“If you say so, I’ll draw out now,” Tom proposed.
“What do you think about it?”
“If all the money at stake were mine,” Reade said slowly, “then I’d hang on as long as I had a penny left to invest.”
“Tom Reade, I believe you’re turning gambler at heart!”
“I intend to be a good, game business man, if that’s what you mean by gambling. But see here, Harry, I don’t want to pull your money into this scheme if you feel that you’d rather hold on to what you have.”
“If you’re going to stay in, Tom, then so am I. I’m not the kind of fellow to go back on a chum’s investment.”
“But if we lose all we’ve saved then you’ll feel-----”
“Don’t argue any more, Tom,” begged Hazelton. “I’m going to be game. You’ve voted, old fellow, to stay by this claim as long as you can, and that’s enough for me.”
“But if we lose all our savings,” Tom urged. He had now become the cautious one.
“If we lose them, we lose them,” declared Hazelton. “And we’re both of us young enough to be able to save more before we’re seventy-five or eighty years old. Go ahead, Tom. I’m one of the investors here, but the whole game is in your hands. Go as far as you like and I’ll stand back of you.”
“Say no more. Tom, I shall try never again to be a quitter. Whoop! Let the money slip! We’ll make the old mine a dividend payer before we are through with it.”
That afternoon about a dozen and a half more blasts were laid and fired. Some five hundred feet of the surface of the vein had been lightly blasted, and several tons of ore thrown up.
“I wouldn’t call it ore, though,” muttered Harry to himself. “I don’t believe this rook holds gold enough to put a yellow plating on a cent.”
“It does look rather poor, doesn’t it, Harry?” Tom asked, trying to speak blithely.
“Humph! We’ve got to go deeper than this before we can expect to loosen rock worth thirty dollars to the ton,” Harry declared cheerily.
“Oh, we’ll surely strike pay-rock in big lots after a while,” predicted Reade, smiling happily and whistling merrily as he strode away. “I’m glad Harry has his courage with him and his hopes high,” Reade added to himself.
“I’m glad Tom is so cheerful and positive,” thought Hazelton. “I’ll do my best to help him keep in that frame of mind; though, for myself, I believe we would make more money if we stood on a cliff and tossed pennies into the ocean.”
“I’m glad to see that all your high hopes have returned,” declared Tom, at supper that evening.
“Oh, I’ve got the gold fever for fair,” laughed Hazelton. “Tom, how are we going to spend the money when we get it?”
“A new house for the folks at home will take some of my money, when I get it,” Tom declared, his eyes glowing.
“Any old thing that the folks take a fancy to will catch my share of the gold,” Harry promised.