“Isn’t that a good way off?”
“What are you going to do there?”
“I may go to mining.”
“But how can you afford to go so far?”
“Really, Jasper, you show considerable curiosity about my affairs. I have money enough to buy my ticket, and I think I can find work when I get out there.”
“It seems to me a crazy idea.”
“It might be—for you.”
“And why for me?” asked Jasper suspiciously.
“Because you might not be willing to rough it as I am prepared to do.”
“I guess you are right. I have always been used to living like a gentleman.”
“I hope you will always be able to do so. Now I must bid you good by, as I am busy getting ready for my journey.”
Jasper looked after Rodney, not without perplexity.
“I can’t make out that boy,” he said. “So he is going to be a common miner! Well, that may suit him, but it wouldn’t suit me. There is no chance now of his interfering with me, so I am glad he is going to leave the city.”
A MINING TOWN IN MONTANA.
The scene changes.
Three weeks later among the miners who were sitting on the narrow veranda of the “Miners’ Rest” in Oreville in Montana we recognize two familiar faces and figures—those of Jefferson Pettigrew and Rodney Ropes. Both were roughly clad, and if Jasper could have seen Rodney he would have turned up his nose in scorn, for Rodney had all the look of a common miner.
It was in Oreville that Mr. Pettigrew had a valuable mining property, on which he employed quite a number of men who preferred certain wages to a compensation depending on the fluctuations of fortune. Rodney was among those employed, but although he was well paid he could not get to like the work. Of this, however, he said nothing to Mr. Pettigrew whose company he enjoyed, and whom he held in high esteem.
On the evening in question Jefferson rose from his seat and signed to Rodney to follow him.
“Well, Rodney, how do you like Montana?” he asked.
“Well enough to be glad I came here,” answered Rodney.
“Still you are not partial to the work of a miner!”
“I can think of other things I would prefer to do.”
“How would you like keeping a hotel?”
“Is there any hotel in search of a manager?” asked Rodney smiling.
“I will explain. Yesterday I bought the ‘Miners’ Rest.’”
“What—the hotel where we board?”
“Exactly. I found that Mr. Bailey, who has made a comfortable sum of money, wants to leave Montana and go East and I bought the hotel.”
“So that hereafter I shall board with you?”
“Not exactly. I propose to put you in charge, and pay you a salary. I can oversee, and give you instructions. How will that suit you?”