“No one is coming.”
“But if some one should?”
“All the more reason for getting our work done with speed. Once we’ve connected the magneto and fired the blast our whole job will be done.”
Josh, only half-convinced, drew a revolver and cocked the weapon.
“Now, be mighty careful!” snarled Dolph. “Don’t get rattled and shoot at any shadows! A shot might spoil our plans tonight, for it would bring men tumbling out this way as soon as they could get out of their bunks and into some clothes. Give me that pistol!”
Josh, hesitating, obeyed, whereupon Dolph Gage let down the hammer noiselessly, next dropping the weapon into a pocket of his own badly-frayed overcoat.
“Now, get the magneto back, as I told you. I’ll take care of the wires and see that they don’t snap or get tangled.”
This latter part of the work was quickly executed. Dolph deftly attached the wires to the magneto, then seized the handle, prepared to pump.
“All ready, now!” he whispered gleefully. “Two or three pumps, and damage will be done that it would cost at least fifteen thousand dollars’ worth of material and labor to remedy. The kid engineers haven’t the money and can’t raise it. They’ll have to give up—–be driven out. Then we’ll send our own man, who has his mineral rights, in here to take possession, and the mine will be ours once more—–as it always has been by rights.”
“Let us get a little way to the rear before you fire the blasts,” pleaded Josh.
“Go back a couple of hundred feet, if you want,” assented Dolph. “But don’t you run away! Remember that part of your job is to stand by me if we’re followed and fired upon.”
Josh and his companion carefully made their way back over the crust.
Dolph Gage waited until he saw them to be a sufficient distance away.
“Now, work away, my magneto beauty” muttered Gage, exultantly. “Do your work, straight and true. Drive these upstarts off of Indian Smoke Range and bring my mine back into my own hands! These fool engineers have found no gold in the ridge, but it’s there—–waiting for me. And—–now!”
He pumped the handle of the magneto vigorously. In another instant the spark traveled.
From underground there came a sudden rocking, followed, after a breathless interval, by a loud, crashing boom.
Both blasts had exploded in the same instant, and the dynamite had done its work!
TOM BEGINS TO DOUBT HIS EYES
When the shock came it shook the shacks so that nearly all of the sleeping miners became instantly alert.
Harry Hazelton, dozing lightly, sat up in bed, then felt dizzy and lay down again.
“You keep on your pillow, Mr. Hazelton,” Tim Walsh ordered, gently. “It isn’t your time to sit up yet, sir.”