“I wish I felt as sure about Hogan,” said Joe.
“Hogan is a coward. I advise you to keep ft revolver constantly on hand. He won’t dare to break in by himself.”
* * * * *
The next morning, after breakfast, Watson prepared to go out in search of work.
“I must begin at the bottom of the ladder once more,” he said to Joe. “It’s my own fault, and I won’t complain. But what a fool I have been! I might have gone home by the next steamer if I hadn’t gambled away all my hard earnings.”
“What sort of work shall you try to get?”
“Anything—I have no right to be particular. Anything that will pay my expenses and give me a chance to lay by something for my family at home.”
“Mr. Watson,” said Joe suddenly, “I’ve been thinking of something that may suit you. Since I came to San Francisco I have never gone outside. I would like to go to the mines.”
“You wouldn’t make as much as you do here.”
“Perhaps not; but I have laid by some money and I would like to see something of the country. Will you carry on the restaurant for me for three months, if I give you your board and half of the profits?”
“Will I? I should think myself very lucky to get the chance.”
“Then you shall have the chance.”
“How do you know that I can be trusted?” asked Watson.
“I haven’t known you long,” said Joe, “but I feel confidence in your honesty.”
“I don’t think you’ll repent your confidence. When do you want to go?”
“I’ll stay here a few days, till you get used to the business, then I will start.”
“I was lucky to fall in with you,” said Watson. “I didn’t want to go back to the mines and tell the boys what a fool I have been. I begin to think there’s a chance for me yet.”
MR. BICKFORD, OF PUMPKIN HOLLOW
It may be thought that Joe was rash in deciding to leave his business in the hands of a man whose acquaintance he had made but twelve hours previous. But in the early history of California friendships ripened fast. There was more confidence between man and man, and I am assured that even now, though the State is more settled and as far advanced in civilization and refinement as any of her sister States on the Atlantic coast, the people are bound together by more friendly ties, and exhibit less of cold caution than at the East. At all events, Joe never dreamed of distrusting his new acquaintance. A common peril, successfully overcome, had doubtless something to do in strengthening the bond between them.
Joe went round to his friend Mr. Morgan and announced his intention.
“I don’t think you will make money by your new plan, Joe,” said Morgan.
“I don’t expect to,” said Joe, “but I want to see the mines. If I don’t succeed, I can come back to my business here.”