Stewart Edward White
Part 5 out of 7
but would have little real effect on the main issue, which was that
the German was getting down his logs with a crew of less than a
dozen men. Nevertheless, Orde, in a vast spirit of fun, took
delight in inventing and executing practical jokes of the general
sort just described. For instance, at one spot where he had boomed
the deeper channel from the rocks on either side, he shunted as many
of Heinzman's logs as came by handily through an opening he had made
in the booms. There they grounded on the shallows--more work for
the men following. Many of the logs in charge of the latter,
however, catching the free current, overtook the rear, so that the
number of the "H" logs in the drive was not materially diminished.
At first, as has been hinted, these various tactics had little
effect. One day, however, the chore boy, who had been over to
Spruce Rapids after mail, reported that an additional crew of twenty
had been sent in to Heinzman's drive. This was gratifying.
"We're making him scratch gravel, boys, anyway," said Orde.
The men entered into the spirit of the thing. In fact, their
enthusiasm was almost too exuberant. Orde had constantly to
negative new and ingenious schemes.
"No, boys," said he, "I want to keep on the right side of the law.
We may need it later."
Meanwhile the entire length of the river was busy and excited.
Heinzman's logs were all blazed inside a week. The men passed the
hatchets along the line, and slim chance did a marked log have of
rescue once the poor thing fell into difficulties. With the strange
and interesting tendency rivermen and woodsmen have of personifying
the elements of their daily work, the men addressed the helpless
timbers in tones of contempt.
"Thought you'd ride that rock, you ---- ---- ----," said they, "and
got left, did you? Well, lie there and be ---- to you!"
And if chance offered, and time was not pressing, the riverman would
give his helpless victim a jerk or so into a more difficult
position. Times of rising water--when the sluice-gates above had
been opened--were the most prolific of opportunities. Logs rarely
jam on rising water, for the simple reason that constantly the
surface area of the river is increasing, thus tending to separate
the logs. On the other hand, falling water, tending to crowd the
drive closer together, is especially prolific of trouble.
Therefore, on flood water the watchers scattered along the stretches
of the river had little to do--save strand Heinzman's logs for him.
And when flood water had passed, some of those logs were certainly
high and dry.
Up to a certain point this was all very well. Orde took pains not
to countenance it officially, and caused word to be passed about,
that while he did not expect his men to help drive Heinzman's logs,
they must not go out of their way to strand them.
"If things get too bad, he'll have spies down here to collect
evidence on us," said Orde, "and he'll jug some of us for
interference with his property. We don't own the river."
"How about them booms?" asked the Rough Red.
"I did own them," explained Orde, "and I had a right to take them up
when I had finished with them."
This hint was enough. The men did not cease from a labour that
tickled them mightily, but they adopted a code of signals.
Strangers were not uncommon. Spectators came out often from the
little towns and from the farms round-about. When one of these
appeared the riverman nearest raised a long falsetto cry. This was
taken up by his next neighbour and passed on. In a few minutes all
that section of the drive knew that it would be wise to "lie low."
And inside of two weeks Orde had the great satisfaction of learning
that Heinzman was working--and working hard--a crew of fifty men.
"A pretty fair crew, even if he was taking out his whole drive,"
The gods of luck seemed to be with the new enterprise. Although
Orde had, of course, taken the utmost pains to foresee every
contingency possible to guard against, nevertheless, as always when
dealing with Nature's larger forces, he anticipated some of those
gigantic obstacles which continually render uncertain wilderness
work. Nothing of the kind happened. There formed none of the
tremendous white-water jams that pile up several million feet of
logs, tax every resource of men, horses, and explosives, and require
a week or so to break. No men were killed, and only two injured.
No unexpected floods swept away works on which the drive depended.
The water held out to carry the last stick of timber over the
shallowest rapids. Weather conditions were phenomenal--and perfect.
All up and down the river the work went with that vim and dash that
is in itself an assurance of success. The Heinzman affair, which
under auspices of evil augury might have become a serious menace to
the success of the young undertaking, now served merely to add a
spice of humour to the situation. Among the men gained currency a
half-affectionate belief in "Orde's luck."
After this happy fashion the drive went, until at last it entered
the broad, deep, and navigable stretches of the river from Redding
to the lake. Here, barring the accident of an extraordinary flood,
the troubles were over. On the broad, placid bosom of the stream
the logs would float. A crew, following, would do the easy work of
sacking what logs would strand or eddy in the lazy current; would
roll into the faster waters the component parts of what were by
courtesy called jams, but which were in reality pile-ups of a few
hundred logs on sand bars mid-stream; and in the growing tepid
warmth of summer would tramp pleasantly along the river trail. Of
course, a dry year would make necessary a larger crew and more
labour; of course, a big flood might sweep the logs past all
defences into the lake for an irretrievable loss. But such floods
come once in a century, and even the dryest of dry years could not
now hang the drive. As Orde sat in his buckboard, ready to go into
town for a first glimpse of Carroll in more than two months, he
gazed with an immense satisfaction over the broad river moving brown
and glacier-like as though the logs that covered it were viscid and
composed all its substance. The enterprise was practically assured
For a while now Orde was to have a breathing spell. A large number
of men were here laid off. The remainder, under the direction of
Jim Denning, would require little or no actual supervision. Until
the jam should have reached the distributing booms above Monrovia,
the affair was very simple. Before he left, however, he called
Denning to him.
"Jim," said he, "I'll be down to see you through the sluiceways at
Redding, of course. But now that you have a good, still stretch of
river, I want you to have the boys let up on sacking out those "H"
logs. And I want you to include in our drive all the Heinzman logs
from above you possibly can. If you can fix it, let their drive
drift down into ours.
"Then we'll have to drive their logs for them," objected Denning.
"Sure," rejoined Orde, "but it's easy driving; and if that crew of
his hasn't much to do, perhaps he'll lay most of them off here at
Denning looked at his principal for a moment, then a slow grin
overspread his face. Without comment he turned back to camp, and
Orde took up his reins.
"Oh, I'm so GLAD to get you back!" cried Carroll over and over again,
as she clung to him. "I don't live while you're away. And every
drop of rain that patters on the roof chills my heart, because I
think of it as chilling you; and every creak of this old house at
night brings me up broad awake, because I hear in it the crash of
those cruel great timbers. Oh, oh, OH! I'm so glad to get you!
You're the light of my life; you're my whole life itself!"--she
smiled at him from her perch on his knee--"I'm silly, am I not?" she
said. "Dear heart, don't leave me again."
"I've got to support an extravagant wife, you know," Orde reminded
"I know, of course," she breathed, bending lightly to him. "You
have your work in the world to do, and I would not have it
otherwise. It is great work--wonderful work--I've been asking
"It's work, just like any other. And it's hard work," said he.
She shook her head at him slowly, a mysterious smile on her lips.
Without explaining her thought, she slipped from his knee and glided
across to the tall golden harp, which had been brought from
Monrovia. The light and diaphanous silk of her loose peignoir
floated about her, defining the maturing grace of her figure.
Abruptly she struck a great crashing chord.
Then, with an abandon of ecstasy she plunged into one of those wild
and sea-blown saga-like rhapsodies of the Hungarians, full of the
wind in rigging, the storm in the pines, of shrieking, vast forces
hurtling unchained through a resounding and infinite space, as
though deep down in primeval nature the powers of the world had been
loosed. Back and forth, here and there, erratic and swift and
sudden as lightning the theme played breathless. It fell.
"What is that?" gasped Orde, surprised to find himself tense, his
blood rioting, his soul stirred.
She ran to him to hide her face in his neck.
"Oh, it's you, you, you!" she cried.
He held her to him closely until her excitement had died.
"Do you think it is good to get quite so nervous, sweetheart?" he
asked gently, then. "Remember--"
"Oh, I do, I do!" she broke in earnestly. "Every moment of my
waking and sleeping hours I remember him. Always I keep his little
soul before me as a light on a shrine. But to-night--oh! to-night I
could laugh and shout aloud like the people in the Bible, with
clapping of hands." She snuggled herself close to Orde with a
little murmur of happiness. "I think of all the beautiful things,"
she whispered, "and of the noble things, and of the great things.
He is going to be sturdy, like his father; a wonderful boy, a boy
all of fire--"
"Like his mother," said Orde.
She smiled up at him. "I want him just like you, dear," she
Three days later the jam of the drive reached the dam at Redding.
Orde took Carroll downtown in the buckboard. There a seat by the
dam-watcher's little house was given her, back of the brick factory
buildings next the power canal, whence for hours she watched the
slow onward movement of the sullen brown timbers, the smooth,
polished-steel rush of the waters through the chute, the graceful
certain movements of the rivermen. Some of the latter were brought
up by Orde and introduced. They were very awkward, and somewhat
embarrassed, but they all looked her straight in the eye, and
Carroll felt somehow that back of their diffidence they were quite
dispassionately appraising her. After a few gracious speeches on
her part and monosyllabic responses on theirs, they blundered away.
In spite of the scant communication, these interviews left something
of a friendly feeling on both sides.
"I like your Jim Denning," she told Orde; "he's a nice, clean-cut
fellow. And Mr. Bourke," she laughed. "Isn't he funny with his
fierce red beard and his little eyes? But he simply adores you."
