The Rover Boys in Southern Waters
Category: Children
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Tom, Dick, and Sam Rover were the rambunctious sons of wealthy widower Anderson Rover. The prank-playing and mischievous boys get into and out of trouble everywhere they go. Read along with the Boys as their adventure takes them to a deserted steam yacht in The Rover Boys In Southern Waters. The Rover Boys was a thirty-book series written by Arthur M. Winfield about the boys causing trouble for criminals and authorities alike set against the background of historical events.

The Rover Boys in Southern Waters

Arthur M. Winfield

The Rover Boys in Southern Waters

Chapter I
The Rover Boys and their Friends

“The houseboat is gone!”

“Tom, what do you mean?”

“I mean just what I say, Sam. The houseboat is gone — vanished, missing, disappeared, drifted away, stolen!” ejaculated Tom Rover, excitedly.

“Tom, don’t go on in such a crazy fashion. Do you mean to say the houseboat isn’t where we left it?”

“It is not, — and it is nowhere in sight on the river,” returned Tom Rover. “Come, we must tell Dick and the others about this.”

“But we left the Dora in charge of that big planter last night,” insisted the youngest of the Rover boys. “He said he would take good care of the craft.”

“Well, he is gone too. I hunted high and low for the houseboat, and for that planter, but without success.”

“Maybe the boat drifted away, with the planter on board, Tom. The current has been pretty strong since those heavy rains.”

“She was tied up good and tight,” answered Tom Rover, his usually merry face wearing a troubled look. “I can’t understand it.”

“I must say I didn’t like that planter’s manner much. He looked to be rather a sly one. Come on, let us find Dick and the others at once,” went on Sam Rover. “If the houseboat has been stolen we want to know it right away, so we can get on the trail of the thief.”

“True for you, Sam.” Tom Rover heaved a short sigh. “My! what a lot of troubles we have had since we started on this houseboat trip!”

“Yes — but we have had lots of sport too.”

The two brothers were standing near the bank of the broad Mississippi River, just below the town of Shapette, in Louisiana. The party to which they belonged had reached the town on their journey down the Father of Waters the day before, and an hour later the houseboat had been tied up at a bend in the stream and left in charge of a planter who had appeared and volunteered for the task. The planter had given his name as Gasper Pold, and had stated that his plantation lay half a mile inland, on higher ground. He had mentioned several people in Shapette as being his close friends — among others the principal storekeeper — and the boys had thought it all right to get him to look after the houseboat while they paid a visit to a sugar plantation where one of their party had a distant relative living.

To my old readers the Rover boys, Sam, Tom, and Dick, need no special introduction. Sam was the youngest, fun-loving Tom next, and cool-headed and clever Dick the oldest.

When at home the three boys lived with their father, Anderson Rover, and their uncle Randolph and aunt Martha in a pleasant portion of New York State called Valley Brook, near the village of Dexter’s Corners. From that home they had gone, as already related in “The Rover Boys at School,” to Putnam Hall, an ideal place of learning, where they made many friends and also some enemies.

A term at school had been followed by a brief trip on the Atlantic Ocean, and then a journey to the jungles of Africa, where the lads went in a hunt for their father, who had become lost. Then they had gone west, to establish a family claim to a valuable mine, and afterwards taken two well-deserved outings, one on the Great Lakes and the other in the mountains.

From the mountains the Rover boys had expected to go back to Putnam Hall, but a scarlet fever scare caused a temporary closing of that institution of learning and the lads took a trip to the Pacific coast and were cast away on the ocean, as told of in “The Rover Boys on Land and Sea,” the seventh volume of this series. But all came back safely and returned to the Hall, there to do their duty and have considerable fun, as set forth in “The Rover Boys in Camp.”

The boys’ uncle, Randolph Rover, had taken an elegant houseboat for debt. This craft was located on the Ohio River, and in a volume called “The Rover Boys on the River,” I related how Sam, Tom, and Dick resolved to take a trip on the craft during their summer vacation. On this outing they were accompanied by “Songbird” Powell, a school chum given to the making of doggerel which he persisted in calling poetry, Fred Garrison, who had stood by the Rovers through thick and thin, and Hans Mueller, a German youth who had not yet fully mastered the English language. To make the trip more interesting the boys invited an old friend, Mrs. Stanhope, to accompany them, and also Mrs. Laning, her sister. With Mrs. Stanhope was a daughter Dora, who Dick Rover thought was the best and sweetest girl in the whole world, and with Mrs. Laning were her daughters Grace and Nellie, warm friends of Tom and Sam.

The trip on the houseboat started well enough, but soon came trouble through the underhanded work of Dan Baxter, a big youth who had been the Rovers’ bitter enemy ever since they had gone to Putnam Hall, and another boy named Lew Flapp. These young rascals ran off with the houseboat and two of the girls, and it took hard work to regain the craft and come to the girls’ rescue. Lew Flapp was made a prisoner and sent east to stand trial for some of his numerous misdeeds, but Dan Baxter escaped.

