Mr. Hooper, his nephew, his daughter and another girl, fat and dumpy, were at the power site before two o’clock, and without more ado Bill asked Gus to bring the transit to the comparatively level field on top of the hill.
“Now, Mr. Hooper, please don’t think we’re doing this in a spirit of idle controversy; we only want to show you something interesting.”
“That’s all right, lad; an’ I ain’t above learnin’, old as I am. But Thad here, he’s different.” Mr. Hooper gave Bill and Gus a long wink. “Thad, he don’t reckon he can be learned a thing, an’ he’s so blame sure—say, Thad, how ’bout that bet?”
“We don’t want to bet anything; that only—” began Bill, but Gus was less pacific.
“Put up, or shut up,” he said, drawing a borrowed five dollar note out of his pocket and glaring at Thad. The slim youth did not respond.
“He’s afraid to bet,” jeered the daughter. “Hasn’t got the nerve, or the money.”
“I ain’t afraid to bet.” Thad brought forth a like amount in bills. “Uncle’ll hold the stakes. You got to tell how far it is from here to the house without ever stepping the distance.”
“We’ll make a more simple demonstration than that,” Bill declared. “It’ll be the same thing and take less time and effort. Mr. Hooper, take some object out there in the field; something that we can see; anything.”
“Here, Gracie, you take a stake there an’ go out yan an’ stick it up. Keep a-goin’ till I holler.”
Both girls carried out these directions, the fat one falling down a couple of times, tripped by the long grass and getting up shaking with laughter. The boys were to learn that she was a chum of Grace Hooper, that her name was Sophronia Doyle, though commonly nicknamed “Skeets.”
The stake was placed. Bill drove another at his feet, set the transit over it, peeped through it both ways and at his direction, after stretching the steel tape, Gus drove a third stake exactly sixty feet from the transit at an angle of ninety degrees from a line to the field stake.
“Now, folks,” explained Bill, “the stake out yonder is A, this one is B and the one at the other end of the sixty-foot base line is C. Please remember that.”
The transit was then placed exactly over the stake C and, peeping again, Bill found the angle from the base line to the stake B and the line to stake A to be 78 degrees. Thereupon Gus produced a long board, held up one end and rested the other on a stake, while Bill went to work with a six-foot rule, a straight edge and a draughtsman’s degree scale. Bill elucidated:
“Now, then, to get out of figuring, which is always hard to understand, we’ll just lay the triangulation out by scale, which is easily understood. One-eighth of an inch equals one foot. This point is stake B and the base line to C is this line at right angles, or square across the board. C stake is 7-1/2 inches from B which is equal to sixty feet on the scale, that is sixty one-eighth inches. Now, this line, parallel to the edge of the board, is the exact direction of your stake A. Do you all follow that?