THE CALL OF ONE IN TROUBLE
Once Tom Reade reached the solid land he let his long legs out into a brisk run.
With his years of practice on the Gridley High School athletic team he was not one to lose his wind readily.
So he made his way at the same speed all the way up to the camp.
“Who dar?” called a negro watchman, as Tom raced up to the outskirts of the camp.
“Reade, chief engineer,” Tom called, then wheeled and made off to the right, where the more substantial barracks of the foremen stood. Superintendent Renshaw lived in a two-story barrack still farther to the right, as the guest of the young engineers.
“Quien vive?” (who’s there?) hailed another voice, between the two barracks buildings.
“So, Nicolas, you rascal, you haven’t gone to bed?” demanded Tom, halting. “What did I tell you about earlier hours?”
Nicolas was the young Mexican servant whom Tom and Harry had brought back with them from Mexico. Readers of the previous volume know all about this faithful fellow.
“You and Senor Hazelton, you waire not in bed,” replied Nicolas stolidly.
“You’re not expected to stay up and watch over us as if we were babies, Nicolas,” spoke Tom, in a gentler voice. “You’d better turn in now.”
“Senor Hazelton, where is he?” insisted Nicolas, anxiously.
“Oh, bother! Never mind where he is,” Tom rejoined. “We won’t either of us be in for a little while yet. But you turn in now—–at once—–instanter!”
Then Tom bounded over to the little porch before the foremen’s barracks, where he pounded lustily on the door.
“Who’s there? What’s wanted?” demanded a sleepy voice from the inside.
“Is that you, Evarts?” called Reade.
“Get on your duds and turn out as quickly as you can.”
“You want me?” yawned Evarts.
“Now, see here, my man, if I didn’t want you why on earth would I call you out in the middle of the night?”
“It’s late,” complained Evarts.
“I know it. That’s why I want you to get behind yourself and push yourself,” retorted the young chief engineer energetically. “Hustle!”
Twice, while he waited impatiently, Tom kicked the toe of one boot against the door to emphasize the need of haste. Other drowsy voices remonstrated.
“Hang a man who has to sleep all the time!” grunted Tom Reade.
After several minutes the door opened, and a lanky, loose-jointed, lantern-jawed man of some forty-odd years stepped out.
“Well, what’s up, Mr. Reade?” questioned the foreman, hiding a yawn behind a bony, hairy hand.
“You are, at last, thank goodness!” Tom exclaimed. “Evarts, I want you to rout out four good men. Lift ’em to their feet and begin to throw the clothes on ’em!”