“Shake hands, Joe,” said Bickford. “You’re in luck.”
“So are you, Mr. Bickford. We are partners, you know.”
In less than an hour the two partners received an offer of eight thousand dollars for their united claim, and the offer was accepted.
Joe was the hero of the camp. All were rejoiced at his good fortune except one. That one was Hogan, who from a little distance, jealous and gloomy, surveyed the excited crowd.
“Why don’t luck come to me?” muttered Hogan to himself. “That green country boy has made a fortune, while I, an experienced man of the world, have to live from hand to mouth. It’s an outrage!”
The parties to whom Joe and his partner sold their claim were responsible men who had been fortunate in mining and had a bank-account in San Francisco.
“We’ll give you an order on our banker,” they proposed.
“That will suit me better than money down,” said Joe. “I shall start for San Francisco to-morrow, having other business there that I need to look after.”
“I’ll go too, Joe,” said Joshua. “With my share of the purchase-money and the nugget, I’m worth, nigh on to five thousand dollars. What will dad say?”
“And what will Susan Smith say?” queried Joe.
“I guess she’ll say she’s ready to change her name to Bickford,” said he.
“You must send me some of the cake, Mr. Bickford.”
“Just wait, Joe. The thing ain’t got to that yet. I tell you, Joe, I shall be somebody when I get home to Pumpkin Hollow with that pile of money. The boys’ll begin to look up to me then. I can’t hardly believe it’s all true. Maybe I’m dreamin’ it. Jest pinch my arm, will you?”
Joe complied with his request.
“That’ll do, Joe. You’ve got some strength in your fingers. I guess it’s true, after all.”
Joe observed with some surprise that Hogan did not come near them. The rest, without exception, had congratulated them on their extraordinary good luck.
“Seems to me Hogan looks rather down in the mouth,” said Joe to Bickford.
“He’s mad ’cause he didn’t find the nugget. That’s what’s the matter with him. I say, Hogan, you look as if your dinner didn’t agree with you.”
“My luck don’t agree with me.”
“You don’t seem to look at things right. Wasn’t you lucky the other day to get away from the bear?”
“I was unlucky enough to fall in with him.”
“Wasn’t you lucky in meetin’ my friend Joe in New York, and raisin’ money enough out of him to pay your passage out to Californy?”
“I should be better off in New York. I am dead broke.”
“You’d be dead broke in New York. Such fellers as you always is dead broke.”
“Do you mean to insult me, Mr. Bickford?” demanded Hogan irritably.