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   Chapter 18 RESTORING THE MAP

The Go Ahead Boys and Simon's Mine By Ross Kay Characters: 9029

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:03


Fred was not aware of the departure of Zeke nor that he had followed the first of the white men to leave the camp. As a consequence when he saw the stranger rise and slowly walk from the place, he had not been disturbed by any fear of mishaps. Indeed, he did not even look about the camp carefully to ascertain whether or not the other man was still there. Apparently too this man when he had gone had departed empty-handed.

For a brief time Fred hesitated, almost deciding to awaken his companions and inform them of his discovery, but at last, convinced that such action was unnecessary and still unaware that the guide also had gone, he once more stretched himself upon the dry ground and soon was soundly sleeping.

He was aroused the following morning by Grant who was shaking him as he shouted, "Wake up, Fred!"

"Is it time to get up?" yawned Fred sleepily.

"It's time for every one of us to be wide awake," declared Grant. "Do you know what has become of Zeke and the two men that were here last night?"

"Have they gone? Aren't they here now?" demanded Fred at once thoroughly awake.

"No, sir, there's not one of them here," replied Grant.

"That's strange," said Fred. "I waked up in the night and saw one of the white men leaving the camp."

"Didn't you see the others?"

"No."

"Did the man take anything with him?"

"I didn't see that he did."

"Well, one of the packs is gone anyway."

"Then the other man must have taken it," said Fred positively. "I'm sure the one I saw leaving didn't carry anything with him."

"He may have come back," suggested Grant.

"That's true," said Fred thoughtfully. "I hadn't thought of that. Thomas Jefferson," he added as the young Navajo now approached the place where the two Go Ahead Boys were standing, "what do you make of this?"

"All three gone," replied the Indian.

"We know that already," replied Fred sharply, "but we don't know where they have gone nor why nor who. What time was it," he demanded of Grant, "when you first found this out?"

"About ten minutes ago when I first waked up."

"I saw one of the men leaving," Fred explained, "but I haven't any idea what time it was. It was in the night sometime."

"Did he go alone?" inquired the Indian.

"Yes," Fred answered.

"In which direction did he go?" asked the Navajo.

Fred pointed to his right and without a word the young Navajo instantly ran to that side of the camp and began to inspect closely the footprints of the men who had gone.

In a brief time he returned and said simply, "No two of the men went together. The man with the scar went first. If the man you saw did not have any pack then it was the short man that took it."

"How do you know they didn't go together?" inquired Grant.

"I can see their footprints. If they had gone together they would have walked side by side or one would have been directly behind the other. That is not the way it is."

"But how do you know that the scarred man went first?"

"Because I find a place where Zeke crossed over from one side of the way to the other. He stepped in the footprint of the other man in one place. Zeke's foot is bigger so I'm sure it was his print. He could not step on the other's footprint unless he was behind him."

"But what makes you think that they both went before the man that Fred saw?"

"Because that man did not have a pack. The pack is gone."

"But I don't see how that proves they went before. They may have left after the other man."

The Navajo shook his head, however, and said, "They go first."

"What are we to do now?" demanded George as he joined his companions.

"The first thing we want is some breakfast and then we'll decide what next to do," said Grant, who in spite of Fred's greater readiness to talk, now naturally assumed the place of the leader of the three Go Ahead Boys.

At that moment, however, the Navajo again turned to the young campers and said, "I'll go to find out where Zeke and the two men went. If I go you three boys must stay here until I come back."

"But suppose you don't come back?" suggested Fred.

"I shall come," said the Navajo confidently.

"But suppose you don't?" said Fred again.

"If I do not come by to-morrow morning," explained Thomas Jefferson, "then you will know that something has happened to me and you will go back if you can find your way."

"Not much!" declared Fred. "If you don't come we shall try to find out what has happened to you."

"No. No," said Thomas Jefferson

abruptly. "But I shall come back."

"You're not going until after breakfast," suggested Grant quickly as the Indian apparently was about to depart.

"I will get breakfast when I come back," said Thomas Jefferson laconically.

Without any further conversation he at once departed, closely following the footprints of the three whom he believed had gone before him.

"Well, what's to be done now?" inquired George after the three Go Ahead Boys had remained silent while they watched the departing Navajo as long as he remained within sight.

"We'll get breakfast," replied Grant.

For a time conversation ceased while the boys were busily engaged in the preparation of their morning meal. In spite of the mystery surrounding them and the anxiety that more or less every one felt, they were all hungry. As a consequence the simple breakfast speedily was prepared and it was not until it had been eaten that the boys once more turned to the problem which now confronted them.

"I'm telling you," said Grant positively, "that Thomas Jefferson is all right. The only thing for us to do is to stay right here where we are until he comes back or John and Pete are brought here by Kitoni."

"I'm afraid something has happened to String," said Fred slowly.

"So you have said before," remarked Grant dryly. "Now the thing for you and for us all to do is just to hang on to ourselves and wait. We mustn't let this get on our nerves. If we do no one knows what we shall be up against."

Grant's companions did their utmost to carry out his suggestion, but there was little activity in which they could indulge and the time dragged heavily on their hands.

"How far do you think we've come into Thorn's Gulch?" asked Fred when several hours had elapsed.

"Six or eight miles," replied Grant promptly.

"Then we ought to be able to find our way out all right," said Fred.

"Of course we can," said Grant quietly, "though after we find our way out we haven't gotten to the end of our troubles."

For a time the suggestion made all three boys silent and serious. They were more than two thousand miles from home. One of their companions had not been seen for many hours and in spite of what he was willing to acknowledge every one of the Go Ahead Boys was now anxious concerning the safety of the missing John.

Not even a guide was left them and the continued failure of Zeke to return increased their fears.

Fred, the most easily discouraged of the Go Ahead Boys had been the most eager of all to enter upon the expedition. It was plain to his comrades now that his spirits were sinking and both were fearful of what the effect would be if Fred entirely lost hope.

"I tell you what we'll do," suggested Grant at last. "We'll try to make a copy of the map that Simon Moultrie had of the place where he had staked his claim."

"We can't make any copy," said Fred disconsolately, "we haven't anything to copy."

"Then we'll make it from memory," said Grant quietly. "Let me see," he continued, as he took a note book from his pocket and at once began to draw on a blank page. "Here's Thorn's Gulch," he added as he drew lines to indicate the great canyon. "We have come about six miles so we'll put our camp about here," he explained as he marked the location. "Now as I remember, Simon Moultrie had marked Two Crow Tree on this side of the Gulch and about so far from the place where the Gulch runs into the Grand Canyon. Then about so much further on the same side of the Gulch was Tom's Thumb. About half way between Two Crow Tree and Tom's Thumb on the other side of the Gulch was Split Rock. Then a little to the right in back here was the place he marked as the stake. Now, let me see, what were the figures and the letters he had there?"

"The first one," said Fred interested now in what Grant was saying, "was '? m. n.e.'"

"That's right," said Grant, "and right below it was '? m. s.e.'"

"And the last one at the bottom," joined in George, "was '? m. n.n.e.'"

"There," Grant said with satisfaction as he held his drawing up for inspection. "I think we have reproduced Simon Moultrie's map closely enough to tell us about where we are and where we've got to go."

"Are we still going on?" inquired Fred.

"Of course we are going on," declared Grant. "We'll start just as soon as the others join us. Look yonder!" he said, abruptly leaping to his feet as he spoke and pointing to a distant spot on the side of the Gulch. "There's something moving over there."

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