Young Klondike's claim; or, Nine golden nuggets

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Young Klondike's claim; or, Nine golden nuggets

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Title:
Young Klondike's claim; or, Nine golden nuggets
Series Title:
Young Klondike
Creator:
Author of Young Klondike ( Old Miner )
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Frank Tousey
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 online resources (31 p.)

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Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels ( lcsh )
Gold mines and mining -- Fiction ( lcsh )
Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
025493542 ( ALEPH )
15008484 ( OCLC )
Y14-00027 ( USF DOI )
y14.27 ( USF Handle )

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serial

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S t o r i e s of a Gold Seek er. I ssued Subscriplinn $1.25 p r r 1 ear_ Entered as Second Class llfotte1 at the New Yo1 k 'I Y., Post Office knte1ed according to Act of Congress in the year 1898, in the office o f the Librarian of O l n{Jr ess fVa shington, D. c.: by Frank Touse y, 29 W est 26th Street. N e w Yo1 k. No.2. New Y ork, March 30, 1898. Pri c e 5 Cents. YOUNG KLONDIKE'S OR, N""IN"'E N"'UGGET.S. BY AUTHOR OF YOUNC KLONDIKE. CHAPTE R I. THE D UCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE. HELLO, Young K l ondike D o yo u want to buy a claim?" I t was o n the l evee a t D awso n City, the metropoli s of the Yuko n country, that this question was put. Now the l evee at D awson City is all right i n summer time, but this happened to be the midd l e of No vember, and the thermometer registered fifty six de grees bel o w zero. Phew! But wasn't it cold The speaker was a tall, ungainly man, with a red d ish beard and sharp features. H e was muffled up to the eyes in a n old army overcoat ; an immense woo l en comforter was i:vrapped round and round his throat and head and face, with a cloth cap pulled down over it, so that on l y his eyes and the tip of his beard could be seen He spoke again, his voice coming out fro m the folds of the comforter in a muffled way. "Hello, Young Klondike, do you want to buy a claim?" It was a boy of some eighteen years that he was ad dressing, a handsome, stalwart young fellow; but there was not much more to be seen of his face than there was of the man's. It don't do to expose one's face in Dawson City when the thermometer take s a tumble, unless you want to get a frozen nose "Yes, I want to buy a claim," called the boy, from behind his wraps. "That's what I'm here for; I'm going up the Klondike to dig for gold." _, So I heard," roared the man. "I've got a claim to sell Now, it was quite necessary to shout if one expected to make himself heard, for the wind was sweepi n g down the Yukon valley, coming over the big mount ain opposite Dawson, straight from the North Pole No place to buttonhol e a friend and tell long stories One's legs were liable to freeze still if o ne stopped walking. T he boy and the man hurried on up the l evee as they talked; it was a matter of life a n d death; they eith e r had to keep moving or free z e. Dawson City is a nything but a pleasant place to li ve i n o n such a day as this "I'd like t o talk with you," shouted the boy "Can't we get inside somewhere? I'm so cold I can hardly speak "Same here," growled the man. "Say, my name is Jerry Tolman Yours, they tell me, i s N ed Golden. Let's go into the D uchess of D ev o nshire a.nd have a drink." T hus saying, Jerry Tolman turned off the levee and hurried up the street, cl ose l y foll owed by the bQy. The wind was now at their back, which made it easier walking. Night was falling, and yet it was not yet two o'clock in the afternoon. There are only a few hours of daylight at Dawson in November, while in December there are a few days when the sun rises only to go down again-in the summer time, of course, the situation is exactly the reverse. T he Duchess of D evonshire was no gorgeously ap pointed saloon, as its name would seem to imp l y. Picture in your mind a long frame building, one story high, with a false front gorgeously painted, giving it the appearance of possessing a second story, and you see the Duchess as Youpg Klondike saw itas he had seen it many times before Jerry Tolman opened the door and they made a quick dive inside, immediately shutting it again. It i s high treason t o leave the door open in Dawson. The man who was to do such a thing without a good excuse wou l d be liable to get himself into serious trouble. At the Duchess he would be very liable to get shot.

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2 YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. The room which they now found themselves in was The bottle and cigars came in a moment. The boy packed with men with big hats, long-legged boots, had maintained a discreet silence. red shirts and everything in the shape of outer cover-He knew Mr. Jerry Tolman by reputation, and was ings that one can imagine. well aware that he was one of the sharpest claim Some wore ulsters, others old army coats, others agents in Dawson. bearskin coats, or cowskin coats coming down to their "He expects to get the best of me," thought Ned heels; others still, coats made of the famous Mission Golden to himself, "but he won't do it-let him try." blankets, with holes for the arms and big collars up Jerry pushed the bottle over to Ned. around the neck. "Help yourself, Young Klondike," he said. Naturally all these peculiarities of costume gave the "Thank you-no!" crowd a unique appearance. "What! What Refuse good whisky at a dollar But it was all right in Dawson. a drink?" There a man is at liberty to wear whatever he "I'd refuse it if it was a hundred dollars a drink!" pleases. "Well, have a cigar." The long bar was so crowded that it was impossible "No, thanks. I can talk business without either to get near it; the tables were all occupied, and in the whisky or tobacco." rear room the rattling of dice and faro chips could be "Humph! Well, I can't," and Jerry proved the heard. assertion by getting outside of a huge drink, and light-The Duchess of Devonshire was not only a saloon, ing his cigar. but also a gambling house, and yet it was a perfectly "Now then, what kind of a claim do you want, straight place. Young Klondike?" he asked. A miner's rgold was safer here than anywhere else "A good one-one that has got gold in it." in Dawson ; in fact, the big safe at the Duchess was "Ha Ha Yes, just so." full of it. "Why do you call me Young Klondike?" Bags upon bags were piled up inside, each labelled "That's what I've heard you called up at the Vic-with the owner's name. toria hotel." The Duchess was something else besides a saloon "So you've had your eye on me?" and a gambling house. It was a bank, and he safest "I have. I know all about you, young man." bank in Dawson. "Indeed? What do you know?" Consequently it was perfectly proper for Jerry Tol"Well, I know that you came out here a few weeks man to invite Young Klondike into the Duchess, to ago with old Joe Torry's party. I know that you talk over the matter of the claim. have a partner whose name is Dick Luckey, a boy "Henry," said the claim owner, addressing one of like yourself." the bartenders, "I want to talk business with this "That's true." gentleman; can we have a room?" "And I know that you ,are both from New York, "Sure, Jerry," replied the bartender. "There's a and that Henry Welton's daughter Edith is with fellow asleep in No. 8 ; all the other rooms are occu-your party, also a fellow who is danged fool enough pied: I'll go and rout him out." to wear a plug hat in the dead of winter. He was "I wish you would," replied Tolman, "and bring telling me about you last night, his name is Meyers us in a bottle of Canadian whisky, Henry, and a I believe." of bang-up cigars." I "His name ain't anything of the sort," laughed Evidently, Mr. Jerry Tolman was a man of in:flu-Ned; "but I know '>'Tho you mean well enough." ence at the Duchess, for Henry hurried out from be"Pf course you do. What is his name, then ?" hind the bar and pushed his way through the crowd. "Now are asking me too much. I traveled On the left-hand side of the long room was a row of with him all the way from Seattle, but I never suc doors, each communicating with a small room in ceeded in finding out." which there was a table and four chairs. "So ?" Millions often changed hands in these little rooms. "Yes; we call him the Unknown." There was scarcely a table which had not at one "Curious rooster, anyhow. He told me he was a time or another been covered with its weight in gold. I detective." Presently Young Klondike saw an inebriated indi"That's true." vidual come flying out of one of the doors, hustled "He was in here looking for a man, and he actually along by Henry. tried to arrest a fellow and came near getting a bullet What became of him he did not see, for Jerry Tol-in his head for doing it, for it wasn't the man at all." man immediately led the way to the room which was Ned laughed heartily. <>pen at the top and thoroughly warmed by the big "Oh, that's an old trick of my friend's," he said; wood stove, which occupied a centralplacein the long "but now to business. What claim have you to saloon. sell?" "There, now we can talk," said J crry. "Phew, I've got three on the Klondike and four on El Do-isn't it cold outside! do you know my jaws are fairly I rado creek at the present time." frozen. I can't do anything till I get a drink." "I'm going to the Klondike."

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YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. 3 "You're wise. Your chance is best there. My "Beg pardon. I'm rough, but I'm all right." Claims are 189, 172 and 192." "I hope your price on Claim 172 is all right, for Got a map ?" that's the claim I want." Yes." I see ; you three want to keep together?" "Let's see it." "Naturally." Jerry Tolman produced the map and spread it out "Well, then, you struck the right man when you upon the table. struck me. I'll take five thousands dollars for that Before Ned had time to look at it there came a claim." knock on the door. "Not from me," said Ned, drawing back. "Go way! This room is occupied," growled Jerry. "And why not?" "Is Ned Golden here?" called a voice outside. "Because it is too much money." "Hello! That's Dick Luckey, my partner!" cried "Not for that part of the Klondike." Ned, springing up. "I told him to meet me here at "Excuse me That part of the Klondike is wholly half past two." undeveloped. There ain't a worked claim within a He opened the door, admitting a bright looking I mile of it." young fellow. Say, young man, you seem to be pretty well He was in direct contrast with Ned Golden.1 I posted." Ned was a tall, well developed boy, but Dick was "I'm up to snuff, you bet. I'll give you the same rather short and slim. price Dick Luckey paid, and that's twenty-five hunN ed had light hair and large gray eyes; Dick's dred dollars. Take it or leave it, for I won't pay a hair was dark and his eyes were black, but his face cent more." was as bright and handsome as Ned's, every bit. "Nonsense! I couldn't think of selling for any such "Mr. Tolman, this is Dick Luckey, my partner," money." said Ned. "Very well. Come on, Dick, there's no use in wast" Happy to meet you, Mr. Luckey," said the claim ing time here." agent. "Won't you join us in a drink?" "Make it three thousand five hundred dollars, and "I'll take what Ned takes," replied Dick, laughing. it's a go." "Then that lets me off cheap," said Tolman. "We "No, no, there's no use talking. We're not in it." were just talking claim." "Three thousand dollars?" "Shut the door, Dick, and look at this map," said "No, sir two thousand five hundred." Ned. "Here are the claims Mr. Tolman has to sell." "Oh, well two thousand five hundred it is, we Dick sat down at the table, and Ned pointed out the won't split hairs. Do you take?" claims on the map, which was a very extensive affair, "Yes." depicting the whole country around Dawson City, and "Settled. And the money?" showing where the Klondike river ran. into the "You can have that any time by calling at the Vic-y ukon. toria hotel.'' The claims were all marked off and numbered, and "Very well. I'll have the papers made out and be besides the numbers the owners' names were at-up this evening." tached. "Of course you will bring the claim recorder's cer" Well, what do you say ?" asked Jerry, after the tificate ?" boys had studied the map attentively for a few mo"That ain't-necessary." ments. "But how am I to know that you are actually the Well, the fact is," said Ned, "Dick has already owner of claim No. 172 ?'' bought a claim." "Isn't my word enough? I'm well known in Daw" So ?" son." "Yes." "That cuts no ice with me. I want the certificate. "On the Klondike ?" "I won't give it." Yes." "Then we can't trade." "What number?" "But we have already traded." "One hundred and seventy-one." "No, we haven't. Come on, Dick." 0 Bought it of Matt Carlin ?'' "Stop You don't leave this room till you've signed Yes." an agreement to take 172 "He told me that ha had sold it to a fellow from "Nonsense! We are going now." New York, but he didn't tell me his name." "No, you ain't!" roared Jerry Tolman. "I own "It's mine," said Dick. Claim 172, and you are going to buy it!" "Who bol'ight 170?" asked Jerry. Jerry Tolman was fighting mad, now. "Miss Edith W elto n is the owner of that piece of He drew a revolver and put his back against the property," replied Ned. door. "Indeed That's the girl who belongs to your "Drop it Drop it cried a voice above them. pfl,rty ?" "You don't own Claim 172, and those boys are going "The young lady who belongs to our party, yes." I out that door !1'

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4 YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. To the surprise of a man's head was proJ "Run for your lives, boys!" cried the Unknow: Jected above the part1t10n. If Jerry Tolman gets his gang after us we are lost Perched on the back of that head was a rusty plug Lights are few in Dawson streets, and by dodging hat, and in the hand of its owner was a cocked revolin and out among the buildings, which stand "six ver, which was aimed at Jerry Tolman's head. ways for Sunday," as the Unknown expressed it, and "The Unknown!" gasped Ned. I without much regard for street lines, Young Klon" Open that door!" said the man, sternly. "You dike and his friends were soon able to give the crowd blasted claim shark Open that door !" the slip. Then they made their way back to the Victoria CHAPTER ll. Hotel, and glad enough they were to get in there out KLONDIKE CLAIM NO. 172. of the stinging cold. JERRY TOLMAN was a bully, a bluffer and a beat. "There," said the detective, as soon as they were He had expected an easy mark in Ned Golden, bet-safe inside, "that's bad break No. 1 for you, Young ter known as Young Klondike. The nickname had Klondike! Don't you do anything like that again!" been given to the, boy on the journey from Seattle, Ned felt rather ashamed of himself. and it had stuck to him ever since. The Unknown had warned him of this very man. But Ned was wide awake-up and dressed every "Told you not to have any dealings with that feltime. low," said the detective. "I've been on to him ever He sprang upon Jerry Tolman and tried to seize since I began to look around Dawson. He's one of the revolver. the biggest claim sharks in town." J'oo late! "Yes, but he has a hold on Claim No. 172,'' said The bully fired. Ned, "and we want \hat and must have it. Do you The shot whizzed past the head of the Unknown. suppose I'm going to separate from Dick, and now "Ye gods and little fishes Take that cried that Edith has decided to go up to the mines with us, the man, firing back, and at the same time throwing I feel all the more anxious that we should all keep tohis legs over the partition and jumping down into the gether." room. We must," said Dick. 'The shot missed its mark, as it was perhaps ibtend"We are going to,'' replied the Unknown. "bJeed to do, but it had its effect just the same. bye, Young Klondike. If a man with a wart on the Jerry bounced through the door blazing with rage, left side of his nose comes here, you hold him, for he'll and fired again. be my man." "I've been robbed! I've been robbed!" he shout"You ain't going out again, Zed?" demanded Ned. ed. "Yes, I am. It's cold enough to freeze the ears off By this time everybody in the Duchess was up in a brass monkey, but I've got to go. I've got busi-arms. ness to attend to." There was a grand rush for the little room. Thus saying the Unknown jammed his rusty plug The bartender pulled a string which connected with hat tighter on the back of his. head, and hurried out the three big hanging lamps. to face the cutting wind. They were extinguished in an instant. "It's a wonder his ears don't freeze with that riThe crowded saloon was now in total darkness. diculous hat,'' said Dick. "He's a strange mortal Shots were flying, men were shouting. By gracious, Ned, he scared me; I was writing up in In the midst of the confusion Neel Golden was pull-the room when in he bounced. ed violently to the floor. 'Say, Dick,' he hollered, 'Young Klondike is a Down Down, Ned Down, Dick whispered fool.' the voice of the Unknown. "Keep hold of my coat "Of course, you resented that proposition, Dick?" tails! Follow me!" "Naturally; but for the moment I was almost in-Everybody else seemed to be on the floor, too, about clined to admit it when he told me that after all the that time, and there was a general scamper on all warnings you have had against Jerry Tolman, you had fours for the door. actually gone alone into the Duchess with him to barSuch scenes were of occurrence in the I gain for Claim 172." Duchess. "It was a risk-I own it; but how did the UnAll that was needed was one shot to st,art the ball known get on to it?" rolling. "How does he get on to everything the way he The noise and confusion was terrible. does ? Don't ask me ; we hurried down there and you I Everybody seemed to have turned against everyknow .the rest." \ body else. Then you knew he was in the next room all the Keeping close to the Unknown, Ned and Dick found time?" themselves in the street in less time than it takes to "Certainly. I tried to give you the wink, but you tell it. wouldn't tumble. Zed declares that Jerry Tolman Men came pouring out after them. In a moment the Duchess was emptied. don't own 172 at all." "I'in told he does."

