Page:Boys of the Fort.djvu/23

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11
CAVES IN THE MOUNTAIN.

"I declare, the fire makes the cave look quite home-like!" was Joe s comment, as he threw himself down on a flat rock with his blanket under him. "Staying here won't be so humdrum as I anticipated."

"I'm going to explore the cave, now I am here," returned Darry. "Who knows but what I might locate a gold mine!"

"You be careful of where you go," cautioned old Benson. "These caves are full of pitfalls, and now you two boys are with me I don't want anything to happen to you. If something did happen, neither Captain Moore nor Colonel Fairfield would forgive me."

"To be sure we'll be careful, Benson," answered Darry. "There d be no fun in getting hurt—even if we did locate a gold mine."

"You won't find any gold mine here. This ground was prospected years ago—before even the fort was located. I came out here once myself, with a miner named Hooker Brown. Hooker was dead certain there was gold here, but although we stayed here about two weeks nosing around we never got even a smell of the yellow metal."

"Well, we'll have a look around, anyway," said Joe. "But we must get good torches first."

Pine knots were procured and lit; and, with