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   Chapter 2 A CLUE

The Go Ahead Boys and Simon's Mine By Ross Kay Characters: 9399

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:03


The thoughts of the two boys speedily were withdrawn from the physical prowess of their guide. At that moment he had again taken the little book he had found in the pocket of the coat of the dead man, and, opening it, said, "I'm not sure, boys, whether this man was Simon Moultrie or not. It sounds just like him, but there's so little writing that I can't tell."

"What does it say?" inquired John eagerly.

"Why, it's a diary. Some days he didn't write anything and other days when he did write, the pages are torn and the writing is so blurred that no one can make out what he means."

"Let me see it," said Fred, extending his hand as he spoke.

Taking the little book Fred saw that it apparently was a diary as Zeke had suggested. It was for the year 1914. One entry was quite distinct wherein the unfortunate man had recorded the story of his journey to Tombstone for fresh supplies.

When he commented upon this fact, Zeke said, "That's what makes me think it might have been Simon. As I said to you he only came in twice each year and then stayed just long enough to get supplies to last him for the next six months. Of course he may have come in when I didn't know anything about it."

"When did be make his trips?" inquired Fred.

"Usually about October and. April He didn't like to lose much time from his prospecting so he would come in just about the time the snow was gone and get fitted out for his work that summer."

"If he wont in last April," suggested John, "he must have lost some of his supplies."

"Nobody knows just where he made his head quarters. It's more'n likely though that the coyotes, if they could talk, might be able to tell you more about what became of old Simon's bacon than any living man could."

"Here's something!" exclaimed Fred excitedly. "This is worth while," he added, after he had looked carefully through the various pages of the diary and in the back part of the book, distinct from the numbered pages, he had found the following entry:

"June 1st.

At last I have found it. It seems good after twenty-three years of disappointment to be able to say that I have found a good lead and that there is a sure enough vein here. I thought I was on the right trail when I was in the middle of Thorn's Gulch and I found pretty soon that I had struck it just right. I followed the lead four days and every day I was more convinced that I had found something at last worth while. The assay will be great. Soon I shall have all the money I need, and my poor old sister will no longer be broken hearted for me. I was determined to find a mine and now I have one that is worth all my long working and waiting."

"Any name signed to that?" inquired Zeke quickly when Fred ceased reading.

"No."

"Then you can't be sure it's Simon's."

"Yes, you can, if the book belonged to him, as you think it did. It's plain this Simon, if that was his name, was an educated man."

"How do you know that?" inquired John.

"Why, the words are all spelled as they ought to be and his penmanship is good. The only thing is that there isn't a name signed nor any sign that will show who wrote it. Hello!" he added quickly, "here's something on the next page that ought to interest us."

"What is it?" inquired John, approaching and looking over the shoulder of his friend.

"It looks to me like a map," said Fred thoughtfully. "Here's a place that is marked Thorn's Gulch and over here on one side is a spot marked Two Crow Tree, and a little further up on the same side is Tom's Thumb. Across the Gulch is a place marked Split Rock. Not far away from it is another mark which he calls his stake. Then right opposite it are three other marks,-? m N.E., ? m S.E., ? m N.N.E. Here's a picture of it," Fred added.

"That's interesting," said Zeke thoughtfully. "I know where Thorn's Gulch is."

"How far is it from here?" inquired Fred.

"Oh, I should say it is a good forty miles."

"Is it hard to get there?"

"I haven't ever been this way," replied Zeke, "but I'm thinkin' we can make it."

"In which direction does the Gulch run?"

"It's a funny place," explained Zeke; "it runs mostly north and south. It takes a sharp turn at the lower end."

"Probably that was to let out the water that had been caught in there."

"Probably," said Zeke scornfully. The guide had slight confidence in the explanations which the boys had to give for the formation of the great chasms found near the Colorado River and its tributaries. "I'm thinkin' that the One who made that Canyon could just as well make it the way it is as the way you say."

"No doubt about that," Fred laughingly had conceded. "It isn't a question of ability, it i

s simply how it was done."