Orde laughed at the idea of the Rough Red's adoring anybody.
"It's so," she insisted, "and I like him for it--only I wish he were
a little cleaner."
She thought the feats of "log-riding" little less than wonderful,
and you may be sure the knowledge of her presence did not discourage
spectacular display. Finally, Johnny Challan, uttering a loud
whoop, leaped aboard a log and went through the chute standing bolt
upright. By a marvel of agility, he kept his balance through the
white-water below, and emerged finally into the lower waters still
proudly upright, and dry above the knees.
Carroll had arisen, the better to see.
"Why," she cried aloud, "it's marvellous! Circus riding is nothing
"No, ma'am," replied a gigantic riverman who was working near at
hand, "that ain't nothin'. Ordinary, however, we travel that way on
the river. At night we have the cookee pass us out each a goose-
ha'r piller, and lay down for the night."
Carroll looked at him in reproof. He grinned slowly.
"Don't git worried about me, ma'am," said he, "I'm hopeless. For
twenty year now I been wearin' crape on my hat in memory of my
After the rear had dropped down river from Redding, Carroll and Orde
returned to their deserted little box of a house at Monrovia.
Orde breathed deep of a new satisfaction in walking again the
streets of this little sandy, sawdust-paved, shantyfied town, with
its yellow hills and its wide blue river and its glimpse of the lake
far in the offing. It had never meant anything to him before. Now
he enjoyed every brick and board of it; he trod the broken, aromatic
shingles of the roadway with pleasure; he tramped up the broad
stairs and down the dark hall of the block with anticipation; he
breathed the compounded office odour of ledgers, cocoa matting, and
old cigar smoke in a long, reminiscent whiff; he took his seat at
his roll-top desk, enchanted to be again in these homely though
"Hanged if I know what's struck me," he mused. "Never experienced
any remarkable joy before in getting back to this sort of truck."
Then, with a warm glow at the heart, the realisation was brought to
him. This was home, and over yonder, under the shadow of the
heaven-pointing spire, a slip of a girl was waiting for him.
He tried to tell her this when next he saw her.
"I felt that I ought to make you a little shrine, and burn candles
to you, the way the Catholics do--"
"To the Mater Dolorosa?" she mocked.
He looked at her dark eyes so full of the sweetness of content, at
her sensitive lips with the quaintly upturned corners, and he
thought of what her home life had been and of the real sorrow that
even yet must smoulder somewhere down in the deeps of her being.
"No," said he slowly, "not that. I think my shrine will be
dedicated to Our Lady of the Joyous Soul."
The rest of the week Orde was absent up the river, superintending in
a general way the latter progress of the drive, looking into the
needs of the crews, arranging for supplies. The mills were all
working now, busily cutting into the residue of last season's logs.
Soon they would need more.
At the booms everything was in readiness to receive the jam. The
long swing arm slanting across the river channel was attached to its
winch which would operate it. When shut it would close the main
channel and shunt into the booms the logs floating in the river.
There, penned at last by the piles driven in a row and held together
at the top by bolted timbers, they would lie quiet. Men armed with
pike-poles would then take up the work of distribution according to
the brands stamped on the ends. Each brand had its own separate
"sorting pens," the lower end leading again into the open river.
From these each owner's property was rafted and towed to his private
booms at his mill below.
Orde spent the day before the jam appeared in constructing what he
called a "boomerang."
"Invention of my own," he explained to Newmark. "Secret invention
just yet. I'm going to hold up the drive in the main river until we
have things bunched, then I'm going to throw a big crew down here by
the swing. Heinzman anticipates, of course, that I'll run the
entire drive into the booms and do all my sorting there. Naturally,
if I turn his logs loose into the river as fast as I run across
them, he will be able to pick them up one at a time, for he'll only
get them occasionally. If I keep them until everything else is
sorted, only Heinzman's logs will remain; and as we have no right to
hold logs, we'll have to turn them loose through the lower sorting
booms, where he can be ready to raft them. In that way he gets them
all right without paying us a cent. See?"
"Yes, I see," said Newmark.
"Well," said Orde, with a laugh, "here is where I fool him. I'm
going to rush the drive into the booms all at once, but I'm going to
sort out Heinzman's logs at these openings near the entrance and
turn them into the main channel."
"What good will that do?" asked Newmark sceptically. "He gets them
sorted just the same, doesn't he?"
"The current's fairly strong," Orde pointed out, "and the river's
almighty wide. When you spring seven or eight million feet on a
man, all at once and unexpected, and he with no crew to handle them,
he's going to keep almighty busy. And if he don't stop them this
side his mill, he'll have to raft and tow them back; and if he don't
stop 'em this side the lake, he may as well kiss them all good bye--
except those that drift into the bayous and inlets and marshes, and
other ungodly places."
"I see," said Newmark drily.
"But don't say a word anywhere," warned Orde. "Secrecy is the
watchword of success with this merry little joke."
The boomerang worked like a charm. The men had been grumbling at an
apparently peaceful yielding of the point at issue, and would have
sacked out many of the blazed logs if Orde had not held them rigidly
to it. Now their spirits flamed into joy again. The sorting went
like clockwork. Orde, in personal charge, watched that through the
different openings in his "boomerang" the "H" logs were shunted into
the river. Shortly the channel was full of logs floating merrily
away down the little blue wavelets. After a while Orde handed over
his job to Tom North.
"Can't stand it any longer, boys," said he. "I've got to go down
and see how the Dutchman is making it."
"Come back and tell us!" yelled one of the crew.
"You bet I will!" Orde shouted back.
He drove the team and buckboard down the marsh road to Heinzman's
mill. There he found evidences of the wildest excitement. The mill
had been closed down, and all the men turned in to rescue logs.
Boats plied in all directions. A tug darted back and forth.
Constantly the number of floating logs augmented, however. Many had
already gone by.
"If you think you're busy now," said Orde to himself with a chuckle,
"just wait until you begin to get LOGS."
He watched for a few moments in silence.
"What's he doing with that tug?" thought he. "O-ho! He's stringing
booms across the river to hold the whole outfit."
He laughed aloud, turned his team about, and drove frantically back
to the booms. Every few moments he chuckled. His eyes danced.
Hardly could he wait to get there. Once at the camp, he leaped from
the buckboard, with a shout to the stableman, and ran rapidly out
over the booms to where the sorting of "H" logs was going merrily
"He's shut down his mill," shouted Orde, "and he's got all that gang
of highbankers out, and every old rum-blossom in Monrovia, and I bet
if you say 'logs' to him, he'd chase his tail in circles."
"Want this job?" North asked him.
"No," said Orde, suddenly fallen solemn, "haven't time. I'm going
to take Marsh and the SPRITE and go to town. Old Heinzman," he
added as an afterthought, "is stringing booms across the river--
He ran down the length of the whole boom to where lay the two tugs.
"Marsh," he called when still some distance away, "got up steam?"
There appeared a short, square, blue-clad man, with hard brown
cheeks, a heavy bleached flaxen moustache, and eyes steady,
unwavering, and as blue as the sky.
"Up in two minutes," he answered, and descended from the pilot house
to shout down a low door leading from the deck into the engine room.
"Harvey," he commanded, "fire her up!"
A tall, good-natured negro reached the upper half of his body from
the low door to seize an armful of the slabs piled along the narrow
deck. Ten minutes later the SPRITE, a cloud of white smoke pouring
from her funnel, was careening down the stretch of the river.
Captain Marsh guided his energetic charge among the logs floating in
the stream with the marvellous second instinct of the expert tugboat
man. A whirl of the wheel to the right, a turn to the left--the
craft heeled strongly under the forcing of her powerful rudder to
avoid by an arm's-length some timbers fairly flung aside by the
wash. The displacement of the rapid running seemed almost to press
the water above the level of the deck on either side and about ten
feet from the gunwale. As the low marshes and cat-tails flew past,
Orde noted with satisfaction that many of the logs, urged one side
by the breeze, had found lodgment among the reeds and in the bayous
and inlets. One at a time, and painfully, these would have to be
In a short time the mills' tall smokestacks loomed in sight. The
logs thickened until it was with difficulty that Captain Marsh could
thread his way among them at all. Shortly Orde, standing by the
wheel in the pilot-house, could see down the stretches of the river
a crowd of men working antlike.
"They've got 'em stopped," commented Orde. "Look at that gang
working from boats! They haven't a dozen 'cork boots' among 'em."
"What do you want me to do?" asked Captain Marsh.
"This is a navigable river, isn't it?" replied Orde. "Run through!"
Marsh rang for half-speed and began to nose his way gently through
the loosely floating logs. Soon the tug had reached the scene of
activity, and headed straight for the slender line of booms hitched
end to end and stretching quite across the river.
"I'm afraid we'll just ride over them if we hit them too slow,"
Orde looked at his watch.
"We'll be late for the mail unless we hurry," said he. Marsh
whirled the spokes of his wheel over and rang the engine-room bell.
The water churned white behind, the tug careened.
"Vat you do! Stop!" cried Heinzman from one of the boats.
