“Jake,” said he, “look yonder!”
“It’s a Chinee!” said Bradley, in surprise.
“How did the critter come here, in the name of wonder?”
“I suppose he is looking for gold as well as we.”
“The heathen seems to be signalin’ us. He’s wavin’ his arm.”
This was the case. The Chinaman, for some reason, seemed to wish to attract the attention of the newcomers. He stopped short, and waited for Ben and Bradley to come up.
“Who are you, my yeller friend?” asked Bradley, when he was near enough to be heard.
“My name Ki Sing.”
“Glad to hear it. I can’t say I ever heard of your family, but I reckon from the name, it’s a musical one.”
Ki Sing probably did not understand the tenor of Bradley’s remark.
“Is there any hotel round here, Mr. Sing?” asked Ben jocosely, “where two weary travelers can put up for the night?”
“Then where do you sleep?”
“Me sleep on glound.”
“Your bed is a pretty large one, then,” said Bradley. “The great objection to it is, that it is rather hard.”
Ki Sing’s mind was evidently occupied by some engrossing thought, which prevented his paying much attention to Bradley’s jocose observations.
“Melican man wantee you,” he said, in an excited manner.
“What’s that?” asked Bradley. “Melican man want me?”
Ki Sing nodded.
“Where is he?”
Ki Sing turned, and pointed to a rude hut some half a mile away in a little mountain nook.
“Melican man thele,” he said.
“Come along, Ben,” said Bradley. “Let us see what this means. It may be some countryman of ours who is in need of help.”
The Chinaman trotted along in advance, and our two friends followed him.
The mountain cabin.
At length they reached the entrance to the cabin. It was a rough structure, built of logs, containing but one apartment. On a blanket in one corner of the hut lay a young man, looking pale and emaciated. His face was turned to the wall, so that, though he heard steps, he did not see who crossed the threshold.
“Is that you, Ki Sing?” he asked, in a low voice. “But why need I ask? There is not likely to be any one else in this lonely spot.”
“That’s where you’re mistaken, my friend,” said Bradley. “I met that Chinaman of yours half a mile away, and he brought me here. You’re sick, I reckon?”
The invalid started in surprise and evident joy when he heard Bradley’s voice.
“Thank Heaven!” he said, “for the sound of a countryman’s voice,” and he turned to look at his visitor.
Now it was Bradley’s turn to start and manifest surprise.
“Why, it’s Dick Dewey!” he exclaimed.
“You know me?” said the sick man eagerly.