“I don’t think they will follow us here,” said Pelter. Then followed a murmur, as he and the other broker went over the legal papers on the table.
Dick wondered what he had best do next. He gazed around the kitchen and saw a small side door, opening on an enclosed stairs leading to the second floor. He went up the stairs noiselessly.
The oldest Rover boy had reached a rapid conclusion. This was that his father was not on the first floor of the house, nor in the cellar. Consequently, if he was in the building at all— and Dick believed he was— he must be somewhere upstairs. While the three rascals were in the sitting room he intended to make a quick investigation.
With his stick still in his hand, in case of attack, Dick reached the second floor and entered a small bed chamber. Opening from this was a second room, containing a cot. Beyond the rooms was a closet, and that was all.
“Too bad! This stairs leads only to a kitchen addition!” murmured the boy. “How can I get into the main house? Why didn’t they cut a door through?”
He looked out of a window and saw the roof of a porch. At the end of the roof was another window, one of a room in the main building. Without hesitation Dick raised the sash of the window at which he stood and stepped out on the porch top. Soon he was at the other window.
It was locked, but the catch was not a strong one, and with the blade of his pocketknife he easily pushed it back. Then the sash came up and he stepped into the bedroom beyond.
The room was empty and the bed showed that it had not been used for some time. Dick crossed the apartment and opened a door leading to a wide hallway. From downstairs came a murmur of voices. The rascals were still in consultation.
Swiftly the oldest Rover boy passed from one room to another of the big house. Each was empty, and in the last he came to a halt, somewhat dismayed. Then he thought of an enclosed staircase he had noticed, leading to the next floor, and he hurried to this.
The third floor of the building was but an open garret, piled high with old furniture and discarded things generally. The two windows were covered with dirt and cobwebs, and as it was dark outside, because of the rain, Dick could see but little.
“Father!” he called softly. “Father, are you here?”
He listened and heard a tapping, coming from one end of the garret. He moved over in the direction and struck a match. Then he gave a cry, half of gladness and half of dismay.
His parent was there, bound to an upright of the garret floor. He had his hands behind him, and a towel was tied over his mouth. With deft fingers Dick unloosed the towel, and then he cut his father’s bonds with his pocketknife.
“Oh, Dick! How glad I am that you have come!” gasped Anderson Rover, when he could speak. “That towel nearly smothered me!”