In the days that passed Tom and Harry saw little of the field work. They were kept at the chief’s tent. Hence Reade had but little to do with ’Gene Black, which may have been fortunate, as Tom still retained his first instinctive dislike for the black-eyed fellow.
* * * * * * * * *
“Reade and Hazelton, you two young men are going to forge ahead rapidly, and you are sure to earn good salaries, if you don’t make the too common mistake of young engineers first starting out,” Mr. Thurston told the cubs one forenoon.
“And what is that mistake, sir, if you please?” Tom queried.
“Don’t make the mistake of getting too large an idea of the value of your services,” replied the chief. “Just work hard all the time and be wholly unassuming.
“I think we can follow that advice, sir,” Tom replied, with a smile.
“If you can, you’ll get along rapidly. I have already written to our officers in New York, thanking them for having sent you two young men.”
“Here’s the map I have just finished, sir,” said Harry, rising from his drawing table on which were arranged the various draughtsman’s inks and washes—–the latter being thin solutions of water colors with which some parts of the maps were colored.
“Very handsomely done, Hazelton. Reade, what are you doing?”
“I’m at work on Black’s field notes of the leveling,” Tom answered.
“I am very much pleased with Black’s work,” replied Mr. Thurston. “His notes show that we are going to get out of the excavating in the cuts at about one third of the trouble and expense that I had looked for.”
“Black’s field notes certainly do look good, sir, for they show that you can get the work through on this division in much less time than you had supposed.”
As he turned around to speak, Tom sat where he could easily see the colored field map that Harry had just turned in to the chief.
“Hold on, there, Harry,” Tom objected.
“You’ve lined in a pretty high hill on Section Nineteen. You’ll have to cut that down a bit.”
“The surveyor’s field notes call for that hill,” Hazelton retorted.
“But, as it happens,” objected Tom, “I’m just working out the profile drawing of Section Nineteen from Black’s notes. See here-----” Tom rested a pencil point on a portion of the hill depicted on Hazelton’s map. “You’ve drawn that pretty steep. Now, as you’ll see by Black’s notes, the upgrade at that point is only a three per cent. grade.”
“Humph! It’s all of an eight per cent. grade,” grunted Hazelton. “See, here are the surveyor’s field notes.”
“Three per cent. grade,” insisted Tom, holding forward Black’s leveling notes.
“There’s a difference there, then, that must be reconciled,” broke in Mr. Thurston, rising, a look of annoyance on his face. “We can’t have any such disagreement as that between the field map and the profile sheet. Let us find out, at once, where the trouble lies.”