Dick among the miners

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Dick among the miners

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Title:
Dick among the miners
Creator:
Dimock, A. W. (Anthony Weston)
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New York
Publisher:
F. A. Stokes
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Language:
English

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Miners -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )

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University Of South Florida
Holding Location:
University Of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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029608835 ( ALEPH )
07591200 ( OCLC )
C21-00011 ( USFLDC DOI )
c21.11 ( USFLDC Handle )

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DICK NG THE MINERS

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS

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Dick Among the Miners BY A. W. DIMOCK AUTHOR OF ''DICK IN THE EVERGLADES,'' 11DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES,'' 'DICK AMONG THE LUMBER JACKS, ''FLORIDA ENCHANTMENTS/' ETC. WITH EIGHT HALFTONE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM PHOTOGRAPHS BY J. A. DIMOCK NEW YORK FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY PUBLISHERS

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Copyright, I9I3, by FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY All rightJ reur'U e d including that of tran1/ation into foreign /anguagu, i n cluding the Scandina'Uian

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AUTHOR'S NOTE The illustration of the bear at bay is from a photo g raph taken in 1887 and represents the beginning of hunting with a camera. The other photographs were taken in 1886 and represent the scenes and time of the incidents narrated. The story of the conspiracy is a romance of to-day, but every other account is of an actual occurrence. The dynamite episodes were real happenings, from the tragedy at the fishing pool to the author's ride on fractious Bay Billy with ten pounds of dynamite tied to the saddle. The Limestone Mesa incidents, from the burro's fall into the top of a tree to the untying of Gambler by Bay Billy and the subsequent blizzard are taken from the author's journal. The adventure of Ned, the author's companion, with the grizzly was true to time place and circumstance. The salted sample from the Valledto was Ned's joke on the author in the assay office and served its purpose of promoting another visit to the Vallecito Tim Harte, Tom and Mackenzie are the real names of characters portrayed. The camp-fire talk of the latter was always of the rich ore he knew of only a day's march northeast of us. Three years later that section became famous as Creede, and Mackenzie's share made him a millionaire. A. W.D. v

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CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE I THE CONSPIRACY I1 AN EARLY MORNING CALL 8 III THAWING Our DYNAMITE 16 IV HOLDING A DRILL 25 V WAS IT AN ASSASSIN'S ACT 33 VI THE DYNAMITERS DYNAMITED 43 VII BAY BILLY'S RECORD RUN 53 VIII THE REPENTANT MINER 62 IX THE BLOWPIPE ASSAY 73 x A PERILOUS CLIMB 84 XI Losr oN THE LIMESTONE MESA g6 XII NED AND THE GRIZZLY 110 XIII TOM "BUSTED THE WHOLE CAMP" 124 XIV ENGINEERING THAT AMAZES THE CAMP 137 XV BASCOMBE Snows THE CLOVEN Foor 150 XVI KELLY THE MYSTERIOUS 164 XVII MOLLY AND LURA 178 XVIII PICNICKING AND PROSPECTING 193 XIX MOLLY PHOTOGRAPHS A LIVE ELK 208 xx LURA FACES A WOUNDED BEAR 222 XXI THE MYSTERY REVEALED 237 XXll BASCOMBE BouNcED, KELLY Snows His HAND 251 XXIII THE KIDNAPING OF NED AND DICK 265 XXIV MOLLY'S NIGHT RIDE AND THE RESCUE 28o

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ILLUSTRATIONS "'There is your mining camp, Neddy'" Frontispiece Black Horse mine PACING HG& 26 Dr. Brown and Boy Billy on the c.rest of the continent 82 "Streaming with water but with a back load of trout" 92 "'Say your prayers and come on, boys,' said MacKenzie" "Lura took camera-shots from the Black Giant Dump" i88 "Met the wondering gaze of a fawn standing scarcely six feet away 210 'I snapped th e shutter, the bear started up and we didn't lose any time about getting out of his way' 226

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS CHAPTER I THE CONSPIRACY SILVERTON july 4 MR BARSTOW sir me and Mackenzy thinks you ott to kno the way Baskom is Runnin the mines Mack says he is Robbin you i say so to he is a skowndrel he keeps us workin on Blind Leeds & he doant let me and Mack put in a blast if we tell him we kno it is good ore sumtimes a man corns to see Baskom Baskom takes him in the Drifts that he doant let us work. i wached Him take a bag ful of sampuls Mack says thay is up to sum devviltre i think so to you beter send sum budy here. doant rite Becos Baskom gits the leturs he woud read it like winkin yours respeckfully "TIM HARTE p.S i cairn to Silverton with sum of the boys to cellybrate Baskom doant kno i was goin to rite to you" Well, boys, what do you make of that?" asked Mr. Barstow of our old friends, Ned Barstow and Dick Williams, after they had read the letter. I could tell better if you would explain the situa tion," said the cautious Edward. 1

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!t DICK AMONG THE MINERS I know what I think now," was the reply of the always impulsive Dick. Better hear what facts I can give you before you tell us, Dick. Some time ago Charles Webber, an ac quaintance of mine got the mining fever and put a lot of money into mines, or rather prospects, in the Needle Mountains of Colorado. He spread his investments out pretty thin until he had a dozen half-developed mines and any number of prospects. Some of the assays showed up well and on the strength of them Webber borrowed considerable sums of money with which he sunk more shafts on new veins instead of completing the development of mines in which drifts had been run for hundreds of feet. One man who had loaned him money had received a first lien on the property as security. This creditor had the property examined by experts and learned that everything was at loose ends and the management of the work hope lessly inefficient. He declined to advance another dol lar unless an expert was put in charge. He recom mended William Bascombe, whom Webber at once made his foreman. But matters didn't improve, and assays grew worse and worse until Webber gave up all hope. Guggins, his creditor, offered to take the prop erty in settlement of his claims. Webber came to see me before accepting the offer. How about your friends who have advanced you money on the property? I asked. What can I do? he replied. Guggins offers more than the mines would sell for, now that the assays have run down to next to nothing. I know I

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THE CONSPIRACY 3 ought not to have given Guggins a first lien on the property but it is too late to help it now.' I mean to help it,' said I. I will cancel my own claim, pay Guggins and all your other creditors and give you my check for ten thousand dollars in ad dition, for the property.' "Webber accepted joyfully, but Guggins didn't and insisted on coming into the deal and sharing the pur chase. He even offered to pay the ten thousand himself for the privilege of coming in on equal terms. I had the pleasure of telling him that I wouldn't accept him as a partner in the enterprise if he put up all the money." That is the property you went to see, on your last Colorado trip? asked Ned. Yes, and it disappointed me at the time. The books had beyn carefully kept but the assays were dis couraging. They had been made by a chemi s t and assayer of Silverton who had a good reputation. A shipment of ore t o the sampling works showed a loss. Bascombe understood his business, there wasn't any doubt about that, and he seemed depressed at the outlook. He was startled for a moment when I said I was ready to spend a hundred thousand dollars to find out whether I really owned a mine, but bright ened up and declared that he would do his very best to prove that my investment had been a good one. He said that he knew a man who had been his fore man, who would be a great help to him and he would send for him. You needn't do that,' said I. There is a man

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4 DICK AMONG THE MINERS at work here, Tim Harte, who used to boss a gang of laborers on a railroad that I was interested in. I have told him already that he was to be foreman here.' That is the situation, Ned, all explained as you wished." "I think Tim Harte and Mackenzie have sized up Bascombe. Why don't you bounce him and put Tim in as superintendent until you can find an expert to suit you?" What do you think, Dick? I think Ned and I can be ready for the Chicago Limited tomorrow and that in le s s than three days from now we will be in Denver. I s h o uld expect to get to y our mines in another day but you can tell us about that. "You can just about do it. N eedleton, on the Denver and Rio Grande, is the nearest railroad sta tion. The mines are eight miles fr o m there by as bad a trail as you ever traveled. I can tele graph tonight and there will be broncos for you and burros for your baggage at the station when you ar rive Rather not have them. I want to drop in on that skowndrel of a Bascombe, casual-like. Ned and I rather enjoy eight-mile hikes and we can send back for our traps." But you have to climb 3,000 feet in that eight miles That will give us time to cool off before we see Bascombe. If I met him now I might be impolitic."

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THE CONSPIRACY 5 "What do you expect to accomplish?" Tim Harte has done the work, already. All we have to do is to verify his suspicions, tree Bascombe, spot the friend that visits him and smoke out Gug gins, who is the real nigger in the fence." "Well, Dick, I have great confidence in your making good, so you shall have everything your own way. What can I do to help you? "Ned ought to have your power of attorney, so that if it became necessary he could chuck Bascombe out of the game and do whatever else was needed. Then you might give us a letter of introduction to him, saying that you want us to learn something of mining, and that we are to be free to go wherever we please and watch the mine .rs all we want to. You might say that we are fond of fishing and hunt ing, and if we want any miner to go with us he is to be let off without its being taken from his time." How much baggage will you take? Mine will go in one bag and it won't be a very big one. I'll have a fishing rod, a take-down rifle and a few cartridges, mostly for show. My real game is the Bascombe bunch, and a blow-pipe with a few re agents is the weapon to fetch them Why not take along an assaying outfit and oue for analysis, too, Dick? It would be a lot of service and we would be sure of honest returns," said Ned. "Too bulky, Ned. It would be a dead give away, and after Bascombe had seen them, forty rods and rifles wouldn't fool him. I can lock up the material s

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6 DICK AMONG THE MINERS for blow-pipe analysis in a bit of a case that he can neither open nor guess the contents of, for you can bet he will see anything in our outfit that isn't locked up." You don't seem to have much confidence in our superintendent, Dick," laughed Mr. Barstow. Oh, but I've perfect confidence that he would take anything he could lay his hands on, short of a. hot stove, and that would have to be pretty hot to be safe. It's all settled, Mr. Barstow, that Ned and I are to start tomorrow ? It is all settled and the papers you ask for will be ready tonight. Then, both of you remember that if trouble comes and you need men or money a word by wire will bring both." It seems queer to talk of trouble in a civilized country among honest miners when we didn't have any among the Indians and outlaws of the Big Cy press Swamp and the Everglades," said Ned. Have you forgotten the splash of Allard's bullet on the hatchet you carried in your sash? That hap pened in a civilized country among honest lumber jacks," replied his father. Yes, but there was a conspiracy then, a plot to steal timber, by a band of real robbers, even if they did have reputations and bank accounts." "That is exactly what you are up against now, a little branch of the nation-wide conspiracy to rob the people of their heritage. When big combines gobble the mines, the oil, the forests and the power from the streams1 they monopolize what God meant for all.

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THE CONSPIRACY The natural wealth of the country belongs to the whole people, not to a ring." Would such a combine go for a bunch of unde veloped mines like these ? "Nothing is too big, and nothing too little for them. Besides, these mines may not be as undeveloped as we have thought. Guggins wants them and means to fight for them. There will be plenty of detective work for you, but whatever you do will be discovered sooner or later and then will come a crisis. You must be always on guard, for you will have plenty of brains against you." We had brains against us in the hunt for Moore, but we won out." Yes, but Brooks possessed honesty and a con science as well as brains, while the men who are pitted against you now have neither. Distrust every one whom you don't know, and never put into a letter which is to be mailed by a strange hand anything you are unwilling for the enemy to read. Be constantly watchful but do not excite suspicion." We can use our old cipher if we need to wire you." You are not likely to need it. You can trust the operator at N eedleton, for he is an old employee of mine." Oh! exclaimed Ned, then you knew some thing was wrong at the mines before you got Tim Harte's letter? I had my suspicions," replied his father with a smile.

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CHAPTER II AN EARLY MORNING CALL HOW do yo1,1 do, Mr. Barstow? friend Mr. Williams?" Is this your The speaker was the station master, express telegraph operator and possessor of all the other titles that appertain to the keeper of a little railroad sta tion like N eedleton. My name is Barstow and this is Dick Williams, but how you spotted us I can t imagine." Been looking for you for weeks and got a wire yesterday to expect you on this train." Did your correspondent send on a nurse or gov erness to look after us?" inquired Ned, who was a little annoyed by so much attention. You' ll be looked after all right, and this is a good time to say that any hint of yours, by scratch of pen cil or word of mouth will be acted on P. D. Q." Thank you very much, though there isn't the ghost of a chance of our having to call upon you." Don't be too sure of that. This is a country of mighty little law, of rough miners and smooth su perintendents, and you are sometimes safer with the men than the managers." "Glad to know whom to look out for. Can you direct us so that we can find the Needle mines? 8

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AN EARLY MORNING CALL 9 Yes, and I have a couple of mules ready to take you there and a burro to tote your bags." "We will want the burro," said Dick, "but we will be our own mules, and I want to say for myself that I thank you for your offer to stand by us and have no doubt but that sooner or later we shall call on you Neither have I," replied the agent, but you don't know what is before y o u if you propose to walk that eight miles to the mining camp." It may be a bad trail, but eight miles won't worry us." Eight miles is nothing and the trail not bad, but you are now 8,400 feet above sea level, and you've rnore than 3,000 feet to climb. Why, before you have risen 300 feet you will be ready to lie down and die." "We'll take it easy, and if it is as bad as you say, will camp half way and finish in the morning." When the burro had been found and packed the agent pointed upward, saying: There is your trail. Get into it and keep climb ing. If you let that burro get behind you and turned around you won't catch him short of the station, and if you do camp for the night, tie him with a knot that he can't untie with his teeth, for he is a canny little beast." The boys started off behind the burro at a fairly brisk walk, which they kept up as long as the station was in sight. Then they began to slacken their pace, at1d before they had gone half a mile were panting for breath.

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10 DICK Al\1.0NG THE MINERS I can't walk another step," gasped Ned. I'm simply suffocating." Me too," replied Dick. That agent was dead right. We haven't climbed 300 feet, and I'm ready to lie down and die, just as he said. I wish I had wind enough to go on and stop that burro." Now a burro can hear a remark like that for a mile, and the creature stopped in his tracks, looking around reproachfully as if to reply: Why didn't you say so before?" By climbing for ten minutes and then resting for twenty, the boys made slow progress without great distress, but it was nearly dusk when they reached a little plateau which the agent had told them marked the half of their journey. Isn't this lovely as a dream? exclaimed Dick, as he waded knee-deep through a flood of flowers, fairy like in form and riotous of color, that covered the tiny mesa. I move we camp right here. There must be fifty kinds of flowers and I want to pick some. We'll be up as soon as we can see and maybe break fast with your friend, the superintendent." That suits me, Dick, and I would have suggested it myself, only I thought you would be ashamed of being stumped by an eight-mile walk." I'm tired enough, Neddy, and I never expect to get my breath again, but that isn't all. I'm scared of this trail in the dark. Do you remember when the burro squirmed around the point of the precipice when there was hardly room for his feet on the trail? I remember I hugged the side of the cliff pretty

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AN EARLY MORNING CALL 11 close, and was glad when I was safely past, but no one need tell me that you were frightened, for I know you too well." Get that notion out of your head, Ned, for it isn't true. I expect to be scared blue before this cam paign is over, and my best and only hope is that I may be able to act like the general who was twitted while the battle was raging: General, your knees are shaking.' "'I know it, sir, and they would shake worse if they knew where I am going to take them in about a minute.'" Fuel was gathered and camp made while the burro was tied with the kind of knot recommended by the agent. The canny animal after one look at the knot and a glance of admiration at Dick, who had tied it, began to fill himself with flowers as if that were the end and object of burro life. I wish we were as well fixed for food as that donkey, for I'm hungry," said Ned. "No camper should complain while there is plenty of flower," was the reply. The boys opened their baggage, and having got out a blanket of wool and one of rubber for each, lay down for a restful, happy night, which, thanks to the altitude and climate, they did not get. For there was snow in the ravines and on the mountain tops, and the night air was freezing. Then at 10,000 feet above sea level one must breathe rapidly to supply the lungs with the oxygen they require. While awake they could manage this, but as they dropped asleep they

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12 DICK AMONG THE MINERS forgot the need and awoke in what seemed a night mare of suffocation and was not far removed from the real thing. At last they fell into the sleep of exhaustion, while their fire died out. They were star tled at dawn by the stampeding of their burro, which in a frightened plunge had broken the rope that held him and was plunging down the narrow trail at a rate that would have sent a less sure-footed beast to quick destruction. Coming from beyond where the donkey had been tied and looming large in the ghostly light as it slowly advanced, was a huge specimen of cin namon bear, one of the two kinds of grizzly to be found in the Rocky Mountains the true grizzly seldom appearing east of the Sierra Range, though the silvertip of the Rockies is a very competent under study of the far-famed monster. Neither of the boys had unpacked his rifle, though both swore to them selves as the beast came on that never again, if they lived, would they fail in that duty. They lay silent and still while the great creature came on, and the space between the brute and the humans changed from rods to yards and was lessening to feet, when sud denly lifting his head as he sniffed the tainted air, the grizzly turned out of the trail, down the side of the ravine, and his huge bulk melted away. Dick sprang to his bag and was taking his rifle from its leather case when Ned said : "It's no use, Dick, for that grizzly isn't coming back. You have lost your chance." But there might be another one. Never alone appear the immortals, never alone.'

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AN EARLY MORNING CALL 13 Better be glad y o u didn't shoot him. He didn't kill us when he had the opportunity, so why kill him?" I believe you are right ab o ut that, Neddy, and I am almost glad I c o uldn t get at my gun. But what are we to do about the lost burro? He's half-way to N eedleton already." Better cache our plunder and go for the brute. The agent will be frightened and have the town crier out for us." He won't be frightened. He will see that the donkey got away and will think he has the laugh on us. I move we shoulder our luggage and go on to the camp. Can't you boost your baggage 1,500 feet if you have all day to do it?" "I had rather try it than go back and explain." Dick shouldered his bag and led off with a ten minute climb that left him panting and speechless, but half a mile had been covered and two hundred vertjcal feet surmounted. I can't stand this and there isn't any sense in it," whispered Ned as soon as he caught his breath. "We can t fight Nature and she tells us pretty plainly that we must go slow at 10,000 feet above the sea." I'm sorry, Ned, but I thought we might rush oft a mile or two without feeling it too much and that per haps we'd get used to the thin air." I don't believe I'll get used to it till I'm dead, but that isn't far off if you don't let up a bit." Will you walk a little faster? Said a whiting to a snail.'

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14 DICK Al-WONG THE MINERS "That's what you will be saying to me pretty soon, for I am going to crawl the rest of the way After a go o d rest Dick led the climb so slowly that the boys kept it up for ten minutes at a time without distress, and then a five-minute rest enabled them to go on. The trail, which had been running east on the edge of a deep ravine, was turned to the north by a smaller gulch. Across this the boys got glimpses through the trees of a tiny plateau, on which was a large log cabin and a smaller building with some lengths of stovepipe for a chimney. There is your mining camp, Neddy, and that little building l o oks like an assay office." Then that's where we will put in a lot of time." "Not till we bury Bascombe we won't, but I wonder how we get across this gulch? There goes the trail right over the edge. Guess we've got to jump down the bank." It wasn't quite so bad as Ned thought, for a trail zigzagged down the precipice like a fire-escape on a tall tenement house. See those rough-looking fellows, sitting on a rock at the foot of the gulch I wonder what they are there for," exclaimed Ned. "Waiting for us, to be sure, and I'll bet you a dollar to a doughnut, Edward Barstow, that I can tell who they are and what they are there for. Just watch your Uncle Dudley when we meet them." A few minutes later the m e eting took place and Dick opened the conversation with his usual prompt ness, saying:

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AN EARLY MOR:SING CALL 15 Glad to see you, Mr. Harte, and you too, Mr. Mackenzie." Me and Mackenzie's bin lookin' for you, Mr. Barstow -" "That's Mr. Ned Barstow, I'm Dick Williams," interrupted the boy. "We didn't reckon you'd know us," said Tim Harte, who was a slightly undersized man with a hu morous expression on his freckled Irish face and a twinkle in his bright blue eye, so me and Mackenzie said we'd meet you here and tell you not to notice us perticler at first, cos Bascombe is mighty suspicioning. Now we're goin' to light out fore he gits onto us, and you know me and Mackenzie are with you to the death if anythin' happens. And Mack says he wants to wring old Bascombe's neck." He looks as if he could do it," laughed Dick, as he glanced at the muscular form of Tim's companion. You haven't seen Bascombe," was the sententious comment of the miner referred to.

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CHAPTER III THAWING OUT DYNAMITE A RE you looking for any one? was a query ad dressed to the boys as they neared the settle ment. The speaker was a strong man of a presence more often met in a bank parlor than in a mining camp. I have a letter from my father to Mr. Bascombe," said Ned, adding inquiringly, "I presume you are he?" The man nodded gravely and slowly read the letter which Ned handed him. Then his stern face relaxed and with a welcoming smile he held out both hands to the boys, saying: "I am very glad to see you, Mr. Barstow, and you too, Mr. Williams. We will try and make the time pass pleasantly to you. Your father says you are a great sportsman and we can get up a hlmt for you over in the Vallecito valley. There are plenty of blacktail deer there and you can get all the trout you want. I wish I could spare the time for a little hunt myself. I am very fond of the sport." Father wants us to learn something about mining, and we ought to study the work a little before we be gin to play." That's the right idea," said Mr. Bascombe, pleas-16

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THAWING OUT DYNAMITE 17 antly. I am only afraid that you will find it a little dull, for mining is rather stupid work." "I want to learn," said Ned, "and I wouldn't mind handling a pick for a while." There isn't much of that in these mines. It is mostly drilling, and you had better look at the hands of the men before you decide to hold a drill or to swing a sledge." Why don't you use pneumatic drills? "Because I am here to save your father's money and not to waste it. As soon as the assays justify it, 1 will put in a power plant. It would be sheer folly to do so sooner." How many men have you at work, Mr. Bas combe?" Twenty miners, which are all we can handle at present." But I thought there were thirty or forty mines." That was Webber's story. There were thirty or forty prospects on which development work was done. He spent a lot of money on some of them without finding a lead worth following. There are not more than four or five that have any chance at all, and I am developing those as fast as I can, but I am frank to say that I am disappointed in the results. I will show you the mines tomorrow, and you can see the men at work and decide whether you would like to try it." We won't do enough to get on the payroll, though we will drill a few holes and fire a blast or two, just to impress the folks at home."

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18 DICK AMONG THE MINERS "I am afraid you will get blown to kingdom come if you fool with giant by yourselves." "We will watch the men a while first, and we are likely to be more careful than they. Will we walk to the mines in the morning? "Not unless you would enjoy climbing a thousand feet. There are a couple of broncos here that you can take and I have my own. When will you be ready to start?" Soon as we can finish breakfast." The foreman and the men who eat here breakfast at sun-up, and I suppose yours can be an hour later." We are not here to be coddled, and we don't want a separate table. We will eat with the miners and take miners' fare, if you don't object." Certainly I don't object, for it saves the cost of the better fare which I had expected to provide for your father's son I share the men's fare myself, but how will he like it for you? I guess you don't know him very well, or you wouldn't ask. If he heard of our objecting to share the fare of the men who work for us, he would call us home with a message that would warm the wire that carried it." How did you sleep, Neddy? asked Dick, as he broke the ice in the wash basin that rested on a bench just outside the mining cabin. Bum," was the reply. I hardly slept at all. How did it go with you?" "Just one continuous nightmare. You must have

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THAWING OUT DYNAMITE 19 heard me get up every few minutes to pile an extra blanket on my bed. Well, the more I put on the colder I got, and the added weight on my chest made it harder to breathe fast, as you have to here. Some times I would fall into a doze and forget to breathe as I ought and would slow down until I was suffocated. Then I'd have a fit and a nightmare, and wake up thinking I was dead, and gasp and pant and shiver for hours, it seemed to me. When I did get my breath I'd be freezing and would pile on more blankets, and live it over again. Didn't you have the same trou bles? Some of them, but Dick, didn't it occur to you that your bunk, being of heavy canvas stretched be tween horizontal poles, might need blankets under you as well as -" Ned," interrupted Dick, I've heard that your father is a large contributor to an Asylum for the Feeble-Minded somewhere up in the country. Don't you suppose he would use his influence to get me ad mitted if this incident was put properly before him?" I think he would, Dick, and you can rely on me that the story will lose nothing in the telling. I am going to write to Molly pretty soon, and she will probably show the letter where it will do most good." I'm in the way of getting something on you, if I have to make it up, and I can write letters to a girl, too, even if her name isn't Molly." Ned appeared to have lost interest in the subject and saying that his hands were freezing from the ice water in which he had washed them, stepped inside

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS the cabin to warm them by the fire with which break fast was being prepared. Tom, the boy miner who did the cooking, was turning buckwheat cakes on a griddle that rested on a stove that was nearly hot. Ned threw open the oven door, the better to warm his hands, and was surprised to see in it a lot of rolls that looked like cartridges. What have you got in the oven? he asked the boy. Thawin' out giant, that's all," replied the youth. "Giant powder! Dynamite! Why, you idiot, you've got enough explosive in that stove to blo w San Juan County out of Colorado. Get it out of there, quick." Ain't no harm in giant. I can burn it with a match," and the youth picked up a cartridge, at the same time striking a match on the stove. Ned struck the match from his hand, exclaiming: Take those cartridges out of that stove!" As the last cartridge was being taken out Ned turned to see a quiet smile on the face of Bascombe, who had jus t entered the room. Boys do get careless in a mining camp. They see high explosives handled recklessly, and when the warning does come there isn't enough of them left to benefit by it." When a pile of pancakes was about a foot high the plate was placed in the oven and the frying pan filled with brook trout that would average a pound apiece. As Ned looked inquiringly at his host, Bas combe said, with a meaning smile:

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THAWING OUT DYNAMITE 21 Don't be annoyed, Mr. Barstow, there is nothing exclusive about this dish, for there are enough for all hands." Who caught them? asked Dick. There is the man, Tim Harte, our foreman," said the superintendent as Tim entered the room. He must have caught over fifty day before yesterday in the Vallecito. You don't often get such fishing in your eastern streams, Mr. Williams, and you ought to try it." We'll try it tomorrow if you can spare Tim Harte to show us the way. He won't need to stay with us. We can get back by ourselves." But Dick," interrupted Ned, we've got this min ing business to attend to." Oh, bother, we'll work at that today with Mr. Bascombe and tend to the rest of it after we have had some fishing." You may get some hunting," said Tim Harte. I saw a bighorn and a bear a silvertip, the other side of the Vallecito Divide." "Hear that, Ned! Of course we are going." "It is a good opportunity, Mr. Barstow. I can spare Tim and let you have Gambler and Bay Billy with a mule for Tim." Dick is so crazy to go try those trout that I shall have to go to look after him." "What is this building with the tall stovepipe chim ney, Mr. Bascombe? asked Dick as the of them stood by the cabin waiting for the broncos to be brought to them.

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DICK .AMONG THE MINERS It is used as a storehouse for all kinds of sup plies from canned milk to giant powder." "What is the use of so much chimney?" I think the building was originally intended for assaying, but it was never fitted up." "Why don't you fit it up?" inquired Ned. I should suppose it would be essential to your work It would be a waste of money at present. A first-class chemist is a costly luxury in this country, and the little assaying we need is done for us by an expert in Silverton for a moderate charge. His re ports are at your service and they will help you to an understanding of the work." I shall be glad to study them." Mr. Bascombe," said Dick, we ought to have asked you to send a man to N eedleton to tell the sta tion agent that the burro we hired of him got away from us." It isn't necessary. The agent sent a man here last night to find out if you had arrived all right. He said the burro came home trailing a piece of the picket rope he had been tied with. That agent seems to take a good deal of interest in you," he added reflec tively. "I reckon it's his burro he's interested in and he is wondering if he will get the pay we promised him." The boys forgot their distrust of the superintendent in the charm of his manner and conversation as they climbed the range ab ove timber-line. Often they stopped to re11t their tired ponies, panting from the

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THAWING OUT DYNAMITE effort of scrambling like cats up the almost vertical trail. Then Bascombe with a sweep of his arm called attention to the grandeur of their surroundings. The snow caps of the mountain tops dazzled their eyes with brilliant reflections of the rays of the sun. The lower peaks of barren rock spread out before them in a limitless panorama of the grandeur of desolation. Beneath was the dark green of the belt of fir from which they had ascended, while a little lower and above the deep valleys rolled masses of clouds shutting out the earth. Some were as white as sea foam, while others, dark as night, were threaded with zig zag silvery streaks from which came peals of distant thunder. It's a wonderful thing to look down upon a thun derstorm," said Dick in a voice that was almost awed. I never thought to see it." It isn't to be seen here every day," replied Bas combe, and I always feel well repaid for a hard climb when it happens." No wonder they put great telescopes on the tops of high mountains, for nothing ever was so brilliant as this light or so pure and clear as the air." But it is as desolate as it is grand," commented Ned, "and I can't imagine anything with life having a place here." That is because you are looking too high, Mr. Barstow. Just cast a glance on the trail, two yards from your pony's feet." I don't see yes, yes, what are they? They are exactly the shade of the rocks, and I shouldn t have

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS seen them when I was looking right at them if they hadn t moved. They are ptarmigan in their color-protective sum mer garb. If it were winter, you would be unlikely to see them, for then they are white as the snow that surrounds them. I believe you sportsmen count them as game, but I should have to be very hungry before I could kill such beautiful creatures." Neither would I kill them! exclaimed Ned in dignantly, while Dick wondered if Bascombe hadn't been sadly misjudged by all of them. The superin tendent caught Dick s eye with a look of surprise in it and smiled as he said: "There is beautiful life very near you, Mr. Wil liams. See the bit of snow in the shadow of that rock and the flower that is pushing through it? Was ever anything purer than its petals, or more delicate than that big honeysuckle, the columbine, flower of the state, that you can see clinging in the crevice of the rock? And there 1 Do you hear the chirrup of that bird?" I hear the bird all right, but I can t see it. Is it flying or is it cmother of t he color-protected crea tures?" It isn't flying, and it is partly color-protected, but it is sitting at the mouth of its den, and instead of be ing a bird, it is a ground-hog," said Mr. Bascombe with a laugh, in which both the boys joined

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CHAPTER IV HOLDING A DRILL THIS is the most prom1smg mine on the prop erty, the Black Horse," said Bascombe as they approached a dark opening in a vertical wall of rock. You will see by the assays that the ore runs from five to eighteen ounces to the ton." Then it isn't a bonanza," said Ned. There isn't a bonanza, or a chance of striking one, in the whole field here. The vein is small and the development done at a loss. The only chance is that the vein will grow wider and richer as we get farther into the mountain. The only reason for con tinuing to work it is that it is the best proposition we have. We are working four others and we may have time to look at them today. Not one of them has ore that will pay for taking it out. If they carried lead it would be different, but they don't." As they reached the mine, Tim Harte and two other miners came hastily out and a moment later a dull ex plosion was heard. That was a blast, wasn't it? asked Dick and as Bascombe nodded the boy started for the drift, saymg: I want to see what it did Hold on there! shouted the superintendent. If i5.

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D.ICK AMONG THE MINERS you go into that hole before the fumes get out you'll have a nitro-headache that you won't forget in a hurry." As they stood with candles by the breast of the tun nel where the blast had been fired, the superintendent said to Tim: Get Mr. Barstow some bags for samples of ore." Then turning to Ned he advised: You had better select for yourself, from the gangue that has just been blown out, the best looking ore you can find and then chip off a sample from the vein as it lies in the breast. You can mark it, seal it up and send it to an assayer in Silverton. If you do the same with ore fr o m the other mines you will have a better idea of the property than if you should work on it for a month." While Ned was selecting his samples, Tim looked soberly on, but there was a queer smile on the face of the miner who was loading the result of the blast on the wheelbarrow, which took the place of the car, for transportation to the dump pile. It took nearly an hour of hard climbing and of harder descending to reach the next mine to be visited. The mine was the Monitor, on which so little work had been done that the heading was still so near the mouth of the tunnel that candles were not needed in drilling. Bascombe explained the little work that had been done by saying that Webber had only begun work upon it, but that the returns, of twenty-one ounces to the ton, were the most encouraging they had received. As they reached the tunnel one of the miners, Macken-

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BLAC K IIORSE

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HOLDING A DRILL zie, stood just outside, while from within the drift came a savage voice: Strike as hard as you can! If you don't strike harder than that I'll strap you till you can't stand. Go it, now!" Standing by the breast of the tunnel was a miner holding with bloody hands a drill against which a boy was swinging a heavy sledge with all his might, while tears rolled down his cheeks. What is the matter?" exclaimed Dick, indig nantly, "and what are you threatening that boy for?" It was a kindly face that turned to Dick and the harsh voice was gentle as the miner spoke: Bless yer, I ain't goin' t' hurt him. That's my boy, and I'm larnin' him to swing a sledge. He's so 'fraid o' hurtin' me that he's scared to strike. If yer don't let yer sledge go when yer swing it, it don't do no good. You oughter see the way my old man trained me." Don't you ever hit the other fellow's hands when you strike ? "Useter, sometimes, not any more now. When I swings a sledge I hits the drill." I want you to swing the sledge now, while I hold the drill," and Dick put the drill in the hole, holding it as he had seen the miner hold it. Ned said afterward that the miner actually turned pale as he shook his head, saying: Couldn't do it, might ruin yer hand." "Don't show the white feather before your boy. It's just what you asked him to do and you threatened

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS to whip him if he held back. You would make a little boy do what you don t dare do yourself? I'll strike, sir, but yer must hold steady, fer I'm goin' t'let her go." Thank you. Just think that I am Tim and go at it." The big sledge fell with full impact upon the head of the drill, which was then given the professional quarter turn as the sledge swung back i_nto position. Another and another blow fell, and soon the swing of the sledge became rhythmical and the turning of the drill mechanical, until Ned and even Bascombe gave the signal to stop because the drill hole was getting choked and must be cleaned. What made you take such a risk, Dick? I wanted to stop you but didn t dare interfere lest it bring on the very accident I dreaded." Glad you didn't, Neddy, for I wanted the experi ence, and anyhow there wasn't any risk, and it called for mighty little nerve compared with what that boy showed when he swung at the drill his father held. But let me hold the drill while you strike a few times. Take the sledge." Not on your life, Dick. When I make holes in these rocks it will be by single-handed drilling. I'll hold both sledge and drill myself." It was curious and Ned noticed it with surprise, that Bascombe made no comment on the episode, but was meditative for a time, glancing occasionally at Dick as if he were considering an obstacle that might have to be reck o ned with.

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HOLDING A DRILL Where do we go next? inquired Ned after he had taken samples from the Monitor vein. Over the Iowa divide to the Moonstone mine. You will find it a pretty stiff climb." A stiff climb it was, as steep as a sure-footed bronco could manage on the side of a precipice down which the stones started by the ponies rolled till they reached the bottom. The top of the divide was narrow as a knife blade and the nerve strain in reaching it exhausting, but the view paid for the labor of the climb many times over. I am glad to rest a little and look around, for I am strangely tired," said Dick, breathing hard as he spoke. "It would be stranger if you weren't tired," com mented Bascombe, after your work in the Monitor tunnel and your climb to this backbone of the coun try." But I only held a drill in the Monitor mine and Bay Billy climbed the divide for me." "Wasn't holding that drill equal to an hour of hard physical labor, and didn't you share Bay Billy's distress as he strained muscles and lungs to carry you up that trail that is only fit for a cat to climb? Poor Bay Billy, he has had a hard time. How high has he carried me ? "The Black Horse mine is I,400 feet above the camp, and from there we descended about a thousand feet, afterwards climbing to this divide, which is con siderably over r 3,000 feet above sea level. You would find breathing hard if you had been carried here

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SO DtCK AMONG THE MINERS in a cradle. Now look over the Vallecito valley to the east and tell me if you ever gazed upon a more beautiful view." "The Vallecito? And is that where we are going fishing tomorrow?" "The same, and just over there where the ground falls off you will go down a steeper trail than any thing you have seen today." I wish it were tomorrow, but what is this tiny gem of a lake almost under our feet? That is Moonstone Lake and the Moonstone mine that we are on our way to see, is just beyond it." Oh, I know now, and I could find it myself and a lot of other mines in this basin,',exclaimed Ned. Isn't that the Iowa mine, Mr. Bascombe, that hole in the cliff with the big dump pile in front of it, and isn't this round little valley beneath us the Iowa Ba sin?" What do you know of the Iowa Basin? asked the superintendent in tones that sounded a little stern. Why, it's down on the Webber map that I brought with me. I studied it in the cars on our way here so carefully that there ought to be a copy of it on my brain. I'll soon get it fixed in my mind when I have a chance to go about a bit after our fishing trip." "I should like to see that map Mr. Barstow. It might help me in my work." "I will make you a copy of it as soon as we get back from the Vallecito." The trail down the Vallecito side of the divide was an easy one, and the Moonstone mine was reached

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HOLDING A DRILL 31 without trouble. The breast of the drift was not far advanced and from the way the two men there wert working, there was small chance of making startling discoveries. When Ned had taken his samples from the Moonstone, he proposed crossing the basin to the Iowa. There is nothing to see there, and no use in visiting it," said the superintendent. Webber wasted money and we have spent a lot since, trying to make a mine of it, but it is hopeless I have had twenty as says made of it, which I will show you tonight. Of course if your father feels that there is any hope in that mine, which I know was a favorite of Webber's, I will get the men and burros to take out and ship to the sampling works five or ten tons of ore. The result will demonstrate to you and him what I know already." "We won't do that at present, Mr. Bascombe though later we may come to it, for it will take more than a few assays, or than anything I can say to in duce father to turn down the property without testing it on a liberal scale." "I am glad to hear that, for I should like to make such tests, though I didn't like to propose it, I am so doubtful of a successful outcome. But now I will show you a mine which Webber himself abandoned after driving a tunnel several hundred feet into the mountain. It is the Black Eagle, of no money value, possessed of neither silver nor gold but as I discov ered the other day, filled with something more beauti ful than diamonds

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B!e DICK AMONG THE MINERS Mr. Bascombe kept his word, for the last hundred feet of the Black Eagle was a mass of crystallization more wonderful in its intricate design and delicate tracery than was ever the work of human hands. The light of the candles they carried was reflected back from thousands of sparkling jewels, which waved in response to each current of air that even their spoken words set in motion. I don't know what your dream of the Golden City may be," said Mr. Bascombe in tones that were charged with feeling, but I greatly doubt if even your youth ful imagination can picture anything more lovely than that," and neither of the boys could find words to re ply. The Champion and Montezuma mines, which were visited for samples, differed only from the Moonstone in that the veins were being followed by sinking shafts instead of tunneling. The superintendent, who had been thoughtful and even brusque at times during the day, was in the best of spirits on the return rideso light-hearted and cheerful, so frank and confiding, and so warm and generous of heart and spirit that both Ned and Dick went to their beds remorseful lest they had misjudged him in their suspicions.

