Among those who congratulated him was his Mongolian friend, Ki Sing.
“Melican man good fightee-knock over Ilishman. Hullah!”
“Come with me, Ki Sing,” said Dewey. ’"I will take care of you till to-morrow, and then you had better go.”
Chinese cheap labor.
Though Dewey had received from the miners a promise that they would not interfere with Ki Sing in case he gained a victory over O’Reilly, he was not willing to trust entirely to it. He feared that some one would take it into his head to play a trick on the unoffending Chinaman, and that the others unthinkingly would join in. Accordingly, he thought it best to keep the Mongolian under his personal charge as long as he remained in camp.
Ki Sing followed him to his tent as a child follows a guardian.
“Are you hungry, Ki Sing?” asked Dewey.
“Then I will first satisfy your appetite,” and Dewey brought forth some of his stock of provisions, to which Ki Sing did ample justice, though neither rat pie nor rice was included.
When the lunch, in which Richard Dewey joined, was over, he said: “If you will help me for the rest of the day, I will pay you whatever I consider your services to be worth.”
“All lightee!” responded Ki Sing, with alacrity.
Whatever objections may be made to the Chinaman, he cannot be charged with laziness. As a class they are willing to labor faithfully, even where the compensation is small. Labor in China, which is densely peopled, is a matter of general and imperative necessity, and has been so for centuries, and habit has probably had a good deal to do with the national spirit of industry.
Ki Sing, under Richard Dewey’s directions, worked hard, and richly earned the two dollars which his employer gave him at the end of the day.
Of course Dewey’s action did not escape the attention of his fellow miners. It cannot be said that they regarded it with favor. The one most offended was naturally O’Reilly, who, despite the pounding he had received, was about the camp as usual.
“Boys,” he said, “are you goin’ to have that haythen workin’ alongside you?”
“It won’t do us any harm, will it?” asked Dick Roberts. “If Dewey chooses to hire him, what is it to us?”
“I ain’t goin’ to demane myself by workin’ wid a yeller haythen.”
“Nobody has asked you to do it. If anybody is demeaning himself it is Dick Dewey, and he has a right to if he wants to.”
“If he wants to hire anybody, let him hire a dacent Christian.”
“Like you, O’Reilly?”
“I don’t want to work for anybody. I work for myself. This Chinaman has come here to take the bread out of our mouths, bad cess to him.”
“I don’t see that. He is workin’ Dick Dewey’s claim. I don’t see how that interferes with us.”