Already the laborers were hurrying toward the tool house in a long, irregular line. Peterson started toward the office, to give the word to the men before they could hand in their time checks.
The foreman turned; Vogel was approaching.
“I wanted to see about that cribbing bill. How much of it’s coming down by boat?”
“Two hundred thousand. You’d better help Peterson get that timber out of the way. We’re holding the men.”
“Yes, I’ve been waiting for directions about that. We can put a big gang on it, and snake it across in no time.”
“You’ll have to open up the fence in half a dozen places, and put on every man you’ve got. There’s no use in making an all-night job of it.”
“I’m afraid we’ll have trouble with the railroad.”
“No, we won’t. If they kick, you send them to me. Are your arc lights in?”
“Yes, all but one or two. They were going to finish it today, but they ain’t very spry about it.”
“Tell you what you do, Max; you call them up and tell them we want a man to come out here and stay for a while. I may want to move the lights around a little. And, anyhow, they may as well clean up their job and have it done with.”
He was starting back after the returning laborers when Max said:—.
“I heard you speaking about a stenographer the other day.”
“Yes—what about it? Haven’t you got one yet?”
“No, but I know of one that could do the work first-rate.”
“I want a good one—he’s got to keep time besides doing the office work.”
“Yes, I thought of that. I don’t suppose she—”
“She? We can’t have any shes on this job.”
“Well, it’s like this, Mr. Bannon; she’s an A 1 stenographer and bookkeeper; and as for keeping the time, why, I’m out on the job all day anyhow, and I reckon I could take care of it without cutting into my work.”
Bannon looked quizzically down at him.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said slowly. “Just look around at this gang of men—you know the likes of them as well as I do— and then talk to me about bringing a girl on the job.” He shook his head. “I reckon it’s some one you’re interested in.”
“Yes,” said Max, “it’s my sister.”
Max evidently did not intend to be turned off. As he stood awaiting a reply—his broad, flat features, his long arms and bow legs with their huge hands and feet, his fringe of brick-red hair cropping out behind his cap, each contributing to the general appearance of utter homeliness—a faint smile came over Bannon’s face. The half-formed thought was in his mind, “If she looks anything like that, I guess she’s safe.” He was silent for a moment, then he said abruptly:—
“When can she start?”
“All right. We’ll try it for a day or so and see how it goes. Tell that boy in the office that he can charge his time up to Saturday night, but he needn’t stay around any longer.”