Bradley shook hands, and introduced Ben.
“I’m told you can tell me where to find Richard Dewey, colonel,” said Bradley, employing another title of the mayor.
“I can’t just say where he is,” said the mayor; “but I can tell you where he meant to go.”
“That will help us.”
“You don’t mean him any harm?” asked the mayor quickly.
“Far from it. We have the best news for him.”
“Because Dick Dewey is a friend of mine, and I wouldn’t bring him into trouble for the richest claim in Californy.”
“That’s where we agree, colonel. The fact is, there’s a young lady in ’Frisco who has come out on purpose to find him-his sweetheart, and an heiress, at that. Me and Ben have agreed to find him for her, and that’s the long and short of it.”
“Then I’m with you, Bradley. I’ve seen the girl’s picture. Dick showed it to me one day, and she does credit to his taste. He’s had bad luck at the mines; but-”
“That won’t matter when them two meet,” said Bradley. “She’s better than any claim he can find this side the mountains.”
Bradley and our young hero spent the remainder of the day and the night at Murphy’s, hospitably provided for by the judge and the mayor, and Ben listened with avidity to the stories of the miners and their varying luck. If he had not been in search of Richard Dewey, he would have tarried at Murphy’s, selected a claim, and gone to work the very next day. He was anxious to have his share in the rough but fascinating life which these men were leading. To him it seemed like a constant picnic, with the prospect of drawing a golden prize any day, provided you attended to business.
“That will come by and by,” he thought to himself. “We must find Cousin Ida’s beau, and then we can attend to business.”
Somehow, it seemed more natural to use the first name by which he had known the young lady who employed him than the real name which he had learned later. It may be necessary to remind the reader that her name was Florence Douglas.
The next morning, after breakfast, the two friends left Murphy’s, and bent their course toward the mountains where they were told that Richard Dewey was likely to be found. The direction given them was, it must be confessed, not very definite, and the chances seemed very much against their succeeding in the object of their search.
A week later we will look in upon them toward nightfall. They were among the mountains now.
After the close of a laborious day they had tethered their animals to a tree, and were considering a very important subject, namely, where to find anything that would serve for supper. Their supply of provisions was exhausted, and there was no means of purchasing a fresh supply.
Bradley took out his supply of gold, and surveyed it ruefully.
“Ben,” said he, “I never knew before how little good there is in bein’ rich. Here we’ve both got money, and we can’t get anything for it. It’s cheap traveling for we haven’t spent anything sence we’ve left Murphy’s.”