“This secures the hill farm of old Jasper—three hundred acres at forty dollars per acre—does it not, Sedgwick?” said Browning.
They ordered $10,000 to be placed to the credit of the hospitals and bought exchange on New York and London for $1,000,000. The rest they took with them in money.
In dividing there was a little dispute. Browning insisted that he was entitled to only forty-six and two-thirds per cent. of the amount, as his money was as seven to eight of Jim’s.
“Why will you bother me with those vulgar fractions, Browning? Try to be a gentleman,” said Sedgwick. “We share alike on this business, remember that; and say what a country this is to get rich in at four dollars a day!”
So it was settled. Their friends were told they had made a little stake, and were going home; the good-byes were spoken, and the young men turned their faces eastward.
Smiles and tears.
While riding through Nevada, Browning, after a long look from the car window, said:
“By Jove, Jim, but is not this a desolate region? It is as though when the rocky foundation had been laid, there was no more material to furnish this part of the world with, and the work stopped.”
“Yes, Jack,” was Sedgwick’s answer. “I knew an old man once. He was very aged and most decrepit. His face was but a mass of wrinkles; his back was bent; he always wore a frown on his face, and every relative he had wished that he was dead. But his bank account was a mighty one; he had given grand homes and plenty of money to each of his six children; he still possessed a fortune so large that his neighbors could not estimate it. I never look out upon the face of Nevada that I do not think of that old man.
“The fairest structures in San Francisco were built of the treasures taken from Nevada hills; clear across the continent, in every great city are beautiful blocks which are but Nevada gold and silver converted into stone and iron and glass; in every State are fair homes which were bought or redeemed with the money obtained here in the desert. Beyond that, the money already supplied from Nevada mines has changed the calculations of commerce, and made itself a ruling factor in prices; it has given our nation a new standing among the nations of the world; because of it, the lands are worth more money even in the Miami Valley where I was born; because of it, better wages are paid to laborers throughout our republic; it has been a factor of good, a blessing to civilization; and yet Eastern people revile Nevada and look upon it as did the relatives of the old man I was telling you of, because it is wrinkled and sere and always wears a frowning face.”
As Sedgwick and Browning neared Chicago, the former began to grow restless, and finally said:
“Jack, old friend, you must go home with me. It is something I dread more than riding mustangs or fighting cowboys. It is more than five years since I went away, and it will be just worse than a fire in a mine to face.”