When Bryce Cardigan returned to Sequoia, his labours, insofar as the building of the road were concerned, had been completed. His agreement with Gregory of the Trinidad Redwood Timber Company had been signed, sealed, and delivered; the money to build the road had been deposited in bank; and Buck Ogilvy was already spending it like a drunken sailor. From now on, Bryce could only watch, wait, and pray.
On the next steamer a surveying party with complete camping-equipment arrived in Sequoia, purchased a wagon and two horses, piled their dunnage into the wagon, and disappeared up-country. Hard on their heels came Mr. Buck Ogilvy, and occupied the bridal suite in the Hotel Sequoia, arrangements for which had previously been made by wire. In the sitting room of the suite Mr. Ogilvy installed a new desk, a filing-cabinet, and a brisk young male secretary.
He had been in town less than an hour when the editor of the Sequoia Sentinel sent up his card. The announcement of the incorporation of the Northern California Outrage (for so had Mr. Ogilvy, in huge enjoyment of the misery he was about to create, dubbed the road) had previously been flashed to the Sentinel by the United Press Association, as a local feature story, and already speculation was rife in Sequoia as to the identity of the harebrained individuals who dared to back an enterprise as nebulous as the millennium. Mr. Ogilvy was expecting the visit—in fact, impatiently awaiting it; and since the easiest thing he did was to speak for publication, naturally the editor of the Sentinel got a story which, to that individual’s simple soul, seemed to warrant a seven-column head—which it received. Having boned up on the literature of the Redwood Manufacturers’ Association, what Buck Ogilvy didn’t know about redwood timber, redwood lumber, the remaining redwood acreage and market conditions, past and present, might have been secreted in the editorial eye without seriously hampering the editorial sight. He stated that the capital behind the project was foreign, that he believed in the success of the project and that his entire fortune was dependent upon the completion of it. In glowing terms he spoke of the billions of tons of timber-products to be hauled out of this wonderfully fertile and little-known country, and confidently predicted for the county a future commercial supremacy that would be simply staggering to contemplate.
When Colonel Seth Pennington read this outburst he smiled. “That’s a bright scheme on the part of that Trinidad Redwood Timber Company gang to start a railroad excitement and unload their white elephant,” he declared. “A scheme like that stuck them with their timber, and I suppose they figure there’s a sucker born every minute and that the same old gag might work again. Chances are they have a prospect in tow already.”
When Bryce Cardigan read it, he laughed. The interview was so like Buck Ogilvy! In the morning the latter’s automobile was brought up from the steamship-dock, and accompanied by his secretary, Mr. Ogilvy disappeared into the north following the bright new stakes of his surveying-gang, and for three weeks was seen no more. As for Bryce Cardigan, that young man buckled down to business, and whenever questioned about the new railroad was careful to hoot at the idea.