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YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. 5 "I go by Zed." But we have consumed more time in these prelimi Let's go up and tell Edith about it. She may get I narics than we intended, anJ as Edith has already word of the scrimmage from somebody else and be joined Ned and Dick in the parlor, we may as well go worried about us." right on with our story. Dick agreed to this, and the boys went up-stairs to "You must really be more careful, Ned," Edith the ladies' parlor. was saying, for Ned and Dick had told their story. Edith was not there, so Ned sent the housekeeper "What would have become of me if you and Dick had up to her room to ask her to come down. been killed?" While they are waiting, a few words of explanation "Oh, you will make friends anywhere, Edith, but I may as well be given, for it is just as well to have don't intend to get killed, so you needn't worry on such dry details over and done with at the start. that score." Ned Golden and Dick Luckey were two New York "But I do worry. You must be more careful. boys, who had come out to the Klondike country on Let Claim 172 go, and work with us for awhile. When the same errand that hundreds of others have gone spring opens you can look up another claim." there, and on which thousands will go and are going "No, no! That ain't my style at all, Edith. I'm now. going to work right now, and I'll have a claim before They were out for the dust-they were going to dig I leave Dawson. I'm satisfied now that Jerry Tol-gold man don't own 172, but who does? The claim reOn the passage from Seattle, the steamer which corder's books show that it originally belonged to a carried the party fell in with a wrecked steamer, man named Grosser. He never worked it, and this from which Ned, by a great display of bravery, resgives any one a right to jump the claim, as they call cued Edith Welton, who was on the way to Dawson it out here, and Jerry Tolman pretends to have done City to look for her father, who had gone to Alaska this, consequently I was willing to pay twenty-five from San Francisco some time before. hundred dollars to buy him off, but, in order to have The Unknown, as the boys usually called the de-that amount to anything, I had to have the recorder's tective, was one of their fellow passengers. His real certificate, and in order to get that, Jerry had to show name no one knew, for he had a different one every that he had done the assessment work on 172. That's day, but the boys called him Zed at times, as he had what I was trying to get at when the. trouble began." requested them to do so, declaring that Zedekiah was "I don't understand it at all," said Edith. "What actually his middle name. ,. is this jumping business, Ned?"' From the very start good fortune seemed to attend "Why, it's just like this/' replied Ned. "I locate our young gold seekers. a claim, but I never wotk it-perhaps I never even see Dick Luckey, true to his name, found an old pocket-it. In order to make my title good, the Canadian book containing five thousand dollars on the wrecked government requires that I should work so many steamer, which nobody claiming, became his property. days in the year on that actual piece of ground.',. While on the journey from Juneau, Ned had a "Well, that's all plain." similar stroke of fortune. Chance brought him to a deserted hut, where lay "Suppose I don't do that assessment work, as it the skeleton of a man, and here he found a bag of is called, and along comes Dick and begins working on that claim. He files a notice with the recorder that gold dust worth many thousand dollars. It was his by right, for near the skeleton was a he has jumped the claim, and if I don't show up with-paper stating that whoever found the dust should keep in a certain time, and comply with certain legal form alities, the claim then becomes Dick's." it.Thus, instead of landing in Dawson City with only "I see; and Jerry Tolman has done this on 172 ?" "He claims to have done it on that and a dozen a few hundred dollars in their possession, as they had fully expected to do, the boys reached the metropolis other claims ; that's his business, but the claim re corder would not give me any definite statement. Said of the Yukon comparatively rich. Now, to mention a peculiarity of the Unknown and he would deal with Jerry, and I'd have to do the same." we are done. His claim was that he had been traveling all over the world, seeking a certain criminal-" his man," he called him. Who this man was, or what he had done, was as much a mystery as the Unknown himself, but that singular individual had a habit of suddenly pouncing upon strangers and attempting to arrest them, de claring that he had at last found his man, but only to admit his mistake a moment later. This peculiarity of the Unknown had led our party into some odd situations, and was likely to do so again. "Suppose you bought the claim of Jerry-then you'd be a jumper?" "Yes; I should have to either settle with Grosser, if he ever turns up, or comply with certain legal formalities to wipe him out. I proposed to do the latter, if I could get rid of Jerry." "I'm afraid you'llnever get rid of him now. They say Jerry Tolman is a very vindictive man." "Oh, I ain't a bit afraid of him," laughed Ned. "We've got to learn to deal with such sharks if we are going to make money on the Klondike. Here we are with everything we need, bought and paid for,

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6 YOUNG KLONDIKE"S CLAIM. and all ready to start for the diggings. You've bought your claim and Dick has bought his--" "Hold on, Ned I You bought mine for me." "No, no, Edith I How many times must I say that the skeleton's legacy was for all of us? You were fully entitled to your share." "Well, I've got it all in the ground, anyhow, and I only hope something may come of it, Ned." "Your chance is just as good as either Dick's or mine. Here you are in Dawson City, and you find that your father has gone to South Africa. Can we go away and leave you here? Certainly not. Under no circumstances can you return to San Francisco be fore spring, so you may just as well go with us." "Of course," cried Dick, "and a great deal better. We've been together so far, and we'll stick together to the end." Edith Welton and her y
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YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. 7 He simply pushed about among the crowd, listening and watching. In a few moments most of the new-comers had entered the Klondike House. Others were busy unloading the sleds. There was a good deal of loud talk and confusion. In the midst of all this the Unknown came back again. "Not my man after all," he said. "By the Jumping Jeremiah, I begin to think I shall never find him, but I have found something else." "What do you mean?" asked Ned. "I've found out where Mr. Grosser is, and you have got to move quick if you want to secure Claim No. 172, for Jerry Tolman has started for the steamer just exactly two minutes ago." "The steamer! Do you mean the steamer that is frozen in around the point?" asked Ned. "We were just going out there." "You were!" "Yes." "-Odd that you should have thought of it." "But what has that got to do with Claim 172 ?" "Simply this : Grosser is the captain of that steamer, and he's on board now. He's Jerry Tolman's most bitter enemy, and Jerry has gone out to the steamer to make him sign over the claim. He has sworn that you shall not have it if he has to kill Grosser to keep it from you. Young Klondike, are you armed ?" "You bet," said Ned. "Dick I" "Well?" "We don't stand this?" "Not much." "Of course we don't," said the Unknown. "I've already seen Grosser. He'll sell if we can get there first, but it's my Jerry won't hesit,te to put a ball through him if it is necessary to carry his point, for Grosser once dead, the claim belongs to Jerry under the law." Now, while thus talking the Unknown had been on the move, and the boys kept close beside him. They hurried out upon the ice and rounded the point. In the distance they could see the steamer frozen in the ice. But they saw nothing of Jerry Tolman or any one else. The lights of Dawson were now out of sight behind the headland. Ned, Dick and the Unknown went hurrying over the frozen Yukon under the stars. "How? Why that's my business," replied the Unknown. "Oh, I didn't mean to pry into your affairs." "I don't mean that, and you ought to know it. My business is to find out what other people can't find out. I'm a detective, dear boy." "It's a lesson to me," said Ned. "While Dick and I were wasting time talking you went to work, and all on my account too. It' s really very kind of you. I shan't forget this nor what you did for us in the Duchess, either." "Don't sa.y a word. I don't like to sail under false colors. I started out to find out what Jerry Tolman's game really was, and to do that I shadowed him into a gambling room back of the Klondilrn House. There I happened to get a good chance to listen, and I heard him tell about Grosser bEiing on board the Dora Bell." This steamer ? "Yes, she's the Dora Bell. Fur trading boat ; she's been gone up at the head waters of the Yukon for a year, only to be nipped in the ice when within half a mile of Dawson. Oh, yes, Jerry gave the whole snap away. Grosser is an old boss of his, and Jerry hates him. Murder was in his heart when he talked about the old fellow and he didn't hesitate to say so. That was the reason why I thought I'd take a run over the ice to the Dora Bell, and I did it and saw my man." "Your man! At last?" cried Ned. "Pshaw! you know what I mean. My man Grosser -your man, if you like it better. I've had so many men on the string that I can afford to spare you one." "Did you tell him about me and what I was. after?" "Ofcourse." "And what did he say?" "He'll sell. The old fellow is over seventy, and has been knocking about Alaska and the Mackenzie river country for a lifetime. He don't want to do any mining-wouldn't if he could." "Then he's just the man for my money," said Ned. "Who's with him on the Dora Bell?" "Oh, he's all alone there. His crew are up in Dawson, but bless your soul, he don't care for that-he don't care for anything. _He's half dead with heart he says, and I guess he tells the truth, for with every word he speaks, he gasps like a fish." "And you told him you were going to bring me out. there?" "Yes." CHAPTER III. "Strange enough that Dick and I were just on our way out there when you met us. THE ATTACK ON THE DORA BELL. "Nothing strang-e about it. Only goes to show "KEEP it up this way and we'll be there in ten min-how great minds think alike." utes' time," said tlie Unknown, as they ran on over "What makes you think Jerry Tolman has started the ice. for the steamer? I can't see anything of him or any" You take my breath away, you do things with I body else. It's a clean sweep, too!" such a rush," said Dick. How in the world did you "Oh, I know Wasn't I listening to him there in find out that Grosser was on the steamer?" the crowd? Bu.t it takes my breath away to talk on

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8 YOUNG KLONDIKKS CLAIM. the run. Drop it now, Young Klondike What you l our business over in the cabin. I'm sure I'm very want is to buy your claim and light out. We'll take glad to meet a couple of bright boys like you two." the old man with us to the Victoria and settle the "What's that light over there among the trees on business; it really isn't safe for him to stay there the shore?" cried Ned, suddenly. a.lone on the steamer, with Jerry Tolman breathing lt was less than an eighth of a mile to the shore. blood and fire against him. Oh, don't I wish that The light was bobbing up and down among the trees .scoundrel was really my man Wouldn't I like the For a moment it remained visible, and then suddenfun of clapping the bracelets on him-oh, no Not at ly vanished. all!" As there was no house nearer than Dawson for Considering that the Unknown found it hard to get miles and miles, the appearance of the light was cerhis breath on the run, he was wasting a good deal of tainly very strange. it, and he was running faster than ever. "I saw that about fifteen minutes ago," said Cap-Another peculiarity of the detective was that he tain Grosser. "I can't imagine what it means."
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YOUNG KLONDIKES CLAIM. 9 "Then my title holds good. If you do the assessI it did, but the old fur trader did not ment work, Tolman can't oust you, but the claim reI show it. corder must put you on record u11til the work is actu-Ned explained the situation to the Unknown, who ally done." rapidly examined the papers. "Then if I buy of you my title will not be clear?" These seem to be all straight," he declared. "Not absolutely clear. I do not wish to deceive "Young Klondike, I see no reason why you shouldn't you." close on your claim." "I think I understand the law, captain. I'll take "Nor I, then, if Captain Grosser is agreeable," re-my chances." plied Ned. "You may have to fight for your rights." "It's a go, as far as I'm concerned." "I can do that." "I'll take it," said Ned, and he counted out the "Why not take another claim, one to which you money. can get a clear title. Captain Grosser then signed the transfer. For the reasons I have given you. There are "Hooray Young Klondike has got his claim three of us. We want to keep together." cried the Unknown. "May there be a million in it! "Very well. I am satisfied." That's my wish." "When can I have the papers?" "We'll have a drink on that," said the captain. "Now. I've had them all drawn up ;or a year; all "I have some fine brandy here." that is necessary is for me to sign the transfer." "Thank you-we don't use the stuff," said Ned. "And for me to pay the money?" "Your friend perhaps will join me. Mr. Thompson, I can call at the Victoria for the money in the what do you say?" morning; no doubt some of my men will be back by "What do I say? As though I dared to say no. that time." I have a reputation to sustain as a man who r.ever "You don't have to, sir. I've got the money with was known to refuse." me. I can pay right now." "Don't believe.J:1im," said Dick. "I never saw him "So much the better. We can settle the matter take a drink yet, and I've known him for--" at once." "For a few weeks!" chuckled the Unknown. Captain Grosser arose, and opening a desk pro"Bring out your brandy, cap." duced the papers. Captain Grosser arose in his heavy way and moved "I'd like to have my friend examine these if you over to a breathing very hard. have no objection," said Ned. "My heart is worse than ever to-night," he pantecl. "Of course not." Gentlemen, if anything should happen to me before "His experience has been greater than mine." you go, I ask you to turn over all my effects to the "Naturally; he is an older man and seems to be branch bank of British North America at Dawson. clever, even if he does wear a plug hat in winter time, Mr. Colgan, the cashier, knows all about my affairs, which seems rather absurd." and-great Heaven! What is this? Has the end "That's his little idiosyncrasy," laughed Ned, "but come at he's as sharp as a razor. Dick, be good enough to Suddenly Captain Grosser clapped his hand to his call the Unknown." heart, and staggered forward.' "What's his name?" asked Captain Grosser, as He would have fallen if Dick had not jumped in and Dick started. "Why do you call him that?" caught him. "There you have me;" said Ned. "l don't know." "Don't lay him down! Keep him in an upright "Oh, beg pardon, I thought you were acquainted. position if you want to save his life!" cried the Un Isn't he to be one of your party. I understood that known. "Quick, Ned, the brandy! We may yet each of your friends had bought a claim?" bring him back to life." "He is not the one I referred to. It must seem But it was already too late. strange, but I really don't know his name." In vain the Unknown tried to force the brandy down "Whose name don't you know?" called out the Unthe throat of the unfortunate fur trader. known, who was just coming down the cabin stairs He was already dead-dead in Dick's arms before with Dick "Ain't seen anything more of light, they could get him into the chair. captain. I reckon it didn't amount to anything. This sad ending to the plea ,sant interview with the Probably Tolman has given it up. Young Klondike, kind old captain was overwhelming. what's this you were saying ? Whose name is it you What shall we do ? Hadn't one of us better run don't know ?" for a doctor ?" said Dick. "There must be one in "Yours for one," laughed Ned. Dawson; perhaps he'd come." "By the Jumping Jeremiah, but you must have a "Doctors can do no good here," said the Unknown. poor memory. Thompson is my "This man has passed in his chec1rn." with p. You know that well enough." "Dead!" gasped Ned, for neither he nor Dick had "Oh, to be sure," said Ned, rather vexed, for he realized the true situation. felt that this might look suspicious to Captain' "Dead undoubtedly." Grosser. j "Then we had better take charge of this money and

