The Daughter of a Magnate (Chapter 8, page 1 of 4)


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Chapter 8

Preceded by a track boss along the ledges where the blasting crew was
already putting down the dynamite, a man almost as large as Glover and
rigged in a storm cap and ulster made his way toward the camp
headquarters. The mountain men sprang to their feet with a greeting
for the general manager--it was Bucks.

He took Blood's welcome with a laugh, nodded to the roadmasters, and
pulling his cap from his head, turned to grasp Glover's hand.

"I hear you're going to spoil some of our scenery, Ab. I thought I'd
run up and see how much government land you were going to move without
a permit. Glad you got down so promptly. Callahan had nervous
prostration for a while last night. I told him you'd have some sort of
a trick in your bag, but I didn't suppose you would spring the side of
a mountain on us. Am I to have any coffee or not? What are you
eating, dynamite? Why, there's Ed Smith--what are you hanging back in
the dark for, Ed? Come out here and show yourself. It was like you to
lend us your men. If the boys forget it, I sha'n't."

"I'd rather see you than a hundred men," declared Glover.

"Then give me something to eat," suggested Bucks.

As he spoke the snappy, sharp reports of exploding dynamite could be
heard; they were springing the drill holes. Bucks sitting down on the
bowlder, wrapping the tails of his coat between his legs and taking
coffee from Young drank while the men talked. From the box car below,
Ed Smith's men were packing the black powder up the trail to the Paw.
When it began going into the holes, Glover went to the ledge to oversee
the charging.

In the Pittsburg train, at Sleepy Cat, an early dinner was being served
to the caƱon party. They had come back enthusiastic. The scenery was
declared superb, and the uncertainty of the situation most satisfying.
The riot of the mountain stream, which plunging now unbridled from wall
to wall had scoured the deep gorge for hundreds of feet, was a moving
spectacle. The activity of the swarming laborers, preparing their one
tremendous answer to the insolence of the river, had behind it the
excitement of a game of chance. The stake, indeed, was eight solid
trains of perishable freight, and the gambler that had staked their
value and his reputation on one throw of the dice was their own
easy-mannered guide.

They discussed his chances with the indifference of spectators. Doctor
Lanning, the only one of the young people that had ever done anything
himself, was inclined to think Glover might win out. Allen Harrison
was willing to wager that trains couldn't be got across a hole like
that for another twenty-four hours.

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