IN THE HEART OF THE WOOD
" Wait a bit—here's one with something in! " said Benny, and he picked it up. He opened the neck of the sack and flashed his torch inside.
" Sally, look—what's that gleaming inside there? " he said. " Pull it out."
Sally put in her hand and tugged. Out came a beautiful silver candlestick, with branching ends for candles. " Well! " said Sally. " Look at that! This is a hiding-place for stolen goods! "
Scamp suddenly took his head out from the hole in the tree and began to bark loudly. Sally felt frightened.
" Benny! Scamp's barking," she said. " Do you think someone is coming? Oh, I do hope it isn't the robbers! "
Scamp was barking his head off. " Woof, woof, woof! Woof, woof, woof! Grrrrrrrrrr! "
" Look at that dog! " said a man's hoarse voice. " What's he doing there? Do you think there's anyone about in the wood this evening, Bill?"
" Might be," said another voice, rather low. " Dump the sack in that bush over there, Alf—where it won't be seen. Then we'll sit down with our backs to the hollow tree and wait a bit to see if the owner of the dog comes along. Maybe the dog's just rabbiting by himself."
Sally clutched Benny's hand as they heard this. Men with another sack! It must be the robbers! What would they say when they found the two children inside the tree!
" Sh! " said Benny, in Sally's ear. " Don't make a sound, Sally. Perhaps Scamp will send them off. Hark how he's barking."
The two men sat down with their backs against the tree. The children sat on the sacks, absolutely still. Scamp went on barking.
" He's just rabbiting," said one of the men at last. " Chuck a stone at him, Alf, and send him off! "
There was a piteous squeal from Scamp as a large stone struck him. Then the sound of scampering feet. " He's gone," said Alf. " Now to get to work! "
The two men got up. Benny felt Sally trembling. How he wished their dog Scamp had not run away. Poor Scamp—he must have been badly hurt by the stone the man threw at him.
The men began to climb up the tree. The children could hear them