Orde stuck his head from the pilot-house door.
"You're obstructing navigation!" he yelled. "I've got to go to town
to buy a postage-stamp."
The prow of the tug, accurately aimed by Marsh, hit square in the
junction of two of the booms. Immediately the water was agitated on
both sides and for a hundred feet or so by the pressure of the long
poles sidewise. There ensued a moment of strain; then the links
snapped, and the SPRITE plunged joyously through the opening. The
booms, swept aside by the current, floated to either shore. The
river was open.
Orde, his head still out the door, looked back. "Slow down, Marsh,"
said he. "Let's see the show." Already the logs caught by the
booms had taken their motion and had swept past the opening.
Although the lonesome tug Heinzman had on the work immediately
picked up one end of the broken boom, and with it started out into
the river, she found difficulty in making headway against the sweep
of the logs. After a long struggle she reached the middle of the
river, where she was able to hold her own.
"Wonder what next?" speculated Orde. "How are they going to get the
other end of the booms out from the other bank?"
Captain Marsh had reversed the SPRITE. The tug lay nearly
motionless amidstream, her propeller slowly revolving.
Up river all the small boats gathered in a line, connected one to
the other by a rope. The tug passed over to them the cable attached
to the boom. Evidently the combined efforts of the rowboats were
counted on to hold the half-boom across the current while the tug
brought out the other half. When the tug dropped the cable, Orde
"Nobody but a Dutchman would have thought of that!" he cried. "Now
for the fun!"
Immediately the weight fell on the small boats, they were dragged
irresistibly backward. Even from a distance the three men on the
SPRITE could make out the white-water as the oars splashed and
churned and frantically caught crabs in a vain effort to hold their
own. Marsh lowered his telescope, the tears streaming down his
"It's better than a goat fight," said he.
Futilely protesting, the rowboats were dragged backward, turned as a
whip is snapped, and strung out along the bank below.
"They'll have to have two tugs before they can close the break that
way," commented Orde.
"Sure thing," replied Captain Marsh.
But at that moment a black smoke rolled up over the marshes, and
shortly around the bend from above came the LUCY BELLE.
The LUCY BELLE was the main excuse for calling the river navigable.
She made trips as often as she could between Redding and Monrovia.
In luck, she could cover the forty miles in a day. It was no
unusual thing, however, for the LUCY BELLE to hang up indefinitely
on some one of the numerous shifting sand bars. For that reason she
carried more imperishable freight than passengers. In appearance
she was two-storied, with twin smokestacks, an iron Indian on her
top, and a "splutter-behind" paddle-wheel.
"There comes his help," said Orde. "Old Simpson would stop to pick
up a bogus three-cent piece."
Sure enough, on hail from one of the rowboats, the LUCY BELLE slowed
down and stopped. After a short conference, she steamed clumsily
over to get hold of one end of the booms. The tug took the other.
In time, and by dint of much splashing, some collisions, and several
attempts, the ends of the booms were united.
By this time, however, nearly all the logs had escaped. The tug,
towing a string of rowboats, set out in pursuit.
The SPRITE continued on her way until beyond sight. Then she slowed
down again. The LUCY BELLE churned around the bend, and turned in
toward the tug.
"She's going to speak us," marvelled Orde. "I wonder what the
dickens she wants."
"Tug ahoy!" bellowed a red-faced individual from the upper deck. He
was dressed in blue and brass buttons, carried a telescope in one
hand, and was liberally festooned with gold braid and embroidered
"Answer him," Orde commanded Marsh.
"Hullo there, commodore! what is it?" replied the tug captain.
The red-faced figure glared down for a moment.
"They want a tug up there at Heinzman's. Can you go?"
"Sure!" cried Marsh, choking.
The LUCY BELLE sheered off magnificently.
"What do you think of that?" Marsh asked Orde.
"The commodore always acts as if that old raft was a sixty-gun
frigate," was Orde's non-committal answer. "Head up stream again."
Heinzman saw the SPRITE coming, and rowed out frantically, splashing
at every stroke and yelling with every breath.
"Don't you go through there! Vait a minute! Stop, I tell you!"
"Hold up!" said Orde to Marsh.
Heinzman rowed alongside, dropped his oars and mopped his brow.
"Vat you do?" he demanded heatedly.
"I forgot the money to buy my stamp with," said Orde sweetly. "I'm
going back to get it."
"Not through my pooms!" cried Heinzman.
"Mr. Heinzman," said Orde severely, "you are obstructing a navigable
stream. I am doing business, and I cannot be interfered with."
"But my logs!" cried the unhappy mill man.
"I have nothing to do with your logs. You are driving your own
logs," Orde reminded him.
Heinzman vituperated and pounded the gunwale.
"Go ahead, Marsh!" said Orde.
The tug gathered way. Soon Heinzman was forced to let go. For a
second time the chains were snapped. Orde and Marsh looked back
over the churning wake left by the SPRITE. The severed ends of the
booms were swinging back toward either shore. Between them floated
a rowboat. In the rowboat gesticulated a pudgy man. The river was
well sprinkled with logs. Evidently the sorting was going on well.
"May as well go back to the works," said Orde. "He won't string
them together again to-day--not if he waits for that tug he sent
Accordingly, they returned to the booms, where work was suspended
while Orde detailed to an appreciative audience the happenings
below. This tickled the men immensely.
"Why, we hain't sorted out more'n a million feet of his logs," cried
Rollway Charlie. "He hain't SEEN no logs yet!"
They turned with new enthusiasm to the work of shunting "H" logs
into the channel.
In ten minutes, however, the stableman picked his way out over the
booms with a message for Orde.
"Mr. Heinzman's ashore, and wants to see you," said he.
Orde and Jim Denning exchanged glances.
"'Coon's come down," said the latter.
Orde found the mill man pacing restlessly up and down before a
steaming pair of horses. Newmark, perched on a stump, was surveying
him sardonically and chewing the end of an unlighted cigar.
"Here you poth are!" burst out Heinzman, when Orde stepped ashore.
"Now, this must stop. I must not lose my logs! Vat is your
Newmark broke in quickly before Orde could speak.
"I've told Mr. Heinzman," said he, "that we would sort and deliver
the rest of his logs for two dollars a thousand."
"That will be about it," agreed Orde.
"But," exploded Heinzman, "that is as much as you agreet to drive
and deliffer my whole cut!"
"Precisely," said Newmark.
"Put I haf all the eggspence of driving the logs myself. Why shoult
I pay you for doing what I haf alretty paid to haf done?"
"Heinzman," said he, "I told you I'd make you scratch gravel. Now
it's time to talk business. You thought you were boring with a
mighty auger, but it's time to revise. We aren't forced to bother
with your logs, and you're lucky to get out so easy. If I turn your
whole drive into the river, you'll lose more than half of it
outright, and it'll cost you a heap to salvage the rest. And what's
more, I'll turn 'em in before you can get hold of a pile-driver.
I'll sort night and day," he bluffed, "and by to-morrow morning you
won't have a stick of timber above my booms." He laughed again.
"You want to get down to business almighty sudden."
When finally Heinzman had driven sadly away, and the whole drive,
"H" logs included, was pouring into the main boom, Orde stretched
his arms over his head in a luxury of satisfaction.
"That just about settles that campaign," he said to Newmark.
"Oh, no, it doesn't," replied the latter decidedly.
"Why?" asked Orde, surprised. "You don't imagine he'll do anything
"No, but I will," said Newmark.
Early in the fall the baby was born. It proved to be a boy. Orde,
nervous as a cat after the ordeal of doing nothing, tiptoed into the
darkened room. He found his wife weak and pale, her dark hair
framing her face, a new look of rapt inner contemplation rendering
even more mysterious her always fathomless eyes. To Orde she seemed
fragile, aloof, enshrined among her laces and dainty ribbons.
Hardly dared he touch her when she held her hand out to him weakly,
but fell on his knees beside the bed and buried his face in the
clothes. She placed a gentle hand caressingly on his head.
So they remained for some time. Finally he raised his eyes. She
held her lips to him. He kissed them.
"It seems sort of make-believe even yet, sweetheart," she smiled at
him whimsically, "that we have a real, live baby all of our own."
"Like other people," said Orde.
"Not like other people at all!" she disclaimed, with a show of
Grandma Orde brought the newcomer in for Orde's inspection. He
looked gravely down on the puckered, discoloured bit of humanity
with some feeling of disappointment, and perhaps a faint uneasiness.
After a moment he voiced the latter.
"Is--do you think--that is--" he hesitated, "does the doctor say
he's going to be all right?"
"All right!" cried Grandma Orde indignantly. "I'd like to know if
he isn't all right now! What in the world do you expect of a new-
But Carroll was laughing softly to herself on the bed. She held out
her arms for the baby, and cuddled it close to her breast.
"He's a little darling," she crooned, "and he's going to grow up big
and strong, just like his daddy." She put her cheek against the
sleeping babe's and looked up sidewise at the two standing above
her. "But I know how you feel," she said to her husband. "When
they first showed him to me, I thought he looked like a peanut a
thousand years old."
Grandma Orde fairly snorted with indignation.
