The Valley of the Giants eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 383 pages of information about The Valley of the Giants.

“Tell me about him, Bryce.”

“Don’t have to.  You’ve just told me about him, However, I’ll read you his letter.  I claim there is more character in a letter than in a face.”

Here Bryce read aloud: 

Golden Gate Hotel—­Rooms fifty cents—­and up.  San Francisco,
California, August fifteenth, 1916.

My dear cardigan:  Hark to the voice of one crying in the wilderness; then picture to yourself the unlovely spectacle of a strong man crying.

Let us assume that you have duly considered.  Now wind up your wrist and send me a rectangular piece of white, blue, green, or pink paper bearing in the lower right-hand corner, in your clear, bold chirography, the magic words “Bryce Cardigan”—­with the little up-and-down hook and flourish which identifies your signature given in your serious moods and lends value to otherwise worthless paper.  Five dollars would make me chirk up; ten would start a slight smile; twenty would put a beam in mine eye; fifty would cause me to utter shrill cries of unadulterated joys and a hundred would inspire me to actions like unto those of a whirling dervish.

I am so flat busted my arches make hollow sounds as I tread the hard pavements of a great city, seeking a job.  Pausing on the brink of despair, that destiny which shapes our ends inspired me to think of old times and happier days and particularly of that pink-and-white midget of a girl who tended the soda-fountain just back of the railroad station at Princeton.  You stole that damsel from me, and I never thanked you.  Then I remembered you were a timber-king with a kind heart and that you lived somewhere in California; so I looked in the telephone book and found the address of the San Francisco office of the Cardigan Redwood Lumber Company.  You have a mean man in charge there.  I called on him, told him I was an old college pal of yours, and tried to borrow a dollar.  He spurned me with contumely—­so much of it, in fact, that I imagine you have a number of such friends.  While he was abusing me, I stole from his desk the stamped envelope which bears to you these tidings of great woe; and while awaiting your reply, be advised that I subsist on the bitter cud of reflection, fresh air, and water, all of which, thank God, cost nothing.

My tale is soon told.  When you knew me last, I was a prosperous young contractor.  Alas!  I put all my eggs in one basket and produced an omelet.  Took a contract to build a railroad in Honduras.  Honduras got to fighting with Nicaragua; the government I had done business with went out of business; and the Nicaraguan army recruited all my labourers and mounted them on my mules and horses, swiped all my grub, and told me to go home.  I went.  Why stay?  Moreover, I had an incentive consisting of about an inch of bayonet—­fortunately not applied in a vital spot—­which accelerated rather than decreased my speed.

Hurry, my dear Cardigan.  Tempest fidgets; remember Moriarity—­which, if you still remember your Latin, means:  “Time flies.  Remember to-morrow!” I finished eating my overcoat the day before yesterday.

Project Gutenberg
The Valley of the Giants from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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