Having breakfasted heartily in a deep thicket, Pete now looked down over the camp, his eyes twinkling in an evil way.
“I’ll get bounced out of mess on account of two pasty-faced tenderfeet like those boys, will I?” Pete grumbled to himself. “Before this morning is over I reckon I’ll have all accounts squared with the tenderfeet!”
“Trying out” The Gridley boys
The chainmen picked up the transits, carrying also the chains and rods. Rutter led the way, Tom and Harry keeping on either side of him, except when the rough mountain trail narrowed. Then they were obliged to walk at his heels.
“We are making this survey first,” Rutter explained, “and then the leveling over the same ground follows within a few days. Both the surveying and the leveling have to be done with great care. They must tally accurately, or the work will all go wrong, and the contractors would be thrown out so badly that they’d hardly know where they stood. A serious mistake in surveying or leveling at any point might throw the work down for some days. As you’ve already heard explained, any delay, now, is going to lose us our charter as sure as guns.”
For more than a mile and a half the brisk walk continued. At last Rutter halted, pointing to a stake driven in the ground.
“See the nail head in the top of the stake?” he inquired.
“Yes,” Tom nodded.
“You’ll find a similar nail head in every stake. The exact point of the plummet of your bog-line must centre on the middle of that nail head. You can’t be too exact about that, remember.”
Turning to one of the chainmen, Rutter added:
“Jansen, take a rod and hustle along to the next stake.”
“Yes, sir,” answered the man, and started on a run. Nor did he pause until he had located the stake. Then he signaled back with his right hand. Tom Reade, in the meantime, had quickly set up his transit over the first stake on his part of the course. He did some rough shifting, at first, until the point of the plummet was exactly over the nail head. Then followed some careful adjusting of the instrument on its supports until two fine spirit levels showed that the compass of the instrument was exactly level. “Now, let me see you get your sight,” urged Rutter.
Tom did so, coolly, manipulating his instrument as rapidly as he could with safety, yet not with speed enough to cause himself confusion or worry.
“I’ve got a sight on the rod,” announced Reade, without emotion.
“Are the cross-hairs, as you see them through the telescope, just on the mark?” Rutter demanded.
“Let me have a look,” ordered Rutter. “A fine, close sight,” he assented, after taking a careful look through the telescope. “Now, take your reading.”