Harry immediately took eight of the men and started the erection of three wooden shacks not far from the mine shaft. Ferrers took the rest of the men and speedily had timbers going up in place over the mouth of the shaft.
For three hours the snow continued to float lightly down. Then the skies cleared, but the wind came colder and more biting.
Jim Ferrers and one of the men started for Dugout City with a two-horse wagon, that the camp might be kept well-supplied with food.
By night of the day following all of the carpenter work had been finished, though not an hour too soon, for now the weather was becoming colder.
“Never put in a winter on the Indian Smoke Range, did you, Mr. Reade?” Walsh inquired.
“Then you’ll find out what cold weather is like. A winter on this Range isn’t much worse, though, than what I’ve heard about cold weather in Alaska.”
“It’ll be a relief to see six feet of snow, after living on the hot desert of Arizona,” Harry muttered.
By evening of the following day, when Jim and his companion returned with the wagon-load of provisions, another day’s work had been done in the mine.
“Any color today?” was Ferrers’s first question.
“No signs of gold,” sighed Harry.
“I heard a new one over at Dugout City,” Jim remarked carelessly.
“Heard a new one?” echoed Tom. “What was it?”
“A baby,” Jim answered dryly.
“What are you talking about?” Harry demanded. “What has a baby to do with a ’new one’?”
When the men began to laugh Harry suddenly discovered the joke.
“That’s all right, Jim,” growled Harry. “But I know something that would tickle you.”
“A feather, or a straw,” mocked Ferrers.
“No! A crowbar!” grunted Hazelton making a reach for a tool of that description.
Jim hastily jumped out of the way as Harry balanced the bar.
“Go and tell the men about the ‘new one’ you heard, Jim,” laughed Tom. “By the time you get back Harry will have the joke pried loose with that bar of his.”
“’Heard a new one’!” grunted Harry. But his look of disgust was because it had taken him so long to penetrate the “sell.”
THE GODDESS OF FORTUNE SMILES WISTFULLY
“Haul away!” called Jim, from the bottom of the shaft.
Up came the tub, filled with chunks of ore, each about the size of a man’s head.
At the top stood Harry Hazelton, on the crust of two feet of frozen snow.
Tom thrust his head out through the doorway of the nearby shack in which the partners lived.
“Is Jim sending up any bricks” he inquired.
“He’s sending up ore, but I don’t know whether it’s any good,” Harry answered.
“Why don’t you look the stuff over?”