“It won’t get your relative into any trouble, will it, Nicolas?” Tom asked.
“I can manage it, senor, so that no trouble will follow.”
“Then take this money and get some food, my good Nicolas, if you can manage it without getting any one into trouble.”
“It will have to be very plain food, Senor Reade, such as peons eat,” urged Nicolas.
“Plain food never killed any man yet,” Tom laughed. “Well, then, take this money and serve us at your convenience.”
“I have no need of money,” replied the Mexican, shaking his head. “I am well supplied, caballeros.”
Displaying the two banknotes that he had received an hour before, Nicolas took three steps backward, then vanished.
“There goes a faithful fellow!” glowed Tom.
“If he isn’t doing this under Don Luis’s orders,” muttered Hazelton.
“Harry, I’m ashamed of you,” retorted Tom, finding a soft, grass-covered spot and stretching himself out. He pulled his sombrero forward over his face and lay as though asleep. Any one, however, who had tried to creep upon Reade would speedily have discovered that he was far from drowsy.
“Humph!” said Harry, after glancing at his chum. “You don’t appear to realize that there’s any such thing as danger around us.”
“If there is, I can’t keep it away,” Tom rejoined. “Harry, this idle life is getting into my blood, I fear. Now, I know just how happy a tramp feels.”
“Go ahead and enjoy yourself, then,” laughed Hazelton. “For fifteen minutes at a time you’d make an ideal tramp. Then you’d want to go to work”
“I wouldn’t mind having a little work to do,” Reade admitted. “Harry, it took nerve to throw up our connection with Don Luis. At least, that meant some work to do.”
“It did not,” Harry contradicted. “Don Luis didn’t want us in his mine at all, and showed us that as plainly as he could. All the work he wanted out of us was the writing of two signatures. The need of the signatures was all that ever made him bring us down from the United States.”
“He’d he such a charming fellow, too, if he only knew a little bit about being honest,” sighed Tom, regretfully.
“There is one thing about his rascality that I shall never forgive,” growled Hazelton. “That was, dragging his innocent daughter into the game, just in the hope that her presence would influence us to sign.”
“I trust, caballeros, that you did not find me too slow and lazy,” broke in the soft voice of Nicolas, as that servant stole back in on them. He was well laden with parcels, at sight of which Reade sat up with a jerk.
“Anything in that lot that’s all ready to be eaten without fussy preparation, Nicolas?” the young chief engineer asked eagerly.
“Oh, si senor!”
“Then lead us to it, boy!”
The Mexican servant unwrapped a package, revealing and holding up a tin.