As he pushed open the door and looked about him the color rose in his cheeks and a kind of a hotness came from inside his pajamas. Grouped about the low table, heaped with specimens of cut glass, a squatty bottle, a siphon and a bowl of cracked ice, sat every member of the coterie—Bender among them— Monteith in the easy chair at their head. If any other occupation had engrossed their attention since the alarm sounded there was no evidence of it either in their appearance or in the tones of their voices.
“Lo, the Conquering Hero,” broke out Podvine. “Get up Billy and put a wreath of laurel over his scorched and blistered brow.”
Muggles, for a moment, did not reply. The shock had taken his breath away. He supposed every man had worked himself into exhaustion. The only thing that had really dimmed his own triumph was the fear that on reaching the bungalow he might find the blackened remains of one or more of his comrades stretched out on the floor.
“Didn’t you fellows try to save anything?” he exploded.
“Wasn’t anything to save—mill was in no danger.”
“Why, the whole place would have gone if I hadn’t—”
“You’re quite right, Muggles,” said Monteith. “Let up on him, boys. You worked like a beaver, old man. Sorry about the rugs—one was an old Bokhara—but that’s all right—of course you didn’t stop to think.”
“Well, but, Monteith—what’s a rug or two when you have to save a pile of—what’s the lumber worth, anyhow?”
“Oh, well, never mind—let it go, old man.”
Bender, who was still soaking wet from splashing buckets, and since his return to the bungalow had been boiling mad clear through, sprang to his feet.
“I’ll tell you—I’ve just found out. As the pile now stands it’s worth four thousand dollars. If it had burned up it would have been worth six. It’s insured, you goat!”
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