Page:Boys of the Fort.djvu/146

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It did not take Joe and Darry long to retrace their steps at the water-course. They continued to call to the young captain, and once Joe shot off his rifle as a signal, but, as we know, no answer came back.

"I can't understand this at all," said Joe, when they halted near the shelter. "I didn't hear him do any firing, did you?"

"Not a shot," answered Darry. "He must have gone away from the brook instead of along the bank."

The two boys hung around the shelter for some time, and then decided to follow up the trail left by the young officer.

This was easy for part of the distance, but soon the footprints became so indistinct that they came to another halt.

"Stumped!" muttered Joe. "We might as well go back to the shelter and wait till he returns. One thing is certain, he hasn't found any game, or we would have heard the firing."

Tired by their long tramp the boys sat down