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! lU YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. turn it over to the bank, according to his directions?'' I coming up over the side as nimbly as any sailor would "That's what we must do. Hark! What's that?" have done. "Someone coming up the side of the steamer!" "Edith! Well, well! you are always on hand!" cried Ned, drawing his revolver. cried Ned, "but how in the world did you know we Dick seized the money which still lay. on the t ble. were here?" All three made a rush for the stairs, leaving poor "Why, Ned, when you didn't come back I went out, Captain Grosser dead in his chair. to look for you," replied Edith, in her cool fashion. They not an instant too soon. "I went down to the Klondike House with Mrs. ColThree men were in the act of climbing over the rail. vin and found these gentlemen just starting for the "Jerry Tolman!" cried Ned. "Back there! Get steamer, for the rumor had spread around town that off this steamer or you're a dead man." a gang of toughs, led by Jerry Tolman, had gone out He should have fired first and shouted afterward. to her. As soon a.s I heard that the captain's name .Jerry did. was Grosser, I made up my mind that you were "That's for Young Klondike!" he roared, discha.rgthere." ing his revolver at Ned. Explanations followed. CHAPTER IV. AT THE DIGGINGS AT LAST. THE shot from Jerry Tolman's revolver flew harm lessly past Ned Golden's head. The three men sprang over the rail upon the deck. Three more instantly followed. Meanwhile, Ned and Dick began firing, but it was hard aiming in the dark, and the shots did no damage on either side. "Throw down your guns! Surrender!" yelled Jerry, and he led the rush. The Unknown had his club out by this time. He jumped right in regardless of the flying bullets, and brought it down with terrible force on the claim shark's head, tumbling him over upon the deck. Ned and Dick sprang to his side. Striking out with his right, Ned took one of Tol man's toughs between the eyes and keeled him over, and Dick did the same for another. This turned the tide. The others ran for the rail and sprang over, drop ping down upon the ice. Jerry and the other two scurried away on all fours, :and gaining their feet went over the rail on the other side. Ned and his companions could easily have shot all three then if they had been so disposed, but they let them go. "We'll have you yet!" roared Jerry, and he began firing up from below. At the same instant three shots in quick succession were heard, and the shouting of many voices came from over the starboard bow. "Hooray! Help is coming!" cried the Unknown. A party of a dozen or more were running over the ice toward the Dora Bell. "Edith! It's Edi.th!" cried Ned. "No one else could make such a shot!" Jerry Tolman had taken his ounce of cold lead in the left shoulder, one of the others got his dose in the right arm, both shots from Edith's rifle. All took to their heels and made for the bushes on -the shore, where the light had been seen. The largest part of the new arrivals followed them; -0thers with Edith came up on deck, the brave girl Several of the party belonged to the Jteamer, but the leader was a ca .ptain on the Northwest police force, that very efficient body employed by the Can adian Government to keep order in and about ; Dawson City. Ned told his story and explained the circmsfances of Captain Grosser's sad death By this time the others had returned, failing to run down Jerry Tolman and his gang. The police captain then took charge of the Dora Bell, and Ned and his friends returned to Dawson. It seemed a very sad affair, but as the police captain truly remarked, Captain Grosser's sudden death and the visit of Ned Golden and his friends unquestionably prevented a murder. "Anyhow, Young .Klondike has got his claim," remarked the Unknown, as they separated for the night. The next day was a "busy one. There was the police office to be visited, and a re port of the affair on the Dora Bell to be made. Then the claim office had to be visited by Ned, who exhibited his transfer to the recorder. "We can't enter the claim in your name until you have done actual work there, young man," was the unsatisfactory answer which Ned received. "I don't care; I'm going to stick to 172 and take my chances," declared Ned. He paid over the purchase money into the bank ac cording to Captain Grosser' s directions, and the day following the funeral of the dead fur trader, our little party started for the gold diggings. The journey was performed on sleds drawn by dogs. The party consisted of Ned Dick Luckey, Edith Welton, Mrs. Colvin a respectable Canadian widow, who had been engaged as cook and companion for Edith, and the Unknown. Besides these, therewas Francois LeBaron and An toine Duval, French Canadians, who owned the dog teams and drove. The sleds went flying down the Yukon over the ice at a speed faster than one would imagine. Soon they swung into the Klondike river, which joins with the Yukon just below Dawson City. Now the biggest part of the mining. in this region has been done, not on the banks of the Klondike, but

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YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. 11 up Bananza creek, where El Dorado, Adams and Vic toria creeks join it. Ned's first thought had been to buy claims in this region, but after careful consideration he decided to go further up the Klondike, and buy between Bananza creek and Bear creek. Claims Nos. 1 70, 171 and 172, lay on the north bank of the Klondike, about twenty-five miles out from Dawson. At this time that region lay practically undevel oped, being too far away from Dawson City as a base of supplies. / It was not very cold that day, fortunately for our travelers; the lowest point which the thermometer touched being only twenty above zero. When do we reach our claims?" asked Edith, once they were well under way. "About four o'clock, I believe," replied Ned "It will be dark, then?" Oh, yes." "We've got to camp in the snow, of course." "We certainly have. There's nothing there but woods, according to Francois, but give me forty eight hours and I'll soon have some sort of a shelter ready. I hope you can stand it, Edith. You know that you are here against my wishes." "And mine," said Dick. "It's no use saying any thing now, Edith, but you really ought not to have come." "Now, now l Don't you try to discourage me," said Edith, "there's been enough of that done already. When I found that my father had left this country I thought it all over and made up my mi. nd just what to do, and I'm going to do it, and nobody shall turn me from my purpose. Mrs. Colvin spent last winter in the woods, cooking for a mining camp. If she stood it at her age, surely I can." "I believe you will," said Ned, "but it will just kill me to see you suffer." They talked further on the subject. Probably the Unknown would have expressed the same opinion as the boys if he had been there; but he was in the other sled with Mrs. Colvin. ,,.. There was a third sled loaded down with the be longings of the gold seekers, by another habitant, as these French Canadians are called, named Bernard Du Chon. tant hurrying up the bank over the snow, which was frozen as solid as a floor. "This must be the place," said Edith. "lt is, m'sieur,'' said Francois. "We have just left Claim 169; we are on 170 now." "How can you tell?" asked Ned. "It is blazed on the trees by the claim surveyor," replied the habitant; "see, Antoine has found it. This ts the place "Hooray! Hooray!" shouted the Unknown, spring ing up on the sled and waving his plug hat. "We've got home!" Ned and Dick joined in the shout, and all were soon together on the bank of the little creek. "Well, this is a bully place!" exclaimed the detect ive, as the boys glanced about at' their gloomy sur roundings. "It ain't exactly the Garden of Eden, nor could a fellow call it precisely tropical, but by the Jumping Jeremiah, we have the woods back of us, and we are sheltered from the northwest wind." "There's that much to be thankful for," said Dick, ruefully ; "but I'm thinking we'll do well if we don't freeze to death to-night here in the snow." "Ungrateful wretch!" cried the Unknown; "what wouldst thou have? Suppose the mountain and the woods had been on the other side, and nothing to hin der the wind from sweeping down at us from the big blizzard factory up at the North Pole ?" "That's what!" cried Ned. "Don't you say a word, Dick We are here at last, and we are here for work. Work I That's what's going to tell now.", "I'm ready, Ned." ''Of course you are.'' "Certainly we all are," said Edith, "and you'll find that I can work with the best of you ; try me at a pick and shovel. I tell you I'm going to work 170 for all it's worth." "That's the talk," said the Unknown. "We have the Golden claim and the Luckey claim, but I'll bet on the Welton claim every time." He seemed just as much interested as though he owned a claim himself, which he neither did nor wanted to. Why he was with them neither Ned nor Dick could have told, and they had no idea how long he intended to remain. The sun rose and it grew a little warmer, but it "Pity you haven't got a claim," said Dick. "I'd only ascended a little above the horizon, and then like to see you with a pick and shovel." dropp e d b ack again. "Ha Ha Would you dear boy ? Would you? There was a halt for dinner, at a little afte r two, Well, perhaps you shall be accommodated. Wait and and b e fore they h a d starte d again, the sun was gone see But I don't want any claim. I'm no gold dig and the stars were out orice more. ger, and I'm so unlucky that if I was to buy a claim O cca sionally they would pass the hut of some soli-the bottom would surely drop out of it or I'd strike a t ary miner, or a of huts where a company ledg e of rock leading down to China. All I want had lo cate d. is to find my man." All around them mountains rose in the distance ; And do you expect to find him here ?" inquired the scene grew wilder and wild er, until at last at a Ned. "I doubt if there's any one within ten miles of little after four o'clock they saw Anfoine turn his us." dogs into the mouth of a small creek. The Unknown "As likely to find him here as anywhere else, dear the r e ins a nd the team was stopped, the habi! boy, and don't you forget it."

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12 YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. "I'm not likely to forge t it-you won't let me. I I leaving the ladi e s to themselves, and were soon rolled believe you are right." up in their blankets and lying out on the snow. "Ha! E\r idently you think my man a myth." "Ned, are you awake?" aske d Dick, afte r a ll had "I think we'v.e got to hustle if we mean to have been quiet for some time, and the Unknown was be shelter for the night. We want to get to work. ginning to snore.' Plenty of time for talk between this and spring." "Yes, Dick." Work was what was wanted, and work they did. "It's great, ain'tit ?" The habitants immediately s e t about making a "Better than slaving one's life out working for shelter for the night, and the Unknown lent a hand. somebody else, Dick." Dick, Ned, Edith and Mrs. Colvin proceeded to un"You bet it is! Say, Ned?" load the sleds and place their belongings. "Well, Dick?" Under a ledge a little furthe r up the creek, there "Something tells me that the firm of Golden & was a sort of cave formed by two big rocks which had I Luckey is going to be a winner. Just think of it! We fallen together, and it was between these the goods m a y be sleeping right over a big b ed of gold!" were stowed. After that the boys went off to sleep, and Ned Meanwhile, the Frenchmen had trimmed off four dreamed that he was digging up nuggets as big as saplings in such a manner that each one formed an eggs . upright forked stake. As for the cold, he never thought of it until he woke Across 'these stakes a ridge pole was laid, and then up the nex.t morning, and found that the fire had gont small cedar trees were cut down and placed on a slant out, and his blanket warmed by the heat of his body against the poles. had frozen fast to the snow. In this manner two huts were speedily built, one for the men and the other for Edith and Mrs. Colvin, being divided by a partition of cedar trees. This was far better than Ned had anticipated, but the habitants were not through yet. In each hut a small wood stove was set up, and the pipe run high above the ridge pole. Dry wood was then gathered, and soop. fl.res were crackling in both stoves. The doors were secured by cedar trees placed against the opening. In a few moments the interior of the huts wa. s warm and comfortable. Meanwhile, the habitants were at work on an other shelter for the dogs, and in this Ned found they intended to sleep themselves. Indeed, they refused to come into the warm hut, declaring that they were used to this sort of thing, and had rather be by them selves. By the time everything was complete Mrs. Colvin had supper all prepared, and Edith set the table in her own hut. Ned insisted that the habitants should come in and eat with them, which they did, and afterthe meal was over retired to the dog hut. Then the long evening began, and a jolly one it CHAPTER V. THE FIRST STRIKE. NED was up in a moment. He looked at his watch by the light of the lantern, and found that it was six o'clock. "Time !" he called to Dick, and then as he looked around there was the Unknown coming through the door with a big armful of dry wood. "Ha! Good-morning, head of the fl.rm!" he cried. "I've been out looking for my man; and as I didn't find him I brought in this wood instead. Never you mind about the fire, I'll build it. Edith is awake, and you'd better go in and build a fire for her." "I can do it, Ned !" called Edith. "Don't you bother." "Indeed, I will! It's against the law for ladies to build fl.res in W eltonville. I'm mayor of this town and must be obeyed." They could hear Edith laughing behind the cedars. Ned thought there never was such a pleasant sound. "Who says this is W eltonville ?" called the girl. "I was told it was Golden ville." Then you were told wrong, for it was christened while you slept," answered Ned. "May I come "Certainly! You'd better if you want any break fast, for I've made up my mind to obey the mayor." was. Ned hurried out after wood, and a roaring fl.re was Ned played the banjo and Edith sang, and the Unsoon going in both stoves. known smoked his old briar wood pipe and told the Mrs. Colvin cooked a splendid breakfast, and as the most astonishing stories about his adventures in Londay was clear and comparatively mild, for the therdon, Paris, a.U over Europe, in Asia, Africa and every mometer only stood at zero and soon rose to twenty other part of the world. three degrees, everyone started right in to work and, "Don't think I'm drawing the long bow, boys," he make the most of precious time would begin, "but when I was in Hong Kong in '82 No one thinks anything of zero weather in the after my man, I did--" so and so. Klondike, but when it comes to be forty and fifty be-N ext moment it was Calcutta, the next Cairo. The low, nothing can be done. way he jumped from place to place was tremendous, Fortunately for the firm of Golden & Luckey, two and be kept everyone in a roar of laughter, too. I full weeks passed and brought neither storm nor By nine o clock the gentlemen retired next door, change.

