The letter was from Robert Westcote, and although it was somewhat brief it brought him considerable satisfaction. His eyes kindled with animation and his pulse quickened as he considered the message he had just received and meditated upon the possibilities of the future.
CURIOSITY AND ANXIETY
Never in the memory of the oldest inhabitant had Creekdale been so greatly excited. How the news first arrived no one could tell. But everybody seemed to have heard the rumor at once, and immediately there was much running to and fro among the villagers. The store was the principal place where the men gathered to discuss the report and to find out what was the latest bit of information. Men would find some excuse for leaving their work in the fields in order to drop into the store during the afternoon lest some choice morsel of news should be missed. Every evening they would gather there such as they had never done before in the summer months. It was always in the winter that they made the store their headquarters when work was not so pressing.
It was Andy Forbes, the storekeeper, who made it a point of keeping abreast of the times. What he didn’t know of the events of the parish was not considered of any importance. He had a way of appearing to know more than he really did. But concerning this affair at the falls he was completely blocked.
“The whole thing stumps me,” he acknowledged one night, after an animated discussion had taken place as to the purpose of it all. “I can understand about the engineers making the surveys to find out how much power can be obtained from the falls. That Light and Power Company in the city has been playing the hog too long, and robbing the people. It is something fierce what they charge. It is only natural that an opposition company should be formed to force down the prices. But the question is, Who is back of this new movement? and what has Crazy David to do with it?”
“And so you really think he knows something about at?” Ben Logan enquired.
“Sure. I could tell you a number of things but my position as postmaster compels me to be silent.” This was merely another of Andy’s methods, and it always impressed his hearers in a marked degree.
“But what about that chap who was working for old Squabbles?” Billy Dexter asked. “He seems to be mixed up somehow with the affair. He spends most of his time now at the falls with the engineers. I understand that he was the one who got the Petersons to take in Crazy David and that girl, Betty Bean.”
“Oh, he’s a queer one,” Sandy Morton replied. “I met him the other day on the road and asked him what was going on up at the falls and who were the men back of the work? My, you should have seen the look he gave me. It was ‘Mind your own business,’ as plain as if he had said it in words. I ought to have knocked him down, for it was a dead insult.”