Tom doesn’t mind “Artillery”
“I give it up,” Reade replied.
“Well, it’s dinner time,” declared Rutter, displaying the face of his watch.
“Do we have to walk all the way back to camp?” queried Harry, who knew that no provisions had been brought with them.
“No; camp is going to be brought to us,” smiled Rutter. “At least, a part of the camp will be brought here. Look up the trail there, at that highest rise. Do you see dust near there?”
“Yes,” nodded Tom.
“A burro pack-train, conveying our food and that of the other surveying parties ahead of us,” nodded Rutter. “You’ll find the cook’s helper, Bob, in charge of it.”
“Is that the way the meals are brought out every day?” asked Hazelton.
“No; but now we’re getting pretty far from camp, and it would waste a lot of our time to go back and forth. So our noon meals will come by burro route. Tomorrow or the day after the camp will be moved forward.”
“How long before that train will be here?” Tom wanted to know.
“Probably ten minutes,” guessed Rutter.
“Then I’m going to see if I can’t find some little stream such as I’ve passed this morning,” Tom went on. “I want to wash before I’m introduced to clean food.”
“I’ll go along presently,” nodded Harry to his chum. “There’s something about the spirit level on this transit of mine that I want to inspect.”
So Tom Reade trudged off into the brush alone. After a few minutes he returned.
“That burro outfit in sight?” he called, as he neared the trail.
“No,” answered Rutter. “But it’s close. Once in a while I can hear a burro clicking his hoofs against stones.”
Harry appeared two minutes later, just as the foremost burro, with Bob by its head, put in an appearance about fifty yards away.
“All ready for you, Bob,” called Rutter good-humoredly.
“You gentlemen of the engineer corps are always ready,” grunted the cook’s helper.
A quick stop was made, Bob unloading tin plates, bowls and cups.
“Soup!” cried Rutter in high glee. “This is fine living for buck engineers, Bob!”
“There’s even dessert,” returned the cook’s helper gravely, exposing an entire apple pie.
There was also meat, still fairly warm, as well as canned vegetables in addition to potatoes. A pot of hot coffee finished the repast that Bob unloaded at this point.
“Everything but napkins!” chuckled Rutter, as he and the boys quickly “set table” on the ground.
“No; something else is missing,” answered Tom gravely. “Bob forgot the finger-bowls.”
The helper, beginning to feel that he was being “guyed,” took refuge in cold indifference.
“Just stack the things up at this point when you’re through,” directed Bob. “I’ll pick ’em up when I come back on the trail.”