Boy Scounts in the Coal Caverns
Major Archibald Lee Fletcher
Part 3 out of 3
and making no pretense of moving quietly.
"Look here," Jimmie said after they had proceeded some distance into
the mine and discovered nothing of importance, "I have in my
possession a great idea! Want to hear about it?"
"Sure!" laughed Will.
"We're making too much noise."
"Making too much noise in order to attract the attention of a couple
of lost youngsters?" asked Elmer.
"'They're not lost!" insisted Jimmie. "They've been lured away or
dragged away! We don't know how many men were in the mine with
"Well, produce your idea!" Elmer exclaimed.
"Well, my notion is that I ought to go on ahead of you boys, walking
as quietly as possible and without a light. If there are people
waiting to snare us, they'll naturally think we've bunched our forces
and are all coming along together. Then, you see," he continued,
"I'll be right in among them before they suspect that we have a
skirmish line out."
"That's an all right notion, kid!" answered Will.
"Then I'll be on my way," Jimmie replied. "And if I need help at any
time, I'll give the call of the pack!"
"But you mustn't do that unless you have to," Wilt cautioned,
"because, the minute the cry is heard, everybody within eighty rods
would know what's going on. Have you matches with you?"
The boy felt in the pockets of his coat and nodded.
"Well, then," he said, "if you want to signal, wet your hands and rub
the phosphorus off the matches. Turn your hands, palms in our
direction, so no one can see from the other side and wig-wag."
"That will be fine!" exclaimed Jimmie. "I've got this wig-wag system
down pat. I guess this Boy Scout training is pretty poor, ain't it,
eh? The darker it is, the better we an talk!"
Jimmie darted away, while Will and Elmer remained stationary for a
short time in order to give him an opportunity to get out of the range
of their lights. Directly they heard him whispering back and
"There's another stone cairn here!" he said. "I guess I knocked it
over, for I can't tell exactly what it is. You can learn that when
you come up with your searchlights! I think there are three stones."
"All right!" Will whispered back.
When the boys came to the spot from which the voice had been heard
they found three stones lying side by side on the floor of the
gangway. It was plain that they had been placed one on top of the
other, and so they accepted them as another warning of danger.
"I wish we had some intimation of the kind of trouble we are likely to
get into," Elmer suggested, as they passed along. "I don't like this
idea of boring a hole in the darkness with a little bit of a light and
anticipating an attack at any minute."
"I don't like it a little bit myself," replied Will. "A person so
inclined might shoot us down without ever showing himself," declared
Elmer. In fact, the only protection we have lies in the fact that
Jimmie is on ahead, and would not be likely to pass any one lying in
wait for us. Bright little boy, that!"
"There he is now!" exclaimed Will. "He's using the phosphorus, all
right, and I can begin to understand what he's trying to say? There's
a 'W', and an 'A', and an 'I', and a 'T'. That means that he wants us
to stay where we are. The system works fine, doesn't it?"
The question now was as to whether the lads should extinguish their
lights. That, of itself, they understood would be suspicious in case
they should be in sight of their enemies. It would simply proclaim
their knowledge of the danger they were in, whatever it was."
"I think we'd better keep the lights going until we hear something
more," said Elmer. "Jimmie will talk again in a minute."
The boys waited patiently for some moments, and then the wig-wag
figures came again. Will read slowly:
"There's a 'V', and an 'E', and an 'N', and a 'T', and an 'N', and an
'E', and an 'R'," he said. "Now the boy's starting it again. He
says, 'Ventner is here.' Now wait a minute, there's more coming!"
"The next words are: 'With two others.'"
"It's only a question of time when that detective will get next to the
wig-wag game," Elmer declared. "This gangway smells like a match
factory already. I wonder how far Jimmie is away from them."
Directly Jimmie began talking the wig-wag tongue again. This time he
said that Tommy and George were not in sight, and had evidently been
surprised and taken prisoners. He advised Will and Elmer to come on
softly with their lights out.
The boys did as requested, but they had advanced only a few paces in
the darkness when Canfield, accompanied by Sandy and Dick came running
up, showing both lack of breath and profound excitement.
"Boys," Canfield called. "Boys!"
"Will!" yelled Sandy.
"I guess they're going to bust up the whole combination!" declared
Will rather sourly. "I wish I had them by the neck!"
"They may have important news," suggested Elmer. "Anyway, we'll have
to turn on our lights and meet them. If we don't, they'll keep on
yelling all down the gangway!"
Canfield and the two boys came up as soon an Elmer showed a light, and
stood for a moment looking cautiously about.
"I don't think you boys ought to go any further into the mine,"
Canfield exclaimed, breathing heavily from the long chase down the
passage. "I have just received word that two of the most desperate
hold-up men in the country have taken refuge here. There's no knowing
how they got over to the mine, but it is a sure thing that they did
get here, for couple of breaker boys saw them climbing into the
"What time was this?" asked Will.
"Oh, I don't know," replied Canfield. "The matter was reported to me
early this morning. I couldn't find you before, or you should have
had the news sooner. It isn't safe for you to go into the mine!"
