“Naw, we’re safe enough now.” Hank tipped the bottle to his lips, and handed it to Bill. “The boss ain’t missed his liquor neither, and there won’t be any to miss pretty soon the way you’re pulin’ at it.”
“I don’t know’s I took any more’n you did,” said Bill petulantly, corking the bottle and returning it to the bag. “It was a good move to play safe anyhow and hide the swag until we made sure the boss wouldn’t go searching through our stuff for it. I don’t know’s he’d suspicion us any more’n the rest of the crew, but he’d search everybody’s stuff if the Captain had give him a tip.”
“You bet he would!” agreed Hank. “We just played in luck right through. They won’t blame us for that other job, will they? They ain’t likely to go makin’ a search for that, be they?”
“Naw!” said Bill. “That other feller, whatever his name is, has got ’em on his trail for that. We ain’t in it. They’ll never suspicion us for that. We made a slick job of that.”
“Well, let’s beat it back,” said Hank. “It’s snowin’ and it’s goin’ to snow hard. The sooner we gets back to camp the better we’ll be off.”
Bill swung the bag over his shoulder, when suddenly he stopped and exclaimed:
Jimmy had sneezed, and again he sneezed.
“Some sneak in that there tree!” and Bill with an oath dropped his bag and seized his rifle, which he had leaned against the tree in which Jimmy was perched. “I’ll put a bullet up there! That’ll settle that feller, whoever he is!”
THE TWO DESPERADOS
“Don’t shoot, sir! It’s just me!” Jamie piped in terror from the tree.
“It’s only a kid!” Bill swore an oath of disgust and lowered his rifle. “You git down out’n that tree! Git down quicker’n lightnin’, too!”
“I’m comin’, sir!” came Jamie’s frightened voice from the tree-top.
Jamie lost no time in descending from his perch and in a moment stood trembling before his captors. It was quite dark now and snowing hard, and to the frightened little lad the two big lumbermen loomed up like giants.
“What you doin’ here?” demanded Bill with an oath as he seized Jamie’s arm with a grip that made the lad wince.
“I were—I were huntin’ for the cache,” confessed Jamie.
“Goin’ to steal our cache, was ye? Well, we’ll teach you to leave other folkses things be!” The man gave Jamie a savage shake. “Tryin’ to steal our cache, eh? Who set you on to it? That’s what I want to know! Who set you on to stealin’ it, now?”
“I weren’t goin’ to steal un, sir,” chattered Jamie, horrified at the implication that he was a thief.
“What were you huntin’ the cache for, then? Don’t lie, you little rat, or I’ll twist your neck off!”
The fellow seemed quite capable of executing the threat literally, as he again shook Jamie savagely.