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to Smith, and he agrees with my side of the affair and promises to call down his man. Can I rely on him? Does he mean what he says?”
“He means what he says,” replied the bank president, slowly, “and you can rely on him–until his subordinate gets a chance to talk to him.”
“H’m,” ruminated Welton. “Chinless, eh? I wondered why he wore long white whiskers.”
As he walked up the street toward the hotel, where he would spend the night before undertaking the long drive back, somebody hailed him. He looked around to see a pair of beautiful driving horses, shying playfully against each other, coming to a sto air max 1 p at the curb. Their harness was the lightest that could be devised–no blinders, no breeching, slender, well-oiled s nike air max 1 leopard traps; the rig they drew shone and twinkled with bright varnish, and seemed as delicate and light as thistledown. On the narrow seat sat a young man of thirty, covered with an old-fashioned linen duster, wearing the wide, gray felt hat of the country. He was a keen-faced, brown young man, with sn nike air max 1 ebay apping black eyes.
“Hullo, Welton,” said he as he brought the team to a stand; “when did you get out of the hills?”
“How are you, Mr. Harding?” Welton returned his greeting. “Just down for the day?”
“How are things going up your way?”
“First rate,” replied Welton. “We’re going ahead three bells and a jingle. Started to saw last week.”
“That’s good,” said Harding. “I haven’t heard of one of your teams on the road, and I began to wonder. We’ve got to begin deliveries on our Los Angeles and San Pedro contracts by the first of August, nike air max 1 grey and we’re depending on you.”
“We’ll be there,” replied Welton with a laugh.
The young man laughed back.
“You’d better be, if you don’t want us to come up and take your scalp,” said he, gathering his reins.
“Guess I lay in some hair tonic so’s to have a good one ready for you,” returned Welton, nike air max 1 premium as Harding nodded his farewell.
Part 3 Chapter 9
Matters stood thus dependent on the efforts of Jack Orde, at Washington, when, one evening, Baker rode in to camp and dismounted before the low verandah of the sleeping quarters. Welton and Bob sat, chair-tilted, awaiting the supper gong.
“Thrice hail, noble chiefs!” cried Baker, cautiously stretching out first one sturdy leg, then the other. “Against which post can I lean my trusty charger?”
Baker was garbed to suit the role. His boots were very thick and very tall, and most bristly w nike air max 1 sale ith hobnails; they laced with belt laces through forty-four calibre eyelets, and were strapped about the top with a broad piece of leather and two glittering buckles. Furthermore, his trousers were of khaki, his shirt of navy blue, his belt three inches broad, his neckerchief of red, and his nike air max 1 red hat both wide and high.
In response to enthusiastic greetings, he struck a pose.
“How do you like it?” he inquired. “Isn’t this the candy make-up for the simple life–surveyor, hardy prospector, mountain climber, sturdy pedestrian? Ain’t I the real young cover design for the Out-of-door number?”
He accepted their congratulations with a lofty wave.
“That’s all right,” said he; “but somebody take away this horse before I bite him. I’m sore on that horse. Joke! Snicker!”
Bob delivered over the animal to the stableman who was approaching.
cheap air max 1 “Come up to see the tall buildings?” he quoted Baker himself.
“Not so,” denied that young man. “My errand is philanthropic. I’m robin redbreast. Leaves for yours.”
“Pass that again,” urged Bob; “I didn’t get it.”
“I hear you people have locked horns with Henry Plant,” said Baker.
“Well, Pla nike air max 1 nt’s a little on the peck,” amended Welton.
“Leaves for yours,” repeated the self-constituted robin redbreast. “Babes in the Woods!”
Beyond this he would vouchsafe nothing until after supper when, cigars lighted, the three of them sprawled before the fireplace in quarters.
“Now,” he began, “you fellows are up against it good and plenty. You can’t wish your lumber out, and that’s the only feasible method unless you get a permit. Why in blazes did you make this break, anyway?”
“What break?” asked Welton.
Baker looked at him and smiled slow cheap nike air max 1 ly.
“You don’t think I own a telephone line without knowing what little birdies light on the wires, do you?”
“Does that damn operator leak?” inquired Welton placidly but with a narrowing of the eyes.
“Not on your saccharine existence. If he did, he’d be out among the scenery in two jumps. But I’m different. That’s my _business_.”
“Mighty poor business,” put in Bob quietly.
Baker turned full toward him.
“Think so? You’ll never get any cigars in the guessing contest unless you can scare up better ones than that. Let’s get back to cases. How did you happen to make this break, anyway?”