"Your information," grinned Will, "comes a little bit late, but it's
all right, just the same. Ventner is in there, and there are two men
with. It's a mystery how they made their way in without being
discovered, but it seems that they did so."
"What are you going to do?" asked Canfield.
"We're going on into the mine."
"In the face of my warning?"
"It's just this way," answered Will. "We left two of the boys on
guard in this passage, not so very long ago, and they have
disappeared. We suspect that Ventner and the two men to whom you
refer have good reason to know something of their whereabouts."
"They won't injure the boys!" pleaded Canfield.
"We don't mean to give them a chance!" insisted Elmer. "We're going
to jerk those boys out so quick it'll make their heads swim!"
"But it's positively dangerous!" urged the caretaker.
"If there wasn't an element of danger in the situation, we wouldn't be
here!" replied Will, "I don't see as we need to run away from two
hold-up men, anyway," the boy went on. "Here are five boys and one
full grown man in the gangway. We ought to give a pretty good account
of ourselves, in case some one starts anything!"
"Where's the fifth boy?" asked Canfield. "It seems to me that you're
getting quite an accumulation of boys in here!"
"Two of the boys are Jimmie Maynard and Dick Thompson!" answered Will.
"You know you informed me quite positively not long ago that the I two
lads were hundreds of miles from this place by that time."
"You might barricade the hold-up men and starve them out," suggested
Canfield, "that is, if you're sure they're in there!"
"We have just had a wireless from the interior," Elmer answered.
"There are three men in there, all right!"
"Well, it won't take any longer to starve three out than it would
one!" declared Canfield.
"Yes," Elmer cut in, "and about the first time the hold-up men got
good and hungry, they'd be sending out Tommy's ears or one of George's
fingers just as a warning to us not to meddle with their appetites."
Before long Jimmie began wig-wagging again, but before any words could
be formed the waiting boys heard a distant scuffle, a short, quick cry
of alarm, and then the phosphorus-covered palms disappeared from
"They've got Jimmie!" Elmer said in a tone of dismay.
"Well, what are we going to do?" demanded Sandy. "We've got to do
something right away, and that's no story out of the dream book!"
"I don't suppose it would be of any use to rush them," suggested
"They'd mow us down like rats!" declared Dick.
"It strikes me," Sandy said, "that we'd ought to get back further and
keep out of sight until we can decide upon some definite plan of
"I've got an idea wandering around in the back of my brain," Will
said. "If the situation is exactly as I think it is, we may be able
to get the best of those hold-up men after all."
THE MONEY IN SIGHT
"Not while they have possession of the boys," Canfield declared
dolefully. "They'll murder those boys if we shut off their supplies!"
"Oh, I don't know about that!" suggested Dick. "We've been mixed up
in a great many awkward situations but we always managed to save our
necks. We'll get the boys out in some way!"
"Look here, Mr. Canfield," Will said, "how well do you know this
"Every inch of it!" was the reply.
"Every inch of every level," asked Will.
"Yes, sir!" replied the caretaker, rather proudly. "I can go into any
part of it without a light!"
"Then look here, Dick," Will directed. "You chase back to the old
tool house and bring back a long rope. And when you return, stop at
the second level. Some of us will meet you there."
"I hope you don't expect to pull these boys up through fifty or a
hundred feet of shale?" asked the caretaker.
"I don't know whether my scheme will work or not," Will answered, "but
it's worth trying! We have to leave at least two here, well armed and
take the others with us. You'll have to act as guide, Mr. Canfield,
and we'll meet Dick when he comes down to the second level with the
rope. As soon as we get the boys out of their trouble, we can leave
the three outlaws in full possession of the mine. If we watch the
shaft at the old tool house, they can never get out without our
"I don't understand what you have in mind," faltered Canfield.
Leaving Sandy and Elmer in the gangway from which the wig-wag signals
had been shown, the others hastened up the ladder to the second level.
Then Dick ran away to bring the rope, while Will questioned the
caretaker regarding the fall between the two levels.
"You remember the old shaft, cut through years ago, and doubtless
deserted when the vein ran out, which at one time connected the two
levels, don't you?" asked the boy of the caretaker.
"There is such a place," replied the caretaker.
"Can you find it?"
"Of course I can."
"Does the fall open into the system of chambers in the center or to
the north? You understand what I mean! Is it possible to enter any
of the benches or chambers connecting with the north gangway on the
lower level by means of this deserted shaft?"
"I am not quite certain about that," replied Canfield, "but my idea is
that the north benches and chambers can be reached by means of that
opening. I am glad you thought of that," he went on.
Dick now returned with the rope, and the three proceeded down the
second level until they came to a confusion of passages and benches
which would certainly have bewildered any one not familiar with the
"Unless I am very much mistaken," Canfield went on, "this passage, the
one straight ahead, runs almost directly over Tunnel Six. If I am
right in this, the deserted shaft is here."
"And Tunnel Six is the haunted corridor, isn't it?" asked Dick.
"That's where the lights have been seen!" replied the caretaker.
