The information forthcoming from Dun’s and Bradstreet’s was vague and unsatisfying. Neither of these two commercial agencies could ascertain anything of interest regarding the finances of the N. C. O. For the present the corporation had no office, its destinies in San Francisco being guarded by a well-known attorney who had declined to make any statement regarding the company but promised one at an early date. The board of directors consisted of this attorney, his two assistants, his stenographer, and Mr. Buchanan Ogilvy. The company had been incorporated for five million dollars, divided into five million shares of par value of one dollar each, and five shares had been subscribed! Both agencies forwarded copies of the articles of incorporation, but since the Colonel had already read this document in the Sequoia Sentinel, he was not further interested.
“It looks fishy to me,” the Colonel commented to his manager, “and I’m more than ever convinced it’s a scheme of that Trinidad Redwood Timber Company to start a timber-boom and unload. And that is something the Laguna Grande Lumber Company does not view with favour, for the reason that one of these bright days those Trinidad people will come to their senses and sell cheap to us. A slight extension of our logging-road will make that Trinidad timber accessible; hence we are the only logical customers and should control the situation. However, to be sure is to be satisfied. Telephone the San Francisco office to have the detective-agency that handled the longshoremen’s strike job for us send a couple of their best operatives up on the next steamer, with instructions to report to me on arrival.”
When the operatives reported, the Colonel’s orders were brief and explicit. “I want to know all about a man named Buchanan Ogilvy, who is up north somewhere procuring rights of way for the Northern California Oregon Railroad. Find him. Get up with him in the morning and put him to bed at night. Report to me daily.”
Buck was readily located in the country north of Arcata, and one of the operatives actually procured a job as chainman with his surveying gang, while the other kept Ogilvy and his secretary under surveillance. Their reports, however, yielded the Colonel nothing until the first day of Buck’s return to Sequoia, when the following written report caused the Colonel to sit up and take notice. It was headed: “Report of Operative No. 41,” and it read:
Ogilvy in his room until 12 o’clock noon. At 12:05 entered dining room, leaving at 1 P. M. and proceeding direct to office of Cardigan Redwood Lumber Company. Operative took post behind a lumber-pile at side of office so as to command view of interior of office. From manner of greeting accorded Ogilvy by Bryce Cardigan, operative is of opinion they had not met before. Ogilvy remained in Cardigan’s private office half an hour, spent another half-hour conversing with young lady in general office.