’Archie is coming, Selina—you had better hurry up the tea, for he will be hungry after such a long day.’
The person inside made no answer save by an extra clatter of some domestic utensils, and Madame apparently did not expect a reply, for without saying anything else she walked slowly down the garden path, and leaned lightly over the gate, waiting for the newcomer, who was indeed none other than Archibald McIntosh, the manager of the Pactolus.
He was a man of about medium height, rather thin than otherwise, with a long, narrow-looking head and boldly cut features—clean shaved save for a frill of white hair which grew on his throat up the sides of his head to his ears, and which gave him rather a peculiar appearance, as if he had his jaw bandaged up. His eyes were grey and shrewd-looking, his lips were firmly compressed—in fact, the whole appearance of his face was obstinate—the face of a man who would stick to his opinions whatever anyone else might say to the contrary. He was in a rough miner’s dress, all splashed with clay, and as he came up to the gate Madame could see he was holding something in his hand.
‘D’ye no ken what yon may be?’ he said, a smile relaxing his grim features as he held up a rather large nugget; ’’tis the third yin this week!’
Madame Midas took the nugget from him and balanced it carefully in her hand, with a thoughtful look in her face, as if she was making a mental calculation.
‘About twenty to twenty-five ounces, I should say,’ she observed in her soft low voice; ’the last we had was fifteen, and the one before twenty—looks promising for the gutter, doesn’t it?’