“Then the sooner you begin on them, my boy, the better. I shall send my lawyer, Mr. Griscom, up to you immediately; he will see that we get fair play legally, but as to the question of what and what not to buy, I leave that entirely to your judgment; what money you need you have but to ask Mr. Griscom for.”
“I’m afraid they will hold the tract at a high price, Mr. Thayor,” said Holcomb.
“Whatever they hold it at within reason I’ll pay,” declared the millionaire.
“Then you’ll have it,” replied the young woodsman in a positive tone, “at the fairest figure I can get it for.”
“I haven’t a doubt of it, Billy. And now let me tell Holt and Freme—they are just inside the shanty. Ah—Mr. Holt, I was just telling Holcomb that I’m off in the morning, and before I go I want to tell you and Freme that I shall miss you dreadfully—miss you more than I can tell.
“Yes—so we mistrusted,” answered Freme, in a regretful tone, “when we overheard ye talkin’ ’bout telegrams.”
“Goll! I hate to have ye go,” declared the trapper, clearing his throat. “Seems ’ough you hain’t but jest come, Mr. Thayor. But you got what ye come for, didn’t ye? I dunno as I ever see a nicer deer.”
“Yes, thanks to you and the old dog. But I’m coming back.”
“Thar! what did I tell ye, Hite?” exclaimed the Clown.
“And when I do come back it will be to stay—at least during the summer months—perhaps for all the months.”
The Clown and the trapper looked up with a puzzled expression.
“And as it is a decision which concerns all of us,” Thayor resumed, “I want to tell you now that I have decided to buy Big Shanty Brook as far as we can see, and build a home here for myself and my family.”
“Gee whimey!” cried the Clown. “I want to know!” The keen eyes of the trapper opened wide in astonishment.
“I have left the matter of purchase,” continued Thayor, “entirely in Holcomb’s hands. He will be my superintendent. I now ask your help, my friends, both of you; and so if you are willing you may consider yourselves under salary which Billy will settle with you, beginning from the morning I first saw this shanty. And now, Billy, if you don’t mind, I want to see Big Shanty Brook once more before it gets dark. Maybe we can pick out a place for the new camp.”
For some time neither the trapper nor the Clown spoke. Both sat amazed, silently gazing into the fire. Then Hite said slowly, turning to the Clown:
“Freme, I dunno as if I ever seen a nicer man.”
* * * * *
Once outside Thayor stretched his arms above his head.
“Ah—what a day, it has been, Billy,” he sighed. “What a full, glorious day, and what a rest it has all been. At what hour do we start in the morning?” and a touch of sadness came into his voice.
“At seven,” Holcomb replied; “Freme will take us out to the railroad with a team from Morrison’s. We can send your telegram there.”