The week before Christmas Lois became more enthusiastic than ever with the work of getting the boxes ready to be sent to the various families. She longed to interest her father, and one morning before he left for his office she asked him if he would not do something for the families of the men who were working for him in the woods on the old Dinsmore Manor. She had never spoken to him about the letter he had written to Mrs. Bean, feeling sure that it would be of no avail. But she had learned through a letter from Betty that the choppers had not yet crossed the line, and for this Lois was thankful. Perhaps he did not intend to take the logs, she reasoned, but had written the letter during one of his cranky moods, with no intention of putting his threat into practice.
“Why should we send anything to country families?” her father asked her. “They earn good money, and why should we help them?”
“But there are some very poor families,” Lois replied, “and I know they can hardly make a living. There is Mrs. Bean, for instance. She hasn’t the bare necessities of life at times, and a present this Christmas would be a blessing to her.”
“I can’t help that,” Mr. Sinclair angrily retorted. “It’s none of my business if she is poor. Where would we be, I’d like to know, if we handed out to such people? Why, there are thousands of them.”
It was in no happy frame of mind that Mr. Sinclair left the house and made his way down town. Reaching his office, he seated himself before his desk and spread out a somewhat soiled piece of paper. Over this he ran his finger until it stopped at a certain mark. “Camp Number One,” he muttered. “Ha, ha! good timber there, and close to the line, too. Camp Number Two—much nearer the line,” and his finger moved over the paper to another mark. “Camp Number Three, and over the border into the enemy’s country, ha, ha! Good for five thousand. Pine timber, straight and clean as masts, and thick as hair on a dog’s back. How they’ll squirm, those country clogs, when they see their good logs floating down the river. But they’re mine. The new line is right, for the best surveyor in the Province ran it. Fifty rods inside the old one, ha, ha! I expect they’ll make a fuss and put up a big kick. But I’ll fight them, and then we’ll see what money will do.”
A knock sounded upon the door, and three men entered with hats in their hands.
“Mr. Sinclair, I believe,” the spokesman began.
“Yes, that’s my name, and what can I do for you?” the lumberman replied.
“Well, you see,” continued the other, “we’ve come to the city on purpose to have a talk with you about that line you had run between your land and ours.”
“Well, and what about it?” snapped Sinclair.
“We’ve been appointed a committee to inform you that your men are cutting logs over the line, and are encroaching on the shore lots. They began day before yesterday.”