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CHAPTER V WAS IT AN ASSASSIN'S ACT? WHERE is Tim? asked Dick the next morning, as he looked down on the pile of bones which represented the last mess of trout in the camp. He ought to get a hustle on if he means to go fishing with us." Tim is all right," said Bascombe with a smile. "He had to go over the divide to John Burnett's cabin to get the mule, and I told him to meet you at the Moonstone, to save your time and his." Thank you very much," said Ned, but Dick was silent. A few minutes later the boys with rods and rifles and the simple camping outfit they were accustomed to, were mounted and ready to start, when the super intendent accosted Dick: I have a little bag of canned stuff and other sup plies for the Moonstone boys. Would you mind taking it to them? I'll tie it to the cantle of your saddle." All right," replied Dick, somewhat gruffly. "Thank you, and good-by and good luck to both of you." What makes you so uncivil, Dick? Bascombe SS

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34 DICK AMONG THE MINERS seems to be acting pretty white," said Ned after they had ridden away. I fear the Greeks, even bearing gifts.' Some times Bascombe hypnotizes me until I can t tell truth from falsehood. When I get away from him I can remember that what he said didn't really ring true. If I thought you would understand the reference, I would tell you that it was sweet as honey in my mouth, but in my belly bitter.' "Guess he must have hypnotized me, too, for things that sounded all right when he said them seem all wrong when I think them over.' "Neddy, I'm thinking of what your father sent us here for, I remember the letter he received and I don't forget the honest face of the man who wrote it.'' "So that s why you were so bent on this fishing trip? You wanted a chance to talk to Tim? Why, sure! I thought of course you understood that. What do I want of trout when I am on the trail of as big game as Bascombe and the bigger men behind-Wow, but that was a buck jump! "What's the matter with Bay Billy, Dick? What did you do to make him buck? Did nothing! He seemed to think that stump was a bear and sent me so high in the air that the breath was knocked out of me when I came down.' Don't you suppose Bascombe knew that was a dangerous horse when he gave him to you? "Neddy, Neddy, don t let prejudice run away with you. Bascombe is really a big man and he isn't play-

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WAS IT AN ASSASSIN'S ACT? 35 ing any boyish tricks on us. When he strikes, the blow will be heavier than that." Tim was waiting at the Moonstone with his mule packed and his honest face one broad smile of wel come. Ready to hit the trail?" he asked. Got to find those Moonstone miners first. Where are they? asked Dick. "They don't work here unless they're lookin' for company. Might be over at the Iowa, on Bas combe's business." "But he sent them a bag of supplies. Shall I leave them here?" Let me see them supplies," and Harte, taking the bag, opened it before them and called off the con tents, 'Bout ten pounds o' giant, box o' caps with a busted cover and caps loose 'nd some tins of con demned milk. I wish Mack was here." Is that a boyish trick, Dick, or is it the heavier blow you talked of?" came from Ned's pallid lips. "Mr. Barstow," said Tim, and there was a hard glint in laughing blue eyes and the smile was gone from the Irish face, me and Mack '11 fix this. We'll show old Bascombe this bag 'nd then we'll fill him with lead." "No use, Tim, to talk that way. It mustn't be done," said Dic;k. But Mr. Williams, Mack'll go with me 'Rd Bas combe may git me when I show him the bag 'nd tell him what I'm goin' t' do, but Mack ll git him sure's you're a foot high. There ain't gain' to be

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36 DICK AMONG THE MINERS no trouble. Half the men is ours and his men won't stand for 'assination like he tried on you, specially when he's dead." Tim, you are to tie that bag up just as it was and leave it in the mouth of that mine, and you are not to speak of it to anybody excepting your friend Mack, I suppose you'd tell him anyhow." I'll do what you say, but I don't want Mr. Bar stow robbed and killed, too." We understand that, Tim, and Mr. Barstow knows how true you are to him and he wants your help. It wouldn't do any good to kill Bascombe, for there are bigger men behind him that have got fo be beaten. Some day it will come to a battle with Bas combe and I hope then you will be on hand." I'll be thar if I'm alive." It was a silent party that followed the trail, until in passing a stump Bay Billy went up in the air again, giving Dick another jounce. What is the matter with this beast, Tim? asked Dick. He allers bucks when he goes by a stump, 'less you watch out. Bascombe orter told you that." But Tim, he was gentle as a lamb all day yesterday." "Wasn't you ridin' behind Bascombe's mare?" Yes." "Well, Bay Billy is allers gentle as a lamb when he's follerin' that mare." I see! When they came to the steeper trail of which Bas-

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WAS IT AN ASSASSIN'S ACT? 37 combe had spoken the day before, Tim dismounted and said to the boys: Better cinch up here. Your bronks 'll be standin' on their heads in a minute. Better tie yer rifles t' yer saddles." Soon the boys were glad of the advice they had taken, for they were lying far back in their saddles, even clutching the cantles, while the ponies with slow steps and occasional short slides made tedious prog ress down the nearly vertical trail. To the right was a sheer descent, down which it made them dizzy to look, while the precipice that rose above them on the left offered a few narrow ledges and crevices up which a cat might have climbed. Glad I haven't anything to carry," exclaimed Ned as a sudden jolt nearly pitched him over Gam bler's head and Dick was ready with a suitable com ment which he never uttered. For at that moment Tim yelled Two ungodly grizzlies, bigger'n oxen! Git yer guns!" From around a bend in the trail, headed straight for Tim and his mule, but a hundred feet below him, shouldering each other as they crowded up the nar row pass, came the two enormous silvertips. Tim was clinging to the mule which sat back on its haunches on the very edge of the precipice, unable to move without falling to destruction, and the de scendant of the jackass is too canny for that. Dick slid to the trail and, wedged between Bay Billy and rpck at thr; that rifk t9

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SS DICK AMONG THE MINERS the saddle, praying that they might come loose be fore the grizzlies had finished eating Tim and the mule. But the brutes must have had their breakfast, or Tim didn't look tender to them, for they turned to the cliff and clawed and scrambled up its side until they came to a bench of rock over which they crawled just too late for the rifles of the boys which were in commission a few minutes later. Then the march was resumed and little was said till the cavalcade came to rest at the foot of the mountain. Tim," inquired Dick, why didn't you shoot those grizzlies with your revolver? I don't go up against no two silvertips with a thirty-eight. I had it drawed 'nd I'd a fired 'f they'd come much nearer, but when they turned out o' the trail and clum the mounting I was willin' to call it a draw." The next stop was made at a little grassy plot on the bank of the Vallecito. Here's a good place t' camp," said Tim. I'll picket the cattle 'nd make a fire while you ketch some trout." "Where's a good place to fish, Tim?" asked Ned, as he slid to the ground. "Git on top o' that big rock 'nd fish down 'n the deep pool." Ned and Dick got out their rods and as they put them together they talked of greenheart, lancewood and split bamboo, of jewelled reels and double-tap ered lines and considered the color of the water and the time of day with reference to the flies to be

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WAS IT AN ASSASSIN'S ACT? S9 selected as has been the fashion of fishermen since flies were invented. How many flies will you fish with, Ned? Two ought to be enough where the trout are so plenty. I am going to try a coachman and a pro fessor. They used to do well at home." I'm going to put on a grizzly king out of com pliment to the kings of grizzlies that we didn't kill. Then I'll try with it a parmachenee belle. That ought to fetch 'em." "I'll bet you, Dick, I'll get the first trout." I'll go you, but how are we going to cast from the top of this rock? It's like fishing down a deep, deep well." Just point your rod down, feed out line till the flies touch the water and then wiggle. Now we will start together." As Ned's flies touched the water he shouted," I've got one! but his cry was echoed by Dick's, "I've got two." So have I," replied Ned, but it's the first one landed that counts." Of course, but how are we ever to land them? We can't Ii ft them on our rods and the hooks will tear out or the snells break if we try to haul them by the line over the edge of the rock." "We can play them till they are tired and then decide what to do. There goes Tim on the rock op posite. He's cut something that looks like a bean pole and tied a string to it and put on an old worn out salmon fly, I should think from the looks."

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40 DICK AMONG THE MINERS What are you going to do with that outfit, Tim? called out Dick from across the narrow chasm. Fish," replied Tim, as he lowered his line, point ing the end of the pole downward till the fly touched the water. An instant later he was lifting a fifteen inch struggling trout high in the air and soon the fish was flopping at the end of the double willow withe on which it was strung. Another and another were taken in while Dick and Ned were still strug gling with the victims of their first casts. Better let me cut yer some poles. Them pretty little sticks wouldn't hold a shiner," said Tim. Isn't there some place near here that is a little open where we can get to the water? asked Ned. There's a pretty place a piece down stream, but ther ain't so many fish." "Let's hunt up that place, Dick; I had rather have a few fish that I can catch than a million that I can't do anything with." The boys pulled in their lines by hand, each losing a trout as he did so but landing the other one, so that their bet was undecided. They found the good place down the stream and in an hour had landed a score of trout each. As the fish averaged more than a pound apiece they would have counted it great fish ing had they not found on their return to their camp that Tim had brought in nearly sixty, or one for each minute he had fished. Goin' ter fish any more in the mornin'? asked Tim as the three sat down to a frying pan full of hot trout.

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WAS IT AN ASSASSIN'S ACT? 41 No, Tim," replied Ned. We have as many trout now as the camp can eat before they spoil. We must start back in the morning." Fifteen fellers 'll eat a heap o' trout." What fifteen do you mean? "There's me 'nd Mack, that's two, you two fellers makes four, Bascombe 'nd the boy, six, John Burnett, seven, three more of our fellers ten 'nd five o' Bas combe' s men, fifteen. That's all I knows of." Sure those are all the men who are working in this camp ? asked Dick. Course I'm sure and them ain't workin' much. What's the use? Bascombe makes us pound drills where he knows there ain't no ore. Then he's got some 'f his own men workin' secret in the Iowa. It's all boarded up, but I know them fellers is there." Are there any good mines in this camp? "Plenty, but Bascombe ain't workin' 'em, except secret like and no ore don't get out." Tim, I want you to get me samples of ore from every mine that you think is good and hide them where I can find them and work over them." Me and Mack's bin thinkin' that all out 'nd we've got it fixed fer yer. Yer don't want old Bascombe t' get onter what yer
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DICK AMONG THE MINERS will get your samples and do a little assaying there and by and by we will fit up that assay office by the cabin and work openly. But nobody else must know that yet."

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CHAPTER VI THE DYNA MITERS DYNAMITED BOOM! Did you hear that, Tim?" asked Dick as he lifted his head from its fragrant pillow of pine needles. "I heard it. Some feller's shootin' off a blast up th' valley. He must 'f got up early." Don't you suppose it was a hunter? Reckon I know th' difference 'tween a rifle 'nd a giant cartridge. It did sound a little queer though." What would anybody be doing up there with dynamite?" Prospectin' 'nd maybe struck a lead. I'd like t' go ther with you 'nd Mr. Barstow. Might find a mine. Huntin' s good, too." We'll go with you. Tim, first chaf!Ce we get, but we must hustle over to camp now and get busy with our job there." "That's_ a big contract, but me 'nd Mack reckons you feller's '11 pull through, 'nd we'd ruther you'd walk over our dead bodies than have that Bascombe beat yer Wish I had scales to weigh that trout," said 43

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44 DICK AMONG THE MINERS Ned as a big one was passed him on his third help ing at breakfast. You will be growing scales on your own back if you keep on eating fish the way you have been going it this morning. Tim has got the animals packed and everything but you is ready to hike." An hour later the dull report that had wakened Dick was repeated, this time from near the late camp of our travelers, who had begun to climb the di vide on their return journey. Tim hastily whirled his mule about and his face was aflame as he ex claimed: I'll git that skunk! You fellers stay here, 'less you wanter ride ahead. I've got business back t' the camp," and as he spoke he drew his revolver and holding the hammer with his thumb, spun the cylin der on its well-oiled bearings. But quickly as the mule started Bay Billy was beside it and Gambler a close follower. What is the matter, Tim? demanded Dick. Somebody's dynamitin' our pool! That's what's th' matter! I outer knowed this mornin' that wa'n't no minin' shot." What are you going to do about it?" Don't know yit. You fellers better not be along. I kin tend to this job." You are not going to attend to it alone, Tim. If it is all right, we will be with you to the end. If it isn't all right it is not going to be done! Tim's passion died as quickly as it was born, and the smile came back to his face as he asked,-

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THE DYNAMITERS DYNAMITED 45 Would you really hold me up with that rifle, Mr. Williams, 'f I did what you told me not ter? Dick laughed as he answered: "I sure would, Tim, if I couldn t stop you any other way. But what do you mean to do? You acted as if you meant to kill somebody. It is a crime to dynamite a trout stream but you can't kill a man for it." I kin hold him up and 'rest him 'nd then bore him 'f he tries to get away. Folks here don't stand fer dynamitin' trout. Last feller thet tried it got planted next day 'nd he ain't made no trouble sence, as I've heerd on." This fellow won't try to get away and Mr. Bar stow and I will stand in with you till the fellow is landed in jail." S'pose there's two on 'em?" "We will stand by you, Tim, even if there are two but if you ring in another we will wait to swear out a warrant before tackling them." The dynamiters were found for there were two but they were never arrested. As the camp they had left that morning was neared, two men were seen sitting on the ground. Gee whiz exclaimed Tim. Look at the blood! Ther's been some killin' here." Dick slipped from Bay Billy's back, dropping the reins over his head, and walking hastily to the men looked down upon a sight that made him faint and sick for a moment, though he quickly nerved himself up to the duty before him. The men were the Moon-

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46 DICK AMONG THE MINERS stone miners to whom Bascombe had sent the dyna mite by Dick and the right arm of each now ended in a bloody stump. As the boys learned later, one of the miners had held in his hand part of a dynamite cartridge with fuse and cap attached, ready to throw into the pool. The other miner struck a match and lit the fuse which should have burned several sec onds. Instead of this the fire must have flashed in stantly to the fulminate, exploding the dynamite be fore the cartridge could be thrown. Little blood came from one of the mutilated hands, but the other was less fortunate and in spite of attempts at bandag ing, much blood had been lost. Dick knelt beside the man, and taking the handkerchief from around his own neck, tied it l oosely above the wrist of the mangled member and inserting a stick, twisted the handkerchief till the pressure caused the bleeding to stop. While this was being done Ned had got out the First Aid ca se which he always carried, and Tim was building a fire to boil the water which Dick had told him must be ready in a hurry. Ned," said Dick, this arm has been bleeding badly and there is an artery that has got to be tied before we can leave off the tourniquet. Won't you get out the forceps and thread and sterilize them in boiling water while I attend to this other man's hand which isn't so bad? They will be ready in a few minutes, for the water is beginning to steam I am afraid I may hurt you a little," said Dick as he felt for the spouting artery with the forceps,

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THE DYNAMITERS DYNAMITED 47 while Ned loosened the bandage to help him locate it. "Don't you worry about that. You haven't hurt me a mite. I don't know what I'd have done if you hadn't come. Died, I reckon." "I've found the artery, Ned, tighten up on that bandage and tie the artery while I hold it." Ned made a solution of boric acid with which Dick washed the wounds of both the men trim ming away the worst of the ragged edges. Then covering the wounds with sterilized absorbent cotton he bound them up with carbolated gauze bandages and taking the sash that he wore round his waist made from it a sling to hold the arm of the man whose injury had been greatest. For the other man he borrowed a big handkerchief of Ned and when this had been adjusted, and all that was possible had been done, Dick-fainted away. When he recovered consciousness, Dick found him self lying flat on his back, his throat and chest ex posed, while his face was being sprinkled with water and his arms rubbed vigorously. As his eyes opened they met those of Ned looking affectionately into them. I'm awfully sorry, Dicky boy, that I let you dress those wounds. I ought to have done it myself." "I'd like to know why," murmured Dick, for he wasn't quite sure of his voice; didn't I do it well and didn't I pull through all right, before I was such a fool as to drop? You did everything there was to be done, and

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48 DICK AMONG THE MINERS it was all to the good, and now you are to lie still and rest for an hour or two till you feel like tackling the divide." Feel like it now," replied the boy, as the color came back in his face and the light in his eye, and soon he was on his feet asking the wounded men how they felt and how much rest they needed to prepare for their ride over the mountain. It is only fair to the miners to say that their chief distress was over the white face of the boy who had dressed their wounds. Don't you think about us," said one of them, and the heavy face was filled with feeling and lighted up by the gratitude of the man as he spoke, for we are all right and can walk over that divide as soon as you are well." There will be no walking for you, boys," inter posed Ned. "Tim has got our plunder packed on his mule and one of you will ride Gambler and the other Bay Billy. There will be room for you, Dick, on the mule." G'wan with your foolishness, Ned. I'm going to walk for I need the exercise and I'll keep just ahead of Bay Billy so as to be on hand if he inclines to be ructious." The miners tried to protest against the care that was being taken of them but were silenced with gentle authority by Dick. All went smoothly on the return trip until the steep climbing began, soon after which Ned called a halt, for he had seen the big drops that stood on the forehead of the weaker man, It

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THE DYNAMITERS DYNAMITED 49 was a bad place to stop but the animals stood quietly as Tim talked soothingly to them while Ned and Dick helped the exhausted miner to where he could recline and rest. Dick wanted to cut poles and with a blan ket make a litter, but Ned urged that the man was so heavy and the trail so steep that it would be exceed ingly difficult to carry him and that the prolonged strain upon rierves and muscles would be harder to bear than the shorter time on the back of a bronco. Tim settled the matter by reminding them of the narrowness and danger of the trail in places and especially of one sharp turn around a point of rock where even a pony had to bunch his feet to make it. When the climb was resumed it was determined that every suitable opportunity to rest should be availed of to conserve the failing energies of the sick man. More and more frequent were the stops and when at last the height had been surmounted and the party stood on the lower level of the Iowa basin, the boys had an exhausted patient on their hands who nearly fell from the bronco as they were about to help him down. It won't be possible to go over the Iowa divide to the cabin to-day, Tim, so you had better hustle around and make camp here," said Ned. "John Burnett's cabin's only a quarter from here 'nd Joe Larkin '11 be a heap more comf'able there." "Good idea, Tim, but Larkin can't stick on Bay Billy any more, so you hump yourself and get some poles for a litter. Get 'em long enough for you and Dick to carry one end while I take the other."

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50 DICK AMONG THE MINERS "I don t want no help at my end. I kin carry Joe on my back alone." The litter was made and the procession started for the cabin, Tim and Ned carrying the litter with Larkin in it but protesting with what little strength he had, while Dick, who rode Gambler and was fol lowed by Bay Billy and the mule, grumblec;l inces santly at his hard lot in not being allowed to help lug the litter. Burnett, who reached home in time to cook supper for his guests was accounted a chef in the Needle Mining Camp and he drew on his stores to make good his reputation. Trout done to a turn were served hot with crrsp slices of bacon while paper-thin fried potatoes came in with the kind of corn bread that mother used to make." There was tea with sugar and the tin cow of the camp, and when the feast was finished the bag of smoking tobacco was passed and dipped into by all but the boys and the invalid. For Larkin was sick-there was no doubt about that. The shock of the exploding dynamite, the loss of blood and the strain of the hard ride had been too much for him. He ate little and as he lay on Bur nett's bunk he was restless, feverish and at times out of his head. Ned sat beside him and talked sooth ingly to him, brought him water when he called for it and, as the pre s ence of others seemed to excite him, ordered them all out o f the room. Dick, Tim and Burnett by turns begged to take his place, but Ned always sho o k his head, saying," I will stay with him to-night."

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THE DYNAMITERS DYNAMITED 51 It was a long night to the boy, for often his patient rose up in his bed, swinging his mutilated arm in his delirium, and Ned had to soothe him, put him back and adjust the bandages. Usually his talk was incoherent but once he spoke with clearness and an earnestness that was startling : I don t believe these mines belong to Guggins. It's a lie and I won't help then his voice trailed away and his mind wandered. Toward morning he slept and at daylight awoke with his mind clear but his body weak. I am going to die Mr. Barstow, and I want to say something to you while I can talk." You are going to do nothing of the kind and I don't want to hear a word of your talk. You are going to get well! Now don't say a word, but listen. I meant to get you to a ho s pital and a surgeon in Durango, but you are not strong enough to travel and I am afraid to lose any time. So I'll have a surgeon here to fix up you and your friend before this day has passed." Then Ned called Tim and Dick and they held council together. Tim, where is the nearest good surge on?" Doc. Brown in Silverton is fust rate I want him. Can you make him come? When Doc. Brown knows what you fellers has done 'nd that you want him, he'll come a-humpin'." How soon can you get to him? It's about twelve miles to N eedleton 'nd you know what kind 'f a trail that is, 'nd about sixteen more up

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS the Animas where some of it's pretty level. Reckon I kin be ther in eight hours." And I'm going to be there in six," interrupted Dick. You get Bay Billy's saddle on quick, Tim, but tell me, can he make time on the level? He'll do that 'f you can stick on his back." I'll stick all right, and he isn't going to have any spare time to imagine that stumps are bears." "I am glad you are going, Dick," said Ned, after Tim had gone for Bay Billy, "but isn't there a chance of your catching a train at N eedleton and saving time?" If there is I'll make use of it, but I won't wait l o ng. Of course I can wire from the station, if it's o pen, but I'll make sure of fetching him by going on. Here's Tim and Bay Billy, so good-by and expect me by sundown." There is a horse at the Needles that recalls that ride of Dick's to Silverton with asperity to this day. He remembers that he was urged on to exertions that were wholly unreasonable, that when he revolted and sought to throw his tormentor over his head he failed and suffered much from the cruel quirt, but he also remembers, and this with pride, that he has heard himself alluded to as the bronco that made that rec ord run from N eedleton to Silverton.

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CHAPTER VII BAY BILLY'S RECORD RUN w HAT is wrong? I hope nothing has happened to Mr. Barstow," said the superintendent as Dick rode up to the cabin on the foam-flecked Bay Billy. Mr. Barstow is all right. The trouble is two of the miners with hands blown off." Who were the men? The miners to whom you sent the dynamite by me," replied the boy, with malice in his mind. A grayish pallor settled on Bascombe's face and horror entered his heart and his voice was a whisper as he asked," How did it happen and where are they? "They are at Burnett's cabin in Mr. Barstow's care, with Tim and Burnett to help him. They may not die if I can get the doctor in time." Bay Billy sprang into a gallop before the last sen tence was finished, leaving the superintendent no chance to ask another question. Served him right," muttered Dick to himself. I hope I scared him good. He'll be riding irt a hurry to Burnett's cabin to learn how much of his own fat is in the fire I'd like to be there when Ned tackles SS

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54 DICK AMONG THE MINERS him. I'm afraid that boy will forget the prudence I've always tried to instill into him." Then Dick s conscience took him in hand and pricked him savagely for harboring revengeful thoughts when a man's life was at stake. He brought his mind to attention and studied the trail before him. As it plunged downward int o the gulch, he slid from Bay Billy's back, that the bronco, lightened of his weight, might step more safely and quickly. When the bottom had been reached and the struggle up the face of the opposite precipice begun, Dick scrambled ahead of his mount, leading and encouraging him to greater efforts. Four legs can climb faster than two, and as the excited animal put forth his best efforts, his iron-shod hoofs struck the rocky trail with the force of pile drivers and as he forged up beside Dick it was the chance of an inch that spelled the difference to the boy between the t orn trousers and slight lacera tion that befell and the smashed leg that was im minent. Another lesson the boy received. For when the top of the gulch was reached his breath was gone and his heart pounding so painfully that he could scarcely mount. For a time he clung to the saddle with his head bowed down to the pommel, while Bay Billy picked his careful way all unknowing that a gentle shake would have rid him of his rider. Dick remem bers that consciousness left him for a time and that when it came back he was l o oking down into hundreds of feet of empty space beside a vertical wall of rock. Bay Billy had stopped on the turn of the trail with

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BAY BILLY'S RECORD RUN 55 his fore feet on the edge of the precipice and his head and neck extended over it. Slowly the hind legs were brought around and the body turned on the fore leg as a pivot till the narrow trail was before them and the danger, if it were a danger, was past. When Dick reached the station his friend the agent, was there. There was no train for hours but wire and operator were at his service. He told his story in as few words as possible, dosing with," Get that word to Dr. Brown, and tell him that I will be there as quickly as a good horse can take me. I want him to be ready, with all he may need and the two best horses in Silverton, for mine will be played out when I get there." Dick turned from the station and soon Bay Billy was making long strides on the road that led up the Animas River to Silverton. The boy leaned forward and talked to the pony as he patted his neck, and the pony turned back his ears and listened, nodding ap proval of what he heard. "It's you and I, Billy, and we're riding to save a man's life. It's going to be hard, Billy, but it has got to be done if we drop in our tracks. Now let out a little, Billy, and I'll watch for bad spots in the road. We'll ease up just a little at that hill ahead to catch our breath and be ready for a rush when we reach the top." They were passing through a beautiful country and Dick's eyes were turned upon picturesque scenery but saw it not. For his mind was dulled to all but the rhythmical beating of Bay Billy's hoofs upon the hard

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56 DICK AMONG THE MINERS road, and he found himself fitting it to an old quatrain:"Up hill urge nre not, Down hill hurry me not, On level ground spare me not, Nor give me water when I m hot." Dick remembered afterward that it was the third line especially that impressed him. His heart bounded with each leap of Bay Billy, and he tried to bear up ward to take his weight from the willing horse. As the miles rolled by, his mental tension increased, and when an hour had passed and he felt the waning of Bay Billy's strength he resented it, and when the tired creature failed to respond struck him sharply with his quirt. Dick never liked to think of the scene that followed, nor of the few remaining miles of the ride that left Bay Billy standing with drooping head and heaving flanks beside two of his race that saddled and bridled were champing their bits and tossing their heads in front of a house of which a door was just opening. You have made great time, Mr. Williams," ex claimed a man of medium size and strong face, whose every motion proclaimed an abounding vitality. Come right in and get a bite, and we will be off directly. My man here will take the best of care of your pony, which deserves all that can be done for him." But, Dr. Brown, for of course you are he, I don't need anything to eat, and we can't spare the time. Can't you start now?

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BAY BILLY'S RECORD RUN 57 "We cannot start until you have eaten. Remem ber that I am in command now and responsible for mistakes. Blame me afterwards if I make them." The dominant tone of the doctor was the tonic that Dick was in need of, and the relief was so great that the boy had to choke back a few tears. The meal was simple and short, chops and baked potatoes, corn bread, with fresh unsalted butter, and coffee with cream that could be ladled out with a fork. Dick w as drawn out by cheerful questioning, touching but lightly on the tragedy until the doctor rose from his chair, saying," We will be off now, if you please, and you will be glad to hear that we have wasted only fifteen min utes." I know already, Doctor, that it wasn t wasted, and I want to apologize Apologize nothing I Why, my boy, you don't seem to understand that you have done a big thing, you and your friend, you have saved one, and per haps two, lives, and can t I be allowed the pri v ilege of treating a little case of nerves without swallowing an apology that isn't called for?" Then you really think that both the men will get well?" Sure thing. There isn't a doubt about it All the essentials have been attended to, nearly or quite as well as I could have done under the circumstance s ." You don t know what a relief it is to hear you say that. Don't feel too satisfied_ with what you have done.

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58 DICK AMONG THE MINERS You and Mr. Barstow have assumed a grave respon sibility," and the Doctor's expression grew humorous as he continued, for you have turned loose, to prey upon society, two dynamiters of trout. As a humble disciple of Izaak Walton, I must be permitted to criti cize your conduct." While talking, the Doctor and Dick had been jog ging side by side on a Silverton street, but as the Animas road opened before them Dr. Brown said to his companion : Now we will let out a reef or two," and soon the broncos were coursing side by side at a little less than racing speed. It wasn't Bay Billy's pace, but it was a pretty fair imitation and the miles were eaten up at a rate that so exhausted the ponies before Needle ton had been reached that Dick ventured to hint that a climb of four thousand feet over bad trails was be fore them. "They can't do it today," said the doctor. But it's an awful climb for you to take on foot and yet we have got to get there," complained Dick, in distress. We will get there on time and we won't walk. That agent of yours at Needleton has sense. He wired me that he could have two mules that would rather climb than eat waiting for us in case our bronks were tired. That was too good a hint to be ignored and that is why I have been rushing the ponies till you thought I was a brute." "Doctor, I never even-" "Hold on there, so long as you can't take a joke

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BAY BILLY'S RECORD RUN 59 your nerves are not right. I can t discharge you as cured till your sense of humor comes back, and it was this cheerful chaff of the doctor, continued throughout the trip, that brought the boy's over wrought nerves back to normal. The agent at N eedleton had the mules ready for the travelers and proposed to take charge of the horses, promising to send them to Silverton the next day by a boy who would bring back Bay Billy. "Better leave one for me to ride on my return," said the doctor. But you don't know when that will be," said Dick, for you are to stay by your patients until you have land ed them safely in the hospital at Durango." Oh, I didn't know that," said Dr. Brown, drily. "That's why I told you, because you didn't know," laughed Dick. Well, you've got your nerve back, and then some," was the smiling reply. Will you want a private car to get your men to Durango, Mr. Williams?" asked the agent. That is as the doctor says," replied Dick, "he is in command." Don't want it. If they can stand the trail a com mon car will foel like a balloon to them. But I should like to know, Mr. Agent, when this road adopted the plan of tendering private cars to casual customers. Could you oblige me with a private train when I go home?" I don't know but my instructions would permit that on Mr. Williams' voucher."

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60 DICK AMONG THE MINERS At the first stop in climbing the trail, for even a mule must rest, Dick appealed to the doctor," You haven't any doubt that the men can stand the trail, have you? Now you are getting morbid, and I tell you for the last time that, barring accidents, which might happen to you or to me, unless there is something of which I haven't heard, the men are going to get well. I don't want to think of them again until I meet them. This is a new part of the country to me. What mountain is that? "Peekamose. It used to be called Nigger Head." And this mountain ahead of us? Mount Eolus. It is right opposite the Needle Mining Camp. It is said to be 13,900 feet high, though I haven't heard of any one but Dr. Cook claiming to have climbed it." This tr-ail seems to end in the air, just ahead of us. It looks bad." It is bad. It goes around a point and I don't know whether to walk around it or shut my eyes and trust the animal I am riding. I have tried both ways." It is always safer to trust a mule than a man on a high place. A mule hasn't sense enough to be frightened." They dismounted to rest their mules for a few minutes on the flowery mesa where the boys had camped on their first night in the Needles. While the animals browsed on the flowers as if they had been thistles, Dr. Brown called each plant by its Latin and common, or, as Dick explained, its given and

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BAY BILLY'S RECORD RUN 61 Christian name. But he forgot his flowers when Dick told of the call of the cinnamon bear. Then when he heard of the silvertips of the Vallecito trail, he ex claimed : I have got to have a hunt with you, and I will make a fair bargain. I will see your patients to the hospital if you will promise to go hunting with me as soon as I can get the time." I'll take you up on your offer, and you needn't have sweetened it as if it had been a pill, for it will be a double delight to me as well as Ned. Of course you want him, too? "Of course I do,-if he is as entertaining as you." He is so much more so that you will want to shake me when you come to know him." Dick kept a hundred yards from the mining camp in passing it, for he wanted to hear the result of Bas combe's interview with Ned before again meeting the superintendent. Dr. Brown and Dick rode side by side across the Needle plateau, and the boy wondered at the exuberant spirits of his companion. But when the Iowa divide had been crossed and the doctor knew that his patients were near, he became silent, and Dick, looking for the boyish expression which had so attracted him during the intimate companionship of their long ride, found himself gazing into the thoughtful eyes and upon the care-seamed face of a man to whom suffering had brought wisdom.

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CHAPTER VIII THE REPENTANT MINER NED met the travelers at the door of the cabin, returning Dick's anxious look of inquiry with a gentle nod and a smile, which while not what the boy had hoped for, were yet far from what he had feared. Ned held out his hand to the doctor, and though his own warm pressure was returned, it seemed to come from a man whose mind was absent. Dr. Brown entered the cabin quickly and walked si lently to the bunk where Joe Larkin was dozing. He knelt beside the patient with his head bent forward and his ear turned to catch the sound of his breathing. Then he touched the ipiner's temple with his finger, and as the sick man's eyes opened slowly the doctor's smiled into them. The eyes smiled again as he opened the bandage and replaced it. Then he asked for his other patient, and found him sitting outside in the shade leaning against a log. A brief examination sufficed and the now genial doctor turned to Ned, whose hand he pressed in a manner that was soul satisfying to the boy. How do you find your patients, doctor, for we are all crazy to hear? I find in them proof that you are an enemy of the honorable profession which I adorn. You might have 6!J

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THE REPENTANT MINER 63 left me a fine .job and you have attended to it all, yourselves. I will re-dress and re-bandage the wounded members, much as you have done, and that will be all until we get them to the hospital. A little work there will make the stumps more presentable and fit them for the artificial hands which I infer you are willing to provide." Surely, doctor, and father will be certain to do much more. I can promise that he will provide easy employment for them as soon as they are ready for it." Tell that to the man in there, for he seems to need a mental bracer. But first come in, both of you, while I dress the wound. You have the bed-rock principles, but there are some practical wrinkles that are worth knowing." The boys followed the work of the doctor with fascinated eyes. The sure hand and the gentle touch, the deftness and delicacy of the work and the skilled professional adjustment of the bandage so impressed Dick that he exclaimed: Doctor, your work is a dream and makes me feel as if my fingers were all thumbs." I have only shown you the frills of the profes sion. When you ligated that artery you saved the man s life, and when you treated the wound anti septically you started him on the road to recovery. But now I must talk to him a little and give him some medicine to make him rest. It may be several days before it will be wise to move him." It was half an hour before the doctor came out of

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64 DICK AMONG THE MINERS the sick room and then his face was grave as he said: "It is hard to 'minister to a mind diseased,' and stolid as he looks, the man in there is a s entimeotal i"st. He isn't trying to get well He is brooding over some wrong, whether real or fancied I can t tell, that he has done you. Now it is up to you, Mr. Bar stow. You know what you told me your father would do for him. Tell it to him And if you can say any thing else that will startle his moral sense into action and shake off his apathy, for God 's sake, say it. I don't care whether it's true or not, say it! Ned was gone a long time, while the doctor paced back and forth in front of the cabin, pau s ing once to say to Dick, who was anxiously watching him: "The case has gone to the jury, and I am 'waiting for the verdict.' If Mr. Barstow cannot move him, the man will die." When Ned came out of the room there were traces of tears on his cheeks and his voice was low and not quite under control as he said : "Larkin says he is going to get well,-if it is only to please me." Thank God! exclaimed the doctor, the crisis is past, and maybe I can take the man to Durango to morrow. At least he will be able to go as far as the mining cabin." It is lovely to be a doctor," exclaimed the im pulsive Dick. I envy him his happiness when he knows that his patient will recover. You needn't envy me, for I usually feel like wring-

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THE REPENTANT MINER 65 ing the fellow's neck for the needless trouble he has caused." "What is the Hippocratic oath that physicians take, doctor? asked Dick. Is it never to care whether they tell their patients the truth or not? Of course it isn't, but when people are sick, their minds are often affected, the telegraph lines in the brain crossed and they are incapable of comprehend ing the truth. If they assert that the moon is made of green cheese, they must be humored, and anything that will soothe them should be said. When the brain is disturbed realities become visi o ns, ideas are dis torted, fantastic dreams dominate the mind, and nerves are inflamed to super-sensitiveness or deadened into lethargy." I have been told, doctor," commented Dick, "that inability to take a joke was proof that the nerves were not right, and that a physician should never discharge a patient as cured until his sense of humor had come back." You have been told too much. It is the duty of a member of the profession to recognize imperti nence like yours when he makes out his bill." "Tell me about your call from Bascombe," said Dick, after he had given Ned an account of his own brief interview and his attempt to throw a scare into that gentleman. I was mighty sorry to miss the affray." There were no fireworks, Dick, for I knew he would come and I had time to think, and cool off,

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66 DICK AMONG THE MINERS which I needed. There was nothing to be gained by declaring war until we were ready for the battle. We wanted evidence of the conspiracy that we thought existed, and some threads of it were coming right into our hands." "Guess you were right, Neddy, but I was hoping you would hit him between the eyes with his attempt to murder us." That charge wouldn't stand alone. It would come in strong to corroborate a charge of conspiracy that you could almost prove without it, but you know how careless everyone here is in handling dynamite. Remember how Tom sarted to light a cartridge with a match?" If you didn't hit him what did you do?" "Just met him naturally, and when he spoke of the horrible accident I agreed with him. Then when he asked to see the men I pointed out Sylvester and he talked with him but didn't show much interest." Did you hear what he said? No, I wanted to appear indifferent so I went in side. I buttoned the door and he had to knock be fore asking to see Larkin. I said he had lost much blood and was very weak and I didn't wish him dis turbed till the doctor came. He asked if Larkin could talk. I said that he spoke occasionally to ask for water, but spent most of his time in a doze." "Didn't Bascombe try to get possession of him to take him to the mining camp? Oh, yes, he said the man could have better care there and he would have a litter rigged to carry him

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THE REPENTANT MINER 67 I told him that whatever was best was what I wanted done, and that if he would have his litter and men here at six o'clock, he would probably find the doctor and that what he said would go." Did Bascombe lay down then? Oh, no, he began to bluster a bit, but as he got hot I became cool. He said that they were his men, that he had employed them and was responsible for their proper care. I showed surprise at the idea of their being his men, as I had supposed the Needles Mining Company had hired them, and I explained how we had found and cared for the men and had sent for the best surgeon in reach to help us get them to the hospital. He told me I was running up a heavy bill that he was not authorized to pay, for the men were not at their work for the company, but were off on a criminal enterprise. I said that my father's way was to help people out of trouble first and ask how; they got there afterward, and that I was spending the money on his personal account and not for the com pany, even though he owned it." Do you think he suspects that we have learned anything from Larkin? "No, I don't, but, Dick, I have learned a lot more." Bully for you! "Five of the men are Bascombe's, just as Tim told us, but Larkin is the only one he trusted. He told him that Guggins owned the property, that there was a dispute about it which the courts would soon settle, and that then Guggins would take possession. He said he wanted as little ore taken out as possible, for

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68 DICK AMONG THE MINERS fear that if Barstow heard of a good strike he would rush men to gut the property before he had to give it up. He said, too, that Bascombe was going to send in twenty more of his own men, to have them on hand in case of trouble." There is something going on, Ned, the surface, and your father suspects it. does know a lot more than he tells us." Having fun with us, is he? away under He always No, no, but he believes it is better for us to find out things for ourselves. If Bascombe were the only danger, he could be bounced and the trouble ended. There is surely something deeper, and we are here to find it. Do you think Larkin will own up to what he told you? Bascombe will be after him hot-foot at the hospital." He won't find out anything. Not only has Larkin sworn not to tell but the fellow is absurdly gratefui. He said that he wouldn t be alive forty-eight hours after Bascombe knew that he had told, but that he would be glad to tell it on the witness stand." I hope Bascombe does not suspect Larkin of peach ing, and you showed much head, Ned, by not showing that you were on to his little game. Now we must have specimens from the mines that Bascombe says are too poor to work." "Got 'em already. Larkin says the Iowa is the mine they appear most interested in, that it is kept boarded up, but that when the superintendent's friend comes, the two of them spend half a day at a time in the Iowa tunnel. He told me how to get in the mine,

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THE REPENTANT MINER 69 and I sent Tim, who brought me three bags of speci mens, one from the vein at the breast, one from a pile of ore in the tunnel and one from the dump pile." That's lovely, and I'll bring my blowpipe case from the mining camp and get busy." Wait till there are not so many people around, for we ha v e a lot of work to do in that line. I have got, at Larkin's suggestion, specimens from the Black Giant, the Mayflower, the Black Eagle and the Clip per. He says they all have better ore than the Iowa, and he is puzzled at Bascombe's interest in that particular mine." What did he say about the mines the superin tendent is working, or pretending to work? He said they wouldn't even fool a tenderfoot, excepting the Black Horse. He said that did have good ore till they struck a horse and lost the vein. He believes the vein they found and are working is not the one they lost." You know Bascombe offered to send out samples of ore for assay for us. We must fix up for him the samples we took from the Moonstone, Monitor and other mines that we visited with him." What is the use, Dick, when we know they are no good?" They are good to keep him from thinking that we suspect him. Of course I wouldn't give a copper for a certificate of a United States assay office if it had to pass through his hands." How about Bascombe's offer to ship five or ten tons o f ore for smelting?

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70 DICK AMONG THE MINERS There is something rotten about it. Probably he controls the sampling works or even the smelters in the interest of his principal." Then we had better let him make the shipment and watch every step in the transaction like hawks.'' "I am afraid we are up against it, Ned, for Bas combe is a strong man, and there is some big power behind him. He won't be easy to fool, but it has got to be done. Watch me treat him like a long-lost brother when we meet." "Don't overdo it, Dicky, he may be distrustful of such sudden affection." While the boys were talking Doctor Brown ap proached them looking as if he had heard good news. What makes you look so cheerful, doctor? asked Dick. Patient going to get well? It isn't that, but I'm going to lose him. I shall turn him over to Mr. Barstow, for he cured him. It is curious," he continued reflectively, "how much a man's own will has to do with his recovery. Larkin didn't care to get well, and I couldn't do a thing to save him, and now that he does want to get well, I probably couldn't kill him with a club." How soon can he start for the hospital? He could start now, but it will be better to wait till morning. Then we will only go as far as the min ing camp to-morrow, and take that turnpike trail of yours for Needleton the next morning." Dr. Brown led the procession the following day on Ned's bronco, Gambler, the patients rode the mules that the doctor and Dick had brought from Needle-

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THE REPENT ANT MINER 71 ton, while the two boys walked beside the wounded men watching for signs of pain or weakness. The western slope of the Iowa divide was so steep that Ned walked in advance of his patient's mule, fearing that Larkin would fall over the creature's head. The trip was made in safety and when Bascombe welcomed them gracefully at the cabin, he was heartily replied to by Dick. While plans for getting the patients to the hospital were being discussed in the evening, Bas combe said he must go to Silverton in the morning, and would gladly help the men down the trail. "If you will do that," replied Dick, "Ned and I won't need to go. We will pick up some Rocky Mountain grouse that we saw near Burnett's cabin when we were too busy to shoot." But, Dick, we haven't any horses and I can't trot around at eleven or twelve thousand feet elevation. Dr. Brown must have Gambler, and Bay Billy is in Silverton." Bay Billy got home an hour ago, the agent sent him, and the doctor can have my horse. I much pre fer walking down the trail, and the pony will be ready for me when I return." "Thank you very much, Mr. Bascombe. If you will help to look after the men as far as Needleton, the rest ought to be easy for the doctor, and it won't be necessary for me to go." "Not a bit of need," said the doctor. "Larkin and Sylvester stood it well today, and if we don't all get killed on that beastly trail, the rest of the trip will be a picnic."