"You never believed in the ghost stories told about Tunnel Six?" asked
Will. "I should think you'd begin to see now that the alleged ghosts
were pretty material things."
"Well, I don't know about the ghosts," replied the caretaker, "but I
really was getting a little bit nervous when you boys arrived. You
know," he continued, "that we all feel a little shivery when we butt
into anything which we can't understand."
"Well, suppose you follow this passage to the end and see if you
discover anything like the deserted shaft," suggested Dick.
"You're not going to venture into the lower level again, are you?"
asked Canfield. "I don't blame you boys for wanting to rescue your
companions, but, at the same time, I don't want to see you throw your
lives away. Those are desperate men in Tunnel Six!"
"If my idea is worth anything at all," replied Will, "we'll get the
boys out without ever letting the hold-up men know that we are within
a mile of them. You know we had very little difficulty in getting out
of the chamber where we left the boat."
"Trust you boys for inventing ways of doing things!" exclaimed
"Of course," Will said hesitatingly after a time, "it may be that this
deserted shaft doesn't connect with Tunnel Six, but even if it doesn't,
we'll find some way of getting to our friends from the new position.
We can only try, anyway!"
"I'm pretty certain that it connects with Tunnel Six," replied the
caretaker. "But you mustn't show your light when you approach the old
shaft," he went on, "because if it does connect with the chamber we
seek, and the chamber in turn connects with the north passage, the
robbers will see what we're doing."
"That's a valuable suggestion!" replied Will.
"I'll go on ahead," Canfield continued, "and find the old shaft. Then
you can follow on with the rope, and one of you boys can drop down and
see what can be discovered."
"It's dollars to apples," chuckled Dick, as the boys trailed along
after the caretaker, "that we, find the three kids trussed up like a
lot of hens ready for the market in the chamber where you came so near
getting wet. I hope we do, at any rate!"
"There's one thing we overlooked," Will said as Canfield whispered to
them that he had found the deserted shaft, "and that is this: We
should have directed the boys in the gangway to have attracted the
attention of the outlaws by a little pistol practice while we are
communicating with our friends. They may be all packed away in the
"Yes, we should have attended to that," replied Dick. "Perhaps I'd
better go back now and tell them to get busy with their automatics."
"We may as well investigate the situation here first," the other
The boys heard the caretaker creeping about in the darkness, and
presently a piece of shale or coal was heard rattling down the old
"We'll have to get that blundering caretaker away from there,"
whispered Will. "If we don't, he'll notify the hold-up men that we're
getting ready to do something! I've heard that about three-fourths of
the people in the world object to doing anything unless they can take
a brass band along, and I guess it's true."
"Say," Canfield whispered, calling back to the lads, "when that stone
dropped down, I heard something that sounded like a paddle slapping
down on the water. That room can't be wet yet, can it?"
"The Beaver call!" whispered Will.
"Right you are!" replied Dick. The boys are there, all right!"
"Now the next thing to do is to find out if those highwaymen are
watching them," declared Will.
"I'll tell you that in a minute," Dick whispered.
As the boy spoke, he passed one end of the rope to Canfield.
"Hang on to it, whatever takes place!" he whispered, "and I'll drop
down and see what's going on."
"You must be very careful," warned Canfield.
"That's all right," answered Dick, "but we can't stand here all day
figuring out precautions. We've got to know right off whether there's
anyone in that chamber watching the boys!"
"What a joke it would be to put on a ghost in Tunnel Six!" laughed
Will in a decidedly cheerful frame of mind now that rescue seemed so
"Don't try any foolishness!" advised Canfield. "Let's rescue the boys
if possible and make our way out of this horrible place."
Will crawled to the edge of the shaft with Dick and whispered as he
lowered him into the dark opening below:
"Remember, that Ventner may have discovered the money. If so, we must
secure it before we leave the place! It will be just like him, to
stow the bank notes away in some chamber like the one you are about to
enter. When you strike bottom, if there is no one in sight except the
boys, turn on your searchlight and take a good look over the interior
of the chamber.
"We were in there not so very long ago, but at that time we weren't
thinking of making a search there for hidden money. You'll have to
use your own judgment about turning on the light, of course. The
outlaws may be out in the gangway, some distance from the entrance to
the chamber, or they may be within six feet of where the boys are held
"Tommy ought to be able to tell me the minute I strike the heap of
shale whether the outlaws are close by or not!" Dick suggested.
"Of course!" answered Will, "if he knows. If the men are not in
sight, and he doesn't know where they are, you'll simply have to take
chances. If you get caught in there, you'll have to shoot, and shoot
Dick dropped down into the old shaft and directly the anxious watchers
above heard the rattle of shale as it dropped from the pyramid under
the opening. Will, still clinging to the rope, lay on his stomach and
peered downward, watching with all anxiety for some show of light, or
some sound which might indicate the situation below.
Directly Will felt a soft, steady pull at the rope, and knew that one
of the boys was ready to be hoisted to the top.
Dick came up first, chuckling as he landed on the edge of the break in
the rock, and was immediately followed by Jimmie.
"Where's Tommy and George?" asked Will in a whisper.
"They're down there looking for the money!"
