The miner looked gratified.
“You shan’t repent your confidence, Joe,” he said.
“I’d rather starve than rob a good friend like you. But you mustn’t trust everybody.”
“I don’t,” said Joe. “I refused a man to-night—a man named Hogan.”
“What does he look like?”
Joe described him.
“It’s the very man,” said the miner.
“Do you know him, then?”
“Yes; he was out at our diggings. Nobody liked him, or trusted him. He was too lazy to work, but just loafed around, complaining of his luck. One night I caught him in my tent, just going to rob me. I warned him to leave the camp next day or I’d report him, and the boys would have strung him up. That’s the way they treat thieves out there.”
“It doesn’t surprise me to hear it,” said Joe. “He robbed me of fifty dollars in New York.”
“He did? How was that?”
Joe told the story.
“The mean skunk!” ejaculated Watson—for this Joe found to be the miners name. “It’s mean enough to rob a man, but to cheat a poor boy out of all he has is a good deal meaner. And yet you gave him supper?”
“Yes. The man was hungry; I pitied him.”
“You’re a better Christian than I am. I’d have let him go hungry.”
Both Joe and the miner were weary and they soon retired, but not to uninterrupted slumber. About midnight they were disturbed, as the next chapter will show.
HOGAN MEETS A CONGENIAL SPIRIT
When Hogan left Joe’s presence he was far from feeling as grateful as he ought for the kindness with which our hero had treated him. Instead of feeling thankful for the bountiful supper, he was angry because Joe had not permitted him to remain through the night. Had he obtained this favor, he would have resented the refusal to take him into partnership. There are some men who are always soliciting favors, and demanding them as a right, and Hogan was one of them.
Out in the street he paused a minute, undecided where to go. He had no money, as he had truly said, or he would have been tempted to go to a gambling-house, and risk it on a chance of making more.
“Curse that boy!” he muttered, as he sauntered along in the direction of Telegraph Hill. “Who’d have thought a green country clodhopper would have gone up as he has, while an experienced man of the world like me is out at the elbows and without a cent!”
The more Hogan thought of this, the more indignant he became.
He thrust both hands into his pantaloons pockets, and strode moodily on.
“I say it’s a cursed shame!” he muttered. “I never did have any luck, that’s a fact. Just see how luck comes to some. With only a dollar or two in his pocket, this Joe got trusted for a first-class passage out here, while I had to come in the steerage. Then, again, he meets some fool, who sets him up in business. Nobody ever offered to set me up in business!” continued Hogan, feeling aggrieved at Fortune for her partiality. “Nobody even offered to give me a start in life. I have to work hard, and that’s all the good it does.”