“Gracious, but you’re going in at wholesale! What will President Newnham say to you for engaging men at such a wholesale rate!”
“By the time he reaches here,” replied Tom in a tone that meant business, “either he will see results that will force him to approve—–or else he’ll give me my walking papers.”
“Now, what shall we do?” inquired Hazelton.
“Nothing. It’s nearly time for the field force to be back in camp.”
“We’d better work every minute of the time,” urged Harry.
“We’re going to take things more easily after this,” Tom yawned.
“Is that what you mean by hustling?”
“In a way, yes,” Tom nodded. “See here, Harry, in the field we tried to do the work of a man and a half each, didn’t we? And here at the drawing tables, too.”
“Now there is need of hustling, and, if we work too hard, we simply won’t have time to plan for others, or even to know what they’re doing. There are a lot of students coming, Harry. Most of them will be good men, for they’re young, full of enthusiasm, and just crazy to show what they can do. Some of them will doubtless be good draughtsmen. You’ll take these men and see to it that the drawing is pushed forward. But you won’t work too hard yourself. You’ll see to it that the force under you is working, and in that way you’ll be three times as useful as if you merely ground and dug hard by yourself. I shall go light on real work, just in order that I may have my eyes and brains where they will do the most good every minute of the time.”
Someone was approaching. Tom threw open the flap of the tent, thus discovering that the man was Black.
“Howdy, Reade,” was the greeting of the idle engineer. “I’m glad to say that my headache is better. I’m not going to have the fever, after all. Tomorrow I’ll be out on the leveling job.”
Tom shook his head.
“I want you to rest up tomorrow, Black.”
“I won’t do it,” retorted the other flatly. “Tomorrow I go out and continue running my levels.”
“Then I may as well tell you,” Tom continued, “what I would have preferred to break to you more easily later on.”
“What do you mean?” questioned the other sharply, an uneasy look creeping into his face.
“You’re not going to do any more work for us, Black,” replied the young chief coolly.
“Not do any more work, What do you mean, Reade? Am I discharged from this corps?”
“Not yet, Black, for I haven’t the money at hand to pay you to date. So you may stay here until the paymaster comes. Then, when you have your full amount of pay, you can leave us.”
“What does this mean?” demanded ’Gene Black angrily, as he stepped closer, his eyes blazing.
Some young men would have shrunk back before Black’s menacing manner. Tom had never yet met the man who could make him really afraid.