“I’ll tell you what I think after I have examined into it,” said Mr. Elmer, smiling at Mark’s enthusiasm. “Now it’s very late, and time we all invested in bed.”
That night Mark dreamed of ferry-boats run by alligator-power, of mills that ground out gold dollars, and of “ghoses” that turned out to be boys.
“The Elmer mill and ferry company.”
Mr. Elmer made careful inquiries concerning the mill about which Mark had told him, and found that it was the only one within twenty miles of Wakulla. He was told that it used to do a very flourishing business before the bridge was carried away, and things in that part of the county went to ruin generally. Both Mr. Bevil and Mr. Carter thought that if there was any way of getting over to it, the mill could be made to pay, and were much pleased at the prospect of having it put in running order again.
Mr. March having been a mill-owner, and thoroughly understanding machinery, visited the one in question with Mr. Elmer, and together they inspected it carefully. They found that it contained old-fashioned but good machinery for grinding corn and ginning cotton, but none for sawing lumber. Only about thirty feet of the dam had been carried away, and it could be repaired at a moderate expense. Mr. March said that by raising the whole dam a few feet the water-power would be greatly increased, and would be sufficient to run a saw in addition to the machinery already on hand. He also said that he knew of an abandoned saw-mill a few miles up the river, the machinery of which was still in a fair condition and could be bought for a trifle.
The result of what he saw and heard was that Mr. Elmer decided the investment to be a good one, and at once took the necessary steps towards purchasing the property. This decision pleased Mark and Jan greatly, and they began to think that they were men of fine business ability, or, as Mark said, were “possessed of long heads.”
That same evening a meeting of the “dusty millers,” as Ruth called them, was held in the “Go Bang” sitting-room. Mr. Elmer addressed the meeting and proposed that they form a mill company with a capital of one thousand dollars, and that the stock be valued at one hundred dollars a share.
This proposition met with general approval, though Mark whispered to Ruth that he didn’t see how father was going to make a thousand dollars’ worth of capital out of five hundred unless he watered the stock.