“I suppose Aunt Martha and Uncle Randolph are as anxious, almost, as we are,” said Sam. “Hang the luck! I wish old Crabtree was back in jail, and Pelter, Japson & Company were with him!”
There was a knock on the door and a boy appeared with a telegram. It was addressed to Dick.
“Maybe it’s from dad!” cried Sam and Tom, in a breath.
Dick tore open the envelope and read the message rapidly. His brow darkened and he shook his head slowly.
“What does it say?” asked Sam.
“Who it is from?” added Tom.
“It is from Uncle Randolph,” answered Dick. Listen!” And he read as follows:
“Important news. Your
father’s signature demanded on important
documents inside of three days, or great financial loss and
dishonor to all of us.
An important telephone message
“There’s the answer!” cried Tom.
“It’s as plain as day!” added Sam.
“You are right,” came from Dick. “I see it all now.” He signed for the telegram and dismissed the boy, closing the door after him. “They are keeping father a prisoner somewhere, so that he cannot sign those documents.”
“And it means a big financial loss and dishonor to all of us,” went on Tom. “That must mean Uncle Randolph as well as dad.”
“I wish Uncle Randolph had sent some particulars,” sighed Sam.
“They may come in by mail— most likely they will,” answered Dick. “It would be just like him to send a letter and then telegraph afterwards.”
“Well, one thing is clear,” remarked Tom. “We have got to find dad, and do it pretty quickly, too. We know— or, at least, we are pretty sure of it— that he is in the power of Crabtree and Pelter, Japson & Company. Now the question is, What are we going to do about it?”
“I said this morning I had an idea, Tom,” answered his big brother. “I don’t know whether it will work out or not, or if you’ll care to try it. You know I told you to go to Central Park while Sam and I went down to those offices. I did that so that those brokers wouldn’t see you. They don’t know you, and you can go down and interview them as a stranger. Do you catch the idea?”
“I do!” cried Tom, eagerly. “And I’ll do it! But what shall I say?” he asked, suddenly sobering.
“You might state that you had heard of the Sunset Irrigation Company and thought of investing, or something like that. Maybe they might give you some information that would be valuable for us. And, while there, you may hear something about Crabtree, or something about where father may be.”
“I’ll go this afternoon,” cried Tom. The idea of playing the spy pleased him greatly.
“But you want to be careful,” warned his older brother. “If cornered, those brokers may prove to be desperate men.”