“What is it?” Hazelton asked.
“Harry, old fellow, we’ll turn mining engineers in earnest for the present. We’ll engineer our own mines, with Jim for a partner. Harry, we’ll get up our muscle with pickaxes. We’ll stake our fortunes on the turn of a pick!”
JIM FERRERS, PARTNER
“You mean it, do you?” asked Hazelton, after a pause of a few moments.
“I never meant anything more in my life!”
“Then, of course, I’ll agree to it, Tom. If I go astray, it’ll be the first time that I ever went wrong through following your advice.”
“And you’re with us, Ferrers?” inquired Tom, looking around.
“Gentlemen,” spoke the guide feelingly, “after the way you’ve used me, and the way you’ve talked to me, I’m with you in anything, and I can wait a month, any time, to find out what that ‘anything’ means. Just give me your orders.”
“Orders are not given to partners,” Tom told him.
“Orders go with this partner,” Jim asserted gravely. “And, gentlemen, if we make any money, just hand me what you call my share and I’ll never ask any questions.”
“Jim, we’re going in for mining,” Tom continued. “I can speak for Mr. Hazelton now, for he has authorized me to do so. Mining it is, Jim, but we three are young and tender, and not expert with pickaxes. We’d better have some experts. Can you pick up at least six real miners at Dugout City?”
“A feller usually can,” Ferrers replied.
“Then if you’ll put in a good part of tonight riding, tomorrow you can do your best to pick up the men. Get the kind, Jim, who don’t balk at bullets when they have to face ’em, for we’ve a hornets’ nest over yonder. Get sober, level-headed fellows who know how to fight—–men of good judgment and nerve. Pay ’em what’s right. You know the state of wages around here. While you’re at Dugout, Jim, pick out a two-mule team and a good, dependable wagon for carting supplies. Put all the chuck aboard that you think we’ll need for the next two or three weeks. I’ll give you, also, a list of digging tools and some of the explosives that we’ll need in shaft sinking. While you’re in Dugout, Jim, pick up two good ponies, with saddles and bridles. I guess I’d better write down some of these instructions, hadn’t I?”
“And write down the street corner where I’m to pick up the money, Mr. Reade,” begged Ferrers dryly. “You can’t do much in the credit line in Nevada.”
“The street corner where you’re to find the money, eh, Jim?” smiled Tom. “Yes; I believe I can do that, too. You know the map of Dugout, don’t you?”
“You know where to find the corner of Palace Avenue and Mission Street?”
“On one of those four corners,” Tom continued, “you’ll find the Dugout City Bank.”