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' YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. 13 These were busy weeks for the boys, but no attempt This consists of digging in under the top soil on a was made to dig for gold during that time. line with the claim and through the gravel. The habitants had been engaged for those two Thus, if one's claim is a hundred feet wide and a weeks; all three professed to be carpenters, and they mile long, and the shaft is sunk at the beginning in fully made good their claim. the middle of the cross line, one can drift fifty feet With the assistance of Ned, Dick and the Unknown, from right to left up to his neighbor's line, but on the as neat a little hut was built as could be found on the line of the length, "long line" the drift may be conKlondike. tinued for a mile. It was not built of logs, either. Ned bought it alNow this may seem easy work, and in a warm co un-ready cut out in Dawson. I try such a mine would offer few o bstacles, providing The parts arrived that first day on two sleds, and water did not rush in and fill shafts and drifts, as is they soon had it framed, and by the end of the first very often the case. week it was completed. On the Klondike there is no water to contend with, It was a two-room hut, one on the ground floor and but there is something equally as bad. the other in the loft above, with a ladder connecting. The ground below the first few feet of top soil is Edith and Mrs. Colvin took possession of the upper always frozen, and has to be blasted out or th.awed room, while Ned, Dick and the Unknown slept in and dug out beforethe pay dirt can be reached. bunks down-stairs. Thus itmakes little difference whether one mines in It was warm, comfortable and cozy, and the boys had every reason to congratulate themselves. They realized now what a little money for a start meant on the Klondike. It's no use talking," remarked Ned the night tP,ey moved into their new home. If it hadn't been for your wonderful luck on the journey, Dick, we wouldn't have been in it. We'd have just had to go to work for wages, and perhaps never would have got a start." The second week was devoted to surveying their claims and getting ready to begin. Of course it was impossible to determine exactly the limits of their land. It fronted on river, each claim being a hundred feet in width and extending back toward the mountain for a mile, the claim numbers being cut on trees in front enabled them to locate their lines here, but as to the extension it was different, for they had no means of running their lines through the woods. On the Klondike gold is found differently from anywhere else. It occurs in the gravel bed which lies under the top soil, and on the bed rock at a depth ranging from twenty to forty feet. This deposit of gravel underlies the top soil everywhere in this valley; in some places the gravel is "barren "-that is contains no gold. Where the gold occurs, it is usually found in bunches, termed "pockets," and comes in the shape of small nuggets-occasionally there are big ones found-and loose, coarse dust. The way to get at this gold is to dig a shaft, or hole, usually five feet by twelve, or perhaps longer or smaller as the case may be. A small shaft is called a "prospect." A "working shaft should be at least twelve feet long-some are no wider than four feet. Once the gravel, or "pay dirt" is struck, it is hoisted out of the shaft and worked for gold, until the miner comes to bed rock. Further than this it is useless to go, and once the gravel in); he shaft is exhausted, "drifting" begins. winter or summer, so far as the difficulty of digging is concerned. All these things Ned Golden carefully studied up in Dawson City, and the boys had come prepared to meet every obstacle, but there was a good week's work before them before they could get ready to be gin. First, the spot for the first shaft had to be selected. As a matter of convenience, it was determined to begin on 172, Ned's claim, as it was on that land that the hut stood, and moreover, the creek ran through it, and water was necessary for their work. The habitants now proceeded to build a rude log hut over the spot selected. This was the shaft house, and was intended to pro tect the boys from the weather and to keep the snow out of the hole. Next a rude shed was built on the bank of the creek, the roof projecting over the ice-dam upon which one side was carried. This was to cover the water hole and help to keep it open. These and other preparations consumed the entire week. On the second Sunday night th1e habitants left the camp, and started back to Dawson City with their dog teams. ,It was with a feeling of intense loneliness that the little party assembled on the bank of the Klondike to bid them farewell. "Bonne fortune! Bonne fortune!" (Good luck Good luck!) they cried, as they rode away. Edith actually shed tears, and, in fact, everyone was moved as they stood there waving to the depart ing teams, for the Frenchmen had worked faithfully, and now that they were actually gone our little felt themselves cut off from the world. "Come! Come! This won't do!" cried the Un known. "Here we areand here we've got to stay. My man will have to come to me, if I'm to ca.tch him this year. This reminds me of the time when I was stranded on an oasis in the Desert of Sahara. Went up in the woods hunting jack rabbits, and the Mour-

PAGE 15

YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CL.AIM. zook carava. n went off and left me behind. Ye gods and little fishes I was stranded in that oasis five years before another caravan came along, and never had a bite to eat except roast jack rabbit all that time." Next mor.ning mining began in earnest. Ned and Dick shoveled away the snow and ma.rked out the shaft, while the Unknown stood by smoking his pipe with his hands in his pockets, and never offering to do a turn. It was the first time he had done anything of this sort, and Ned could not understand it. Still, he did not like to say anything, for the man was certainly under no obligation to work unless it was to pay for his keep, for he had made no preparation for himself, and he bad nothing beyond the clothes he stood in, as far as the boys knew. As soon as the ground was clear the boys built a big fire, and the thawing of the top soil began. All they could do now was to stand and watch the fire burn. on your hands, it was the right thing for you to provide for her, and it's the sensible thing to start in right on a new undertaking, if you expect things to go on right; but all this took money, and you have only a few hundred dollars ieft." "That's right, too," said Ned. "If it wasn't fo1 that-'' "You'd keep me for nothing? What nonsense All I am driving at is to show you that I understand the situation. I'm here, and I mean to stay here-at least, I want to. "And we want you, too. Wouldn't have you leave us for the world, Zed. Would we, Dick?" "Not by any means," said Dick, heartily. "Which being the case, dear boy-this being thus, so to speak-I say, make a regular bargain with m e ; I'll charge up time at the rate of four dollars a day against you-they are paying ten on Bananza and El Dorado creeks-and I'll collect when you make your strike, or cross off the score if you don't." Both Ned and Dick laughed, for the request 'was ri diculous. "We ll, how do you like it as far as you've got, Young Klondike?" asked the Unknown. Lai>or was in great demand on the Klondike that "I'm satisfied," replied Ned. "I'm up here for winter. The Unknown coul
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YOUNG KLONDIKE S CLAIM. 15every foot of trees there was, picking and shoveling after the melting fire had been removed. "Hooray! Gravel at last!" shouted Dick, who was in the hole filling the bucket with earth, which Ned and the Unknown drew up by means of a windlass. Are you sure ?" roared Ned, almost falling into the shaft. "You bet I am! Here it is!" "Send up a bucket full of nuggets !" shouted the Unknown. "By the Jumping Jeremiah, I must have nuggets t I'm hungry for nuggets Thirsty for nug gets! Ye gods and little fishes, how slow you are!" "Ye gods and little fishes! Nuggets upon nuggets!" cried the Unknown, "nuggets everywhere, and not a drop to drink Why can't I find one, too?" But for some mysterious reason the nuggets seemed to elude the Unknown.1 Soon Ned had three, and by a singular coincidence D ick and Edith each found two more. Nine golden nuggets came up out of the shaft that evening. Young Klondike's claim was looking up. But this was only tM first strike. "But I don't see any nuggets!" called Dick, doleCHAPTER VI. fully. "There's nothing here but a lot of dirty black THE GOLDEN LUCK OF CL.A.IM 172 sand!" "WHAT are they worth, Ned?" "Let's clear out the shaft!" cried Ned, "and then "Well, they must weigh a quarter of a pound a we'll go at it fair. Get down there, Zed, and lend Dick piece, more or less, Edith. a hand-I'll call Edith to help here." "About sixty dollars each, then?" Edith came willingly. "About that; rather under than over." She often worked at the windlass. "And that's five hundred and forty dollars for the Indeed, she had at first insisted upon working in the mine?" shaft, but of course the boys would not listen to any"Very near it." thing of the sort. "It' s a beginning, Ned." "Hoist away!" cried Dick, after he and the Un-"Yes, and a good one; it speaks well for the claim known had shoveled the bucket full. that we should have found these nuggets right on the Ned began to sing as he wound up the rope, Edith top of the gravel; of course there must be more be joining in with her sweet voice, for this was always low." their custom; it seemed to make the work go lighter, "Of course." and when they were singing they forgot the cold. "And if the pay dirt is so rich on your claim it "Don't look very promising," said the Unknown, must necessarily be the same on mine and Dick's." kicking over the sand, which was now exposed in sev "It don't follow at all, Edith. It may be rich in eral places. I can't see a smell of gold ; after all it my claim, and entirely barren in yours and Dick's." may be only a spur, but it means that we are com ing "Upon my word, you are holding out a. pleasant to gravel, just the same." prospect to us," exclaimed Dick "Give us a few "What's this?" cried Dick, making a sudden dive. nuggets-won't you, Ned ?" "Gold, gold!" roared the Unknown. "Ye gods "It'sallfirmproperty,"laughedNed. "Of course and little fishes, Dick has done it! It is gold!" each own our individual claims-that we decided in And so it was! Dawson; but all that comes out is to be treated as Dick Luckey, still true to his name, had made the firm property, and the expenses deducted before divi-first strike. dends are declared Ned and Edith went wild. "I don't understand these business details," said They could scarcely wait to dump the bucket in Edith. "Are we to share alike?" their eagerness to get down the ladder. "You would understand if you had read the articles "Gold, Mrs. Colvin! Gold!" screamed Edith. of co-partnership which I drew up, and you and Dick "Dick has made a strike!" signed." M:-s. Colvin came running out of the house bare"Oh, I left all to you, Ned. I would sign any-headed, at the risk of freezing her ears, for this was thing you ask me to sign, of course one of the zero days. "That ain't business. You ought never to sign By the time she reached the shaft house all hands anything without reading it. I might b e the biggest. were in the bottom of the shaft, poking over the 1 swindler on the Klondike." gravel, for although the nuggetwbich Dick had found "But you ain't, Ned. What nonsense!" was not much bigger than a marble, it was surely That's a woman's reason, Edith." gold. "Come, come, don't say anything against the Suddenly Ned gave a shout, a .nd making a dive into women, or Mrs. Co lvin and I will go on a strike and the sand, pulled out an irregular yellow mass about refuse to cook the supper. I want to know now, how as big as an egg. we are going to divide "Another nugget!" he cried. "Share and share alike for the first hundred thou" And here's another !" cried Dick; "mine is big-sand dollars, Edith, a n d after that each claim pays ger than yours. 25 per cent. of its return into the c ommon "What do you say to this?" exclaimed Edith, and the balance goes to the owner. r owing down and producing one bigger than all. "'That's a good scheme," said the Unknown. I t

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16 Y O UNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. gives you all a start, and then allows each cl.aim to up by light, and after all it's the dust that stand on its own merits-good scheme Whose pays." idea?" "Everything is ready," said the Unknown. "I've "Mine," said Ned. got all the water we need in the trough, but it was "Great head! And my tenth-how does that come terrible work. I'd rather be a hod-carrier at work on in?" a twenty-story building, than a water-carrier on the "It is to be treated as an expense and deducted beKlondike any day." fore we divide, until the first hundred thousand is Of course, all water had to be drawn throug;h a bole made; after that you take your chances on each in the ice and carried into the shaft-house. claim with the rest o f us. How does that suit, Zed?" The second stove was kept red hot here to prevent "Most liberal, dear boy. I shan't forget this." the water from freezing in the trough, but it did not "And we don't forget that you've been a good do it, and when they went out after dinner, the first friend to us,'' said Ned and Dick in a breath. job was to break the ice in the trough. "Enough of business!" cried the Unknown. Then the washing began. What's the matter with the banjo to-night? Edith, The gravel was thrown illto the rocker, a cradle-l'm dying to hear your sweet -\r oice. Sing us someshaped box with a small opening at one end. thing, or it will be necessary to send to Dawson for an Water was then thrown it, and the rocker agi-undertaker at once." tated at an angle which allowed the water to run And Ned got out his banjo and Edith sang. j slowly off, the dirt and fine gravel going witJ;i it. Another jolly evening followed, and the darkness I The coarser gravel was then removed by a second and cold were forgotten. application, this time the water being allowed to run Next morning the boys were up at six o'Qlock as J more rapidly. usual, and by seven they were hard at work. What gold there happened to be m the gravel was Lanterns were hunoin the shaft and shaft house supposed to settle in the bottom of the rocker by its and the top soil was all cleared away. greater gravity, while the sand and gravel This exposed a gravel bed, covering the entire botpas_smg off. . tom of the shaft. Dick did the shovelmg and water pourmg while Ned and the Unknown worked the rocker. "There's no doubt that we've struck the true gravEagerly all eyes were centered on the bottom box. el," declared Ned. "We'll get the fire .going right "It's like churning and watching for the butter to away." come,'' said Edith. Of course, the gravel was now frozen solid, but af"With this big difference," replied Ned; "while ter the fire burned down the boys were able to dig you are churning butter you may be working for into it. money, but we are literally making money-actual They found that they had now passed below the wealth that was not in existence before, so far as the frost line, and it was only the surface gravel which commerce of the world is concerned." Ji.ad been frozen. "What ho! A philosopher!" cried the Unknown. It came out easily enough, and that which lay be "A political economist! Tell me, good philosopher, low it offered no difficulty at all. seest thou gold in the bottom of this blooming box?" No time was wasted now in looking for nuggets, "Not yet!" although the saw several of them as Edith and I "Then to the winds with your philosophy, butthe Unknown h01sted up the stuff. stop, by the Jumping Jeremiah, I see it, then! Hoo Say, we are getting rich up here," shouted the ray it's gold Bright gold Unknown. "Ye gods and little fishes! Nuggets by It was true! the hatful !" The water had now grown clearer, and the shining "Let 'em stay where they are; we're going to dig particles gathering in the depression of the rocker now Get the water, and after we'll begin could be distinctly seen. washing," answered Ned. When the rocker was clear, there it lay in a little The digging developed no more nuggets. heap-coarse, yellow flakes and small nuggets the I ndeed it looked to the boys as though the gravel I size of peas. There was one nugget almost as big as was but worthless stuff, and they were pretty well a pigeon's egg, among the rest. discouraged when dinner time came. This was the first pan out on 172. Meanwhile, Edith and the Unknown had picked There were ma.ny others before the day closed about twenty small nuggets out of the gravel which I Some yielded nothing, others had just a color, as a had already gone up-all they could find. trace of gold is called. "Don't seem to amount to very much after all," Once in a while they struck a good one. said Dick, dolef u lly, when they sat down to dinner. Before they quit for the night, their store of nug" Wait till we begin washing," said the Unknown. gets had visibly increased, and there wasa little bag That's i t,'' added Ned. "We really can't tell of dust beside. a nythin g about it until we begin working, for the gold I The ni n e golde n nuggets were held separate from dust is so mixed u p with the dirt that it don't show the rest. I