"Come to your old grandmother, who appreciates you!" she cried,
possessing herself of the infant. "He's a beautiful baby; one of
the best-looking new-born babies I ever saw!"
Orde escaped to the open air. He had to go to the office to attend
to some details of the business. With every step his elation
increased. At the office he threw open his desk with a slam.
Newmark jumped nervously and frowned. Orde's big, open, and brusque
manners bothered him as they would have bothered a cat.
"Got a son and heir over at my place," called Orde in his big voice.
"This old firm's got to rustle now, I tell you."
"Congratulate you, I'm sure," said Newmark rather shortly. "Mrs.
Orde is doing well, I hope?"
"Fine, fine!" cried Orde.
Newmark dropped the subject and plunged into a business matter.
Orde's attention, however, was flighty. After a little while he
closed his desk with another bang.
"No use!" said he. "Got to make it a vacation. I'm going to run
over to see how the family is."
Strangely enough, the young couple had not discussed before the
question of a name. One evening at twilight, when Orde was perched
at the foot of the bed, Carroll brought up the subject.
"He ought to be named for you," she began timidly. "I know that,
Jack, and I'd love to have another Jack Orde in the family; but,
dear, I've been thinking about father. He's a poor, forlorn old
man, who doesn't get much out of life. And it would please him so--
oh, more than you can imagine such a thing could please anybody!"
She looked up at him doubtfully. Orde said nothing, but walked
around the bed to where the baby lay in his little cradle. He
leaned over and took the infant up in his gingerly awkward fashion.
"How are you to-day, Bobby Orde?" he inquired of the blinking mite.
The first season of the Boom Company was most successful. Its
prospects for the future were bright. The drive had been delivered
to its various owners at a price below what it had cost them
severally, and without the necessary attendant bother. Therefore,
the loggers were only too willing to renew their contracts for
another year. This did not satisfy Newmark, however.
"What we want," he told Orde, "is a charter giving us exclusive
rights on the river, and authorising us to ask toll. I'm going to
try and get one out of the legislature."
He departed for Lansing as soon as the Assembly opened, and almost
immediately became lost in one of those fierce struggles of politics
not less bitter because concealed. Heinzman was already on the
Newmark had the shadow of right on his side, for he applied for the
charter on the basis of the river improvements already put in by his
firm. Heinzman, however, possessed much political influence, a deep
knowledge of the subterranean workings of plot and counterplot, and
a "barrel." Although armed with an apparently incontestable legal
right, Newmark soon found himself fighting on the defensive.
Heinzman wanted the improvements already existing condemned and sold
as a public utility to the highest bidder. He offered further
guarantees as to future improvements. In addition were other and
more potent arguments proffered behind closed doors. Many cases
resolved themselves into a bald question of cash. Others demanded
diplomacy. Jobs, fat contracts, business favours, influence were
all flung out freely--bribes as absolute as though stamped with the
dollar mark. Newspapers all over the State were pressed into
service. These, bought up by Heinzman and his prospective partners
in a lucrative business, spoke virtuously of private piracy of what
are now called public utilities, the exploiting of the people's
natural wealths, and all the rest of a specious reasoning the more
convincing in that it was in many other cases only too true. The
independent journals, uninformed of the rights of the case, either
remained silent on the matter, or groped in a puzzled and undecided
manner on both sides.
Against this secret but effective organisation Newmark most
unexpectedly found himself pitted. He had anticipated being absent
but a week; he became involved in an affair of months.
With decision he applied himself to the problem. He took rooms at
the hotel, sent for Orde, and began at once to set in motion the
machinery of opposition. The refreshed resources of the company
were strained to the breaking point in order to raise money for this
new campaign opening before it. Orde, returning to Lansing after a
trip devoted to the carrying out of Newmark's directions as to
finances, was dismayed at the tangle of strategy and cross-strategy,
innuendo, vague and formless cobweb forces by which he was
surrounded. He could make nothing of them. They brushed his face,
he felt their influence, yet he could place his finger on no
tangible and comprehensible solidity. Among these delicate and
complicated cross-currents Newmark moved silent, cold, secret. He
seemed to understand them, to play with them, to manipulate them as
elements of the game. Above them was the hollow shock of the
ostensible battle--the speeches, the loud talk in lobbies, the
newspaper virtue, indignation, accusations; but the real struggle
was here in the furtive ways, in whispered words delivered hastily
aside, in hotel halls on the way to and from the stairs, behind
closed doors of rooms without open transoms.
Orde in comic despair acknowledged that it was all "too deep for
him." Nevertheless, it was soon borne in on him that the new
company was struggling for its very right to existence. It had been
doing that from the first; but now, to Orde the fight, the
existence, had a new importance. The company up to this point had
been a scheme merely, an experiment that might win or lose. Now,
with the history of a drive behind it, it had become a living
entity. Orde would have fought against its dissolution as he would
have fought against a murder. Yet he had practically to stand one
side, watching Newmark's slender, gray-clad, tense figure gliding
here and there, more silent, more reserved, more watchful every day.
The fight endured through most of the first half of the session.
When finally it became evident to Heinzman that Newmark would win,
he made the issue of toll rates the ditch of his last resistance,
trying to force legal charges so low as to eat up the profits. At
the last, however, the bill passed the board. The company had its
At what price only Newmark could have told. He had fought with the
tense earnestness of the nervous temperament that fights to win
without count of the cost. The firm was established, but it was as
heavily in debt as its credit would stand. Newmark himself, though
as calm and reserved and precise as ever, seemed to have turned
gray, and one of his eyelids had acquired a slight nervous twitch
which persisted for some months. He took his seat at the desk,
however, as calmly as ever. In three days the scandalised howls of
bribery and corruption had given place in the newspapers to some
"Joe," said Orde to his partner, "how about all this talk? Is there
really anything in it? You haven't gone in for that business, have
Newmark stretched his arms wearily.
"Press bought up," he replied. "I know for a fact that old Stanford
got five hundred dollars from some of the Heinzman interests. I
could have swung him back for an extra hundred, but it wasn't worth
while. They howl bribery at us to distract attention from their own
With this evasive reply Orde contented himself. Whether it
satisfied him or whether he was loath to pursue the subject further
it would be impossible to say.
"It's cost us plenty, anyway," he said, after a moment. "The
proposition's got a load on it. It will take us a long time to get
out of debt. The river driving won't pay quite so big as we thought
it would," he concluded, with a rueful little laugh.
"It will pay plenty well enough," replied Newmark decidedly, "and it
gives us a vantage point to work from. You don't suppose we are
going to quit at river driving, do you? We want to look around for
some timber of our own; there's where the big money is. And perhaps
we can buy a schooner or two and go into the carrying trade--the
country's alive with opportunity. Newmark and Orde means something
to these fellows now. We can have anything we want, if we just
reach out for it."
His thin figure, ordinarily slightly askew, had straightened; his
steel-gray, impersonal eyes had lit up behind the bowed glasses and
were seeing things beyond the wall at which they gazed. Orde looked
up at him with a sudden admiration.
"You're the brains of this concern," said he.
"We'll get on," replied Newmark, the fire dying from his eyes.
In the course of the next eight years Newmark and Orde floated high
on that flood of apparent prosperity that attends a business well
conceived and passably well managed. The Boom and Driving Company
made money, of course, for with the margin of fifty per cent or
thereabouts necessitated by the temporary value of the improvements,
good years could hardly fail to bring good returns. This, it will
be remembered, was a stock company. With the profits from that
business the two men embarked on a separate copartnership. They
made money at this, too, but the burden of debt necessitated by new
ventures, constantly weighted by the heavy interest demanded at that
time, kept affairs on the ragged edge.
In addition, both Orde and Newmark were more inclined to extension
of interests than to "playing safe." The assets gained in one
venture were promptly pledged to another. The ramifications of
debt, property, mortgages, and expectations overlapped each other in
a cobweb of interests.
Orde lived at ease in a new house of some size surrounded by
grounds. He kept two servants: a blooded team of horses drew the
successor to the original buckboard. Newmark owned a sail yacht of
five or six tons, in which, quite solitary, he took his only
pleasure. Both were considered men of substance and property, as
indeed they were. Only, they risked dollars to gain thousands. A
succession of bad years, a panic-contraction of money markets, any
one of a dozen possible, though not probable, contingencies would
render it difficult to meet the obligations which constantly came
due, and which Newmark kept busy devising ways and means of meeting.
If things went well--and it may be remarked that legitimately they
should--Newmark and Orde would some day be rated among the
millionaire firms. If things went ill, bankruptcy could not be
avoided. There was no middle ground. Nor were Orde and his partner
unique in this; practically every firm then developing or exploiting
the natural resources of the country found itself in the same case.
Immediately after the granting of the charter to drive the river the
partners had offered them an opportunity of acquiring about thirty
million feet of timber remaining from Morrison and Daly's original
holdings. That firm was very anxious to begin development on a
large scale of its Beeson Lake properties in the Saginaw waters.
Daly proposed to Orde that he take over the remnant, and having
confidence in the young man's abilities, agreed to let him have it
on long-time notes. After several consultations with Newmark, Orde
finally completed the purchase. Below the booms they erected a
mill, the machinery for which they had also bought of Daly, at
Redding. The following winter Orde spent in the woods. By spring
he had banked, ready to drive, about six million feet.
