“Gentlemen, if there is any possible way of putting fifty per cent. more work into each day, now, I know I can rely upon you all to do it. The S.B. & L. must run its first train over the completed road within charter time.”
Now, Tom had opportunity to wonder what had happened to Harry Hazelton, who should have been back in camp the preceding evening. “He must have had to go farther for ice than we imagined,” was the only conclusion Reade could form. “At any rate, Harry won’t come back until he has it. He won’t bring back merely an excuse when his commission was for a ton of ice.”
Tom wandered into the new headquarters’ tent, heaved a big sigh as the weight of his new responsibilities struck him with full force, and began a systematic examination of all the piles of papers and maps now under his charge.
By nine o’clock Harry Hazelton and his guide returned, followed by a four-mule transport wagon.
Tom, hearing the approach, came out and beckoned. Harry rode up, dismounting.
“Well, I got the ice, you see,” announced Hazelton.
“Did you have to go very far for it?”
“No; but you and I forgot to allow for the time that mules would need for rest on such a steep, uphill climb. Where is the ice to go?”
“Send the man over to Jake Wren. Jake knows more about such things than you or I will know within the next ten years.”
Harry carried the order to the driver, then hurried back.
“How are our sick men?” he asked.
“Both alive, but delirious. Doc Gitney has a man nurse to help him now.”
“Did Mr. Rutter leave any orders for me?” pressed Harry.
“No; Rutter is in charge of the actual field work only.”
“Who gives the main orders?”
“I do—–unless New York changes the plan.”
Tom hastily narrated what had taken place in Mr. Thurston’s tent the day before. Harry listened, his eyes growing larger as he heard.
“Tom! I’m mighty glad!” he cried delightedly. “You’re going to do the trick, too! You’re going to put the S.B. & L. through within the time allowed by the charter!”
“I’m going to do it or wear myself out,” replied Reade, with a glint of determination in his eyes. “But, Harry, the road isn’t going to go through on mere wind. We’ve got to work—–not talk! Come into the new headquarters’ tent. Throw the front of your shirt open, take a few deep breaths, tie down the safety valve and get ready to make the steam fly. I’m going over the maps and documents, the field notes, the reports and what not. I want you to help me untangle them and set all matters straight.”
For two hours the cub engineers worked as they had never toiled before. Then a horseman drew up before their tent.
“Telegram for Reade, acting chief engineer,” called the man from saddle. “The czar over at the cook house told me I’d find my man here.”