"Looking for the money in the darkness?"
"Sure!" was the reply. "You see," he went on, "those ginks tied us
up, good and tight, and then threw the money around promiscuous like!"
"So the money is there?" asked Will.
The news seemed too good to be true!
It was there when- we were first thrown into the chamber," replied
Jimmie, "but I have an idea that Ventner sneaked in and removed it so
as to prevent his mates getting any share."
A light flashed out from below, followed immediately by a pistol shot!
SANDY IS DISCHARGED
Elmer and Sandy, guarding the gangway variously called the North
section and Tunnel Six, presently heard voices coming from the
direction of the shaft, and the latter moved back a few paces in order
to inspect the new-comers. In a moment he saw three rather pompous
looking men approaching him, their footsteps being directed by a man
clothed as a miner.
"Here, boy!" shouted one of the pompous men. "Can you tell me where
Canfield, the caretaker of the mine may be found?"
"He's up on the next level," replied Sandy.
"I was told he was down here," growled the speaker, who was very short
and fat, and very much out of breath.
"He was here a little while ago," answered Sandy.
"What's the meaning of this show of firearms?" demanded the fat main,
after glancing disdainfully at the automatic in the boy's hand.
"We've got three robbers cooped up in the mine," replied Sandy.
"That's the old, old story!" exclaimed the fat man. "I don't know
that I ever knew of a mine that wasn't haunted, either by ghosts or
robbers! Mysteries seem to breed in coal mines!"
Sandy walked back to the place where, he had left Elmer, and the three
men and their guide followed him. When Elmer caught a view of the fat
man's face and figure, he gave a sharp pull at Sandy's sleeve.
"That's Stephen Carson!" he said. "I guess I'd better keep out of
sight, because I don't care about getting into an argument with him.
He's the most contrary person I ever saw in my life, and never fails
to get up an argument about something or other with yours truly."
"You seem to know him pretty well," whispered Sandy.
"I ought to," returned Elmer, "he's my Uncle!"
The two tall men in the party are my father and the cashier of the
Night and Day bank. I'll take a sneak, and that will shorten the
Accordingly, Elmer strolled along the gangway and came to a halt some
distance from where the three men had drawn up.
"My boy" Carson went on, looking condescendingly at the youth, "will
you kindly run up to the second level and tell Mr. Canfield that his
presence is required by the president of the mining company?"
"I'm not allowed to leave this place, sir," replied Sandy, taking
offense at the man's air of proprietorship.
"All persons in and about this mine," Carson almost shouted, "are
subject to my orders. Run along now, you foolish boy, and don't make
any trouble for yourself!"
The man's manner was so unnecessarily dictatorial and offensive that
Sandy found it impossible to restrain his temper. He was not
naturally a "fresh" youngster, but now he had passed the limit of
"Aw, go chase yourself!" he said.
"You're discharged!" shouted Carson.
"You didn't hire me!" retorted Sandy. "You haven't got any right to
discharge me! I'm going to stay here until I get ready to leave!"
"If you don't get out of the mine immediately, I'll have you thrown
out!" shouted Carson. "I never saw such impudence!"
"If I do get out," replied Sandy with a grin, "you'll wish I hadn't!"
Carson turned to Elmer's father and the bank cashier, and the three
consulted together for a short time. Then Elmer's father came closer
to where Sandy was standing.
"Why do you say that?" he asked. "Why do you think we will wish you
had remained in case you are sent out of the mine?"
"Because I was left here to prevent robbers getting out of the
gangway. They're further in, and have captured three of my chums."
"All nonsense!" shouted Mr. Carson breaking into the conversation
impatiently. "These breaker boys never tell the truth!"
"Are you Mr. Buck?" asked Sandy, speaking an undertone to Elmer's
father. "Because if you are, you'll find Elmer just a short distance
ahead. He's on guard, too. He didn't want his uncle to recognize
him, because he says he's always getting up an argument with him."
"I'm glad to know that Elmer is attending to his duty," Mr. Buck
answered. "Somehow," he continued with a smile, "Stephen Carson
always rubs Elmer the wrong way of the grain."
"What's he butting in here for?" asked Sandy, while the cashier of the
Night and Day bank and the miner stood by waiting for the peace
negotiations to conclude.
"Why, he came in to get his two hundred thousand." replied Mr. Buck.
"He thinks he knows now right where he left it."
"Does he often get foolish in the head like that?" asked Sandy with a
grin. "If he does, he ought to hire a couple of detectives to keep
track of him when he is wandering out in the night!"
"Oh, Stephen is usually a pretty level-headed sort of a fellow!"
replied Mr. Buck. "He is out of humor just now because he has always
denied that he visited the mine during his two weeks of absence. He
is one of the men who dislike very much to be caught in an error of
"So he knows where the money is?" asked Sandy.
"He says he can find it if he can secure the services of Canfield, the
caretaker. He remembers now of getting in the mine, and of hearing
footsteps in the darkness. His impression at that time was that
robbers had followed him in, so he unloaded the banknotes in a small
chamber which he is now able to describe accurately but which he
cannot, of course, find."
