Page:Dick Hamilton's Fortune.djvu/213

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201
AT THE MINES

street and entered the lobby of the hotel. It was even less pretentious on the inside than viewed from without, but it looked clean. Dick led the way up to the desk, to engage rooms for himself and friends.

"Glad t' see you, strangers," greeted the man behind the desk with easy familiarity. "What might yo' uns be, if I might make so bold as to ask? Travelin' show or capitalists lookin' fer a good payin' mine?"

"We're studying mining conditions," replied Dick. "Traveling for information."

"Ah, I see," interrupted the hotel proprietor, who also acted as clerk. "We've had some of you college boys out here before. Welcome to Yazoo City," and Dick and his companions were glad that the man had put his own interpretation on their object in coming West. He swung the book around to them and Dick signed first. The pen was poor and the ink worse, so it was no wonder that his name, when he had scratched it down, looked like anything but Dick Hamilton. Nor did the others do any better.

They were shown to their rooms, and, as it was late afternoon, they decided to defer beginning their investigations until the next day. The supper was good but plain, though the boys were more interested in watching the men about them, and hearing them talk, than they were in eating, hungry as they were.

They slept soundly, though Dick was awak-