Don Luis deliberated for a few moments.
“I think I do see the point, Senor Reade. You mean that the report will not do.”
“So,” Tom continued, “Hazelton and I don’t feel that we ought to sign that report. However, we will get up and sign for you a report that will answer in every way, and this new report will be satisfactory. If you will let your driver take Nicolas up to the house, Nicolas can bring the typewriting machine from your office, and some stationery with it. We can set the machine up on the camp table, and within the next two hours we can agree upon a satisfactory report, which I will write out on the machine.”
“And you will sign the new report—when?”
“Just as soon as we have it written out in form that will suit you.”
“You will want the big ledger for facts?” asked Montez.
“No,” smiled Tom; “because the ledger doesn’t contain facts anyway. We can invent just as good statements without any reference to the ledger.”
Don Luis laughed softly. Then he turned to his secretary.
“My good Carlos, see that Nicolas knows what he is going after. Then let him go in the car.”
Nicolas sped away in the automobile. Presently he was back, with the typewriting machine and an abundance of stationery.
Tom quickly fitted a sheet of heavy bond paper to the carriage of the typewriter.
“Now, let us agree,” asked Tom, “on what the report is to contain.”
Slowly at first, then more rapidly, the matter was planned. Tom winced a bit, as he made up some tables of alleged output of the mine supposed to have come under his own observation and Harry’s. But he wrote it all down with lead pencil and afterwards copied it on the machine.
At the end of three hours the report was finished. Tom read it all over slowly to Don Luis. As Tom laid down each page Dr. Tisco picked it up to scan it.
At last the infamously lying document had been read through and approved.
“Let us have the end of it over with quickly,” begged Tom, producing and shaking his fountain pen. He affixed his signature. Hazelton did the same.
“So far, good,” declared Don Luis, passing the complete, signed document to Dr. Tisco. “Now, senores, let us have the whole matter understood. The report is excellent; it could not be better for the purpose. The American visitors will be delighted with it. But you are not to play me any tricks of any kind!”
“Don Luis,” promised Tom, earnestly, “we shall stand by that report first, last and through to the finish. We shall not—by word, gesture, wink, or by any trick or device—give your coming American visitors the least warning that the report is not fully as honest as it appears to be.”
We shall back you firmly and as strongly as we know how, and help you in any way in our power to put the deal through. Can we promise you more?”