“Say, boys, I gotta go away fer a couple o’ weeks, or mebbe three. Push it right along an’ mebbe you’ll be hearin’ from old man Eddy’s son when I git back!”
The receiving outfits were completed; the aerials had been put up, one installed at the garage, the other at the mansion. Grace naturally had all, the say about placing the one in her home. The aerial, of four wires, each thirty feet long and parallel, were attached equi-distant, and at each end to springy pieces of ash ten feet long, these being insulators in part and sustained by spiral spring cables, each divided by a glass insulator block, the extended cables being fastened to a maple tree and the house chimney. The ground wire went down the side of the house beside a drain pipe.
The house receiver, in a cabinet that had cost the boys much painstaking labor, was set by a window and, after Grace and Skeets had been instructed how to tune the instrument to varying wave lengths, they and good Mrs. Hooper enjoyed many delightful periods of listening in, all zealously consulting the published programs from the great broadcasting stations.
The other outfit made by the boys, which, except the elaborate box and stand, was an exact duplicate of the Hooper receiver, was taken to the Brown cottage. Gus insisted that Bill had the best right to it, and as the Griers and Mrs. Brown had long been the best of friends and lived almost next door to each other, all the members of the carpenter’s family would be welcome to listen in whenever they wanted to. The little evening gatherings at certain times for this purpose were both mirthful and delightful.
The boys’ aerial was a three-wire affair, stretching forty feet, and erected in much the same way as that at the Hooper house, except that one mast had to be put up as high as the gable end of the cottage, which was the other support, thirty-five feet high.
Then, when the announcement was made that the talks on Edison were to be repeated, Bill and Gus told the class and others of their friends, so the Hoopers came also, the merry crowd filling the Brown living-room. Mr. Hooper’s absence was noted and regretted from the first, as his eagerness “to be shown” was well known to them all.
The first lectures concerning Edison’s boyhood were repeated. The second and third talks were each better attended than the preceding ones. Cora, Dot, Skeets and two other girls occupied the front row; Ted Bissell and Terry Watkins were present. Bill presided with much dignity, most carefully tuning in, making the announcements, then becoming the most interested listener, the theme being ever dear to him.
On the occasion of the third lecture, Bill said:
“Now, then, classmates and other folks, this is a new one to all of us. The last was where we left off in June on the Professor’s receiver. You can just bet this is going to be a pippin. First off, though, is a violin solo by—by—oh, I forget his name,—and may it be short and sweet!”