Cast Upon the Breakers/Chapter XXXVI
Rodney was received by Jefferson Pettigrew with open arms.
"Welcome home, boy!" he said. "I was very much worried about you."
"I was rather uneasy about myself," returned Rodney.
"Well, it's all over, and all's well that ends well. You are free and there has been no money paid out. Fred and Otto have done a good thing in ridding the world of the notorious Dixon brothers. They will be well paid, for I understand there is a standing reward of one thousand dollars for each of them dead or alive. I don't know but you ought to have a share of this, for it was through you that the outlaws were trapped."
"No, Mr. Pettigrew, they are welcome to the reward. If I am not mistaken I shall make a good deal more out of it than they."
"What do you mean?"
Upon this Rodney told the story of what he had seen in the cavern.
"When I said I, I meant we, Mr. Pettigrew. I think if the gold there is as plentiful as I think it is we shall do well to commence working it."
"It is yours, Rodney, by right of first discovery."
"I prefer that you should share it with me."
"We will go over tomorrow and make an examination. Was there any one else who seemed to have a claim to the cave except the Dixons?"
"No. The negro, Caesar, will still be there, perhaps."
"We can easily get rid of him."
The next day the two friends went over to the cavern. Caesar was still there, but he had an unsettled, restless look, and seemed undecided what to do.
"What are you going to do, Caesar?" asked Pettigrew. "Are you going to stay here?"
"I don't know, massa. I don't want to lib here. I'm afraid I'll see the ghostes of my old massas. But I haven't got no money."
"If you had money where would you go?"
"I'd go to Chicago. I used to be a whitewasher, and I reckon I'd get work at my old trade."
"That's where you are sensible, Caesar. This is no place for you. Now I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll give you a hundred dollars, and you can go where you like. But I shall want you to go away at once."
"I'll go right off, massa," said Caesar, overjoyed. "I don't want to come here no more."
"Have you got anything belonging to you in the cave?"
"No, massa, only a little kit of clothes."
"Take them and go."
In fifteen minutes Caesar had bidden farewell to his home, and Rodney and Jefferson were left in sole possession of the cavern.
"Now, Mr. Pettigrew, come and let me show you what I saw. I hope I have made no mistake."
Rodney led the way to the narrow passage already described. By the light of a lantern Mr. Pettigrew examined the walls. For five minutes not a word was said.
"Well, what do you think of it?" asked Rodney anxiously.
"Only this: that you have hit upon the richest gold deposits in Montana. Here is a mining prospect that will make us both rich."
"I am glad I was not mistaken," said Rodney simply.
"Your capture by the Dixon brothers will prove to have been the luckiest event in your life. I shall lose no time in taking possession in our joint name."
There was great excitement when the discovery of the gold deposit was made known. In connection with the killing of the outlaws, it was noised far and wide. The consequence was that there was an influx of mining men, and within a week Rodney and Jefferson were offered a hundred thousand dollars for a half interest in the mine by a Chicago syndicate.
"Say a hundred and fifty thousand, and we accept the offer," said Jefferson Pettigrew.
After a little haggling this offer was accepted, and Rodney found himself the possessor of seventy five thousand dollars in cash.
"It was fortunate for me when I fell in with you, Mr. Pettigrew," he said.
"And no less fortunate for me, Rodney. This mine will bring us in a rich sum for our share, besides the cash we already have in hand."
"If you don't object, Mr. Pettigrew, I should like to go to New York and continue my education. You can look after my interest here, and I shall be willing to pay you anything you like for doing so."
"There won't be any trouble about that, Rodney. I don't blame you for wanting to obtain an education. It isn't in my line. You can come out once a year, and see what progress we are making. The mine will be called the Rodney Mine after you."
The Miners' Rest was sold to the steward, as Mr. Pettigrew was too busy to attend to it, and in a week Rodney was on his way to New York.