“I haven’t had the heart to look at it.”
Close to the shaft stood a wagon. The horses were resting in the stable shack, for by this time the weather averaged only a few degrees above zero and the horses were brought out only when they could be used.
“Take a good look at the stuff, Harry,” called Tom, as soon as he saw two of the workmen dumping it.
Then Reade closed the door, and went back to the furnace that he had rigged up under the chimney at one end of the shack.
“Oh, what’s the use?” sighed Hazelton, to himself, as he paused, irresolute. “In weeks and weeks we haven’t brought up enough gold to pay for the keep of the horses.”
Still, as Tom had asked him to do so, Hazelton presently walked over to the little pile that had just been dumped.
“You men up there work faster,” sounded Jim’s voice. “We want to send up a tub every five minutes.”
“Want the team yet?” bawled the teamster, from another shack.
“No,” Harry answered. “Not for a half an hour yet.”
That question was enough to cause the young engineer to forget that he had intended to inspect the tub-load of ore. He strolled back to the head of the shaft. The wind was biting keenly today. Harry was dressed in the warmest clothing he had, yet his feet felt like lumps of lead in his shoes.
“Arizona may be hot, but I’d rather do my mining down there, anyway,” thought the young engineer. “If I could move about more, this wouldn’t be so bad.”
Just off of the shaft was a rough shack several feet square which contained a small cylinder of a wood stove. There was a fire going in the stove, now, but Harry knew from experience that if he went in to the stove to get warm, he would only feel the cold more severely when he came out again.
“Say, I don’t know why I couldn’t run that furnace as well as Tom, and he likes this cold stuff better than I do,” murmured Hazelton. “I am going to see if he won’t swap jobs for a couple of hours.”
“Getting anything out of those ore-tests of yesterday’s dump?” Harry demanded, entering their shack.
“Not so much,” Tom replied cheerily. “We’re in a bad streak of stuff, Harry. But I thought you were watching the dump. What’s the matter? Too cold out there?”
“Yes,” nodded Harry. “I feel like a last year’s cold storage egg. Don’t you want to spell me a bit out there, Tom? I can run the furnace in here.”
“Certainly,” Reade agreed, leaping up. “There’s nothing to do, now, but weigh the button when it cools.”
“Did you really get a button?” Harry asked, casually, as he drew off his heavy overcoat.
“Yes; a small one.”
“How much ore did you take it from?”
“About two tons, I should say.”
“Then, if the button is worth sixty cents,” mocked Harry, “it will show that our ore is running thirty cents to the ton.”