Twenty minutes later Hazelton opened his eyes.
“You’re feeling better, now, aren’t you?” asked Tom hopefully.
“I—–I guess so,” Harry muttered faintly.
“Where does it hurt you most, chum?”
“In—–in my chest.”
“Is the pain severe, Harry?”
“It’s about all I can—–can stand—–old fellow.”
“Poor chap. Don’t try to talk, now. We’re taking good care of you, and we’ll keep on the job day and night. You’ve had some medicine, though you didn’t know it. Now, try to sleep, if you can.”
But Hazelton couldn’t sleep. He tossed restlessly, his face aflame with fever.
Jim Ferrers came back with the supper, but Reade could eat very little of it. Alf Drew did not return. He had made his peace with the workmen.
Through the night Harry grew steadily worse. When daylight came in, with the blizzard still raging, the young engineer was delirious.
THE WOLVES ON THE SNOW CRUST
The blizzard lasted for two days. Toward the end the temperature rose, with the result that three feet of loose snow lay on top of the harder packed snow underneath.
Harry Hazelton had passed out of the delirium, but he was weak, and apparently sinking. He was conscious, though he spoke but little, nor did poor Tom seek to induce him to talk.
By this time Reade knew the little medicine book by heart. He also knew the label and dose of every drug in the case. But he had not been able to improve upon his first selection of treatment.
“Do you think he’s going to die, Jim?” Tom frequently asked.
“What’s the use of a strong young fellow like him dying?” demanded Ferrers.
“Then why doesn’t he get better?”
“I don’t know. But he’ll come around all right. Don’t worry about that. Strong men don’t go under from a cold in the head, or from a bit of wheeze in the lungs.”
“But the fever.”
“That has to burn itself out, I reckon,” replied the Nevadan. “Reade, you’ll be sick yourself next. Lay out the medicines, and I’ll give ’em, to the minute, while you get six hours’ sleep.”
“No, sir!” was Reade’s quick retort.
“Then, before you do cave in, partner, suppose you pick out the medicines that you want me to give you when you can’t do anything for yourself any longer.”
Tom went back to his chair by the side of Harry’s bunk.
Outdoors some of the men were clearing a path to the mine-shaft. Not that it was worth while to try to do any work underground. The rock at the tunnel heading was too stubborn to be moved by anything less than dynamite.
“I’d get some lumber together, and make a pair of skis,” suggested Jim, the next day, “but what is the use? We’ll have to have twenty-four hours of freezing weather before we’ll have a crust. As soon as we can see snow that will bear a human being I’ll start for Dugout City.”