“You expected something more, Joe, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” admitted Joe.
“You must remember how new it is. Ten years, nay, five, will work a great change in this straggling village. We shall probably live to see it a city of a hundred thousand inhabitants.”
The passengers were eager to land. They were tired of the long voyage and anxious to get on shore. They wanted to begin making their fortunes.
“What are your plans, Joe?” asked Charles Folsom.
“I shall accept the first job that offers,” said Joe. “I can’t afford to remain idle long with my small capital.”
“Joe,” said the young man seriously, “let me increase your capital for you. You can pay me back, you know, when it is convenient. Here, take this gold piece.”
Our young hero shook his head.
“Thank you, Mr. Folsom,” he said, “you are very kind, but I think it will be better for me to shift on what I have. Then I shall have to go to work at once, and shall get started in my new career.”
“Suppose you can’t find work?” suggested Folsom.
“I will find it,” said Joe resolutely.
“Perhaps we might take lodgings together, Joe.”
“I can’t afford it,” said Joe. “You’re a gentleman of property, and I’m a poor boy who has his fortune to make. For the present I must expect to rough it.”
“Well, Joe, perhaps you are right. At any rate, I admire your pluck and independent spirit.”
There was a motley crowd collected on the pier and on the beach when Joe and his friend landed. Rough, bearded men, in Mexican sombreros and coarse attire—many in shirt-sleeves and with their pantaloons tucked in their boots—watched the new arrivals with interest.
“You needn’t feel ashamed of your clothes, Joe,” said Folsom, with a smile. “You are better dressed than the majority of those we see.”
Joe looked puzzled.
“They don’t look as if they had made their fortunes,” he said.
“Don’t judge by appearances. In a new country people are careless of appearances. Some of these rough fellows, no doubt, have their pockets full of gold.”
At this moment a rough-looking fellow stepped forward and said heartily:
“Isn’t this Charles Folsom?”
“Yes,” answered Folsom, puzzled.
“You don’t remember me?” said the other, laughing.
“Not remember Harry Carter, your old chum?”
“Good Heaven!” exclaimed Folsom, surveying anew the rough figure before him. “You don’t mean to say you are Harry Carter?”
“The same, at your service.”
“What a transformation! Why, you used to be rather a swell and now——”
“Now I look like a barbarian.”
“Well, rather,” said Folsom, laughing.
“You want me to explain? Such toggery as I used to wear would be the height of folly at the mines.”