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7!! DICK AMONG THE MINERS "" I was going to ask you, Mr. Bascombe, to have those samples we collected the other day assayed, but I can't ask it if you are going to walk." "I will pack them on Sylvester's mule, so it won't be any trouble to have the assays made. I am a little curious myself to see how they compare with the as says I have already had made. I will leave the assay er's reports on these and other mines with you. While I am in Silverton I will arrange to have a mill-run made of as many tons as you like from any mine or mines you select." That's good, for I know father will stand for any expense that gives him a sure basis for estimating the value of his property." "Nothing is sure in mining," laughed the super intendent, "but we will give him a run for his money." I wish, too," said Ned, that you would send up the stuff to fit out the assay office here. We are work ing in the dark until we have it." "An assay office is no good without an assayer whom we can trust, but I will see what I can do about it." If you have trouble in finding a safe man, why don't you wire Mr. Barstow? He will send you one by return mail," interposed Dick. That will hardly be necessary," said the superin tendent, though he neglected his usual smile as he said it. But the smile was there, and the frank whole souled manner, as he bade the boys good-by when he left for N eedleton in the morning with the doctor and his patients.

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CHAPTER IX THE BLOWPIPE ASSAY NOW, Neddy," said Dick as the last of the hospital party disappeared along the oppo site bank of the gulch on the west side of the cabin plateau, "it's us for a hunt, and I know where the grouse and the ptarmigan flourish, just outside (or inside) of John Burnett's cabin. We will take our rifles and my blow-gun, I mean blow-pipe, and if we don't know something of the ores in this camp in a week you may call me Tingley's mining expert." Who was Tingley, and what was his expert? Tingley was an old miner who was asked in court what he meant by a mining expert. He replied, A mining expert is a fellow that wears spectacles and long hair, was graduated at Freiburg, and don't know a blamed thing about a mine.' We can find out about the ores all right, but won't Bascombe smell a mouse if we go hunting every day and don't bring home any game? Who says we won't bring home game? I figure on keeping the table supplied with choice delicacies in that line.'' What do you expect to kill with your twenty-two, grizzlies or ptarmigan? Both. If I couldn't shoot off a pta1 migan' s head, 73

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74 DICK A.,.\10NG THE MINERS when he lets me get near enough to bite it off, I ought to go hungry. Then Tim said there were spruce par tridge or fool hens in the woods a little lower down that would let you rest your rifle on their tails to blow off their heads." Save that talk, Dicky, for somebody who hasn't seen you shoot. Didn't I see you paralyze Osceola, the Seminole in the Everglades, by picking up a deer on the run at a hundred and fifty yards with that same twenty-two? And how about the bear in the Big Cypress and the moose that saved us from starving when the mercury was frozen? "How good those old times are to think of here, where it is neither too hot nor too cold." "And next time you are in Canada or the Glades, Dick, you'll be telling how good it is to be where the air has some substance and you don't have to fill your lungs three times in a second." "You oughtn't to talk of the things that travel on four legs, here where our big game runs on two, for you are turning me aside from duty to thinking how I can bag a grizzly with that same twenty-two." When the yoting would-be assayers arrived at Bur nett's cabin they found its owner just starting out with his rifle. Going hunting? asked Dick. Got to. I can't stand pounding a drill where there ain't no ore more than four days a week. I'm going hunting now to keep from blowing up. I'd have left before now, only Tim told me things was goin' to be different when the Barstow crowd got here."

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THE BLOWPIPE ASSAY 75 "They are going to be different, but we have got to lie low till we find what the game is." That's what Mack and me and Tim thought. We want to be on hand when the trouble begins. Mack, he hopes there's goin' to be a scrimmage coz he's got it in for old Bascombe." I don't think there will be any trouble like that, but somebody is trying to keep us from knowing any thing about the ore in this camp." "That's plain as the nose on your face, and I s'pose you are goin' to have them samples that Tim got for you tested. Mebbe you know how to assay them? "We know something about it, but we can't do much till we get the assay office fitted up and then Bascombe will know what we are doing All we can do now is to make blowpipe assays, and they won't tell us as much about values as we want to know, but it will do for a beginning." "I've got you some samples from three of the mines, coz Tim didn't want Bascombe's men to see him goin' around too much." Thank you, John, and there is something else you can do for us, unless you think it would be too hard work for you." John grinned as he replied: What do you fellows know about hard work? Likely you're thinkin' of something that I would call play." "I am afraid not. We want you to go hunting Who for, Bascombe? That wouldn't be exactly play, though there would be some fun in it."

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76 DICK AMONG THE MINERS We are not quite ready for that yet. When we come here to work over sampies of ore we are sup posed to be hunting, and if we go back to camp with out any game, Bascombe may get the idea that we are hunting for something else. So we expect you to provide the game." S'pose Bascombe don't know the difference be tween a man's size forty-four and that boy's play thing that you are toting?" I expect you to take my rifle, of course." How can I expect to get anything with that toy? John, you need a lesson. How far can you hit a ptarmigan with your old Winchester? A ptarmigan is a small mark, but I reckon I could fetch him far as that log, half the time, anyway." "Just walk over to that log and turn sideways so that I can see the pipe you are smoking, and be sure and stand still." Are you in earnest? Sure! Dick! exclaimed Ned, don't -" Don't interfere, Ned. You might make John nervous, and I want him to be steady "Blame me if I don't think you are in earnest, Mr. Williams, and I am game to stand up to you." And Burnett walked to the log and turning his profile to Dick, stood fim1ly. With the crack of Dick's rifle the bowl of the short clay pipe was shattered and the hunter, returning, exclaimed enthusiastically : You've sure got the nerve and I'd hate to be Bas combe when he runs afoul of you."

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THE BLOWPIPE ASSAY 77 But Ned's comment was different, and he spoke half-angrily: You ought to be above that William Tell busi ness, that playing to the gallery. It's a serious matter to risk killing a man. How did you know that your hand wouldn't waver?" "How did your Lura's father know that his hand wouldn't wiggle while he was fanning my hair with his bullets? And you saw him shoot a penny from between my fingers and you didn't say a word. If he had hit me, Neddy, you would have been what they call an 'accessory before the fact,' and that is something awful." "She isn't my Lura, and you know it." How I have wronged you, but I will do so no longer. Just repeat to me, She is not my Lura and never will be,' and I will believe you," and this time Ned was really angry as he turned away. When Burnett was ready to start on his hunt he turned to his little dog, who was wagging her tail as she looked pleadingly into his face. Not this time, Fanny. You must stay home and care of the cabin and look after the gentlemen," and the sorrowful eyes were turned away while the tail stopped wagging. What a mournful expression your little dog has. Her history must have been a sad one," and as Dick spoke he held out his hand to the creature which came to him and licked it and then lay down at his feet. She has had a hard time all right. I found her early this spring in a cave over Red Mountain way.

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78 DICK AMONG THE MINERS There was a story of a miner who had been lost in an avalanche, and I reckon she belonged to him. There was nothing but rock and snow about her, and how she lived through the winter I d on't know." I wish she could tell me her story." She is trying to do it now. See her look at you and whimper. She knows what you are saying. I wish you would take her for your own." But, John, you would miss her, she must be com pany for you." Yes, I shall miss her, but she will be happier with you. Watch her when you feed her and see what hunger has taught her. Say ground-hog to her when you see one, and then keep your eye on her." Saying which Burnett walked away. "Do you supp ose Fanny will follow you to the mining camp? a s ked N ed of his chum. She would follow me to the ends of the earth. Wouldn't you, Fanny? And Fanny said, yes," as plainly as ever an animal spoke since the episode of Balaam s ass. The young assayers began work with the samples they had taken from the Moonstone, which Bascombe had told them showed nine ounces of silver to the ton. They broke up the samples into small pieces, which they spread on the table, and then laid out in squares. Of these they took alternate squares, throwing away the rest but pulverizing what they kept. They re peated the process until the tiny portion of pulp that remained was an almost impalpable powder which represented with near-exactness the average quality

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THE BLOWPIPE ASSAY 79 of the samples. The powder was placed in a small cavity in a piece of charcoal and covered with several time s its bulk of lead monoxide, or litharge. Under the reducing flame of the blow-pipe the litharge was deoxidized, fluxing the metals of the mixture and causing them to fuse into a little button consisting chiefly of lead. This was placed on a tiny cupel of bone-ash, which under the heat of the blow-pipe flame slowly absorbed the lead and other non-precious met als. The metallic button shrank and shrank until it had become a mere point when, with one scintillating effort, it burst into a brilliant bead of pure silver save as it might be qualified by a trace of pure gold. Dick and Ned studied the nearly microscopic result with eagerness and the latter obser ved: We didn t weigh the ore, and the button is too small to be weighed by even an assayer s balance, so we can do nothing but guess at the result." It is a lot better than a guess, Ned, for we have got the qualitative analysis all right and a basis for the quantitative part." I don't see the basis, Dick, unless you have a better memory of your experience at the Tech. than I have of mine." It isn't your technical knowledge, but your logic that needs brushing up, Neddy, my boy. Bascombe's assays showed us that the Moonstone ore assayed nine ounces to the ton, and though no doubt he would have preferred to lie, it was so much to his interest to tell the truth in this case that I infer he forewent the pleasure of falsifying."

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80 DICK AMONG THE MINERS Suppose you tell us in English what you mean." Bascombe says Moonstone produces nine-ounce o re. Bascombe invites us to send M o onstone ore to assayer in proof of his statement. Now, Neddy, if we assay ore from a mine that he says is no good, and using the same quantity of ore get a button two times or ten times as big as the Moonstone button, we don't need the exact weight to show us that there is something rotten in Denmark, meaning in Bascombe. Now I move we try the Black Giant, which Larkin mentioned as good and the superintendent counted as worthless, and I'll make you an even bet that the re sult surprises both of us." When the Black Giant samples had been pulverized and averaged, and the pulp and litharge made ready for the blow-pipe, eager eyes watched the flame as it played over and around the mass, kindling to bright redness the charcoal supp o rt. Excitement increased when, the molten mass having been removed and the gangue matter stricken fr o m the metallic button, the latter was placed in the little cupel. Don't joggle me, Ned," said Dick as he put the blow-pipe to his mouth, for I am as nervous as a witch and can't make a steady flame." You didn't seem nervous when you shot the pipe out of Burnett's mouth this morning." That wasn't an important matter like this. I knew what was going to happen then, but I don't now." Dick's cheeks puffed out and subsided as the air pressure changed from chest to cheek, but the blow-

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THE BLOWPIPE ASSAY 81 pipe flame was as steady as if cast in copper. The tiny button melted and rolled around, visibly shrink ing as it was wasted in fumes and was absorbed by the bone ash of the cupel. While yet it was a globule of fair size there came over it the sudden fulguration that follows the clearing from such a surface of the last film of lead oxide. "Dick!" exclaimed Ned, who was now the excited one, if the Moonstone ore ran nine ounces to the ton, this will assay a hundred, or twice, and maybe three times that." Keep right on, Neddy. You are lifting the value of this property a hundred per cent. a minute. Don't stop till you have made it pure silver at least. We shall all be billionaires." Don't be foolish, Dick, but tell me honestly what you see in it yourself Honestly, the only thing I can see in it yet is that we ought to kill Bascombe, or at least half kill him." "Haven't we all the evidence we want of his ras cality, and hadn't we better show our authority and order him off the property? Ned, I'm scared to try it. He has something up his sleeve, and we have got to find out what it is. But we have time for another assay. Let's try that cave of mystery, the Iowa." What do you expect to find there? It ought to show twice what we found in the Black Giant, but I am too dazed to predict anything." When the last stage of the assay of the Iowa sam ples was reached, the boys watched the diminishing

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82 DICK AMONG THE MINERS button as it rolled around in the cupel, with hearts that throbbed heavily. Almost from the beginning of the cupellation they watched for the brightening, which, if it should then come, would indicate an im possible richness. Their hearts beat less quickly as the button continued to shrink till it reached the di mensions of the Black Giant button. The button con tinued to waste away while their hearts sank with it, until when at last it brightened the glistening point was even less than had been shown by the Moon stone. "What do you make of that? and Ned's lips were pale as he asked the questi on. Only that there is a mystery which we haven't found but which we must unravel," and Dick's tone was weary as he spoke. When Burnett returned he brought with him four Rocky Mountain grouse, two of the ruffed variety and three squirrels. I wasted three cartridges on ptarmigan, but the rifle didn t carry straight." "I want you to look at three shots of ours, J o hn, and tell us if they carried straight." And Dick placed the three cupels in a row and gave their history. I knew the Black Giant was a mine, but you must have made a mistake with the Iowa. Bascombe's mighty careful of lettin' any one in that mine, and it must mean somethin'." We did the work very carefully and excepting that the Iowa cupel is badly stained, the result is the same as with the Moonstone ore."

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. nn. BROWN AND BOY BILLY ON THE CRES T OF THE CONTlNENT-P a ge92

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THE BLOWPIPE ASSAY 83 It gets me," said Burnett, unless Bascombe is crazy, and he never showed signs of that." When Ned and Dick started for the mining cabin the latter whistled for Fanny, who followed him then and thereafter.

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CHAPTER X A PERILOUS CLIMB WHERE is Fanny?" asked Dick as he was eating his supper of squirrel and grouse. Burnett told us to watch her when she was fed and we would see what hunger had taught her. I handed her the leg of a squirrel and meant to keep my eye on her, but she slipped away." She can't have gone far. There she is, fifty yards away with the squirrel leg in her mouth. Now she is hidden behind a bush," said Ned and now she c o mes out without the meat and is trotting back to the cabin," he continued. Later the b o ys examined the ground behind the bush where Fanny had disappeared and after a long search found the squirrel leg, which had been hidden in the ground and the earth smoothed over it. So that's what her winter of starvation taught her," said Dick. "She has learned her Bib l e lesson, 'In the day of adversity consider.'" Burnett wanted us to show her a ground-hog. What do you suppose she could do with it? It's twice as heavy as she is, and has got real business claws." We will find out what she can do when we dis84

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A PERILOUS CLIMB 85 cover the hog. What is a ground-hog? It looks like a woodchuck to me." "It is a woodchuck in New York. In the West it is the ground-hog, the critter that comes out of his burrow on February second, Ground-Hog Day, and if he sees his shadow, goes back for six weeks more of sleep, knowing that the spring will be late in com ing." The next day Ned and Dick went early to Bur nett's cabin, where they made blow-pipe assays of samples from four other mines selected by Tim and Mackenzie. They found none so rich as the Black Giant, though the Mayflower ran high and the Black Eagle, Clipper and Etna were worthy to be counted as rich silver mines. They finished their work in time for some hours of hunting, which relieved Ned's con science greatly, for he had chafed under the silent as sumption that he had shot the game he brought home. They refused to fire at ptarmigan, but brought home six grouse, five of which fell to Dick's rifle. Several of the birds were treed by Fanny, who kept their at tention by barking until Dick was near enough to de capitate them with a twenty-two bullet. Returning, Dick heard the chirrup of a groundhog which he saw sitting some yards from its bur row Motioning to Fanny he pointed the creature out to her. The little dog's eyes blazed for an in stant, and then keeping close to the ground she prac ticed all the wiles of a militia colonel in a contest of strategy. Nearer and nearer she worked to the member of the marmot family. Always some bit

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86 DICK AMONG THE MINERS of rock or tuft of grass was between her and her quarry. At last she was behind the burrow of the ground-hog stealing stealthily upon her prey. When finally the creature heard the sound of the rustling grass his enemy was between him and his hole. As Fanny sprang upon her quarry the little beast threw himself back on his haunches and with gleaming teeth and bared claws prepared to rip and tear the body of his slight antagonist. But teeth and claws are no match for intellect and Fanny fought with her brains. She made little feints at the ground hog, pretended assaults which with tense muscles he prepared to repel. She danced lightly around him while with awkward hitchings he humped himself around to face her. Often and often these tactic s were repeated as she teased and tantalized and kept him turning about till worn out and dizzy he fell t o the ground. There was a flash of the lithe body and Fanny's little jaws closed on her victim s throat. Then away she sprang before the marmot's claws could tear her flesh. Again the ground-h o g sat back on his haunches presenting anew an undaunted front and again without giving an instant of re s pite Fanny feinted and danced and leaped lightly around him. Soon the weakened victim fell once more and there followed the dash, the bite, the fierce shake and the quick get-away. Again came recovery of the beast and a renewal of the battle which soon became a series of sorties, resisted less and less, until Fanny stood triumphant over the dead body of the ground hog.

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A PERILOUS CLIMB 87 That one may smile and smile and be a villain,' quoted Dick in a low voice to Ned as he saw Bas combe coming out of the cabin to meet them. Yet neither of them was proof against the charm of the man's manner as he welcomed them. He showed in terest in the success of their hunting and they were happy enough that they could meet his questions frankly, even though their frankness didn't extend to their work in John Burnett's cabin. They did speak of stopping there, to account for their posses sion of the little d o g, which Bascombe proceeded to pet, an advance which Fanny resented to the extent of showing her little teeth. I g o t the assayer to hurry up reports on the samples you sent and here they are, said Bascombe after the supper of game had been finis hed and Fanny had again hidden the half of hers. They are a little better than previous reports on Moonstone, Mon tezuma and Champion ores, worse on the Black Horse and about the same on the Monitor. I was so much pleased, Mr. Barstow, with the suggestion that your father would not object to the cost of a thorough test of the mines that I have taken steps in that direc tion. I have arranged for mill-runs of several tons each from as many mines as you care to select. I have ordered a furnace, muffles, scorifiers, cupels and all the rest that was needed to fit up the assay build ing. Then I have the promise of Professor Kelly that as soon as he can spare the time he will come up and help u s." I can promise you th1:1.t father will be pleased, Mr.

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88 DICK AMONG THE MINERS Bascombe with every step taken to prove the value or lack of value of his property. When will the work of shipping ore begin?" It must be got out first, and I have twenty good miners engaged for the work, though it will be a week before they can leave their present job near Red Mountain. I had to pay a bonus to get them, but I need first-class men to rush the work." What is the matter with Mackenzie, Burnett and the others ? asked Dick. Mackenzie, Burnett and Harte belonged to the old Webber regime, before I came to establish something like discipline. Webber, himself, spoiled all his men and to this day it is hard to get four days' work a week out of any of them. Now to make the kind of showing Mr. Barstow wants, I have hustlers." "How do you get the ore out? inquired Ned. I have engaged Shock and his string of burros. They will be on hand whenever the ore is ready." How did you and Dr. Brown get on with your patients, Larkin and Sylvester? Had no trouble whatever. I left them in a par lor-car with the doctor. First time they had ever been in one, I reckon," laughed the superintendent. And that reminds me," he continued, that Dr. Brown told me that you two had promised to go hunt ing with him and he would like to go pretty soon. I told him that you would be very busy here after we got fairly started on some new work, which would be in a week or ten days. Tell them,' said he, 'that I will be up there with my traps next Monday if I

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A PERILOUS CLIMB 89 hear nothing to the contrary from them.' That will be day after to-morrow, so if the time doesn't suit you we must send a messenger to Needleton at once." It will suit us exactly, Mr. Bascombe, for we want to be here when the work is going on. Isn't that so, Dick?" Sure Mike, Neddy." "Want to see mountain sheep?" exclaimed Tom, the miner-boy cook of the camp, as the boys were finishing their breakfast. There's one over on Eolus." There was a rush from the table, but even a big horn looks small at the distance of a mile and neither Ned or Dick could make out the creature till Bas combe handed the former his powerful binoculars. It is a wonderful glass, Mr. Bascombe, and the air is amazingly clear. I can follow the curves of the big horns and the creature looks within rifle shot." "I can get you a shot, if you want it, Mr. Bar stow," eagerly exclaimed Tom. Has any one ever climbed Eolus? asked Ned of the boy. "Nope, lots of fellers has tried it though, but they were ducks from the East and couldn't climb for sour apples. It takes a miner to do real climbing and I'll carry your rifle and get you up that mountain before it's dark to-day. Won't you go with me? Have you forgotten that it is Sunday, Tom?" There ain't any Sunday above timber-line, not that I ever heard of."

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90 DICK AMONG THE MINERS Tom, you are a little Sabbathless Satan.' When Dr. Brown arrived at the m i ning cabin on Monday he had a sporting look. He was mounted on a bronco of calico pattern and from the holster beneath the left flap of his saddle the stock of a rifle projected. A big duffie bag was lashed to the cantle of his saddle and a coiled lariat hung on the pommel. Quirt, drinking-cup, and slicker were held by buck skin thongs to otherwise unoccupied parts of the sad dle. All fitted out for a campaign, I see, doctor," said Dick as he welc o med him. "No, you don't see, yet; wait till my baggage train comes," and as he sp o ke a burro, with a l o ad bigger than the d o nkey 's self emerged fr o m the gulch bes ide the cabin. Dick couldn t repress a laugh in which Ned j o ined and the d octor with an assumption of fierceness continued:" You y o ung kids can laugh. I was as fresh as you are, once, and like you I thought it was nice to be tough and to camp without any of the decencies of life. I used to scorn the carrying of food, dishes or blankets. If my rifle didn't feed me and my campfire keep me warm I was willing to go hungry and cold. Now if you really depend on your rifle for food y o u will have to eat rats, sometimes, and they may n o t always be mus krats either. It isn't easy to keep warm and dry through a rainy night in any sh e lter you can put up in a hurry of wet sticks and branches beside a fire of the same material. There's a c o mfortable tent on that burro's back and

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A PERILOUS CLIMB 91 an air mattress and blankets and a bottle of medicine, spiritus friem e nti, which I s hall pre s cribe for my s elf in case of c o ld, and an o ther, ca s t o r oil, which I shall prescribe for y o u." Do you expect that burro to follow you through your hunt? asked Ba s c o mbe He'll turn up missing the first chance he gets, or else he is a breed new t o this country." The burro is an abused beast in this country He is expected to carry a pack bigger than himself up a trail that a cat couldn't climb and to live on what he can pick up by the way s ide. I always take this one on my camping trips. He doesn't quite understand me yet and often waits around, after I have removed his pack, for the kick that he thinks he must get be fore being allowed t o eat. He is a faithful brute and when I tell him to follow my waving plume you couldn't pry him off my trail with a crowbar We are more likely to get on the wrong trail than that jackass. And by the same token, who is going to find the trail? I don't know the mountains east of us." They tell us Mackenzie is the best man," said Ned, and he is going with us, that is if you can spare him, Mr. Bascombe." You can have any one you want, especially Mackenzie, who is a better hunter than miner." Are you going to take that rabbit with you? asked Dr. Brown, pointing out Fanny as the caval cade started. When the little dog heard the ques tion of the doctor, she looked imploringly into the face of Dick who replied,-

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS "'Whither I go she goes and where I lodge she lodges.' Despite the encomiums of its master the burro fell so far behind, that at the Iowa divide, Dick sent Fanny back for it. "Now, doctor," said he, "while Fanny is round ing up that lazy donkey of yours you get off that speckled thing and mount Bay Billy and have your picture taken on a handsome horse on the crest of the continent by Mr. Barstow." The doctor posed as requested and by the time the artist was through with him, his Rocky Mountain Elevator arrived with Fanny snapping at its heels, proud of her exploit. The hunting party met Mackenzie at John Bur nett s cabin, where they camped for the night, start ing down the V allecito trail as soon as it was light. This time the boys carried their rifles in their hands, adding much to the chances of pitching over their ponies' heads, but no grizzly repaid them for their precautions. As the Vallecito was reached an ap proaching storm made them pitch their tent hastily, but Dr. Brown put on his slicker and taking his rod for trout and his rifle for protection started for the stream. He was gone an hour and he came back streaming with water but with a back load of trout. The next morning was clear and after a breakfast al fresco the doctor inquired," Is the trail we travel today as bad as that of yesterday? "Worse," replied Mackenzie. "Why, my bronk

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"STREAMING WlTlI WATER BUT WITH A BACK LOAD OF TROUT."-Page92

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A PERILOUS CLIMB 93 takes that on a trot. In climbing to the Limestone Mesa she has to cling to the trail with her teeth." The Limestone Mesa is on the summit of an un named mountain at the foot of which the party gave their mounts a short rest while they refreshed them selves from some vines of belated and out-of-season raspberries. "Say your prayers and come on, boys," said Mackenzie, as he headed his bronco for a near-vertical cliff. Where is the trail ? asked Ned. "Follow me," was the reply, as the pony of the hunter began daintily picking her way, stepping from one bit of a ledge to another, sometimes finding a narrow bench on which she could walk for yards, and sometimes finding no foothold save on rotten rock which step by step she tested before resting her weight upon it. Slowly she advanced, always forging upward until she a smooth wall of slightly overhanging rock. Mackenzie slid out of the saddle, while the bronco, lifting her forefeet against the rock above her, slowly turned around, and began work ing diagonally upward above the path she had traveled. At the hunter's advice the burro followed him, after which came in their order, Dick, Ned and the doctor. The other broncos followed their leader, hugging the cliff as they did so, while the riders hugged their broncos. All hands were relieved when broken rock took the place of the solid cliff which became less steep and offered more frequent footing for the po mes. The sloping precipice was narrow, with frown-

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94 DICK AMONG THE MINERS ing cliffs bounding its sides and the zigzag trail was a Jacob's ladder. "Now this is comfy," said Dick to Ned who was close behind him, but look at that donkey right over our heads and Mack away above him. If Mack should tumble we would all go down like a row of pins." Mackenzie did not tumble but a hundred-pound rock loosened by the burro's foot fell, barely clearing Dick's head as it bounded down the side of the moun tain. The hunter called a halt until he found a place where the burro could stand while the party passed him. The distance traveled was not great, but it con sumed hours and the work was so hard and the alti tude so great that all hands were distressed when at last a vertical wall of rock was reached that Macken zie said extended to the level ground of the mesa above them. Guess we have got to give it up," said the doctor and he looked as if he were glad of it. There's a bench that'll pull us through, though it's pretty narrow," replied the hunter and he explored till he found it. It was a little shelf, that a Rocky Mountain sheep would have distrusted, with an overhang of rock and a sheer descent of five hundred feet. The longer you think about it the worse it will be, so come on," said the leader as his bronco placed her feet gingerly on the narrow footing. Ned ad mitted later that he closed his eyes while crossing the

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A PERILOUS CLIMB 95 chasm, and Dick replied that he staved off dizziness by repeating to himself," Faith builds a bridge across the gulf of Death.' All crossed in safety save the last, the most sure footed o f the bunch. The doctor's outfit of tent, blankets, mattress, etc., made a bulky pack that pro jected well beyond the sides of the burro that carried it. The wise donkey walked on the outer-most inch of the narrow shelf while the pack rubbed against the wall. The danger was realized so late that the at tempt to avert it would have hastened the disaster. More and more slowly the creature came on while with hearts in their mouths all watched the gain of each distressful inch. Suspense was intense but hope was increasing as safety was but two lengths of the animal away, when the jutting out of the wall but a single inch threw the center of gravity of beast and burden beyond the shelf.

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CHAPTER XI LOST ON THE LIMESTONE MESA NEITHER Ned nor Dick would look down the five hundred feet of the burro's fall until Mackenzie exclaimed," Here's luck! That burro has landed in a tree." Forty feet below the narrow shelf was the thick top of an out-thrusting tree with roots fixed in the sloping side of the chasm far beneath them. The donkey rested astride a large limb while lesser ones kept it from toppling over and with the wisdom of its race it lay quiet. "That's my job," said Dick as soon as he saw the burro lying quietly forty feet below him, and the boy walked to Bay Billy for the lariat that hung on his saddle pommel. What are you going to do? asked Ned. I am going to be lowered in a sling until I can fasten a rope to that pack and cut it loose from the donkey. After we have hauled up the pack, I will fasten two lariats to the saddle, and with an extra band around the burro's belly we can haul him side wise and up till we get him in the trail." "Don't try it, Dick, it's too risky, for when the rope swings you clear, it will begin to twist and be sure to make you dizzy." 96

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LOST ON THE LIMESTONE MESA 97 I had rather lose a dozen burros and packs than to see you take such chances," exclaimed Dr. Brown, while Mackenzie quietly said," It is my place to go, Mr. Williams, and I am so used to these mountains that I couldn't get dizzy if I tried." But I spoke first," interrupted Dick, so get busy with your ropes, Mack." Lariats and cinches were collected and soon Dick, with a broad band around his chest, to which two lariats were fastened, was lowered down the steep bank and swung clear against the vertical rock till his feet rested on the big limb which bore the weight of the burro. He fastened one of the lariats to the pack and having loosened the lines that bound it to the saddle saw it safely drawn up to the trail. Then the ends of two lariats were lowered, with a cinch to pass around the belly of the burro. When he tried to accomplish this the creature began to struggle and Dick decided to fasten the lines to the pack saddle and trust to the girths to hold. Dick was hauled safely to the trail, the lines to the burro given a turn around the limb of a tree to hold all that was gained by lifting, and the beast with legs that were badly lacerated was hoisted from the tree and soon was standing on the trail The creature was found to be so badly injured that even its saddle was removed and packed on Bay Billy, while the contents of the pack were distributed between Gambler and Mackenzie's bronco. "Do you suppose I am going to stand having three

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98 DICK Alv.IONG THE MINERS of you dismounted, just to carry my pack?" asked Dr. Brown. "You can't help yourself, doctor, for we are the doctors now and we mean to soak you the way you do your patients when you get them under your thumb." The rest of the climb was less steep but the alti tude made it so exhausting that when the summit was reached Ned and Dick threw themselves, in utter weariness, upon the ground, hardly noticing that it was a mass of magnificence, a bed of forty varieties of wild flowers, of more colors th:in Joseph's coat, rioting in luxurious profusion in one great communis tic family. Half an hour later they were roused from restful dreams by the near-by crack of a rifle which Dick claimed to recognize as his own, as it after ward proved to be. As they slowly arose they were greeted with a hail from Brown," How goes it with the seven sleepers?" The doctor was starting a fire in front of his tent, which was a roomy affair nearly nine feet square. How do you like the look of your quarters? he asked. You ought to be ashamed to tempt lovers of the simple life with your luxuries and effeminate surround ings," complained Ned, "but what have you done with Mack?" He stole a rifle from your belongings and said he would have some fresh meat by the time I had a fire ready. He took your rifle because a bullet from his left nothing of a bird but head and feet."

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LOST ON THE LIMESTONE MESA 99 You haven t left much for us to do but I will rustle some firewood." "No, you don't. That's my job tonight. I ought to have thought of the altitude and shut down on that last, fast climb of yours. You and Williams step over to the edge of the plateau and look down on the valley. The gorgeousness of it will keep you busy till supper is ready. Don't get so daft over the view as to fall off the cliff, though." Supper was ready before the boys could take their eyes from the panoramic picture presented to them. Far below them ran the silver thread of the Vallecito, bordered by a grassy strip of vivid green. A broad belt of aspens, yellow as ochre in their changing leaves, extended around the amphitheater of the val ley, while above it was another belt, somber with the dark green of the Rocky Mountain pine. Then came the gray rocks above timber-line, the snow-capped mountain peaks glittering in the rays of the setting sun, which in the west gave a rosy blush to the other wise ethereal blue of the cloudless sky. Mackenzie's Grub's up!" had to be repeated, and reinforced by Brown's "Come to supper, you luna tics! before the spell that held them was broken. Yet a moment later as Dick sat cross-legged on a bunch of flowers with a plate before him and a pint cup of hot tea beside him he exclaimed, Gee, but I'm hungry," and then he wasted valuable seconds hesitating how to begin appeasing the appetite that possessed him. For a fat trout, garnished with thin slices of crisp bacon, half a grouse, hot biscuit and

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100 DICK AMONG THE MINERS fragrant tea, filled his nostrils with confusing frag rance and made distracting appeals to his eye. How did you like the view? asked the doctor. "Too well to talk about it till I have dreamed over it more." Better work some of that romance out of your system. You may meet up with a grizzly to-morrow and where will you be if your wits go wool-gathering then?" Breakfast was ready at daylight and the ponies were picketed near-by. As Dr. Brown came yawn ing from his tent he said : Glad to see those bronks. I got to worrying about them in the night, afraid they might have started for home." "They don t like that trail up the mountain any better than you. There's good grazing here and they ain t likely to go more than a quarter from camp," replied Mack. Where do we begin to hunt today? Right here, and keep it up to the eastern end of the mesa, about eight miles, and it grows better all the way. It's the old hunting ground of the Ute Indians. I saw fresh tracks of blacktails this mornin' and where a grizzly had been diggin'." At Dr. Brown's request it was arranged that he and Dick were to hunt together keeping on the south side of the mesa, while Ned and Mackenzie were to hunt on the north side. The course of each party led through belts of woods, alternating with open fields, over masses of wild flowers and around marshy

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LOST ON THE LIMESTONE MESA 101 thickets. Grouse were abundant but after Dick and the doctor had each shot two they resolved not to fire again till big game had been found. Tracks of bear and deer were plentiful but they got no sight of the creatures themselves. At the end of the mesa they found themselves on the border of a deep ravine which looked promising for game but was impractic able for horses. The hunters climbed to the bottom of the ravine and taking opposite sides followed its downward course. Fifty yards down the ravine a big buck sprang to his feet giving the doctor a shot as the deer darted away. Diagonally up the side of the ravine the creature climbed, so hidden by clumps of bushes that the next shot was taken at a distance of a hundred yards, while, when the final opportunity came, hunter and hunted were separated by fully five hundred feet. A moment later the buck reached the top of the precipice by a narrow ledge beside which the walls were perpendicular. As the creature struggled up the last foot of the ascent, his antlers, head and shoulders were outlined against the blue sky. For a fraction of a second he was as motionless as if he had been a brazen image. Then came the sharp crack of Dick's rifle from across the ravine, the tense muscles of the buck relaxed and he fell vertically a hundred feet before touching the ground. "That was the beautifullest shot that was ever made. You picked that buck out of the sky like shoot ing a bird on the wing! shouted the doctor. That was your deer and I ought not to have shot

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102 DICK AMONG THE MINERS it, doctor, but it was such a wonderful chance," la mented Dick. I wouldn't have forgiven you if you hadn't tried to shoot it. I missed it three times and you wiped my eye finely." The buck was bled and disemboweled and as the antlers had been broken in his tremendous tumble his head was cut off. The attempt to carry the carcass as a whole was a failure because of the roughness of the ravine. The mule deer is a big one and as Dick climbed and fell and climbed again with half of one on his back he exclaimed to his companion," I wish I hadn't shot that deer! And the doctor replied, Amen." When the summit was reached and their ponies were in sight, there were two others with them, and Ned and Mackenzie were sitting beside a small fire each gnawing the leg of a grouse "'Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood? spouted Dick as he looked at the doctor and himself after they had hung in a tree the venison they had been carrying. I don't believe it will, Dicky, but if you can war rant that buck's liver to be fresh I'll carve a slice of it for dessert," said Ned. His example was followed so freely that when luncheon was finished the load of venison to be carried to camp had been reduced by several pounds. "Doctor, when we go back I want to look into that last piece of thick woods that we passed, where we saw the bear tracks. Will that suit you?"

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LOST ON THE LIMESTONE MESA 103 It won't suit me at all. I know when I have had enough, and t o ting a th o usand pounds o f venison up that precipice was all the exercise I need for today. Y o u take Mr. Barstow with you and Mack and I will carry your venis o n to camp ." Ned and Dick rode to the woods the latter had spoken of, but Bay Billy refused to enter them. Gambler, who had been so named because of the chances he was always ready to take, also showed fear when brought to the b o rder of the forest. The bear we are loo king for must be in there," said Dick. "Let's have a little lo o k for him." Gambler was tied, but Bay Billy was left loose for he had never been known to desert his companion. The boys entered the woods taking different courses and agreeing to return to the horses within half an hour. Dick soon found himself in a marshy thicket where a big bear had been recently digging. He fol lowed the trail through many turnings, making his way as silently as possible Every minute he paused to listen and peep through all openings in the thickets about him. Once he heard the soft step of a heavy foot just beyond some bunches of thick grass and a clump of close-growing bushes. As he crouched low, scarcely daring to breathe, he caught a glimpse of the fur of the beast whether head or foot of the great brute he couldn't tell, and his first wild impulse to test it with a bullet was checked by returning sense. When by slow advances he reached the place where he had seen the bear, he found the imprint of the body of the beast in the soft earth still steaming

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104' DICK AMONG THE MINERS with the heat of it. He followed the track of the departing quarry and when he found that the bear was making a straight course away from him at a rate that made it useless to follow he thought of the small-calibered rifle that he carried and was com forted in his sorrow. A sudden darkening of the air made hiin wonder if night were approaching and this with the realiza tion that the half hour of his promise was long past sent him hastening back to where the horses had been left. Cold air with flakes of snow found him in the thicket but when he left the woods he was struck by a blinding squall of snow. Ned had returned and met him with the startling information that the horses had disappeared. Who could have taken them? asked Dick. Of course Bay Billy could have run off but Gambler was tied so he couldn t get away without breaking the rein and leaving the broken end here. I saw you tie it and I know." I know too, Dick, and I can't imagine who took them. They made a lot of tracks as if something might have startled them and they started toward the west. I couldn't follow them far, for this blizzard came on and the ground was white in a few min utes." Did you ever hear of such a change in the weather, Ned? It was so hot in that swamp, or else I got so excited, that I am just soaked." Then we have got to get busy or you'll freeze Didn't lugging that buck tire you to death? I don't

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LOST ON THE LIMESTONE MESA 105 believe you can walk to camp. Hadn't we better get back in the woods and start a fire ? Better keep right on for the camp as long as we can see, and that may not be many minutes if this snow gets any thicker," and as he spoke Dick started for the camp. Ned forged up beside him and with heads bowed to the storm they tramped on. The snow began to deepen and as it grew darker and the road rougher they began to stumble. Are you sure you are heading for the camp? shouted Ned who was clinging to his companion's arm as they walked. The wind was northwest when we started and I have kept it on my right cheek as well as I could. If the wind has turned around we have done the same. We ought to have stopped and made camp as you said, but I knew that the doctor and Mack would be frightened to death when the blizzard came on and they are likely out hunting us now." They stumbled on for half an hour guided only by the wind and the driving snow until they became entangled in a clump of bushes so thick that the direc tion of the wind could no longer be told. "Now we have got to build a fire and make camp," said Dick, and I wish we had done it before. Mack is a good hunter but he may have passed within ten rods of us without finding it out. We must grub for some dry leaves, Neddy, for I haven't any matches to waste." Dick, I can't find my box! I remember now that

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106 DICK AMONG THE MINERS I handed it to Mack to light the fire for our lunch just before you came up with the venison." Then surely we haven t got any matches to waste, but I have found a dry place and there are some leaves in it." "And I have found a rotten little stump but some of the wood feels as if it would burn and I've got some sticks that are brittle and dry. Oh, we are going to be all right, only don't light a match till we have got all our fuel together." I am not likely to waste any, for, Ned, I hate to tell you, but I've only got one match left. I loaned my box to the doctor to light his pipe and I remem ber that he used several matches." "If the doctor has happened to think of that, he is plumb crazy by this time." "I'm not crazy, I hope, but Ned, I haven't the nerve to strike that match. You have got to do it." Don t be a goose, Dick. You shoot pipes out of people's mouths, and you cut the strings of Indian gourds. You haven t got any nerves and you know it. Here are plenty of dry leaves, now light them! Ned, I can't, for my hand is trembling and my heart like water. Your life depends on it, for we will freeze in an hour, so take the match, here it is." Dick, as true as I live if my hand touches that match I'll throw it away in the snow Now it is up to you to lose that match by trying to light it or by handing it to me to throw in the snow. Don t think about it, but light it, quick! And Dick, with his nerves steadied by his com-

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LOST ON THE LIMESTONE MESA 10'7 panion's sharp tones and with hand as steady as when he shot the pipe from Burnett's mouth, placed the match between his nearly closed teeth, drew it quickly forth and coolly held the broad blaze beneath a bunch of dry leaves that flamed forth light, warmth and welcome. With the light to help them they soon gathered twigs, branches and fragments of decaying wood till the space in the thicket was filled with warmth and light. Then with their knives they cut away branches and brush to the north until the gale sent in swirling masses of snow to disturb their re treat. But the light from the fire shone far out across a broad open field. Now we have done what we can," said Dick. If Mack and the doctor are hunting for us there is a chance of their seeing our fire, so we may as well make ourselves comfortable." Nice comfortable time we are likely to have. I don't mind sitting in a blizzard, feeding a fire, for that is almost fun, but the worry, worry, about the d o ctor and Mack. I had almost rather be groping al ong in the cold and darkness than sitting by the fire with my fears for them." Don't you worry about any danger to them. They are out on their ponies and horses can see in the dark and if they do get lost they can loosen the reins and the bronks will carry them to camp." I wish we hadn't made Fanny stay in camp to keep house, when she almost cried to come. She could pull us out of this scrape." Here she is now! shouted Dick, as the little

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108 DICK AMONG THE MINERS creature jumped against him. Fanny," he continued, now did where is Mack? "Why, Fanny, you find us and Fanny struggled from Dick's arms which were holding her and dashing out into the open field, gave three sharp barks, repeating them several times a minute till the voice of the doctor was heard in the hail. Hello, the camp! and half a minute later the light of the fire fell upon four ponies, two mounted and the others led. After welcomes as warm as men's natures will permit, Dick's curiosity burst forth with the question: Who stole our ponies, Mack, and how did you get them back ? Nobody stole them." But Mack, Gambler was tied so that he couldn't have got loose without help, and I know it." "That's all right. He got the help. Billy untied him." Mack, you are a nature-fakir." Ask any one at the camp. I supposed of course you knew that Billy could untie almost any knot with his teeth. You have to be mighty particular how you hitch Gambler when Billy is around." Was Fanny the first to locate us? She was the one that found you, though we would have seen your light in a minute or two and I think the bronks knew where you were, for they changed their course a quarter back and came straight

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LOST ON THE LIMESTONE MESA 109 for you. Now we had better hike back to camp, for I have something to say when we get there." The ponies carried their riders straight to the camp and after a hot supper had been eaten in the doctor's tent, to the sound of wind-driven snow against its walls, Dick asked," Now what was it you wanted to say, so solemn, Mack? Our tummies are full and I guess we can stand it."