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Y O UN G K L OND I KE'S C L AIM. 1 7 Day succeeded day, and luck was varying. Some days there was quite a find, and on others next to nothing. At last they struck a streak where there was no gold at all. But bedrock bad not yet been reljtched, so the boys were not discouraged, for it is on top of the bedrock that they had reason to expect the richest deposit of gold. All this time the weather had been most favorable. Cold it certainly was, sometimes very cold, but there had been no fifty degrees below zero days and no great storm, although occasionally there was a little snow. "This can't last much longer," remarked Ned, one Monday morning, as they were starting in on their \vork. "It's getting on toward Christmas and we must expect a storm soon." "How much do you think we've got out already ?" asked Dick. "Why, I weighed up the dust and nuggets last night after you had turned in," replied Ned. "I make it a little over two thousand three hundred dol lars." "No great stakes yet, Ned." "A good beginning, Dick. We can't expect anything great until we reach the bedrock level, and when that will be nobody knows." But they both knew within an hour, for by that time their picks struck the rock. Here was a new excitement. Dick and Ned immediately began to search the sand for nuggets, and found more than a dozen fair sized ones in a few moments. Then Edith and the Unknown came down to help, and they had equally good luck. The afternoon was spent in clearing the shaft and getting the gravel on to the dump. Next morning they started in washing. Before they had emptied the rocker twice they knew that their luck had come at last. The deposit of dust and small nuggets was many times greater than it had been before, and of the larger nuggets they found twenty-four. By six o'clock-quitting time-they had secured fifty ounces of gold-about a thousand dollars, and fully half the dump remained to be washed. This is great," declared the Unknown. Ned, we want to begin drifting to-morrow." "Day after," said Ned. "We'll clean up everything fair and square to-morrow, and next day begin on our drift." "What you say goes D o you feel satisfied?" "I ought to. For a prospect hole, I don't think ours can be beat." "You're right. I t beats anything I ever saw. When I was in South Africa in 'SO, I--" Hold on cried Ned. "Were you ever really in South Africa? Did you ever w ork in a gol d mine be fore? Now, tell the truth!" Never! "Never to both questions, or to the last remark?" "I really was in South Africa. I've seen many a mine worked and heard lots of mining talk. I know that 172 is all right. "That's all," laughed Ned, "only while we have you in a serious vein, I'd like to ask--" "What my name is?" "Yes. "Tell it !" cried Dick "Come now, Zed, it's really time this mystery ceased. Suppose you were to die on our hands ?" "Well, you'd bury me decently, I presume. "But we should want to notify your friends," put in Edith. "My dear said the Unknown, "I have but three friends in the world, and they live in Welton ville, and I trust would be at the funeral. Still I rec ognize your right. to know my name, and I'm going to tell it. "Hooray!" cried Ned. "Pitch in! Let's have it! laughed Dick. "It is John Doe," said the Unknown gravely. John Doe or Richard Roe-I've really forgotten which. Ned, get out your banjo and Edith will now favor us with a song." And so the evening passed as usual, the great mystery of the Unknown remaining unsolved. CHAPTER VII. THE DAY OF THE BIG BLIZZARD. THREE lucky days followed the beginning of work on the drift. The pay dirt lying above bed rock proved to be very rich The first day's clean up was one thousand six hundred dollars. The second day panned out at two thousand eight hundred dollars. The third day was the best of all The boys struck a pocket of nuggets in the early morning, and by night were able to weigh up over two hundred ounces. "Young Klondike, your claim is a dandy !" was the verdict of the Unknown. "It has already passed beyond the prospecting stage-it is a mine?" "What do you suppose I could get for it in Daw son?" asked Ned. "You were about town a good deal and heard all the talk there was going." I don't know, but I know that if it was mine I wouldn't sell it for less than a hundred thousand dol lars." "That's enough I ain't sellin_g though. Next morning there were stars out when Ned went to get the wood. I t was not very cold, but a piercing wind was blow ing, and there was a chill to the air that he had not felt before. "There's going t o b e a c h a nge," said the Unkn own, when he came out of the hut. D o y ou t hink so?" aske d Edit h anxiously

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18 YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. I'm sure of it, but we've got to expect it. Here it is away a .long in December-almost Christmas. We've been wonderfully favored thus far." "I hope it won't come to-day, then." "And why?" "Because just as soon at it's light I'm going hunting; we must_ have some fresh meaJ." "Don't go alone, Edith," said Ned. "We'll knock off work and all go." "No, no I won't have it," declared Edith.. "What After yesterday's luck? I know you are all wild to get at the drift again." "But--" "No, Ned, there's no but about it. If I can be spared, I'm going. I shan't go far, only just along the edge of the woods on the river bank, and if you insist upon going with me, why I won't go at all." There was no turning Edith from her purpose, once she had made up her mind. Drifting is slow business. During the morning Young Klondike and his partners all worked in the hole. -The gravel was dug out and shoveled back into the shaft, the Unknown banking it up in a convenient place to afterward load it into the tub. As they worked they saw many nuggets in the mass, but did not disturb them. Nuggets were getting common now, and created no excitement ; these were left to be washed out in the ordinary way, and all three worked steadily on until noon. had not yet been put to use, were taken down from their nails. Ned and Dick seized their rifles, and with the snow shoes slung over their shoulders, all hurried over to the bank of the Klondike, which was but a few hundred yards distant from the hut. There was nothing to be seen of Edith when they reached the shore, nor were there any tracks in the snow, but this they had not expected, for the crust was hard. Now it was being rapidly covered, and the wind sent the flakes whirling in every direction. Drifts were rapidly forming; the situ,ation was most serious. As they pushed on along the top of the bank, Ned experienced that strange sinking feeling which comes to everybody when ni loved one is in danger. And Ned Golden did love Edith, although he firmly suppressed it. Edith had given him plainly to understand that she regarded him only as a friend. They hurried on, never speaking, and hardly knowing whether they were making a mistake or not. Of course, l!Jdith might have crossed the creek and gone in the opposite direction. This, however, did not seem probable, as she had spoken of keeping along the shore. "It won't do," said the Unknown, stopping at last. "This storm is going to be a blizzard for fair. We must know where we are at. Ned, let her go!" "Fire?" "I reckon Edith must have gone ol!l.twithher gun," "Yes." remarked the Unknown, as they came up out of the "I was just going to propose it." shaft ; "she hasn't been near us all the morning, and "Bl b 1 Bl 1 She can't be far aze away, oy. aze away by the Jumping Jeremiah, a blizzard at last!" from us! Great Heavens, we might get turned As the Unknown looked out of the shaft house, he about in a whirl like this." saw that the air was full of whirling flakes. Ned threw up his rifle and fired. Ned and Dick hurried up after him. T It' t b ,, "d D' k "S th 1 t he report bad scarcely died away when the answer s JUS egun, sa1 ic ee, ere s a mos ca me. no loose snow on the ground yet." 1 Tt . "There'll be enough in a moment said Ned "We l Heavens. nalf a mile off, at least, and on must get up to the hut and see Edith at.once." other shore, if I know anything!" gasped tbe UnBefore they could reach the hut they saw Mrs. Colkn2wn. , vin coming toward them with a shawl thrown over She cant bave been mad enough to cross the her head. river cried Dick. "I'm terribly worried about Miss Edith!" she panted. "She's been gone an hour and I'm afraid this is going to be a hard storm." "She must be found at once cried Ned. "I told her not to go." "Don't say, I told you so! Act!" cried the Un"That's what she's done, sure," said the Unknown. "Fire again, Ned. We'll listen closely this time." Ned discharged his rifle a second time and once more the answer came. There was no doubt about its location. The shot came either from the frozen Klondike or known. "It's worse than you think for, dear boy the opposite bank. Get the snow shoes and we'll start right off!" "All we can do is to keep stra.ight ahead and keep "Oh, we don't need the snow shoes," said Dick. on firing," said Ned. "It's a comfort, though, to "Let's hurry right down to the shore." know that we are on the right track." "Stop We do need them I tell you that in half They now put on their snow shoes and descended an hour's time we shall be snowed under. Edith the bank, something which was not accomplished must be found at once if we ever expect to see the without difficulty, for the. snow had already begun to dear girl again." drift heavily. There was no talk after that, you may be sure. I Again Ned fired. All three ran to the hut, and the snow shoes which The answering shot sounded nearer, and they

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YOUNG KLONDIKE"S CLAIM. 19 pushed on as rapidly as possible, and in the very "No use talking; there's somebody tryine to make teeth of the storm. their way up the river,"1said Edith. "Here, give me "Give her a call, Ned," said Dick. "I'm as hoarse my snow shoes, Dick, and we'll see what it means." as a frog, or I'd do it myself." "We've got all we can do to look out for ourselves, Ned put his fingers in his mouth and whistled twice. I'm telling you that," said the Unknown. "Edith, Another shot cam er in answer. you and Dick had better make for the house. Ned and "We're getting there," said the Unknown. "It's I will see what can be done." nea.rer. We are almost across the river now "Won't do anything of the sort," said Edith, taking "Edith Edith Edith he shouted, and the the snow shoes from Dick and bending down to tie them Unknown's voice when he chose to raise it was like a on. "Fire, Ned." fog horn. Ned let fly. A very little of it went a great way. Then they heard a shout. They listened. "Help! Help! Help us! We are lost!" Words seemed to come on the wind, but they could "A man!" cried Edith. not be sure. 1 "Two men, anyhow," said the Unknown. "There All at once another shot was heard. were two voice s there, sure." It came from an entirely different direction-down "Coming! Coming!" he roared. the river. They started right along then, pushing down the Then there was another and another. river against the storm. The last came from across the river, where they had It was fearful heard the shots before. For a few moments it seemed as if could never "What can it mean?" panted Ned. "Is the wind do it, and yet they were so well protected that they playing tricks with us now?" scarcely felt the cold. "Su rel there can't be any one else lost on the Kl on-Again the cry came, this time fainter. dike besides Edith?" cried Dick. When the Unknown answered by shouting: "We'll keep on as we were going," said the Un-"Who are you ? Who are you ?" there was no reknown, "though how we are ever to get back with-ply. out a signal is more than I know. It was madness A little further, and then another shout. for all three of us to come away and never say a word Still there was no answer. to Mrs. Colvin about firing." Ned fired, but no shot came in return. Perhaps those shots were her work," suggested "What does it mean;" panted Edith. Can we I Dick. have been deceivtd after all?" But Ned knew that they were not from the direc"It means tha. t they have gone down, that's tion of the hut. what," said the Unknown. "Hello! We're right in .A little further and they found themselves under it now!" the bank on the opposite shore. A wall of snow suddenly rose before them. It was getting darker-soon it would be entirely They had missed their way and were back under the da .rk. The storm bad visibly increased. bank again. Ned whistled again, and to his great joy heard "We'd better get back to the hut,'' declared the de-Edith calling: tective. "I tell you this ain't safe. Even if I knew "Here I am! Here I am!" came the cry through that it was my man who had been doing the holler-the storm. ing down there, I'd say the same." And with it came a rifle shot. Call once more, Ned cried Edith. "You try Like the others, it was from down the river and in it this time." the distance. But Ned's shout brought no response. At the same instant Ned saw Edith coming toward All hands were becoming pretty well used up by them over the ice. this time. It really seemed little short of madness She was making her way through the drifting to keep on. snow as fast as she could. "Just a little further-just a little!" pleaded Edith. Four brace of rabbits hung over her shoulders, and "Ned, it would worry me to the last day of my life to there were partridges protruding from her.game bag. tbinkwe had left those poor wretches to perish, who" Hello, Ned she called. "Worried about me? ever they may be." There was no need. I could have got home. Oh, I've "The chances are they are only a couple of wanderhad great luck But who is that firmg down the ing Indians," said Ned, "but still, Edith, it shall be as river?" you say." Ned was breathless, and could s 'carcely speak. "I say go." "There, there now, don't get excited,'' laughed "Then we go, but this must be the last attempt." Edith. "It's bard going, but I should have got They pushed on. there. I went further than I intended, but I've been Just as they were abo .ut to give it up they heard a coming right along." feeble cry right ahead 6f them. Another shot rang out. I Ned shouted in answer.

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' 20 YOUNG KLOKDIKE'S CLAIM. A few steps further and they saw a dark figure I "My feet are frozen now," said Struthers. staggering toward them through the snow. "So's my ears," said Miles. "Say, where are we It was a ma.n; he held his hands out and to going anyhow? If it's far, I'd rather drop down right be moving aimlessly. here and die." "Help! Help! Help! Oh, help!" he moaned. "Brace up!" shouted Jerry. "Don't talk of dying, "He don't see us!" cried the Unknown. "He's off man, when safety's in sight. Say, Young Klondike, his hooks. Hurry! Hurry! There he goes down!" you won't refuse us. I know you've got a hut It would have been the last of the poor wretch, bad here." not the rescuing party been close at hand. "Were you coming to my place?" asked Ned, who Ned was first at his side, and seizing the man in his was a good deal disturbed by the sudden appear-strong arms raised him up. ance of the claim shark on the scene. "Jerry Tolman!" be cried. "Well, no! We were heading up above you. I It was the claim shark and no one else! own claims in the two hundreds, and I thought I'd go up and have a look at them, the weather was now CHAPTER VIII. keeping so fine, so we started on foot." WARMING THE SNAKE. "You lie, and you know it!" cried the Unknown, "YOUNG KLONDIKE! Don't kill me! Have mercy suddenly. "Hold on, Jerry Tolman, don't you raise on a man!" your gun. If you were to shoot us you are as good This was what Jerry Tolman said when he found ::i:::
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YOUNG KLONDIKE"S CLAIM. 21 While the storm howled outside the hut, Ned and I "You have it-all the rest of us will keep still and Dick helped to care for the half-frozen wretches. j listen. Fire away." They were warmed and fed and made as comfort"What I wanted to say was this : I jumped Claim able as possible. 172 last when it was said that Captain Grosser Night came on. J;lad been killed by the Injuns up in the fur country. The snow was now piled up around the hut, so that My papers was all filed regler, a .nd everything was it was impossible to open the door. straight. When I sold out to you I was the bony Edith and Mrs. Colvin had retired to their loft. fidy owner of this yere claim." The Unknown sat smoking in a, corner. "I deny it," said Ned. "You had never done the Jerry Tolman and his partners were. by the fire, assessment work. I doubt very much if you ever set smoking, too. There was no talk of going to bed. foot on this land before. You jumped the claim to "Say, Young Klondike,'' began the claim sha1 k at spite Captain Grosser, who was your enemy-let's last, "I know that we are in the way here and you're stick as close as we can to the truth." all uncomfortable, but we can't help it. Of course we J "Well, now, I admit that," said Jerry, in his heavy can't leave a night like this." way-" all except the first part. I did do the assess" Certainly not," replied Ned, who had been writI ment work, and I have witnesses to prove it .. I was ing by the table with Dick. "N 0 one expects you to. and I started two prospect holes on this yere I'm not going to turn you out to die." claim. I worked the of days the la;': "Just so. I appreciate that. We all appreciate it, called for, and the claim became mme under the law. don't we Bill?" "Where did you do the work? We found no trace Th ', 1 S I of your prospect holes." at s what we do, grow ed truthers. t was "W 1 d d"d t t ? Tl fill d . aa an i yer expec i iey were e the first word he had spoken smce he came m. . d d th ,, "Y d 't f ,, t d J "I 1 m agam, an are un er e snow. ou nee n. ear us, con rnue erry. P a_Y "Absurd! Blame nonsense!" broke in the Unsquare every time, I do. In fact, 'a deal' is known. my motter. All we ask is to be allowed to roll our selves up in our blankets before the fire here and sleep." "You shall have that privilege," replied Ned. "Is there anything else you want?" "Y-es." "Better ask for it now. I don't care to talk." "I wanter know about this yere cla,im of mine; when are yer gping to pay for it? I'm only talking business, so keep your shirt on and don't fly out." "Don't talk to him, Ned," snapped the Unknown. "Say, old hoss-you with the plug hat-be good enough to keep your 'tater trap shut, will yer ?" growled Jerry. "I'm. talking to Young Klondikenot to you." "Let him speak, Zed," said Ned. "It can't do any harm to talk." "By the Jumping Jeremiah, I'm not so sure of that," cried the Unknown. "If I see a poison snake I stamp my foot on him-so!" And the Unknown brought his heel down upon the floor with a force that made the hut shake. "Stop!" cried Ned. "I'm running the conversation. Anything more to say, Jerry Tolman-because if you have, you might as well say it now." "I claim that the work was done." "Don't go over that again. Admitted for the sake of argument. What then ?" "The claim is mine under the law; the fact that you hold the title from Grosser cuts no ice." "And you expect me to pay you what?" "The price agreed upon-two thousand five hundred dollars." Suppose I do it What then?" "Then I shall ask for my share of any gold you may already have taken out." "I thought so. What share do you want ?" "Half." "Don't you want the whole?" "No; half will do." And then ?" "Then I'll go away and leave you alone, Young Klondike. You will have'nothing more to fear from me." The claim shark gave him a black look, but made "Thank you for nothing. I don't fear you now-no reply. never did. Well, have you anything more to say?" "Yes, Young Klondike," he continued ; I want "Nothing more till I get your answer." t,o talk about my claim." "You shall have it when I have consulted my part" Your claim!" sneered the Unknown. "It's ners. That's business, I believe." Young Klondike's claim." "That's business." "Come, now, let him say his say, boss," put in J' You and your friends get over in the corner there Bill Struthers. "That's only fair." so we may talk." "Stop, all of you!" said Ned, firmly. "I am sup-Jerry and the others withdrew, and Ned called the posed to be the head of this firm, and I won't have Unknown up to the table. any row here to-night." "We may as well settle this right now," he whis" No one wants to make a row, Young Klondike," pered. "Speak low. Dick, what is you view?" whmed Jerry, "but even if this yere is British sile, a : "I say fight. Don't pay a cent," said Dick, em-man has the right of free speech." I phatically.

