“There’s my old friend Nan, grown to womanhood,” Donald soliloquized, and waved his arm at her. Through the glasses, he saw her wave back at him.
The morning after the barbecue, Donald McKaye reported at eight o’clock to his father’s faithful old general manager, Andrew Daney. Daney had grown gray in his father’s service, and it was no part of Donald’s plans to assign him to a back seat.
“Well, Mr. Daney,” he inquired affably, “what are your plans for the new hired man?”
Old Daney looked up quizzically.
“You do the planning here, Don,” he replied.
“You heard me say yesterday that there would be no changes, Mr. Daney. Of course, I haven’t grown up in Port Agnew without learning something of my heritage, but, in view of the fact that I still have considerable to learn, suppose you indicate just where I ought to start.”
Daney was pleased at a deference he had not anticipated.
“Start in the woods,” he replied. “That’s where your daddy started. Felling timber and handling it is rather a fine art, Don. I’d wrestle logs for a month and follow them down the Skookum to the log boom. Then I’d put in six months in the mill and six more in the factory, following it with three months on the dock, tallying, and three months of a hand-shaking tour out among the trade. After that, you may sit in at your father’s desk, and I’ll gradually break you in to his job.”
“That’s a grand idea, and I’ll act on it,” Donald declared.
“Well, it’s too late to act on it to-day, Don. The up-river launch to the logging-camp left at seven o’clock. However, I have a job for you. We really need the Sawdust Pile for an extension of our drying-yard. Our present yard lies right under the lee of that ridge of which Tyee Head is an extension, and it’s practically noon before the sun gets a fair chance at it. The Sawdust Pile gets the sun all day long, and the winds have an uninterrupted sweep across it. We can dry our cedar decking there in half the time it requires now.”
“But the Sawdust Pile is—”
“A rat’s nest, Don. There are a number of other shacks there now—some Greek fishermen, a negro, and a couple of women from the overflow of Tyee. It ought to be cleaned out.”
“I noticed those shacks last night, Mr. Daney, and I agree with you that they should go. But I haven’t the heart to run old Caleb Brent off the Sawdust Pile. I gave it to him, you know.”
“Well, let Brent stay there. He’s too old and crippled with rheumatism to attend to his truck-garden any more; so if you leave him the space for his house and a chicken-yard, he’ll be satisfied. In fact, I have discussed the proposition with him, and he is agreeable.”
“Why did dad permit those other people to crowd him, Mr. Daney?”
“While your father was in Europe with you, they horned in, claimed a squatter’s right, and stood pat. Old Brent was defenseless, and while the boys from the mill would have cleaned them out if I had given the word, the Greeks and the negro were defiant, and it meant bloodshed. So I have permitted the matter to rest until your father’s return.”