“We’re used to roughing it, ma’am,” said Bradley. “I’m an old miner, and I think I can find some of my old chums before long.”
By this time luncheon was ready, and they soon left the cabin.
Bradley could no longer repress his curiosity.
“Now, Ben, tell me all about it,” he said. “Where is our money?”
Ben looked back, to make sure that he would not be overheard, and answered: “I put it in the bank for security, Jake.”
“What do you mean?”
“If I am not very much mistaken, we shall find it hidden in a hole in a tree, quarter of a mile away.”
“Who put it there?” asked his companion, in surprise.
“Last night, about midnight, as near as I can guess.”
Ben laughed at his companion’s evident perplexity, and told him in detail the story of the night’s adventure.
“Ben, I’m proud of you,” said Bradley, slapping our hero on the back. “There are not many grown men that would have known what to do under the circumstances.”
“I confess that I was very much puzzled myself,” said Ben modestly. “I could have done nothing if our honest host hadn’t fallen asleep.”
“He would feel rather provoked if he knew that nearly all of our money is untouched,” said Bradley; “that is, if we find it again.”
“There’s no fear of that,” said Ben. “Do you see that tree yonder?”
“The large one?”
“That is my savings-bank.”
They quickened their steps till they reached the stately monarch of the forest. Ben quickly thrust his hand into the cavity and drew out the precious parcel which he had committed to it during the night. It was precisely as he had placed it there. No one had touched it.
“Now,” said Ben, “I will give you ninety-five dollars. That is the amount of which I picked your pocket last night.”
“You are a pickpocket of the right sort,” said his companion. “You took my money in order to save it.”
Their money recovered, they started on their day’s march, and nightfall found them twenty miles nearer their destination.
The arrival at Murphy’s.
One morning about eleven o’clock they came in sight of Murphy’s. It was only a mining-settlement of the most primitive description. A few tents and cabins, with rough, bearded men scattered here and there, intent upon working their claims, gave it a picturesque appearance, which it has lost now. It was then a more important place than at present, however, for the surface diggings are exhausted, and it is best known-to-day by its vicinity to the famous Calaveras grove of big trees.
“So this is Murphy’s?” said Ben, rather disappointed. “It doesn’t seem to be much of a place.”
“You didn’t expect to see a regular town, did you?” asked Bradley.