“I am back, caballeros,” announced Nicolas, treading softly into the tent. “To the praise of Heaven, be it said, I secured the medicines you told me to get.”
Then Nicolas stopped short, gazing wonderingly at the fever-flushed face of the stranger.
“He’s a puzzle,” remarked Harry, four days later.
“Meaning our sick man?”
“Of course. But he isn’t going to be a sick man much longer, thanks to you, Tom. You were born to be a physician.”
“Don’t you believe it,” smiled Reade. “The only previous experience I’ve had was when I simply had to pull you through out on Indian Smoke Range last winter. Harry, I was afraid you were a goner, and I couldn’t let you go. But then, just when you were at your worst I had the best of outside help in pulling you through.”
“You mean you got help after you had pulled me out of all danger,” Hazelton retorted. “And now you’ve pulled our stranger through. Or the next thing to it. His fever is gone, and he’s mending.”
“Nothing much ailed him, I reckon, but intense anxiety and too little food. Our man is resting, now, and getting strong.”
“But he’s a mystery to me,” Harry continued.
“I can’t make anything out of him.”
“Do you figure out anything concerning him?” Hazelton inquired.
“I don’t want to. It isn’t any of my business. Our unknown guest is very plainly a gentleman, and that’s enough to know about him. If he hasn’t told us anything more then it’s because he thinks his affairs are of more importance to himself than to us.”
“Oh, of course, I didn’t mean that I wanted to pry into his affairs,” Harry protested.
“No; and we won’t do it, either, Harry. If our guest should happen to be missing some morning, without even a note of thanks left behind, we’ll understand what it cost him to slip away without saying farewell.”
The day before Don Luis had made one of his occasional visits, but he had not gone into the cook tent. Even had he done so the mine owner would probably have seen nothing to make him curious. At the further end of the cook tent lay the stranger, and his bed had been curtained off by a dark-colored print curtain that looked as though it might have been placed there to partition off part of the tent. Don Luis had called merely to chat with the young engineers, and to use his keen eyes in determining whether his enforced guests were any nearer to the point of yielding to his demands upon them.
Concerning the sick man, Nicolas had remained wholly silent. He did not offer to go near the sick man, but brought whatever Tom or Harry had called for. To have the sick man on their hands had been a rather welcome break for the young engineers, since it had given them something with which to occupy themselves.