“You’ll stay in camp today, Reade,” announced Mr. Thurston, dropping into the mess tent.
“With all the work there is ahead of us, sir?” cried Reade aghast.
“That’s why you’ll stay,” nodded Mr Thurston. “Your life has been saved, but after the shock you had yesterday you’re not as strong as you may feel. One day of good rest in camp will fit you for what’s ahead of us in the days to come. The strain of tramping miles and working like a steam engine all day is not to be thought of for you today. Tomorrow you’ll go out with the rest.”
Tom sighed. True, he did not feel up to the mark, and was eating a very light breakfast. Still he chafed at the thought of inaction for a whole day.
“The chief wouldn’t order you to stay in,” remarked Blaisdell, after Mr. Thurston had gone, “unless he knew that to be the best thing for you.”
So, after the engineers, their chainmen and rodmen had left camp Tom wandered about disconsolately. He tried to talk to the cook, but Jake and his helper were both rushed in getting the meal that was to be taken out over the trail by burro train.
“Lonely, Reade?” called the chief from his tent.
“Yes, sir,” Tom nodded. “I wish I had something to do.”
“Perhaps I can find work for you in here. Come in.”
Tom entered eagerly. Mr. Thurston was seated at the large table, a mass of maps and field notes before him.
“How are you on drawing, Reade?” queried his chief.
“Never had any training in that line?”
“I can draw the lines of a map, sir, and get it pretty straight, as far as the mathematics of map-drawing goes,” Tom answered. “But another man has to go over my work and put in the fine touches of the artist. You know what I mean, sir; the fancy fixings of a map.”
“Yes, I know,” nodded Mr. Thurston. “I can sympathize with you, too, Reade, for, though I always longed to do artistic platting (map-work) I was always like yourself, and could do only the mathematical part of it. You can help me at that, however, if you are careful enough. Take a seat at that drawing table; and I’ll see what you can do.”
First, Reade stepped to a box that held map paper. Taking out a sheet, he placed it on the surface of the drawing table, then stuck in thumb-tacks at each of the four corners.
“All ready, sir,” he announced.
Mr. Thurston stepped over with an engineer’s field note book.
“See if these notes are all clear,” directed the chief engineer.
“Yes, sir; I know what the notes call for,” Tom answered confidently.
“Then I’ll show you just what’s wanted Reade,” continued the chief.
After some minutes of explanation Tom picked up the T-square, placing the top at the side of the drawing surface. Then against the limb of the “T” Tom laid the base of a right-angled triangle. Along this edge he drew his perpendicular north-and-south line in the upper left-hand corner. He crossed this with a shorter line at right angles, establishing his east-and-west line. Mr. Thurston, standing at the cub engineer is back, looked on closely.