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nt bowed coldly, turned his back and walked away without a word. California John looked after him.
“Well, that wasn’t no act of Solomon,” he told himself; “but, anyway, I feel better.”
After Brent’s departure it took California John two weeks to recover his equanimity and self-confidence. Then the importance of his work gripped him once more. He looked about him at the grazing, the policing, the nike air max 1 ebay fire-fighting, all the varied business of the reserves. In them all he knew was no graft, and no favouritism. The trails were being improved; the cabins built; the meadows for horse-feed fenced; the bridges built and repaired; the country patrolled by honest and enthusiastic men. He recalled the old days of Henry Plant’s administration under the Land-Office–the graft, the supineness, the inefficiency, the con nike air max 1 red fusion.
“We’re savin’ the People’s propert air max 1 sale y, and keepin’ it in good shape,” he argued to himself, “and that’s sure the main point. If we take care of things, we’ve done the main job. Let the other fellows do the heavy figgerin’. The city’s full of cheap bookkeepers who can’t do nothing else.”
Part 3 Chapter 25
But a month later, at the summer camp, California John had opportunity to greet a visitor whom he was delighted to see. One morning a very dusty cheap nike air max 1 man leaned from his saddle and unlatched the gate before headquarters. As he straightened again, he removed his broad hat and looked up into the cool pine shadows with an air of great refreshment.
“Why, it’s Ashley Thorne!” cried California John, leaping to his feet.
“The same,” replied Thorne, reaching out his hand.
He dismounted, and Charley Morton, grinning a welcome, led his horse away to the pasture.
“I sure am glad to see you!” said California John over and over again; “and where did you come from? I thought you were selling pine lands in Oregon.”
Thorne dropped into a chair with a sigh of contentment. “I was,” said he, “and then they made the Transfer, so I came back.”
“You’re in the Service again?” cried California John delighted.
“Couldn’t stay out now that things are in proper hands.”
“Good! I expect you’re down here to haul me over the coals,” California John chuckled.
“Oh, just to look around,” said Thorne, biting at his close-clipped, bristling moustache.
Next morning they began to look around. California John was overjoyed at this chance to show a sympathetic and congenial man what he had done.
“I got a trail ‘way up Baldy now,” he confided as they swung aboard. “It’s a good trail too; and it makes a great fire lookout. We’ll take a ride up there, if you have time before you go. Well, as I was telling you about that Cook cattle case–the old fellow says—-”
At the end of the Supervisor’s long and interested dissertation on the Cook case, Thorne laughed gently.
“Looks as if you had him,” said he, “and I think the Chief will sustain you. You like this work, don’t you?”
“I sure just naturally love it,” replied California John air max 1 earnestly. “I’ve got the chance now to straighten things out. What I say goes. For upward of nine years I’ve been ridin’ around seein’ how things had ought to be done. And I couldn’t get results nohow. Somebody always had a graft in it that spoiled the whole show. I could see how simple and easy it would be to straighten everythin’ all out in good shape; but I couldn’t do nothing.”
“Hard enough to hold your job,” suggested Thorne.
“That’s it. And everybody in the country thought I was a damn fool. Only damn fools and lazy men took rangers’ jobs those days. But I hung on because I believed in it. And now I got the best job in the bunch. In place of being looked down on as that old fool John, I’m Mr. Davidson, the Forest Supervisor.”
“It’s a matter for pride,” said Thorne non-committally.
“It isn’t that,” denied the old man nike air max 1 sale ; “I’m not proud because I’m Supervisor. Lord love you, Henry Plant was Supervisor; and I never heard tell that any one was proud of him, not even himself. But I’m proud of being a _good_ supervisor. They ain’t a sorehead near us now. Everybody’s out for the Forest. I’ve made ’em understand that it’s for them. They know the Service is square. And we ain’t had fires to amount to nothing; nor trespass.”
“You’ve done good work,” said Thorne soberly; “none better. No one could have done it but you. You have a right to be proud of it.”
“Then you’ll be sending in a good report,” said California John, solely by way of conversation. “I suspicion that last fellow gave me an awful roast.”
“I’m not an inspector,” replied Thorne.
“That so? You used to be before you resigned; so I thought sure you must be now. What’s your job?”
“I’ll tell you when we have more time,” said Thorne.
For t nike air max 1 black hree days they rode together. The Supervisor was a very busy man. He had errands of all sorts to accomplish. Thorne simply went along. Everywhere he found good feeling, satisfactory conditions.
At the end of the third day as the two men sat before the rough stone fireplace at headquarters, Thorne abruptly broke the long silence.
“John,” said he, “I’ve got a few things to say that are not going to be pleasant either for you or for me. Nevertheless, I am going to say them. In fact, I asked the Chief for the privilege rather than having you hear through the regular channels.”
California John had not in the least changed his position, yet all at once the man seemed to turn still and watchful.
“Fire ahead,” said he.
“You asked me the nike air max 1 premium other day what my job is. It is Supervisor of this district. They have appointed me in your place.”
“Oh, they have,” said California John. He sat cheap air max 1 for some time, his eyes narrowing, looking straight ahead of him. “I’d like to know why!” he burst out at last. A dull red spot burned on each side his weather-beaten cheeks.
“You had no cheap air max 1 thing to do with it,” interrupted California John sharply; “I know that. But who did? Why did they do it? By God,” he brought his fist down sharply, “I intend to get to the bottom of this! I’ve been in the Service since she started. I’ve served honest. No man can say I haven’t done all my duty and been square. And that’s been when every man-jack of them was getting his graft as reg’lar as his pay check. And since I’ve been Supervisor is the only time this Forest has ever been in any kind of shape, if I do say it myself. I’ve rounded her up. I’ve stopped the graft. I’ve fixed the ‘soldiers.’ I’ve got things in shape. They can’t remove me without cause–I know that–and nike air max 1 grey if they think I’m goin’ to lie down and take it without a kick, th nike air max 1 ey’ve got off the wrong foot good and plenty!”
Thorne sat tight, nor offered a word of comment.
“You’ve been an inspector,” California John appealed to him. “You’ve been all over the country among the different reserves. Ain’t mine up to the others?”
“Things are in better shape here than in any of them,” replied Thorne decisively; “your rangers have more _esprit de corps_, your neighbours are better disposed, your fires have a smaller percentage of a nike air max 1 leopard creage, your trails are better.”
“Well?” demanded California John.
“Well,” repeated Thorne leaning forward, “just this. What’s the use of it all?”
“Use?” repeated California John vaguely.

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