“We’ll see,” said Caven.
They pushed on harder than ever, and passed in among some tall trees. Then they came to a tree that was bent over.
“Up you go,” cried Caven, and gave his confederate a boost into the tree. Then he hauled himself up.
“Now climb to the top,” he went on, and Malone did as requested. Caven followed suit, and both hid themselves among the thick branches.
“They won’t find us here,” said Malone, after ten minutes had passed.
“Don’t make a noise,” whispered Caven.
After that they remained silent. From a great distance came a shouting, and the whistling of locomotives. The trees were being hauled from the car tracks. A little later they heard more whistling and then the two trains passed on their way.
“The trains have gone,” whispered Malone. “Do you think the boy got aboard one of them?”
“No, I don’t,” answered his companion. “He is too determined a lad to give up so easily. He must be still looking for us.”
FROM OUT OF A TREE.
Caven was right, Joe and his newly-made friend were still in the woods, doing their best to locate the two rascals.
They had found the trail but lost it in the patch of tall timber, and were gazing around when they heard the trains leaving the cut.
“There goes our outfit, friend,” said the westerner. “And there won’t be another train along for several hours.”
“It’s too bad, but it can’t be helped,” answered our hero. “But I’ll pay you for all time lost, Mr.—”
“Plain Bill Badger is my handle, stranger.”
“My name is Joe Bodley.”
“What about these two varmin you are after?”
“They were trying to rob a friend of mine of some mining shares,” answered Joe, and gave a few details.
“Well, I vow!” cried Bill Badger “That mine is close to one my dad owns. They say it ain’t of much account though.”
“Mr. Vane thinks it is valuable. He has had a mining expert go into the matter with great care.”
“Then that’s a different thing. Were you bound for the mine?”
“Yes, and so was Mr. Vane. We were on the train together when he was robbed.”
“I see. I was going out to my dad’s mine.”
“Then perhaps we can journey together—after we get through here,” said Joe.
“I’m willing. I like your looks. Shake.” And the pair shook hands.
Although a westerner, Bill Badger knew no more about following a trail than did our hero, consequently they proceeded on their hunt with difficulty.
“Reckon we’ve missed ’em,” said Bill Badger, a while later. “Don’t see hide nor hair of ’em anywhere.”
“It’s too bad if they got away,” answered Joe. “Perhaps—What was that?”
The cracking of a tree limb had reached their ears, followed by a cry of alarm. A limb upon which Pat Malone was standing had broken, causing the fellow to slip to another branch below.