But the youngest Rover was mistaken. They were to meet the bully again, and under circumstances as astonishing as they were perilous.
GOOD TIMES AT SANTA BARBARA
“What a land of plenty!”
It was Tom who made the remark.
The Rover boys were on their way to Santa Barbara, after having spent three weeks at San Francisco and vicinity. They had received word that Dora Stanhope and her mother and the two Laning girls were at the fashionable watering place, and they were anxious to meet their old friends.
On sped the luxurious train, over hills and through the valleys, past heavy woodlands and by rich fruit farms. It was a scene which interested them greatly, and they never tired of sitting at the windows, gazing out.
Presently the car door opened and a tall young fellow, carrying a valise, stepped inside and walked down the aisle. As he came closer Dick Rover leaped up.
“Bob Sutter!” he cried, with a smile of pleasure. “Who would ever dream of meeting you out here?”
“Is it really Dick Rover?” questioned the newcomer, as he shook hands. “And Tom and Sam, too! I must be dreaming. Is Putnam Hall on its travels?”
“We are on our travels,” replied Tom, also shaking hands, followed by Sam. “But what are you doing here?”
Bob Sutter, a former scholar at Putnam Hall, smiled broadly.
“I live in California now. My father is interested in real estate in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara. Our home is in Santa Barbara.”
“That is where we are going,” came from Sam.
“What are you doing just traveling around?”
“Yes; we thought we’d put in time until the Hall opens again.”
“I heard it had been closed. Too bad! If you are going to Santa Barbara, you must call and see me by all means,” went on Bob Sutter.
“To be sure we will,” said Tom, and his brothers nodded.
“We were going down there now to call on the Stanhopes,” said Dick. “They have come here for the benefit of Mrs. Stanhope’s health, and Nellie and Grace Laning are with them. I guess you know them all.”
“I know the Laning girls, and I think I did meet Miss Stanhope once—at a football game. I’ll be glad to meet them again. But tell me about yourselves.”
Bob Sutter sat down, and soon all were talking at a lively rate. The newcomer was astonished to hear of the doings of Dan Baxter.
“The Baxters always were a hard crowd,” he said. “I hope you’ll get back your stuff some time.”
It was late at night when Santa Barbara was reached, yet many of the hotels were a blaze of light from top to bottom. At the depot the Rover boys parted with Bob Sutter, but promised to call upon him in a day or two.
“I’ve got a fine yacht,” said Bob Sutter. “Some time I want to take you for a trip.”