“Good-bye, fond dreams!” cried Fat tragically.
“Two hundred and fifty dollars!” exclaimed Phil and Ham together. “How do you get that?”
“Well, cement and lime for the fireplace, freight to Fairview on boards, shingles, furnishings, and so on; rent on donkeys to do the packing, dishes, and pantry boxes, for everything will have to be kept in tin boxes. Then you’ll have to hire a mason to put in the fireplace. You’ll need axes, saws, and tools. I’ll wager it won’t cost a cent less than two hundred dollars, and great loads of hard work.”
“Hard fun, you mean,” interrupted Phil.
As the evening shadows began to lengthen and the cool breeze to rise from the snow-clad peaks of the Middle Range, the little group of explorers dropped into the canyon and hurried home. All were very full of ideas and suggestions except Willis. He had listened to their talk, but was saying over and over to himself, “If it doesn’t come true, it’s my fault, or my uncle’s, and that’s the same thing.”
A Strange Turn of Fate
“Let’s take Mr. Dean to the courthouse with us, Willis,” said Mr. Allen. “He is very shrewd, and we can depend on his judgment in such matters as we have before us to-day.” Willis found Mr. Dean, and in a short time they were on their way, Mr. Allen explaining to Mr. Dean the possible difficulty that had arisen in regard to the ownership of the cabin.
Upon their arrival at the courthouse, the first thing was to study a United States geological map to find the township, section lines, railroads, and streams. Then began the search through old, yellow volumes of records, one after another, each one bringing them nearer to the desired information.
“Section five, west of range sixty-seven,” read Mr. Dean. “That’s the place, boys; now we must locate an exact point in that section. You say the cabin is located on a stream and a trail. The falls are marked here;” he pointed with his pencil. “Now downstream a little; here we are, three trails marked instead of one. You came over from the railroad, didn’t you?”
“Yes, right here,” said Willis, pointing. “The cabin is where these two trails cross each other.”
In the center of the next volume, for there had been many claims located and recorded on the little stream, they found the record of a property belonging to Willis’s father and a Mr. Kieser. The record showed the date of its refiling, after the country had become a part of the Pike’s Peak Forest Reserve. The survey lines were given, but of course they could not be located on the map. Was the cabin on the property there recorded or not? Willis remembered that his mother had said not, so they pushed further into the books and came to the description of a lode claim, the corner of which, according to the record, was at the intersection of the two trails, just where the stream swings south. It was originally staked and recorded by a man named Briney as a placer claim. Six consecutive assessments were recorded, then two years later the claim was relocated by a Joseph H. Williams. Willis frowned as he made notes and took down the dates of the assessments.