Page:Dick Hamilton's Fortune.djvu/218

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or why he left there. There's secrets, you understand, that a man don't like strangers to know."

"I understand," replied Dick, with a laugh. "But we only want to see how they get the gold out of mines."

"Oh, yes, you can see that," was the driver's answer. "But there's lots of mines nearer than the Hop Toad and the Dolphin; lots of 'em."

"Aren't those good mines?" asked Dick, anxious to get the opinion of what might be presumed to be an unprejudiced observer.

"Well, so folks say," was the cautious answer. "All mines is good—until they're found out to be bad. I guess they're getting gold out of both mines. Leastways, that's what the men that's working 'em say."

When the buckboard with its passengers arrived at the Hop Toad mine the driver called to a man who seemed to be in charge:

"Say, Nick, here's a crowd of college students that want to see how you make gold. Any objections?"

The man addressed looked up quickly. Dick knew at once, from a description the lawyer had sent to Mr. Hamilton, that the man was Nick Smith, commonly known as "Forty-niner Smith," an old-time miner, who was in charge of the active operations at the two mines Dick and his father were interested in. But Dick resolved not to disclose his own identity unless it became necessary to do so.