“Oh, thank you, Uncle!”
“Of course we’re willing!”
“It is all absolutely settled, so far as we are concerned,” said Patsy, firmly. “How long will it take to get the things here, Uncle?”
Mr. Merrick considered a moment.
“There’s a long-distance telephone over at Cotting’s General Store, in town,” he said. “I’ll drive over and get Major Doyle on the wire and have him order the stuff sent out at once.”
“Oh, no!” protested Patsy; “don’t tell daddy of this plan, please. He’d think we were all fit subjects for the lunatic asylum.”
“Major Doyle wouldn’t be far wrong in that conclusion,” suggested Arthur.
“I’d like to surprise him by sending him the first copy of the Millville Tribune,” added the major’s daughter.
“Then,” said Mr. Merrick, “I’ll call up Marvin, my banker. He’ll perhaps attend to the matter more understandingly and more promptly than the major would. Tell Hucks to harness Joe to the buggy, Patsy, and I’ll go at once.”
“We’ll all go!” exclaimed Beth.
“Of course,” added Louise; “we are all equally interested in this venture.”
So Patsy had old Hucks hitch Joe to the surrey, and the three girls accompanied their uncle in his drive to town, leaving Arthur Weldon shaking his head in a deprecating way but fully realizing that no protest of his would avail to prevent this amazing undertaking.
“That old man is as much a child as Beth or Patsy,” he reflected. “It puzzles me to explain how he made all those millions with so little worldly wisdom.”
THE WAY INTO PRINT
Sam Cotting’s General Store at Millville divided importance with Bob West’s hardware store but was a more popular loafing place for the sparse population of the tiny town. The post office was located in one corner and the telephone booth in another, and this latter institution was regarded with much awe by the simple natives. Once in awhile some one would telephone over to the Junction on some trivial business, but the long-distance call was never employed except by the “nabobs”—the local name for John Merrick and his nieces—or by the manager of the new mill at Royal, who had extended the line to his own office in the heart of the pine forest.
So, when Uncle John and the girls entered Cotting’s store and the little gentleman shut himself up in the telephone booth, a ripple of excitement spread throughout the neighborhood. Skim Clark, the youthful hope of the Widow Clark, who “run the Emporium,” happened to be in the store and he rushed out to spread the news that “the nabob’s talkin’ to New Yoruk!”