“They can’t hear us, can they?” she queried, glancing back at the others.
“Why, I expect not,” Bill replied, surprised and mystified.
“If I say something to you, real confidentially, you won’t give me away, will you? Honest, for sure?”
“Honest, I won’t; cross my heart; wish I may die; snake’s tongue; butcher knife bloody!”
“That ought to do, and anybody with any sense would believe you, anyway. But, then, it will be a big temptation for you—”
“Resistance is my nickname; you may trust me.”
“Well, then, in some way,” said the girl, dropping her voice still lower, “you are going to find that this work here won’t be—it won’t go—not just as you expect it to; it—it won’t be just plain sailing as it ought to be and would be if you were let alone. There are things,” she put a forceful accent on the last word, “that will interfere—oh, sometimes dreadfully, maybe, and I felt that I must tell you, but—”
Bill, wondering, glanced up at her; she stood with her pretty face turned away, a troubled look in her bright eyes, the usually smiling lips compressed with determination. The boy’s quick wits began to fathom the drift of her intention and the cause thereof; he must know more to determine her precise attitude.
“I must believe that you mean this in real kindness and friendliness toward Gus and me.”
“Of course I do; else I would not have told you a thing,” Grace said, blushing a little.
“I think it must be something real and that you know. This thing, then, as you call it, is more likely a person—some person who is working against us. You mean that; don’t you?”
“Please don’t ask me too much. I think you’re very quick and intelligent and that you’ll find out and be on your guard.”
“I think I understand. Naturally you must feel a certain loyalty toward a relation, or at least if not just that, toward one who has your father’s good will. Gus and I surely appreciate your warning; you’ll want me to tell him, of course.”
“I don’t know. Gus is not so cool-headed as you are; I was afraid he might—”
“Trust Gus. He and I work together in everything. And I do thank you, Grace, more than I can express. Well keep our eyes open.”
The dam was built, the flood gate in place, the pipe valve set for further extension of the line down the little valley; and as the pipe had all come cut and threaded, Bill and George were working with wrenches and white lead to get the sections tightly jointed against the pressure that would result. Gus, the carpenter, was laying out the framing of heavy timbers reinforced with long bolts and set in cement on which the Pelton wheel was to be mounted.
Several days were thus spent; the water was pouring over the spillway of the dam and it was with satisfaction that the boys found, after an inspection one quitting hour, that the wall, five feet high, was not leaking a drop.