“This is Darrow, Mr. Donald. I don’t believe you’ve seen it, have you? Darrow put in his mill and town while you were away.”
Donald looked over the motley collection of shacks as the automobile rolled down the single unpaved street.
“Filthy hole,” he muttered. “Hello! There’s one of my late friends from the Sawdust Pile.”
A woman, standing in the open door of a shanty on the outskirts of the town had made a wry face and thrust out her tongue at him. He lifted his hat gravely, whereat she screamed a curse upon him. An instant later, an empty beer-bottle dropped with a crash in the tonneau, and Donald, turning, beheld in the door of a Darrow groggery one of the Greek fishermen He had dispossessed.
“Stop the car!” Donald commanded. “I think that man wants to discuss a matter with me.”
“Sorry, sir, but I don’t think it’s wise to obey you just now,” his father’s chauffeur answered, and trod on the accelerator. “They call that place the ‘Bucket of Blood,’ and you’ll need something more than your fists if you expect to enter there and come out under your own power.”
“Very well. Some other time, perhaps.”
“You don’t appear to be popular in Darrow, Mr. Donald.”
“Those people left the Sawdust Pile yesterday—in a hurry,” Donald explained. “Naturally, they’re still resentful.”
“They were making quite a little money down there, I believe. Folks do say business was good, and when you take money from that kind of cattle you make a worth-while enemy. If I were you, sir, I’d watch my step in dark alleys, and I’d carry a gun.”
“When I have to carry a gun to protect myself from vermin like that mulatto and those shifty little Greeks, I’ll be a few years older than I am now, Henry. However, I suppose I’d be foolish to neglect your warning to mind my step.”
He spent a busy week in the woods, and it was his humor to spend it entirely felling trees. The tough, experienced old choppers welcomed him with keen interest and played freeze-out each night in the bunk-houses to see which one should draw him for a partner next day; for the choppers worked in pairs, likewise the cross-cut men. Their bucolic sense of humor impelled the choppers to speed up when they found themselves paired with the new boss, for it would have been a feather in the cap of the man who could make him quit or send him home at nightfall “with his tail dragging,” as the woods boss expressed it.
Donald sported a wondrous set of blisters at the close of that first day, but after supper he opened them, covered them with adhesive tape, and went back to work next morning as if nothing had happened. During those five days, he learned considerable of the art of dropping a tree exactly where he desired it, and bringing it to earth without breakage. He rode down to Port Agnew with the woods crew on the last log-train Saturday night, walked into the mill office, and cashed in his time-slip for five days’ work as a chopper. He had earned two dollars a day and his board and lodging. His father, who had driven into town to meet him, came to the window and watched him humorously.