“WM. CONNISTON, Jr.”
When William Conniston, Junior, received the second message from William Conniston, Senior, a swift understanding came to him, an understanding not only of the reason for the attitude Corliss had taken, but of what Oliver Swinnerton had had in mind when he had talked slyly of Conniston’s intentions, and had expressed his confidence that the young superintendent was preparing to double cross his employer.
“WM. CONNISTON, JR.,
“Am starting for
New York. Meet me. Drop work. I have
million dollars at stake in Oliver Swinnerton project. Will
lose all if you don’t quit.
“WM. CONNISTON, Sr.”
And it gave Greek Conniston a great, unbounded joy to answer:
“WM. CONNISTON, Sr.,
“Sorry, dad. You lose million. I have reputation at stake.
“WM. CONNISTON, Jr.”
The days ran on, each twenty-four hours seeming shorter, swifter than the preceding twenty-four. Although everywhere in the Valley there was a glad confidence that the reclamation project was an assured thing, although feverish anxiety had been beaten back and driven out, there was no slightest slackening of unremitting toil. Upward of seven hundred men worked as they had never worked before. As the end of the time drew nearer, as success became ever more assured, they worked longer hours, they accomplished swifter results. For each man of them, from Brayley to the ditch-diggers, was laboring not only for the company, but for himself. Each and every man had been promised a bonus for every day between the time when water was poured down into the sunken Valley and the coming of high noon upon October the first. And Conniston still held to his determination to have everything in readiness by the twenty-fifth of September.
Upon the evening of the twenty-fourth of September Conniston called upon Mr. Crawford at his cottage in Valley City. He found his employer smoking upon the little porch alone.
When he was seated and had accepted a cigar, Conniston began abruptly what he had to say.
“If you have time, Mr. Crawford, I want to make a partial report to you to-night. Thank you. To begin with, I have completed the big dam, Dam Number One. It is all ready for business. The flume is finished, the cut made across the ridge to Dam Number Two across Indian Creek. Dam Number Two is ready. From these two dams the main canal runs, completed entirely, thirty miles and into Valley City. Dam Number Three, Miss Crawford’s Dam, is finished, and the branch canal from it to the main canal will be completed in two days. I do not believe that this dam is going to be an absolute necessity to us now. I think that we are going to have all the water from Deep Creek and Indian Creek that we need. But Dam Number Three makes us more than confident. And when later you want to extend your area of irrigated acreage you will want it.