“I’ll do it,” promised Ferrers. “Putting it the way you’ve done, Mr. Reade, it doesn’t seem like such a baby trick to use the sheriff instead of killing the hyena, myself. Yes; I’ll sure leave it to the law. If Dolph Gage gets caught and sent to the ‘pen’ I’ll sure go there on some visiting day and see how he looks in his striped suit!”
Instead of being offended, it was plain that Ferrers was in high good humor. He went about camp whistling that night, and with a cheery word for everyone.
Camp had been moved over to the ridge, and the young engineers were ready to begin blasting operations the following morning. Ferrers was no longer concerned with cooking, he having engaged a man to do that work. The new man kept a sharp eye on Alf Drew, making that youngster do a really honest day’s work every day in the week.
“I hate to take two men from you, Mr. Reade right at the start of operations,” complained Jim, the next morning at breakfast. “I don’t need two men, either, to protect me.”
“I don’t need the two men here, either, Jim for a few days. As for you, you don’t know how many men you are going to need. All three of Gage’s partners have vanished, and I’m sure that they’re together somewhere out on the Range. They undoubtedly have rifles again, at that, and if you meet them, three men won’t be any too many to stand off those four rascals.”
Tom watched the trio of horsemen out of sight in the morning.
“If Jim doesn’t lose his head that trip will mean that we shall see the last of Dolph Gage,” mused the young engineer.
For once Tom Reade was in grave error, as subsequent events proved.
“It’s ten minutes of seven,” Harry reminded him.
“Get ready, men,” Tom shouted to their few laborers, who were enjoying a few minutes leisure after breakfast.
At seven o’clock the young engineers and their handful of toilers moved over to the point in the outcropping vein of ore that Reade had selected for their first blast.
A small portable engine had already been fired, and all was ready for turning on the steam drill.
Twenty minutes later a satisfactory boring had been made.
“Bring up the dynamite,” called Tom.
“Are you going to pack the charge?” Harry inquired.
“Yes,” nodded Tom, and received the stick of dynamite from the miner who brought it.
While this was being made ready, Hazelton superintended the laying of the wires to the magneto battery. All was soon in readiness.
“The red flag is up,” Tom shouted.
The dynamite had been rather loosely tamped home, for young Reade wanted to begin with light rending force and work up, through successive blasts, to just the proper amount of force.
“Get back, everybody!” Reade called, and there was a flying of feet. Tom was last to leave the spot. He ran over to where Harry stood at a safe distance.