Page:To Alaska for Gold.djvu/188

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hauled forth by main strength and minus one boot, which was afterward recovered. A promising spot was reached by nightfall, the Indians were paid and sent off, and they set about making themselves a home, temporary or permanent, as fortune might elect.

A flat surface on the side of a small hill was selected, and the tents were placed end to end, as before, but tightened down to stay. Then a trench was dug around the sides and the back, so that when it rained the water might drain off. This done, the interior was carpeted with small branches of pine and evergreen.

"A good, healthful smell," said the doctor, referring to the greens; "and one that will ward off many a cold. On the top of those branches one ought to sleep almost as comfortably as on a feather bed."

The interior of the tents arranged, a fireplace was next in order, a semicircular affair of stone, in which the sheet-iron stove might be sheltered from the wind. Then came a cache for the provisions to be stored away; and their domestic arrangements were complete.

It was bright and early on the day following that all hands set off to prospect along the bottom of the gulch, which the boys had named Prosper. They were divided into two parties, the doctor and the captain in one, and the boys and their uncle in the other. The latter turned up to the left arm of the gulch and presently came to a little hollow, where the tiny stream of water flowing along had deposited some coarse sand to a depth of eight to twenty inches.