When the results of this last well-intentioned effort with its disastrous consequences became clear to the Goat, that spotless gentleman leaned back in his chair, threw hick his shoulders, shot out his cuffs, readjusted his scarfpin and replied in an offended tone:
“All owing, my dear fellow, to the stupidity of the agricultural class. I told the farmer he would regret it, and he will. As for myself, I was awfully disappointed. I had planned to run all the way back to Jerry’s and tell him the good news before be went to sleep that night, and—”
“Disappointed, were you? How do you think Jerry felt? Made a lot of difference to him, I tell you, not selling his place to the club. Been a whole year working it up. It’s smothered now under a blanket—about ninety per cent of its value—and the Sunnybrook scheme would have pulled him out with a margin! Now it’s deader than last year’s shad. What the club wanted was a hatchery built over a spring, and that’s why that swamp was necessary to the deal. Oh, you’re the limit, Muggles!”
It was while smarting under these criticisms that the steward one morning in June brought him his letters. One was from Monteith—Class of ’9l—a senior when Muggles was a freshman—and was postmarked “Wabacog, Canada,” where Monteith owned a lumber mill—and where he ran it himself and everything connected with it from stumpage to scantling. “There is a broad stream that runs into the lake, ... and above the mill there are bass weighing ten pounds, ... and back in the primeval forest bears, ... and now and then a moose—” So ran the letter. Muggles had spread it wide open by this time and was reading it aloud—everybody knowing Monteith—and the group never having any secrets of this kind from each other.
“Come up, old chap,” the letter continued, “and stay a week—two, if you can work it—and bring Bender, and little Billy and Poddy, and three or four more. The bungalow holds ten. Wire when—I’m now putting things on ice.”
Muggles looked around the circle and sent interrogatory Marconigrams with his eyebrows. In response Podvine said he’d go, and so did Billy Salters. Bender thought he could come a day or two later—the earning of their daily bread was not an absorbing task with these young gentlemen—their fathers had done that years before.
Muggles ran over in his mind the list of his engagements: he was due at Gravesend on the tenth for a week, to play golf; at his aunt’s country-seat in Westchester on the eleventh for the same length of time, and on the twelfth he was expected to meet a yacht at Cold Spring Harbor for a cruise up the coast. He had accepted these invitations and had fully intended to keep each and every one. Monteith’s letter, however, seemed to come at a time when he really needed a more virile and bracing life than was offered by the others. Here was a chance to redeem his reputation. Lumber camps meant big men doing big things—things reeking with