“Loads of ’em,” declared Tom promptly.
“What does he think the W.C. & A. will try to do?”
“Dave’s suspicions, Mr. Newnham, aren’t any more definite than mine. He feels certain, however, that we’re going to have a hard fight before we get the road through.”
“Then I hope the opposition won’t be able to prevent us from finishing,” murmured Mr. Newnham.
“Oh, the enemy won’t be able to hinder us,” replied Tom confidently. “You have a Fulsbee and a Reade on the job, sir. Don’t worry. I’m not doing any real worrying, and I promise you that I’m not going to be beaten.”
“It will be a genuine wonder if Reade is beaten,” reflected Mr. Newnham, watching the cub’s athletic figure as Tom walked through the centre of the camp. “I never knew a man of any age who was more resourceful or sure to win than this same cub, Tom Reade, whose very name was unknown to me a few weeks ago. Yet I shiver! I can’t help it. Men just as resourceful as Tom Reade are sometimes beaten to a finish!”
MR. NEWNHAM DROPS A BOMB
The field work was done. Yet the field engineers were not dismissed. Instead, they were sent back along the line. The construction gang was still twelve miles out of Lineville, and the time allowed by the charter was growing short.
At Denver certain politicians seemed to have very definite information that the S.B. & L. R.R., was not going to finish the building of the road and the operating of the first through train within charter time.
Where these politicians had obtained their news they did not take the trouble to state.
However, they seemed positive that, under the terms of the charter, the state would take over as much of the railroad as was finished, pay an appraisal price for it, and then turn the road over to the W.C. & A. promoters to finish and use as part of their own railway system.
These same politicians, by the way, were a handful of keen, unscrupulous men who derived their whole income from politics, and who had always been identified with movements that the better people of the state usually opposed.
Mr. Thurston and his assistant, Blaisdell, were now able to be up and to move about a little, but were not yet able to travel forward to the point that the construction force had now reached. Neither Thurston nor Blaisdell was in fit shape to work, and would not be for some weeks to come.
Mr. Newnham, who had learned in these weeks to ride a horse, came along in saddle as Tom and Harry stood watching the field camp that was now being rapidly taken down by the few men left behind.
“Idling, as usual, Reade?” smiled the president of the road.
“This time I seem to have a real excuse, sir,” chuckled Tom. “My work is finished. There isn’t a blessed thing that I could do, if I wanted to. By tomorrow I suppose you will be paying me off and letting me go.”