“I think if Adam had it he’d be rich from it in ten years,” she said, quietly.
“Then you do think it’s a bully idea,” he cried. “You would try it if we had a chance?”
“I might,” said Kate.
“You know,” he cried, jumping up in excitement, “I’ve never mentioned this to a soul, but I’ve got it all thought out. Would you go to see your brother Adam, and see if you could get him to take an interest for young Adam? He could manage the money himself.”
“I wouldn’t go to a relative of mine for a cent, even if the children were starving,” said Kate. “Get, and keep, that clear in your head.”
“But you think there is something in it?” he persisted.
“I know there is,” said Kate with finality. “In the hands of the right man, and with the capital to start.”
“Kate, you can be the meanest,” he said.
“I didn’t intend to be, in this particular instance,” she said. “But honestly, George, what have I ever seen of you in the way of financial success in the past that would give me hope for the future?”
“I know it,” he said, “but I’ve never struck exactly the right thing. This is what I could make a success of, and I would make a good big one, you bet! Kate, I’ll not go to town another night. I’ll stop all that.” He drew the flask from his pocket and smashed it against the closest tree. “And I’ll stop all there ever was of that, even to a glass of beer on a hot day; if you say so, if you’ll stand by me this once more, if I fail this time, I’ll never ask you again; honest, I won’t.”
“If I had money, I’d try it, keeping the building in my own name and keeping the books myself; but I’ve none, and no way to get any, as you know,” she said. “I can see what could be done, but I’m helpless.”
“I’m not!” said George. “I’ve got it all worked out. You see I was doing something useful with my head, if I wasn’t always plowing as fast as you thought I should. If you’ll back me, if you’ll keep books, if you’ll handle the money until she is paid back, I know Aunt Ollie will sell enough of this land to build the mill and buy the machinery. She could keep the house, and orchard, and barn, and a big enough piece, say forty acres, to live on and keep all of us in grub. She and Mother could move out here — she said the other day she was tired of town and getting homesick — and we could go to town to put the children in school, and be on the job. I won’t ever ask you and Mother to live together again. Kate, will you go in with me? Will you talk to Aunt Ollie? Will you let me show you, and explain, and prove to you?”
“I won’t be a party to anything that would even remotely threaten to lose Aunt Ollie’s money for her,” she said.
“She’s got nobody on earth but me. It’s all mine in the end. Why not let me have this wonderful chance with it? Kate, will you?” he begged.