“Out with it if it’s worth anything,” grunted Dol. “I never have ideas these days. Too much doing. I don’t feel as if there was a steady peg in me to hang one on.”
“Oh! quit your nonsense, Chick, and listen. Herb will wait for us in a few minutes,” was the Boston man’s impatient rejoinder.
Then followed a low-toned consultation, in the course of which such talk as this was heard:—
“Our Pater will want to shell out when he hears about Chris.”
“So will mine. He’ll be for sending Herb a cool five hundred or thousand dollars, right away. And, as likely as not, Herb would feel flaring mad, and ready to chuck it in his face. He’s not the sort of fellow to stand being paid by an outsider for a plucky act, done in the best hour of his life.”
“Oh, I say! wouldn’t it be decenter to manage the thing ourselves, without letting anybody who doesn’t know him meddle in it?” This suggestion was in Dol’s voice. “Neal and I could draw our allowances for three months in advance; the Pater will be willing enough. We’ll be precious hard up without them, but we’ll rub through somehow. Then you can chip in an even third, Cy, and we’ll order an A I rifle,—the best ever invented, from the best company in America,—silver plate, with his name,—and all the rest of it. I’d swamp my allowance for a year to see Herb’s face when he gets it.”
“That’s the plan! You do have occasional moments of wisdom, Dol; I’ll say that much for you,” commented the leader. “Well, Herb has taken a special sort of liking to you. You may tip him a hint to wait in Greenville for a few days, and not to go looking for second-hand rifles till he hears from us. Better not say anything until we’re just parting. Ten to one, though, you’ll blurt the whole thing out in some harebrained minute, or give it away in your sleep.”
“Blow me if I do!” answered Dol solemnly.
Herb, turning back at that minute to wait for his party, experienced a shock of curiosity which was new to him, at seeing the three in close counsel, shouldering each other upon a trail a couple of feet wide.
But the sensation passed. Dol for once was not guilty of an indiscretion, waking or sleeping. The woodsman got no hint of what matter had been discussed until more than two weeks later, when he stood in the main street of Greenville, beside a tanned, muscular, newly shaven trio, waiting for their departure for Boston.
A few pleasant days, marked by no particular excitements, had been spent at the log camp on Millinokett after that wonderful trip into the forests of Katahdin. Then the weather turned suddenly blustering and cold; and Cyrus, as captain, ordered an immediate forced march to Greenville.