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( 22 YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. "I say the same thing," added the Unknown. when he came down again. "Jerry Tolman, as you "I'm sorry that I can't agree with you," said Ned. and your friends can't leave us, I shall expect you to "I want to be fair, and the fact ibat this man is a work with the rest." thief and a scoundrel don't weigh with me at all, but "We'll work," said Jerry, who had been very quiet he has been put to some trouble, and I did agree to and civil all the morning. "I don't want to lay back take the claim, knowing at the time that I was only on nobody. I'm a squar man, I am." buying his interest as a jumper and not the actual So atn I," said Ned, "and I shall pay you for title to the land." your work, regular wages. I understand the rate is "I protest!" cried the Unknown. ten dollars a day; that's what you three get while "Softly, softly!" whispered Dick. "Hear me out! 1 you are here, but remember, I want you to get out of Rather than have trouble I say let's pay him five hun-1 here just as soon as ever you can." dred dollars, or put it at two pounds of dust. That "That's fair and squar. Young Klondike, we will end it andaivoid trouble; Dick, what do you say?" agree." "I say no," declared Dick. "I agree with Zed; Thus, by his diplomacy and fairness, Ned postponed don't give him a cent!" the day of trouble. "Two against one," replied Ned, quietly. "All But it was in the air and bound to come. right; I give in. Now, then, this settles it. It took all day to shovel out. Paths were made to subject shall never be discussed again." the shaft house and creek, and everything put in "That's the way to do business," said the detective. shape. "A firm that works on that principle will never have "What's to be done to-night, Ned?" asked Edith. trouble among partners ; Ned Golden, l have respect" I didn't sleep a wink thinking of those dreadful ed you from the first, but I respect you more than men." ever for this." I guess qone of us did, said Dick. I know I "Thank you; I only want to do what is right. I didn't for one." ain't so stuck on my own opinion that I can't listen to "They'll have to sleep in the house," said anybody else. Jerry Tolman, look here!" Ned, "We can't stand it." "Well?" growled the claim shark. "They'll rob you all night long," said the Un-"We have come to a decision; we won't pay. The known. claim is mine. I shall stand out for my rights!" "There'll be trouble if you do. I warn you Young Klondike. Of course I wouldn't raise my hand against a man who has saved my life, but I'll fight you in the courts." "Very well, fight away, but no more talk. It's d tt getting late, an we mus urn m. That night was the most uncomfortable one Ned ever experienced. Neither he nor Dick slept a wink, and it is safe to say that the Unknown's watch eye was never closed. Whether the claim shark and. his companion slept or not Ned had no means of knowing; at all events they lay quietly beside the fire except that Jerry got up twice to throw on wood. 1 But Ned felt that they were being closely watched, and his hand never left the rifle which went into the bunk with him, you may be very sure. It snowed all night, but cleared off about ten next "I expect that." "'Tain't right." "What would you do? Turn 'em out to die?" "It can't be," said Edith. "Ned's right. We've got to make the best of circumstances." -"This is warming the snake with a vengeance," growled the Unknown. "We feed 'him and we work him, and-oh, ye gods and little fishes I Only to think of it I We pay him thirty dollars a day!" Two full weeks and still there was no chance to get rid of Jerry Tolman. Christmas came meantime. It was kept as a holiday at W eltonville. Edith and Mrs. Colvin prepared a splendid dinner. There was roast partridge and roast rabbit, and bear stakes and all sorts of other good things. The bear was Edith's game. It came prowling about tbe hut ,one evening, and Edith shot it from the roof, for they were still buried morning. in the snow. The hut was buried up to the roof. Christmas day the thermometer was fifty-eight deN ed went up into the pushed open the scut-grees below zero. tle, and climbed out upb the ridge pole to have a Of course there was no work done while this teml far as the could reach everything was buried their quarters under a mountam of snow. t fi t ht b t Ch t The shaft house and water-shelter had vanished. in the shaft he. rs mg u on ris k h d b blit t d mas they were mv1ted to dinner, and spent the even-The lme of the cree a een o era e 1 . The mountain was one mass of white, broken by mg m the hut. the dark shadows of the spruce and hemlock trees, Ned played the banjo and Edith sangi and the Unwith here and there a rocky ledge swept clear by the I known told the most d As for Jerry, he and his friends behaved very well, wm I "All hands must turn to and shovel out,'' said Ned, and were really quite social. l

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YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. 23 The boys learned a lot about the country and mines and mining from them that night. In fact, Ned was learning all the time. Jerry was an old hand at the bellows. He worked splendidly and completely altered Ned's methods of handling the gravel in the drift. Another drift was started, connected with the first by a cross-cut or tunnel. In this Jerry and his men worked the second week. And all this time there was never a mention of the claim matter. Jerry took his orders from Ned and was ever ready to impart information, but never offered his advice unasked. Things were moving very smoothly, and the output of gold was really astonishing. Jerry' s drift proved to be the richer of the two, and during those two weeks over three hundred ounces of gold in dust and nuggets was washed out. "Besides what them fellers are stealing," said the Unknown, as they were talking matters over in the hut one night. "I suppose they are helping themselves," said Ned, "but what can we do?" What could they do? It had snowed and snowed; there was no chance for the claim shark to leave them. It looked very much as if these men would have to stay all winter, and so it p.roved. -"We've warmed the snake and now we can't get rid of him," growled the Unknown. "Mark my words, he'll turn on us in the end!" "How much is the firm worth to-day, Ned?" asked Edith, as they sat at breakfast this morning, listening to the rattle of the rain on the roof. "There's eighty-eight thousand dollars outside of the nine golden nuggets," replied Ned. "Who says Klondike hasn' t paid us well?" It was wonderful luck. There were few mines in tJie region which could make any such showing. But of this our friends at Weltonville knew nothing, for since the arrival of Jerry Tolman and his friends, not a soul had been near the camp. "It would have been over a hundred thousand if we had all the stealings of those fellers," growled the Unknown. "Why, Jerry was so weighed down with nuggets last night that he could scarcely walk. It was a big day for him, you bet." "And for us, too," said Ned. "Remember one thing, they have opened up gravel that we would not have been able to touch, and we have got lots out of it. I doubt very much if we would have been wnere we are now, if they hadn't come. Remember those two weeks in February when our lead ran barren and we never took out an ounce, their drift was averaging a hundred dollars a day to us all that time." "That's one way of looking at it certainly," said the Unknown. "And it's the right way," said Ned. "But, come, let's go to work." "Good-morning, boss;' said Jerry, when they entered the shaft house. By time, the rain has come. I s'pose you will soon want us to be on the move." "Just as soon as you can go we are ready," said CHAPTER IX. Ned. Our provisions are running low, and if it THE SNAKE SHOWS HIS DEADLY FANGS. hadn't been for the game Edith hers been able to shoot "WAKE up Dick! Time to be stirring." we would be going hungry now." Ned Golden bent over the bunk and shook Dick by "There'll be a freeze after this, and a crust that the shoulder. we can walkon," said Jerry. "We'll be moving on, ''All right! I'm a coming!" muttered Dick, and then." the Unknown, who never needed calling, threw his The freeze came the following night, and the next legs over the side of his bunk. morning Ned found Jerry and Struthers in the shaft "All quiet on the Potomac, dear boy?" he asked. house alone. "All quiet," replied Ned. "Same as usual, only Sam Miles had disappeared. it's raining outside." "Where's Sam?" demanded Ned. "Ha I Then the change has come at last!" cried "Gone," said Jerry, gruffly. "He went off in the the Unknown. "By the Jumping Jeremiah, it's the night; took French leave eighteenth of March, and about time for the snake to "Huh! And a lot of our dust with him I'll bet," haw out. Remember what I've told you, Ned! It's said the Unknown. "'Bout time you was going, too." nly a question of time when he'll show his deadly "We'll leave to-morrow .morning," said Jerry. {;tngs." "I've got the newraligy in my face to-day, and I The long winter had passed, and spring was at can't travel against this wind." and. "The sooner the better," said Ned, "and now let's Not that there were many signs of it yet. Another get to work." onth must pass before they could hope for that. J erry muttered something, and went down into the And n ever during all those weary weeks had the shaft. ut been unwatched. "Look out!" whispered the Unknown. "The One of the party always stood guard, the night be-snake's a-thawing! I don' \ like this fellow going on ng di v ided into three watches, and each taking their ahead It looks bad, and-by gracious, there's my urn. I man!" But so far thewatch had been useless for the "What!" cried Dick. 'snake" had made no attempt to show his fangs. I It was weeks since the Unknown had broken out so.

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24 YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. "My man down on the shore-don't. you see him ? j "Don't say a word, dear boy I missed my man Stay here Don't folfow me I'll have the brace-again. He escaped me, but this time I made no mis-lets on him in no time, and bring him back!" take. It was he!" I Off darted the Unknown. "Rubbish! What have you been about?" cried The boys saw him run over the ice and disappear Dick. down the bank. "I'm about starved-that's what. Where's Jerry A moment later anci he could be seen hurrying and Struthers?" down the frozen bed of the Klondike. As they stood "Gone l" said Ned. watching him he rounded the point and disappeared. "Ahl I thought so? Well, I saw that man Miles." "What's all that mean?" exclaimed Dick. "Of "You did?" course, there was no m..an there." "Yes. Caught his trail at last!" "Certainly not," said Ned. "He's gone after that "Where did he go?" fellow Miles. Hold your tongue, Dick, and don't say "Where should he go but to an Injun camp, down a word. The old detective fever is on him. We may the river about twenty miles. There's thirty Injuns :find.out something when he gets back." there, and they've got a dog sled. Let me see! They This proved a poor day. ought to be here inside of half an hour. I ran like In Drift No. 1 the boys struck a barren streak. blazes coming back, and they were going to start at Number two still continued its steady yield, and as daybreak. Yes, I should think half an hour would they found themselves short handed, Ned and Dick be about the time, but it' may be sooner than that." worked with Jerry and Struthers after the first hour. "That means an attack," said Ned. Again and again. Ned saw Jerry slip nuggets into "Exactly. What did you expect?" his pocket. "Do you suppose Jerry and Bill have gone to meet Indeed, the claim shark scarcely made an attempt them?" to conceal-it, but Ned was shrewd enough to hold his "Don't suppose at all, I'm sure of it. We want to tongue. stow away the gold right lively now, for the snake is The afternoon was devoted to working, but the all ready to show his deadly fangs. yield was comparatively small. "And we are ready for him," cried Ned, "thanks Darkness came, and nothing was seen of the Unto you; but I don't know of any safer place to hide known. the gold than where it is." The days were even getting lbnger, and all looked They hurried back to the hut. forward to the time when it would be all day and little There was neither lock nor bar to the door, f0r or no night, and that time was close at hand. had not been considered necessary. At six o'clock took out supper to Jerry and "We must find some way of fastening up here," Bill. said Unknown, "but first of all, let's have a look at the gold." "Where's his nibs?" .asked Jerry. him the whole day." "He's out hunting," said Ned. "Hunting for what?". "I hain't seen You'll have to ask him when he comes back." "When will that be ?" "I'll let you know when he comes. Do you leave us in the morning?" "That's what I said," growled Jerry, and he turn ed away. It was an anxious night, for the Unknown did not return. Neither Ned nor Dick turned in at all, and when morning came, and they went out to the shaft house, another surprise awaited them. Jerry and Bill had "Thank Heaven, they are gone at last!" Edith, who came hurrying out in response to Ned's shout. "Hello! Hello!. Weltonville, hello!" was shouted in the distance just then. "The Unknown at last!" cried Ned, and they all ran down to the shore. The detective was just coming up over the bank. "Where. in the world have you been?" demanded Ned. Now the gold had been kept under a loose board in the floor, where a hole had been dug. The greatest care had been observed to prevent Jerry Tolman from gaining knowledge of this hiding place. "Better take it away up in the woods," said the Unknown. "Like enough we'll be driven out of here, if nothing worse happens." But how did you find out all this?" demanded Ned. "I want to know the whole story." "Ye gods and little fishes l How many times have I got to tell it? Didn't I creep into the .bushes near the Injun camp ? Didn't I hear Miles bargain with them to come up here and clean us out ? What more do you want than that ?" "No more!" cried Dick. "Ned, we must act at once l" "Instantly," said Edith. "There isn't a moment to be lost!" "We'll take the gold up il}to the woods as you say," said Ned. He hurried into the corner and raised the loose board, starting back with a despairing exclamation as he looked down into the hole. "Gone, of course!" said the Unknown. "Gone, gone!" gasped Ned. "Gone, every ounce

