Page:Dick Hamilton's Fortune.djvu/229

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went on Dick, "but I didn't read much about them."

"Do you think the Hop Toad and Dolphin mines are fakes?" asked Frank.

"That's what I'm afraid of. But I'm pretty sure Smith and his confederates didn't use any such method as shooting the gold into the rocks. It's in too deep for that, and they could hardly hope to fool the assayer that way. No, they must have some new scheme, and maybe I can discover it."

The boys walked along briskly, and, almost before they realized it, they saw that they were approaching the mine.

"Now, go easy," advised Dick. "We first want to see if there is anyone in sight. If not, we'll take a trip down."

Near the mouth of the shaft was some machinery used to lift the bucket from the mine. The boys could see the dull gleam of the coals under the boiler of the hoisting apparatus, for the fire had been banked. But there was no sign of anyone around, and, after peering cautiously about, the boys reached the edge of the shaft.

"Now, if dey had an elevator fer us it would be dead easy," spoke Tim. "But I don't see how youse is goin' to git down."

"Wait until I take a look," replied Dick.

He approached the mouth of the mine and uttered an exclamation that brought the other boys to his side.