"According to what I can find out," said Zeke, "there seems to be styles in explainin' things, same as there is in clothes. My wife doesn't want to wear the dress she had two years ago even if it isn't worn out very much. When I ask her what's the matter with it she says it's out o' style. It's the same way with explaining how this great hole in the ground came here. There seems to be a sort of 'style' about it. Some people say it's erosion, others say it's the work of a big glacier. Then too I have heard some say as how it was neither and some said it was both. That doesn't make any difference though, but I know where Thorn's Gulch is and I can go there if you want to."

"If Simon found a mine what was it?"

"Can't say," replied Zeke sharply. "It might be gold, it might be zinc and more likely might be copper. Most likely of all though is that he didn't find no mine 't all."

"There isn't anything more in the diary about it anyway," said Fred, who now had looked through all the pages without discovering any further description. "How long is Thorn's Gulch?"

"Somewhere between fifteen and twenty miles," answered Zeke.

"Whew!" whistled John. "If we're going to look up the lost mine we'll have some 'looking' to do I'm thinking."

"Right you are," said Fred soberly. "Do you think we had better try to find this place?"

"That's for you to say," said Zeke. "It's all one to me whether I help you find a copper mine or whether I keep you from, tipping over in the boat. I'm inclined to think the boat business is a good deal safer than the other."

"But we can't throw away a clue like this," protested Fred. "Here it is," he added, again looking at the map. "Two Crow Tree and Tom's Thumb and then across the Gulch about half way between the two places on the other side is Split Bock and then back of that is the stake. I don't know what these figures mean."

"I do," said John confidently, "it's a half-mile northeast, then you go a quarter of a mile southeast and then you turn and go a quarter of a mile north northeast. Why, it's just as simple as the multiplication table."

Zeke smiled and shook his head and although he did not speak it was plain that he did not accept John's explanation of the somewhat mysterious figures as correct.

"Did you ever hear of Two Crow Tree?" asked John.

"I never did," said Zeke solemnly.

"Well, did you ever hear of Tom's Thumb?"

"Can't say that I have."

"Then, it's plain," said John, winking at Fred as he spoke, "that we'll have to get somebody who is more familiar than you are, Zeke, with this part of the country."

"Huh!" snorted Zeke. "Don't you believe it. There ain't nobody in these diggin's that knows the country like I do."

"But you don't know where Two Crow Tree is or Tom's Thumb, to say nothing about Split Rock on the opposite side of the canyon."

"That doesn't mean that I can't find them," retorted Zeke. "You mustn't forget either that those names may be the ones that Simon gave the places. They may not be on the map at all and nobody else may ever have called them by those names."

"Well, shall we try to find the place? That's the question," said John somewhat impatiently.

"Not until the other boys and Pete come back here."

Pete was the name of the second guide and on most occasions Zeke professed to despise his judgment and belittle his information.

"Oh, Pete will do just what you say is the thing to be done," said Fred, winking at John as he spoke.

"That 's likely," assented Zeke. "All the same I'm not going to start off with you two boys and leave the other two here for Pete to look after. I'm afraid Pete couldn't keep off the coyotes, to say nothing of the buzzards."

"Zeke," said Fred abruptly, "how long do you think it took the coyotes and the buzzards to strip those bones that we found?"

"Not more than a half-hour."

"What?"

"That's right," said Zeke positively. "A job like that doesn't take a half-dozen coyotes any time at all. And I'm thinkin' they had to divide with the buzzards anyway."

John, who apparently for a few minutes had not been taking much interest in the conversation now looked up from the place where he was standing and said sharply, "I'm for looking for that lost mine."

"That's a good one," laughed Zeke.

"What is a good one?" demanded John tartly.

"Your lost mine. There wasn't any mine anyway. All there was to it was a prospect. Old Simon maybe thought he had found a lead, but unless 'twas a good deal surer than any other one he ever found, it wasn't worth much, but all the same I'm for tryin' to find it if the other boys and Pete agree to it."

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