“Hush! don’t make so much noise!” said Caven, in alarm.
“Gosh! I thought I was going to tumble, out of the tree to the ground,” gasped Malone, when he could catch his breath.
“They are coming—I can see them,” whispered Gaff Caven. “Be as quiet as a mouse.”
In a moment more Joe and Bill Badger stood directly under the tree.
“I think the noise came from near here,” said Joe.
“I agree,” answered the westerner.
At that moment our hero looked up and saw a man’s arm circling a tree limb far over his head.
“They are up there!” he shouted.
“Yes, I just saw one of them.”
“Then we’ve got ’em treed,” came with a broad grin from Bill Badger. “What’s the next turn of the game?”
“We have got to make them both prisoners.”
“All right. Have you got a shooting iron?”
“No, but I can get a club.”
“Then do it, and I’ll use this, if it’s necessary,” and the young westerner pulled a pistol from his hip pocket.
“I wish we had some ropes, with which to tie them,” continued Joe.
“Here’s a good big handkerchief.”
“That’s an idea. My handkerchief is also good and strong.”
“You do the pow-wowing and I’ll do the shooting, if it’s necessary,” said Bill Badger.
Joe looked up into the tree again but could see nobody.
“Caven!” he called out. “I know you are up there and I want you to come down.”
To this remark and request there was no reply.
“If you don’t come down we may begin to fire at you,” went on our hero.
“Oh, say, do you think he’ll shoot?” whispered Malone, in sudden alarm.
“No; shut up!” returned Caven.
“Are you coming down or not?” went on Joe.
Still there was no reply.
“I’ll give ’em a shot to warn ’em,” said Bill Badger, and fired into the air at random.
“Don’t shoot me!” roared Pat Malone. “Please don’t! I’ll come down!”
“Well, you come down first. Caven, you stay up there for the present.”
After this there was a pause, and presently Pat Malone came down out of the tree looking sheepish enough.
“Up with your hands!” cried Bill Badger, and confronted by the firearms the hands of the rascal went up in a hurry.
Then Joe took his handkerchief and stepped up behind Malone. The hands were lowered and crossed and our hero tied them firmly together at the wrists.
“Now back up to that tree yonder,” said our hero. “And don’t you dare to move.”
“I’ll do just as you say,” whined Malone. “Only don’t shoot me.” He was a coward at heart.
“Now, Caven, you come down!” shouted Joe.
“I don’t think I care to,” answered that rascal, coolly.
“If you don’t come down I’ll come up after you with my pistol,” broke in Bill Badger.