“And what are the expenses?” was the next question.
“Four shillings a day for board; three pounds per month for a room, and clothes and cigars to any amount you please,” said Jack.
“Why, you could not have saved more than L150 or L160 per annum at those rates,” said the old man.
“No,” said Jack; “a good many may not do as well as that; but I had a few pounds which were invested by a friend in Con-Virginia when it was three dollars a share, and it was sold when it was worth a good bit more.”
The old man had learned the secret. He asked one more question. “Did your friend Sedgwick do as well as you did?”
Jack thought of Sedgwick’s injunction, so answered:
“He made a good bit of money, something like L20,000, but he turned it over to his father in Ohio. I think the plan is to buy a place near the old home. He only brought a few hundred pounds with him. Indeed, he only ran over to oblige me. We were old friends; at one time we worked on the same shift in the mine.”
The old man was satisfied. Moreover, he saw his opportunity.
“What a wonderful business that mining is,” he said. “Stetson, the broker over the way, is promoting a mining enterprise in South Africa. According to the showing, it is an immense property. Here is the prospectus of the company. Put it in your pocket, and at your leisure run over it.”
Jack carelessly put the pamphlet in his pocket. That evening he was with Rose and remained pretty late. When he sought his room he could not sleep, so he ran over the statement. It was a captivating showing. The mine was called the “Wedge of Gold.” It was located in the Transvaal. The main ledge was fully sixteen feet wide, with an easy average value of six pounds per ton in free gold, besides deposits and spurs that went much higher. The vein was exposed for several hundred feet, and opened by a shaft 300 feet deep, with long drifts on each of the levels. The country was healthy, supplies cheap, plenty of good wood and water, and the only thing needed was a mill for reducing the ore. The incorporation called for 150,000 shares of stock of the par value of one pound per share, and the pamphlet explained that 50,000 shares were set aside to be sold to raise means for a working capital, to build the mill, etc.
Browning read the paper over twice, then tumbled into bed, and his dreams were all mixed up; part of the time he was counting gold bars, part of the time it seemed to him that Rose was near him, but when he spoke to her, every time she vanished away. Between the visions he made the worst kind of a night of it, and next morning told Jim that he was more beat out than ever he was when he came off shift on the Comstock.
How miners are caught.