“Do as Dad says if you want to keep our friendship. Dad isn’t any sort of a piker,—you know that.”
The insistency was too direct; “the queen’s wish was a command.” The boys would have to comply and they could get square with their good friends in the end. So at it they went, Bill with pad and pencil, Gus calling out the items as his eye or his memory gleaned them from the hard-looking objects in the burned mass as he raked it over. Presently Grace came out again.
“Dad wants the list and the amount,” she said. “He’s got to go to the city with Mr. Herring.”
Bill handed over his pad and she was gone, to return as quickly in a few minutes.
“Here is an order on the bank; you can draw the cash as you need it. You can start working in the stable loft; then bring your stuff over. There will be a watchman on the grounds from to-night, so don’t worry about any more fires. I must go help get Dad off.”
Once more she retreated; again she stopped to say something, as an afterthought, over her shoulder:
“And, boys, won’t you let Skeets and me help you some? Skeets will be here again next week and I love to tinker and contrive and make all sorts of things; it’ll be fun to see the radio receiver grow.”
“Sure, you can,” said Gus; and Bill nodded, adding: “We have only a limited time now, and any help will count a lot.”
Going down to the bank, Bill again outlined the work in detail, suggesting the purchases of even better machinery and tools, of only the best grades of materials. There must be another trip to the city, the most strenuous part of the work.
“We’ll get it through on time, I guess,” said Bill.
“I’m not thinking so much of that as about how that fire started,” said Gus.
“It couldn’t have been any of our chemicals, could it?”
“Chem—? My eye! Don’t you know, old chap? I’ll bet Mr. Hooper and Grace have the correct suspicion.”
“More crooked business? You don’t mean—”
“Sure, I do! Thad, of course. And, Bill, we’re going to get him, sooner or later. Mr. Hooper won’t want to stand this sort of thing forever. I’ve got a hunch that we’re not through with that game yet.”
“TO LABOR AND TO WAIT”
It was truly astonishing what well organized labor could do under intelligent direction; the boys had a fine example of this before them and a fine lesson in the accomplishment. The new garage grew into a new and somewhat larger building, on the site of the old, almost over night. There were three eight-hour shifts of men and two foremen, with the supervising architect and Mr. Grier apparently always on the job. As soon as the second floor was laid, the roof on and the sheathing in place, Bill and Gus moved in. The men gave them every aid and Mr. Grier gave special attention to building their benches, trusses, a drawing-board stand, shelving and tool chests. Then, how those new radio receivers did come on!