Down the steps, along the drive—it was not a short one, and then out into the road, Tom continued. His back was beginning to feel the unaccustomed load on his shoulder.
“Drop it, pretty soon, Tom,” muttered Hazelton, behind him.
“I believe I will Reade nodded. Reaching the farther side of the road he dropped one end of the trunk to the ground. Harry did likewise.
“Whew!” sputtered Tom. “I’d rather be an engineer, any day, than a delivery wagon!”
“Well, we’re here,” announced Harry. Then inquired, “What are we going to do now?”
A PIECE OF LEAD IN THE AIR
“Get your wind back,” advised Tom. “Also ease your shoulder a bit.”
“We’ll carry the trunks up the slope and dump them in some depression in the rock.”
“What’s the use of the trunks, anyway?” Harry wanted to know. “No one else will shelter us in this country. We can’t get a wagon to take our trunks away in. Surely, you don’t intend to shoulder these trunks to the railway station—seventy miles away?”
“No,” Reade admitted. “We’ll have to abandon our trunks. All I wanted to be sure about was to get them out of Don Luis’s house. And now I am just as anxious to get them out of sight of his porch. As long as the trunks stand here they’ll tell Don Luis of our discomfort. I don’t want that thieving rascal to have the satisfaction even of laughing at our trunks.”
“All right, if that’s the way you feel about it,” Hazelton grunted. “I’m ready to shoulder mine.”
“Come along, then,” Tom nodded. “Up the slope we go.”
Their climb was a hard one. But at last they halted, dropping their heavy baggage on a flat surface of rock that was not visible from the big white house. Then up a little higher the now unencumbered engineers trod. When they halted they could see far and wide over this strange country.
“Now, what?” asked Hazelton.
“Luncheon, if I had my choice,” muttered Tom. “But that’s out of the question, I fear.”
“Unless we can catch a rabbit, or something, with our hands.”
“Harry, I wonder if we can find the trail all the way back to the railroad. These mountain paths are crooked affairs at best.”
“We know the general direction, and our pocket compasses will serve us,” Hazelton nodded.
“Don Luis seems to think that he can stop us from getting through to the railroad.”
“I’m not so sure that he can’t, either, Tom. Hang these little Mexicans. With our hands either one of us could thrash an armful of these people, but a Mexican with a gun is almost the size of an American with a gun. Tom, if we only had a brace of revolvers I believe we could go through to civilization without mishap.”
“We haven’t any pistols, so there’s no use in talking about them,” Reade retorted.