As Jasper drew near to the main road a feeling suddenly possessed him that he was being followed. He looked back but could see nothing. Laughing at himself for what he considered his foolishness, he continued on his way. But it was not so easy to banish the impression he had received, and every once in a while he glanced around as if expecting to see some one not far off. Once he thought he heard the sound of foot-steps in the distance, and he stopped to listen but heard nothing more.
Reaching at last the path which led to his cabin, he was about to enter upon this when an idea came into his mind. It was suggested by a thick clump of hazel bushes by the side of the road. As quick as thought he darted behind these and crouched low upon the ground. From this position it was possible for him to watch the road without being observed. He wished to find out whether any one was really following him, or if it was merely imagination on his part.
He had not been there long ere he heard faint footfalls upon the road, which grew more distinct as he listened. He was now sure that his surmises had been true, and it made him angry. He knew that it was not an ordinary pedestrian, for why had he come after him along the path leading from the Sinclair house? It must be some one stalking him, for what purpose he could not imagine.
Peering forth from his concealed position Jasper was ere long able to see the dim form of a man slouching cautiously along, keeping well to the side of the road where the trees and bushes were the thickest. He even brushed the hazel bushes in passing and Jasper held his breath lest he should be detected by his breathing. He was sure now that the man had been following him with no good intentions, and his first inclination was to rush forward and find out what was his business. He resisted, however, thinking it better to remain where he was and see what the night prowler would do next.
Not long did he have to wait for the man, coming to the path leading across the fields, stopped and looked carefully around. The dim form of the little cabin could be seen in the distance, and for this he at once started. There were no trees now to hide him, and he started on a run across the open space. Jasper, seeing this, sprang from his hiding place and hurried forward. By the time he reached the path the man was nowhere to be seen. He had evidently reached the cabin, and was no doubt at the door or listening at the window. Jasper knew that it was now time for him to act and he at once bounded across the field straight for his cabin. He had scarcely reached it when the prowler came suddenly around the corner, and the two met. In an instant Jasper reached out his hand and caught the man by the shoulder and demanded what he was doing around his cabin at that time of the night. With an angry oath, the other tried to free himself from the tightening grip, and when he failed to do so he struck Jasper a blow right in the face with the clenched fist of his right hand.