tight hand-squeezing and bright smiles that meant a good deal. One train had taken the girls southward to Santa Barbara, and another had taken the boys eastward to Denver and to Chicago. At the latter city the lads had made a quick change, and twenty-six hours later found them at Oak Run, and in the carriage for the farm.
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“My boys! my boys!”
Such was the cry given by Anderson Rover, when he caught sight of the occupants of the carriage, as the turnout swept up to the piazza of the comfortable farm home.
“Home again! Home again
Safe from a foreign shore!”
sang out Tom, and leaping to the ground, he caught his father around the shoulders. “Aren’t you glad to see us, father?” he went on.
“Glad doesn’t express it, Tom,” replied the fond parent, as he embraced first one and then another. “My heart is overflowing with joy, and I thank God that you have returned unharmed, after having passed through so many grave perils. How brown all of you look!”