“How did he get on this train?”
“I don’t know. But it’s unpleasant enough for us.”
“Do you suppose Vane is around?” asked Malone, nervously.
“He may be.”
The two men stared around the car. Only some women and children were present, the men having gone out to learn the cause of the delay.
“Perhaps we had better get out,” went on Malone.
They arose, and, satchel in hand, started to leave the train.
“Stop!” cried Joe, and caught Caven by the arm.
“Let go of me, boy!” ejaculated the rascal, and tried to pull himself loose.
“I won’t let go, Gaff Caven.”
“If you don’t, it will be the worse for you! I am not to be trifled with!”
“You must give up that satchel.”
“If you don’t, I’m going to have you arrested.”
“Who is going to arrest me here?” sneered the man who had robbed Maurice Vane. “Don’t you know we are miles away from any town?”
“I don’t care. Give up the satchel, or I’ll call the train hands.”
“I’ll give up nothing, boy! Stand out of my way!”
Gaff Caven gave Joe a violent shove which sent our hero up against a seat. Then he turned and ran from the car, with Pat Malone ahead of him.
“Stop them!” cried Joe, as soon as he could recover. “Stop the thieves!”
Others took up the cry, but before anything could be done Caven and Malone were out of the car and on to the tracks. Both stared around in perplexity for a second.
“Come on, we can’t afford to waste time here!” cried Caven, and ran for the bank of the cut, up which he scrambled hastily, with his confederate at his side.
Joe saw them make the move and was not slow to follow. Near at hand was a tall, western young man, with bronzed features and a general outdoor manner.
“Say!” cried our hero. “Will you help me to catch those two men? They are thieves and I want them arrested. If you’ll help me catch them I’ll pay you well for your trouble.”
“I’ll go you, stranger!” answered the western young man, readily. “You are certain of your game?”
“Yes. That satchel has their plunder in it. They robbed a friend of mine.”
“This suits me then, friend. We’ll round ’em up in short order.”
By this time Caven and Malone had gained the woods. Looking back they saw Joe coming behind, accompanied by the westerner.
“He’s after us, and he has got somebody to help him,” ejaculated Malone.
“Well, I reckon we can run as fast as they can,” answered Gaff Caven. “Come ahead!”
He led the way along a trail that ran through the woods and came out on a winding country road. Beyond was another patch of timber.
“This way, Pat,” said he. “We’ll have to take to the woods again. They are too close for comfort.”
“Can’t we climb a tree, or hide in a hollow?” questioned the confederate.