“That there lad’s a reg’lar rip-snorter, Perfesser. You can’t beat him. Well, now, let’s set down here in the middle; eh, Mother? an’ wait fer what’s a-comin’. I want a chance to tell the Perfesser ’bout that there water-power plant an’ what them boys done. Them’s the lads, I’m a-sayin’.”
But conversation was out of the question, for in came another troop of youngsters, landed by Cora, Dot and Lucy, followed a moment later by more, invited by the boys, who had joined forces in the street. The hall was half filled by an expectant and noisy throng. Of course, half of them anticipated the refreshments more eagerly than anything else. These were already, under the ministration of a young woman from the confectionery hastily engaged by Terry, now becoming evident.
Bill was beside the radio outfit, silently listening with the ear ’phones clamped to the side of his head. Suddenly he arose and shouted:
“Quiet! Silence, everybody, and listen hard!”
Out of the horn again came the well-known voice of the transmitting station official announcer:
“It gives us great pleasure to be able to broadcast very worth while messages of helpfulness and cheer to the youth of America. This occasion and opportunity was largely inspired by the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts and it will interest you to know that the presidents, secretaries and many of the executive officers of these splendid organizations are now here with us in person to inspire the occasion. They have asked me to express to you the hope that every Girl and Boy Scout—and I add every other self-respecting girl and boy—has access to a radio receiver and is now listening in to catch these words. I will now reproduce for you a message from one of the world’s foremost citizens and greatest men, one who has brought more joy and comfort to civilized millions than any other man of his time, and therefore the greatest inventor in history; Mr. Thomas Alva Edison will now speak to the boys and girls of America through his constant associate and devoted friend, Mr. William H. Meadowcroft.”
There was a slight pause. The silence in the hall was most impressive. Bill cast his eyes for a brief moment over the waiting throng. There was in the eager faces, some almost wofully serious, some half-smiling, all wide-eyed and with craning necks, a tremendous indication of an almost breathless interest. Then, from the horn came slow and measured accents in a loud voice, perhaps a trifle tremulous from a proper feeling of the gravity of the occasion, but it was perfectly distinct:
“Young people, I—”
“That’s Bill--hello, Bill Medders--when did you------?”
And the startled company, staring about, saw Mr. Hooper stumbling forward in the aisle toward the trumpet.
“You win, me lads, you—”
Bill Brown could not help laughing at the impetuous honesty of his kind old friend. Pointing to the horn, and placing his hand like a shell behind his own ear, the amused boy signed to the excited old man to listen.