“No, but perhaps my father knows.”
“Then I’m going to see your father as soon as I can,” said Joe, decidedly.
“Mind you, I don’t say that this Bill Bodley is the man you are after, Joe. I don’t want to raise any false hopes.”
“Did you ever hear where the man came from?”
“I think he told somebody that he once owned a farm in Kansas or Iowa.”
“This William A. Bodley once owned a farm at Millville, Iowa.”
“Is that so! Then he may be the same man after all. To tell the truth, he looked a little bit like you.”
“Was he a good man?” asked Joe, eagerly.
“Yes, indeed. But some of the men poked fun at him because he was so silent and strange at times. I liked him and so did father. He left us to go prospecting in the mountains.”
Thus the talk ran on for half an hour, when the train came to a sudden halt.
“Are we at a station?” asked Bill Badger.
“I don’t know,” said Joe.
Both looked out of the window but could see nothing except hills and forests.
“We are in the foothills,” said the young westerner. “Something must be wrong on the tracks.”
“More fallen trees perhaps.”
“Or a landslide. They have them sometimes, when it rains as hard as it did to-day.”
They left the car with some others and soon learned that there had been a freight collision ahead and that half a dozen freight cars had been smashed to splinters.
“Do you think it can be the freight that Caven and Malone boarded?” came from our hero, on hearing this news.
“It might be,” answered Bill Badger. “Let us take a look. Our train won’t move for hours now.”
They walked to the scene of the wreck. One of the cars had been burnt up but the conflagration was now under control and a wrecking crew was already at work clearing the tracks so that they might be used.
“Anybody hurt?” asked Joe of a train hand.
“Yes, two men killed. They were riding between the cars.”
“They didn’t look like tramps. But they hadn’t any right to ride on the freight.”
“Where are they?”
“Over in the shanty yonder.”
With a queer sensation in his heart Joe walked to the little building, accompanied by Bill Badger. A curious crowd was around and they had to force their way to the front.
One look was enough. Gaff Caven and Pat Malone lay there, cold in death. They had paid the penalty of their crimes on earth and gone to the final judgment.
“Let us go away!” whispered Joe, and moved out of the gathering without delay.
“It was sure rough on ’em,” was Bill Badger’s comment.
“Oh, it was awful!” cried our hero. “I—I didn’t expect this, did you?”
“Nobody did. It must have come sudden like on to ’em.”