"Was the money hidden on this level?" asked Sandy.
"Yes, on this level."
"In this gangway?"
"He thinks it was hidden here."
"Right about here, or further on?"
"Right about here," was the answer, "he seems to remember something
about Tunnel Six. He thinks he hid the money there! As soon as he
finds Canfield, the caretaker will probably be able to tell him
exactly how Tunnel Six looks."
"It looks all in a mess right now! I can tell you that," grinned
"What do you mean by that?"
"I mean that there's been doings here!" replied Sandy.
"Are there really robbers in there?"
"Sure, there are robbers in there!"
"Then perhaps we'd better bring in a squad of deputies."
"If you'll just let us boys alone," Sandy said, "we'll bring the money
out if it's anywhere in the mine, but if this man Carson goes to
butting in at this time, he'll have to dig out his own money. He
won't believe there's any robbers in there, and he wants to fire me
out of the mine, so I guess we'd better let him go his own gait a
"He'll do that anyhow no matter what you say!" replied Mr. Buck.
"Look here!" shouted Carson, starting forward with his stomach out and
his fat shoulders thrown back, "what's all this conversation about?
Why don't some one go up and get Canfield, and why isn't that young
rowdy thrown out of the mine? I won't have him in here!"
"Say," Sandy broke in, "Mr. Buck says that you're looking for Tunnel
Six. If you are, I can show you right where it is!"
"Do so, then!" shouted Carson.
"Go straight ahead," Sandy directed, "and when the robbers begin to
shoot, you command them to throw down their weapons in the name of the
law! They'll probably do it, all right, if you tell them to but
you'll be lucky if they don't throw them down your throat!"
"Do you mean to tell me," screamed Carson, "that there are actually
robbers here, and that they have taken possession of Tunnel Six?"
"That's the idea," replied Sandy.
"Why, that's where I put my--"
"That's where you put your money, is it?" Sandy went on.
"I never saw such impudence!" roared Carson.
"Well, go on and get your money!" advised Sandy. "Just go straight
down the gangway until you come to a face of rock and then switch off
to the left, and you'll find yourself in a chamber used at present by
robbers and hold-up men as a winter resort."
"Oh you can't frighten me!" declared Carson. "I believe that you're
here in quest of the money yourself!"
"That's right!" admitted Sandy. "Go on in, now, and tell the robbers
to give up your hoarded gold! Just butt in, and tell 'em what you
want them to do! They'll probably do just as you tell them to!"
"I never saw such imprudence in my life!" roared Carson, wiping his
perspiring forehead with a large red silk handkerchief.
"I don't see where the impudence comes in!" replied Sandy. "You said
you wanted to find Tunnel Number Six in order that you might locate
your money. I'm telling you where it is, and what to do to get it!"
"Old Stephen never took a bluff in his life!" chuckled Mr. Buck. "Now
see if he doesn't go stalking down that passage and declaring himself
in the name of the law!"
The banker did exactly what Mr. Buck had predicted. He went storming
down the passage, giving notice to all intruders to walk out of his
mine in a peaceable manner. Mr. Buck followed along until he came to
where Elmer was standing with his back against the wall, and then the
two paused and entered into conversation. The cashier of the Night
and Day bank and the miner started back toward the shaft.
"What's the matter?" shouted Sandy. "Why don't you stay and see the
fun? There'll be shooting here directly!"
The miner and the cashier now took to their heels and were soon of out
of sight. Every moment the boy expected to see a flash of fire in the
gangway. Carson was now very near to Tunnel Six, and it seemed certain
that the outlaws must soon open fire on him.
"Come back, Stephen!" shouted Mr. Buck. "Don't make a fool of
"This is all pure bluff!" shouted Carson. "There are no robbers here
at all. This is a scheme to keep me out of Tunnel Six, where I
believe my money to be hidden!"
They saw Carson halt in his rather clumsy passage down the gangway,
and draw an automatic from his pocket.
There was a quick shot and the banker rushed ahead!
"I TOLD YOU SO!"
Directly Elmer, Sandy and Mr. Buck heard the banker shouting at the
top of his lungs and dashed on toward the mysterious tunnel.
"He'll get his head shot off in there!" exclaimed Sandy.
"I don't care if he does!" declared Elmer.
"Your uncle isn't such a bad old fellow, after all," Mr. Buck exclaimed.
"He has plenty of courage, at any rate!"
"But I don't understand why they don't open fire on him!" exclaimed
Sandy. "The robbers certainly were in there not very long ago. We
heard the scuffle when they geezled Jimmie."
"Who fired that shot?" asked Mr. Buck.
"Uncle Stephen did," replied Elmer. "I saw the flash spring out from
the spot where he stood!"
"Well, what do you know about that?" exclaimed Sandy. "The old chap
is actually making his bluff good! He's getting into Tunnel Six
single handed and alone! I guess we'll have to advertise for those
three outlaws if we find 'em in here! He's a nervy old follow, isn't
The three now followed fast on the heels of the banker, and soon came
to where he stood swinging his searchlight at the end of a short drift
which ended, after sliding under a dip, in a chamber which, at first
glance seemed to be piled high with a with a mass of shale.