For some years these two sorts of activity gave the partners about
all they could attend to. As soon as the drive had passed Redding,
Orde left it in charge of one of his foremen while he divided his
time between the booms and the mill. Late in the year his woods
trips began, the tours of inspection, of surveying for new roads,
the inevitable preparation for the long winter campaigns in the
forest. As soon as the spring thaws began, once more the drive
demanded his attention. And in marketing the lumber, manipulating
the firm's financial affairs, collecting its dues, paying its bills,
making its purchases, and keeping oiled the intricate bearing points
of its office machinery, Newmark was busy--and invaluable.
At the end of the fifth year the opportunity came, through a
combination of a bad debt and a man's death, to get possession of
two lake schooners. Orde at once suggested the contract for a steam
barge. Towing was then in its infancy. The bulk of lake traffic
was by means of individual sailing ships--a method uncertain as to
time. Orde thought that a steam barge could be built powerful
enough not only to carry its own hold and deck loads, but to tow
after it the two schooners. In this manner the crews could be
reduced, and an approximate date of delivery could be guaranteed.
Newmark agreed with him. Thus the firm, in accordance with his
prophecy, went into the carrying trade, for the vessels more than
sufficed for its own needs. The freighting of lumber added much to
the income, and the carrying of machinery and other heavy freight on
the return trip grew every year.
But by far the most important acquisition was that of the northern
peninsula timber. Most operators called the white pine along and
back from the river inexhaustible. Orde did not believe this. He
saw the time, not far distant, when the world would be compelled to
look elsewhere for its lumber supply, and he turned his eyes to the
almost unknown North. After a long investigation through agents,
and a month's land-looking on his own account, he located and
purchased three hundred million feet. This was to be paid for, as
usual, mostly by the firm's notes secured by its other property. It
would become available only in the future, but Orde believed, as
indeed the event justified, this future would prove to be not so
distant as most people supposed.
As these interests widened, Orde became more and more immersed in
them. He was forced to be away all of every day, and more than the
bulk of every year. Nevertheless, his home life did not suffer for
To Carroll he was always the same big, hearty, whole-souled boy she
had first learned to love. She had all his confidence. If this did
not extend into business affairs, it was because Orde had always
tried to get away from them when at home. At first Carroll had
attempted to keep in the current of her husband's activities, but as
the latter broadened in scope and became more complex, she perceived
that their explanation wearied him. She grew out of the habit of
asking him about them. Soon their rapid advance had carried them
quite beyond her horizon. To her, also, as to most women, the word
"business" connoted nothing but a turmoil and a mystery.
In all other things they were to each other what they had been from
the first. No more children had come to them. Bobby, however; had
turned out a sturdy, honest little fellow, with more than a streak
of his mother's charm and intuition. His future was the subject of
all Orde's plans.
"I want to give him all the chance there is," he explained to
Carroll. "A boy ought to start where his father left off, and not
have to do the same thing all over again. But being a rich man's
son isn't much of a job."
"Why don't you let him continue your business?" smiled Carroll,
secretly amused at the idea of the small person before them ever
"By the time Bobby's grown up this business will all be closed out,"
replied Orde seriously.
He continued to look at his minute son with puckered brow, until
Carroll smoothed out the wrinkles with the tips of her fingers.
"Of course, having only a few minutes to decide," she mocked,
"perhaps we'd better make up our minds right now to have him a
"Yes!" agreed Bobby unexpectedly, and with emphasis.
Three years after this conversation, which would have made Bobby
just eight, Orde came back before six of a summer evening, his face
alight with satisfaction.
"Hullo, bub!" he cried to Bobby, tossing him to his shoulder.
"How's the kid?"
They went out together, while awaiting dinner, to see the new setter
puppy in the woodshed.
"Named him yet?" asked Orde.
"Duke," said Bobby.
Orde surveyed the animal gravely.
"Seems like a good name," said he.
After dinner the two adjourned to the library, where they sat
together in the "big chair," and Bobby, squirmed a little sidewise
in order the better to see, watched the smoke from his father's
cigar as it eddied and curled in the air.
"Tell a story," he commanded finally.
"Well," acquiesced Orde, "there was once a man who had a cow--"
"Once upon a time," corrected Bobby.
He listened for a moment or so.
"I don't like that story," he then announced. "Tell the story about
"But this is a new story," protested Orde, "and you've heard about
the bears so many times."
"Bears," insisted Bobby.
"Well, once upon a time there were three bears--a big bear and a
middle-sized bear and a little bear--" began Orde obediently.
Bobby, with a sigh of rapture and content, curled up in a snug, warm
little ball. The twilight darkened.
"Blind-man's holiday!" warned Carroll behind them so suddenly that
they both jumped. "And the sand man's been at somebody, I know!"
She bore him away to bed. Orde sat smoking in the darkness, staring
straight ahead of him into the future. He believed he had found the
opportunity--twenty years distant--for which he had been looking so
After a time Carroll descended the stairs, chuckling. "Jack," she
called into the sitting-room, "come out on the porch. What do you
suppose the young man did to-night?"
"Give it up," replied Orde promptly. "No good guessing when it's a
question of that youngster's performances. What was it?"
"He said his 'Now I lay me,' and asked blessings on you and me, and
the grandpas and grandmas, and Auntie Kate, as usual. Then he
stopped. 'What else?' I reminded him. 'And,' he finished with a
They laughed delightedly over this, clinging together like two
children. Then they stepped out on the little porch and looked into
the fathomless night. The sky was full of stars, aloof and calm,
but waiting breathless on the edge of action, attending the word of
command or the celestial vision, or whatever it is for which stars
seem to wait. Along the street the dense velvet shade of the maples
threw the sidewalks into impenetrable blackness. Sounds carried
clearly. From the Welton's, down the street, came the tinkle of a
mandolin and an occasional low laugh from the group of young people
that nightly frequented the front steps. Tree toads chirped in
unison or fell abruptly silent as though by signal. All up and down
the rows of houses whirred the low monotone of the lawn sprinklers,
and the aroma of their wetness was borne cool and refreshing through
the tepid air.
Orde and his wife sat together on the top step. He slipped his arm
about her. They said nothing, but breathed deep of the quiet
happiness that filled their lives.
The gate latch clicked and two shadowy figures defined themselves
approaching up the concrete walk.
"Hullo!" called Orde cheerfully into the darkness.
"Hullo!" a man's voice instantly responded.
"Taylor and Clara," said Orde to Carroll with satisfaction. "Just
the man I wanted to see."
The lawyer and his wife mounted the steps. He was a quick,
energetic, spare man, with lean cheeks, a bristling, clipped
moustache, and a slight stoop to his shoulders. She was small,
piquant, almost child-like, with a dainty up-turned nose, a large
and lustrous eye, a constant, bird-like animation of manner--the
Folly of artists, the adorable, lovable, harmless Folly standing
tiptoe on a complaisant world.
"Just the man I wanted to see," repeated Orde, as the two
Clara Taylor stopped short and considered him for a moment.
"Let us away," she said seriously to Carroll. "My prophetic soul
tells me they are going to talk business, and if any more business
is talked in my presence, I shall EXPIRE!"
Both men laughed, but Orde explained apologetically:
"Well, you know, Mrs. Taylor, these are my especially busy days for
the firm, and I have to work my private affairs in when I can."
"I thought Frank was very solicitous about my getting out in the
air," cried Clara. "Come, Carroll, let's wander down the street and
see Mina Heinzman."
The two interlocked arms and sauntered along the walk. Both men lit
cigars and sat on the top step of the porch.
"Look here, Taylor," broke in Orde abruptly, "you told me the other
day you had fifteen or twenty thousand you wanted to place
"Yes," replied Taylor.
"Well, I believe I have just the proposition."
"What is it?"
"California pine," replied Orde.
"California pine?" repeated Taylor, after a slight pause. "Why
California? That's a long way off. And there's no market, is
there? Why way out there?"
"It's cheap," replied Orde succinctly. "I don't say it will be good
for immediate returns, nor even for returns in the near future, but
in twenty or thirty years it ought to pay big on a small investment
Taylor shook his head doubtfully.
"I don't see how you figure it," he objected. "We have more timber
than we can use in the East. Why should we go several thousand
miles west for the same thing?"
"When our timber gives out, then we'll HAVE to go west," said Orde.
"Laugh all you please," rejoined Orde, "but I tell you Michigan and
Wisconsin pine is doomed. Twenty or thirty years from now there
won't be any white pine for sale."
"Nonsense!" objected Taylor. "You're talking wild. We haven't even
begun on the upper peninsula. After that there's Minnesota. And I
haven't observed that we're quite out of timber on the river, or the
Muskegon, or the Saginaw, or the Grand, or the Cheboygan--why, Great
Scott! man, our children's children's children may be thinking of
investing in California timber, but that's about soon enough."
"All tight," said Orde quietly. "Well, what do you think of Indiana
as a good field for timber investment?"
"Indiana!" cried Taylor, amazed. "Why, there's no timber there;
it's a prairie."
