CHAPTER XXXII
THE DISPOSAL OF A BONANZA

"S UCH was Ritter's narrative," said I to my two friends. There was a profound and impressive silence, which lasted a considerable time; then both men broke into a fusillade of excited and admiring ejaculations over the strange incidents of the tale: and this, along with a rattling fire of questions, was kept up until all hands were about out of breath. Then my friends began to cool down, and draw off, under shelter of occasional volleys, into silence and abysmal revery. For ten minutes, now, there was stillness. Then Rogers said dreamily:

"Ten thousand dollars!" Adding, after a considerable pause:

"Ten thousand. It is a heap of money."

Presently the poet inquired:

"Are you going to send it to him right away?" "Yes," I said. "It is a queer question."

No reply. After a little, Rogers asked hesitatingly:

"All of it? That is--I mean-- " "Certainly, all of it."

I was going to say more, but stopped--was stopped by a train of thought which started up in me. Thompson spoke, but my mind was absent and I did not catch what he said. But I heard Rogers answer:

-281-

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