Page:To Alaska for Gold.djvu/189

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"Now we'll shovel up some of this sand in the pan and see what it amounts to," said Foster Portney. " Don't take what is right on top, boys. If there is any gold, it is down next to the bed rock. And don't fill the pan too full." The boys worked eagerly, and soon had the pan nearly full of the sand. Mr. Portney then carried it to a nearby pool and allowed the water to run over the top, then brushed off the surface and began to "wash down." This took several minutes, and Randy and Earl stood by almost breathless during the process.

At last only a handful of sand and dirt remained at the bottom of the pan. All three examined it with care. Here and there could be seen a tiny grain of dull yellow.

"That is gold," explained Foster Portney. "But there is hardly enough to pay; probably three or four cents' worth in all."

"Is that all!" cried Randy, and his voice was full of disappointment. Earl said nothing, but gathered up the pick and shovel and moved on.

In two days a dozen other spots had been tried with even worse success, and the three in the party began to imagine that the gulch was of no consequence, so far as staking a claim there was concerned. To add to their discomfiture a miner came along who said he had gone all over that locality a month previous.

"Ain't nothin' thar," he announced; "nothin' wuth