“What do you expect?” demanded Fred.
“I’m looking for Simon Moultrie’s claim, that’s all,” remarked George simply.
“Yes, and probably you expected to stumble over a mine with the men all at work. You expected to find a shaft and mules and men on every side. How about it, Pop?”
“I’m not quite as bad as that,” replied George, joining in the laugh that greeted Fred’s words, “but I’ll have to own up I don’t know exactly what I was looking for.”
“You’re hopeless,” laughed his friend, but for some reason silence soon rested over the little group.
The afternoon was waning and the night would soon be at hand. Already shadows were creeping over the gulches and canyons and the reflections were weird and in places fantastic. In the fading light the vivid colors of the sides of the canyons became softer. The coming of the night seemed to cast its spell over all.
The Go Ahead Boys had become quiet. Even the stories of Pete, who a few minutes before had joined the band, seemed to be as unreal as the empty shells. Few questions were asked and it was not plain that all the boys were listening.
Suddenly John arose and exclaimed, “There comes Zeke! I wonder what he has to report.”
In a moment John’s companions had joined him and all four were advancing to meet the guide who was returning from the rim of the Gulch.
“Where have you been, Zeke?” called John.
“Down, ’n the Gulch,” replied the guide gruffly.
“What did you find? Did you see any one?”
“Nothing to speak of,” retorted Zeke, who plainly was not disposed to recount the story of his recent adventures.
Without halting, the guide said, “The Navajos will be coming soon.”
“What do you mean?” demanded John excitedly.
“Just what I say,” said Zeke.
“Do you mean the whole Navajo tribe or just the two that we’ve seen?”
“You certainly be the most innocent chap I’ve ever seen,” remarked Zeke irritably, as for a moment he halted and looked sternly at the two boys. “Of course I mean Thomas Jefferson and Kitoni.”
“What are they coming up for?” demanded Fred.
“Children should be seen and not heard,” retorted Zeke.
John laughed, but the face of his diminutive friend flushed angrily though he did not reply to the statement of the leader.
Plainly Zeke was not inclined to talk. In silence he led the way back to the camp without referring again to his visit or explaining what his future plans were to be.
Neither would he talk after he had arrived, except to remark that it would be time enough to talk when the Navajos came.
Two hours later Thomas Jefferson arrived in camp. The time had been hanging heavily upon the hands of the Go Ahead Boys and the coming of the Indian provided a sharp relief.