He got down from the boulder, and as he did so Mr. Crawford came to his side.
“Do you mean, Greek,” he said, anxiously, “that there is a chance yet?”
“A chance? Yes! There is more than a chance! We are going to make a go of it. Listen: Truxton put in his foundations here, and I went ahead with the superstructure for the simple reason that here is a perfect dam-site, here are solid rock walls and creek-bed that would hold any concrete structure in the world. And up there at the Jaws you have to contend with shale, full of seams, in places lined with clay. And right there I am going to make a rock-filled dam, and make it fast! It’s going to be a temporary job and a makeshift, but it’s going to sling the water into a flume that will carry it back into the old cut and down into the Valley. And it will do until Mr. Colton Gray and his people are satisfied.”
The man who had accompanied Mr. Crawford and Jimmie Kent from Crawfordsville came forward and put out his hand.
“Mr. Conniston,” he said, quickly, “I am Colton Gray. And I am already satisfied. If my influence is worth anything the P. C. & W. is going to stand by its old contract. And I believe that when I tell the P. C. & W. what I know they will complete what you have done and inform Mr. Oliver Swinnerton that they can have no further dealings whatever with a criminal of his type.”
Conniston shook hands with him warmly.
“Thank you. But you are going to have no points to strain. We are going to have water, plenty of water, in Rattlesnake Valley before the first day of October.”
Conniston left them and ran to join his men at the Jaws. Never had he heard of a dam to match the one he saw growing under his eyes. There was no time for scientific perfection of work; here and now was only a crying need for an obstruction, any kind of an obstruction which would withstand the great and growing pressure of water, which would drive it up to the banks, which would turn it into the flume which was being made for it even as the dam grew. Trees were lopped down, great, tall pines, their branches shorn off with flashing ax-blades, the trunks cut into logs upon which many men laid hold.
In the bed of the creek between the Jaws the logs were laid as one lays logs to build him a log house. Sand and gravel and rock went rattling and hissing into the log-surrounded spaces, piled high and higher, with the water backing angrily up against it. Boulders were rolled down from the mountain-side, hurled into the bottom of the canon by blasts of giant powder and dynamite, gripped with rapidly adjusted log-chains, and dragged to their places by straining horses.