“That’s it,” agreed the major, “Those people are always to be had. But don’t worry till the time comes. As me grandfather, the commodore, once said: ‘Never cross a bridge till ye come to it.’”
“It wasn’t your grandfather who originated that remark,” said Uncle John.
“It was, sir! I defy you to prove otherwise.”
“I’m not certain you ever had a grandfather; and he wasn’t a commodore, anyhow.”
“Sir!” cried the major, glaring at his brother-in-law, “I have his commission, somewhere—laid away.”
“Never mind,” said Patsy, cheerfully, for these fierce arguments between her father and uncle—who were devotedly attached to one another—never disturbed her in the least, “the Tribune’s running smoothly just now, and the work is keeping us delightfully busy. I think that never in my life have I enjoyed myself more than since I became a journalist.”
“Is the thing paying dividends?” inquired the major.
“I’ve just been figuring up the last month’s expenditures and receipts,” said he. “The first month didn’t count, for we were getting started.”
“And what’s the result?” asked the Major.
“Every paper we send out—for one cent—costs us eighty-eight cents to manufacture.”
There was a painful silence for a time, broken by the major’s suggestive cough.
“I hope,” said the old soldier, solemnly, “that the paper’s circulation is very small.”
“The smallest of any daily paper in all the civilized word, sir,” declared the bookkeeper.
“Of course,” remarked Louise, with dignity; “that is what distinguishes it. We did not undertake this publication to make money, and it does not cost us more than we are willing to pay for the exceptional experiences we are gaining.”
The major raised his eyebrows; Arthur whistled softly; Uncle John smiled; but with one accord they dropped the disagreeable subject.
Joe Wegg’s machinery and dynamos arrived promptly and the electric plant was speedily installed at the old mill. So energetically had the young man supervised his work that poles and wires were all in place as far up the road as Thompson’s Crossing and a branch line run to the Wegg Farm, by the time the first test was made.
All Millville celebrated that first night when its streets shone resplendent under the glare of electric lights. There was a public bonfire near the mill, speeches were made, and afterward Mr. Merrick served a free supper to the villagers, in the hall over Sam Cotting’s General Store, where the girls assisted in waiting upon the guests, and everybody was happy and as hilarious as the fumes of good coffee could make them.
More speeches were made in the hall, and one of these was by Peggy McNutt, who had painted his wooden foot blue with red stripes in honor of the occasion. He said, according to the report afterward printed in the Tribune: