Get cribbing down. Page pays the freight.
Steam barge Demosthenes leaves Milwaukee tonight for
Page & Co.
As Bannon was paying for his dinner, he asked the clerk what sort of a place Manistogee was. The clerk replied that he had never been there, but that he understood it was quite a lively town.
“Good road over there?”
“That means you can get through if you’re lucky.”
The clerk smiled. “It won’t be so bad today. You see we’ve been getting a good deal of rain. That packs down the sand. You ought to get there all right. Were you thinking of driving over?”
“That’s the only way to go, is it? Well, I’ll see. Maybe a little later. How far is it?”
“The farmers call it eighteen miles.”
Bannon nodded his thanks and went back to Sloan’s office.
“Well, it didn’t take you long,” said the magnate. “Find out what was the matter with’em?”
Illustration [he cursed the whole G.&M. System, from the ties up]
He enjoyed his well-earned reputation for choler, and as Bannon told him what he had discovered that morning, the old man paced the room in a regular beat, pausing every time he came to a certain tempting bit of blank wall to deal it a thump with his big fist. When the whole situation was made clear to him, he stopped walking and cursed the whole G.&M. system, from the ties up. “I’ll make ’em smart for that,” he said. “They haul those planks whether they want to or not. You hear me say it. There’s a law that covers a case like that. I’ll prosecute ’em. They’ll see whether J. B. Sloan is a safe kind of man to monkey with. Why, man,” he added, turning sharply to Bannon, “why don’t you get mad? You don’t seem to care—no more than the angel Gabriel.”
“I don’t care a damn for the G.&M. I want the cribbing.”
“Don’t you worry. I’ll have the law on those fellows—”
“And I’d get the stuff about five years from now, when I was likely enough dead.”
“What’s the best way to get it, according to your idea?”
“Take it over to Manistogee in wagons and then down by barges.”
Sloan snorted. “You’d stand a chance to get some of it by Fourth of July that way.”
“Do you want to bet on that proposition?”
Sloan made no reply. He had allowed his wrath to boil for a few minutes merely as a luxury. Now he was thinking seriously of the scheme. “It sounds like moonshine,” he said at last, “but I don’t know as it is. How are you going to get your barges?”
“I’ve got one already. It leaves Milwaukee tonight.”
Sloan looked him over. “I wish you were out of a job,” he said. Then abruptly he went on: “Where are your wagons coming from? You haven’t got them all lined up in the yard now, have you? It’ll take a lot of them.”