“I might have put on a little style then, I allow. It don’t do for a man with a thousand dollars in his belt to lie out. I ain’t afraid now.”
Ben, on leaving his new acquaintance, thought it best to go back at once to Miss Sinclair, to communicate the information he had obtained, rightly deeming it of importance.
“Well, Ben, have you seen the whole town so soon?” asked Miss Sinclair, looking up from her trunk, which she was unpacking.
“No, Cousin Ida, but I think I have learned something of Mr. Dewey.”
“You have not seen him?” asked Miss Sinclair quickly.
“No, I have not seen him, but I have seen a man who met him nearly a year since at the mines.”
“Tell me about it, Ben,” said the young lady. “Where was it that this man saw Richard-Mr. Dewey?”
“Where is that?”
“Two hundred miles away.”
“That is not far. Are you willing to go there?”
“Yes, but you must remember, Cousin Ida, that it is nearly a year since he was there, and miners never stay long in one place, at least so my miner friend tells me.”
“At any rate, you may learn something of him there.”
“That is true.”
“Will this man go with you?”
“He would, but he has no money to get out of the city.”
“I will pay his expenses as far as Murphy’s, and farther, if he is likely to prove of service.”
“I think it will be best, if you can afford it,” said Ben. “He knows the country, and I don’t. Three months from now I should be willing to start off alone, but now-”
“It is much better that you should have company.”
“It will cost you a good deal of money, Cousin Ida.”
“I shall not grudge a large sum, if need be, to find Richard. When can you see this man again?”
“Bring him here, and I will make arrangements with him.”
At nine o’clock on the following morning Ben found Jake Bradley at the appointed rendezvous.
“You’re on time, my lad,” said Jake. “I didn’t know as you’d think it worth while to look me up.”
“I promised,” said Ben.
“And you’ve kept your promise. That’s more’n many a man would do.”
“How did you pass the night?” asked Ben.
“I stretched out on the soft side of a board. It isn’t the first time. I slept like a top.”
“Have you had breakfast?”
“Well, there! you’ve got me,” said Jake. “I reckoned on findin’ an old friend that keeps a saloon on Montgomery Street, but he’s sold out to another man, and I hadn’t the face to ask him for a bite. What a consarned fool I was to throw away all my pile.”
“Where is the saloon?” said Ben. “We will go there, and while you are eating we can arrange our business.”