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CHAPTER XII NED AND THE GRIZZLY BOYS, I don't like the look of things. Every hoof track i s pointed for the valley. The deer are leaving and when they go I don't want to stay. It is just a year since John and I camped here and just such a sn o wstorm came on. We stuck it out for a day but the st orm grew worse and when we left we couldn't take our ponies." What happened to them?" inquired the doctor. Their bones must be somewhere on the mesa. We meant to come back for them but winter came on two weeks earlier than usual and we never got the chance. We had a rough time getting out, had to make skis and camp out three nights with one blan ket between us. We pulled through with our rifles, a hatchet and two days hunger. How we did eat when we got to the mining camp! Do you look for anything like that now? I don't think so, but you can t tell what may hap pen and it will be a heap easier to get out now than a day later We ought to start soon as we can see in the morning The hunting will be better in the valley from now on and you will all be safe." Then I vote we start at daylight said Ned, while the doctor added : no

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NED AND THE GRIZZLY 111 "I'd vote to start now if we could see. It makes me tremble to think how my patients would suffer if I were to be caged up here for the winter." "Which are you most afraid of, doctor, that they would die, or get well ? laughed Dick. "Just wait till I get my professional hands on you," was the reply. "Neddy," whispered Dick as his companion was dropping off to sleep, tell me true, would you really have thrown that match in the snow if I had handed it to you?" I surely would." But that would have been folly." It would have been your folly, not mme, after what I said." What made you say it, Ned?" Because you have the nerve and you were the one to do it. You were in a bit of a funk, mostly on my account, and I knew what would cure you and it did." Couldn't you have scared the sense into me, without intending to carry out such a dangerous threat? Not on your life, Dicky, for you would have felt the falsehood in every bone. I had to be in dead earnest, Dick, and I was. After that and my prom ise to you, there was nothing left but to keep it, just as you would have done in my place," and as Dick turned away he whispered to himself, "I hope I would, but I wonder, I wonder By the time it was fairly light breakfast had been eaten and the broncos brought in and packed.

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS The burro is too sore to carry even his pack saddle, so I have loaded everything on the ponies. We couldn't ride a step after we begin to go down the mountain." Each of the party carried a sharpened pole but little else when the descent of the mountain began. Fanny trotted ahead in proud control with occa sional backward glances to assure herself that her command was following her. Behind the humans came the donkey, himself almost human in his wis dom, and despite his lacerated legs he stepped with the sure-footedness of a cat. The burros stepped soberly, for they remembered the trail and the close order of their following showed that no one of them wanted to be left on the mesa. Snow had made the steep mountain-side slippery and filled the little crev ices that had given scant foothold when they climbed it, but though there were many slips there were few falls and none that were serious. It was feared that the burro would balk when it reached the scene of its sorrow, but the intellect of the animal prevailed and the dignified donkey traveled the narrow bridge with a step that was fearless and firm. The valley was reached in safety, though the snow was still falling heavily. Mack lead the way up the Vallecito and the camp that night was in a cave in the rocks which overlooked the stream. The tent was not set up, for the vote was unanimous to sleep in the cave. Dick and Mackenzie were the first to rise, and while the latter was building the fire the former rigged up his fly rod and handed it to Dr.

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NED AND THE GRIZZLY 113 Brown in such fashion that a fly could be dropped in the stream without the doctor having to get out of bed. Dick got down to the pool below and landed the trout as soon as the doctor had played them enough. It was only Ned's loud cries that he was starving that broke up the game, but the breakfast of each of the party began with a big trout which the doctor had caught before he was out of bed. The day's hunt was to be on higher ground and the march, beginning over a bed of boulders, led through a belt of aspen that seemed interminable. The uniform size of the trees was that of the leg of a man of average size while the spaces between them were a close fit for the body of the average bronco. The ponies could usually pull through by scraping off the legs of their riders. For a time all elected to walk, until a broad windfall was reached. Their chance in this jungle would have been about that of a fly in the web of a spider. They turned aside and climbed till they reached the zone of fir trees along which they traveled as far as a rough ravine, running at right angles to the valley far up the mountain side. As Dick, with his rifle in his hand, rode beside Mac kenzie a beautifully antlered buck jumped from the shadow of a near-by rock and bounded away on its zigzag course among the big boulders that dotted the ravme. "That was a pretty blacktail buck," said Dick's companion; "why didn't you shoot it?" Firstly we have got all the venison we can eat and tastily, Mack, that wasn't a blacktail."

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114 DICK AMONG THE MINERS What was it? It was a mule deer. The books agree that there are no blacktails in the Rocky Mountains. They are only found near the Pacific coast ranges." Who do you s'pose knows best, Mr. Williams, we fellows who live with them and on them and see them most every day, or the man that writes your books, and likely never saw one and if he met it out here wouldn't know it from a silvertip? You know the thing, Mack, but the book man knows the name, for he generally makes it and But, look! look! Isn't that a mountain sheep, on that ledge almost over our heads? See the beautiful big horns!" It's a bighorn all right, but why don't you shoot? It won't wait for you forever." I can't do it, Mack," and as the boy spoke the bighorn bounded away, for it is against the law Don't you ever shoot game in the close season? Yes, if I am really, really in need of it. I shot a moose that way in Canada, when it looked as if the lives of a lot of us depended on it. But this is different. I did want those horns awfully and if he would come back I'd shoot him and I wish from my heart I had never seen him." Maybe we can find him again. He wasn't much frightened." Don t you dare to tempt me. Don't you know I'd be sorry all my life if I gave in now? Do you suppose I will get a silvertip tomorrow? Likeliest place I know for a chance at one, though

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NED AND THE GRIZZLY 115 I don't suppose that little pea-rifle of yours would worry one. A grizzly isn't like a black -I mean mule deer." The camp that night was on a tiny meadow above which the ravine rose raggedly. "Looks hard for the ponies tomorrow," said Ned, looking upward. It's. a picnic for them," replied Mackenzie. They will be rolling in the grass down here, while we will be shinning around those rocks up there." They will have nothing to do but eat, while we stand a good chance of being eaten? Is that it, Mack?" "That's about it," was the reply. Who do you speak to go with, doctor? asked Dick the next morning. Mack says this gulch to the right breeds silvertips, so I filed a claim on it. He says he doesn't want anything to do with a hunter that lets bighorns get away without a shot, so he is going to take up the main ravine where the chance of a shot at a sheep is good." Then I vote to go with him, for his views on bighorns are like my own." "It's you and me for the gulch and the grizzlies, Neddy, but look at this," and Dick pointed to Fanny who with a paw on his knee was looking imploringly in his face. "Why, bless you, Fanny, I had forgotten you. Of course you can go only you must be a good doggie, and keep behind me, and not bark, and remember that grizzlies ar'n't ground-hogs," and

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116 DICK AMONG THE MINERS Fanny wagged her tail understandingly and stood at attention. I'll keep to the right hand of the gulch," said Ned as he started out, to which Dick nodded assent as he turned off to the left with Fanny. The traveling was cruelly hard and consisted of climbing up one side of rocks ten feet high and then sliding down the other. Some times for many yards he wound in and around a rocky labyrinth from which there seemed no exit. Often he couldn't see a dozen feet excepting as he looked directly upward. Some times a low whine from Fanny told him that she needed a lift, but usually she got around better than he. Once in a narrow corridor of rock the hairs on her neck seemed to rise and but for Dick's uplifted hand she might have sprung forward. I wonder what that little dog knows that I don't," soliloquized the boy. She hears or smells something that I ought to know about. Wonder if it is a bear. I should like to meet one in this hole, I don't think." Dick held his rifle ready as he took a step to a turn in the passageway. Here through a tiny opening between two rocks he caught a glimpse of the fur of some moving animal. There is my grizzly," he thought, and I am caught like a rat in a trap." It was doubtful if he could climb the rock behind him down which he had slid and if he tried it the silvertip could come behind him and lift him down impaled on those cruel claws as a boy brings in a wriggling eel pierced by the five-

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NED AND THE GRIZZLY 117 barbed tines of his spear. Dick would have gladly faced the grizzly in an open field, trusting to the steadiness of his nerves and the quickness of his eye to have sent the tiny twenty-twos through the pig like eyes to the brain of the monster. But here he was, in a cul de sac, a thousand pounds of bone and brawn, tough hide and sharp teeth, long claws and fierce savagery pitted against him and within hand's reach. He hesitated and shrank back, and then, re membering how Ned had shaken him out of shrink ing from his duty of lighting their last match, with the ringing command, Don't think of it! Light it, quick! he walked steadily around one of the big rocks and nearly fainted from the nervous reaction. For the fur which he had seen an
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118 DICK AMONG THE MINERS louder in the mind of the boy as he tore around the big rocks and plunged over the lesser ones toward the spot where the friend of his life was waiting for him Dick dared not think as he plunged ahead, but some chamber in his brain talked to him. Ned's antagonist was, of course, a grizzly and a single shot was all right, while a second might well have been needed to quiet a creature of such amazing tenacity of life, and a third and a fourth didn t mean despair, but as they continued Dick pictured the scene despite his most earnest efforts to hold his fancies in con trol. He saw the great brute stung but not weak ened by Ned s first shot which flew an inch or two wide of the little brain for which it was meant and oh, how he lamented that his own surer hand and eye could not have been at the service of his friend in his great need-and he saw the oncoming of the monster and knew of the tiny bullet that en tered the huge body unnoticed by the creature. He felt, himself, the advance of the beast, growing bulky with every approaching step and he thought of the tiny pellets and the yet tinier chance of their finding a vital spot in the great carcass. On he rushed, heedless of obstacles, falling often but rising again, bruised and battered but with his spirit on fire until, until he passed around a pillar of rock to see before him the huge carcass of a silvertip, standing before it, within reach of the terrible claws that now were harmless, was Ned pale as a ghost, but living. Dick had little to say as he wrung his friend's hand

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NED AND THE GRIZZLY 119 but Ned knew what he felt and as his own nerves were a bit unstrung he turned away to describe the com bat. "When I first saw the grizzly, Dick, he was stand ing by that bit of turf about fifty yards away. He seemed to be studying me and as his head was slowly moving from side to side I didn't dare try for his brain but drew a bead on his heart, or where I thought it was. Dick, you may not believe, though you must have heard it, that grizzly rose up on his hind legs, standing straighter and higher than either of us, looked at me, raked the great claws of his right arm across his breast and roared out as plainly as you or I could speak it "'Who are you?' Didn't you hear it, Dick?" "I have no doubt it happened, Ned, but just then I had troubles of my own." Well, the next second the bear came down on all fours and shambled towards me. Oh, he was after me all right, and he came on like a race horse. I really didn't feel frightened, for I hadn't time. I re member feeling curious about where the bullets that I was sending into the brute were landing and how he felt about it. He kept coming on and I kept firing. I got to be a regular machine and kept on firing after my cartridges were out and I guess after the grizzly was dead. I wasn't a bit scared until the danger was over and then I shook like a leaf and was sick as a dog." "I was pretty sick, too, Neddy, but it is over now and you have got a grand trophy splendidly won.

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mo DICK AMONG THE MINERS Now let's look at the bullet marks and see how scared you really were." The bullets were so small and the beast so big that it was hard to find them and it was difficult for the two of them to even roll the heavy body over It looks, Ned," said Dick, after a long search, "as if your first bullet found his heart. It was mighty close anyhow. The rest of them, fired as he came toward you are pretty well bunched about his head and shoulders, but it was probably that first bullet that killed If you had just stood still after that first shot the beast would have died just the same, killed by a single shot from a twenty-two rifle." "But Dick, I should have died myself, if I hadn't had something to occupy my mind while that elephant was lumbering toward me." We might as well get busy with our knives. We have a whole day's job before us getting the hide off the brute. And it has got to be skinned for mount ing as a rug with every claw in its place, and the head will call for professional skill, which I hope Mack has." It chanced that Mackenzie had heard the shots and was alarmed at the number of them. He suggested that the doctor continue his hunt, while he should go back to find if there were trouble, but the doctor in sisted on returning with him. Thus it happened that before Ned and Dick had fairly begun work they were reinforced by a professional hunter and a surgeon, both valuable allies in a job of the kind. By the camp-fire that night the story of the grizzly and the

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NED AND THE GRIZZLY Ul man was retold, and Dick, with some shrinking told of the false alarm that worried him, but was cheered by Ned's declaration, endorsed by the others that his situation was more trying than the serious position of his friend. As they talked Mack worked on the s kull of the grizzly scooping out the brains and cutting away with painstaking care every particle of flesh that could be reached. The skin had been pegged out to be fleshed and dried enough for_ transportation and it was decided to remain at the camp for another day or two. As Ned had all the bear he wanted and Dick was satisfied with his own experience, the whole four went up the main ravine next day until Mack p o inted out the track of a deer which led up a smaller ravine to the left. The doctor wished to explore a little in search of the creature and accepted Ned's offer to go with him. Dick and Mack continued up the main ravine which grew wilder as they advanced. For a long time no game was seen, but as Mackenzie kept steadily on looking little about him, Dick asked," Are you looking for anything in particular, Mack? What do you expect to find up here? See that high ledge there? It is easy to see, but there is no chance of game there. A squirrel couldn't climb it, and there is no chance for deer or sheep, grizzlies or even grouse near it." You haven't named all the game in this country, nor even the biggest and most hunted." I d on't kn o w what you have on your mind, Mack,

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS unless you are a paleontologist and have got a flock of ichthyosauriasses treed or a bunch of brontother iums buried in that cliff." "There may be other things beside bronco whatd'ye-call-ums buried in that cliff." Oh! I see! We are miners, grubbing for silver and gold, and the biggest game we hunt is the dollar, and you think there may be coin in that cliff? See that streak, running up and down, that is darker and wears away faster than the rock around it? That is a vein of silver ore if I know what ore is. It is a beautiful prospect and I mean to stake out a claim, on joint account with you, and make the for tunes of both of us." Dick wrote the notices on the backs of envelopes, at the dictation of Mackenzie, who paced off the limits and set up stakes with the papers attached at the corners of the claim. Then breaking off as many samples of the ore as they could conveniently carry, they started for camp. Just below the little ravine where their companions had turned off in the morning they found them strug gling toward camp with a fine old buck which the doctor had shot. Don't call me a game hog, Dick," he called out at sight of the boy. I know there is plenty of veni son in camp, but I am going home to-morrow to my hungry children, and I want to hang these antlers in my office that patients may look upon me Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter.' When the spoil-laden party reached camp they found

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NED AND THE GRIZZLY US Fanny and the burro awaiting them, but the broncos were missing. What have you done with the ponies, Fanny? asked Dick. The little dog wagged her tail, and, looking toward the burro, which was grazing near-by, barked twice, saying as plainly as possible to the wisest animal," I was put in charge of the donkey and there he is. If there are any other donkeys about I am not responsible for them." Where are the bronks, Mack? inquired Dick of the hunter, who wasn't looking as amiable as he might. You can't lay it on Bay Billy this time." "No, it was my fault, though I'll bet Bay Billy was the ringleader. I thought my pony was safe to stay by the camp, and I reckoned the rest wouldn't leave him." How far do you think they have gone? There is no telling. They may have gone all the way to the mining camp, though it's more likely they are somewhere in this valley. I'll stuff something to eat in my pocket and be off. You can look for me tomorrow, or the next day at latest."

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CHAPTER XIII TOM BUSTED THE WHOLE CAMP IT took more than half a day, with the doctor as taxidermist and Ned and Dick as assistants, to prepare the buck's head and antlers for mounting, and the mid-day meal was late. As they sat down to it Fanny gave a few welcoming barks, and soon Mack was seen coming up the ravine riding his own bronco and driving the others before him. Where did you find them, Mack? hailed the doctor as soon as the hunter was within hearing. "Right where the trail from the Needles comes into the valley. Lucky I found them last night, for they might have taken that trail this morning." Did you have any trouble bringing them in? Not a bit, but I lost some time looking for a better way out of here. You couldn't carry those antlers through that belt of aspen, the way we came, without splitting the skull and packing them spoon fashion." When dinner had been eaten it was decided to start at once, hoping to reach the trail to the mining camp before dark. The antlers were lashed saddle-wise upon the back of the hunter's bronco as being the steadiest in the bunch and least likely to break off the points that extended far beyond his sides. The burro lfl4

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TOM BUSTED THE WHOLE CAMP could only carry his pack-saddle, and by the time the skin of the grizzly and of the buck, the venison and the trout, and the tent, blanket and other stores had been packed on the other beasts, there wasn't much room for the riders. Mack led and his pony followed closely, only needing attention when crossing the as pen belt, where the bronco's judgment of the dis tances between certain trees, at times needed con firmation. Fanny brought up the rear of the proces sion, with the donkey just in advance of her. When he lingered on the trail she snapped at his heels, upon which he turned his head backward, and with his long ears aimed at her, considered for a moment whether duty called on him to kick her little head off, or obey her behests. Usually he decided on the latter course, for he was really fond of the dog. That night Gambler and the doctor's ponies were held by knots that Billy couldn't untie, and were there fore on hand for an early start in the morning. It was afternoon when the cavalcade reached the min ing camp, where Bascombe welcomed them as warmly as if he had been glad to see them. The next morn ing Ned said to Dr. Brown : If you have got to leave us, as you say, Mack must go with you as far as N eedleton. He is on to the curves of that wicked trail, and perhaps he can get his pony, with your antlers aboard, around Dead Man's Point." "Now, Dick," said Ned, after the doctor had de parted, "it's time to get after Bascombe and put him through the third degree. The assay stuff hasn't come

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126 DICK AMONG THE MINERS and there hasn't a blessed thing been done m this camp since we left." "Easy, Ned, easy. We knew that nothing would be done, and that he wanted us to go hunting to give him an excuse for doing nothing. He'll give us rea sons, all right, and likely he will put the blame on us." Don't you ever get tired, Dick, of letting him think that he is pulling the wool over our eyes ? "Tired all the time, Ned, only I'd feel a heap worse if I thought he was really doing it." You are not afraid of that? I don't know what I am afraid of. Bas combe is too big a man to be just pushing us off, day by day, to gain a little time, unless he has some big club up his sleeve that he is waiting for a chance to use. We have got to lay low, and not let him suspect us till we have to, and I am afraid that time will come before we are ready." You like to nose out a mystery, Dicky. You are like the Irish member of Parliament who shouted, I smell a rat, I see him floating in the air, but, mark me, Sir, I shall nip him in the bud.' Now all the mystery is that Bascombe is hired by this Guggins to make father think through us that the camp is no good so that Guggins Gee, what a name can buy it cheap. He doesn't think that we know any thing of assaying, and he believes that all that work can be made to pass through his hands." And the mill-run, and the assayer at work under our eyes?"

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TOM BUSTED THE WHOLE CAMP U'1 "All dead easy. This Dr. Kelly may be the Keeley Motor man, or any other kind of fraud, and the whole milling works belong to Goggins, or Guggins, or whatever his name may be." Do you want to declare war now ? I don't see what is to be gained by waiting, and I'd like to begin the fight now and have it over." "So would I, Ned, just as much as you, but I am not so sure that it would be over so quickly." "Not when I produce the authority of the owner and bounce Bascombe? Suppose he denies your authority and refuses to go?" A telegram to father would set in motion what ever force, state or national, was required to main tain his rights." "Suppose Guggins has influence in Denver or Washington. It might mean a big, big fight. If there is danger of that, your father knows it, and we are here to get ammunition for it, and not to precipitate the conflict. We have some evidence, but we have got here comes Bascombe; watch him try to fool us." I was sorry you went away in such a hurry, Mr. Barstow, for I wanted to find from what mines you wished the mill-runs made," said the superintendent as he entered the rooms where the boys were talking. "I have talked it over with Mr. Williams," replied Ned, "and we have selected four mines for the mill run, beginning with the Black Giant." "What attracted you to that mine? It has never done well in the past."

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ms DICK AMONG THE MINERS We heard that, but we wondered why so much work had been done on it if it was worthless. Those two long tunnels on different levels must have cost a lot of money to drive." "\i\Tebber did waste a lot on it. He was daft on the subject." "We want to see if there was method in his mad ness. The next one that interests us is the Iowa." What do you know about the Iowa? exclaimed Bascombe. Mighty little," said Ned, but it has got the big gest dump pile, and is kept boarded up, and that makes us curious. Then everything circles around it. The whole plateau is called the Iowa Basin, the divide that leads to it is called the Iowa Divide, though it leads to a dozen other mines in the same territory." But that isn't the Iowa Divide, though Webber's people called it so. It is really the Mount Hope Di vide. But what others have you chosen?" The Mayflower and the Black Horse, the first because it is the sweetest wildflower in our part of the country, and the last because the map shows its alti tude to be the greatest in the camp, and because there is always a chance for a dark horse." You have made an amusing selection, but the reasons for your choice are more entertaining than scientific." "We want to live up to the reputation you have given the camp, that every mine that has been worked is worthless." Is that your view, Mr. Williams? I supposed you

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TOM BUSTED THE WHOLE CAMP U9 desired to develop something valuable in the prop erty." Mr. Barstow didn't grub-stake us for a prospect ing tour. He sent us here to find out, if we could, what value, if any, had been developed by Webber in this camp." That won't take long," replied the superintendent but he looked thoughtfully at Dick as he spoke. When do you expect the assaying apparatus, Mr. Bascombe? inquired Ned. I hoped we would find it here. The assay office ought to be ready when your miners arrive." There was trouble in finding all that we wanted in Silverton. The furnace and muffles had to be sent for Then I hear that Professor Kelly may be de layed longer than he thought, and the office will be of no use until he comes. Indeed, it ought to be fitted up under his supervision." He will have to get busy, then, for that building can't wait." "What can you do about it?" "I can go to Silverton, and if I can't find men there with some hustle to them, I'll wire till I get them from Durango Denver, or New York if necessary." That would mean a big expense which I should not be authorized to audit." It will not be necessary, for father will pay all costs direct from his pocket, instead of through the regular organization." Bascombe walked away, evidently holding his tongue in leash, but at dinner he announced that he was go-

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130 DICK AMONG THE MINERS ing to Silverton on business, and that when there, he would call on some mining friends who might help him to the furnace and muffles needed. After he had gone Ned asked : "Do you think, Dick, that I gave away too much in my talk to Bascombe. I am afraid I was too angry to be prudent.''. You were just right, and I don't believe you ex cited any suspicion that didn't exist before. You only showed a natural indignation at the easy-going ways of his agents. He showed that he didn't want a break yet, and he was really scared at the idea of your bringing in experts from outside." That is the way it looked to me and I suspect that furnace will be forthcoming in a hurry." You bet. It will be here to-morrow sure as you are a foot high," said Dick, who was given to venting his superfluous slang on his more decorous-speaking companion. Now we will clear up the assay build ing for business. And there come Mack and Tim, just in time to be impressed for the work." While the building was being cleared of its accumu lation of stores and rubbish, Dick said to Tim: You have got oodles of bully pipe for a chimney, but only half of it is up. Why is that?" There ain't nothin' to hold it up. Mr. Webber hadn't time to bother with assays and Bascombe don't want none." Assays are going to be made, Tim, and I want you and Mack to light into those woods and get out as straight a pole as you can find, forty feet long and

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TOM BUSTED THE WHOLE CAMP lSl about six inches across the top. By the time you have got that worked out nicely and the ponies have hauled it here, we will be ready for you." As the miners started away, well pleased with their new job, Dick caught a grin on the face of Tom, the boy chef of the camp. "Here, you Tom," he called to him, "jump on Bay Billy and hump yourself over to the Black Giant and bring back with you the miners who are at work there." Tom returned in an hour with two sturdy looking miners, who looked askance at Dick, as if doubtful whether to obey his orders or to refuse. "What is your name?" asked Dick of one of them. Frank," was the reply. Well, Frank, I want you to take that pick and shovel and dig a hole where I have marked, about two feet across and four feet deep." Looks pretty rocky there." "Anything that you can't get out with pick or bar, you can blast, but the hole must go down where I have marked it, right at the end of the building." As the man began to dig, Dick turned to the other, miner, saying: Take that tackle over to that big tree and fasten the block to it. Then loosen out the pulleys as far-" I don't know as I'm called on to take orders from you,'' interrupted the man. You can take my orders or take your time, which ever you please," said Dick quietly, and the miner went to work. When the job had been done he was curtly told to

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS go into the woods and get out two poles each fifteen feet long by four inches in diameter. By the time this had been accomplished, the hole was finished and Mack and Tim had the big pole on the ground. The butt was placed on the edge of the hole, with the top point ing away from the big tree to which the block and tackle was fastened. The smaller poles were lashed together near the end, forming shears over which ran a rope that was fastened to the middle of the big pole, the other end leading to the hook in the tackle-block. Smaller poles were cut and nails fixed in their ends, after which Gambler, hitched to the rope that ran through the tackle-blocks, and led by Tom, hauled slowly, while the men lifted the top of the pole. As it rose beyond their reach it was steadied by the pike poles, until it was nearly vertical, when it dropped with a thud to the bottom of the hole. There was a spontaneous cheer from the men on the job, which made Ned as pleased as Punch, and though Dick tried to look indifferent, the attempt was hardly a howling success. After the pole had been straightened and rock and earth stamped around it, Dick said to the miner-boy: Do you know why I didn't wire that pipe to the pole before putting it up? Reckon you thought I could climb it after it was up." You are on, Tom, go ahead! Tom swarmed up the pole and clung to it while he hauled up length after length of pipe and wired it to the pole

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TOM BUSTED THE WHOLE CAMP 133 "Tom is doing good work up there," said Ned to Mack, who was watching him. "Tom is a good boy, but he is low in his mind, and he isn t very popular just now." "What has he done?" He busted the whole camp, himself too, while we were gone hunting." How could he do that?" Tom is a sport, and he has got sporty friends, and one of 'em gave him the double ctoss. It was this way: Tom has a friend who was matched with an other fellow for a hundred-yard dash, best two in three. It came off in Silverton the day after we left. The fellow told Tom, on the dead quiet, of course, that the race was fixed and the other fellow had been paid to throw it. Tom told everybody in camp what a sure thing he had, and when he went down to see the race run, he took every dollar that could be raised in camp. He was so sure of winning that he bet every dollar in his jeans, not even saving out the price of a ticket home. His friend lost in two straight heats, and Tom walked most all night to get back to camp." What did the miners who had lost their money say?" One only laughed, that was John Burnett, one was mad at Tom, and one wanted to draw lots to decide who should go to Silverton and kill Tom s friend." When the boy's work on the chimney was finished, Ned said to him : I hear, Tom, that while we were away you lost all the money of the camp on a race."

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134 DICK AMONG THE MINERS "I sure did, but I was honest, 'deed I was," and the boy's eyes filled with tears. I know that, of course, Tom, and I never thought anything else, but I was wondering if you thought bet ting paid." I know it don't, Mi:. Barstow, and I was a fool, but the blamed skunk double-crossed me." How much money did you lose? Of my own? "Yes." I lost twelve dollars of my own money, but about sixty of the other fellers'." Are you going to bet on any more races? "You can bet I ain't." "Tom, I want to buy your promise not to bet on a race for a year." You can have it for nothin' and glad to give it, too." I don't want it that way. I want to buy it and pay money for it." What do you want to pay? I will give you twelve dollars for your promise not to bet on any race for a year." "You can have the promise all right, but I'd like to know what makes you so good to me when I ain't done nothing for you? I only wanted to try an experiment, Tom, and maybe I can tell you about it sometime." It was a thoughtful boy that walked into the cabin to get supper, and Dick, who was watching him, turned to Ned, saying:

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TOM BUSTED THE WHOLE CAMP 135 I can tell you now how your experiment will turn out." Are you sure you know what it is? I know you, and though at first I did think that you pitied the boy and wanted to get him out of the dumps, yet before you were half through the palaver I knew what you were at." You know what I want and you think I am going to lose?" Lose nothing! You have won already. I can see it in the boy's face. He is mulling over it now, and he will make a clean breast of it t o you by break fast time tomorrow." Dick proved to be a prophet, for when, with Ned, he entered the room in which Tom was whistling mer rily as he prepared the breakfast, the boy called out: "Got a favor to ask of you, Mr. Barstow." "Fire ahead, Tom." "Do you care what I do with the money you gave me?" I didn't give you any money, Tom. I thought you understood that." I mean, do you care what I do with the money you paid me for my promise not to bet? Yes, Tom, I do care, and I should be sorry to hear that you wanted to bet it on a race." "I don't mind your makin' fun, Mr. Barstow, but I want to know this serious. I've been thinkin' it all out. I lost seventy-two dollars, honest. Then I got back twelve of 'em. That's one d o llar in every six dollars. Ain't but two dollars of that money mine,

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136 DICK AMONG THE MINERS Mr. Barstow, no ways I can figger. They stood in for their share of the losin's and I can't hog all the winnin 's. I'll be ever so much obliged, Mr. Barstow, if you'll let me whack up square with the fellows for if you don't, I can't take a dollar. I'd feel too mean." Why, Tom, you don t seem to understand yet. That money was yours, you earned it, and you have a perfect right to give it away or throw it away, any thing but bet with it. You can spend it, or invest it, and Tom, I think that what you want to d o with it is just the best investment you can make. I wanted you to do it, and that is why I tried the experiment that I said I might tell you about sometime." There were more tears in the b o y's eyes as Ned's purpose filtered through his understanding, but Dick took his companion outside and upbraided him You accuse me of being a mystery lover and a sen timentalist, and then you try experiments on a poor boy and mix him up mentally till he can't walk straight, and you dissect his emoti o ns and tempt him to be unjust to his comrades just to see whether he is honest or not, and you win his gratitude by tormenting him. Now look at me. I knew the boy was square through and through, and I didn t have to tempt him to find out that he was honest, and I told you I knew what the result of your experiment would be. I had faith in him and proved it and you didn't and didn't, but the reward of his gratitude is laid at your feet, while I am forgotten." Come in to breakfast, Dicky. The world will look brighter to you after you eat."

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CHAPTER XIV ENGINEERING THAT AMAZES THE CAMP JIMINY CRICKETS! Here comes an army of invasion, Ned," and Dick pointed across the gulch just west of the cabin. Bascombe was riding his own pony and was fol lowed by two mules with large packs, while stringing behind came a score of men. Have I hustled enough to suit you, Mr. Bar stow? laughingly asked the superintendent, as he rode up to the cabin door at the head of the proces sion. "It looks as if you had done pretty well," replied Ned. What did you bring, beside men? I've got everything needed for the assay work, furnace, muffles, scorifiers, cupels, etc., etc." "We reckoned on that, and we have got the pipe up and the building ready." I see," was the somewhat grim reply. Did you bring fuel for the furnace ? "The professor prefers charcoal for that, and said it could be made right on the place. He will be here next week to attend to it." He will find it ready for him when he comes. I'll have the pit prepared and the wood burning fore night." 131

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138 DICK AMONG THE MINERS But I want my men to get started on the mining and to keep at it." So do I, and I won't put a straw in their way. I will use some of the old Webber men for my work, those whom you say are no good at mining." Where did you learn to burn charcoal? Chiefly through books, though I have seen charcoal pits, and I understand the theory of the process. We may fail the first time, but we will hit it the second." "I have no doubt you will and you may be able to help the professor in his assaying." I shall be glad to, if I can. I don't suppose you brought apparatus for volumetric analysis of the ores?" "No, I don't approve of the method." Why not? Isn't it accurate enough? "Trouble is the other way. It is too accurate. It shows all the silver that is in the ore, which is more than can be got out of it commercially. The assay process shows how much can be got out by smelting. If you buy a mine on the basis of the precious metals that are in it, you may go broke when you sell on the basis of what can be taken out of it." Isn't that a tent that I see on that mule? Yes, it's for the men who will work on the Black Giant. I don't want them to lose time coming here for their meals." How about those working on the Iowa and May flower, which are twice as far away?" There is lumber enough at the Iowa to knock up all the shelter they need. There is a cook in each

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ENGINEERING THAT AMAZES 199 party. I am going to take them to their quarters now with what stores we can carry. We can send over more as needed, but the men will be at work tomorrow and we ought to be ready for Shack s burro train in a week." After the superintendent had left for the mines with his men, Ned and Dick got their forces at work. Bur nett had come over from his cabin and joined the gang. Mack and Tim wielded picks, while Burnett and Tom made the dirt fly with shovels. Once they came to a rock that called for a blast, and Dick de manded that Ned hold the drill while he swung the sledge. Ned did his duty faith fully, holding the drill steadily and giving it a quarter turn between the strokes. But when Dick handed him the sledge and taking the drill in his own hands shouted: Lay on, Macduff!'" Ned showed the white feather, and his blows were of the feeblest, despite ridicule that Dick heaped upon him. "Are you beating time for a funeral march, Ned, or are you practicing Italian penmanship, 'up strokes heavy and down strokes light '?" I am trying to keep it from being your funeral march. I am afraid of killing you with this big ham mer, if I turn it loose." Yet confidence slowly came to him, and at last a creditable hole was drilled, in which half a stick .of dynamite was placed. Dick had inserted a fuse in the cartridge, after crimping upon it with his teeth, in true suicidal miner fashion, a fulminate cap capable of near-blowing-off his head. The rock was shattered

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140 DICK AMONG THE MINERS by the blast and the fragments easily removed, and soon afterward Bascombe, riding homeward, looked upon a trench twelve feet long, four feet wide and four deep. Who are you going to bury in that long grave? was the sarcastic question of the superintendent as he passed. "A snake," was the answer flashed back by Dick, which was scarcely prudent, even if true. The trench was filled from the pile of well-seasoned wood, with sticks placed in the shape of an inverted V, rising to a point two feet above the level of the sur rounding ground. A small air space was left in the middle of the trench, running from end to end, and a fire started at one end. Earth and turf was heaped upon the structure until, excepting for a few small openings through which the smoke oozed lazily, it was entirely sealed. The night was divided into watches, so that one man was always on duty, ready to smother the burst of flame or check the too free issue of smoke with a shovelful of earth. "You have done a good job," said Bascombe, who was disposed to be ingratiating that evening I don't believe the professor could have improved upon it himself, although he is an expert. It will be quite a saving of his time." I shall be very glad of that. Did you get your men settled comfortably? replied Ned. Pretty well. They will begin work tomorrow, and I will go with you whenever you like, to show you the work."

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ENGINEERING THAT AMAZES 141 It won't be necessary to trouble you, for we shall be running in to look at their work most of the time," replied Ned. I think it may be better for you to have me with you. They are a rather rough lot and not used to having more than one boss." "They won't be rough after you tell them that the work is being done for us, that our money pays their wages and that we expect to watch what is going on every minute that we can spare." They won't believe that men as young as you own this property." If you can't make them understand that we rep resent the owner and are going to examine the mines in our own way and at our own times, stopping their work if we choose and when we choose, you had better bounce them and hire others with at least the intelli gence of an average idiot." You don t understand me," said the superintend ently suavely. You can, of course, do whatever you please, and I was only anxious to save you from the annoyance of dealing with rough, coarse people, with whom one in your station of life can have little in common." We have plenty in common with them, and we don't in the least miss their lack of social veneer if they will do what we ask, even if it is to blast out country rock instead of good ore." Bascombe's face flushed and his eyes flashed, but he controlled himself as he turned away. "You bearded the lion in his den, last night, Neddy,"

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS said his companion as they rode toward the Black Giant mine the next morning. "His claws were unsheathed for a second, and I thought he was going to strike, but he drew them in quickly." I don't care how soon he strikes. I am tired of waiting for the blow." He fought hard to keep us out of his camp. I wonder if he was afraid that some of his people would give away his game? He is making these mines look like hostile camps, by keeping the men away from the regular mining cabin and herding them in barracks." They are hostile camps, Ned, with every man in them armed." What makes you think that? "I suspected it from the look of them, and then I drifted round among them, and saw the bulge of a re volver in every man's hip-pocket. They didn't take any trouble to hide them. The butts of the weapons showed plainly to any one who stood near them." I never supposed that miners were in the habit of carrying weapons." They are not, Ned, and this crowd is here for something besides mining. There are more of them than can work to advantage in the tunnels from which the ore is to be taken." They might work night shifts." I think I see Bascombe proposing that. He is more likely to invite them to sleep days than to ask them tc work nights."

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ENGINEERING THAT AMAZES 148 What do you think is his little game? I think he is making a desperate effort to fool us about the value of the property. He can get false assays made or play hanky-panky with the specimens. If he can't get those burros loaded with country rock he will bribe the sampling works to make false re turns." How will he gel around the assay work in the office here ? That is worrying him. Of course, the Kelly fel low is his tool, and can do anything if he isn't watched, but our standing around will make him nerv ous, and he can't play the Injun medicine man and tell us that the evil spirits in the silver are strong and will turn us into roosters if we don't watch out." Don't you suppose he suspects that we know some thing of assaying? Sure I do, and he is afraid of your questions and the way you bring him to book when he opposes what you want. He knows that the first assay will take off the lid and show up the Judas game." What can he do when that is shown up and he has lost all authority? Then will come the fight, and he is preparing for it now. I wish I knew under whose banner he will serve." You think Guggins is the man, don't you? Guggins, of course, but I wonder how many and whom he stands for." At the Black Giant the boys received a shock which sent Dick to delving into his imagination. .For they

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144' DICK AMONG THE MINERS were courteously greeted by the acting foreman and invited to examine the workings. The miner apolo gized for their condition and explained that a blast had been recently fired and the nitro-glycerine fumes had not entirely escaped. I thought there were four of you at work here and I only see two," said Ned. "The other two are down below timber-line, getting fuel for the ventilator." That stove is your ventilator? Yes, Mr. Barstow. You see this pipe that runs from the breast of the tunnel leads into the pipe of this little sheet-iron stove. That chimney, running twenty feet in the air, carries a strong current of heated air, which sucks air from the pipe leading from the tunnel. That draws fro m the breast of the tunnel, the foul air, which is replaced by fresh air, flowing in at the mouth of the tunnel. It doesn't work very well, but it is the best we can do." I shouldn t think it did work well. The fumes in the tunnel have given me a splitting headache," an swered Ned. I am very sorry, sir," said the miner, but Dick caught a gleam in his eye that implied that his grief was not likely to prove fatal. As they left the mine Dick, speaking suddenly, said to the miner : Mr. Bascombe told you this morning that it would be a fortnight or more before the burro train would be here?" "He said it wouldn't -I don't remember, sir."

