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roads projected by Mr. Baker. Heretofore the company has been forced to buy its timber in the open market.”
“This would be cheaper,” suggested Bob.
“That would increase net profits, of course. I suppose that would result in increased dividends. Or, perhaps, the public would reap the benefit in decreased cost of service.”
“Undoubtedly both. Certainly electricity and transportation would cheapen.”
“The same open markets can still supply the necessary timber?”
“At practically prohibitive cost,” Oldham reminded.
“Which the company has heretofore afforded–and still paid its dividends,” said Bob calmly. “Well, Mr. Oldham, even nike air max were I inclined to take all you say at its face value; even were I willing to admit that unless Mr. Baker were given this timber his business would fail, the country would be deprived of the benefits of his enterprise, and the public seriously incommoded, I would still be unable to follow the logic of your reasoning. Mind you, I do not admit anything of the kind. I do not anticipate any more dire results than that the dividends will remain at their present per cent. But even supposing your argument to be well founded, this timber belongs to the people of the United States. It is part of John Jones’s heritage, whether John Jones lives in White Oaks or New York. Why should I permit Jones of New York to be robbed in favour of Jones of White Oaks–especially since Jones of New York put me here to look after his interests for nike air max 1 him? That’s the real issue; and it’s very simple.”
“You look at the matter from a wrong point of view—-” began Oldham, and stopped. The land agent was shrewd, and knew when he had come to an _impasse_.
“I always respect a man who does his duty,” he began again, “and I can see how you’re tied up in this matter. But a resignation could be arranged for very easily. Mr. Baker knows thoroughly both your ability and experience, and has long regretted that he has not been able to avail himself of them. Of course, as you realize, the great future of all this country is not along the lines even of such great industries as lumber manufacture, but in agriculture and in waterpower engineering. Here, more than anywhere else in the world, Water is King!”
A recollection tickled Bob. cheap nike air max He laughed outright. Oldham glanced at him sharply.
cheap nike air max “Oh, the Lucky Lands,” said he at last; “I’d forgotten you had ever been there. Well, the saying is as true now as it was then. The great future for any young man is along those lines. I am sure–in fact, I am told to say with authority–that Mr. Baker would be only too pleased to have you come in with him on this new enterprise he is opening up.”
“As how?”
“As stockholder to the extent of ten thousand shares preferred, and a salaried position in the field, of course. But, that is a small matter compared with the future opportunities–”
“It’s cheering to know that I’m worth so much,” interrupted Bob. “Shares now worth par?”
“A fraction over.”
“One hundred thousand and some odd dollars,” observed Bob. “It’s a nice tidy bribe; and if I were any sort of a bribe taker at all, I’d surely feel pro nike air max 90 sale ud and grateful. Only I’m not. So you might just as well have made it a million, and then I’d have felt still more set up over it.”
“I hope you don’t think I’m a bribe giver, either,” said Oldham. “I admit my offer was not well-timed; but it has been long under contemplation, and I mentioned it as it occurred to me.”
Having thus glided over this false start, the land agent promptly opened another consideration.
“Perhaps we are at fatal variance on our economics,” said he; “but how about the justice of the thing? When you get right down to cases, how about the rest of them? I’ll venture to say there are not two private timber holdings of any size in this country that have been acquired strictly within the letter of the law. Do you favour general confiscation?”
“I believe in the law,” declared Bob, “and I do not believe your statement.”
Oldham rose.
“I tell you th nike air max sale is, young man,” he said coldly: “you can prosecute the Modoc Company or not, as you please–or, perhaps, I should say, you can introduce your private testimony or not, as you please. We are reasonable; and we know you cannot control government prosecutions. But the Modoc Company intends that you play no favourites.”
“I do not understand you,” said Bob with equal coldness.
“If the Modoc Company is prosecuted, we will make it our business to see that every great land owner holding title in this Forest is brought into the courts for the same offence. If the letter of the law is to be enforced against us, we’ll see that it is enforced against all others.”
Bob bowed. “Suits me,” said he.
“Does it?” sneered Oldham. He produced a bundle of papers bound by a thick elastic. “Well, I’ve saved you some trouble in your next case. Here are certified copies of the documents for it, copied at Sacramento, and subscri nike air max sale bed to before a notary. Of course, you can verify them; but you’ll find them accurate.”
He handed them to Bob, who took them, completely puzzled. Oldham’s next speech enlightened him.