While the three looked on, Carson dropped on his knees beside a
crevice in the wall and began an eager exploration of the opening.
Directly he sprang to his feet with rage and disappointment showing on
every feature of his face. He raved about the cluttered chamber for a
moment, almost dancing up and down in his anger and chagrin, and then
sat limply down on the pile of shale.
"It's gone!" he said. "The money's gone!"
"So it wasn't hidden back there in that cross cutting at all?" asked
Sandy. "We thought sure we had a cinch on the coin several hours
"It was hidden here in this chamber!" declared Carson wearily. "The
minute I entered the place I remembered where I had hidden it. And
now it's gone! I've had all my trouble for nothing."
As he ceased speaking, he glanced suspiciously at Sandy. And Sandy,
in turn, made a most provoking face.
"I believe you know something about my money!" Carson said.
"Sure I do!" replied Sandy.
"Then where is it?"
"The robbers got it!"
"That's a nice story to tell," howled Carson. "If you think I'm going
to be defrauded out of my money in this way, you're very much
Without paying any further attention to the threats of the banker,
Sandy stepped over to Elmer's, side and pointed up the deserted shaft.
"There's where the robbers went," he said, "and they doubtless took
Carson's money with them. I don't understand why Will didn't stop
"Will and George probably released their friends and went away,"
complained Elmer. "I don't think they showed very good judgment in
doing that, either. The result is that the money has disappeared
entirely. A short time ago, Uncle might have reclaimed it."
"We don't know whether the money has gone beyond recall or not,"
replied Sandy. "I don't believe Will and George ever left the old
shaft unguarded. They are still somewhere in this vicinity!"
Carson now blustered up to Sandy and pointed an accusing finger into
the lad's face. Sandy regarded him with indifference.
"Now that your story of the robbers has been disproved," Carson
shouted, "you may as well tell me who took my money. If I had not the
courage to make this investigation in person, that cheap story of the
robbers would have held good for all time!"
"That's a horse on me, all right!" admitted Sandy. "I don't know
where the robbers are, unless they went up through that old shaft, and
it doesn't seem as if the boys would permit that!"
"Too thin! Entirely too thin!" declared Carson. "A moment ago you
tried to tell me that the money wasn't hidden near Tunnel Six at all,
but was hidden back there near the cross-cutting."
"We had good reason to believe it was hidden there!" replied Sandy.
"We found a burned ten dollar banknote there just after a dynamite
explosion had taken place."
"That would naturally lead to the supposition that the money had been
hidden there!" Mr. Buck exclaimed.
"Come to think of it," Sandy went on, "I believe that was one of
Ventner's tricks. I believe he blew down those pillars and burned the
banknote for the express purpose of making us search two or three
weeks in the wrong place. I guess we have underestimated that
fellow's ability. He's a keener man than I supposed!"
"I don't quite see the point to that," Elmer suggested. "When you say
that Ventner probably caused you to dig in the wrong place, you admit
that he must have known something about the right place. Now, how
could he have known anything about where to look for that money?"
"I don't know," replied Sandy. "But when you say that he might have
known exactly where to look, you set him down as a fool, because he
has been searching a long time and never came upon it until today."
"I think I can understand that," Mr. Buck said. "This man you speak
of probably knew where to find the money provided he could discover
the right drift, bench, chamber or tunnel. Like Mr. Carson, here, he
could doubtless go straight to the cache if directed into the right
While the four stood together at the bottom of the chamber, their
searchlights making the place as light as day, an exclamation came
from the shaft above, followed by two pistol shots.
Carson dropped to his knees and began twisting at his automatic, which
had in some way become entangled in the lining of his pocket.
"There are your robbers!" he shouted. "Put out your lights!"
"Don't you do anything of the kind!" argued Sandy. "Get out of range
of the old shaft and keep your lights burning so you can shoot any one
who drops down! I guess we have them hemmed in!"
"It's a scheme to get away with my money!" shouted Carson.
"I wish you had your old money chucked down your throat!" exclaimed
Sandy. "I'm getting sick of the sound of the word!"
All members of the party now drew back toward the dip, where they were
entirely concealed from any one in the old shaft.
Directly there was a rattling of shale and slate, and then the lights
showed the figure of Tommy sitting astride the peak of the pyramid.
"What are you fellows trying to do down there?" he asked.
"We're looking for Carson's money?" replied Sandy.
"Did you get it?" the boy demanded.
"That's the boy that's got my money!" shouted the banker.
"Money's a good thing to have!" grinned Tommy.
"What have you done with the highwaymen?" asked Sandy.
"Why continue this senseless talk about highwaymen?" demanded Carson,
"when you know just as well as I do that there are no robbers here
other than yourselves! Mr. Buck," he added, turning to Elmer's
father, "I call upon you to assist me in restraining these robbers
until the proper officers can be summoned."
"Where did that fat man come from?" asked Tommy.
"You impertinent rascal!" shouted Carson.
"Sure!" answered Tommy. "But where did you say you came from?"