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ENGINEERING THAT AMAZES 145 It isn't of any importance. Good day. "Butter wouldn't melt in that miner's mouth. What do you s'pose Bascombe said to him to make him so meek ? Are you sure Bascombe has seen him since our last night's talk? asked Ned. "Just as sure as I am that Bascombe will deny it." The superintendent was on hand for dinner with the observation that he had left the cabin at daylight to get over to the Iowa early to be sure that the miners were working as he had directed I am going to the Black Giant this afternoon to give them a shake-up there. I couldn't do both this morning." We have been there this morning, and the work does need shaking up, but it may not be the fault of the foreman," said Ned. He explained that the nitro-glycerine fumes troubled them a good deal be cause the ventilating apparatus worked so badly." He is a good man, and he knows," commented Bascombe, and I hope he treated you as he ought. I meant to get over there before you and let him un derstand that you represented the owners, and that whatever you ordered must be done." It didn't seem necessary," interposed Dick. The foreman was just as polite as if you had already seen him. But he isn't working to advantage. It isn't sense to drill one shallow hole in the morning and after setting off a single blast wait half a day for the fumes to escape. Why doe .sn't he fill the breast with drill

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146 DICK AMONG THE MINERS holes and fire the blasts in a bunch at the end of the day? And what makes you stand for that miserable imitation of a ventilator?" There was a baleful gleam in Bascombe s eyes as he sought to crush Dick with his satire. That miserable imitation of a ventilator' was in stalled by your Webber friend before I came here. Perhaps you would suggest putting in a blower with an engine to run it?" "Not when power was running to waste right out of the mouth of the mine." Oh, that little stream of water? Then you mean to run the blower by a turbine ? If you will make out specifications and Mr. Barstow will give his written approval, I will order the machinery." It won't be necessary to order any machinery." Perhaps," said the superintendent, with killing sarcasm, you will undertake to install a ventilating system that will draw the foul air from the breast of that two-hundred-foot tunnel?" I will not only do it, but I will finish up the job tomorrow," replied Dick. What help will you want? Mack and Tim will be enough, the men who are no good as miners." Ned was aghast at the absurdity of Dick's offer, and looked for more sarcasm from the superintendent, but Bascombe was not an ordinary man, and he became silent and thoughtful, almost anxious, Ned thought. I hope you know what you are doing, Dick, but I

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ENGINEERING THAT AMAZES 147 can't imagine what you have up your sleeve," said Ned, with apprehension in his tone, when the chance came to speak privately to his companion. I'll tell you, of course, if you ask me to, but I would rather wait till we are on the ground tomorrow. I am sure it will work, but I am nervous about it, all the same." Dicky, I'm sure it will work, too, and I am bet ting on you and I am not a bit nervous, though I ex pect to die of curiosity before morning." Curiosity was rife in the camp, and Tom, whose clock must have been half an hour fast, to judge from the time he served breakfast, put in a petition for a half-holiday to visit the Black Giant mine, and even Bascombe, who gave the boy leave of absence, looked as if he would like to go with him. Dick spoke never a word during the ride from the cabin to the mine, but when the Black Giant was reached, his words were plenty and to the point. Mack, you see that little stovepipe that runs about thirty-five feet up the side of the cliff, and you see the tee that connects the horizontal pipe from the tunnel with the vertical stovepipe? I want you to take away the stove with the five feet of pipe just above it and including the tee." After the st o ve and pipe had been removed Dick continued: Now foosen and lower that pipe that runs thirty five feet straight up from the top of the tunnel till it runs thirty-five feet strajght down from the bottom of the tunnel."

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148 DICK AMONG THE MINERS That's my job, Mr. Williams," exclaimed Tom. I'm the only fell er here that can loosen those wires up there and fasten 'em again down below without breakin' his neck." Tom got the job he asked for and climbed on tiny ledges and stuck his toes in little crevices, while Tim and Mack steadied the pipe from below the tunnel level. Fixing the lowered pipe in place was not dif ficult, for the bottom of it nearly reached firm ground and Tim held it from below, while Tom wired it to projecting rocks and to plugs which he drove into crevices. The work was accomplished in half an hour without mishap, excepting that Tim and Tom were drenched by splashings from the stream that flowed from the tunnel. It is my turn now," exclaimed Ned, for I see the game at last," and he took from the stove the five feet of pipe that were left, with an elbow at one end and a tee at the other. He fitted the tee to the top of the long pipe so that its side opening lay on the tunnel floor, and he slipped the elbow over the end of the pipe that extended out from the top of the tunnel. He thinks the gas is goin' to come out o' the tun nel and drop dowp the pipe," sneered one of the four Bascombe men who were watching the work. Shut up, you idiot!" came from the foreman whose politeness had excited Dick's suspicion the day before. "That young feller knows more than the whole bunch of us." "Now, Tom," and there was a joyful ring in hilt

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ENGINEERING THAT AMAZES 149 voice, "you have done brave work for us and the honor of starting the machine is yours. Turn that stream into that pipe! And the boy whose faith was bursting into life, though his knowledge lagged, sprang to the task, blocking the path of the water with fragments of rock, puddling it with the mud-like product of the drill, and building a basin for the diverted stream, that enclosed the mouth of the tee. As the water rose there came a trickle and splash, followed by a bubbling, a low roar and hissing of afr where a pipe joint was ill-fitting. There was a rush to the breast of the tunnel by all but Dick, and the miners lit matches and then their pipes and watched the smoke drift more and more quickly toward the ventilating pipe in which it plunged. Tom came dancing out of the tunnel saying: "It's more fun than Fourth o' July, Mr. Williams, and the fellers in there all think you are it When Ned came out of the tunnel he brought the startling news that the Bascombe miners were so anxi ous to see if the new ventilator would carry off the fumes that they had gone to work and were drilling to get ready for a blast. As the boys approached the cabin Ned remarked : You didn't speak a word, Dick, on the way to the Black Giant, but coming home you made up a good average for the round trip." Dick's reply was to lift his lariat from the pommel of his saddle and let out a loop sufficient for the lassooing of his companion, but by the time he was ready his companion was at home.

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CHAPTER XV BASCOMBE SHOWS THE CLOVEN FOOT BREAKFAST was half-finished when Mr. Bas combe entered the cabin, saying: I had to go to N eedleton yesterday and I remained all night. I have brought you mail and express mat ter. By the way, Mr. Williams, may I ask how the ventilating apparatus is working? I haven't heard this morning, Mr. Bascombe, but it seemed to be working well enough yesterday morn ing." "'Well enough!'" sputtered the indignant Tom. Why, Mr. Bascombe, you never saw anything like it. The miners say they have to chain their drills to the breast to save them from being pulled into the pipe." "I am afraid I am slow of comprehension, Mr. Williams. You spoke of yesterday morning. Was your work finished yesterday morning? Finished yesterday morning," echoed Ned with poorly suppressed glee, adding: It was completed in an hour, from material on the ground, and Tom did most of the work." What is the power that pumps out the air? You may not call it pumping, but the stream of water of which we spoke provides the power." Mr. Bascombe was silent for a moment, and then 150

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BASCOMBE SHOWS THE CLOVEN FOOT 151 spoke with an earnestness of tone and manner that Dick always afterward tried to recall when he wanted to think well o f the man. I understand, Mr. Williams, what I was a dolt not to ha v e s een before. You have been applying the principle of the Sprengel's air pump to the prob lem. There was that water falling before our eyes ready, if a s ked, to drag the foul air of the mine with it, with a pulling power of fifteen pounds to the square inch and n o ne o f us saw it till y o u p o inted it out. I have wasted a good deal of sarcasm in my underrat ing of you, a mistake which I hope not to make again." When do you expect Professor Kelly, Mr. Bas combe?" Oh, he will be along one of these days. You can under s tand that I have lost some of my interest in him. But here is your mail which is probably more interesting than mines, saying which the superin tendent left the room and was soon seen riding to ward the Black Giant mine. What have you been saying about me, Ned? exploded Dick, as with heightened color he read from a bit of paper that was pinned to a silken scarf, gor geous in its hue of deep crimson. Let me see that paper. If you don't I'll write and get a copy of it! and Dick reluctantly showed him the lines which read," I am sending you this trifle in token of the pride I feel in the beautiful u se you made of the other one It's just as I expected, Dicky. I give up a nice

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152 DICK AMONG THE MINERS clean scarf to tie the wounds of an abandoned trout dynamiter, and I get no credit and lose my scarf, but you give up an old worn out scarf that ought to have been called in long ago, and back comes a personally embroidered article with compliments that belonged to me half of them anyhow." "Why don't you open that little package that you just slipped into your pocket? You might find con solation in that." Oh, that was nothing of any consequence." Then let me open it for you." Thank you, but I think I'll unpack my own goods, besides I have something else to think of." Better take your thinker apart and oil it, for I am afraid it's pretty rusty." Another bit of impertinence like that and you don't get the big news that's coming to you if you behave." "What is it, Neddy? I only meant to do you a kindness and I apologize for that, so trot out the big news." We are going to have guests! Now guess who they are." I haven't any imagination, Ned, but might his name be Teddy?" No, her name isn't Teddy. What would you say to a visit from Molly? Molly Barstow! I hope, Neddy, you don't get violent when you have these attacks. If you get in the habit of wildly like that you are liable to find yourself in a straight jacket."

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BASCOMBE SHOWS THE CLOVEN FOOT 153 "But of course she will be chaperoned," added Ned. Of course! Probably the Queen of Sheba will get the contract? Miss Moore is coming with her." Oh, I began to see method in your madness. Perchance Miss Lura Moore will accompany her aunt to assist in chaperoning your sister? I believe that is the plan. I am afraid, Ned, that we ought to stop their com ing. At least you must write the latest developments to your father so that he may judge of the danger." There can't be any danger to girls, Dick, and what developments are you thinking of? I am thinking of the twenty armed men that the enemy have sent into the camp and of Bascombe's covert declaration of war." "I can't feel that Bascombe arranged to bring in armed men. He got hold of a rough crowd that hap pens to carry revolvers. What could he do with bandits in a land of law?" "Bandits may act under color of law." "How about Bascombe s of war? I haven't heard of it." Didn't you notice the significanqe of his tone when he said that he wouldn't underrate us again and that he had lost interest in Kelly the assayer?" How do you interpret those Delphic utterances? That he has given up the hope of deceiving us by false assays and is preparing for the alternati v e of taking possessi o n of the property by force. Of course he will carry through this trial shipment with

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154 DICK AMONG THE MINERS its bogus returns and falsify assays, to gain time un til those behind him are ready for the blow that will be struck, sooner or later." How can I write to father of fancies as wild as yours? He is a practical man, Dick, and he would send out an alienist to examine me mentally or else advise me to 'ware late suppers as conducive to night mare." "Neddy, you don't know your father. Just give him the raw facts and he will do the embellishing. I'll bet you the Rocky Mountains against the Wash ington monument that his imagination has gone be yond mine and that he is surer of the contest that is coming than I." "Would he send Molly here if he thought there were danger ? Of cour s e he doesn't think there is any danger to her and it probably means that he is coming out here himself." It means that Molly has made up her mind to see these mines and when she has settled on a thing like that, it is only a question of the diplomacy neces sary to bring it about." I s uppose she wants to see her long-lost brother? To think of your fishing like that. Molly hasn't been showing special interest in me of late by sending me s carfs or otherwise." When do you expect them? No telling. They might come any day or not for a week or two. The next mail may enlighten us.

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BASCOMBE snows THE CLOVEN FOOT 15!) Shall you tell Bascombe of your expected guests?" "' What do you think about it? I should tell him. Better be as frank as you can. That is the way he is going to treat us. One of these days we will be playing the game with the cards on the table." I hope we will have some good ones in reserve when that happens." What a disgraceful wish. It is only the Ah Sins, the Heathen Chinees, that carry cards in their sleeves." When Bascombe returned, bringing samples that he said were from the Iowa and Mayflower mines : Ned told him of the proposed visit. The superin tendent showed no surprise and his face masked every emotion as he commented: It is a pretty rough country for ladies, but we will do our best to make them comfortable. If you can suggest any dainties or stores that would con tribute to their comfort I will search Silverton for them as I must go there in the morning." I can't think of a thing, Mr. Bascombe, for they get more luxuries than are good for them and they will enjoy our simple living immensely." "I trust your father will join them here even if he cannot come with them. It would be a great sat isfaction to me to have him look over the property for himself." He certainly won't come witii the ladies and he has made no intimation of coming later."

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156 DICK AMONG THE MINERS Can you tell me, Mr. William s when you will be ready to open your charcoal pit? I may see Professor Kelly and I want him on hand as soon as he can be of service to you." I should think it might be finished in five or six days, but I am not a professional charc oal burner, you know." You are not a professional mechanical engineer, while I was educated for one, yet in sporting parlance y o u 'wiped my eye' with your Sprengel device." I never dreamed of your being a mechanical en gineer, or I should have been less confident in adopt ing a device that hadn't occurred to you." "I may have lacked something of frankness and you may have thought of me as working against you, but you can be assured that in any contest I should be far happier with you on my side than to know that you were opposing me." Mr. Bascombe, we are enlisted heart and soul in the interest of Mr. Barstow. Are we opposing you, in working for him? Are you frank enough to say yes or no to that question?" If you already know the answer it is unnecessary for me to repeat it, while if you don't, it may be im politic for me to make it." That is frank enough for a declaration of war, and I am glad to have it in the open." But even in the open, commercial war doesn't consi s t in making faces like children or beating tom toms in the Chinese fashion." But it is war, just the same, with quarter neither

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BASCOMBE SHOWS THE CLOVEN FOOT 157 asked nor given," said Ned with indignation in his tone. As Bascombe left the cabin the next morning with smiling farewells, Dick said reflectively," It is his next move and he has gone to make it." What do you suppose started him off in such a hurry? Was it your declaration of war? Not a bit of it, for there was nothing new in that. We only gave a name to what we all recog nized before It was you who started him off." What did I do? You told him of your sister's coming, and he jumped at the conclusion that sooner or later your father would join her. Did you notice that he put in his reply to you, the statement that he must go to Silverton the next morning? I wonder where he did go!" I can send Tom down to N eedleton to get an express package that ought to be there." "Is the package from Huyler's? Send by all means and we will combine business with pleasure. And to make it interesting I'll bet my share of the candy against yours that Bascombe has gone south instead of to Silverton and that he won't return with in less than three days." Ned would have lost if he had made the bet, which he didn't, for it was four days before the superin tendent returned. The boys visited the mines where the men were supposed to be at work, expecting to find them soldiering, but they found real work going on. They collected samples of ore from all the work-

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1M DICR'. AMONG THE MINERS ings without objection by the foremen of the gangs. At the Black Giant, while the miners were eating their dinner, the foreman took Dick into the mine to show him the result of the latest blast. When they had reached the breast the miner asked Dick : Do your people own this camp? "They surely do." Keep your eyes peeled for trouble. There's other people wants it and they say they've got the law with 'em, but I believe what you tell me and if I can do anything to help you I'll do it. I'm drawin' big pay because there may be trouble, but I don't take pay to help steal a mine." You don't know who claim to own the mine? I heard they was big Denver men." When Bascombe returned at the end of four days he brought Professor Kelly with him but made no explanation of his protracted absence. Dick ac counted for this to Ned by saying," Bascombe doesn't waste a lie if he can help it and he knew we wouldn't believe any explanation he could invent, so he doesn't strain his imagination." I wonder why he brought Kelly so promptly in stead of staving it off for a week or so." That was because we told him that the coal pit might be ready to open in five or six days. So he brings Kelly in four. He suspects that when that coal is ready there will be some assaying done, Kelly or no Kelly." I am curious to see how Kelly will attempt to fool us. Probably he will refuse to let us touch the

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BASCOMBE SHOWS THE CLOVEN FOOT 159 ore or have any hand in the process of assaying. We will likely have a ruction with him before the first day's work is over." "I'm not making predictions," replied Dick. "I find that usually when I make up my mind to find certain qualities in a man I don't find them. We may find Kelly the most easy-going fellow we ever saw," which was about what happened. Kelly stood by while the coal pit was being opened and made running comments :" Don't see what you wanted of me in making charcoal, if you can do work like that. Where did you chaps learn the business? You have got nearly twenty-five bushels of as good charcoal as can be made from any wood that grows around here. Say, you man there, cover up that corner of the pit and smother that blaze If you watch out you can save a bushel of coal. Have you a good dry place to stow it? It will pick up a fifth of its weight in water while you are thinking about it. Where is the ore you want to assay? I'm just going along to see you do it. Then if the mine turns out a failure you won't blame it on the poor assayer." We would like to try the Iowa first," said Ned. All right. Where is it? Can't we go now? Kelly chattered with one or the other of the boys all the way to the mine. He rode carelessly, quite unnoticing when Bascombe's pony, which he was rid ing, shied, and entirely oblivious of the steep pitch of the Iowa Divide on which his pony alternately sat on his tail and stood on his head. When the Iowa was

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160 DICK AMONG THE MINERS reached the men were for stopping work, but Kelly ordered them to keep right on. "Now select your own samples, you and Mr. Will iams," advised the professor. Won't you help? asked Ned. Not much The men who fitted up the assay office, burned the charcoal, and installed the ventilat ing system in the Black Giant -for I heard all about that, and the way you wiped the eye of my friend Bascombe haven't anything to learn from a plug assayer out here in the wilderness." You are all wrong, Professor, for we have no experience with mines or mining and the Sprengel air pump idea would have occurred to any boy after a few months, or weeks, study of physics, while any child that had ever seen a charcoal pit couldn't make a mistake in the process if he tried." Tell you what I'll do," replied the professor. "I'll tell you what any expert of my acquaintance would do, short of deep drilling and explorations into surrounding territory, and then if you miss anything that occurs to me I will call your attention to it." That will be all right. How would your expert begin?" He might begin with the dump and select a few samples from widely separated points, he would cer tainly select half a dozen or more samples from the ore pile, and then chip off specimens from the face of the vein. I would suggest that first you watch the men drilling for a blast in the breast. When yon think the hole is deep enough, order them away, clean

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BASCOMBE SHOWS THE CLOVEN FOOT 161 out the drill hole yourself, put in a cartridge and fire the blast. Then take samples from the mineral blasted out, especially chipping off specimens from near the bottom of the drill hole. If you do that they can't fool you with a salted mine, especially if you watch me and see that I am not sifting gold dust over your bags of samples." "Thank you, Professor, for covering the ground so fully. We would have thought of some of the suggestions you made but probably missed the vital ones." Ned and Dick, with the professor, followed the tun nel to the breast by the dim light of a miner's candle which Kelly carried, and standing in the gloom watched the powerful swing of the heavy sledge with its tremendous impact on the slender drill which one of the miners held firmly with hands that were un trembling, though their owner knew that a faltering muscle, an error of hand or eye, would break their bones and smash flesh and muscle to pulp. A cry of Mud" by the holder of the drill told that the hole was being choked with the dust of the drill and the ponderous blows ceased to fall. The mud was scooped out with the spoon, striker and drill holder changed places and the game that held the boys spell bound went on. Finally as the blows ceased at the warning cry, Ned stepped forward, and taking from the miner's hand the spoon he had just picked up, said, We will fire this blast, if you please. You can wait outside."

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS There was an astonished look on the faces of the miners, but their orders must have been clear, for with a grin on his face, but without a word, the sweating wielder of the big sledge laid it down and walked toward the entrance of the mine. As Ned started to scoop the mud from the hole the miner who had re mained took a dynamite cartridge from his boot and handed it to the boy. Then taking a box of fulminat ing caps from his hip pocket, he selected one which he placed on the end of a length of fuse. With a half-smile he held the fuse out to Ned, who hesitated for an instant, upon which the miner took the end of the fuse with the cap on, in his mouth and with his teeth crimped the latter firmly upon the fuse. After cartridge and fuse had been placed in the drill hole and Dick was about to tamp it with dry s and from the drill, Kelly spoke to him in manner strangely unlike his former bantering mien : "Are you sure you know what you are doing and that you understand the danger? Don't make me a party to folly that imperils your lives." "That is all right, Professor. We know what we are doing and will join you outside in a minute." After the explosion had taken place, and while they were waiting for the fumes to dissipate Dick and Ned selected specimens from ore pile and dump carefully labeling them. When the miners thinking that the fumes were sufficiently dispelled to permit resumption of work, started for the tunnel Kelly or dered them back and said to Ned :" Don't let a man come near you till you are

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BASCOMBE SHOWS THE CLOVEN FOOT 16S through collecting your samples. You have got to suspect everybody. Mines are being salted around here every day in the year. Gold dust is fired into the veins from shotguns, and solutions of chloride of gold shot through the meshes of your sample bags from hypodermic needles." We ought not to be in danger after the warnings you have given us," laughed Dick. "My warnings will be useless unless you keep your eyes open and watch out for yourselves." The professor made the ride back to the cabin a merry one, with his quaint stories of mining life, of whose laughable experiences he always posed as the victim, and bits of sentiment suggesting how often laughter is closely allied to tears. The cabin was reached so late that it was decided to postpone the assay until the following day. Then as Ned put the bags containing the samples of ore in the corner of the room, the professor exclaimed al most sharply," Lock those samples up, or at least don't lose sight of them till you go to bed and then take them with you."

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CHAPTER XVI KELLY THE MYSTERIOUS DICK," said Ned, as they entered the assay office where the professor had promised to join them, "they have got me guessing again. We were perfectly agreed that this Professor Kelly was a knave, and a tool of Bascombe's. Now he proves to be one of the frankest and fairest men I ever met." It bothers me, too, Ned. I can't make that boy ish spirit, and those laughing eyes that look so openly into yours, harmonize with the character that Bas combe' s tool must possess." Why not settle it by logic, putting what we know in the form of a syllogism? Major premise: No tool of Bascombe can be honest. Minor premise: Kelly is Bascombe's tool. Conclusion: Kelly is not honest." Sometimes syllogisms work backwards," replied Dick. "Major premise: No tool of Bascombe is honest. That is undisputed. Minor premise: Kelly is honest. His course and manner have proved it to our satisfaction. Conclusion: Kelly is not a tool of Bascombe." Kelly dropped his boyishness once, Dick, when he thought there was danger of your hurting your self." I know it and I was grateful for the unselfish 164.

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KELLY THE MYSTERIOUS 165 earnestness of the act, and I hate to confess it, Ned, but it is the one peg on which I can hang a doubt of the man. It seemed so like the man s real nature speaking out that I got to wondering if the boyish frankness might not be a mask." If he is up to any tricks he will have to trot them out pretty soon or we will know what Bascombe is hiding in the Iowa. I wonder if he will keep on get ting us to do everything about the assaying, and if he does how is it possible for there to be any hocus pocus about it? "Hones t or not, Professor Kelly will play his game and he isn t likely to make a mistake. He will be as frank as ever and make us do the work this morning. I hope he won't hypnotize me about Bascombe as well as himself, but here he comes." Well, Mr. Williams, have you begun work on your assaying?" asked the professor as he came bustling m. "We didn't think of beginning work till the assayer was here." But I'm only a looker on at Vienna and don't you forget it' as you boys say, for the assay is made for you and it should be made by you as far as pos sible. My only part in the work is to remind you of general principles that are beyond question of criti cism, but which you may have forgotten." How can we have forgotten things that we never knew? What general principle will tell us how to begin?" Frankness abotJt what you already know wouldn t

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166 DICK AMONG THE MINERS do any harm, but to descend to practical. matters, you have a dozen or more bags of samples of alleged ore, each containing something like a pound. It might not be amiss for you to take one of them, crush and sample it until you have a few hundred grains that are a fair average of the whole, ready for the assay. You seem to have the necessary apparatus. You know what this iron mortar is for? Dick was chafing because he couldn't deny the professor's hint that he had not been candid, but he felt compelled to answer," I suppose that is for the first rough pulverizing of the ore." That is my own understanding of it. And this implement? inquired the professor touching a small mortar with a close cover and a plunger that worked piston fashion through it. I believe that is a steel mortar for powdering the ore after the coarser work in the iron mortar." "That is also my belief, but it is a slow process and I would hardly think it necessary to put all the ore that was crushed in the iron mortar through it, would you? "No, but I would make a careful average of what I did put through it and then another of the result, before the final rubbing in the agate mortar." Your method is so much like mine that I may as well sit over by that window and read this Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, that I picked up in your cabin this morning." It isn't my book," hastily replied the annoyed

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KELLY THE MYSTERIOUS 167 boy, but the professor's only comment as he turned over a leaf was an amused smile. The boys crushed the pound of ore in the iron mor tar, spreading it on a table as they did so. Dick then marked it off into sixteen squares, in checker board fashion, returning alternate squares to the mortar. After more pulverizing the operation was repeated thus reducing the quantity of ore to a quarter of a pound. This was powdered in the steel mortar and divided twice until only an ounce was left which was rubbed into an impalpable powder in the agate mor tar. When this had been spread upon a sheet of paper the professor was invited to inspect it. I have kept an eye on you," said he, looking up from his book, and you have done your work thoroughly, better than if I had been helping you. I was sorry not to do so but it might be used some day to cast suspicion upon the results you get." What is your next general principle,' Prof essor? inquired Dick, who had got back his usual good humor. When in doubt in this climate, we generally make a fire." And when the fire in the furnace has been made we might as well be heating up a muffie? You appear to catch my idea." While Ned was building the fire in the assay fur nace, Dick appealed again to the professor," How much of this pulp shall I take for the as say?" "We country folks often take twelve grains which

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168 DICK AMONG THE MINERS we call the assay pound,' but of course this is only because it simplifies estimation of results. My own choice would be a larger quantity." So would mine. I would rather take fifty grains and have a bead four times as big for the weighing, which is the important element in the assay, and the proportion of fifty grains to the weight of the bead can be applied to the ounces in a ton by any child." I think your conclusion is that of most expe rienced assayers," and Dick swallowed the sarcasm without comment. I propose to average this pulp down to nearly fifty grains and to weigh out exactly that quantity which I will put in the scarifier, mixing it with ten times its weight of this granulated lead and covering it with one tenth of its weight of borax. Have you any criticism of my method? Only to suggest that lead often contains some silver and it might be well to test it for purity." It was bought especially for assaying." Who bought it? "Your friend, Mr. Bascombe." There is no friendship in this business for a man with either a conscience or a reputation to lose Then I will put five hundred grains of the lead through the same process as the lead and ore, and cupel them side by side." You will require the large cupels for that quantity of lead." Yes, I understand that." We don't seem to have struck anything yet that

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KELLY THE MYSTERIOUS 169 you don t understand, and again Dick had nothing to say. Dick carefully weighed out two lots of fifty grains each of the ore which he placed in separate scorifiers saying to the professor," I want to guard against all possibilities of mis takes." "It is always a good plan to make a check assay, but I will make you a small wager that the weight of the buttons will not differ by the five hundredth part of a grain," and despite all his prejudice Dick was as pleased as Punch with the compliment implied. The scorifiers with their contents of ore, lead and borax were placed in the red-hot muffie and the door closed till fusion was complete. When the slag had become very liquid it was poured into molds and after cooling placed on an anvil where a few slight blows of a hammer separated the metals from all foreign matter. These buttons of lead, with theiri unknown percentage of precious metals, were care fully placed on red-hot cupels in the muffle. The alloy melted almost at once and soon greasy-looking drops of melted litharge formed on its surface. Over this light clouds played as the oxide of lead vaporized while portions were taken up through absorp tion by the bone-ash of the cupel. Slowly the button shrank and continued to shrink, while Dick's faith dwindled with it. Then when hope had departed iridescent colors playing over the surface of the tiny globule showed that the last of the litharge was being volatilized. In another instant the sudden brighten-

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170 DICK AMONG THE MINERS ing of the bead told that the operation was over. The brightening of the button in the second cupel fol lowed in less than a minute and the tiny beads might have been twins. The last of the litharge had already disappeared from the cupel in which lead alone had been placed. Kelly lifted his eyes from the book which seemed to absorb him to look at the cupels which with a gloomy face Dick held out for inspection. I don't know which of us has won that bet, Mr. Williams," said Kelly as he studied first one and then the other of the silver dots. It will take the bal ances to decide if there is any difference at all. I don't see any." I'll admit there isn't any difference, but what do you think of the assay, Professor?" I think it was admirably performed." How many ounces of silver to the ton do you reckon it will run, is what I meant." We backwoods assayers don t risk our reputations by reckoning, when there is a balance in the room that reckons to the thousandth of a grain. I can cheerfully affirm that the mine is not a bonanza, ac cording to my reckoning. Has Bascombe been mak ing you believe it was? Is that why you look so disappointed? No, Mr. Bascombe said that the samples he had assayed averaged nine ounces to the ton." Your own won't vary much from that, but per haps the sample you assayed was a poor one. Where did you take it from?

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KELLY THE MYSTERIOUS 171 "It must have been the best of the bunch. It came from near the deepest part of that last blast." That may not mean much. You picked out a lot of other sample s Better assay every one of them, so that you will have nothing to regret. But you should get busy and weigh those buttons which, as you very properly stated a little while ago, is the im portant part of the whole business." Dick devoted fifteen minutes to weighing and re weighing the buttons, and then ann o unced that the difference between them was about the three-hun dredth part of a grain, and that the combined weight of the two buttons, representing together one hun dred grains of ore, was the thirtieth of a grain. It seems to pan out, Mr. Kelly," said Dick, that if it takes a hundred grains of ore to produce one thirtieth of a grain of silver, it will take thirty hun dred grains of ore to produce a single grain of silver, or three thousand ounces of ore to produce one ounce of silver and finally thirty-two thousand ounces, or one ton, to produce ten and two thirds ounces of sil ver. Is that the way it looks to you? We reason similarly in this country. But don't give up till you have as sayed all the samples you took. Then if you like, I will go over the other mines with you, although you could doubtless do just as well without me." "We would much rather have you with us." "Thank you. Perhaps I might make an occasional suggestion, for example that when you have assayed for silver you test the button for gold. Since the

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172 DICK AMONG THE MINERS Bryan days the ratio has become much greater than sixteen to one." Professor, I need a guardian, for I unpacked that bottle of nitric acid and then forgot what it was for, but I'll make the test in a jiffy," and Dick got out acid and test tube and soon dissolved the silver of the buttons leaving only a trace of gold. There isn't enough gold to be worth following up, and now I have done all that I can." You made sure that there was no silver in your test lead? inquired the assayer. I watched it closely and studied the cupel after ward, but every particle of lead turned to litharge and was absorbed leaving no faintest trace of silver, but only the yellowish stain of the oxide of lead. But, Professor, what made that deep brown stain on the other cu-" Excuse me," interrupted Kelly, who had started suddenly, but did you ever have sciatica? "Never," said Dick. Pray that you never do, for you wouldn't like the kind of twinges I just had. I am over it now though, and you were about to ask something, were you not?" Oh, yes, I was asking what caused the deep brown stain in these cupels." "You will find that very often though not usually quite so deep. It is some earthy matter in the ore that doesn't dissolve easily in the flux. It appears in various colors which are often characteristic of certain mines."

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KELLY THE MYSTERIOUS 173 "Then dark b row n is characteristic of Iowa ore?" It might run that way or the very next sample might sh o w up gray or blackish." Dick and Ned spent the rest of that day and half of the next in preparing for assay the remainder of the samples they had taken from the Iowa. Kelly had l o oked in upon them occasionally but had made no c o mment up o n their work, excepting that when he saw them leaving the assay office for dinner, he had insisted upon their locking the office and taking the key. But there is no one here but you and Tim," pro tested Dick. "That is just two more than ought to have a chance at those assays. What has become of Bascombe?" "He started for Silverton, you know, but he might have been called elsewhere. He ought to be here be fore long with Shock and his string of burros to get the ore for the mill-run." I don t know why you should try a mill-run when your own assays answer every possible purpose that could be served by a dozen mill-runs." Plenty of people will accept the evidence of a mill-run, who wouldn't look at our assays." "Permit me to separate myself in your mind from those people,' and the courtier-like phrase warmed the cockles of the boy's heart. We are going to cupel the rest of the Iowa samples and will have sixteen of them going at once. Won't you come and look at our work? I shall be happy to hear about it after it is fin-

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174 DICK AMONG THE MINERS ished. In the meantime if you will lend me Bay Billy I will ride over the hills and far away.' It was nearly night when the professor returned to the cabin and his mind was so filled with the grandeur of the views, the beauty of the flowers and the tame ness of a deer he had encountered, that it was long before he got around tu the question," Well, how did the rest of the Iowa assays turn out?" Badly," replied Dick. "I mean just like the first one. They ran from seven to thirteen ounces, but the average was only eight and a half." "That runs mighty close to Bascombe's report. You ought to be glad to have the work of his man confirmed. What other mines has he reported on, in figures I mean ? He has given figures on the Moonstone, Monitor and Black Horse. The Moonstone assayed-" Don't tell me how much. I had rather not know until I have your report for comparison." He says the Black Giant and the Mayflower are no good but he has reported no assays." You are in shape to round this business up in a hurry and let me go about other matters where I can be of some use, for I am like the fifth wheel of a coach here. Except for a few wrinkles that practice teaches and a little facility that it gives, you are as well equipped as I am for the work you want done." "What do you suggest that we do?" inquired Ned. In your place, I should start early in the morn ing for the Black Horse and get half a dozen or more

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KELLY THE MYSTERIOUS 175 samples of ore. Select them as carefully as you did at the Iowa. Pay no attention to the advice of any miner whom you don't know. He might be hired to mislead you. Then go to the Monitor for samples and afterward ride over to the Moonstone. As the last two are not being worked it won't be easy to stack the cards on you." How about the Black Giant and the Mayflower? We want to test them, too." One thing at a time. When you have made the assays I have rointed out, you will have checked up Bascombe on his reports. Next, you tackle him on his judgment and make careful assays of well-selected ore from the Black Giant and the Mayflower. Then if the mill-run of the Black Giant, Black Horse, May flower and Iowa, confirms your assay, and yours con firms Bascombe's and that doesn't satisfy, you will need bigger help than a poor Colorado assayer can give." "Will you go with us in the morning to get the samples? asked Dick. I will ride around with you, on the understanding that I am not to touch a sample or enter the mine while you are collecting them unless you have some technical question to ask me." "Much obliged, Professor. I guess your idea is the right one and I can't imagine anything fairer than your suggestions, but I can't get it out of my gizzard that there is a nigger in that Iowa wood-pile, and that we ought to smoke him out," and Dick was gratified to see a slight twitch of the professor's face, fol-

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176 DICK AMONG THE MINERS lowed by a rubbing of his thigh that spoke of another sciatic spasm. Changed your mind any more about Professor Kelly?" asked Ned of his companion as they watched the moon shining above Mount Kennedy. I don't do anything but change it. Just as I had finally made up my mind that there was no sense of suspecting a man so open and frank, who had put it out of his power to deceive us, by making us do all the assaying ourselves, another phase is given the subject. A question relating to the Iowa startles him so that he has to conceal his agitation under cover of an attack of sciatica, and again to-night you saw the same thing. But it isn't possible that he deceived us in that assay. Can you see any way out of it your self?" I think that we went too far when we assumed that because the man was Bascombe 's appointee he was of necessity a rogue and his tool. He has simply proved his innocence of any attempt to deceive us and the only suspicious thing about his conduct is that he happened to have a twinge of sciatica about the time the Iowa mine was mentioned." There is a conspiracy to do your father out of this mine. He knows it and I feel it and know it, too. The wool has been pulled over our eyes. We have been tricked and beaten and we are going to be beaten some more." What are we going to do about it? asked Ned. We ought to write to your father that Bascombe is a rascal and a robber as he already knows, but that

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KELLY THE MYSTERIOUS 177 we have found him honest and upright as well as earnest and energetic in carrying out our instructions. We might add that he brought in a confederate to swindle us by false assays, but that his tool has in sisted on remaining in the background while we did our own assaying and cheated ourselves if we chose." "Now you have told what we ought to do, and got that off your alleged mind, kindly inform us what we are going to do." "Oh," laughed Dick, "the same old thing. We will go with Kelly tomorrow morning and get samples of ore from the Black Horse, and the Moon stone and the Monitor. We will assay them care fully only to find that Bascombe's assay was accurate and our suspicions of him quite unfounded." You don't mean to give up the fight, do you, Dick?" "Wasn't it Paul Jones who was asked that ques tion when things were looking bad for him? Who ever it was answered that he hadn't begun to fight.'

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CHAPTER XVII MOLLY AND LURA THE Moonstone, Monitor and Black Horse had been visited and samples of ore taken from each. Professor Kelly, Ned and Dick were just sit ting down to the table when Dick called to the chi>f,-" What have you for dinner, Tom? We are hungry as blazes." "What have you for dinner, Tom? So are we!" came like an echo from outside the cabin, and four pair of startled eyes were turned toward the door to see the prettiest picture it had ever framed. Molly Barstow! exclaimed Dick, and he sprang to his feet in such confusion of haste that he tumbled over his chair. The chagrin of the instant was quickly dispelled, for the strong young hands that helped him to his feet let him hold them for a mo ment till he was sure of his footing. Their slow with drawal may have been a reminder that his unstead iness must not be too prolonged, or it may have been occasioned by a desire to greet her brother. How did you get here, Molly, and where is the rest of your crowd? questioned that youth as he accepted with brotherly indifference the kiss which Dick would have regarded so differently. 178

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MOLLY AND LURA 179 They are strung along the turnpike -if that is what you call it and they can't be far behind I'll run back and meet them. There are bad places in the gulch where they may need help." There were plenty of bad places where I needed help which nobody offered. No, that isn't fair. Your station agent came up with us and he was awfully nice." Dick looked a little glum at this, for the agent was young and good-looking, but he cheered up as Molly continued: He looked after Miss Moore as carefully as if she had been his own and only mother. But run along, Neddy, for I can see you are wild to go. You can help the agent with Miss Moore. Lura is able to care for herself." Then as Ned started down the trail at a rate that is imprudent in so high an altitude, the girl turned to Dick saying," Would you kindly tell me, Mr. Williams, where I may put my pony? Dad said that you men were too busy to be troubled with girls." There ain't no sich pusson as Mrs. Harris,' so guess again, Miss Barstow." Be there sich a pusson as Dick? Yes, Molly, there sure be, and he will take that pony of yours to the corral and fill him so full of oats that he can't walk, if you will come along and superintend the process." "Does that mean 'boss the job'?" It do, but where did you get that pretty pony?

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180 DICK AMONG THE MINERS I didn't suppose that any thing as nice as that grew around here." It didn't. Dad sent him. His name is Kitty. He has been a cow pony. See how quietly he, she, stands when the bridle-rein is thrown over his head? She is lovely and what a beautiful saddle! "I knew you were looking at that and at my divided skirt, too, but Dad said it was the only way to ride in these mountains. The way he expressed it was, 'Divided we stand, united we fall off of our ponies.' It is the only way to ride, here or anywhere else, and I am happy already thinking of the beautiful country we can show you, if you don't mind a little rough riding.'' I love it and I suppose you can spare one of the miners to show us around, for Dad said we mustn't take up your valuable time.'' "I can promise you, Molly, that one of the miners will be always at your service.'' Oh, I mean Lura, too." I can almost promise you that." And Miss Moore?" inquired Molly roguishly. Miss Moore will be properly looked after," was the dignified reply. "There she comes, now, with the agent, and Ned lagging behind with Lura, after all I said, too. I'll tell those children what I think of them But Dick, who remembered that sometimes when he had twitted Ned, the worm had turned, begged her to let the matter pass without comment.

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MOLLY AND LURA 181 I'll let it go this once, but another time Neddy will catch it. See him looking up at that girl as he walks beside her pony, and isn't she a beauty?" Dick recalled with a thrill the great dark eyes of the Princess of the Swamp, which had first looked into his, as standing waist-deep in water, she had dragged him through the tangle of lilies, back to the world he was leaving. But the boy had learned a little of the way of a man with a maid which puz zled Solomon thirty centuries ago, and his praise of the girl with the big eyes, glowing cheeks and wealth of dark brown hair, who was looking down at Ned, was expressed in the cool terms of artistic criticism. The professor came out to help put up the ponies, and when greetings and introductions were over the party entered the cabin to find the table prepared for all of them and dinner ready for serving. Sometimes we ablute before eating, when we have company, Miss Moore?" said Ned inquiringly. "Don't count us as company, Ned, and if I don't get something to eat in another minute I shall die." Where are you going to put us, Ned? inquired Molly after she had partially appeased her appetite and had had time to look about her. That room over there. We will fix it up for you right after dinne .r." Fix nothing! That is our business. I suppose we are turning Mr. Williams and you out of it? Don't mind that. Dick did object but I insisted that you were guests and we must do the polite." "Are you one of the charter members of the An-

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS anias Club, Neddy, or did you get in by election? asked his sister. "Better be respectful to your hosts." We are not going to trouble our hosts, for we propose to entertain ourselves. What are you going to do this afternoon? "Wlth the assistance of Professor Kelly we were to assay some samples of ore that we selected from certain mines this morning." "I am afraid your brother is disposed to be satir ical, Miss Barstow," said the professor. He and Mr. Williams have been so attentive to every detail of the processes of assaying that my position has been that of a sinecure. It may be otherwise this after noon," he added reflectively. "Not on my account," replied the girl. "I propose to oversee his work and keep his wits from wool gath ering." Miss Moore's interest in assaying was not suffi ciently absorbing to induce her to give up her after noon nap, but Molly and Lura promptly foregathered at the assay office when advised that the ceremonies were about to begin. They began as spectators but soon had a hand in everything that was doing. The samplings, the final grindings in the agate mortar, the weighings and the fillings of scorifiers and cupels, they attended to. The professor watched their work for a time and, after complimenting them on the accuracy with which they were performing it and adding that they appeared to have sufficient supervision, took his leave.

