Page:To Alaska for Gold.djvu/32

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"Will sell out and come on as soon as possible."

It was agreed that Earl should send the message from Spruceville, a town four miles beyond Basco. This was a seven miles' tramp, but he did not mind it, having walked the distance many times previously. He procured a bite to eat, and with the letter from his uncle in his pocket he started off. He intended to show the letter to the telegraph operator in case the man should hesitate to send the message with charges to be paid at the other end.

At Basco, Earl met a number of workmen of the district, among whom was Tom Roland, the brother of the lumberman who intended to buy the timber land from Caleb Norcross. Roland was a man whom nobody liked, and Earl passed him without a word, although it was evident from Roland's manner that the latter desired to stop for a talk. With Tom Roland was a fellow named Guardley, a ne'er-do-well, who had been up before the squire on more than one occasion for drinking and stealing. The reader will do well to remember both Tom Roland and Guardley, for they are destined to play a most important part in the chapters which follow.

The middle of the afternoon had passed before Earl struck the outskirts of Spruceville and made his way to the little railroad station where was located the telegraph office. His errand was soon explained to the