“Somebody is a wee bit hung-over now.”
Hans looked-up at the miner. “No, I am just tired and maybe a little bit sick.”
“Sick and tired of this place I’ll bet!” the man laughed, not unkindly.
“I thought everything would be good when we found the copper veins. The men would be busy working but instead they are more unhappy than before.”
“Don’t worry. We are just bored. There’s next to nothing to do here. No saloons, no brothels, not even a general store nearby. It’s not so strange that a few of the men have been wandering off. Let them have their bit of fun where they can.”
“What kind of fun is this?”asked Hans. “You just now said that there is nothing to do here.”
“Oh, ya know. Just a bit of slap-and-tickle with some local gals.”
Hans squinted. “There aren’t any local gals in this area. Just us. That’s one reason why the professor picked it, to be discrete.”
The other man laughed, “Ya know what I mean! Some of these redskin gals are hot stuff.”
Now Hans was becoming concerned. “Do not tell me that there are native women sneaking into this camp. That is not possible when it is so crowded here. I would see them.”
“Naw, some of the fellas just sorta run across them in the woods. They run wild here, ya know, just like the deer. They ain’t even half-civilized or nuthin’, just runnin’ wild.
“That is not good,” responded Hans. “Not good at all. It is a shame that these men do not have wives and families to keep them happy when they are not working. But it is not good to run wild in the woods like an animal.”
He sighed. What sort of mischief were they up to now? Back in Amsterdam he had signed-up for an adventure or so he thought at the time. This job had all the earmarks of a nightmare.
He excused himself to his companion and headed up the path to the professor’s tent. As usual he waited at the entrance until invited to enter.
“Herr Doktor? I mean, sir? There are some things we must talk about. About the mining and how long it is taking.”
Fortunately the geologist was in a good humour. He even waved his hand towards the coffee pot simmering on the stove and invited Hans to take a cup.
“So vat shall ve talk about today, Hans? Are the men behaving badly again?”
“No sir, they are working hard. I just wonder sometimes what to do with them when they are not working. It is good for them to be busy and not fighting or getting into trouble.”
“I vould tink they would be all tired, no? After working hard all day?”
“I thought so as well. And most of them are but now I think I must look more closely.” Hans sighed yet again.
“And you thought this vould be an adventure where you vould travel and see ze wilderness, ja?”
Hans nodded sheepishly.
“You are a young man. There is plenty of time for adventures. Now ve mine the copper, now ve make ze money, ja? Later ve have ze fun.”