"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