"There used to be. And all the southern Michigan farm belt was
timbered, and around here. We have our stumps to show for it, but
there are no evidences at all farther south. You'd have hard work,
for instance, to persuade a stranger that Van Buren County was once
"Was it?" asked Taylor doubtfully.
"It was. You take your map and see how much area has been cut
already, and how much remains. That'll open your eyes. And
remember all that has been done by crude methods for a relatively
small demand. The demand increases as the country grows and methods
improve. It would not surprise me if some day thirty or forty
millions would constitute an average cut.* 'Michigan pine
exhaustless!'--those fellows make me sick!"
* At the present day some firms cut as high as 150,000,000 feet.
"Sounds a little more reasonable," said Taylor slowly.
"It'll sound a lot more reasonable in five or ten years," insisted
Orde, "and then you'll see the big men rushing out into that Oregon
and California country. But now a man can get practically the pick
of the coast. There are only a few big concerns out there."
"Why is it that no one--"
"Because," Orde cut him short, "the big things are for the fellow
who can see far enough ahead."
"What kind of a proposition have you?" asked Taylor after a pause.
"I can get ten thousand acres at an average price of eight dollars
an acre," replied Orde.
"Acres? What does that mean in timber?"
"On this particular tract it means about four hundred million feet."
"That's about twenty cents a thousand."
"And of course you couldn't operate for a long time?"
"Not for twenty, maybe thirty, years," replied Orde calmly.
"There's your interest on your money, and taxes, and the risk of
"Of course, of course," agreed Orde impatiently, "but you're getting
your stumpage for twenty cents or a little more, and in thirty years
it will be worth as high as a dollar and a half." *
* At the present time (1908) sugar pine such as Orde described would
cost $3.50 to $4.
"What!" cried Taylor.
"That is my opinion," said Orde.
Taylor relapsed into thought.
"Look here, Orde," he broke cut finally, "how old are you?"
"How much timber have you in Michigan?"
"About ten million that we've picked up on the river since the Daly
purchase and three hundred million in the northern peninsula."
"Which will take you twenty years to cut, and make you a million
dollars or so?"
"Then why this investment thirty years ahead?"
"It's for Bobby," explained Orde simply. "A man likes to have his
son continue on in his business. I can't do it here, but there I
can. It would take fifty years to cut that pine, and that will give
Bobby a steady income and a steady business."
"Bobby will be well enough off, anyway. He won't have to go into
Orde's brow puckered.
"I know a man--Bobby is going to work. A man is not a success in
life unless he does something, and Bobby is going to be a success.
Why, Taylor," he chuckled, "the little rascal fills the wood-box for
a cent a time, and that's all the pocket-money he gets. He's saving
now to buy a thousand-dollar boat. I've agreed to pool in half. At
his present rate of income, I'm safe for about sixty years yet."
"How soon are you going to close this deal?" asked Taylor, rising as
he caught sight of two figures coming up the walk.
"I have an option until November 1," replied Orde. "If you can't
make it, I guess I can swing it myself. By the way, keep this
Taylor nodded, and the two turned to defend themselves as best they
could against Clara's laughing attack.
Orde had said nothing to Newmark concerning this purposed new
investment, nor did he intend doing so.
"It is for Bobby," he told himself, "and I want Bobby, and no one
else, to run it. Joe would want to take charge, naturally. Taylor
won't. He knows nothing of the business."
He walked downtown next morning busily formulating his scheme. At
the office he found Newmark already seated at his desk, a pile of
letters in front of him. Upon Orde's boisterous greeting his nerves
crisped slightly, but of this there was no outward sign beyond a
tightening of his hands on the letter he was reading. Behind his
eye-glasses his blue, cynical eyes twinkled like frost crystals. As
always, he was immaculately dressed in neat gray clothes, and
carried in one corner of his mouth an unlighted cigar.
"Joe," said Orde, spinning a chair to Newmark's roll-top desk and
speaking in a low tone, "just how do we stand on that upper
"What do you mean? How much of it is there? You know that as well
as I do--about three hundred million."
"No; I mean financially."
"We've made two payments of seventy-five thousand each, and have
still two to make of the same amount."
"What could we borrow on it?"
"We don't want to borrow anything on it," returned Newmark in a
"Perhaps not; but if we should?"
"We might raise fifty or seventy-five thousand, I suppose."
"Joe," said Orde, "I want to raise about seventy-five thousand
dollars on my share in this concern, if it can be done."
"What's up?" inquired Newmark keenly.
"It's a private matter."
Newmark said nothing, but for some time thought busily, his light
blue eyes narrowed to a slit.
"I'll have to figure on it a while," said he at last, and turned
back to his mail. All day he worked hard, with only a fifteen-
minute intermission for a lunch which was brought up from the hotel
below. At six o'clock he slammed shut the desk. He descended the
stairs with Orde, from whom he parted at their foot, and walked
precisely away, his tall, thin figure held rigid and slightly askew,
his pale eyes slitted behind his eye-glasses, the unlighted cigar in
one corner of his straight lips. To the occasional passerby he
bowed coldly and with formality. At the corner below he bore to the
left, and after a short walk entered the small one-story house set
well back from the sidewalk among the clumps of oleanders. Here he
turned into a study, quietly and richly furnished ten years in
advance of the taste then prevalent in Monrovia, where he sank into
a deep-cushioned chair and lit the much-chewed cigar. For some
moments he lay back with his eyes shut. Then he opened them to look
with approval on the dark walnut book-cases, the framed prints and
etchings, the bronzed student's lamp on the square table desk, the
rugs on the polished floor. He picked up a magazine, into which he
dipped for ten minutes.
The door opened noiselessly behind him.
"Mr. Newmark, sir," came a respectful voice, "it is just short of
"Very well," replied Newmark, without looking around.
The man withdrew as softly as he had come. After a moment, Newmark
replaced the magazine on the table, yawned, threw aside the cigar,
of which he had smoked but an inch, and passed from his study into
his bedroom across the hall. This contained an exquisite Colonial
four-poster, with a lowboy and dresser to match, and was papered and
carpeted in accordance with these, its chief ornaments. Newmark
bathed in the adjoining bathroom, shaved carefully between the two
wax lights which were his whim, and dressed in what were then known
as "swallow-tail" clothes. Probably he was the only man in Monrovia
at that moment so apparelled. Then calmly, and with all the
deliberation of one under fire of a hundred eyes, he proceeded to
the dining-room, where waited the man who had a short time before
reminded him of the hour. He was a solemn, dignified man, whose
like was not to be found elsewhere this side the city. He, too,
wore the "swallow-tail," but its buttons were of gilt.
Newmark seated himself in a leather-upholstered mahogany chair
before a small, round, mahogany table. The room was illuminated
only by four wax candles with red shades. They threw into relief
the polish of mahogany, the glitter of glass, the shine of silver,
but into darkness the detail of massive sideboard, dull panelling,
and the two or three dark-toned sporting prints on the wall.
"You may serve dinner, Mallock," said Newmark.
He ate deliberately and with enjoyment the meal, exquisitely
prepared and exquisitely presented to him. With it he drank a
single glass of Burgundy--a deed that would, in the eyes of
Monrovia, have condemned him as certainly as driving a horse on
Sunday or playing cards for a stake. Afterward he returned to the
study, whither Mallock brought coffee. He lit another cigar, opened
a drawer in his desk, extracted therefrom some bank-books and small
personal account books. From these he figured all the evening. His
cigar went out, but he did not notice that, and chewed away quite
contentedly on the dead butt. When he had finished, his cold eye
exhibited a gleam of satisfaction. He had resolved on a course of
action. At ten o'clock he went to bed.
Next morning Mallock closed the door behind him promptly upon the
stroke of eight. It was strange that not one living soul but
Mallock had ever entered Newmark's abode. Curiosity had at first
brought a few callers; but these were always met by the
imperturbable servant with so plausible a reason for his master's
absence that the visitors had departed without a suspicion that they
had been deliberately excluded. And as Newmark made no friends and
excited little interest, the attempts to cultivate him gradually
"Orde," said Newmark, as the former entered the office, "I think I
can arrange this matter."
Orde drew up a chair.
"I talked last evening with a man from Detroit named Thayer, who
thinks he may advance seventy-five thousand dollars on a mortgage on
our northern peninsula stumpage. For that, of course, we will give
the firm's note with interest at ten per cent. I will turn this
over to you."
"That's--" began Orde.
"Hold on," interrupted Newmark. "As collateral security you will
deposit for me your stock in the Boom Company, indorsed in blank.
If you do not pay the full amount of the firm's note to Thayer, then
the stock will be turned in to me."
"I see," said Orde.
"Now, don't misunderstand me," said Newmark drily. "This is your
own affair, and I do not urge it on you. If we raise as much as
seventy-five thousand dollars on that upper peninsula stumpage, it
will be all it can stand, for next year we must make a third payment
on it. If you take that money, it is of course proper that you pay
the interest on it."
"Certainly," said Orde.
"And if there's any possibility of the foreclosure of the mortgage,
it is only right that you run all the risk of loss--not myself."
"Certainly," repeated Orde.