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MOLLY AND LURA 183 What do you think of him, Molly? asked Dick as soon as the professor was out of hearing. "He has so keen a mind that I can feel him read ing my thoughts, but I don't like him and I wouldn't trust him." Why not?" asked Ned, who had overheard question and answer. Molly shook her head as she quoted : "'I do not love you, Dr. Fell, The reason why I cannot tell; But only this I know full well, I do not love you, Dr. Fell.' I suppose it is instinct that warns me against him." What is instinct, Sis? Dick, you be my champion and answer him, for I am sure he means to be impertinent." "Instinct, Ned," replied Dick, "is a process of rea soning conducted so rapidly that its steps cannot be followed by the sluggish-minded. Your reasoning is not of that kind." Now will you be good, Neddy? asked his sister. I know a distinction that is twice as good as Dick's and twenty times as true." Don't suppress your knowledge, Ned. Let your family share it," urged Molly. Reason is what tells a man whether he is right or wrong. Instinct tells a woman that she is right, no matter how wrong she may be." It is time to watch the cupels," exclaimed Dick and soon the four of them were gazing intently at

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184 DICK AMONG THE MINERS the cupels within the heated muffie. They saw the light fumes float away from the cup of bone-ash and the melted oxide sink into it, while the uneasy button of lead that held within it the secrets of a mine shrank and shrank. The close-gathered watchers knew what to expect, but the suspense of waiting made their hearts beat almost aloud. When iridescent colors, playing lightly over the shrinking globules, proclaimed that the end of the process was at hand, Ned exclaimed," Watch out now for the flash, it's coming." "Goodness, Ned, what do you suppose I have been doing for the last half hour?" answered Molly, my eyes are popping out of my head." When the brightening came and the pure silver of the glistening beads sent forth tiny rays of light the girls softly clapped their hands, but Dick's heart sank for an instant beneath another disappointment and weight of mystery that still surrounded the assays. When the buttons had cooled Molly proposed that she weigh them. Dick told her of the extreme delicacy of an operation which dealt with the thousandths of a grain but assured her that she was equal to the work. Then he sat beside her and showed her how to test the balances, to equalize the burden of the bead of silver in one pan, by tiny bits of platinum delicately placed by little forceps in the other. If the operation was unduly prolonged no notice was taken of it by Lura and Ned who chanced to be studying Mount Eolus from the window, looking for mountain sheep. Molly had just announced the result of the assays

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MOLLY AND LURA 185 when Professor Kelly returned. He nodded when eleven ounces to the ton was stated as the result of the Moonstone assay, but smiled broadly when Dick informed him that the Bascombe assay showed ounces. That is very close," was his comment, and the difference might all have been due to Miss Barstow's careful weighing But how about the Monitor? asked Dick. Our assay gives fourteen ounces and Bascombe's twenty one." If the ore carried lead, that would be well worth working, if the vein were not so narrow." That is what I thought of it and I wondered why he was working it." How about the Black Horse? Bascombe had several assays and they varied from five to eighteen ounces while ours averaged twelve." I told Bascombe that it was very strange that Webber should spend so much money on this camp if he didn't get a better showing than he reported to me. I advised him to go slow in making a discour aging report to your father, Mr. Barstow. I was sorry that he insisted on doing it. But it looks now as if he was right. Your last chances are the Black Giant and the Mayflower. Your work tomorrow may show them to be bonanzas. I hope from my heart it will. But if it doesn't and if, like all the others, it confirms Bascombe's investigations, you might as well do as I shall, go home, unless you want to try some hunting in this wonderfully lovely country of

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186 DICK AMONG THE MINERS yours. Now I don't want to say anything against Bascombe, but half his work here has been, not on mines but on pro spects, and poor ones at that. If prospecting is what you want, there are better fields for it in other valleys around you." I have already acted on that suggestion," said Dick. I haven't told you that on our hunt Mack and I discovered a vein and put up the legal notices and that we are the owners of a mining camp." Did you bring home any specimens of the ore?" Mack brought a lot, but I had forgotten the whole business." "Never do that in this country. Creede is not far from here." That is what Mack said. If I get to it those sam ples shall be assayed tomorrow." Where did y o u get y our little d og? : asked Molly of Dick that evening. "I never saw su.ch mournful eyes in an animal." Dick told her Fanny's history as far as it was known and the girl exclaimed," She is going to be my dog a s l o ng as I am in this camp and I mean to drive some of the sadness o ut of those eyes." Fanny responded to Molly's advances and became her shadow about the camp. The ride of the party to the Black Giant was a long one, for whenever they stopped, the charm of the scen ery held them and the variety of the views had to be commented upon. The professor was as enthusiastic as Bascombe had been and his expressions of pleasure

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MOLLY AND tURA 187' were child-like in their naturalness. But when the mine was reached the professor became grave and after a single glance that took in the simplicity and effectiveness of Dick's device, he turned a keen look on the boy which Molly was quick to notice. While Dick was gathering samples from the fresh ore piles, Lura took camera shots from the Black Giant dump and then Ned escorted the girls through the tunnel and they watched the miners at work with sledge and drill, and felt the suction of the ventilating pipe which drew out the flame of a candle that was carelessly held too near it. When the charge had been pre pared and the fuse was ready for lighting, a candle was handed to Lura who had remained with Ned and a miner to fire the blast. The girl lit the fuse and was hurried to the mouth of the tunnel which she reached before the explosion, thanks to a fuse of double the usual length. From the ore loosened by the blast Dick obtained the rest of the samples he wanted The ride over the Iowa, or Mount Hope, divide was exciting to the girls who clung to their ponies like leeches, but when the summit was reached and they looked down upon the gem of a lake beneath them and over the broad peaks toward Creede and Wagon Wheel Gap they were too filled with emotion to talk. They descended the trail in silence, past the Moon stone Lake to the Mayflower mine, which they visited while Dick and Ned collected samples. Several times the professor called attention to promising pieces of ore worthy of being added to their samples.

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188 DICK AMONG THE MINERS "Now for a visit to John Burnett's cabin where Mack left samples from our Vallecito mine," said Dick, and the girls rejoiced in the prospect of a ride that was neither straight up nor down but along a: lovely valley. Dick was glad to remember, as the professor en tered the cabin with him, that he had hidden away all traces of the samples that had beei:i brought to him there. The bag of Vallecito specimens was on the table, but as Dick picked it up he caught the profes sor's eye glancing across the unswept floor, as he walked out of the cabin. Then Dick became low in his mind at thought of his carelessness, for his own quick eye had caught sight of a bit of charcoal amid the dirt of the floor and a tiny stain of lead oxide upon it, which none but an expert would have under stood told of a blow-pipe assay. Dick had a feeling that Kelly had seen the tale-bearing bit of charcoal and read its message to the ultimate letter, but there was nothing in the professor's bearing to corroborate the suspicion. His talk was that of a light-hearted boy, of the beauty of the surroundings, of the ptar migan that flew from under their horses' feet, of the weather prospects and of his pleasure at thought of being with his family in forty-eight hours more. It was late in the day when the preparations for the assay began, and when the pulp had been prepared, mixed with the lead and borax and placed in the scori fiers, Miss Moore, whom the professor had invited to watch the proceedings, suggested that the furnace work be put off until morning as it was time for her

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"LURA TOOK CAMERA-SHOTS FROM THE BLACK GIANT DUMP."-Pagc 187

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MOLLY AND LURA 189 charges to retire. As they left the room Kelly ob served to Dick," You will find it a good rule in this country never to leave your assay office unlocked," whereupon Dick laughingly turned tlie key and put it in his pocket. The air was filled with the germs of the assay fever and even Miss Moore was on hand when the assay office was opened and fire started in the assay furnace. The profes sor was absent, having expressed a desire to take another look at Dick s device for ventilating the Black Giant. As the scorifiers were placed in the heated muffie the interest grew, as the slag became fluid it increased and when the cleansed, metallic but tons were gently placed upon the glowing cupels ex citement was at fever heat. Dick was the coo lest of the onlookers, for he knew from his blow-pipe assay what to expect. He felt sure of fifty and hoped for a hundred ounces to the ton. He watched the wast ing button with impatience, for while it could be meas ured by grains it was useless to look for the fulgura tion that marks the end of the cupellation process. As the shrinking continued until he guessed the weight of the glo bule at the tenth of a grain his in terest became intense. Any instant might bring the brightening of a bead that would prove his previous work and confirm the Webber claims of the richness of ore in the mining camp. The young assayer began to chafe at the delayed result. Already his high hopes had been blasted and even his lowest estimate proved to be too optimistic. Then from the cupel in the corner of the muffie came the prismatic colors fol-

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190 DICK AMONG THE MINERS lowed by the flash that announced the absorption of the last trace of lead oxide. The cupel was removed from the muffle while Dick watched those that re mained with diminishing interest. When the bright ening of the others came he was heartsick, for it was clear that not a sample save the first one would assay ten ounces to the ton. Molly tried to cheer him up: You have got the blues, Dick, and so have I, but we have got to believe that it will come out all right in the end. I want you to let me do the weighing while you watch me and then you can calculate where we stand if you have any figures that are small enough." Dick was braced up by Molly's talk and he stood beside her watching the work with interest, hopeless though it seemed to be. As the girl deftly transferred the cupels, each to its own marked compartment on the sheet-iron tray, he advised her: There is no use in keeping those samples separate any longer. It doesn't make any difference whether a sample came from one ore pile or another, whether from the breast or the dump heap, so long as all are worthless." Dick, I am ashamed of you. This thing has got to be done right, whether it pans out as we want it or not." "You are dead right, Molly, and we will see it through. Besides, who knows but that we will find a lot of gold in the buttons? "That biggest button is yellow enough to be all gold."

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MOLLY AND LURA 191 So it is, and it is a big button, too, but it looks lonesome with nothing but pin points around it. Which mine did it come from and where? It came from the Barstow-Mackenzie mine of the Vallecito and Dick shook his head as he said," Nothing but the unexpected can be expected in a mining camp." The first button to be weighed was so tiny that Molly had to have help in figuring up the bits of plat inum wire employed. It is exactly the one hundred and twentieth part of a grain," he announced, adding a moment later, which is only a little more than five ounces to the ton. What is the use of any more weighing? You promised to see it through, Dick, and now you are giving it up again," complained the girl. "I am ashamed and it is lovely in you to be so pa tient with me." "You won't think I'm lovely, next time," and Molly looked as if she were likely to bite any minute. This button is the twin of the other and I am going to put it in the pan without changing a weight. Look here, Dick! she exclaimed a moment later, they weigh exactly the same, and one came from the Black Giant and the other from the Mayflower. Isn't it a wonderful coincidence? It is more than a coincidence, Molly, it is a deep ening of the mystery. Let me try those other but tons." Ten minutes later Dick addressed an audience of three, for Lura and Ned having studied everything

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192 -pICK AMONG THE MINERS that could be seen from the window had come back to inquire about the result of the assays. This is a cave of mystery, children. Every speci men that we gathered yesterday from the freshly blasted ore or the old dump pile of the Black Giant assays exactly the same, and that isn't the worst of it, for the same is true of the Mayflower, away over the divide, and worse yet, the ores in the two mines in two different basins are of identical richness." "Is that so very, very wrong, Dick?" inquired Lura. Why, Lura, it is impossible. You might as well say that a lot of these trees out here are exactly alike, branches, leaves and everything. Did you see anything of the kind? You and Ned have been look ing at them long enough to know." Why, you outrageous thing! We stayed here till you began to quarrel with Molly about your pinheads of silver and we didn't think it was polite to listen. There comes the professor. Why don't you ask him about things you don't understand, instead of quar reling with poor innocent us? For the love of Mike, Lura, don't tell him what I said." Are you sorry you were impolite and won't you ever do so again? Sure! was the earnest reply. Then I won't give you away," said the girl as the door opened and the professor entered.

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CHAPTER XVIII PICNICKING AND PROSPECTING HOW goes the assay?" asked the professor. Worse than the others," replied Dick. "Neither of them averaged up to six ounces." I am afraid Bascombe was right, though I hoped he wasn't I will leave you in the morning, for it is a waste of my time to stay." Do you see any chance in the mill-run? asked Ned. "Not a bit. When mine owners are disappointed in an assay they always think that a mill-run would make a better showing, but it never does. When an assay has been as carefully made as yours it can be depended upon." We got a good assay out of my mine, Mr. Pro fessor," said Dick. "Don't you want to buy some shares?" "That is always the first question after every as say. It's what assays are for. How did your speci mens pan out? "It hasn t been weighed yet, but there is the button." All that from fifty grains of ore? That's what." If that is a fair sample and the vein of any width l93

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194 DICK AMONG THE MINERS you have a mine. That ore will run over a hundred ounces. Why don t you weigh the button?" Been busy on these other bonanzas, but I'll at tend to it now," said Dick and a few minutes later he exclaimed, Why, Professor, it doesn't look it, but that button weighs twenty-two one-hundredths of a grain." Which means one hundred and forty ounces to the ton. My guess of a hundred ounces was a bad one. But there may be a reason for that, Mr. Wil liams," said the professor, who was visibly excited as he gazed at the big button. See how yellow it 1s. I don't know when I have seen its like. Try your nitric acid on this." Dick hammered out the button till it was thin as paper and putting it in a test tube added nitric acid which acted slowly at first but when heated dissolved out the silver from the mass. 'After washing off the nitrate of silver and drying the remainder which was pure gold it was found to weigh twelve-hundredths of a grain. "Tell me if I am wrong in my figures, Professor, for the result as I get it is too startling to be true. According to our work here the Vallecito ore assays seventy-six ounces of gold and sixty-four of silver to the ton. Why the gold alone is worth over fifteen hundred dollars to the ton. Is it possible that it is true and that we have struck a bonanza?" I see no reason to doubt it," replied the profes sor, but you never needed worldly advice more than now. Muzzle Mackenzie so tightly that he can't

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PICNICKING AND PROSPECTING 195 speak. Don't let the knowledge go beyond you four and two or three loyal assistants that you will have to have. Locate every near-by vein, put up the no tices and start the assessment work and get the thing under way before the rush comes. I shall say noth ing about it but five of you have knowledge of the find and I venture the prediction that the birds of the air will be carrying the news abroad within a week." "Why do you think one of us must betray the others, Professor Kelly? Is it because you think women cannot keep a secret? asked Molly. "Far from it, Miss Barstow The trouble is deeper than that. It lies in the nature of things. A secret is like a square peg in a world of round holes. It has no resting place, no home. It cannot move without exciting suspicion. Is that too philosophical for you?" "It is too something for my every-day kind of intelligence. Couldn't you make some practical ap plication that a plain girl could understand? No trouble about that, but where is the girl you describe ? Can't you assume that I am she? .We let your claim to be a poor Colorado assayer pass." "Your brother and your, I mean Mr. Williams, have recently been over in the Vallecito on a hunting and fishing trip. I am quite sure it has never oc curred to any one to associate mystery with the ex cursion. They went again, this time with a friend. Again they fished, hunted, camped and brought home trophies. The ore samples were incidental. Now

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196 DICK AMONG THE MINERS they will go with a secret purpose that will stick out its head at every step. The pick, sledge and drills will give them away. The blast that in this valley means nothing, coming from the unexplored Vallecito will carry wireless messages to miner, hunter and trav eler. Their merely leaving this valley with its pres ent peculiar attractions on the plea of a hunting trip would excite suspicion, and suspicion in a mining country always points to a new find of ore." But suppose the 'present peculiar attractions,' if there are any such, went with them on a camping expedition, would that allay suspicion?" "It is easy to play the game if you know what the moves are to be, but it will take some vigilance and plenty of tact to hide a prospecting party under a picnic outfit. I must leave you now, for I find I have time for a train that will bring me to my home half a day earlier than I had thought to reach it. So good-by-till we meet again." Do I sleep, do I dream, -Or is visions about?' chanted Dick after the professor had left. Bas combe, the plotter, has left us to our own devices, after ordering everything done that we wanted. Kelly, the conscienceless tool, has declined to take ad vantage of our innocence and done his best to present us with a bonanza. Now the question before the house -and it's a corker -is-' What is to be done?'" What advice do you want? Tell us and we'll give it to you," replied Ned.

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PICNICKING AND PROSPECTING 197 "I like best the Irishman's advice, 'When ye see a head, hit it,' but there isn't a head to be seen, ex cepting those gun-toting mercenaries of Bascombe's in the mines." It will be days before the burros will be here for the ore for the mill-run, and a lot more days before results can be reported, so I move we utilize the time by taking the professor's advice and doing the picnic mining act in the Vallecito," said Ned. "Dear Princess of the Swamp, who recently called me an outrageous thing, do you approve of our de veloping the old mine, provided I go halves on the property? asked Dick. As Lura's reply was making a face at the ques tioner it will have to be left to the illustrator. Now, Miss Molly Suffragette," continued Dick, the first suggestion of a Vallecito picnic came from you. If you stand to your guns and can persuade your chaperon, we can get ready tomorrow for a start the next day." I had no faith in the professor when he was here and I am having less every minute. But the picnic notion is a good one in spite of him. I didn't come out here to do tatting and when I visit a country I like to see something of it." At the instance of the girls Ned was appointed a committee to wait on Miss Moore and secure her con sent for her charges and herself to go on the picnic. He was instructed what to say and warned what to avoid. Wild animals and wilder trails were to be ignored, but picturesque scenery, birds and flowers

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198 DICK AMONG THE MINERS were to be dilated upon. It was all a waste of time. Ned sat beside Miss Moore and began diplomatically, We have been having some nice weather." "Yes?" Don't you think this a beautiful country? "Very." The next valley is much prettier. I wish you could see the wonderful wild-flowers that grow on the mesas near it." Same thing as we saw coming up here? "Yes, only far more abundant." Guess not, for they were as thick as they could be where we were." You would be interested in the birds, too." What kinds of birds? Ptarmigan, Rocky Mountain grouse, partridges, everything." That isn't exactly everything." a They -I thought that you might like to take little excursion to the Vallecito. We could make you very comfortable for a day or two and I am sure Lura and Molly would enjoy it, too." "Are you proposing that I go with you and those other children on a camping trip, over those bad trails, where you meet grizzlies, and deer and dyna miters?" That won't happen again and it is very, very sel dom that you meet a grizzly and they run away al ways, almost." But I don't want them to run away. good look at them. Of course I will go. I want a I always

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PICNICKING AND PROSPECTING 199 did want to camp out and smell the smoke of a camp fire, while I broiled fish and deer and bears on the coals. And I want to sleep out-doors in the woods and hear the owls screech and get all goose-fleshy when I hear the soft step of a panther beside my bed of balsam. And, Ned, do try to persuade the girls to go." "I will, Miss Moore." "And Neddy, which of them taught you that string of pretty things that you tried on me? If you should happen to see her again, tell her from me that you got along very well in spite of her instructions." Ned returned to the conspirators with a long face and shook his head mournfully when asked what had happened. Your advice was all wrong," said he. Miss Moore doesn't care for scenery and has seen all the wild-flowers she wants to," and as the girls looked at each other in dismay, he added, but she dotes on grizzlies, and bad trails, and begged me to persuade you to go. She hinted that it would be better not to alarm you by mentioning any terrifying features of the trip but to confine myself to flowers and moon light." Then she consents to the picnic? exclaimed Molly. I hope that much of your story is true." Tom was despatched to N eedleton for two burros to carry the dunnage of the party. Mack hunted up a tent which belonged in the Webber outfit, while Burnett undertook to smuggle a prospecting oufit to his cabin. Tom was watching with interest the prep-

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PICNICKING AND PROSPECTING other disappointment there. We should have that re port in about ten days. Will you be back by that time?" Oh, yes, probably in a week. The ladies may get tired of roughing it." If you are going to wait for that, you had better double your supplies and be sure you have plenty of blankets. It will begin to be cold in a week or two. Who do you take with you? Mackenzie, Burnett and Tim. Can you spare them?" Perfectly well. You have quite a large camping party and will need them more than we." When the camping party started Fanny took charge of it. She trotted ahead to point out the path, then standing aside, gravely reviewed the procession as it passed. When a burro lagged she encouraged it from behind and to Molly's occasional remarks to her, she responded with confidential little barks. As the cavalcade passed beyond the little forest that partially enclosed the cabin, Miss Moore, who didn't care for scenery became a series of exclamation points. She stopped to gaze at every one of the many mountain peaks that seemed to pierce the sky on every side of her. She rode to the precipitous brink of a chasm down which she could look upon the silvery thread of Needle Creek. She followed with her eye the zigzag course of the Devil's Creek far up the nearly vertical side of a barren mountain till it was lost among the huge rocks near the summit. She borrowed Ned's camera to picture the Natural Arch,

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS loosely built of huge rocks, placed by some Titan hands. She demanded the history of every mine of which she saw the entrance, the Etna, Vega, Pier mont, Sunnyside, and a dozen others. She kept mem bers of the party posing, and at Mount Hope Divide gazed so long, to the east and to the west, that Mac kenzie proposed going ahead with the burros to Bur nett's cabin where they would have to be repacked to make room for the mining outfit which it was in tended to carefully conceal. When the sharply descending trail that led to the Vallecito was entered, Ned left Gambler to follow and walked in front of Miss Moore's pony, ostensibly to keep her from being alarmed by the steepness of the trail, but really because Lura had asked him to. Was it here you met the grizzlies, Ned? asked Miss Moore. "Just a little ahead," was the reply. "How can I see them if you keep in front of me?" "When I see them coming, I'll slip behind you." Be sure you do, for I don't want any one between me and them. I never did meet a grizzly and when I do I want a good look at him." Dick called a halt at the pretty plateau where the Vallecito trail strikes the stream and soon the cattle of the cavalcade were munching the soft green grass, while saddles were hung on the limbs of trees, stores unpacked and tent poles cut. Then as the tent for the ladies went up and the ringing of an ax presaged the camp-fire that soon was blazing, Dick got out his rod, and persuading Molly that her supper depended

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PICNICKING AND PROSPECTING upon her success with the trout led her away to the stream. Ned armed Lura and Miss Moore with knives and leading them into a clump of young Rocky Mountain pines, set them to cutting twigs thick with fragrant pine needles for their beds. Dick wandered so far down the stream with Molly to show her the best pools for fishing, that when they returned to the camp with a modest mess of trout, they found supper ready for serving. There were sixteen trout smoking from the coals, each holding a slice of bacon, hot biscuits constructed by Macken zie, who was a chef among miners, and tin cups of fragrant coffee. We thought you were lost," said Ned to the wan derers, and we were going to make up a search party after supper. What have you been about? You had better draw lots for your fish, for you haven't enough for two portions." "Neddy Barstow," said Molly "hold up your right hand and tell me how many of those trout you caught. I thought so. The men caught every one of them. 1t's up to you to apologize." After supper the miners put up lean-tos for them selves and the boys while the young folks wandered among the trees and beside the stream until darkness sent them back to the camp-fire. How did you sleep, Miss Moore? asked Ned while the party was waiting for breakfast. "Just as little as possible. I was having so good a time that I hated to waste any of it."

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS What interested you so much? said Dick. Everything. I never camped out before, though I have dreamed of it all my life. I wrapped my blanket around me and lay down with my head under the opening in the tent. The heavens were above me, the earth beneath and about me were rocks unseal able and roaring waters.' I lay with my face to the stars and felt that I was alone with Nature." How did you like the old lady, if she is an old lady?" flippantly inquired Lura, as she came from the stream swinging a towel, her face rosy from her morning ablution. Don't be frivolous, child. "'She's all my fancy painted her, She s lovely, she's divine.' I was just drifting off to sleep when I heard some one call from the mountain side, Who! Who! Who who and the answer came from the opposite moun tain, Who! Who! Who-who-who! Then my nerves must have got busy' as you children say, for I heard things crawling in the grass and I had creepy crawly sensations all over me, and then heavy steps approached and I got goose-fleshy and sure I was about to be eaten by a grizzly and it was all so lovely and exciting, until the bear made a kind of sneezing noise like a pony and I was so disappointed that I went to sleep." Shall we go on to the old camp this morning? asked Mackenzie of Dick at breakfast. What old camp is that? inquired Molly.

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PICNICKING AND PROSPECTING fl05 "We call it Camp Grizzly," replied Dick, for it was near it that Ned got his grizzly." Remember that it is the Sabbath, children, and ought to be made a day of rest," said Miss Moore. "But wouldn't a 'Sabbath day's journey' be all right, Aunty? inquired Lura. "What is a Sabbath day's journey'?" asked Dick. It is the distance between Jerusalem and Mount Olivet," Miss Moore replied. Where is this Camp Grizzly, Mr. Mackenzie? It's on that next mountain, I believe they call it Olivet," was Mackenzie's demure answer. While the camp was being broken up and the burros packed, Molly asked Dick to show her where the ac cident to the miners had happened and to tell her just what he had done for them. Ned did every bit as much as I and it is a grue some thing to talk to you about." "Never mind that, for I want to hear all about it just as it was and to have it seem real to me," and though the girl listened with pale cheeks and eyes that were frequently filled with tears, she insisted on Dick's picturing the scene as it was, even to the emo tions that stirred his sympathies as he worked over the wounded men. Thank you, Dick, I shall never forget it," said she, in a low voice as they walked back to their late camp which they found deserted except by their own two ponies which had been left for them. Instead of helping his companion to mount, Dick

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS threw the reins of her pony across the pommel of the saddle and with a cheerful chirrup and a slap of the hand sent the creature cantering along the trail. He treated Bay Billy in the same way and turning to Molly, in whose cheeks the color was mounting, he said," Wouldn't you like to walk a little way? "I don't seem to have any choice," she replied, but she looked as if she were glad as -they strolled slowly along. Few words were said but "the eyes have one language everywhere" and because of the stories they told, the grass was greener, the mountains grander and the sky more heavenly. The new camp had a settled appearance when at last they approached it, for the tent was up and the fire an old one. They wore the guilty look of detected truants as they drew near and Molly in an attempt at indifference asked," Have you enjoyed the walk?" But there was little impassiveness in Dick's reply, It passed quickly as a dream, Molly, but it is an eon to look back upon." It was long enough to get us in trouble with Miss Moore. Let's go and take our medicine and have it over with." A moment later Dick, in his most hypocritical manner was saying to Miss Moore," I am sorry that I kept Molly away from you so long. It was all my fault." "Are you truly sorry? Now tell the truth." I mean," stammered Dick, that I ought to be sorry."

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PICNICKING AND PROSPECTING I am not even sure of that, Dick. But how about the other culprit? Are you sorry too, Molly? 'Fess up if you are." I should be very sorry to worry you," Molly an swered diplomatically. "Well, you haven't. I only wish I could again be as young as you with your self-same feelings," and some memory put a tender light in the lady's eyes as she kissed the girl.

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CHAPTER XIX MOLLY PHOTOGRAPHS A LIVE ELK GRUB'S up! shouted Dick at the tent, some time between dawn and full daylight. If you mean breakfast, you cowboy cook, you are too previous. Nobody is up but me," said Molly. I meant it for the first call to breakfast, but I got the rise I wanted. Come sit on that rock and help watch the trout while Mack makes flapjacks for break fast." Are we going to work in that wonderful mme this morning? Sure, that is what we are here for." What will I do? Mack and Tim will use sledge and drill, while Burnett expects to swing a pick. Ned and I are to be scouts and give warning of the approach of dan ger, as well as feed the camp." That isn t telling what I am to do You are to be my assistant." Oh Then I'll go and tell Miss Moore, for she is going with me today." I should think she would want to look after Lura, her own niece." "She knows Lura has Ned to look after her-" "And you have no one but me?"

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MOLLY PHOTOGRAPHS A LIVE ELK I haven't decided yet whether I am going with you." "I have, and I will make you a bet that Miss Moore won t go with us, however much you may urge her." What is the bet to be? I won't tell you till I have won it. Then I will let you know what it will cost you." I won't make a bet blindfold." When breakfast was over Miss Moore announced that she and Fanny were going to keep camp that day and she adhered to this despite Dick's urging. You see I won the bet," said Dick, the first chance he got. What was it? You know I didn't agree to pay it." I don't quite dare to tell you," and the shyness of a moment kept the girl from urging him. The miners prospected about the ledge where Mack had made the big strike for Dick and himself, and located two other mines. Thereafter all worked to gether developing the mine which the assay had shown to be almost fabulously rich. When the miners were fairly at work Ned and Dick started out for game. Mack, who had been exploring the previous day, for getful of its being Sunday, had found a ravine that was well-wooded where the tracks of deer were abun dant. We will bring one of them to camp," said Dick as he and Molly, the former armed with a rifle and the latter equipped with Ned's camera, started for the ravine described by the miner. Ned had already

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l'llO DICK Al\{ONG THE MINERS taken Lura to see where he had killed his grizzly and promised if he found a bigger one to bring him home. Molly and Dick were making their way cautiously through a group of low-growing trees when they saw a buck and doe of the Virginia deer species grazing in an open space near them. It would have been easy to shoot the buck, but Dick wanted to give Molly a shot with the camera. As the deer were feeding toward them they waited, crouching behind a thick bush. Nearer and nearer came the creatures, and Molly, trembling with excitement, was often on the point of rising to her feet to get a clear view for the camera, but Dick's whispered "Wait, wait!" re strained her. Then instead of coming nearer the deer slowly walked away as they fed and the girl could have cried with disappointment. Why didn't you let me take a shot at them? she whispered, but, receiving no reply save the firm pres sure of Dick s hand on her arm, she turned her face toward him to meet full in her eyes the wondering gaze of a fawn that was standing scarcely six feet from her. Molly had been taught to avoid all sudden mo tions with the creatures of the wild, and though her heart beat so loudly that it seemed as if the fawn must hear it, the camera turned as steadily as moves the hand of a clock. With the click of the shutter came the toss of the pretty head as the frightened fawn bounded away. Do you suppo s e I g ot a picture Dick? asked the excited girl. Sure you did, and it ought to be in good focus,

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MOLLY PHOTOGRAPHS A LIVE ELK for as you swung the camera I saw you rack the lens out as far as it would go, and the fawn was so near that it needed it." "It was unconsciously done, Dick. I see the bel lows is extended, but I never knew I was doing it. And, oh, how long I was turning around I It seemed hours, with a separate scare for every second of them." I was scared, too, Molly, but it is all over now and you have got as beautiful a trophy as Ned's griz zly. Shall we go on now and get some meat for the camp?" I suppose so, though I hate to think of killing one of the beautiful creatures." Maybe we will find a mountain lion, or a grizzly like Ned's. You wouldn't mind killing them?" "No, because they wouldn't mind killing me." As they wandered through the woods and over the open grassy plots they saw many tracks, often so fresh that when in moist ground the water was still oozing into them, but of the living animals they saw none. Molly was the first to diagnose the trouble, and she gently suggested: Don't you think, Dick, that if you looked ahead more you would find what you want? I am not a deer, you know." Dick would have contradicted her if he had dared, but his conscience pricked him, and for a time he dili gently studied every open patch and every bit of dark forest, every restful rock and every living leaf. His eye resting for a moment on the skeleton arms of a dead tree, detected a slight change in arrangement.

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS Wondering what could have given motion to those bare, whitened branches, Dick fixed his gaze upon them until there flashed upon his vision a pair of great antlers, backgrounded by the skeleton tree. "Look, Molly!" exclaimed the boy, "there are the biggest antlers you ever saw. That deer must be big as a house." I see the horns, yes, and I see the legs, too, but they look pretty slim. Do you suppose it will come near enough for a picture? "I am afraid not, for the good grass seems to be beyond it. You had better try crawling up on it. There are plenty of nice thick bushes to hide behind. I will keep close behind you." How near must I get? Try to get within fifty feet. You mustn't move a hair's breadth when his head is up. You can crawl forward while he is feeding." For half an hour Molly crept forward a foot or two at a time, always keeping a bush between herself and her quarry. At last there were no more bushes to hide behind, unless she crossed an open space and she m o tioned to Dick, who was fifty feet behind, to come to her He was ten minutes reaching her side, when she whispered in his ear: It's bigger than a camel, Dick, and I can't get any nearer without being seen. What shall I do?" It's an elk, Molly, and a buster. I didn't know there were any here. You have got to have his pic ture!" How about meat for the camp?

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MOLLY PHOTOGRAPHS A LIVE ELK ns Never mind that. After you get your snap-shot with the camera I'll take mine with the rifle, and maybe we will both make good." What shall I do, now? Stand up behind this side of the bush and watch out. When his head is down the other si'de of his body, walk steadily and quickly till that bush this side of him is between you. Then crawl up to the bush as the chances come to you. When you get there you will be within forty or fifty feet of him, step boldly out beside the bush till you have a full view of him, and take your shot." Will you attend to sending me home if I die of heart failure? I am as nervous as a witch." I am afraid I am in more danger from heart trouble than you, Molly," and his tone made the girl think it was time for her to leave, so she stepped forth and got safely behind the bush. But the elk had heard something and he lifted his head and looked, looked at the bush which hid the girl, who was crouched thirty feet behind it. He gazed steadily for a minute and then stopped to gather a mouthful of grass, resuming his watch as he chewed it. Dick was on tenter-hooks of anxiety and help lessness, while Molly was nervous but braced up by the prospect of immediate action. Slowly the sus picions of the great brute died, and as his spells of grazing grew longer, the girl, with camera ready, be gan to creep forward. When she reached the bush and could hear each step of the wapiti, giant of the race of the round-horned deer, her knees trembled at

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS the thought of stepping out into the open, facing at the distance of forty feet the half-score of spears that armed the lofty head of the prideful beast. Dick felt the same fear, and as Molly stood forth with lev eled camera, the sight of his rifle rested upon the fore shoulder of the elk. The click of the shutter came while yet the animal was grazing, but the next instant the creature was climbing the mountain side. Then turning, it stood with head held high as it looked toward the plateau beneath it. Then came the crack of Dick's rifle, and as the boy removed the weapon from his shoulder, he almost regretted that the bullet from it had passed through the heart of so grand a creature. But the elk stood like a statue, firmly as if untouched, and the young hunter reluctantly con fessed to himself that he must have made a clean miss. But, insisting that it could never happen again, he slowly raised the rifle to his shoulder, and this time felt that he knew to a hair where the bullet struck. Yet for all result he might have been firing at an iron target. A third attempt failed similarly. Can't you hit a big thing like that? inquired Molly as she walked toward him. "I must be hoodooed, or else somebody has rung in a lot of blank cartridges on me," was the reply. But no, look! he continued as the elk threw him self down the hill, and striking on the points of his antlers with his hind legs high in air, made one com plete somersault and part of another. Dick exam ined the fallen giant as he lay, and showed Molly that the palm of her hand would cover the holes made

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MOLLY PHOTOGRAPHS A LIVE ELK by the three bullets, all of which had pierced the heart. Are you sorry you it, Dick? asked the girl as they stood beside the fallen monarch of the forest. I am always sorry when I see their dead bodies, but I shall soon be altogether glad of this, for I am thinking how these antlers of yours will look in your hall, perhaps over the skin of Ned's grizzly, and then if the picture turns out well, think what a pair of tro phies they will make." "But it isn't my trophy, Dick, so how can I take it?" But it is yours, for all the real work was yours, the shooting being the smallest and only mean part. Besides, who knows but I may have a chance to see it in your hall." Oh, I had forgotten that, so I'll change my mind and take it. But what is to be done with this big, big carcass ? I shall have to bleed it where it is, and then we will get the men to help skin, butcher and carry it to camp. Then you will have a chance to see how Indi ans cure their game. Now run along, little girl, while I get it over." "Why can't I stay?" Because the sight of what I have to do, "' Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood, Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres.' Why not make the men do it? "Because, "'Worse than a bloody hand is a hard heart.'"

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U6 DICK AMONG THE MINERS Mack and Burnett were old hunters, and they made quick work of skinning and butchering the elk. With the help of the burro, head, skin, and flesh were trans ported to camp before dark, though it meant a man's job for each of the three humans after the donkey had been heavily laden. Mack put up a scaffold in hunter fashion and built a smudge fire beneath it. Thin strips of elk flesh, slightly salted, were spread upon the scaffold until it was covered, and th6ieafter a low fire was kept burning. As the fire extended many feet, and fuel for it had to be gathered, it called for almost constant attention. Mackenzie looked after it the first night and proposed to attend to it by day, but Molly and Dick took that contract off his hands. She fed the fire while he brought the wood, and watched and ad vised him as he prepared the skull of the elk for mounting, and as time divided is never long," the day passed like a dream, from which both woke with dismay to find it gone. The miners came in as the light of day faded, and soon great slices of elk steak were broiling, and bacon-garnished brook-trout sput tering on the coals. But Ned and Lura had not re turned. They had sta rted up a ravine in the morn ing, where Mack had said bear tracks were plenty. Ned carried his rifle and the girl his camera, and Lura's last laughing words as she waved her adieux to Molly were: "We'll bring you a Roland for your Oliver, a bear for your elk." "The bears'll 'git you if you don t watch out,' same

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MOLLY PHOTOGRAPHS A LIVE ELK as they did the forty odd kids that got gay with the prophet," was the reply. And now they were missing and darkness was on the valley, and Molly was worried and sorry for what she had said. Mack prepared a bundle of fine pine splinters for torches, and with Dick started out for the ravine where the missing ones had last been seen. They followed it on and up, sometimes stopping at grassy or wooded patches to look for traces of those for whom they were seeking. Rougher and rockier grew the climb, with less and less of vegetation or soil, until it seemed hopeless to look for footprints. It was Dick whose eye was caught by a dark shadow a few yards to the right of their course, and it was the merest chance that led Mack and him to turn aside a few yards to examine the clump of bushes that com posed it. A bear has been lying here," said Mack as he pointed out where the heavy body had left its im print on earth and grass. And here is the print of Lura's shoe beside it," said Dick. They must have frightened the bear out of its lair and come here to see how it looked. I wonder if Ned got a shot ;it the brute?" I'll swear that he did, and here is the proof of it," said Mack as he held out a handful of bloody grass. Then they must have started off on its trail," said Dick. I am afraid they did," replied the hunter Why should you be afraid?

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS I have known a mortally wounded bear to travel forty miles before stopping to die, and there is no tell ing where this brute has gone or where Mr. Barstow and Miss Moore are at this minute. They have fol lowed the bear into some other ravine, and they may have had the luck to find him or they may have got lost themselves. Has Mr. Barstow got matches? He has matches all right, and he has a good fire going this minute, unless he is traveling by torch, as we are. If he isn't sure of his way he will keep a good fire going all night, for he knows we will be looking for him. If we don't find him tonight, he will start down whatever ravine he is on at daylight until he reaches the river and finds us that way. But most likely he has found his bear and is waiting for us to help carry the hide." If he has got a good fire we'll find him. Colum bine Lake is just above us, and we can see a good ways from that, and we can get a look into two or three ravines without going far." They had two hours of hard climbing, and several narrow escapes from bad falls without finding a trace of the wanderers. They had partly explored two gu\ches, and the anxiety and nervous tension were tell ing on Dick, who began to hurry on at a rate that threatened disaster to himself, as well as to his more sedate companion. Finally Mack spoke: It won't help your friends, Mr. Williams, for us to break our necks, and we are going to do it pretty soon if you don't let up a little. I wish I was half as safe as they are."

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MOLLY FHOTOGRAPlIS A LIVE ELI\: Dick reasoned himself into calmness and was re warded a few minutes later by the sight of a fire far below him in the valley. He climbed recklessly down ward, without restraint from Mack this time, until he: thought his voice would carry to the fire. Hello, the camp! he shouted and trouble rolled away from him at the answer in Ned s cheeriest tones: Hello, yourself! Glad to see you." As Dick entered the little glade from which the camp-fire shone, and took both Lura's hands in his, despite her warning that there was blood on them, the girl exclaimed: Didn t I tell Molly that we would get a bear, and isn t that a beauty?" and she m o tioned with her hand to the beautiful skin o f a big black bear that hung over the limb of a nearby tree. Then Ned p o inted with pride to his latest work, the quartered carcass of the bear hanging from the branches of a tree. Now tell us all about it," said Dick, for I am crazy to hear the story, and don't you dare to leave out the tiniest bit." "Lura can do it better than I." Oh, but we must go home to camp first. Aunty will be crazy as it is, and we oughtn't to give her a minute of needless w orry. Do you know any shorter way back than the way we came Mack? asked Dick. I'm pretty sure we can get to the Vallecito by this ravine and back to the camp without having to

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS climb much. Better not try to carry anything but yourselves. John and the burro and I will come for the skin and the meat to-morrow." It was a tired and hungry party that arrived at camp after midnight and the warmth with which the wanderers were welcomed was a measure of the anxi ety that had been felt for their safety. But now that all danger was past no one could remember having been anxious. When Lura said to her aunt: "We are awfully sorry that we worried you and we didn't mean to stay away so long, but we couldn't help it," that lady replied: Of course you couldn't help it, child, and I wasn't much worried. I only wish I could have been with you, but I don't seem to have any luck with bears. Tell me how you got yours, and maybe I'll go out with Ned and see if I can have your good fortune." "Let's wait till after supper, for I am starving, and if I don't pretty soon get a bit of that elk that is sput tering on the coals, I am afraid I shall die. Do you see that other kind of meat, sputtering worse than the elk? That's my bear. I asked Mr. Mackenzie to bring a piece for our supper." Mercy, Lura! Do you eat bears?" Of course, Aunty. They are considered a great delicacy." Who told you that? I don't remember, but somebody, and, anyhow, it stands to reason. Just smell those trout. They are taking them off, supper is ready and my life is saved! After the meal had been eaten, the little colony

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MOLLY PHOTOGRAPHS A LIVE ELK flfll seated itself around the camp-fire, "just like an In dian council," as Miss Moore said. Does it remind you of your Seminole surround ings, when you lived in the Everglades? she asked Lura. Not the least in the world. Here are the ever lasting hills, there the dead level of a prairie ; here the high rocks, there the shallow water; here the elk and the grizzly, there the alligator and the cotton mouth moccasin; here the throats of the girls are bare while the men are well shod, there every girl's neck is loaded with pounds of beads, while the men are bare legged; here the air is like wine, stimulating action and thought, while the languorous breath of the tropics in vites slumber and dreams.-Dick, will you kindly pass the plate? That was a good spiel,' Lura, and you mustn't make fun of it. Now tell me how the bear frightened you and Ned," said Dick. Well, he did frighten me, all right, but I must be gin at the beginning."

