“Maybe I can do a little shooting myself,” went on Gaff Caven.
“I’ll risk that.”
More words followed, but in the end Caven thought it best to descend and did so. Yet his face still wore a look of defiance. He was compelled to turn around, and his hands were also tied behind him.
“Now I want those mining shares, Caven,” said Joe.
“I haven’t got them.”
“Where is the satchel?”
“I threw it away when you started after me.”
“Down at the railroad tracks?”
“Don’t you believe that,” broke in Bill Badger. “At least, not unless he emptied the satchel first.”
“Show me the way you came,” said Joe.
“Make him point out the satchel, or make him suffer,” went on Bill Badger.
“I’ve got an idea!” cried our hero, suddenly. “Perhaps he left the satchel in the tree.”
“That’s so. Well, if you want to climb up and look around, I’ll watch the pair of ’em.”
“Don’t let them get away.”
“If they try it, they’ll go to the hospital or the graveyard,” replied the western young man, significantly.
“The satchel ain’t in the tree,” growled Caven, but his tone lacked positiveness.
“I’ll soon know for certain,” said our hero.
He climbed the tree with ease, having been used to such doings when living with the old hermit. As he went from branch to branch he kept his eyes open, and presently saw a bit of leather sticking out of a crotch. He worked his way over and soon had the satchel in his possession.
“How are you making out?” called up Bill Badger.
“I’ve got it!” shouted our hero, joyfully.
“Got the papers?”
“Yes,—everything,” said Joe, after a hasty examination.
“Hang the luck!” muttered Gaff Caven, much chagrined.
Our hero was soon on the ground once more. Here he examined the contents of the satchel with care. Everything was there, and, locking the bag, he slung the strap over his shoulder.
“Now, what’s the next move?” queried Bill Badger.
“We ought to have these men locked up. How far is it to the nearest town?”
“Ten or twelve miles, I reckon. I don’t know much about the roads.”
“Why can’t you let us go?” asked Malone. “You’ve got what you want.”
“If I let you go you’ll be trying to make more trouble for Mr. Vane and myself.”
“Don’t talk to them,” growled Caven. “If you want to lock us up, do so!”
He was in an ugly humor and ready for a fight.
“We’ll march ’em along,” said Bill Badger, and so it was agreed.
THE FATE OF TWO EVILDOERS.
“Are you going to let them arrest us?” whispered Pat Malone, as the whole party moved through the woods towards a wagon road which ran nearly parallel to the railroad tracks.