“Why,” explained Welton, “it was simply a case of build a road and a flume down a worthless mountain-side. Back with us a man builds his road where he needs it, and pays for the unavoidable damage. My head was full of all sorts of details. I went and asked Plant about it, and he said all right, go ahead. I supposed that settled it, and that he must certainly have authority on his own job.”
Baker nodded several times.
“Sure. I see the point. Just the same, he has you.”
“For the time being,” amended Welton. “Bob’s father, here, is congressman from our district in Michigan, and he’ll fix the matter.”
Baker turned his face to the ceiling, blew a cloud of smoke toward it, and whistled. Then he looked down at Welton.
“I suppose you know the real difficulty?” he asked.
“One thousand dollars,” replied Welton promptly–“to hire extra fire-fighters to protect my timber,” he added ironically.
“Well!” the lumberman slapped his knee. “I won’t be held up in any such barefaced fashion!”
“And your congressman will pull you out. Now let me drop a few pearls of wisdom in the form of conundrums. Why does a fat man who can’t ride a horse hold a job as Forest Supervisor in a mountain country?”
“He’s got a pull somewhere,” replied Welton.
“Bright boy! Go to the head. Why does a fat man who is hated by every mountain man, who grafts barefacedly, whose men are either loafers or discouraged, _hold_ his job?”
“Same answer.”
Baker leaned forward, and his mocking face became grave.
“That pull comes from the fact that old Gay is his first cousin, and that he seems to have some special drag with him.”
“The Republican chairman!” cried Welton.
Baker leaned back.
“About how much chance do you think Mr. Orde has of getting a hearing? Especially as all they have to do is to stand pat on the record. You’d better buy your extra fire-fighters.”
“That would be plain bribery,” put in Bob from the bed.
“Fie, fie! Naughty!” chided Baker. “Bribery! to protect one’s timber against the ravages of the devouring element! Now look here,” he resumed his sober tone and more considered speech; “what else can you do?”
“Fight it,” said Bob.
“Fight what? Prefer charges against Plant? That’s been done a dozen times. Such things never get beyond the clerks. There’s a man in Washington now who has direct evidence of some of the worst frauds and biggest land steals ever perpetrated in the West. He’s been there now four months, and he hasn’t even _succeeded in getting a hearing_ yet. I tried bucking Plant, and it cost me first and last, in time, delay and money, nearly fifty thousand dollars. I’m offering you that expensive experience free, gratis, for nothing.”
“Make a plain statement of the facts public,” said Bob. “Publish them. Arouse public sentiment.”
Baker looked cynical.
“Such attacks are ascribed to soreheads,” said he, “and public sentiment _isn’t interested_. The average citizen wonders what all the fuss is about and cheap air max 1 why you don’t get along with the officials, anyway, as long as they are fairly reasonable.” He turned to Welton: “How much more of a delay can you stand without closing down?”
“A month.”
“How soon must your deliveries begin?”
“July first.”
“If you default this contract you can’t meet your notes.”
“What notes?”
“Don’t do the baby blue-eyes. You can’t start a show like this without borrowing. Furthermore, if you default this contract, you’ll never get another, even if you do weather the storm.”
“That’s true,” said Welton.
“Furthermore,” insisted Baker, “Marshall and Harding will be considerably embarrassed to fill their contracts down below; and the building operations will go bump for lack of material, if they fail to make good. You can’t stand or fall alone in this kind of a game.”
Welton said nothing, but puffed strongly on his cigar.
“You’re still doing the Sister Anne toward Washington,” said Baker, pleasantly. “This came over the ‘phone. I wired Mr. Orde in your name, asking what prospects there w nike air max 1 black ere for a speedy settlement. There’s what he says!” He flipped a piece of scratch paper over to Welton.
“Deadlock,” read the latter slowly. “No immediate prospect. Will hasten matters through regular channels. Signed, Orde.”
“Mr. Orde is familiar with the whole situation?” asked Baker.
“He is.”
“Well, there’s what he thinks about it even there. You’d better see to that fire protection. It’s going to be a dry year.”
“What’s all your interest in this, anyway?” asked Bob.
Baker did not answer, but looked inquiringly toward Welton.
“Our interests are obviously his,” said Welton. “We’re the only two business propositions in this country. And if one of those two fail, how’s the other to scratch along?”
“Correct, as far as you go,” said Baker, who had listened attentively. “Now, I’m no tight wad, and I’ll give you another, gratis. It’s strictly under your hats, though. If you fellows bust, how do you think I could raise money to do business up here at all? It would hoodoo the country.”
Silence fell on the three, while the fire leaped and fell and crackled. Welton’s face showed stil nike air max 1 l a trace of stu

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