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rich! Here was treasure-hunting under the happiest auspices-there would not be
any bothersome uncertainty as to where to dig. They nudged each other every
moment-eloquent nudges and easily understood, for they simply meant-“O,
but ain’t you glad now we’re here!” Joe’s knife struck upon something.
“Hello!” said he.
“What is it?” said his comrade.
“Half-rotten plank-no it’s a box, I believe. Here-bear a hand and we’ll see what
it’s here for. Never mind, I’ve broke a hole.” He reached his hand in and drew it
out “Man, it’s money!” The two men examined the handful of coins. They were
gold. The boys above were as excited as themselves, and as delighted.
Joe’s comrade said“We’ll make quick work of this. There’s an old rusty pick over
amongst the weeds in the corner the other side of the fire-place-I saw it a minute
ago.” He ran and brought the boys’ pick and shovel. Injun Joe took the pick,
looked it over critically, shook his head, muttered something to himself, and
then began to use it. The box was soon unearthed. It was not very large; it was
iron bound and had been very strong before the slow years had injured it. The
men contemplated the treasure a while in blissful silence.
“Pard, there’s thousands of dollars here,” said Injun Joe.
“’Twas always said that Murrel’s gang used around here one summer,” the
“I know it,” said Injun Joe; “and this looks like it, I should say.” “Now you
won’t need to do that job.” The half-breed frowned. Said he“You don’t know
me. Least you don’t know all about that thing. ‘Tain’t robbery altogether-it’s
revenge!” and a wicked light flamed in his eyes. “I’ll need your help in it. When
it’s finished-then Texas. Go home to your Nance, and your kids, and stand by
till you hear from me.” “Well-if you say so, what’ll we do with this-bury it
again?” “Yes.” [Ravishing delight overhead.] “No! by the great Sachem, no!”
[Profound distress overhead.] “I’d nearly forgot. That pick had fresh earth on it!”
[The boys were sick with terror in a moment.] “What business has a pick and a
shovel here? What business with fresh earth on them? Who brought them here-
and where are they gone? Have you heard anybody?- seen anybody? What! bury
it again and leave them to come and see the ground disturbed? Not exactly-not
exactly. We’ll take it to my den.” “Why of course! Might have thought of that
before. You mean Number One?” “No-Number Two-under the cross. The other
place is bad-too common.” “All right. It’s nearly dark enough to start.” Injun Joe
got up and went about from window to window cautiously peeping out.
Presently he said: “Who could have brought those tools here? Do you reckon
they can be upstairs?” The boys’ breath forsook them. Injun Joe put his hand on
his knife, halted a moment, undecided, and then turned toward the stairway.
The boys thought of the closet, but their strength was gone. The steps came
creaking up the stairs-the intolerable distress of the situation woke the stricken
resolution of the lads-they were about to spring for the closet, when there was a
crash of rotten timbers and Injun Joe landed on the ground amid the debris of
the ruined stairway. He gathered himself up cursing, and his comrade said:
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