“Sure. You sorry?”
“About the house? Oh, no. It’s only a place for mamma to make a splash, as Norman said. If you hibernate at the cottage I’ll come and keep house for you.”
Gower considered this.
“You ought to stay with your mother,” he said finally. “She’ll be able to give you a lot I wouldn’t make an effort to provide. You don’t know what it means really to work. You’d find it pretty slow at Squitty.”
“Maybe,” Betty said. “But we managed very well last winter, just you and me. If there is going to be a break-up of the family I shall stay with you. I’m a daddy’s girl.”
Gower drew her face down and kissed it.
“You are that,” he said huskily. “You’re all Gower. There’s real stuff in you. You’re free of that damned wishy-washy Morton blood. She made a poodle dog of Norman, but she couldn’t spoil you. We’ll manage, eh, Betty?”
“Of course,” Betty returned. “But I don’t know that Norman is such a hopeless case. Didn’t he rather take your breath away with his declaration of independence?”
“It takes more than a declaration to win independence,” Gower answered grimly. “Wait till the going gets hard. However, I’ll say there’s a chance for Norman. Now, you run along, Betty. I’ve got some figuring to do.”
Business as Usual
Late in March Jack MacRae came down to Vancouver and quartered himself at the Granada again. He liked the quiet luxury of that great hostelry. It was a trifle expensive, but he was not inclined to worry about expense. At home, or aboard his carriers in the season, living was a negligible item. He found a good deal of pleasure in swinging from one extreme to the other. Besides, a man stalking big game does not arm himself with a broomstick.
He had not come to town solely for his pleasure, although he was not disposed to shy from any diversion that offered. He had business in hand, business of prime importance since it involved spending a little matter of twelve thousand dollars. In brief, he had to replace the Blackbird, and he was replacing her with a carrier of double the capacity, of greater speed, equipped with special features of his own choosing. The new boat was designed to carry ten thousand salmon. There was installed in her holds an ammonia refrigerating plant which would free him from the labor and expense and uncertainty of crushed ice. Science bent to the service of money-making. MacRae grinned to himself when he surveyed the coiled pipes, the pumping engine. His new boat was a floating, self-contained cold-storage plant. He could maintain a freezing temperature so long as he wished by chemico-mechanical means. That meant a full load every trip, since he could follow the trollers till he got a load, if it took a week, and his salmon would still be fresh.
He wondered why this had not been done before. Stubby enlightened him.