"I'm president of this mining company!" screamed Carson, "and I'll
have you all in jail if you don't produce my money!"
"Is this the gentleman who went batty and lost two hundred thousand
dollars?" asked Tommy, sliding down from the slate pyramid and
standing beside Sandy.
"That is believed to be the man!" laughed Sandy.
"Believed to be!" roared Carson.
"Does he know where he left the money?" asked Tommy.
"Sure I know where I left my money, you young Jackanapes!" declared
Carson. "I pointed out the exact hiding place only a few moments
"You found it empty?"
"Yes, I found it empty!" roared Carson.
"Then," Tommy suggested, "we've all got to get busy."
"What do you mean by that?" demanded Carson.
Before Tommy could reply, Will came sliding down the rope and landed
within a few feet of where the little group stood.
"Look here, Will," Tommy said, "Are you sure we made a good search of
those three ginks? They've got the money all right!"
"How do you know they did?" demanded Will.
"That fat man over there who looks as if he was about to bust," Tommy
grinned, "is Mr. Carson, the man who hid the money and couldn't find
it again. He's just been looking in the place where he concealed it,
and it isn't there! We've got to get busy!"
"I don't understand this at all," Mr. Buck interrupted.
"It's just this way," Will said, facing the speaker, "we caught the
three men who were wandering about in the mine. We rescued our chums
first, and then when the outlaws heard your party advancing they
scrambled up the old shaft and took to their heels supposing, of
course, that we had lost no time in getting out of the mine."
"And you geezled them all?" asked Sandy.
"The whole three!" replied Will. "All we had to do was to stretch a
rope across a passage, trip them up, and do a little winding around
their graceful forms before they could catch their breath. They are
all tied up good and tight now."
"And you searched them for the money and didn't find it?" shouted
"And we searched them for the money and didn't find it!" repeated
"I don't believe it!" shouted Carson. "You'll be telling me in a
moment, when I ask you to produce your robbers, that they have broken
their bonds and escaped!"
At that moment, George's voice was heard calling down the shaft:
"Break for the main shaft!" they heard him saying. "Head those
fellows off. They cut their ropes and got away!"
"I told you so!" thundered Carson.
"Bright boys up there!" exclaimed Will, as the unwelcome news of the
escape of the robbers came down the old shaft.
"Me for the elevator?" shouted Tommy.
All four boys, Will, Elmer, Tommy and Sandy started in a mad race down
the gangway. As they carried their searchlights with them, and as Mr.
Carson and Mr. Buck moved at a slower pace, the latter gentlemen were
soon feeling their way through the dark tunnel.
"We've just got to head 'em off!" grunted Tommy as the boys passed
along at a pace calculated to break the long distance running records.
"I don't believe they'll make for the main shaft anyway," Sandy
"I don't believe they will, either," Will declared, "but if we get to
the lift first, we'll be dead sure they don't got out!"
Will was in advance as they swung into the lighted space about the
shaft. The first thing be observed was that one of the cages was just
starting upward. He sprang to the push button and almost instantly
the cage dropped back to the third level again. The power was on in
honor of the visit of the president of the company.
"Pile in, boys!" he shouted. "We'll stop at the second level!"
The man at the top responded nobly to the quick signals given to start
and stop, and in a very short space of time the elevator stood at the
second level. The bar was down, but Will threw it aside and stepped
out into the passage. There he saw the bank cashier and the miner
standing cowering against the wall only a few feet from the shaft.
"What are you doing here?" asked Will.
"We started to the top," the miner replied, "but stopped here because
we thought there might be need of our assistance on this level."
"Why on this level?" asked Will, observing that the miner was pretty
thoroughly frightened. "I haven't heard of any disturbance here!"
"But there has been a disturbance here!" insisted the cashier. "We
heard scuffling out there in the darkness, but as we had no lights, we
could not investigate. My friend, the miner, had a light on the lower
level, but he lost it as we made our way out to the shaft."
"Has any one passed up the shaft?" asked Will.
The miner shook his head.
"Then we're on time all right!" cried Will exultantly. "We have the
outlaws headed off!"
The heavy voices of the two men who had been left on the lower level
now came rumbling up the shaft.
"What do you mean by leaving us in this plight?" demanded Carson.
"Lower the cage and take us to the top!"
"Stay down there and look after your money!" cried Sandy, mockingly.
"I think I know where my money is!" shouted Carson.
"I wish I knew!" returned Sandy.
In the moment of silence which followed, the boys instantly and heard
the call of the Beaver Patrol ringing down the second level.
"George seems to be alive anyway!" laughed Tommy.
A moment later a snarling sound which seemed to emanate from a whole
pack of Wolves reached the ears of the boys.
"Why didn't you tell me there were wild animals in the mine?" shouted
the cashier. "Let me into that cage immediately!"
"Don't be in a hurry," advised Tommy. "All the Wolves and Beavers
you'll find in here won't do you any harm!"
While Carson and Elmer's father continued to call from below, and
while the Boy Scout challenges rang in the second level, two pistol
shots were heard not far away from the shaft.
