WHAT WOODCRAFT TOLD
“There it is again, Paul!”
“As sure as you live we’re being followed, boys!” and Wallace allowed his voice to rise just above a hoarse whisper when he made this energetic remark.
The three were crouching in the bushes.
As yet Paul had not caught a glimpse of the object which seemed to disturb both of his friends; but he was looking sharply now.
“Why, yes, I do believe you are right, fellows,” he said, calmly.
“Well, you take it mighty cool, I must say,” declared Jack.
“Because I see no reason to get flurried over such a little thing, boys,” was what the leader replied.
“Little thing, when you know Ted Slavin and a bunch of his toadies came up here to get all the glory they could out of this business! Don’t you understand, Paul, that if they thought they could down us, they’d just as lief waylay us in the woods, and put an end to all our expectations?”
This was a very unusual way of talking for Wallace, but it only went to show how the boy was worked up over the situation, and made nervous by the continuous strain.
“But how do you know those moving figures are Ted and Ward, or even any of that crowd?” demanded Paul.
The others hesitated, and finally Jack remarked:
“Well, for a fact we don’t know; but you remember we saw signs that even you declared proved what I’m saying—that some of those fellows have wandered as far as this.”
“Yes, that’s a fact. I’m not apt to forget it. Now, how many figures have you seen dodging along back there, just as if they didn’t care to be seen—yet?”
“How about it, Wallace?” queried Jack, doubtfully.
“Two, anyhow; I’m sure of that,” came the hesitating reply.
“Yes, at least two, Paul,” the other echoed.
“And we are three. That’s one reason why I don’t see any reason for getting nervous over the discovery,” observed the leader, his voice now apparently showing a trace of humor that was bubbling up near the surface.
“But where there are two there may be more, Paul?” objected Jack.
“Yes, possibly eight or ten more,” went on the calm leader.
“Goodness! and you say there is no need of our worrying?” exclaimed Wallace.
“Yes, explain what you mean, old fellow. Eight or ten would give us a warm time don’t you think?” demanded Wallace, gripping Paul’s arm fiercely.
“Hardly, if they were all sound asleep around a dying campfire, dead to the world,” quoth Paul, chuckling now.
But the others uttered low but vehement exclamations.
“Don’t you see what he means, Wallace?” asked Jack.
“Sure. What a couple of fools you and I were,” came the scathing reply.
“We’ve been followed by two of our own boys. They must have watched us crawl out of camp, and not wanting us to have all the fun, here they come creeping after us. What shall we do, Paul?” Jack queried in the other’s ear; for the flitting figures were now very near.