“Well, you know,” hinted Harry, “we’ve heard that Evarts is some sort of relative to Mr. Bascomb.”
“But the rascal has been working to ruin this company,” Tom protested, “and Mr. Bascomb is the trusted president of the company.”
“Yet is Mr. Bascomb really fit to be trusted?” Prescott propounded.
“Mr. Prenter seems to think so, and he is a capable judge of men,” Tom rejoined. “It is the combination of all these circumstances taken together that makes me so curious over Mr. Bascomb’s being willing to bail the fellow.”
“Oh, well, it’s too much of a puzzle for us,” said Harry, shrugging his shoulders. “All we’ve got to do is to keep our eyes open and faithfully guard the property that is entrusted to our care. However, I’m growing sour and sore. Here I’ve got to go to bed presently, and you and Dick are going to be prowling about all night. You’ll have all the excitement, while I’ll be in bed.”
“You seem to forget,” Tom reminded him, “that the last big excitement took place in the daytime, during your shift. Dick and I may have a lazy night, and you may have the air full of wreckage to-morrow in broad daylight.”
They chatted a little while with Mr. Prenter, outside, and then Dick rose at Tom’s signal.
“We must be starting,” said Reade. “I don’t know just what we’re going to do to-night, but we have miles to cover I’m afraid.”
“Being an army officer, Dick, you’ve got a pistol, of course,” suggested Harry hopefully.
“I’ve a brace of them,” nodded the army man.
“Good!” cheered Harry.
“But both of them, unloaded at that, are in my trunks at Mobile,” laughed Dick, whereat Tom chuckled. Harry Hazelton was much inclined to want to carry a pistol in times of danger, but Tom didn’t believe in any such habit.
“I thought soldiers went armed,” muttered Hazelton ruefully.
“Only when on duty,” Dick informed him.
Nicolas wistfully watched Reade out of sight. The Mexican had been ordered to remain at home to-night, and on no account to think of following his employer. That didn’t at all agree with the faithful fellow’s wishes.
“They’ll be sure to get into some trouble, Senor Hazelton,” Nicolas said mournfully. “I should be on their flank, watching over them.”
“You don’t know Gridley boys,” laughed Harry, “if you don’t understand that Dick Prescott and Tom Reade, together, are a hard team to beat.”
In the meantime Tom led the way down to the camp of workmen. Reade stopped to speak with one of his reliable negroes, whom he found softly strumming a banjo under a tree.
“Are there any visitors in camp to-night who shouldn’t be here?” asked Tom.
“I doan’ beliebe so, boss,” replied the colored man. “Dem gamblers an’ bootleggers ain’ done got bail yet, has they, sah?”
“I don’t believe they have,” replied Tom. “There are no others of their kind here, then?”