“Oh, really the manager of the mine, then?” pursued Harry. “Pardon me if I ask too many questions. I do not mean to be impertinent. But, as we are going to work here I wish to know who’s who is Senor Montez’ representative.”
“Carlos,” broke in Don Luis, again, “is rather more than the mine manager. He serves me in a variety of interests, and the mine is only one of them.”
“If you wish to know whether you are to be under my instructions,” Dr. Tisco continued, “I can assure you that you are not. I seldom give orders except as the direct—I might say the directed—mouthpiece of Don Luis.”
“I have a separate manager at the mine,” added Don Luis. “You shall meet him to-morrow. His name is Pedro Gato. You will find him a self-opinionated fellow, and one used to having his own way. He has to be somewhat turbulent, or he would never hold some of my peons (laborers) in check. But under the surface you will find Pedro Gato an excellent fellow if you do not rub him too hard the wrong way.”
“Gato will not attempt to give us any orders, of course?” Tom asked very quietly.
“Possibly not,” dubiously replied Don Luis. “I really do not know. That point has not before come up to me for consideration.”
“Then I hope you will make it clear to Senor Gato, Don Luis, that we are engineers, wholly in charge of our own work; that we have been engaged as experts and that we manage our own work in the way that appears to us best to serve our employer’s interests.”
“That can all be arranged very amicably, I am certain,” replied Don Luis, as though to dismiss the matter for the present.
Dr. Tisco, covertly, was intently watching the eyes and faces of the young engineers. The secretary was most anxious to take an accurate measure of these two young Americans, who were now highly \ important to his plans.
After the evening meal, Don Luis summoned a number of his home retainers, who played mandolins and guitars. Some of them sang with considerable sweetness and power. The full moon, soon to wane, shed lustrous light over the tropical scene of beauty. It was a delightful evening. Tom and Harry, when they retired, found themselves ready to sleep instantly. Their bedrooms opened into a common parlor. Early in the morning they were astir.
“What shall we wear, Tom?” inquired Hazelton, going toward his trunks.
“I wonder what people wear in Mexico,” Harry continued. “I don’t want to make any mistake in my clothing.”
“The best clothing for engineers about to go down into a mine will be top-boots, khaki trousers and flannel shirts.”
“But will that be suitable to go to breakfast in?” Harry asked. “Will it be showing sufficient courtesy to our host? And suppose the daughter should be at table?”
“That’s so,” Reade nodded. “I am sorry that we didn’t fish for points last evening.”