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YOUNG KLONDIKE'S 25 of it No, here's the little bag with the nine golden he always had to laugh, no matter how badly things nuggets, but that's all!" went, and after all it is better to laugh than cry. It was a crushing announcement. "You shall know it now,'' sa. id the Unknown. Dick wouldn't believe it until he had looked into the "My name is--" hole himself. Suddenly there was a shadow thrown across the "How could it have happened?" he cried. "We door. haven't left the hut alone for a moment. Either Edith "Somebody coming!" cried Ned. or Mrs. Colvin has been here all the while." "Jerry Tolman! I see him!" exclaimed Edith; Edith was the picture of despair. "he's making for the door!" "No, Dick, you are wrong. I suppose it is my It was so. fault. Mrs. Colvin was out after water while you and Two men were corning along the path from the Ned went down to the river to meet Zed just now, and shaft house. It was the claim shark and Bill Struth I followed you out-you remember. lt was done ers, sure enough. then." As Jerry Tolman came through the door, rifle in "I called you, Edith," said Ned. "Don't blame I hand, all up. yourself for that." "Ah, ha I Nme golden nuggets, eh?" cried Jerry. "But I do. I ought to have thought." I "They are mine!" "That's the time it was done, sure," said the Un-" Get out of here, Jerry Tolman," said Ned, stern-known. "Jerry and Bill were on the watch. Well, ly. Dick leveled his rifle at the claim shark, and the boys, they've left us the nine golden nuggets, and Unknown sprang forward with his club. we've got to begin over again. Anyhow, they are our mascots; but by the Jumping Jeremiah, we can't be sure of those till we see 'em; they may have changed them for stones. Throw them out the table, Ned, and let's see if they are all right." Ned turned the bag bottom upward and the nine nuggets came out. "Safe said the Unknown. Jerry Tolman ha.is t-ft us a nest egg;, bless his heart.'' "Someone outside !" cried Dick, seizing his rifle. Ned made a grab for his, and the Unknown drew his club out of his trousers' leg where he carried it half the time. But the sounds were not heard again. I thought I heard a footstep on the snow," said Uick. They hurried out and went all around the hut, but could find nothing suspicious. "You were mistaken," said N ed, dropping upon a stool beside the table after they returned. There was nobody. Oh, Dick, this is a crushing blow!" "'Tain't at all," said Edith. "It's only a good lesson. We'll begin again. There's more gold in the drifts than we took out, a thousand times over. I'll turn in and help now. Even if we never get back what we've_ lost, we'll soon be able to make it good." We'll get it back," said the Unknown. "Boys, you've laughed about my man many a time-you pretend to believe he's a myth. Now, I've got a rnanit's Jerry Tolman. I really am a detective-I swear it! See me work up this case, and get the money back." "A quarter of it is yours if you get it!" cried Ned. "All detectives work for rewards, and there's one for you. Dick, do you agree ?" "Every time !" cried Dick. "May I be ground up in a sausage machine and fed to Dutchmen, if I take one grain of dust !" cried the Unknown. "Wili you never know me as I really am ?" "Never, till we know your name," laughed Ned-CHAPTER X. "WE'VE LOST EVERYTHING BUT THE NINE GOLDEN NUGGETS-WE MUST BEGIN ALL OVER AGAIN." IT was a mistake for Ned to order Jerry Tolman out of the hut, and the Unknown knew it. His ears were as sharp as a sleuth hound's, and he felt sure thait the claim shark and his companion were alone. "Leave me to deal with this scoundrel i' he said. "Jerry Tolman, there's three rifles against your two, and Edith never misses her aim, and here's my club to boot. Stand where you are and give an account of yourself, or you're as good as dead." "Let him get out!" cried Ned. "I won't talk to him here! He's no right to cross this threshold !" Edith swept the nine golden nuggets into the bag and pocketed it. Then she caught up her rifle and stood ready to act. All this time Jerry Tolman remained in the doorway scowling blackly, Bill Struthers coming up be hind him. "I'm here after my own," he growled, "and I mean to have it! Your day is over, Young Klondike, and mine has just come." Who was telling you ?" sneered the Unknown. "Come in here We want to talk Come in, Bill!" "Not till Dick lowers that gun," growled Jerry. "That gun's up to shoot the thief who stole our gold," said Dick. "It don't go down till Ned says the word!" "I took the gold Make the most of it!" snarled Jerry. "It's mine. It was found on my land. I warn you ali off here. This yere claim hain't for sale no more." It was too much. Ned's patience was exhausted. He made one rush for Jerry, and caught him by the throat. "The gold Give us back the gold !" he cried. Jerry howled, for Ned's grip wa s like iron.

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26 YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CL.AIM. Dick fired at Bill Struthers, who was about to rush ail fellows of his class, Jerry Tolman is dead supersti-to the rescue. tious. He thinks it would be bad luck to kill a man Bill got a nip in the shoulder that time and tumbled who saved his life. It ain't that he loves you a bit back. better than he did before, or hates you a bit less. It All in the same instant, Jerry, dropping his rifle, is purely a question of luck. He's out for business. managed to get his arms about Ned. When he first started up here, I don't doubt for one He tried to throw him, but Ned resisted like a hero. instant that he meant to strangle us all, but when h e 1 Dick and the Unknown jumped in, and Jerry got the was headed off on that, he just let things drift until club over his head. the right time came to act, and it has come now." He was only too glad to drop his hold, and with a I
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YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. 27 come to, and was sitting on the snow with her head against Edith's shoulder, sobbing hysterically. "Women are a nuisance at a time like this," growled the Unknown. "Not such as Edith-I mean that. See, Young Klondike, they are going to burn everything. That shows that Jerry has no intention of working the claim himself. Probably he is satisfied with what he's got. Well, well, well Our snake has turned on us with a vengeance. There's everything going up in smoke." The hut was now all in a blaze. The Indians were running about like madmen, pulling the furniture out of the hut, and taking possession of everything of any value to themselves. These things they carried across the disappearing in the forest. "We've lost everything," said Ned-" everything but the nine golden nuggets; we must begin all over again." "Then we'll begin now," said the Unknown. "The aog team is over there on the other side of the point, and I'll bet the gold is there too." "Bet you the drinks it's the same as mine-hold on, you don't drink. Bet you the dinners at Delmon ico's next time we strike New York." "I take it." "What's your scheme?" "You say they've got dog sleds around the point." "I'm sure of it." "Let's watch our chance, and cut through the woods to the cove-that's where they are if they are anywhere-and we'll pick off the dogs with our remaining cartridges. Let's see them get away with our stuff then." "Won My scheme exactly." "N ow's our time," said Dick. See, the last of them have gone." "Across the creek, lively!" cried the Unknown. "Mrs. Colvin, you follow as fast as you can; we must have Edith, and we go on the run." When they came to the edge of the woods over looking the cove, there were the dog teams sure enough. There were two big sleds and one smaller one. On the last Sam Miles and Bill Struthers were alOHAPTER XI. ready seated, but Jerry Tolman was not to be seen. THE CAPTURE OF THE DOG TEAM. "Get along down the bank, Dick!" whispered Ned. IF Ned Golden had been one of the kind to be dis"They are going to start. Head 'em off l Kill their couraged, now would have been the time to give up. dogs ; Edith and I will do for the others and join Fortunately for himself and everybody else, he was you." not that sort of fellow at all. "Why not stick together ?" demanded Dick. He realized the situation fu11y. "I want to separate Jerry from the Indians." The misfortune which had come to our little party, "But Jerry ain't there." was not confined to the loss of the gold, by any means. "He's coming-see By gracious, he's got one of It was far worse than that. our bags of dust, and make no doubt the rest are on Famine stared them in the face. the little sled. Run Dick l Run l Don't stop to The Indians were carrying off all the provisions, as argue-go!" well as the furniture. I'll go with him," said the Unknown ; "Young In a few moments there would be nothing left to eat, Klondike, you are right We'll block their game, and worse than all thev only had a1ofew cartridges, all sure. the having been left in the hut, which was now Off they flew along the bank, keeping inside the wrapped in flames. tree line, and out of sight. "We are lost it we don!t act at once l" cried Ned ; Meanwhile, the Indians were loading the other sleds "do you stop to think, Zed, that we are going to with the household goods and stores from the hut. starve to death if we let Jerry Tolman go out of this Jerry put the bag on the sled, and went back into with all our stuff?" the woods, returning with another. Do I stop to think r Well, iguess We'll starve Altogether there were four bags ; the other two and we'll freeze-we are gone cases entirely, unless must have been already on the sled, for when Jerry e can head scoundrel off." put this one on he prepared to start. "Then why not act now? We must do some"Oh, the scoundrel!" breathed Ned. "I'd like to bing." fl.re at his head right now." "What would you suggest, Young Klondike?" "Keep cool, Ned; you couldn't hit it." We'll leave Edith and Mrs. Colvin here, and you "Could you?" nd I and Dick will follow them up and fight for our "Yes; it would spoil it all. Wait !" ives-for it means death to us to have all our stuff "Can you fetch the dogs? Aren't we beyond arted away." range?" "'Twon't do, Young Klondike. We'd never "I can do it! Patience! There they go!" ome back." With a shout, Jerry took the reins and started the "And you'd never go without me," said Edith. dog sled down the Klondike. "Don't forget that, Ned." "Ready, Ned !" breathed Edith. "Aim low Fire "You've got some scheme in your head-out with I just as soon as you hear Dick's shot l" t !"said Dick to the Unknown. They only had to wait a moment. "Hold on I've got a scheme l" cried Ned. Suddenly a rifle cracked. I

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28 YOUNG KLOXDIKE'S CLAIM. Then there was another shot and another. Instantly Edith and Ned began shooting. There were six dogs to each of the sleds in the cove, and the one that had just left it was drawn by four. Edith had a full charge in her Winchester, and so had Ned. They fired down upon the dogs as rapidly as possi ble. Now was the time when the brave girl's splendid marksmanship came into good play. Every shot she fired told, and Ned hit twice. Eight dogs dropped in the cove. The Indians were dumfounded. They were of the Copper Mine tribe, and as cowardly as they were treacherous. As shot after shot came, and dog after dog dropped, they were seized with panic and took to the woods. In less time than it takes to tell it the cove was deserted. The remaining four dogs-they were all harnessed to one sled-started off down the river on the run, dragging the bodies of the two dead ones with them. Bump Bump Bump went the sled over the ice. Suddenly it struck a hummock and overturned, and everything was .spilled off. But the dogs dashed madly on, dragging the sled on its side, and disappeared around the point. "Heavens! we've lost it!" cried Edith. "I made sure we'd capture that sled!" "Run Run cried Ned. "The Indians will be after us as soon as they get over their scare l Run for your life !" They ran like mad along the edge of the bank. As soon as they got across, the end of the point and could see down the Klondike, they caught sight of Jerry Tolman's sled. lt was well on down the river, but there were only three dogs attached to it. Dick and the Unknown were not to be seen, and the other sled was likewise invisible, but the sharp barking of dogs distinctly heard, told them that it could not be far away. "Ned l Ned!" Dick's voice suddenly called out. "They are right here under the bank!" exclaimed Edith. "Oh, if we could only get down!" The ba.nk was shelving here, and there was no chance to descend. Coming shouted Ned, and they ran further forward, soon finding a place where it was possible to get down. "We've got it! We've got it, dear boy !" yelled the Unknown, as Ned and Edith came down over the bank. There was the sled, sure enough. Dick had already turned it over, and the Unknown was adjusting the harness on the live dogs, having just cut away the dead ones. "Where's the other sled?" he eagerly demanded. "Back in the cove Dogs all dead Ned cried. "Bully for you We made a botch of it. There goes your gold, Young Klondike, but we're one dog ahead, and may overhaul them yet." "Mrs. Colvin! We can't leave her!" cried Edith. "Where is the dear soul ? Why ain't she here ?" tnundered the Unknown. Ye gods and little fishes What a nuisance these women are ?" "There she comes!" cried Dick. Just then Mrs. Colvin appeared on top of the bank. "Don't leave me! Don't leave me to be scalped by the Indians she panted. "Nobody means to leave you! Come down!" bawled the Unknown. "Wait! Stay where you are l You'll break your neck!" shouted Ned. "I'll come up after you !" But it was too late. In her fear of being left behind, good Mrs. ColYin had already started to descend the bank. It was just a mass of slippery ice, and her feet flew from under her. It was too funny to see the good soul-and she was a fat soul, too-come flying down the bank like lightning, waving her arms and screaming murder, but she landed in a snow drift, and was not hurt a bit. Edith and Ned flew to the rescue, and soon got her on her feet. Then they got her on the sled and got on themselves. Can you drive ?"" Ned asked the Unknown. "Y o u bet Didn't I drive a dog team five hundred miles over the ice when I was in Greenland in '78? Heard my man was on Smith's Sound and I drove all the way from Upernavik l Don't believe it? Bother! I'm used to that. By the Jumping Jere-miah, here we go l" The Dnknown cracked his whip, a .nd away they flew down the Klondike, the sled bumping over the hummocks, and Mrs. Colvin holding on for dear life. "Go it, Flora Temple!" roared the Unknown. "Get ahead there, Maud S. This race is for a purse of eighty thousand dollars, and Young Klondike is the sure winner Whoop Let her go CHAPTER XII. THE FATE OF THE GOLD. "THERE they are!" "No, they ain't. I tell you you don't see them." "They're behind .the point. I did see them. There they are again "Upon my word, you were right, Young Klon dike!" cried the Unknown, bringing his whip down among the dogs again ; "but they've got a long start, and I doubt very much if we can overhaul them." "Don't say that!" cried Dick. "I don't want to say it, but I must. It looks bad. Oh, if you had only been a better shot." That's the unkindest cut of all," said Dick. "I don't brag much on my shooting, but, I want Ned to understand that I did my best." "Nobody doubts that, bick,'' said Ned, "but we

