The Rover Boys in Southern Waters
Arthur M. Winfield
Children
5:46 h
Level 3
The Rover Boys was a popular juvenile series written by Arthur M. Winfield, a pseudonym for Edward Stratemeyer. Thirty titles were published between 1899 and 1926 and the books remained in print for years afterward. The Rover Boys in Southern Waters, or The Deserted Steam Yacht was published in 1907. The Rovers were students at a military boarding school: adventurous, prank-playing, flirtatious, and often unchaperoned adolescents who were frequently causing mischief for authorities, as well as for criminals. The series often incorporated modern technology of the era, such as the automobile, airplanes and news events, such as World War I.

The Rover Boys in Southern Waters

by
Arthur M. Winfield


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 thehouseboat isn’t where we left it?”

“It is not, — and it is nowhere in sight on the river,” returned TomRover. “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 goodcare of the craft.”

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

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

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

“I must say I didn’t like that planter’s manner much. He looked tobe rather a sly one. Come on, let us find Dick and the others atonce,” went on Sam Rover. “If the houseboat has been stolen we wantto 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 lotof 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 MississippiRiver, just below the town of Shapette, in Louisiana. The party towhich they belonged had reached the town on their journey down theFather of Waters the day before, and an hour later the houseboat hadbeen tied up at a bend in the stream and left in charge of a planterwho had appeared and volunteered for the task. The planter had givenhis name as Gasper Pold, and had stated that his plantation lay halfa mile inland, on higher ground. He had mentioned several people inShapette as being his close friends — among others the principalstorekeeper — and the boys had thought it all right to get him to lookafter the houseboat while they paid a visit to a sugar plantationwhere one of their party had a distant relative living.

To my old readers the Rover boys, Sam, Tom, and Dick, need no specialintroduction. Sam was the youngest, fun-loving Tom next, and cool-headedand 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 ofNew York State called Valley Brook, near the village of Dexter’sCorners. From that home they had gone, as already related in “TheRover Boys at School,” to Putnam Hall, an ideal place of learning,where they made many friends and also some enemies.