“I know it. Well, we’ll get all there are in Ledyard. There’s a beginning. And the farmers round here ain’t so very fond of the G.&M., are they? Don’t they think the railroad discriminates against them—and ain’t they right about it? I never saw a farmer yet that wouldn’t grab a chance to get even with a railroad.”
“That’s about right, in this part of the country, anyway.”
“You get up a regular circus poster saying what you think of the G.&M., and call on the farmers to hitch up and drive to your lumber yard. We’ll stick that up at every crossroads between here and Manistogee.”
Sloan was scribbling on a memorandum pad before Bannon had finished speaking. He made a false start or two, but presently got something that seemed to please him. He rang for his office boy, and told him to take it to the Eagle office.
“It’s got to be done in an hour,” said Bannon. “That’s when the procession moves,” he added, as Sloan looked at him questioningly.
The other nodded. “In an hour,” he said to the office boy. “What are you going to do in an hour?” he asked, as the boy went out.
“Why, it’ll be four o’clock then, and we ought to start for Manistogee as early as we can.”
“We! Well, I should think not!” said Sloan.
“You’re going to drive me over with that fast mare of yours, aren’t you?”
Sloan laughed. “Look at it rain out there.”
“Best thing in the world for a sand road,” said Bannon. “And we’ll wash, I guess. Both been wet before.”
“But it’s twenty-five miles over there—twenty-five to thirty.”
Bannon looked at his watch. “We ought to get there by ten o’clock, I should think.”
“Ten o’clock! What do you think she is—a sawhorse! She never took more than two hours to Manistogee in her life.”
The corners of Bannon’s mouth twitched expressively. Sloan laughed again. “I guess it’s up to me this time,” he said.
Before they started Sloan telephoned to the Eagle office to tell them to print a full-sized reproduction of his poster on the front page of the Ledyard Evening Eagle.
“Crowd their news a little, won’t it?” Bannon asked.
Sloan shook his head. “That helps ’em out in great shape.”
The Eagle did not keep them waiting. The moment Sloan pulled up his impatient mare before the office door, the editor ran out, bareheaded, in the rain, with the posters.
“They’re pretty wet yet,” he said.
“That’s all right. I only want a handful. Send the others to my office. They know what to do with ’em.”
“I was glad to print them,” the editor went on deferentially. “You have expressed our opinion of the G.&M. exactly.”
“Guess I did,” said Sloan as they drove away. “The reorganized G.&M. decided they didn’t want to carry him around the country on a pass.”
Bannon pulled out one of the sheets and opened it on his knee. He whistled as he read the first sentence, and swore appreciatively over the next. When he had finished, he buttoned the waterproof apron and rubbed his wet hands over his knees. “It’s grand,” he said. “I never saw anything like it.”