“We don’t want to see any more of Baxter,” Sam had said, but this wish was not to be gratified. Floating down the Mississippi, the houseboat got damaged in a big storm, and had to be laid up for repairs. This being so, all on board decided to take a trip inland, and accordingly they set out, the ladies and girls by way of the railroad and the boys on horseback.

As already told in “The Rover Boys on the Plains,” this trip was full of mystery and peril. Dan Baxter turned up most unexpectedly, and our friends visited a mysterious ranch only to learn that it was a rendezvous for a band of counterfeiters. Through a government detective the counterfeiters were rounded up, only one man, Sack Todd, escaping. Dan Baxter also got away, but later on he was traced to a big swamp, where his horse was found, stuck fast in the slimy ooze. It was thought by some that Baxter had lost his life trying to find his way through the swamp, but of this the Rovers were somewhat doubtful.

After the capture of the counterfeiters the boys and their chums had gone on to meet the ladies and the girls, and had spent a full week at the ranch of a friend, having the best times possible, horseback riding, hunting, and helping to round-up cattle. Then the whole party had gone back to the Mississippi, embarked on the Dora, as the houseboat was named, and floated down the mighty stream once more.

“This sort of thing is simply grand,” Fred Garrison had remarked, as he stood on the forward deck of the craft, yet an hour later he had changed his tune. The houseboat had gone whirling in a bend of the stream, struck a snag and hurled poor Fred overboard. He was hauled up by Sam and Dick Rover, and then it was ascertained that the houseboat was leaking and would have to be laid up again for repairs.

They had stopped at the town of Shapette, a small place, and there they found a carpenter who promised to do what they wanted. When the houseboat was laid up the captain had come to them with a letter.

“My brother in Cairo is dead,” said Captain Starr. “I shall have to leave you and look after his children.”

The captain was an eccentric individual and the Rovers did not like him much, so they were perfectly willing to let him go. They decided to look around for somebody else to manage the houseboat and in the meantime run the craft themselves.

With the party as cook and general housekeeper was Alexander Pop, a colored man who had once been a waiter at Putnam Hall, but who was now attached to the Rover household. The boys had expected to leave Aleck, as he was called, in charge of the Dora while they visited a nearby sugar plantation, but the colored man had begged to be taken along, “jes fo’ de change,” as he expressed it. As Aleck had remained on the houseboat during the entire time the boys were on the plains Dick agreed to take him along; and thus, for the time being, the Dora had been left in the sole care of the planter.

After the visit to the sugar plantation the party had ridden to Shapette, to do a little shopping before returning to the houseboat. There Tom and Sam had left the others, to make certain that the Dora was in proper trim to continue the trip down the Mississippi. On the way Sam stopped at a plantation house to get a drink of water, and when he rejoined his brother it was to learn the dismaying news that the houseboat and the man left in charge of the craft had mysteriously disappeared.

Chapter II
About a Missing Houseboat

“Let us go down the river and see if the Dora is behind yonder trees,” suggested Sam, after he had had time to digest what his brother had said.

“All right, if you say so,” answered Tom. “But I feel it in my bones it won’t do any good.”

The two brothers ran along the wet and slippery bank of the river, which at this point sprawled out into almost a lake. They had to walk around several wet places and were pretty well out of wind by the time they gained the patch of wood the youngest Rover had pointed out. They ran to a point where they could get a clear view of the stream for a full mile.

“Gone — just as I told you,” said Tom, laconically.

“Oh, Tom, do you really think that planter stole the houseboat?”

“I don’t know what to think, to tell the truth. We have fallen in with all kinds of evil characters since we began this trip.”

“Even if we go back to Dick and the others and tell them, what good will it do?”

“I don’t really know. But I am going to tell Dick, just as fast as I can.”

There seemed really nothing else to do, and with heavy hearts Sam and Tom retraced their steps to where the Dora had been tied up, and started to return to town.

“This will certainly worry the ladies and the girls a good deal,” observed Sam, as they hurried along. “If the houseboat is gone, we can’t continue the trip.”

“They won’t be worried any more than we are, Sam. It’s hard lines all around. If that planter really stole the boat he ought to suffer for it.”

“Just what I say.”

The brothers soon came in sight of Shapette, — a small settlement where half of the inhabitants were of French extraction. As they reached one of the streets they heard a cheerful whistle.

“That’s Dick!” said Sam. “He won’t whistle so happily when he learns the news.”

“Hullo!” came from Dick Rover, as he caught sight of his brothers. “What brings you back so soon?”

“Thought you were going to stay on the houseboat until we got there,” added Fred Garrison, who, with Hans Mueller, accompanied the eldest Rover.

“There is no houseboat to stay on,” answered Tom.


“The houseboat is gone — and so is that planter who said he’d take care of her.”

“Mine cracious me!” burst out Hans Mueller. “You ton’t tole me alretty!”

“Tom, you don’t mean —” Dick paused.

“The houseboat is gone, clean and clear, Dick.”

“And that planter, Gasper Pold —”

“Is gone too,” returned Sam. “And so is that carpenter who said he’d repair the craft.”

“This is certainly too bad. Tell me the particulars,” and Dick’s face grew decidedly serious.

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