The cashier and the miner both broke for the cage, but were turned
back at the point of Sandy's automatic revolver.
"You stopped here because you though you might be of some assistance,
you know," the boy said. "Now you just remain here long enough to
"But there are people being murdered in there!" cried the cashier.
Two more shots came from the gangway and then the stout figure of the
detective came staggering into the circle of light around the shaft.
He had evidently been wounded seriously, for he fell as he drew near
to where the boys were standing and raised his eyes in a piteous
appeal for help. Will stooped over and felt of his pulse.
"You're about done for!" the boy said in a husky tone. "Who did it?"
"Those two hold-up men," was the faint reply.
"Where are they now?" asked Will.
"I fired back," replied the detective wit a grim smile, "and I guess
they're lying on the floor of the passage!"
Will bent closer over the wounded detective while Tommy and Sandy
started down the gangway on a run, closely followed by Elmer.
"Why did they shoot you?" asked Will.
"I found the money," Ventner replied, "and hid it in a crevice in the
wall, and they found it. When we managed to escape by cutting the
ropes I saw them take the money and disappear in the darkness. I
followed on and accused them of the act and they shot me! Then I shot
back, and I guess it's a pretty bad mess, when you take it altogether!"
"Where is the money?" asked Will.
"They have it in their possession," was the reply, "if they haven't
hidden it again."
Before the wounded detective could continue, George, Jimmie, Dick,
Canfield, Sandy and Tommy came running out of the gangway.
"Where's Elmer?" asked Will.
"We left him back there talking with one of the hold-up men," replied
George. "They're both badly hurt, and won't last long!"
"I'm not sorry!" moaned Ventner.
A moment later, Elmer came out of the passage with a bill-book of good
size in his hand. He lifted the book gaily as he entered the
"I'll bet he's got the money!" exclaimed Tommy.
"Sure he has!" replied Will, and Elmer nodded.
The voices of Carson and Buck again came roaring up from below.
"Why don't you lower the cage?" Carson shouted. "I'm going to have
every one of you arrested as soon as I find an officer! You can't
work any of your gold brick schemes on me!"
"We may as well drop down and take them aboard," laughed Will.
Carson was swelling with rage when he step onto the platform of the
list. He shook his fiercely under Will's nose, and announced that
would have him wearing handcuffs before night.
"How much reward was offered for the return that two hundred thousand
dollars?" asked the boy without paying any attention to the angry
demonstrations of the banker.
"Twenty thousand dollars!" replied Carson. "But you'll never get a
cent of it. I hired a party of Boy Scouts to come here from Chicago
and look into the case, but they never came near me."
"When you write to Chicago again," Will replied with a smile as the
elevator stopped at the second level, "just tell Mr. Horton that the
Beaver's didn't succeed in getting the money, but that the Wolves did.
Elmer has the money in his possession this minute!"
"Impossible!" shouted Carson.
"Hand him the money, Elmer," requested Will.
Carson snatched the bill book as it was held out to him and began
looking through the ten thousand dollar banknotes which it contained.
"The next time you get drunk and fall out of your machine, don't
accuse every one you meet of robbing you!" Sandy cut in.
"Are you the boys who came on from Chicago?" demanded Carson.
"Sure," replied Will.
"I guess I'm an old fool!" admitted Carson. "Here I've been roaming
around about half a day accusing you boys of stealing my money, when
all the time you were planning on returning it to me!"
"Do we get the reward now?" asked Will.
"Twenty thousand and expenses!" replied Carson. "I'll settle with
Elmer and his chums later."
"It's a shame to take the money!" declared Sandy, but Will gave him a
sharp punch in the back and he cut off any further remarks which he
might have had in his mind.
The story ends here because the adventure ended with the finding of
the money. The old tool house was deserted that night. The two
hold-up men and the detective recovered after a long illness in a
Pittsburgh hospital. The detective was permitted to go his way after
promising to keep out of crooked detective deals in the future. He
never told how or where he received his information about the lost
money. The hold-up men were given long sentences in prison.
A few weeks later, when the mining company resumed operations at the
Labyrinth, Tunnel Six was walled up. Mr. Carson, the president,
declared that it made what few hairs he had left stand on end to think
of the experiences he had endured there!
However, there are still stories about the breaker, that on dark,
nights, when the wind blows, and the rain falls in great sheets, there
are mysterious lights floating about Tunnel Six.
Jimmie and Dick often tell exactly how these lights were made and how
they enjoyed themselves down in the bowels of the earth, but
superstitious miners still claim that the boys were not responsible
for all the lights which burned there!
Dick and Jimmie also have their joke with the Beaver Patrol boys
whenever they meet, declared that if they had not finally relented and
dropped the string the boys had carried into the mine for their own
ppotection, they would still be wandering around in the Labyrinth
"And now," Will said as they settled down in their old room on
Washington boulevard, "we going to be good boys from this time on and
remain in Chicago and stay at home nights!"
However, in three days, the boys were preparing for another bit of
adventure, the details of which will be found in the next volume of
this, series entitled:
"Boy Scouts in Alaska; or, The Camp on Glacier."
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