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CHAPTER XX LURA FACES A WOUNDED BEAR W HEN Ned and I left you near the mouth of that ravine this morning, or was it yes terday morning, everything was lovely and peace ful-" "Was that because you had got rid of the rest of us? interrupted Dick. Lura's reply to the impertinence was to chuck a rock at the speaker, but as it was a girl's throw noth ing was hit. She continued: "As I said, everything was grand and lovely, but the walking was pretty rough. It was all rocks, rocks, some that you could climb over and others as big as a house that you had to get around the best way you could. Some places I couldn't possibly have got over alone -" "Ned is always good to girls that way," again in terrupted the incorrigible Dick. Sometimes we had to go through creepy little alleys with big rocks towering above our heads, and I got real shivery, expecting each minute to meet a grizzly, or a ground-hog like the one that you said scared you so, Dick. Then it got more open and we could see a good ways, but always we climbed, on

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LURA FACES A WOUNDED BEAR and up where Nature's heart beats strong among the hills,'-" "Whose heart did you say, Lura?" inquired the chrdnic disturber of the peace. Dick, you stop teasing Lura. The rest of us want to hear the story,'' interposed Molly. Now I guess you'll be good,'' and again Lura con tinued, I got out of breath pretty often and had to stop to rest.Yes, Mr. Impertinence, you clon't need to ask. Ned was polite and he did stop whenever I did.-We always kept quiet when we stopped and looked around very carefully for bears. Then one time I saw something moving, and it was black and I showed it to Ned, and he said, It's a bear, just what we want,' and I almost screamed, I was so happy, but I thought in time. Can t I take a picture of it, same as Molly did with the elk? I asked, but he said No, bears are very shy and won't let you get near them. The best time to take their pictures is after they are dead. It is a long distance to shoot and I wish Dick was here to do it.' Well, I don't,' said I -" "Can't I defend myself, Molly, against calumniation? pleaded Dick. No, you can't. You are getting what is coming to you. Now go on, Lura, and I'll protect you,'' Molly answered. Ned pointed his rifle very slowly, and, resting his elbow on a rock, aimed for a long time. I had the fidgets and wa s holding my breath at the same time, and if he had kept on aiming ten minutes longer, I should have exploded. Then he fired and we heard

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9l9l4 DICK AMONG THE MINERS something between a growl and a howl and the bear got active." I hit him all right,' said Ned, and I shouted, 'Hurrah! '-though why I should rejoice in the suf fering of an innocent creature, goodness knows." The 'innocent creature' would have eaten you if he had got the chance," said Molly. Served me right if he had,'' went on Lura, "after we fired wicked bullets into him from a mile away. We walked and climbed toward the bear pretty fast and I was too excited to be tired, but when we came near him he shambled away. Ned said he thought his fore shoulder was busted and that he couldn't go very far. I asked him why he didn't shoot him some more, and he said that he wanted me to have a chance to take his picture while he was alive, and so did I, and then we took up the trail of the bear. That was his expression, not mine. The bear kept right on climbing, and we after him. Sometimes it was al most straight up the rocks." Didn't you get all out of breath in that awful climb? asked Miss Moore. "Only got out of breath once, and that lasted all the time. Ned asked if I wasn't out of breath, and I told him I hadn't any to talk with, for I needed it all for climbing. Sometimes we gained on the bear, and then he turned his head and snarled at us, showing his teeth quite unpleasantly. I wish I could have got his picture with that expression. It would have been a prize winner. When he got out of the ravine on level ground he gained on us a lot. He passed two or three

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LURA FACES A WOUNDED BEAR gulches, and it looked as if he were going down one of them, but he kept on. Then he came to the ravine where you found us, and down that he pitched. He could go down hill faster than we, for when he came to an up and down place he just let go and bumped to the bottom. We couldn't do that way, though we came pretty near it once or twice. Then he stopped to rest in that little glade where Ned built the fire to show you where to find us. He showed his teeth some more and acted as if he intended to stop for the night. Ned walked pretty near, I should think about as wide as a room from him. The bear jumped for ward just a little, and Ned, he jumped back and al most knocked me over. Then he got the crossest I ever knew him, and scolded like this, Don't you know any better than to run into such danger? and I said that it wasn't any more danger for me than for him, and he said that it didn't matter so much to a man, and I asked how he thought Molly would feel if I went back to camp dragging a bear with him inside of it. I told him he had been real cross, and he apologized and we made up "Tell us about that," said Dick in a tone so low that no one but Molly noticed it, and the gentleness of her Please don't, Dick," so surprised him that he kept silent for the space of many minutes. Then I got the camera all ready and told him that it was the greatest chance I had ever had to take a bear's picture, and I was going up close enough to do it in style. He said he wouldn't let me, and I asked him what he was going to do about it, and he

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9l9l6 DICK AMONG THE MINER$ said that he was going to keep between me and the bear, and I asked him how I could photograph a four-legged bear if a two-legged one got in the way. He said that I might go near enough to photograph the bear, and that he would keep beside me with the rifle pointed at the bear if I would promise to run away if the creature started for us, and let him fix him with the rifle. I said I would promise but I didn't tell him how slowly I meant to run. It became very exciting, though nothing happened, as I walked very, \'.ery slowly toward the bear, changing the focus as I walked to fit the distance, until Ned whispered, Not another inch, Lura,' 'and he said it so solemn-like that it almost frightened me. I snapped the shutter, the bear started up, and we didn't lose any time about getting out of his way. Ned talked about shooting him again, but I thought that after sitting for his picture so nicely we ought to do all we could to make his last hours pleasant. Ned offered to collect some pine twigs and make a nice soft couch for him, but I never encourage satire in Ned, so I made no reply. By and by the bear began to act as if he meant to die, and as I don't like sad things, I walked away Then Ned called me and said, It is all over,' and he got a stick to poke the creature and make sure. I warned him that bears often play possum just to get people within reach of their claws, but this one was too dead to try that game Every thing that we cared for had been done, and I wanted to get back to the camp to tell Molly about it, and I said to Ned:

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LURA FACES A WOUNDED BEAR flfl7 "'We have a long ways to go, don't you think we ought to start?' I've got to tend to this bear, first,' said he with some asperity. How long will the obsequies require? I asked meekly. I have got to skin the brute so carefully that his claws will stay on his toes, that his eyebrows will be undisturbed and his lips unmarred. After the skin of the head has been put back on the cleaned skull and the rest of it made into a rug for you, it will look so natural that the teeth will bite you if you step on his toes.' Is that all you have to do? I inquired. No, for I must butcher the beast and hang it in the tree till we get a chance to have it carried to camp.' Will it take more than a week? said I. I hope not,' said he." No, I didn't,'' interrupted Ned. Very well, then he did hope it would take more than a week. I told him explicitly, though, that if I were gone more than a week, Aunty would be worried, and I couldn't have that." Don't talk nonsense, Lura," exclaimed Miss Moore. Of course you couldn't have stayed a week, or even a day unless there was some compelling rea son." Sometimes, Aunty, I am afraid of your sense of humor getting the better of you. Now I have brought the story down to the time of our heroic rescue, omit-

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS ting only the skinnery-butchery details. I saw that Ned felt relieved at the chance of sharing the care of my humble self with others." "I didn't feel it, ;,tnd you didn't see it," was Ned's impolite reply, which seemed to trouble the girl very little, for her eyes danced with merriment. On the following morning Dick wanted Molly to see Columbine Lake, which they had passed in their night search for Lvra and Ned, and with Fanny they accompanied Mack and Burnett on their way to get the skin and meat of the bear. Molly took pictures of the curious lake, far above timber-line and with hidden sources, and made Fanny and her companions sit by turns on its edge to give human interest to the scene. No marauding wild animal had disturbed the skin or carcass of Lura's bear, and the two miners, with Dick, were able to carry all of the creature that could be utilized. It had been decided that the climb was too hard even for a burro. The next day the miners went back to their de velopment work on the mine, while Ned and Dick busied themselves scraping skulls of bear and elk, dressing skins and smoking flesh. After the first day the work was light enough for a single pair of hands, and as every one was surfeited with game, it was ar ranged that Ned and Dick should fish on alternate days. It happened, quite without arrangement, that Molly was usually Dick's companion, which compelled Ned to look after Lura. As fishing combinations, both were failures. For while it had been often proven

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LURA FACES A WOUNDED BEAR that two fisher5 could catch a day's supply for the camp in six minutes, it was of daily demonstration that six hours were required by either of the couples named. One morning it happened that a few minutes of fishing and half an hour of gathering wild-flowers along the bank of the stream so exhausted Dick and Molly that they sat down on a grassy bank to bask in the sun and rest. Molly was weaving a chaplet of flowers, while Dick leaned lazily against a rock, hold ing one hand to his forehead in a way to shut out the light of the sun but to take in the picture of a beauti ful girl. Molly felt the admiration in his eyes and sought to parry it with a commonplace question: What do you think of Professor Kelly now, that is, if you think of him at all?" I think of him every day and he gets into my dreams at night. In his presence I believe in him and in his absence, distrust him." I don't believe in him at all, Dick, but why can't you think it out? He is here to do something against our interests, and if we know what it is we ought to be able to find his tracks." So we ought, Molly, and it's because I'm a dunce that I haven't done it." "Don't say that, Dick, because it isn't true, and if it were it would mean Ned and me as well." I won't say it again and I
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DICK AMONG THE MINERS value in these mines. Bascombe planned it, and then brought in Kelly to play the scientific card, and he has done it so well that he has us beaten to a frazzle." "Dick!" and the girl's indignation flamed in her face. "Forgive me this time, Molly," and the boy lifted the hand that was resting near him to his lips. The hand was quickly withdrawn with the sharp exclamation: Dick Williams, don t you ever do that again! and then having crushed her victim, she tem pered justice with mercy by adding, at least as long as you are willing to admit that you are beaten." Molly's postscript heartened the boy, and he started out bravely: Kelly was sent here to deceive us about the as says, and we can't find,"storm clo uds gathered in the face of the girl, to be quickly dispelled as Dick continued I mean, we haven't yet found out how he did it." "Tell me exactly how Kelly began with you." "About the first thing he said, after watching our opening of the coal pit, was that he wasn't needed, that there were experts here already." Excellent, so he began with flattery. You have talked about his openness and frankness. .What did you mean?" "Why, he stood back to let us do the work our selves, and when we forgot anything that would have helped us he reminded us." Did he tell you anything that was really new to you, anything that was of radical help?

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LURA FACES A WOUNDED BEAR There was nothing radical to be told, but he showed natural frankness and genuineness and didn't hesitate to criticize Bascombe when he was wrong." "It all shows that he was a good actor. He made a pleasant impression, told you a lot of things that you already knew, and curried favor with you by criticizing the man you suspected in matters that were obvious. What was the first assay work you and Ned did with him?" On the Iowa, and he didn't give himself a chance to deceive us." "Had he any object in deceiving you about that ore?" That is the great mystery of the situation. Everything points to the Iowa as being the storm cen te r of the trouble, but if the mine is a bonanza how was it possible to make our careful assays show only nine ounces, and how could they be made to corre spond so exactly with the assays that Bascombe claimed to have had made? Then they did agree roughly with my blow-pipe assay." Suppose we as s ume for the present what seems to be proved, that there was no deception about the assay value of the Iowa ore? vVe assume it. I am following you, oh, Portia." Don't make fun of me, Dick, for I have been studying hard over this mystery of yours, I mean ours." Really and truly, I hadn't a thought of making fun. y OU are doing exactly what I ought to have

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS done. We will drop the Iowa mystery and take it up later. The next thing we did with Kelly was the assay of specimens from the Moonstone, Monitor and Black Horse. You remember about those. We se lected the samples carefully in the morning, you arrived at noon and helped with the assay afterward. Now from the mines to the cupels those ores were practically in my hands, and Kelly had no opportunity to change them." I remember all about those assays, Dick, though it was Greek to me then. We found nine ounces to the ton in the Moonstone, where Bascombe said there were eleven and fourteen in the Monitor to his twenty-one. Then he said the Black Horse ran from five to eighteen ounces and we got twelve. Were these differences enough to make us suspicious ? "Just the contrary, Molly, for if they had cor responded exactly, it would have been proof of decep tion. No two specimens are alike, no two mines run alike." But Dick, don't you remember how disgusted you were with the Black Giant and Mayflower assays because all the samples alike?" Yes, and I didn't think about it then, but that was a demonstration of fraud. Another thing, my blow pipe assay showed great richness in the Black Giant, while it confirmed the Bascombe assays in the Moon stone. Molly, you have treed the nigger in the fence!" Please don't mix your metaphors, Dick. A fence isn't a tree. You might say you have found the Afri-

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LURA FACES A WOUNDED BEAR can in the woodpile, only you haven t done it yet, though you are on his trail." Yes, and the trail is warm. There was no motive for deception in the Moonstone, Monitor or Black Horse, for they were the mines that were selected by Bascombe because of their poor ore. I knew all this and yet was idiot enough -" "Dick!" exclaimed Molly, removing her hand from its dangerous proximity to his. I mean that I hadn't got around to considering the matter of motives. Where there was no motive there was no deception, and Kelly s frankness was clearly put on to win confidence that might help him when the need to deceive us came." Then the deception began with the Black Giant and Mayflower assays. We must go inch by inch over every step leading to that assay. I think I remember it all, from the loose specimens you picked out of the Black Giant ore piles to those you took from the breast after Lura had fired the blast. Kelly kept out of the way and couldn't have touched the samples." And they never left my actual possession and sight until the pulp, weighed and mixed with the litharge and borax, was in the scorifiers that evening. Then Miss Moore proposed to put off the actual assay till morning, and I locked the door, which wasn't opened until we were ready for the assay in the morning." How do you know it wasn't opened, or that Kelly didn't get in by a window, or down a stovepipe or any other old way? And Dick, Dick, Dick! I have it! I have it! I've got the key to the fraud."

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS Tell me quickly, Molly, or I'll bust! Tell me something first. Did you touch the ore in those scorifiers before you put them in the fur nace?" I never touched the scorifiers after I left them that night until I picked them up with the tongs in the morning. Are you sure that anybody did touch them?" You listen. I was the last one to touch the scori fiers that night, and while I was talking to you I was dabbing the ore on one of them with my finger tip. I made little cup-shaped finger prints all over the mixture in one of the scorifiers. Those prints were not there in the morning when you put the scorifiers in the fur nace! I thought you saw me making the dabs and that you didn't approve of it and so smoothed them out." You ought to have known that I would not have disturbed-" And now I remember another thing," interrupted the girl. There was a little dirt on the table in the morning that might have been spilled from a scarifier, and I am sure it was not there when we left the night before." It is all clear now, Molly, yet I am anxious to get back and put it to the test. There is another African in the woodpile that I am going to smoke out to night." "Who is it?" The same old combination, Bascombe and Kelly. They planned this excursion for us, just as grown

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LURA FACES A WOUNDED BEAR folks plan for children, and we did as we were told, like good obedient babies." But I thought the purpose of this picnic was to de velop your mine." That mine was Kelly's bait to coax us out of the way. When he played hanky-panky with the Black Giant and Mayflower ores, he sweetened the scarifier mixture that you had marked Vallecito with a few particles of gold. The result was so unnatural that it would have excited the suspicion of a cast-iron dog, but I swallowed it." "Dick!" I mean that it is not usual to find in silver ores so large a percentage of gold." You mean that he salted is that the correct ex pression? -that scarifier on purpose to lead us on a wild goose chase? "Not a doubt of it, and remember how he planned to get you and Lura and Miss Moore to be of the party ? Then he left us and met Bascombe, who came at once to the camp, and after an unnatural expression of surprise did all he c o uld to further the trip and in duce its prolongation." Why do you think Kelly met Bascombe? inquired Molly. It is an irresistible inference, and here is another. I have my blow-pipe with me, and tonight I will make an assay of the best sample we can find of the Valle cito ore, and I'll give you my head for a football if 1t proves one-tenth as rich as the assay we made indi cated."

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Q36 DICK AMONG THE MINERS I have an African, too, to smoke out tonight, for I expect to learn that it was at Kelly's suggestion that Miss Moore proposed to put off till the next morning the completion of the assay of the Black Giant and Mayflower ores." That must be so, and it came in at precisely the right time for his purpose, between filling of scorifiers and starting up the furnace fire. He surely played the game prettily." How will you manage to conceal your suspicions from Bascombe, now that you are so sure of them? "He and Kelly must know them already. They have some reason for wanting to put off the collision, which they must know is coming. Maybe it's mixed up with the Iowa mystery. We have got to reason that out. Won't I be glad when mysteries are solved, and all the cards on the table ?

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CHAPTER XXI THE MYSTERY REVEALED SORRY to tell you, Mack," said Ned, "that your mine has busted up. It was salted on us." Who did it and how did he do it? Kelly did it in the assay office. He broke in some time in the night and changed the Black Giant and Mayflower ore for some rotten stuff, and then put gold in the Vallecito assay." "Just what I'd have thought of the skunk. He was too slick. And that big assay never did look natural. What does the vein assay? I saw Mr. Wil liams at work on it with his blow-pipe." He thinks the ore runs less than five ounces to the ton." "And John Burnett and Tim and me have been working on five-ounce ore just on account of that tqief? That is about the size of it, Mack." "When folks play that kind of a game on us min ers out here, we usually take it out of their hides," and Dick, who overheard, quoted in a voice inaudible to all but Molly: I'm sorry for Mr. Bluebeard, I'm sorry to cause him pain, .231

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS But a terrible spre e there s sure to be When he comes back again.' The council fire burned late that night to the de light of the romantic Miss Moore, to whom it typi fied all she had read of the red man Cooper to Catlin, from Longfellow to Helen Hunt. The de cision of the council was announced by Dick: "We'll hike for the cabin in the morning, Mack, and leave you and Burnett to care for the meat and skins. We will have Tim go with us, for Mr. Bas combe must be in need of his foreman." "Miss Moore," asked Molly, after the formal coun cil was over, what made you suggest, the other night, that we wait till morning to finish the assay? Mr. Kelly s aid, when Ned started to make the fire in the furnace, that he hoped the cupel-some thing would be put off till morning so that the young ladies could see it, that it might take half the night if it was started then. Why d on't you say so to Mr. :Barstow?' I asked Oh, that would be most indelicate for me,' said he, for it is his assay and it mu stn't be even thought that I would make a sugge s tion.' I thought it was a funny piece of etiquette, but men are often queer that way, so I made the sugges tion myself. Wasn't that all right?" Sure it was, and it clears up all the mysteries that have troubled us. Doesn't it, Dick? "Not quite all, for the Iowa su s pici o ns haven't been cleared up. It may be that Basc o mbe has di s covered a rich vein somewhere in the side or bottom of the

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THE MYSTERY REVEALED tunnel that he has managed to keep hidden so far but who is this coming? Why, it's Tom! Yes," said the boy as he came into the firelight, with flushed, animated face, and quick breathing that told of the haste with which he had traveled, "It's Tom. I told you I'd find you if I thought there was anything you ought to know, and I made time coming, too." I hope, Tom, you didn't bet on the time you would make," said Ned, with much severity of manner. Oh, no, Mr. Barstow. I've got my share of that money yet, and I'm going to make good for the whole of it." How did you find us? That was easy, or it would have been if it hadn't got dark so soon. I told Mr. Bascombe that if he would lend me his gun after dinner I could pick up some birds for his breakfast. He liked that, but he was an awful time eating talking, talking all the time with his friends." What friends, Tom?" Kelly and a man named Goggins, or something like it, and the other fellow who used to come and get rocks out of the Iowa." "We want to hear all about it after you have told us how you found us." Soon as they got through dinner I hustled the dishes out of the way, and got the gun. I hid it in the corral, 'cause I meant to sprint a lot. I made good time to the Iowa Divide, took it easy to the top, pitched down the other side and raced across the ba-

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS sm. I had to take it slow down to the Vallecito, or else break my neck, and, besides, it was gettin' pretty dark. I ran into your camp first thing. I fixed up a lightwood torch and tracked up and down the stream till I knew you had come this way, and then I stopped looking for your tracks till I got to this ravine. I walked up it a piece till I saw your fire, and here I am." You are a good Indian, Tom, and you have done well. Now what has happened? Mr. Bascombe has brought in twenty more men They are all camped by the Iowa mine, and I guess they are working th ere. Every one of them is carry ing a gun, and it doesn't look much like a mining outfit." Has Shock brought his burros to pack ore from the Black Giant, Black Horse, Mayflower and Iowa?" inquired Dick. Oh, yes, they came the have been busy ever since. out of the Iowa." day after you left, and They have packed a lot How about the other mines? They took three or four burro loads out of the Black Giant, one from the Black Horse and one from the Mayflower. All the rest has been from the Iowa. Professor Kelly has been busy in the assay office, and the rest have been with him a good deal. I crawled under the back window of the assay office two nights, but I couldn't make out much. One dark night they opened the window, and Goggins and the professor talked right over my head, and Goggins most drowned

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THE MYSTERY REVEALED fl41 me with tobacco juice. Kelly,' said he one time, ain't there any silver in the Iowa? The professor told him there was about nine ounces, but then he said,-' That don't matter a row of pins. The gangue carries twenty-eight per cent. of macknight, and that is eighty per cent. of pure metal.' Then they shut the window, and I didn't hear any more." Are you sure they said per cent. ? Wasn't it ounces they talked about? "It was just as I said, Mr. Williams. I know ounces all right, and I learned per cent. when I was a betting man. This was night before last, and the next day the twenty men came and I thought I would come and tell you soon as I got a chance. Then I de cided to make a chance to come, after what I heard at breakfast." "What was that?" "I was going to the spring for a pail of water, and I stopped at the window for a minute, and I heard Goggins say: What will you do with the Barstow outfit? They mustn't know about it yet.' Bascombe laughed and said, You can trust Kelly to throw dust in 'their eyes. I laughed to split at the way he fooled them about the Black Giant and then salted a Vallecito prospect and sent them over there, the whole bunch, for a fortnight at least.' Then Goggins said, That will be long enough, we will have the papers by then.' "But Kelly, he said, 'You'll laugh out of the other side of your mouth, Bascombe, before that Williams

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS devil gets through with you. We just pulled through by bull-head luck, and I expect he's onto our game by this time. He gave me a scare when he asked about the brown stain on the Iowa cupel -' "Now I kqow about that attack of sciatica!" shouted Dick, and I've almost got one myself. Tell me again, Tom, what it was that Kelly said the gangue from the Iowa carried twenty-eight per cent. of? "I can't remember exactly, but it sounded like Mac Knight." Was it melaconite? That is what it was. I could swear to it." Tom, you have done us a good turn, and thanks to you we know all that we need to know about the mines We are going to have trouble, and we will start for the cabin in the morning to find out what it is and to face it." I'll be with you when trouble comes. I've told you all I heard, for just then a chair scraped, and I got away from the wind o w and around the cabin in a hurry. Now I'll be going back." You d on't mean y o u are going over that trail in the night? Wait and go with us in the morning." "I can find my way, long as I don't have to hurry, and if I didn't get back before morning that Kelly would know where I had been, and then I could never find out anything more for you." Well, y o u must have something to eat before you start," and the size of the section of elk that was soon broiling on the coals for Tom's supper was a tribute to his capacity which the boy worthily justified.

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THE MYSTERY REVEALED "Dick," said Molly, after Tom had departed filled with the flesh of the elk, will you kindly inform us why an allusion to a brown stain on a cupel should cause Professor Kelly and you to have fits? Molly, that brown stain told the meaning of the Iowa mystery as plainly as print could have done it, and I was such a blithering idiot -" "Dick!" stormed Molly, "haven't you prom ised-" "It's no use to' Dick' me now, Molly, and it doesn't matter what I've promised, I have got to say things or explode. The brown stain on the cupel meant cop per as plain as the nose on your face, and I was blind as a bat not to see it. I got the green flame ... colora tion of copper before the olow-pipe, and I saw what I was thinking of instead of what was before my eyes." But what if there was copper in the Iowa? Isn't silver more valuable than copper? And do twenty eight ounces of copper to the ton make a mine of amazing value? It wasn't ounces that were mentioned, but per cent., and twenty-eight per cent. of a ton is nearly nine thousand ounces. This twenty-eight per cent. was of melaconite, the brown oxide of copper, which any chemistry will tell you is about seventy-nine per cent. pure copper." "I don't see how you could have been expected to have known that it was a copper mine." Why, Molly, the very name Guggins ought to have told me the whole story. He is of the great

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2441 DICK AMONG THE MINERS copper family whose ambition is to control the copper of the world. He is the storm center of the corrup tion that has made the capital of Colorado a synonym for political rottenness. That is what gives Bas combe the confidence that I couldn't understand. That is why he told the miner that Guggins owned the property and would soon take possession. Gug gins controls the legislature, dominates the courts and is a mighty power in Washington and Wall Street." What can you do, Dick, against such odds? ''Fight!" Do you say Fight,' too, Ned? Molly, I am happy to think that war is to be declared tomorrow. Since I have heard Tom's story I am finding it very hard to wait until then." What will be the first thing to happen? Before anything else happens," replied Dick, you and Lura and Miss Moore must go to Durango where your father and perhaps Lura's father are likely to be in a few days. It isn't possible for any of you to be here when the trouble begins." Dick Williams! flamed out Molly. If you are going to begin your campaign that way it is a fail ure from the start. I won't leave the cabin and I will not take orders from you. Nothing short of my own father's word will make me go away while trouble threatens. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Williams." You are awfully unfair to Dick," exclaimed Lura. He wasn't giving you orders but only plan ning for your safety."

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THE MYSTERY REVEALED 245 Perhaps you understand him better than I," was the tart reply. Don't mind what that crosspatch says, Lura, but come along with me, I want to talk with you," said Ned. "Now you see, Dick," said Molly, after Ned and Lura were out of hearing, how much trouble you have made with that awful temper of yours. It was all your fault and it is likely I shall have to stand half the blame," and Dick was so dazed by the girl's audacity thal: he couldn't think of an appropriate re joinder. When the exploring party reached the Iowa Basin Ned collected samples from the Mayflower, while Dick visited the Iowa for the same purpose. The latter was a bustling mining camp, with twoscore men apparently at work, burros being loaded with ore and a living and cooking camp in full operation. Dick selected a few specimens of ore and was asked by the foreman who he was, to which he curtly re plied that he was the representative of the owner of the property. After crossing the Iowa Divide Tim set out for the Black Giant to get ore samples while the rest of the party rode on to the mining cabin. They were met at the door by Kelly and the superintendent, Guggins and the fourth man having departed. The professor wore his own cool, pleasant smile, while Bascombe was plainly excited. We didn't expect you so soon," said the latter. We thought the ladies would enjoy the country and

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS the camping and that you might have a chance to get a deer. "We don t go for as small game as that in this country." Did you get any game bigger than a deer? Oodles of it," replied Dick, Miss Barstow got a beautiful bull elk with her camera." There are very few elk around here," said Bas combe, with an air that implied that the creature was probably a deer. How near did she get to the elk that she photo graphed?" asked Kelly. About forty feet. She certainly had extraordinary luck ," commented the professor. Why not give her credit for skill? That I will cheerfully do and the more if y o u had anything to do with it." I thought the antlers ought to g o with the pho tograph, so I shot the creature after Miss Barstow had taken its picture It was a wonderful performance and must have made the other y o ung lady quite envi o us." "Oh, no, for she did better yet. She must have got a bear, but hardly within forty feet." No, within ten." Not alive? Yes, but wounded. It was only a black bear, but it had a beautiful skin." How did you find Mr. Barstow s mine?

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THE MYSTERY REVEALED "Just about as I expected after I had thought things over a little." Then you made an assay? Yes." Blow-pipe, I suppose?" "Yes." Will you make a regular assay of it here? That is quite unnecessary, but I will make an as say of some samples we got to-day from the Black Giant and Mayflower, just to see if they have im proved any." And the Iowa, too, I suppose? I think not. I shall probably make a volumetric analysis of that," and Kelly had another twinge of sciatica after which he turned pale to the lips. I am glad to see you take such an interest in the assays, Mr. Williams, and I am sure the professor will do all in his power to help you," said Bascombe who was flurried at the turn the conversation had taken. You must excuse Mr. Bascombe, but as you see our worthy superintendent is out of his depth," and so saying Kelly walked out of the cabin. Bascombe soon followed, and Molly turning to Ned, exclaimed," I thought you were going to declare war against those traitors, but you were as polite as if they had been your best friends, you and Dick, too. They will think you are both afraid of them. You were as mild as two lambs." "It was Dick who declared war and Kelly doesn't

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS think he was afraid. Didn't you see how pale the professor got?" Why should he get pale? I didn't hear anything said that would alarm a pussy cat." "A pussy cat wouldn't mind being told that he had been caught lying, stealing, salting a mine, and above all that his cherished secret had been discovered by his enemy, but it is a bitter dose for a man like Kelly to swallow." How did you tell him all that, :Oick? I didn't tell him much. It was his own in telligence that did the business. When he saw that tiny bit of charcoal on the floor of Burnett's cabin he knew what was coming and when he changed the mixture in the scorifiers he was only playing to gain a little time and his salting the Vallecito ore was for the same purpose. He knew we had found out about that when we came back so unexpectedly to Bas combe." "Then what made him turn pale if he knew what was coming? He didn't know it all. You must have seen his half-smile as he asked about the Vallecito mine and inquired if I had made a blow-pipe assay." I saw him smile as if he was pleased and that made me very much displeased." He wasn't pleased, Molly, for I was telling him plainly that he was a liar and a swindler. Then when I told him that I was going to make another assay of the Black Giant and Mayflower I was rubbing it m a little and his smile began to get thin."

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THE MYSTERY REVEALED !!49 But what was it that he didn't know?" He didn't know that we suspected the Iowa of being a copper mine until I told him that I was going to make a volumetric analysis of the ore. He knew that I meant copper by that and that his secret was mine." Then you are through your trouble with him? It hasn't begun and it is hard to tell what turn it will take, but while we are waiting we might as well assay the ores we collected to-day and find out what there really is in the Black Giant and May flower." "Will you make an analysis of the Iowa ore, for copper, the kind you told Kelly you might make? You mean volumetric. Probably not, for I only mentioned that by way of information to Kelly. The dry assay will be accurate enough for our purposes at present, though I notice that Kelly has in the assay office all the apparatus and chemicals required in the cyanide process." I want to help about the copper assay. Is it more complicated than the silver process? For rich ore like this it is much simpler and is merely smelting a weighed quantity." "Then let's get busy. Lura and Ned can assay the silver ores. They might as well be doing some thing useful as to spend their time looking out of the window." Come, take a walk, Lura. 'It is better to dwel! in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.'

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f.!50 DICK AMONG THE MINERS You remember who it is can cite Scripture for his purpose,' was Molly's parting shot. The assays were made as proposed, and eager eyes watched the brightening of the buttons which sur prised no one in the weighing though they indicated forty-five ounces of silver to the ton in the May flower ore and just twice as much in that of the Black Giant. Kelly dropped into the assay office dur ing the process but made no comments as results were announced. He did wince, however, when Dick showed him a flat button of orange-red color that weighed fifty grains and explained in detail that it was the result of the fusion of two hundred grains of Iowa ore with three hundred of carbonate of cop per, twenty of charcoal and fifty each of borax and lime. He remained but a short time after that, look ing troubled as he walked about the room but he smiled as he left it saying, Here endeth the first lesson.'

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CHAPTER XXII BASCOMBE BOUNCED, KELLY SHOWS HIS HAND CONSPIRATORS and conspired against sat around the bountiful board in armed neutrality. For Bascombe had exhausted the markets of Silver ton to provide vegetables, fruits and other delicacies for the ladies. Molly sat in somber silence, for her only theory of dealing with treason was Gloster's; "Thou art a traitor; Off with his head I Ned was gloomily meditative, for he was ponder ing over the campaign he had planned, while Lura, though looking away, was wondering what worried him. Bascombe was quiet and anxious, while Dick was so abstracted that he didn't know that he was humming to himself the air of an old negro song un til Kelly said with a smile: I've heard that song as it came from the throats of two hundred frenzied-or inspired as you choose to call it negroes at a camp meeting and it thrills me now to think of it: "'He was counted a prophet, at least was as wise, For he told of the battles to come, And they trembled with fear when he rolled up his eyes, And heeded the shaking of his thumb.' iol

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS How they did roll out that, 'For he told of the battles to come I Kelly's audacity saved the day, for it brought back the wool-gathering thoughts, and thereafter till the meal was ended he compelled the attention of all, willing or unwilling. A scholar, sentimentalist and man of the world he cast all of his powers into the balance to win all hearts and intellects to the simple enjoyn;ient of a social hour. One after another fell under the spell he wove, Molly being the last to yield. She sat without speaking until at some sally of Dick's she beamed upon him with an appreciative smile that caused the professor to quote as he looked signifi cantly at her; Not without art, but yet to Nature true,' and though the girl couldn't hide her height ened color she came out of her shell and added to the gaiety of the hour. As they rose reluctantly from the table, Dick, whose spirit was yet in thrall of the hour, exclaimed impulsively: Why don't you come over to our side, Mr. Kelly, and work for what you know to be right? You can't imagine how welcome you would be or how happy it would make us to work with you." Kelly met the appealing glance of the younger man and in gentle tones quoted : Life went a Maying With Nature, Hope and Poesy; When I was young! Then a smile of irony played over his face and cold light came in his eyes and he bowed to the boy

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BASCOMBE BOUNOED 9l53 as he turned to the door, saying in a voice that no other could hear : Here endeth the second lesson.' But his tone told Dick that his overtures had been rejected and his shield touched with the point of the professor's lance. There comes the express agent," said Bascombe, pointing out a horseman on the farther side of the gulch beside the cabin. "What makes him come away up here?" asked Ned. He must have a prize for some of us.'' "It is the money for the pay-roll and expenses of the camp and comes from your father's office to me," replied the superintendent. But when the agent arrived and Bascombe held out his hand for the package he was told,-" This package is for Edward Barstow, or Richard Williams, and I must have the receipt of one of them." Ned received and examined the package, while the superintendent looked gloweringly on. Most of this money is for pay-roll and expenses, Mr. Bascombe, and I am instructed to pay it over upon your receipt and in accordance with the entries upon the books. So if you will get out the books I'll pay over the money to you and be rid of responsi bility." Bascombe produced the books with reluctance, but Ned, after a short examination said to him,-" Your books have been beautifully kept and I un derstand them perfectly."

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS But I can't give you the vouchers for pay-roll and other bills till I have the money to pay them." I don't want any voucher but your receipt. You can enter the amount of the pay-roll and these other bills as paid, and I will hand you the cash to pay them." Bascombe made the entries and received the money, giving his receipt therefor to Edward Barstow as agent for William H. Barstow, as required by Ned. The superintendent proposed to draw the receipt to the Needle Mining Company, but Ned told him: "The Needle Mining Company, as you know, long ago sold all its property to Mr. Barstow and he is the sole owner, responsible for its bills, and your, and my, employer. For convenience he keeps the account am his books as the Needle Mining Account, but I cannot take a receipt in that name." Well, it makes no difference," said Bascombe as he gave the receipt. I see Shock's bill is for eighty-three burro loads of ore from the Iowa Basin to N eedleton. All this ore was for shipment to Silverton? Yes," was the hesitating answer, while the super intendent looked as if he were being put through the third degree, which was pretty near the truth. "Then just add that to the entry, please, for ship ment to Silverton,' and Bascombe made the entry as requested. Now if you are through with my books I will take said he. "Not at present. I have to make a synopsis of

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BASCOMBE BOUNCED 255 them and shall require them for some time," replied Ned. "Those are my books as superintendent of this property, I am responsible for them as well as the property, and I shall have them, by force if neces sary." In another minute you will have no rights here whatever, if I choose to say the word. There is a power of attorney from William H. Barstow to me, signed, sealed, witnessed and so certified to that it is good in any court in Colorado." We will see about that! exclaimed Bascombe as he left the cabin in a fury of rage and fear. Now Ned," exclaimed Dick, wrap those books with that receipt up as quick as you know how and address it to your father at Durango. I told the ex press agent to wait just out of sight of the cabin till I went to him. He will seal the package and get it off by the next train." Ned wasted no time and soon the parcel was in the hands of the express agent who promised that it should leave by a train that afternoon. He was instructed to send a receipt for the package in which no destination should be named. What made you in such a blazing hurry to get that book off, Dick? asked Ned. Bascombe would never have dared to carry out his threat and he couldn't have done it if he had tried. He was in a blue funk when he left, in spite of his bluster." Kelly isn't in a blue funk and we are likely to hear from him before long."

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256 DICK AMONG THE MINERS But what is it possible for him to do now? "Everything. Bascombe is only his tool and there will be music in the air when the professor finds out about the books and the receipt that the super intendent gave, which puts him in a pretty bad hole. For the agent told me that all the ore that Shack's burros had packed had been consigned to Guggins at Denver." You think Kelly would try to get them by force?" "You will know that before you are a day older. They are not safe from the Guggins crowd in an express company's vault and I wouldn't feel quite sure of them in the United States mail. But here comes Tom with his eyes bulging." Oh, Mr. Barstow," exclaimed the excited boy as he almost fell through the door. I've got bad news for you. I heard Mr. Kelly tell Bascombe that he must get those books back from you if he had to get the men to tie you up to do it. He said that very soon he would have the papers and would get rid of you for good and all." "How did you hear all this, Tom?" "I was in the corral and saw them coming that way so I hid in the hay and listened. I never heard Mr. Kelly swear before but he is a Jim Dandy at it when he gets real earnest." Do you remember anything else that was said, Tom?" Bascombe said he would watch out and when you all went on a walk he would go through your

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BASCOMBE BOUNCED fl57 bags. Kelly said he wouldn t get a chance, that the books wouldn t be left for a minute and that you mustn t have a chance to send them away. He said he would take it in hand himself if Bascombe didn't get the books within two days. Last thing he said was, You want to remember that you are no match for that young Williams, and that none of us are safe while he has those books.' Hear that, Dick? You have got something to live up to. We are much obliged to you, Tom, and for your own comfort let me tell you that Mr. Kelly is right about young Williams, who is going to put the kibosh all over both of the traitors." "I'm betting on that, too, Mr. Barstow." I am glad to hear it -that is if you will wait till your year is up." Oh, you know I didn't mean real betting. I wouldn't break that promise to you for all the money there is." The next gathering of the clans was around the breakfast table, but there was no feast of reason and flow of soul" on this occasion. Rather, the op ponents sat with daggers drawn. Bascombe's look was anxious and vindictive, Kelly's cold and cruel, while varying degrees of indignation were pictured on the faces of the others. Ned and Dick were think ing of what they had planned, the ladies were too full of indignation to talk and almost the first utter ance of the meal was Kelly's cynical comment at its close: "It has been a pleasant o ccasion Mr. Barstow."

