“Nine thousand dollars in one day! We’ve done well,” Kelson ejaculated. “What’s the programme for to-morrow?”
“Same as to-day and plenty of it,” Curtis said, pouring himself out another glass of champagne and making a vigorous attack on a chicken. “I think I’ll let you two fellows do all the work to-morrow, and content myself here. Waiter! What time’s breakfast?”
SAN FRANCISCO LADIES AND DIVINATION
Curtis was as good as his word. The following day he remained indoors eating, and planning what he should eat, whilst Hamar and Kelson went out with the express purpose of adding to their banking accounts.
In a garden in Bryant Street, Hamar saw a man resting on his spade and mopping the perspiration from his forehead. As he stopped mechanically to see what was being done, a cold sensation ran up his right leg into his right hand, the first and third fingers of which were drawn violently down. With a cry of horror he shrank back. Directly beneath where he had been standing, he saw, under a fifteen or sixteen feet layer of gravel soil—water; a huge caldron of water, black and silent; water, that gave him the impression of tremendous depth and coldness.
“Hulloa! matey, what’s the matter?” the man with the spade called out. “Are you looking for your skin, for I never saw any one so completely jump out of it?”
“So would you,” Hamar said with a shudder, “if you saw what I do!”
“What’s that, then?” the man said leering on the ground. “Snakes! That’s what I always see when I’ve got them.”
“So long as you don’t see yourself, there’s some chance for you!” Hamar retorted. “What makes you so hot?”
“Why, digging!” the man laughed; “any one would get hot digging at such hard ground as this. As for a little whippersnapper like you, you’d melt right away and only your nose would remain. Nothing would ever melt that—there’s too much of it.”
Hamar scowled. “You needn’t be insulting,” he said, “I asked you a civil question, and I repeat it. What makes you so hot—when you should be cold—or at least cool?”
“Oh, should I!” the man mimicked, “I thought first you was merely drunk; I can see quite clearly now that you’re mad.”
“And yet you have such defective sight.”
“What makes you say that?” the man said testily.
“Why,” Hamar responded, “because you can’t see what lies beneath your very nose. Shall I tell you what it is?”
“Yes, tell away,” the man replied, “tell me my old mother’s got twins, and that Boss Croker is coming to lodge with us. I’d know you for a liar anywhere by those teeth of yours.”
“Look here,” said Hamar drawing himself up angrily, “I have had enough of your abuse. If I have any more I’ll tell your employers. It is evident you take me for a bummer, but see,”—and plunging his hand in his pocket he pulled it out full of gold. “Kindly understand I’m somebody,” he went on, “and that I’m staying at one of the biggest hotels in the town.”