Page:Dick Hamilton's Fortune.djvu/231

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219
DOWN IN A GOLD MINE

many crevices, but there was no glitter of the precious metal.

The boys walked cautiously along the gallery, or tunnel, that extended at right angles to the perpendicular shaft. Suddenly, Dick, who was in the lead, stopped short.

"Hush!" he exclaimed, in a whisper. "I hear voices."

The boys listened. From somewhere in the darkness ahead of them came an indistinct murmur.

"Come ahead, easy!" whispered the millionaire's son.

They advanced on tiptoes. The murmur of voices became louder. Then, as the boys made a turn in the tunnel, a strange scene was suddenly presented to them.

In a sort of cave, formed by the widening of the gallery, a number of men stood in a group. Several torches, stuck into cracks in the rocky wall, gave light. But, strangest of all, was the occupation of the men.

One of them was stirring what seemed like a mass of mortar in a wooden box, such as masons use. Into it another was pouring from a sack, gleaming, golden, yellow particles, which, as the light gleamed on them, glittered like gold.

"Seems like throwing the yellow stuff away," remarked the man who held the sack.

"What of it. We'll get it back five times over," replied the one who, with a hoe, was stirring the