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS It is pleasant to think it is the last of its kind," Ned replied. Bascombe lifted his eyebrows with an incredulous smile, but the wiser Kelly scented the battle from afar and watchfully waited for the attack. At this moment Tom exclaimed, "Here comes the burro train," and everyone stepped outside to watch the string of twenty patient animals plodding along_ each with more than his own weight of ore on his back. When the train reached the point where the trail turned off from the cabin Ned was standing be fore it. No animal on earth is quicker to take a hint to stop than a donkey and the whole bunch halted as one and began to munch grass by the roadside. Shock, owner and driver of the train, came slowly forward wondering why any one sh o uld ever want to stop a burro train after it had once been started. Mr. Shock," said Ned, I have taken charge of this mining property under authority of the sole owner, William H. Barstow. Here is my power of attorney, sworn to before a Colorado commissioner and good in any court or registry office in the state. I s hall permit no more ore to be taken from the Iowa at present and I wish these burros unloaded right where they are. If you can tell me now what Mr. Barstow owes you, I will pay you at once." Don t you do anything of the kind, Shock. I am boss of this outfit and I order you to go on! shouted Bascombe. "None of that Bascombe you are fired and I won't have any of your interference. I hereby form-

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BASCOMBE BOUNCED fl59 ally relieve you of your duties as superintendent, dis charge you, and notify you to remove yourself and your effects from this property within twenty-four hours." What right have you to discharge me? "The authority of the owner which I have shown you." But what do you discharge me for? "Oh, if you want reasons I will hand you out a few. Firstly, you don't seem to have even a speaking acquaintance with the truth." I don't allow any man to call me a liar! Did I do that? Well, perhaps you had better save some of your resentment for the things I am going to call you which are much worse. For ex ample you have taken Mr. Barstow's money in payment for the shipment of his ore to Silverton for his account, when you really did send it to Guggins in Denver." Then you call me a thief? Oh, no, indeed, the word is too ridiculously in adequate. You have betrayed your employer by taking his money for work that you didn't do, making false reports to him and acting as a tool of the most corrupt gang that ever cursed the state or the coun try." You don't know the power of the men you are talking about. They will make you suffer for this." "You mean the men you are the tool of?" Never mind what I mean. You will find out soon enough. I am not going to be turned out of here,

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS without a fight. Shock, I hired you, so start up those burros and go on "All right if you say so, for you hired me. I can't read the paper that young feller showed me very well so I guess I'll go on and see what happens." I can tell you what will happen, Mr. Shock," said Dick as he stood near the door of the cabin, rifle in hand. "Start up your burros with Mr. Barstow's ore on their backs and as each one reaches that tree he will get a bullet through his heart." How about that, Mr. Bascombe? Who will pay me for my burros? The law will make them pay, and dearly, too." The law is pretty slow pay. Guess I'll unload right here." "There is a good opportunity, Mr. Bascombe, far you to get your baggage hauled away cheaply. Mr. Shock won't have any load going back," said Ned. I am not going to leave the property of Mr. Gug gins. All this belongs to him and as soon as the papers arrive, which will be in a few days, you will be turned out neck and heels." In the meantime, Mr. Bascombe, you will kindly leave these premises." You mean that I will be put off by force if I don't go?" I mean just that." "You will hear from me later. I am going over to the Iowa camp now, but I will return." After Bascombe had left for the Iowa, Ned said to Shock who was ready to start,-

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BASCOMBE BOUNCED !!61 Will you wait a few minutes for a letter that I want to send to N eedleton? Course I will. Glad to do anything for you. Liked the way that other feller stood me up. He'd have shot them burros sure. I could see it in his eye. He' s all right." "Well, Neddy," said Molly after the coast was clear, I haven't drawn a full breath for half an hour. You did splendidly and it was awfully excit ing. Would you really have shot those poor innocent donkeys, Dick? "Oh, yes, Ned takes the chance of having to shoot a man and it is splendid, but when I back him up and take some chance of hurting a burro, then I am a brute." "Don't you think it is braver to threaten a man who can stand up for himself, than a helpless ani mal?" You appear to be running amuck lately, Molly," said Ned. "The other day you pitched into Lura for nothing and now you are abusing Dick just when he is taking a lot of risk for your own family." "Of course nobody must criticize Lura and I don't want Dick to take risks for my family." You don't think that Bascombe will come back and make trouble, do you Dick? asked Lura who didn't like the trend the conversation had taken. "No, Lura, I don't think Bascombe will trouble us much just now, but Kelly is so sure to act, perhaps this very day, that I should feel much happier and safer if you, Miss Moore and Molly were on your

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262 DICK AMONG THE MINERS way to Needleton and bound for Durango this min ute." "I thought we settled that, Mr. Williams Miss Moore and Lura can go if they want to, but as for me, 'This rock shall fly, Fram its firm base as soon as I I interrupted Molly. But I don't want to go said Miss Moore. I never had such thrilling excitement in my life. Do you suppose they will besiege us here and make us barricade the doors and fire sh o t s and things through the windows? Something a little like it, Miss Moore and here comes the besieging army now," and Ned p o inted to Kelly who was approaching, followed by a dozen stalwart miners. Mr. Williams," said Kelly, and his tone was de termined and there was a new and dangerous light in his eye, I represent the Guggins Syndicate, the owners of this property and-" "Address yourself to Mr. Barstow, if you have anything to say about this property," interrupted Dick. He represents the owner as you are per fectly aware." Mr. Barstow, I shall have the legal papers here in a few days to establish the title of my principals to the property and I already have sufficient men to enforce it." "Do you mean Mr. Barstow's employees hired by his agent and paid by him?

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BASCOMBE BOUNCED "I am only interested in Mr. Bascombe's affairs to the extent of recovering the books which you with held from him. Those I must have, but all other matters can wait." How do you propose to get those books that be long to Mr. Barstow? We will not discuss their ownership at present. That can be litigated hereafter, but the books I must have now." You know you have put yourself on a level with Jesse James, with my sincere apologies to that gentle man's ghost ? Are you going to give up those books? You are disposed to be facetious, Mr. Kelly." I tell you we are determined to have those books if we have to search every inch of this house and every one in it." "Have you forgotten that there are ladies in this house?" I remember that I must have those books at any cost." "How long do you suppose you would be alive after you laid a hand on a lady in this camp?" "About a minute, I should think. We don't stand for anything like that in this country," came from the direction of the assay office, and Kelly turning quickly saw Tom with his hand resting on a rifle and looking as if he longed for the chance to use it. It is your play, Mr. Kelly. You lost that last trick, you know," said Dick smilingly to the irate professor.

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fl64 DICK AMONG THE MINERS I shall come again, Mr. Williams, and I shall get those books." Oh, you mean to come in the night in your usual burglarious fashion? If you really to steal them I think Mr. Barstow may tell you where they are, just to save you from the risk of being shot while breaking into the wrong house." I have no objection to your seeing this paper, Mr. Kelly, if you can find any comfort in it," and Ned handed him the receipt of the express for a parcel of books to be forwarded to William H Bar stow. The receipt doesn't mention Mr. Barstow's ad dress." Neither do I," and as Kelly walked away with a clouded bro), Dick might have been heard to mut ter, Here endeth the third lesson.'

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CHAPTER XXIII THE KIDNAPING OF NED AND DICK THAT was quite an exciting engagement, Dick," said Molly, entirely forgetting that she was at outs with him, of which he was generous enough not to remind her. It was exciting, and Ned conducted it in bang up style." I thought at one time that Miss Moore, Lura and I were going to be captured and held for ransom and I believe that Miss Moore would really have liked it." It came unpleasantly near to being a tragedy. Kelly was in more danger from Tom than he dreamed of at the time, though I think be understood it later." Won't Kelly recognize that he is beaten and stop fighting? Kelly isn't beaten. Some little things have gone against him but he hasn't brought up his reserves, yet, and they are going to trouble us." "What are you most afraid of?" "Of just what he threatens, some legal papers that it will puzzle us to know what to do with. The Gug gins crowd controls so many judges that they can get any kind of court order they want and we have got to take big risks in deciding whether to obey such orders or not."

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fl66 DICK AMONG THE MINERS "But doesn't every one have to obey the order of a court?" "Not when a court goes beyond its authority. Its order then is of no more value than Tom's." "But Tom' s order to Kelly was effective even if it was unlawful and it wouldn t have comforted the professor much to have had it so decided a few weeks after he was dead." That is the trouble, Molly. The courts can do a lot of things to you even if they are wrong and it is hard to get square with them." "Don't you go to taking risks, Dick, just for a little property more or less. What does that amount to?" But Molly, that hasn't anything to do with it. It is my duty to do what seems right to me and if that is clear, I be ashamed to live with myself if I stopped to ask if it was safe or pleasant. I thought it was right to stop Shock's burros from carrying off your father's property and you said it was cow ardly-" Don't twit me with that, Dick. You know I didn't mean it and that I am sorry I said it. Can't a girl be cro s s occasionally without being held up for it?" You always explain it away so pleasantly Molly, that i am glad to have y o u cross." Oh, you are, are you? Then I shall know how to make it pleasant for you." Dick was so thoughtful that evening that Ned

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THE KIDNAPING OF NED AND DICK rallied him on being grwnpy, and that, too, on the day of a glorious victory. We have met the enemy and they are ours,' he quoted, and can't you come out of the dwnps? But Dick fired back a stanza in reply :"'But what good came of it at last?' Quoth little Peterkin. 'Why that I cannot tell, said he; 'But 'twas a famous victory.'" At least it was a good omen,'' said Ned, and you ought to rejoice over that, instead of mourning over the unknown future." But we haven't done all we could to anticipate that future." What more can we do? We can let your father know what is threatened and he can force the fighting outside. He has often had to defend himself against such assaults. He knows how to deal with snap judgments, ex parte decisions, court orders, injunctions and the like Oh, I have the lingo and the Guggins crowd have all those weapons in stock." Do you think we had better wire him to come? Oh, no, for he has sent us here to attend to this end of the fight and we'll do it or bust, but he ought to know what help we may need to repel attacks under guise of law." Father is at Durango by this time, unless he has been detained at Denver, which is not unlikely. I can write him at both places."

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Q68 DICK AMONG THE MINERS You sit down right now, Ned, and write all that has happened and all that is threatened and I will be off at daylight for Needleton and locate your father by wire and mail the letter accordingly." Want me to go with you? "Not much. Somebody must look after the girls. Can't you persuade Molly to leave the camp, Ned? The others would follow without a word if she would take the lead." "No use trying, Dick. You have more influence with her than I, and you got into trouble when you tried that." Ned, a gang of roughs may be sent here any hour with orders to put us all off by force. Remember what came near happening when Kelly was here. It is all right for you and me but Molly and Lura must not be subjected to such an attack." How about Miss Moore? She is so sentimentally in love with the wildness of the country that she would enjoy being captured by bandits, but it won't do for the girls. There they are now, walking together. Go and tell Molly that she must go." Ned departed on his mission and returned with a smile on his face. What happened? asked Dick. Molly listened very smilingly and patiently to all I had to say, and I put it on thick, too, and then she said, very gently,"' Certainly we will go, Edward, if you and Richard think it is best, and we shall feel perfectly safe in

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THE KIDNAPING OF NED AND DICK going, for we will have both of you to guard us on the journey and protect us in Durango, which I hear is a dangerous town .' Can't you talk sense? said I. Yes, I will,' said she. You go back and tell Dick Williams, that when he wants somebody to run his errands I wish he wouldn't select my brother for the job.' It didn't seem worth while to prolong the inter view, especially as both she and Lura were laughing at me. Maybe you would like to try your hand at persuading them. They look as if they were waiting for you. ) Dick was off for N eedlcton at daylight and from there soon located Mr. Barstow at Denver. He was told to mail the letter to Durango, where Mr. Moore would arrive on the following day and Mr. Barstow from two to five days later. Dick was at the station when the train came in bringing a man who inquired the way to the Needle Mines and asked for Professor Kelly. Dick was pointed out as being on his way to the mines and the man having hired a donkey pro posed to follow if Dick had no objections. As they rode and rested during the climb he became quite con fidential and told Dick that he carried an important paper, being Kelly's appointment as receiver of the Needle Mining Company. Do you know who got the appointment? asked Dick. Guggins' man got it. He can get anything he wants of the courts in our town. I believe the judge

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS signed the decree in blank and let the Guggins folks fill it out as they pleased I hope they haven't any thing against you, for they are a bad crowd. It is a fight," said Dick and he asked the man for his name and addre ss, b o th of which were cheerfully given. I am only a cog in the wheel, but I don t like what I have heard of this thing and I won't be a party to any wrong if I know it ; so if there is something crooked and I cari help sh o w it up your people can call upon me to the extent of my knowledge." When the cabin was reached Dick invited his com panion to come in but the man refused saying," It is better for me not to have met you, for if Kelly knew of it he would have a lot of questions to ask and I prefer to lie as little as possible." When Dick a s ked for Ned, for he was in haste to discuss with him the new de velo pment, he was as tonished to hear that Ned had g o ne to the Iowa with the ann o unced purp os e o f formally discharging every miner whom Bascombe had engaged and of ordering that gentleman and Kelly off of the Barstow prop erty. What did you let him go for? asked Dick, in dis tre s s of Molly, his informant. "It is a danger ous place for him and he c ught n o t to have gone there alone. Why didn t he wait for me to go with him?" I don t see how that w o uld have made it any safer. There are forty o f their men there. I didn't want him to go, but h o w c o uld I s t o p him? You don't think there is any real danger d o y ou? and

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THE KIDN APING OF NED AND DICK 9l71 there were tears in the eyes and distress in the voice of the girl as she asked the question. "Not a bit, Molly, not a bit." But he left soon after you did this morning," said Lura, and he told me he would be back early and he isn't here_," and she, too, contributed a few tears to the cheerfulness of the situation. He is on his way home by this time. I'll ride over and meet him. We have a lot of things to talk about." Please let me go with you, Dick," said Molly, with a smile that the boy had to shut his eyes to re sist. "That's mean of you, Molly, for you know that I can't let you go and it's wicked for you to make it so hard for me to refuse." And Dick swung into the saddle and sent Bay Billy up the trail at a rate that was an unpleasant re minder to that bronco of his record run to Silverton. As he reached the Iowa mine, his companion of the morning was leaving it, but mindful of his advice Dick gave no token of recognition. At the mouth of the mine he was greeted by Kelly who smilingly said: Glad to see you, Mr. Williams, we have been looking for you." "Then you know what I have come for," was the curt response. You want to see your friend Ned? After the tone you have taken with us are you not afraid to trust yourself in our hands?

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS "Not in the least, and unless you have some more conundrums to ask, will you kindly conduct me to where you have imprisoned Mr. Barstow? You will find yourself sharing his confinement until we come to terms." Dick's reply was a laugh which seemed to annoy Kelly, who asked him," What is it you find so amusing in the situation? Oh, there is nothing funny in the situation, it was a picture in my mind that pleased me, or per haps it was a prophecy." What was it a picture of? It was some of your friends petitioning Mr. Bar stow to use his influence with the governor of the state to pardon you out of the penitentiary." If you understood the seriousness of the situa tion for yourself, you would scarcely increase it by insults to those who are in power here." If you can think of anything that would really be an insult to you please consider it said and lead me to your other prisoner." Kelly took a candle from a miner at the mouth of the tunnel and led the way into it followed by Dick, after whom came two burly bandits, as Dick chris tened them. Near the end of the mine a bulkhead had been built, in which was a door padlocked and guarded. The door was opened and seated on a box with a lighted candle beside him was Ned, who seiz ing Dick's hands exclaimed," So they have got you, too? "Not much, they haven't; it's we who have got

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THE KIDNAPING OF NED AND DICK 27 3 them. I thought Kelly had sense, though I knew he was a scamp, but he has made fourteen different kinds of a criminal of himself and now he is like the hun ter that had a bear by the tail, he couldn't hang on long and it was death to let go." When you are through with your oration, Mr. Williams, I have a few serious words to say to Mr. Barstow," said Kelly. Fire ahead, I have no doubt you will give me material for several more orations if the adjectives in the English language hold out." "Mr. Barstow, said Kelly, "by order of a court of competent jurisdiction all this property is in my possession and you and your friends are trespassers upon it. Perhaps you would like to look at my ap pointment as receiver," and Kelly passed the docu ment to Ned, who after reading it handed it to Dick, who looked at it and tossed it contemptuously to Kelly, saying," Better light your pipe with it. It isn't good for anything else." "Is that the way you look at the mandate of a court?" "That mandate is for you to take possession of the property of the Needles Mining Company, and you know that company has no property. Its property was long ago sold to Mr. Barstow and was recorded in his name." "The court will construe that transfer to Mr. Bar stow and not you." But you didn t even attack the transfer or make

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l'l74 DICK AMONG THE MINERS Mr. Barstow a party to the suit. It's too big a farce to get through even a court that you carry in your pocket. Just think of your first report to the court; that under its decree you had kidnapeq two citizens and were holding them for ransom, imprisoned in the depths of a mine! Mr. Barstow, your friend is quite impractical. You and I had better get down to brass tacks. You know the power my people represent. We have got this property where we can hold it, in spite of any thing your crowd can do, but we want to be fair with you-" Cut out that rubbish, Kelly. It doesn't fool any body and it nauseates me." "Well, we will cut it out. We had a hold on this property which we wanted and it was falling into our hands when your father put up a hundred thousand dollars to save a fool of a mining man and cut us out of that much money, or a large part of it. Now we are going to stand that loss, pay you one hundred thousand dollars and take your deed of the property. And as I have had friendly relations with you I am going to make my people add ten thousand dollars to each of you young men as a free gift which you can mention to your father or not as you please." "You ought not to make so big an offer as that in the depths of a mine. You should take us to the top of a high mountain as your prototype did." You will think you are in the hands of my proto type, as you call him, if you don't accept my terms," exclaimed the enraged Kelly.

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THE KIDNAPING OF NED AND DICK It will then be some consolation to feel that we are in society that is respectable in comparison with yours." Are you ready to accept my off er? Why do you ma:ke it to me, instead of to the owner of the property? Because you have full power to execute the paper I want and I have a stronger hold on you than on your father." But a paper like that has to be acknowledged and have the seal of an officer of the law." I will attend to that. All I want of you is your signature." You don t seem to stand on trifles, Mr. Kelly." "Big business has the right of way in this country. It has the intelligence and can command the power to rule the country. Also, as you so courteously hinted of me, it doesn't stand on trifles." Now tell me in plain English what the alternative is if I refuse to sign this paper." There is no alternative for you or your friend. You must sign and you will sign. Do you remem ber that the son of a bigger man than your father was imprisoned in a mine not so very far from here? Yes, but that was by miners and was a question of wages." "Of course that was what was given out and so it will be in this case if anything happens to you. You are fond of imagery, Mr. Williams. How do you like this? You are in the lair of the tiger, be ware of his claws.'

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS Before answering, I should like to look at that document under which you a.re acting, said Dick. The instrument was handed him and Dick tearing it twice across, threw the pieces in Kelly s face, say ing: There is my answer." "And mine, too," added Ned, "and now, Kelly," he continued, "get out of here." Kelly motioned to the men who were guarding the gate and it was opened. After passing through he turned to Dick and said,-' You have settled your hash, now, Mr. Williams. You have defied a court that will punish you good and plenty." All right," laughed Dick. You know you will have to produce me before your court. Shall we start now?" but Kelly walked away without reply-. mg. As the hours rolled by and night came without word from Ned or Dick, Molly in distress determined to go to the enemy's camp, herself, and called on Tom to go with her. "Don' t you do it, Miss," the boy exclaimed, for it's an awful bad crowd and if they got you there too, it would just suit them and wouldn't help Mr. Barstow or Mr. Williams a bit." But I can t sit still and do nothing Tom." "Let me go," said the boy, "and I'll nose around and find out what has happened and be back with the news bright and early in the morning." The morning came and the forenoon rolled by and

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THE KIDNAPING OF NED AND DICK Tom had been swallowed up as my s teriously as those who had gone before. It was shortly after noon when Kelly, mounted on Bay Billy, and followed by Bascombe and a miner rode up to the door of the cabin. Where is my bro,ther? demanded Molly and Mr. Williams, too, she added. "They are perfectly safe and well, Miss Barstow, and I hope will be with you soon. They have been a little imprudent with an officer of the court and are under harmless restraint until the matter is arranged." "So you have turned road agent, have you, Mr. Kelly? Or has that always been your profession? exclaimed the indignant girl. I can overlook your excitement at the absence of your brother and your friend. If you will glance at this paper you will see that by order of the court I am in possession of this property and that if you and your friends are permitted to remain it will be as my guests." I shall never be your guest but if I leave this place before my brother and Mr. Williams are released it will be because I have been removed by physical violence." Nothing of that kind will happen to you You are dealing with gentlemen." Not the kind to whom I have been accustomed But that patcned up paper of yours looks as if it had been fished out of a waste basket." That w as the work of your friend-" What makes you stammer so, whenever you speak

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!e78 DICK AMONG THE MINERS of Mr. Williams? Do you mean that he is not my friend?" Oh, no. I only thought that he might be a very dear friend." Then why didn't you say so without always pre tending to stammer over it? It would have been one of the few true statements I have heard from your: lips." Your very dear friend has insulted the court and is under restraint because of it. But if the offense is not aggravated and proper representations are made it is probable that the court will be satisfied with a fine which doubtless your father would cheerfu1ly pay." There are several things my father will cheer fully do, and I am looking forward to the time when he will get after you." You might occupy yourself with more womanly thoughts. You can save those dear to you from seri ous trouble and great danger." "Kindly tell me what your conception of my pres ent duty is." Your duty is to persuade your brother and Mr. Williams to accept the exceedingly liberal offers I have made them. It will benefit your whole family, relieve your father from the threat of a war that will endanger his whole fortune and rescue your brother and dear friend from a situation that may easily be come more than perilous." I have no occasion to think of your dastardly suggestion, Mr. Kelly, for no earthly consideration,

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THE KIDNAPING OF NED AND DICK no threat that extended to life itself could persuade my brother or my very dear friend, as you call him, to listen for one instant to your blackmailing scheme. I know this in the very bottom of my and I glory in the knowledge."

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CHAPTER XXIV MOLLY'S NIGHT RIDE AND THE RESCUE LURA," said Molly, as the girls were walking beneath the great pines in front of the cabin, "it is up to us to rescue Dick and Ned. They wouldn't let us stay kidnaped." But we will have to get help for that." Of course, and we have got to get it from outside this part of the country. The Guggins own every body in this part of the world." "I know just what to do, Molly. My father is at Durango this very minute I don't know what he has to do there, but I know what he will do when he gets a telegram that we are in trouble." I believe he is the very one to help us, Lura." Help us? Why, there won't be any trouble when he gets here. You just watch out when he arrives. Now I am going to slip off this minute. I can get to the N eedleton station before dark and if I don't it doesn't matter, for I'm not afraid, and some time tomorrow things will begin to happen around this shebang." It won't do, Lura. That man is watching us this minute and you would be stopped before you could cross the gulch. It mu s t be done in the night after they are all asleep."

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MOLLY'S NIGHT RIDE fl81 All right. I'll do it then, though I hate awfully to wait." "I know just how much you want to go, dear, by the way I feel myself, but it must be me this time." I should like to know why. I spoke to go first," and Lura pouted like a little girl who had been refused permission to attend a picnic. It will be a dark night, Lura, and you couldn't take a step safely. I am going to ride Bay Billy and trust him to find the way for me." But that old brute, Kelly, keeps the saddle and bridle in his room. I know, because I went to the corral to steal Bay Billy to ride over to the Iowa to find Ned and Dick." Then I'll ride him bareback with a halter. I have ridden a little that way." But those awfully steep places, how will you stay on his back ? I don't know how, only that I shall do it." It seemed a long, long night to the girls, after the last sound in the cabin was stilled, before Molly dared start on her adventure. They lay side by side scarcely venturing to whisper, waiting for the strokes of the clock that told off the slow-moving hours. Molly was dressed in her most somber riding-habit, with no hat, and her hair bound closely to her head. The clanging of the bell that marked the hour of mid night seemed sufficient to her to waken the dead. Five minutes she waited and with a kiss to the girl whose hard task it was to watch and wonder, she stepped firmiy to the ground outside her window. Slowly she

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS felt her way to the corral and when within the stable first ventured to strike a match. Bay Billy stood looking wonderingly at her. He had on a halter and wore a heavy blanket strapped around his body by a broad surcingle. A glance showed the girl that there was no other horse furniture in the stable and that she must ride Billy as he was. As she felt her. way to him and loosened the halter rein he nuzzled her hand with hi s lips in search of the lump of sugar which she had not forgotten to bring him. She led him forth and he nodded his head, offering her in his equine way his very best service. Beside a log she climbed on his back leaned forward and patting his neck whispered to him to go. Little could she see, but she knew he was started right and soon the narrowing trail held him to the path she wished to follow. When the descent into the gulch began, though Bay Billy was gentle as the gentleman he was, Molly had to thrust her knees into his ribs and cling around his barrel to keep from being thrown over his head. Sometimes a l o ng step jarred her forward to the bronco's neck and left her clinging to his mane. Then she asked him to stop and he waited patiently for her to work her way back to a safer position. She was heated and tired and her muscles ached when the bottom of the ravine was reached and the almost ver tical upward climb began She clung to halter and mane as she lay against the back of the beast with her body already beaten and bruised by the violent play of his muscles. When the summit was reached and the path nearly level Bay Billy started forward on

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MOLLY'S NIGlIT RIDE an easy lope, but the girl's tired muscles made her seat insecure and remembering sharp turns on the edges of cliffs she dare not ride at such speed. When she checked the pony his pace became a slow trot that made her feel as if she were riding a trip hammer. There came a rest when Bay Billy slackened his pace to a walk, then stopped and slowly turned his body as if on a pivot. Molly knew he was standing on means "I. I." followed by the Durango signature. the point of rocks with hundreds of feet of sheer fall on either side and her heart stood still till the bronco moved forward again, taking up the slow trot that he thought she wanted. Then came a long descent down which the bronco chug-chugged till the girl was sobbing with pain and weakness. Unable to bear the hard gait and unwilling to slacken her pace Molly, in desperation, chirruped to Billy who, leaping into a long stride, swept down the last, long hill and on to the station where a light was burning in the operator's room. The station agent heard the galloping of the horse that stopped at his door and opened it in time to help Molly down, for the girl was near falling from weakness. "Why, Miss Barstow," he exclaimed, "what has happened and what can I do for you? Can you get me Durango, on your wire? Just been talking to him, wait a minute," and in an instant his key had thrice repeated the dash and two dots which was Durango's call, following it with the N eedleton signature of a dash and one dot. Quickly came the response of two dots repeated, which means" I.I." followed by the Durango signature. Back

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS Back went a message to Durango, two dashes, two dots, and a dash and a dot, spelling min and mean ing wait a minute. Now I've got Durango," said the agent, tell me what to do with him, Miss Barstow." First tell him to ground his wire and you do the same." The agent laughed as he worked his key, saying, Guess you have traveled with your father, Miss Barstow. It is all safe now, excepting the stations between here and Durango, and H anybody is in any of those, he is asleep." Mr. Moore, a friend of my father, is in Durango and I want him on this wire." Key and sounder rattled for a minute and the agent said: They know him, and I have a wire running to his hotel. He will be at the office soon as he can dress." Ten minutes later Molly was told that Mr. Moore was at the Durango end of the wire ready to talk with her through the operators. Is this Miss Barstow? It is Molly Barstow, Mr. Moore." Tell me the trouble, Molly, so that I can fix it up." The Bascombe people have got some kind of legal paper and have taken possession of the mines. They have kidnaped Dick and Ned and are threatening aw ful things. I had to get out of a window in the night to get away." Don't you worry an instant Molly, for Dick and Ned are as safe as you are."

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MOLLY'S NIGHT RIDE "The operator says wait a minute, Miss Barstow." When the minutes had lengthened to ten another message came and the agent said: Mr. Moore sends word that he hadn't time to talk any more, that he had found an engine with steam up and had chartered it. He said that he would be in Needleton in half an hour, and the operator thinks from the way he talked to the engineer that the half hour will be cut considerable." You think he will be here in half an hour? "Not a doubt of it, and now if you will excuse me. I will get you a saddle and bridle for your own horse, and will have a horse ready for Mr. Moore." Molly was too excited and too tired to rest, and she paced up and down the platform, counting her steps to pass the time. Often she stepped out on the road bed, looking for the headlight that a near-by curve would have shut from her sight. At times she bent her head down and turned an ear toward the rail, hop ing to hear the ringing that presages the approaching train. At last it came, doubtful at first, then the ringing loud and unmistakable, followed by a great roar as the flying engine tore around the curve, send ing a great beam of light up the track and leaving a stream of smoke and sparks in its wake. Before it had fairly stopped Mr. Moore had leaped from the cab, and, stepping quickly to Molly, caught her in his arms as she was about to fall. For the long tension had broken her down, and she sobbed on his shoulder while he petted and soothed her as if she had been a child:

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS There, there, dear, have your little cry out. You have done your share nobly, and it is my turn now. Won't you take my word that there is nothing more to trouble you? Why, all the rest is a picnic, and I wouldn't miss it for the world." The girl's tears were tempered with smiles as she clung to Mr. Moore's hand while she led him in the dim light of approaching dawn to where the station agent stood with the horses. You look terribly tired, child," said Mr. Moore. Let me find a place here for you to stay and I will promise to have Ned and Dick here before the sun sets to-night." But you said the rest would be a picnic and you wouldn't shut me out of that, would you? Besides, you are a wonderful tonic and I have been growing stronger and happier every minute since you came." Where the trail was wide enough they rode side by side, and Molly gave Mr. Moore the history of the Bascombe and Kelly proceedings as far as she knew them. He made amusing comments as her story pro gressed with a view to cheering her up, but he said less as the girl told of the imprisonment of Ned and Dick and of Kelly's comments thereon. Then when Molly told of her midnight escape and her bareback ride in the darkness over the trail they were following, a new light came into his eyes, one that she had never seen. "And this is the path you traveled in the blackness of the night, on that pony with only a halter for bridle and a blanket in place of a saddle?"

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MOLLY'S NIGHT RIDE It is Bay Billy that desetves the credit, for I didn t do anything but cling to him, and I didn't do that very well." "I won't tell you of what I think you have done, but I think I will mention it to Mr. Williams just to get an unprejudiced view." Please don't say anything to Dick about it. I don't want him to think I took so much interest in his affairs." That will be all right, for I will explain to him that all your anxiety was for your brother, that any body else could stay deep down m their dungeon cell,' for all you cared." Mr. Moore! Yes, dear ? You are a mean thing But Mr. Moore laughed in his heart at the epithet, for while the color rose in the cheeks of the girl, a pleasant light played in her eyes, and her lips curled in a happy smile. When they halted for a moment at the foot of the deep gulch near the cabin, Mr. Moore again ex claimed: "And you risked your life at night on this horrible trail? Bay Billy took care of me," replied Molly with a smile. But there was no answering smile from Mr. Moore, who asked her a few minutes later as they reached the cabin plateau and a turn in the trail brought the build ing in sight:

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS Is Kelly one of tho s e men? and he p o inted to a group in front of the cabin door. "That is Kelly talking to Lura. It looks as if he had just found out about my gettii;ig away and was mad about it." Hold up for a moment, Molly," said Moore as he reined in his pony, and his hand, carrying an auto matic, rose to the level of his eye There came a sharp crack, and the cigar that Kelly was smoking fell to the ground cut off close to the smoker's lips. Kelly started back affrighted and turned a pallid face to the man who rode smilingly toward him. What do you mean by this outrage? he asked in somewhat faltering tones. "Excuse me, Kelly, but I observed that you had forgotten your manners and were smoking in the pres ence of ladies." "I am in possession as representative of the court, and these ladies have no right here -nor you either," he added after an instant of hesitation. Never mind about me, Kelly, but these ladies had a perfect right here, as you kn ow, and if I had understood that you were being guilty of impertinences to them as I approached, your tongue would have gone with your cigar." You know that when you attack me you are strik ing at the court. Here is my authority," and Kelly held out the paper which Dick had torn. Oh ho, so this is your authority for your acts of brigandage and a lot of other crimes. The only value

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MOLLY'S NIGHT RIDE this paper possesses is as evidence when your trial comes off, and that of your confederate who signed it. I will keep it for that purpose." Perhaps you are unaware that I represent the Guggins Syndicate." Represent nothing! They are busy with badly broken fences in Denver and Washington, and they will drop you like a hot potato when they find out the fix you are in here." I have their full authority for all I have done here." I am glad to hear you admit that in the presence of so many witnesses. We will have it reduced to writing later. Now we will ride over to the Iowa and release your prisoners, and I think you will ride easier if you lengthen the stirrups on the horse Miss Bar stow has been riding." I am not going to be bullied into leaving this place!" Kelly, your crimes have placed you outside the protection of the law, and if any man who has been wronged by you should elect to execute you, no jury on earth would punish him," and when a minute later Kelly mounted Bay Billy it was not because of the words that had been spoken, but was due to the burn ing glance that had never failed to turn from his pur pose the most desperate outlaw that Moore had met in the darkest recesses of the Big Cypress Swamp But Kelly wasn't conquered for keeps, for his dis position was to dominate, and he planned a rescue for himself as he rode toward the Iowa, near which a

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS group of miners were lunching. When the mouth of the mine was reached he said to Moore: Your men are in here. I will go in and bring them out." No, Kelly, you will stay here and send one of your minions for Mr. Barstow and Mr. Williams." Kelly ordered one of the miners to go for the pris oners, but in some way managed to let a group of miners near him understand that he was acting under duress, for several men began to drift toward him while the hands of others began to drift toward their hips. "Kelly, if a weapon is drawn or one of your men approaches me a bullet will pass through your brain." Again it was the man him s elf and not his words that held in thrall those that heard him, and Kelly's hasty command: Stand back, men, and d o n t one of you touch a weapon," was quite unnecessary. Then when the miner who had been sent for the prisoners came back and thinking t o serve his master said: They left the Iowa two or three hours ago, and we don t know where they are," the tragedy of Kelly's life began. Kelly! and there was solemnity in Moore s deep tones, you are sentenced to die in five minutes. Your only chance of a reprieve is to produce your prisoners within that time," and Moore, holding his watch in his left hand, gazed fixedly at the man he had sentenced. Kelly gazed at his judge, without saying a word as the seconds passed, and then his voice was almost a scream as he said :

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MOLLY'S NIGHT RIDE You have no right to shoot me. It would be mur der." Again the seconds rolled on until the solemn tones in a yet lower key chanted : Kelly, you have four minutes to live." Then the anguished man broke down, and he shrieked: Bring them out! Bring them out! A hundred dollars to the man that gets them here in three min utes!" Men rushed for the mouth of the mine and plunged into its long, dark tunnel, which swallowed all sight and sound of them. Then rang out the deep voice: Kelly, you have three minutes to live." But the tunnel is deep and dark," wailed the tor tured man, and there are piles of ore to be climbed over, and your men are behind a barricade, bolted, barred and locked. Give me time, man! "Kelly, you have two minutes to live." "You men, jump into that tunnel! Hurry them out! Hurry, hurry! Five hundred dollars to the man who gets them here in time." "Kelly, you have one minute to live." And as the fainting man staggered back against the wall of rock, there was a sound of shuffiing feet within the tunnel, and, bursting from its mouth, half-running, half-dragged by as many hands as could reach them, came Ned, Dick and Torri. To the mystified boys the surroundings spoke of tragedy, and the thought was confirmed by the look on Mr. Moore's face, which they had only once before

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS seen, on the island by the Glades. Mr. Moore's wel come to Ned and Dick was but a word, and his tone was gentle a s he said to Kelly: We will go to the cabin now and arrange all our differences, and Kelly, who had just come out of the shadow of death, silently acquiesced. Then Moore turned to the miners, saying: "This property belongs to Mr. Barstow, and you were misled when you came here. In holding men prisoners you played a criminal part and became a band of bandits. If you care for your freedom, I ad vise you to leave the property. Mr. Kelly is not com ing back, but a hundred officers are, and if they are not enough to hold the property, a thousand will fol l o w," and as Moore away he was amazed by three rousing cheers which the men, led by the miner who had once warned Dick, gave him. Little was said during the return to the cabin Moore and Kelly rode side by side while Ned, Dick and Tom followed on foot. When the cabin was reached, Mr. Moore invited Kelly inside, and his grave suggestion of important business changed noisy wel comes into expectant silence. Only once did Moore's gentle gravity leave him, and that was when Bascombe jauntily entered the room, saying: "I suppose I have some part in these solemn pro ceedings." The look that Moore turned upon him as he said: Not in these sir. We attend to the master first and the dog afterward," sent the ex-superintendent out of the room

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MOLLY'S NIGHT RIDE Mr. Moore asked for pens and paper, which were found, and he then requested Ned, Dick and Tom to write, each for himself, the exact facts of their im prisonment and of the part therein taken by Mr. Kelly While this was being done, Moore said to Kelly in his quiet, even tone: There is to be no compulsion regarding what I am about to ask of you. You are free as air to go from here, whether you accede to or refuse my request. I want your written indorsement of the truth of what these young men write. Of course, you will correct any errors which you think they have made You have stated in the presence of witnesses that you had the authority of the Guggins Syndicate for all you have done. I want the evidence of that. That will end our differences unless we are compelled to pro duce the evidence to protect ourselves. The alterna tive is that a criminal action will be begun at once against yourself and the individual members of the syndicate for kidnaping and all other criminal acts committed in connection with this property. You know enough of your crowd to estimate the shortness of the time before you will be jettisoned." Mr. Moore, I have always held it unwise to kick against the pricks, and I am frank to say that the rocks are fewer along the line of your first alterna tive, which I cheerfully accept. As to moral consid erations I will waste no time in their discussion, for they have little part in the big business which is my chosen field of endeavor." With his cynical climax the clouds rolled away from

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DICK AMONG THE MINERS Kelly's brow, and he became again the debonair man of the world. Tom," said Moore, I see you are through writ ing, won't you get up the best dinner you can rustle, for Mr. Kelly is to be our guest." Kelly signed in his flowing hand the statements of the young men, scarcely pausing to read them, and then turned over to Mr. Moore letters that brought a smile of satisfaction to that gentleman's face. He nodded his head significantly over one that bore the heading of the Senate of the United States. At dinner Kelly, who was the life of the party, amazed Mr. Moore, especially with the depths of his philosophy, his high religious sentiment and his abso lute consciencelessness He smiled most genially when in response to an inquiry relative to Bascombe, Tom replied: He gave me a dollar not to say anything about it, but Bascombe has lit out for N eedleton. Said he would send back Bay Billy and send for his things some other time." When dinner was over Kelly declined to remain longer, and, borrowing the horse that Moore had rid den, took his departure. Then the floodgates of questions were opened and all that has recently been told here repeated. When Dick's chance at a question came, he turned to Mr. Moore: What good angel brought you here just when we so much needed you? I'll tell you, Dick, though she told me not to," and

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MOLLY'S NIGHT RIDE fl95 Moore's picture of Molly's ride through the darkness of the night and the perils of the path, was worthy of a poet. It brought conscious blushes to Molly's cheek, while Dick listened entranced, for he remembered his own ride down that perilous trail when the life of a man was at stake, and when the story was ended well, it wasn't the girl's hand that he kissed, that time, and small blame to him, say I. THE END

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The DIMOCK BOOKS FOR BOYS "As books of adventure and teachers of out-door life for boys, these should be classic, and every camp of the Boy Scouts should have them in the library." -Florida Times-Union. DICK IN THE EVERGLADES-32 illustrations, 7X x SX. Postpaid $1.50. "Full to the covers with the most delightful adventures in the weird, uncanny, little explored Everglades of Florida." -Portland (Ort.) Journal. DICK AMONG THE LUMBER JACKS-32 illustrations, 7X x 57'. Postpaid $1.50. "One of the most thrilling and wholesome tales for boys that can be imagined." -Detroit Timts. DICK AMONG THE SEMINOLES-16 illustra tions, 7 x SX. Postpaid $1.50. "Will fascinate boyish readers." Chicago Record-Herald. BE PREPARED-A story for Boy Scouts. 8 illustra tions, 7X x 5;{. Postpaid $1.10. The first juvenile book to be awarded the much prized certificate of "Highly Commended" by the Camp Fire Club of America. "I did not lay down the volume until I had read it from cover to cover. I am delighted with the story." -Dan Beard, National Scout Commissioner of the Boy Scouts of .dmtrica.

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The DIMOCK BOOKS A. W. DIMOCK AUTHOR JULIAN A. DIMOCK, ILLUSTRATOR "No State in the Union can boast of such a presenta tion to the sportsmen and the tourists of the world as these books of Messrs. Dimock."-Florida Times-Union. FLORIDA ENCHANTMENTS-139 illustrations, 9X' x 6.X. Postpaid $3. 00. "It is a great thing to have produced a book that shows the zoological side of Florida so splendidly. Its like will never be done again." -William T. Hornaday. "A glint of humor at every turn." -Burlington Saturday Evening Post. "Photographs of leaping tarpon, live alligators, spectral cranes, waterfowl on the wing and manatees in the act of captured -Louisville Courter-Journal THE BOOK OF THE TARPON-92 illustrations, 8X' x 6. Postpaid $2.15. ''A book that will set fishermen crazy. "-Buffalo Express. "The book is simply charming. I have not read any thing in a long time with a lighter touch." -Gifford Pinchot. "The most sensational series of what are commonly known as 'action photographs' of living tarpon ever assembled in one volume." -Pall Mall Gazette, London "The reader may reasonably infer that the tarpon is a bird -New York Sun. OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY-By Julian A. Dimock, 13 illustrations, 7 x 5. Postpaid 75c. ''Julian A. Dimock handle s a camera so well that what he has to say comes with the authority of success. What is more, he writes such plain and racy English that it is pleasant reading." -Christian Advocate, N. Y. City "The ins and outs of photography in the open are told about in such a charming way that the reader cannot help growing to be an enthusia st." -'Telegram, Portland, Ore.


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