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YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. 29 haven't heard what you did do yet. Why not tell it Unknown. "The stupid fool! If h e'd keep straight nowl?" ahead we couldn't catch them. Now we have a "Why, Ned, I only had two shots in my rifle, and I chance." fired both; one took down a dog, and the other The chase down the Klondike had now been in progmissed." ress several hours. "Couldn't expect more than that, Dick; neither Night was approaching, and there was a storm in you nor I pretend to shoot like Edith. What did Jerry the air. The situation was more serious than any of Tolman .say ?" the party willing to admit. "Say? You ought to have heard him swear. He The Unknown kept his dogs going until they came couldn't see us either, and that was what puzzled him; to the point where Jerry Tolrnan's sled had turned off "but he didn't. wait to look much; he just jumped off from the Klondike. the sled and cut away the dead dog, and they were off Here the creek entered the river. The claim shark again in a minute." had evidentlygone up this creek. And then your team came tearing down," added "I don't believe he can go far," said Ned, after the Unknown. "We n!ade up our minds we'd go for they.had surveyed the scene fora few moments. "See, that anyhow, and this is the result." there are the mountains right ahead of us. Jerry "We don't seem to be overhauling them," said I means to camp in the woods here somewhere for the Ned. "They are steadily gaining on us. It's a bad night, thinking that we'll pass him. You see that job." there are mines right ahead, and he don't want to go "I don't like to be discouraging, but that's what it by them with us at his heels." is," said the Unknown. "Let's take an account of "That's what,'' said the Unknown. "I say, let's s tock, boys, and sec where we stand." stay right where we are and watch for the rat to "If you mean what we've got left after this raid, come out of the hole." it's easily figured up," said Ned. "There's the nine "You think I am right?" olden nuggets and that's all." "I'm sure you are right. Jerry wants to travel by "And your goods in the cove." night past the camps. Probably the first of them are "Probably the Indians have made off with them right ahead." efore this." "What's the matter with our pushing on and get" I'd like to know how they are going to carry ting help from some of the camps?" said Dick. "They hem with dead dogs? Oh, no. But I didn't mean are our neighbors, so to speak. ust that." "Don't do anything of the kind. They won't help "What then?" us. They'll be more apt to listen to Jerry's side of "Suppose we were to overhaul Jerry, have we any-the story; fact is, they won't take sides either way hing left to fight with ?" in the matter of a disputed claim." "I've got your cartridges and I'll put them right I There was no denying that the Unknown was right. now,'' said Edith. "Let's go ashore and camp for the night,'' said "I'm dry-haven't got any," said Ned. Edith. "Mrs. Colvin is nearly used up with our long "Same here,'' said Dick. ride." ".-And of provisions we haven't got even a bite, and It was so decided. \ here you are," said the Unknown. "This reminds They turned up the creek, and soon found the place e of the time when I was tracking my man across they wanted. he desert of Gobi in '74." Here a great overhanging ledge of rocks offered "Bother the desert of Gobi! Don't believe you shelter, and there was a thick clump of scrub cedars ere there! We've got to eat. to protect them from observation in case Jerry Tol Yes, and-as we can't eat each other, there's only man should suddenly return. ne thing to do, whether we overhaul our men or "And he will return, mark my words,'' said the hether we don't, and that's to keep on to Dawson." Unknown. "I'm in favor of making a camp in this It's terrible to think of going back there so." cove. Who knows but what I shall find my man hid Not at all. You've got to go to report your as-ing here. By the Jumping Jeremiah, there he is now !" ossment work. There's one very important piece of It was another of the detective's sudden breaks. roperty which we still have left-you seem to have The boys had become pretty well :1ccustomed to st sight of that altogether." them by this time, and they knew there was no sort "You allude to the 'mine?" said Dick. of use in trying to hold the Unknown back. "I allude to Young Klondike's claim. Is its value Leaping off the sled and throwing the reins to Ned, ny the less on account of this raid ? I think not." he rushed in among the cedars and disappeared from "That's what's the matter," said Ned. "I've done view. ie assessment work now, and we can easily pull up "Don't leave us!" cried Edith. gain. The law will protect me." "Come back, Zed! Come back!" shouted Ned. "There they go !" cried Edith. "They've turned They could hear the Unlmown's chuckling laugh, from the river. What does tha. t mean?". but there was no other answer. "That they are trying to give us the slip," said the J?ick ran out of the cedars to see which way he was

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30 YOUNG KLONDl KE'S CLAIM. going, and when he came back, he reported that the Unknown was traveling off up the creek as fast as his stumpy legs could carry him with his taill hat jammed on the back of his head, and his club ready for instant use. I know what that means," said Ned. "He's go ing to locate the enemy while we take a rest." "It's a shame to let him go alone. Suppose he gets lost?" "Trust him for that. Beside, he don't want us. Dick, I tell you what you do." "What?" "Make the ladies as comfortable as you can and look out for the dogs, while I take a run down the Klondike. We've got half an hour of light yet, and I want to see how near we are to the first camp, if I can." "Don't be gone long, Ned." "I won 't. I'll go as long as the light lasts, and then turn back." Ned hurried off, and was back inside of an hour. It was entirely dark now. Dick challenged as he heard Ned coming through the cedars, calling out: "Who goes there ?" "It's all right, old man!" shouted Ne d. "You, Ned?" "Yes. Is the Unknown back?" "Not y et." "Edith and Mrs. Colvin all right;?" "Oh, yes. Mrs. Colvin is asleep under the rocks. Here's Edith to speak for herself." "What did you find, Ned?" asked Edith, coming eut from among the cedars, rifle in hand. "There's a camp right on the shore about three miles down. I heard them blasting. I think they are trying to break up the ice." "What for?" "They want to turn the water on to their work, I s'pose, and so save lugging it. I heard the explosion before I came in sight of the camp." "Did you go on then?" ''No; I turned back. There's a lot in what the 'Unknown said, Edith. Our neighbors don't want our quarrels on their hands; and as for grub, .it ain't likely they've got any more than they want for themselves." Speaking of grub," said Edith, "there's plenty of water here. It would be a splendid place for gold washing, providing there is any gold." Suppose it would in summer time. There's water enough under the ice." "No, no I don't mean that There's running water here now." "How can that be, with the thermometer only a lit tle above zero?" "Come and see," said Dick. "Edith is right." "We can't all go. Someone must stay on the watch in case Jerry Tolman should come down the creek." Oh, this is right on the bank of the cr{)ek ; we can watch all the while," said Edith. "Come right along, Ned." Ned's curiosity was now aroused, and he hurried after Edith. They soon came to a place where the ledge came almost out to the edge of the bank. I hear water dropping," cried Ned ; this is very strange.'' "There you are," cried Edith, pointing in through a narrow rift in the rocks. "It's right in there." This was the entrance to a small cave. Ned stooped down and crawled in, Edith following. "It's too dark to see much," she said, when they were able to stand upright. "Have you got any flamers left, Ned? I used my last when I was here before." Ned had two boxes, and he hastened to strike a light. He could now see a stream of water rushing down over the rocks into a deep hole, where it seemed to disappear under ground. It was comparatively warm in the cave. This and the fact that the was constantly moving had kept it from freezing. It was a great sight for the Klondike in the month of March. "Gracious I What washing we could do with a sup ply of water like that !" cried Ned. I wonder where it goes to ?" said Edith. Passes into the creek by some underground pas sage, I suppose," said Ned. I believe I could get down there and see, those rocks are just like steps." "Don't try it!" cried Edith. "You'll break your neck." "I'm going to do it, though," said Ned. "I'm curi ous to see where that water goes." Two flamers had burned out by this time, and Ned lighting a third, climbed down into the hole. Suddenly he gave a great shout. "Gold!" he cried. "Gold. Look out, Edith I Here she comes !" He stooped down and threw <:>omething up at Edith's feet. It was a nugget as big as a cocoanut. Another and another followed. Then Ned lit another flamer and threw up six more. "That's all!" he exclaimed. "This water is only six or eight inches deep. I don't see any mo e now." He climbed up and struck a light once more. "Nine nuggets!" he cried. "Here's luck I" "What is it?" called Dick, through the mouth of the cave. "Nine golden nuggets-whoppers!" shouted Ned. "Our nine? Have the grown?" "No, no! Nine new ones!" A shout outside called Dick away. "The Unknown is coming he cried. "Leave these things here, Ned,!" exclaimed Edith ; "we can get them afterward."

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YOUNG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. 31 They crawled out of the cave, and in a moment the I On they flew. nknown joined them on the shore. Soon it became apparent that they were gaining on "Jerry's coming!" he panted. "Oh, what a run I the other sled. 've had! He's right behind me! I told you he Jerry fired twice,. but both shots missed. would attempt to pass the camps by night." I "Upon my word, if we can't do something to stop "What are we to do?" demanded Ned. this I don't see any use in going on,'' declared the "Dick, get the team ready-here, ,I'll help. Ned, Unknowu. 'OU and Edith shoot the dogs from behind the trees. "There's the camp!" cried Ned. "Hello! There's on't s'pose it's any use to ask you to shoot the a man!" men, but that's what you ought to do." The huts of the mining camp stood up on a ,little Away he flew with Dick at his heels. bluff. Edith and Ned got their rifles, and stood among Suddenly a man came running out upon the edge of he trees. the bluff shouting to Jerry and wildly waving his "Mine's empty," said Ned, ruefully. "Edith, hands. 11hat are you going to do ?" I "What's he saying?" cried Dick. "I can't shoo.ta man except in self-defense, Ned." "lie seems to be ordering Jerry back," said Ned, "I didn't ask it. Give me the rifle. Our lives may 1 "but he's going straight ahead." depend upon this!" I This was just what Jerry was doing. "No, Ned. A human life is not to be taken lightly. He entirely mistook the motive of the warning e'll try the dogs first, but I won't fire but two shout. hots." The man on the bluff threw up his hands with a de" And the others ?" spairing gesture. "Are for Jerry Tolman, if needs must be." All at once the still night air was rent with a fear" Here they come ful explosion. They were nearer than either had thought for. The dog sled with Jerry Tolman, Bill Struthers, anxious moment and the dog sled came in and Sam Miles went flying upward, mingled with sight. great masses of broken ice. Jerry Tolman was driving-they were flying along "Ye gods and little fishes!" cried the Unknown, 'ke the wind. "there's no fl.aw now in the title to Young Klondike's As they passed the cedars Edith let fly. claim I" For once she missed. For men and dogs came down into the open water The sled went past like lightning. There was no and passing under the ice were swept away down the chance to get in a second shot. stream. Alarmed by the report of the rifle, and not knowing * * * ;vhat it meant, .Jerry Tolman lashed his dogs around It served them rjght, so it does," said Mr. Barney into the Klondike. McGraw, the chief owner of Claim No. 89. "Jerry "N, o go!" cried Ned. "It's a stern chase again." J Tolman was a scoundrel, if one ever lived. HeswindTheir sled now came spinning through an opening led me out of three thousand dollars a year ago. If the cedars. "Jump on," cried the Unknown. "The chase beins again." Mrs. Colvin was already on the sled with Dick, and Ned and Edith lost no time taking their places. The Unknown cracked his whip and away they went whirling around into the Klondike. ''A stern chase is a long chase,'' said the Unknown, "but it will come to an end some time. I tried to neak into their camp and cut their dogs loose, but iey were getting ready to move when I got there, and I thought it was the safest way to get back as fast as I could." "They see us,'' cried Ned. Ha Jerry is going to fire!" They could see Bill take the reins while Jerry threw his rifle to his shoulder and fired back. The bullet whistled harmlessly by. "You could take that -scoundrel if you wanted to, Edith," said the Unknown, grimly. "I can't do it, and I won't,'' replied the girl. All the samee you could if you chose, and I would if I could shoot like you,'' growled the Unknown. I'd known it was him I wouldn't have fretted myself the way I did, but sure I'm sorry that yez hev lost your gold." These remarks were made in course of the conversation which followed after Ned Golden and his friends came into the camp on Claim 89, and told their story to the miners who crowded about them. Still there were many there that night who felt that they were more or less murderers. Even Barney McGraw declared next morning that it was the last time they would attempt to blow up the ice in the night, which work was being done in order to turn a supply of water into the big gold washsr in use on this claim. But right or wrong the imprudent a.ction of these miners put an end to the chase, and to Ned's hopes of recovering the gold. Our little party was hospitably entertained in the camp, and next morning they started for Dawson City, where Ned told his story to the claim recorder. "You are certainly the owner of 172 now," was the decision of the recorder. "In fact, you were anyway, as soon as you had done the necessary assessment

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32 YOL"NG KLONDIKE'S CLAIM. work, for I have since learned that Jerry Tolman never did a day's work on that land until he went to work for you." This settled it. Ned's title was now fixed beyond dispute. The nine golden nuggets were sold, and brought more than was expected, six hundred and forty-eight dollars being the return. Ned in vested it all in provisions, and two days later the whole party set out to return to Weltonville without a cent in their pockets. As they drew near Owl Creek-that was the name of the place where they had halted that night, Ned, who was driving, suddenly turned off the river bed. "Where are you going, Young Klondike?" cried the Unknown, who had heard nothing of Ned's wonderful find in the cave. "After nine golden nuggets laughed Ned. "We've got to have a nest egg sure." "Ye gods and little fishes Ain't the nine golden nuggets sold for a mess of pottage-I mean for grub." "Not much!" iaughed Dick. "We wouldn't do anything like that. The nine are still ours, all right!" "But what in thunder!" "Mystery W .ant it explained?" Every time." "Then explain yours. Tell us your name. "My name is Mud, I'm thinking," chuckled the Un known. "A few weeks ago I thought myself rich, and now I ain't worth a blame cent." The sight of the nine golden nuggets in the cave cheered the Unknown up wonderfully, but in the excess of his joy, he did not tell his name. I The bole was thoroughly prospected, but no more gold was found. So with the nine nuggets, which averaged at least two pounds each, they returned to Welton ville to :find their goods on the ice exactly where they had leftl them. The Indians had never returned. Edith and Mrs. Colvin were made as comfortable as possible in the shaft house, while Ned, Dick and the Unknown built a brush shelter for themselves until the portable house, which.Ned had ordered in Dawson, should arrive. "We'll go right to work again and do the best we can, and I'm sure we shall soon repair damages," declared Ned. "Thank Heaven we haven't got Jerry Tolman to fear any longer," said Edith. Indeed all felt relief at the thought that the villain was no more. So all hands turned in to work Young Klondike's claim with a will. It was no prospect hole now. On the contrary, its great richness was a proven fact. What success Ned Golden and his friends met in this undertaking will be found fully described in the next story of this series, which is even more interest ing and full of thrilling adventure than the one which we now close. It is entitled YouNG KLONDIKE'S FIRST MILLION or, Hrs GREAT STRIKE ON EL DORADO CREEK. 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For sale by al newsdealers, or we will send it by mail, postage free, upon ceipt of price. Address Frank Tousey, West ..,. Street, New York. l

PAGE 34

TllhES Of .. raE flEllDS. + :. 4 YOUNG [LONDIKE. Stories of a Gola Seeker. \ Handsomely Lithographed' Covers. 32 SOLID PAGES. Issued Twice a Month. Price 5 .. EVE RY STORY IS FULL OF FACTS AND CONTAINS VALU:AB6E INFORMATIO N ABOUT THIS GREAT GOLD B EARING COUNTRY. Ko. 1. Young Klondike; or, Off Por the Land of Gold, By An Old Min llo. 2. Young B:loudlke's Claim; or, Nine Golden Nuggets, By the Author of Young Klondi mo. 3. Young K l ondike's Pirst Million; or, His Great Strike at El Dorado Creek, By the Author of Young Klondi Issue d Wednesday, April 13th Order No. 3 From Your Newsdealer NOW. For Sale B y All Newsdealers or Sent to Any Address on R eceipt of thePriee 5

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