Steve flashed the light twice before he could believe his eyes. There was no sign of Struve except the handcuffs depending from an iron chain connected by a heavy staple with the granite wall. Apparently he had somehow managed to slip from the gyves by working at them constantly.
The officer turned to his friend and laughed. “I reckon I’m holding the sack this time. See. There’s blood on these cuffs. He rasped his hands some before he got them out.”
“Well, you’ve still got him safe down here somewhere.”
“Yes, I have or Dunke has. The trouble is both the mines are shut down just now. He’s got about forty miles of tunnel to play hide-and-go-seek in. He’s in luck if he doesn’t starve to death.”
“What are you going to do about it?”
“I’ll have to get some of my men out on search-parties— just tell them there’s a man lost down here without telling them who. I reckon we better say nothing about it to the ladies. You know how tender-hearted they are. Nellie wouldn’t sleep a wink to-night for worrying.”
“All right. We’d better get to it at once then.”
Fraser nodded. “We’ll go up and rustle a few of the boys that know the mine well. I expect before we find him Mr. Wolf Struve will be a lamb and right anxious for the shepherd to arrive.”
All day the search proceeded without results, and all of the next day. The evening of this second day found Struve still not accounted for.
In A tunnel of the mal Pais
Although Miss Kinney had assured Neill that she was glad to be rid of him it occurred to her more than once in the course of the day that he was taking her a little too literally. On Sunday she did not see a glimpse of him after he left. At lunch he did not appear, nor was he in evidence at dinner. Next morning she learned that he had been to breakfast and had gone before she got down. She withheld judgment till lunch, being almost certain that he would be on hand to that meal. His absence roused her resentment and her independence. If he didn’t care to see her she certainly did not want to see him. She was not going to sit around and wait for him to take her down into the mine he had promised she should see. Let him forget his appointment if he liked. He would wait a long time before she made any more engagements with him.
About this time Dunke began to flatter himself that he had made an impression. Miss Kinney was all smiles. She was graciously pleased to take a horseback ride over the camp with him, nor did he know that her roving eye was constantly on the lookout for a certain spare, clean-built figure she could recognize at a considerable distance by the easy, elastic tread. Monday evening the mine-owner called upon her and Mrs. Collins, whose brother also was among the missing, and she was delighted to accept his invitation to go through the Mal Pais workings with him.