Miss Vogel was at work on the ledger when Bannon entered the office. He pushed his hat back on his head and came up beside her.
“How’s it coming out?” he asked. “Do we know how much we’re good for?”
She looked up, smiling.
“I think so. I’m nearly through. It’s a little mixed in some places, but I think everything has been entered.”
“Can you drop it long enough to take a letter or so?”
“Oh, yes.” She reached for her notebook, saying, with a nod toward the table: “The mail is here.”
Bannon went rapidly through the heap of letters and bills.
“There’s nothing much,” he said. “You needn’t wait for me to open it after this. You’ll want to read everything to keep posted. These bills for cribbing go to your brother, you know.” There was one chair within the enclosure; he brought it forward and sat down, tipping back against the railing. “Well, I guess we may as well go ahead and tell the firm that we’re still moving around and drawing our salaries. To MacBride & Company, Minneapolis, Gentlemen: Cribbing is now going up on elevator and annex. A little over two feet remains to be done on the elevator beneath the distributing floor. The timber is ready for framing the cupola. Two hundred thousand feet of the Ledyard cribbing reached here by steamer last night, and the balance will be down in a few days. Very truly yours, MacBride & Company. That will do for them. Now, we’ll write to Mr. Brown— no, you needn’t bother, though; I’ll do that one myself. You might run off the other and I’ll sign it.” He got up and moved his chair to the table. “I don’t generally seem able to say just what I want to Brown unless I write it out.” His letter ran:—
Dear Mr. Brown: We’ve finally got things going. Had to stir them up a little at Ledyard. Can you tell me who it is that’s got hold of our coat tails on this job? There’s somebody trying to hold us back, all right. Had a little fuss with a red-headed walking delegate last night, but fixed him. That hat hasn’t come yet. Shall I call up the express company and see what’s the matter? 7 1/4 is my size.
He had folded the letter and addressed the envelope, when he paused and looked around. The typewritten letter to MacBride & Company lay at his elbow. He signed it before he spoke.
“Miss Vogel, have you come across any letters or papers about an agreement with the C. & S. C?”
“No,” she replied, “there is nothing here about the railroad.”
Bannon drummed on the table; then he went to the door and called to a laborer who was leaving the tool house:—
“Find Mr. Peterson and ask him if he will please come to the office for a moment.”
He came slowly back and sat on the corner of the table, watching Miss Vogel as her pencil moved rapidly up column after column.
“Had quite a time up there in Michigan,” he said. “Those G.&M. people were after us in earnest. If they’d had their way, we’d never have got the cribbing.”