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    Chapter 30

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    Chapter 31
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    THE NEW CLAIM--CONCLUSION

    "Poor fellow, he is scared stiff!" said Dave, as he bent over the shrinking man.

    "I reckon the landslide made him about loony--thet an' seein' them others carried off to death," murmured Abe Blower.

    "I wonder if they really were killed?" said Roger. "If it's true, what an awful death to die!"

    "Men before now have been killed by landslides," said Tom Dillon. "And just remember, we ain't out of it ourselves, yet," he added, gravely.

    Larry Jaley was cared for and given something to eat and to drink, and then he told his story. The landslide had come upon his whole crowd without warning and he had escaped by what was little short of a miracle. The sight had so weakened and sickened him that he had rushed away, not knowing in what direction, until he had come to our friends' camp.

    "Jest help me to git off o' this mountain an' I won't never follow ye ag'in," he whined, to the miners and the boys. "Jest help me to git away, thet's all!"

    "You can take your chances with the rest of us, Jaley," answered Tom Dillon, somewhat sternly. "And you mind how you behave yourself, too!" he added, by way of a warning.

    By the following morning the scare was over, and the boys took Abe Blower and Tom Dillon into the upper entrance to the mine. Just a brief examination was made, but it was sufficient to prove to the old prospectors that the lads had really rediscovered the lost Landslide Mine. Then the old miners put up the proper stakes, as a new claim for Mrs. Morr.

    In the meantime, Larry Jaley had been given some stores and told to go about his business. Abe Blower had directed him to a trail to the southward. This was a long way around, but the trail seemed to be perfectly safe, and Jaley was only too glad to take to it. It was the last the boys saw of the man.

    "And now to get back to town and establish this claim," said Roger, some time later. "Won't my folks be pleased!" And his face showed his satisfaction.

    "And then to get to Yellowstone Park for a good time!" returned Dave. "We'll have to wire the folks that we are coming."

    The journey down the mountainside was by no means easy, and it took the party two days to get to a point where traveling on horseback was safe. When they came down they kept their eyes open for some sign of Merwell, Haskers, and Blugg, but all they found was a portion of the latter's camping outfit and the body of one of their horses.

    "Poor chaps! They must be buried under tons and tons of earth and rocks!" murmured Dave.

    "It certainly looks like it," answered Phil.

    "What a fearful end!" said Roger, with a shudder.

    The coming of our friends into Black Cat Camp created quite a stir, and many wanted to learn the particulars of the landslide. These were told in detail, but not a word was said about relocating the lost mine.

    "The news will leak out soon enough," said Tom Dillon. "We want the cream of the chanct up there." It may be as well to state that he had located a claim for himself on one side of the Morr claim, and Abe Blower had located a claim on the other side.

    As soon as the boys got back to Butte the claims were properly filed, and the lads lost no time in sending off half a dozen telegrams and letters. Then they took a good wash and changed their rough mining clothing for more presentable suits.

    "And now for a first-class, six-course dinner!" cried Phil. "I say, doesn't it feel good to get back to civilization again!"

    "It certainly does," answered Dave. "But I'll feel more at home when we join the folks in the Park."

    "Huh! you're thinking of Jessie!" cried the shipowner's son, slyly, and at this "knock" Dave blushed deeply.

    The boys had hardly eaten their dinner when there came a telegram from Senator Morr.

    "Listen to this, boys!" cried Roger, and read the following:

    "Good news received and we are much delighted. You boys are certainly wonders. Will await letter with interest."

    "I wish I could have seen mother's face when dad read my message to her," went on the senator's son, wistfully. Later on he received a letter written by both his parents in which they told of the joy the news had brought. Later still, the newly-located mine was opened, under the directions of Abe Blower and Tom Dillon, and the three claims were thrown into one, a stock-company being formed for that purpose, with Senator Morr as president. Both Dave and Phil were given stock in the mining company, and it paid very well.

    "Now, if only your father can hold his position," said Dave, to Roger, one day, "your folks will be well fixed."

    "He is going to try to hold it, in spite of his political enemies," answered Roger. And this Senator Morr eventually did, being elected to another term at Washington.

    It was a happy day for the three boys when they bade good-by to Abe Blower and Tom Dillon and left Butte to go to Yellowstone Park. The old miners were sorry to part with the lads.

    "Never mind, we'll be back here some day!" cried Roger.

    "Surest thing you know!" added Dave.

    They had already sent word ahead as to what train they were taking, and when they arrived at Livingston they found Dunston Porter on hand to greet them. Then a quick run was made to Gardiner, and there all took a stage into the Park to the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.

    "There they are! I see them!" cried Laura.

    "Oh, look how sunburnt they are!" exclaimed Jessie, and then both girls made a wild dash from the hotel veranda to where the stage was stopping. In the meantime, Dave had jumped from the seat and soon he was shaking hands with Jessie and had kissed his sister. Then the others came up, and there was general rejoicing.

    "We have been around the Park once, on a stage," said Laura.

    "But we are going again, on horseback and to camp out!" declared Jessie.

    "Fine!" cried Dave. "Couldn't be better!"

    "And to think you found that mine!" cried Laura, to Roger. "Oh, how glad I was to hear it!"

    "We were all glad!" put in Mrs. Wadsworth.

    "And you shot a mountain lion!" cried Jessie. "Oh, Dave!" And she fairly beamed on the youth.

    "I suppose you'll be after fresh adventures before long," said Dunston Porter, with a twinkle in his eyes.

    "Maybe," answered Dave. "But I think I'll be content to stay here for a bit and take it easy," and he smiled openly at Jessie, who had to turn away to hide her blushes.

    What next befell our hero will be related in another volume, to be entitled "Dave Porter at Bear Camp; or, The Wild Man of Mirror Lake." In that we shall learn the particulars of a queer mystery and what Dave did towards solving it.

    It was certainly a happy gathering, and the boys were sorry that Ben and Shadow and some of the others were not there to enjoy it. But they had departed for the East with the others on the personally-conducted tour.

    "You'll have to tell us the whole story from beginning to end," said Laura to her brother. "Jessie and Belle and I are just dying to hear every word of it."

    "Poor Link Merwell!" sighed Belle Endicott. "I feel sorry for his folks!"

    "Yes, what a fearful ending for Merwell and for Haskers, too!" murmured Laura.

    "And so you will be rich after all, Roger!" cried Laura.

    "Yes, and I am very thankful," returned the senator's son, and then he took a long walk with Laura, while Dave paired off with Jessie, and Phil went with Belle. The young friends had a great deal to tell each other, and nobody thought of disturbing them.

    "Well, it certainly was some trip," said Phil, to Dunston Porter, Mrs. Wadsworth, and Belle. "And that landslide! Excuse me from falling in with one of those again!" And he shook his head gravely.

    "You can be thankful you were not buried alive," said Mrs. Wadsworth. Belle said nothing, but she looked at Phil in a manner that warmed his heart.

    That evening all of the party had a grand celebration at the hotel. Every one was in the best of spirits, and the boys fairly outdid themselves telling jokes and funny stories.

    "I can tell you, it was a trip well worth taking," said Roger, when about to retire.

    "So it was," declared our hero. And here we will leave Dave Porter and say good-by.

    THE END.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *
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