"From another point of view," went on Newmark, "you are practically
mortgaging your interest in the Boom Company for seventy-five
thousand dollars. That would make, on the usual basis of a
mortgage, your share worth above two hundred thousand--and four
hundred thousand is a high valuation of our property."
"That looks more than decent on your part," said Orde.
"Of course, it's none of my business what you intend to do with
this," went on Newmark, "but unless you're SURE you can meet these
notes, I should strongly advise against it."
"The same remark applies to any mortgage," rejoined Orde.
"For how long a time could I get this?" asked Orde at length.
"I couldn't promise it for longer than five years," replied Newmark.
"That would make about fifteen thousand a year?"
"Certainly--and interest. Well, I don't see why I can't carry that
easily on our present showing and prospects."
"If nothing untoward happens," insisted Newmark determined to put
forward all objections possible.
"It's not much risk," said Orde hopefully. "There's nothing surer
than lumber. We'll pay the notes easily enough as we cut, and the
Boom Company's on velvet now. What do our earnings figure, anyway?"
"We're driving one hundred and fifty million at a profit of about
sixty cents a thousand," said Newmark.
"That's ninety thousand dollars--in five years, four hundred and
fifty thousand," said Orde, sucking his pencil.
"We ought to clean up five dollars a thousand on our mill."
"That's about a hundred thousand on what we've got left."
"And that little barge business nets us about twelve or fifteen
thousand a year."
"For the five years about sixty thousand more. Let's see--that's a
total of say six hundred thousand dollars in five years."
"We will have to take up in that time," said Newmark, who seemed to
have the statistics at his finger-tips, "the two payments on our
timber, the note on the First National, the Commercial note, the
remaining liabilities on the Boom Company--about three hundred
thousand all told, counting the interest."
Orde crumpled the paper and threw it into the waste basket.
"Correct," said he. "Good enough. I ought to get along on a margin
He went over to his own desk, where he again set to figuring on his
pad. The results he eyed a little doubtfully. Each year he must
pay in interest the sum of seven thousand five hundred dollars.
Each year he would have to count on a proportionate saving of
fifteen thousand dollars toward payment of the notes. In addition,
he must live.
"The Orde family is going to be mighty hard up," said he, whistling
But Orde was by nature and training sanguine and fond of big risks.
"Never mind; it's for Bobby," said he to himself. "And maybe the
rate of interest will go down. And I'll be able to borrow on the
California tract if anything does go wrong."
He put on his hat, thrust a bundle of papers into his pocket, and
stepped across the hall into Taylor's office.
The lawyer he found tipped back in his revolving chair, reading a
"Frank," began Orde immediately, "I came to see you about that
California timber matter."
Taylor laid down the brief and removed his eye-glasses, with which
he began immediately to tap the fingers of his left hand.
"Sit down, Jack," said he. "I'm glad you came in. I was going to
try to see you some time to-day. I've been thinking the matter over
very carefully since the other day, and I've come to the conclusion
that it is too steep for me. I don't doubt the investment a bit,
but the returns are too far off. Fifteen thousand means a lot more
to me than it does to you, and I've got to think of the immediate
future. I hope you weren't counting on me--"
"Oh, that's all right," broke in Orde. "As I told you, I can swing
the thing myself, and only mentioned it to you on the off chance you
might want to invest. Now, what I want is this--" he proceeded to
outline carefully the agreement between himself and Newmark while
the lawyer took notes and occasionally interjected a question.
"All right," said the latter, when the details had been mastered.
"I'll draw the necessary notes and papers."
"Now," went on Orde, producing the bundle of papers from his pocket,
"here's the abstract of title. I wish you'd look it over. It's a
long one, but not complicated, as near as I can make out. Trace
seems to have acquired this tract mostly from the original
homesteaders and the like, who, of course, take title direct from
the government. But naturally there are a heap of them, and I want
you to look it over to be sure everything's shipshape."
"All right," agreed Taylor, reaching for the papers.
"One other thing," concluded Orde, uncrossing his legs. "I want
this investment to get no further than the office door. You see,
this is for Bobby, and I've given a lot of thought to that sort of
thing; and nothing spoils a man sooner than to imagine the thing's
all cut and dried for him, and nothing keeps him going like the
thought that he's got to rustle his own opportunities. You and I
know that. Bobby's going to have the best education possible; he's
going to learn to be a lumberman by practical experience, and that
practical experience he'll get with other people. No working for
his dad in Bobby's, I can tell you. When he gets through college,
I'll get him a little job clerking with some good firm, and he'll
have a chance to show what is in him and to learn the business from
the ground up, the way a man ought to. Of course, I'll make
arrangements that he has a real chance. Then, when he's worked into
the harness a little, the old man will take him out and show him the
fine big sugar pine and say to him, 'There, my boy, there's your
opportunity, and you've earned it. How does ORDE AND SON sound to
you?' What do you think of it, Frank?"
Taylor nodded several times.
"I believe you're on the right track, and I'll help you all I can,"
said he briefly.
"So, of course, I want to keep the thing dead secret," continued
Orde. "You're the only man who knows anything about it. I'm not
even going to buy directly under my own name. I'm going to
incorporate myself," he said, with a grin. "You know how those
things will get out, and how they always get back to the wrong
"Count on me," Taylor assured him.
As Orde walked home that evening, after a hot day, his mind was full
of speculation as to the immediate future. He had a local
reputation for wealth, and no one knew better than himself how
important it is for a man in debt to keep up appearances.
Nevertheless, decided retrenchment would be necessary. After Bobby
had gone to bed, he explained this to his wife.
"What's the matter?" she asked quickly. "Is the firm losing money?"
"No," replied Orde, "it's a matter of reinvestment." He hesitated.
"It's a dead secret, which I don't want to get out, but I'm thinking
of buying some western timber for Bobby when he grows up."
Carroll laughed softly.
"You so relieve my mind," she smiled at him. "I was afraid you'd
decided on the street-car-driver idea. Why, sweetheart, you know
perfectly well we could go back to the little house next the church
and be as happy as larks."
In the meantime Newmark had closed his desk, picked his hat from the
nail, and marched precisely down the street to Heinzman's office.
He found the little German in. Newmark demanded a private
interview, and without preliminary plunged into the business that
had brought him. He had long since taken Heinzman's measure, as,
indeed, he had taken the measure of every other man with whom he did
or was likely to do business.
"Heinzman," said he abruptly, "my partner wants to raise seventy-
five thousand dollars for his personal use. I have agreed to get
him that money from the firm."
Heinzman sat immovable, his round eyes blinking behind his big
"Proceed," said he shrewdly.
"As security in case he cannot pay the notes the firm will have to
give, he has signed an agreement to turn over to me his undivided
one-half interest in our enterprises."
"Vell? You vant to borrow dot money of me?" asked Heinzman. "I
could not raise it."
"I know that perfectly well," replied Newmark coolly. "You are
going to have difficulty meeting your July notes, as it is."
Heinzman hardly seemed to breathe, but a flicker of red blazed in
"Proceed," he repeated non-committally, after a moment. "I intend,"
went on Newmark, "to furnish this money myself. It must, however,
seem to be loaned by another. I want you to lend this money on
"What for?" asked Heinzman.
"For a one tenth of Orde's share in case he does not meet those
"But he vill meet the notes," objected Heinzman. "You are a
prosperous concern. I know somethings of YOUR business, also."
"He thinks he will," rejoined Newmark grimly. "I will merely point
out to you that his entire income is from the firm, and that from
this income he must save twenty-odd thousand a year.
"If the firm has hard luck--" said Heinzman.
"Exactly," finished Newmark.
"Vy you come to me?" demanded Heinzman at length.
"Well, I'm offering you a chance to get even with Orde. I don't
imagine you love him?"
"Vat's de matter mit my gettin' efen with you, too?" cried Heinzman.
"Ain't you beat me out at Lansing?"
Newmark smiled coldly under his clipped moustache.
"I'm offering you the chance of making anywhere from thirty to fifty
"Perhaps. And suppose this liddle scheme don't work out?"
"And," pursued Newmark calmly, "I'll carry you over in your present
obligations." He suddenly hit the arm of his chair with his
clenched fist. "Heinzman, if you don't make those July payments,
what's to become of you? Where's your timber and your mills and
your new house--and that pretty daughter of yours?"
Heinzman winced visibly.
"I vill get an extension of time," said he feebly.
"Will you?" countered Newmark.
The two men looked each other in the eye for a moment.
"Vell, maybe," laughed Heinzman uneasily. "It looks to me like a
"All right, then," said Newmark briskly. "I'll make out a mortgage
at ten per cent for you, and you'll lend the money on it. At the
proper time, if things happen that way, you will foreclose. That's
all you have to do with it. Then, when the timber land comes to you
under the foreclose, you will reconvey an undivided nine-tenths'
interest--for proper consideration, of course, and without recording
Heinzman laughed with assumed lightness.
"Suppose I fool you," said he. "I guess I joost keep it for
Newmark looked at him coldly.
"I wouldn't," he advised. "You may remember the member from Lapeer
County in that charter fight? And the five hundred dollars for his
vote? Try it on, and see how much evidence I can bring up. It's
called bribery in this State, and means penitentiary usually."