“You’ll find there,” said the older man, tapping the papers in Bob’s hand, “the documents in full relating to the Wolverine Company’s land holdings, and how they were acquired. After looking them over, we shall expect you to bring suit. If you do not do so, we will take steps to force you to do so–or, failing this, to resign!”
With these words, Oldham turned square on his heel and marched to where Saleratus Bill was stationed with the horses. Bob stared after him, the bundle of papers in his hand. When Oldham had mounted, Bob looked down on these papers.
“The second line of defence!” said he.
Part 5 Chapterr 19
Bob’s first interest was naturally to examine these documents. He found them, as Oldham had said, copies whose accuracy was attested by the copyist before a notary. They divided themselve nike air max 90 s into two classes. The first traced the titles by which many small holdings had come into the hands of the corporation known as the Wolverine Company. The second seemed to be some sort of finding by an investigating commission. This latter was in the way of explanation of the title records, so that by referring from one to the other, Bob was able to trace out the process by which the land had been acquired. This had been by “colonizing,” as it was called. According to Federal law, one man could take up but one hundred and sixty acres of government land. It had, therefore, been the practice to furnish citizens with the necessary capital so to do; after which these citizens transferred their land to the parent company. This was, of course, a direct evasion of the law; as direct an evasion as Baker’s use of the mineral lands act.
For a time Bob was unable to collect his reasoning powers adequately to confront this new fact. His thoughts were in a whirl. The only thing that stood out clearly was the difference in the two cases. He knew perfectly that after Baker’s effort to lift bodily from the public domain a large block of its wealt cheap nike air max trainers h every decent citizen should cry, “Stop thief!” Instinctively he felt, though as yet he could not analyze the reasons for so feeling, that to deprive the Wolverine Company of its holdings would work a crying injustice. Yet, to all intents and purposes, apparently, the cases were on all fours. Both Welton and Baker had taken advantage of a technicality.
When Bob began to think more clearly, he at first laid this difference to a personal liking, and was inclined to blame himself for letting his affections cloud his sense of justice. Baker was companionable, jolly, but at the same time was shrewd, cold, calculating and u cheap nike air max nscrupulous in business. He could be as hard as nails. Welton, on the other hand, while possessing all of Baker’s admirable and robust qualities, had with them an endearing and honest bigness of purpose, limited only–though decidedly–by his point of view and the bounds of his practical education. Baker would steal land without compunction; Welton would take land illegally without thought of the illegality, only nike air max classic because everybody else did it the same way.
But should the mere fact of personality make any difference in the enforcing of laws? That one man was amiable and the other not so amiable had nothing to do with eternal justice. If Bob were to fulfil his duty only against those he disliked, and in favour of his friends, he had indeed slipped back to the old days of henchman politics from which the nation was slowly struggling. He reared his head at this thought. Surely he was man enough to sink private affairs in the face of a stern public duty!
This determined, Bob thought the question settled. After a few minutes, it returned as full of interrogation points as ever. Leaving Baker and Welton entirely out of the question, the two cases still drew apart. One was just, the other unjust. Why? On the answer depended the peace of Bob nike air max ‘s conscience. Of course he would resign rather than be forced to prosecute Welton. That was understood, and Bob resolutely postponed contemplation of the necessity. He loved this life, this cause. It opened out into wider and more beautiful vistas the further he penetrated into it. He conceived it the only life for which he was particularly fitted by temperament and inclination. To give it up would be to cut himself off from all that he cared for most in active life; and would be to cast him into the drudgery of new and uncongenial lines. That sacrifice must be made. It’s contemplation and complete realization could wait. But a deeper necessity held Bob, the necessity of resolving the question of equities which the accident of his personal knowledge of Welton and Baker had evoked. He had to prove his instincts right or wro nike air max 95 ng.
He was not quite ready to submit the matter officially, but he wished very much to talk it over with some one. Glancing up he caught sight of the glitter of silver and the satin sheen of a horse. Star was coming down through the trees, resplendent in his silver and carved leather trappings, glossy as a bird, stepping proudly and daintily under the curbing of his heavy Spanish bit. In the saddle lounged the tall, homely figure of old California John, clad in faded blue overalls, the brim of his disreputable, ancient hat flopped down over his lean brown face, and his kindly blue eyes. Bob signalled him.
“John!” he called, “come here! I want to talk with you!”
The stately, beautiful horse turned without any apparent guiding motion from his master, stepped the intervening space and stopped. California John swung from the sa ddle. Star, his head high, his nostril wide, his eye fixed vaguely on some distant vision, stood like an image.
“I want a good talk with you,” repeated Bob.
They sat on the same log whereon Oldham

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