"You don't take a joke," complained Heinzman.
"It's understood, then?" he asked.
"How so I know you play fair?" asked the German.
"You don't. It's a case where we have to depend more or less on
each other. But I don't see what you stand to lose--and anyway
you'll get carried over those July payments," Newmark reminded him.
Heinzman was plainly uneasy and slightly afraid of these new waters
in which he swam.
"If you reduce the firm's profits, he iss going to suspect," he
"Who said anything about reducing the firm's profits?" said Newmark
impatiently. "If it does work out that way, we'll win a big thing;
if it does not, we'll lose nothing."
He nodded to Heinzman and left the office. His demeanour was as dry
and precise as ever. No expression illuminated his impassive
countenance. If he felt the slightest uneasiness over having
practically delivered his intentions to the keeping of another, he
did not show it. For one thing, an accomplice was absolutely
essential. And, too, he held the German by his strongest passions--
his avarice, his dread of bankruptcy, his pride, and his fear of the
penitentiary. As he entered the office of his own firm, his eye
fell on Orde's bulky form seated at the desk. He paused
involuntarily, and a slight shiver shook his frame from head to
foot--the dainty, instinctive repulsion of a cat for a large
robustious dog. Instantly controlling himself, he stepped forward.
"I've made the loan," he announced.
Orde looked up with interest.
"The banks wouldn't touch northern peninsula," said Newmark
steadily, "so I had to go to private individuals."
"So you said. Don't care who deals it out," laughed Orde.
"Thayer backed out, so finally I got the whole amount from
Heinzman," Newmark announced.
"Didn't know the old Dutchman was that well off," said Orde, after a
"Can't tell about those secretive old fellows," said Newmark.
"I didn't know he was friendly enough to lend us money."
"Business is business," replied Newmark.
There exists the legend of an eastern despot who, wishing to rid
himself of a courtier, armed the man and shut him in a dark room.
The victim knew he was to fight something, but whence it was to
come, when, or of what nature he was unable to guess. In the event,
while groping tense for an enemy, he fell under the fatal fumes of
From the moment Orde completed the secret purchase of the California
timber lands from Trace, he became an unwitting participant in one
of the strangest duels known to business history. Newmark opposed
to him all the subtleties, all the ruses and expedients to which his
position lent itself. Orde, sublimely unconscious, deployed the
magnificent resources of strength, energy, organisation, and
combative spirit that animated his pioneer's soul. The occult
manoeuverings of Newmark called out fresh exertions on the part of
Newmark worked under this disadvantage: he had carefully to avoid
the slightest appearance of an attitude inimical to the firm's very
best prosperity. A breath of suspicion would destroy his plans. If
the smallest untoward incident should ever bring it clearly before
Orde that Newmark might have an interest in reducing profits, he
could not fail to tread out the logic of the latter's devious ways.
For this reason Newmark could not as yet fight even in the twilight.
He did not dare make bad sales, awkward transactions. In spite of
his best efforts, he could not succeed, without the aid of chance,
in striking a blow from which Orde could not recover. The profits
of the first year were not quite up to the usual standard, but they
sufficed. Newmark's finesse cut in two the firm's income of the
second year. Orde roused himself. With his old-time energy of
resource, he hurried the woods work until an especially big cut gave
promise of recouping the losses of the year before. Newmark found
himself struggling against a force greater than he had imagined it
to be. Blinded and bound, it nevertheless made head against his
policy. Newmark was forced to a temporary quiescence. He held
himself watchful, intent, awaiting the opportunity which chance
Chance seemed by no means in haste. The end of the fourth year
found Newmark puzzled. Orde had paid regularly the interest on his
notes. How much he had been able to save toward the redemption of
the notes themselves his partner was unable to decide. It depended
entirely on how much the Ordes had disbursed in living expenses,
whether or not Orde had any private debts, and whether or not he had
private resources. In the meantime Newmark contented himself with
tying up the firm's assets in such a manner as to render it
impossible to raise money on its property when the time should come.
What Orde regarded as a series of petty annoyances had made the
problem of paying for the California timber a matter of greater
difficulty than he had supposed it would be. A pressure whose
points of support he could not place was closing slowly on him.
Against this pressure he exerted himself. It made him a trifle
uneasy, but it did not worry him. The margin of safety was not as
broad as he had reckoned, but it existed. And in any case, if worse
came to worst, he could always mortgage the California timber for
enough to make up the difference--and more. Against this expedient,
however, he opposed a sentimental obstinacy. It was Bobby's, and he
objected to encumbering it. In fact, Orde was capable of a
prolonged and bitter struggle to avoid doing so. Nevertheless, it
was there--an asset. A loan on its security would, with what he had
set aside, more than pay the notes on the northern peninsula
stumpage. Orde felt perfectly easy in his mind. He was in the
position of many of our rich men's sons who, quite sincerely and
earnestly, go penniless to the city to make their way. They live on
their nine dollars a week, and go hungry when they lose their jobs.
They stand on their own feet, and yet--in case of severe illness or
actual starvation--the old man is there! It gives them a courage to
be contented on nothing. So Orde would have gone to almost any
lengths to keep free "Bobby's tract," but it stood always between
himself and disaster. And a loan on western timber could be paid
off just as easily as a loan on eastern timber; when you came right
down to that. Even could he have known his partner's intentions,
they would, on this account, have caused him no uneasiness, however
angry they would have made him, or however determined to break the
partnership. Even though Newmark destroyed utterly the firm's
profits for the remaining year and a half the notes had to run, he
could not thereby ruin Orde's chances. A loan on the California
timber would solve all problems now. In this reasoning Orde would
have committed the mistake of all large and generous temperaments
when called upon to measure natures more subtle than their own. He
would have underestimated both Newmark's resources and his own grasp
* The author has considered it useless to burden the course of the
narrative with a detailed account of Newmark's financial manoeuvres.
Realising, however, that a large class of his readers might be
interested in the exact particulars, he herewith gives a sketch of
It will be remembered that at the time--1878--Orde first came in
need of money for the purpose of buying the California timber, the
firm, Newmark and Orde, owned in the northern peninsula 300,000,000
feet of pine. On this they had paid $150,000, and owed still a like
amount. They borrowed $75,000 on it, giving a note secured by
mortgage due in 1883. Orde took this, giving in return his note
secured by the Boom Company's stock. In 1879 and 1880 they made the
two final payments on the timber; so that by the latter date they
owned the land free of encumbrance save for the mortgage of $75,000.
Since Newmark's plan had always contemplated the eventual
foreclosure of this mortgage, it now became necessary further to
encumber the property. Otherwise, since a property worth
considerably above $300,000 carried only a $75,000 mortgage, it
would be possible, when the latter came due, to borrow a further sum
on a second mortgage with which to meet the obligations of the
first. Therefore Newmark, in 1881, approached Orde with the request
that the firm raise $70,000 by means of a second mortgage on the
timber. This $70,000 he proposed to borrow personally, giving his
note due in 1885 and putting up the same collateral as Orde had--
that is to say, his stock in the Boom Company. To this Orde could
hardly in reason oppose an objection, as it nearly duplicated his
own transaction of 1878. Newmark therefore, through Heinzman, lent
this sum to himself.
It may now be permitted to forecast events in the line of Newmark's
If his plans should work out, this is what would happen: in 1883 the
firm's note for $75,000 would come due. Orde would be unable to pay
it. Therefore at once his stock in the Boom Company would become
the property of Newmark and Orde. Newmark would profess himself
unable to raise enough from the firm to pay the mortgage. The
second mortgage from which he had drawn his personal loan would
render it impossible for the firm to raise more money on the land.
A foreclosure would follow. Through Heinzman, Newmark would buy in.
As he had himself loaned the money to himself--again through
Heinzman--on the second mortgage, the latter would occasion him no
The net results of the whole transaction would be: first, that
Newmark would have acquired personally the 300,000,000 feet of
northern peninsula timber; and, second, that Orde's personal share
in the stock company would flow be held in partnership by the two.
Thus, in order to gain so large a stake, it would pay Newmark to
suffer considerable loss jointly with Orde in the induced
misfortunes of the firm.
Incidentally it might be remarked that Newmark, of course, purposed
paying his own note to the firm when it should fall due in 1885,
thus saving for himself the Boom Company stock which he had put up
Affairs stood thus in the autumn before the year the notes would
come due. The weather had been beautiful. A perpetual summer
seemed to have embalmed the world in its forgetfulness of times and
seasons. Navigation remained open through October and into
November. No severe storms had as yet swept the lakes. The barge
and her two tows had made one more trip than had been thought
possible. It had been the intention to lay them up for the winter,
but the weather continued so mild that Orde suggested they be laden
with a consignment for Jones and Mabley, of Chicago.
"Did intend to ship by rail," said he. "They're all 'uppers,' so it
would pay all right. But we can save all kinds of money by water,
and they ought to skip over there in twelve to fifteen hours."
Accordingly, the three vessels were laid alongside the wharves at
the mill, and as fast as possible the selected lumber was passed
into their holds. Orde departed for the woods to start the cutting
as soon as the first belated snow should fall.
This condition seemed, however, to delay. During each night it grew
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