(1) His niece Shirley Sumner was not to be trusted in so far as young Bryce Cardigan was concerned. Despite her assumption of hostility toward the fellow since that memorable day in Pennington’s woods, the Colonel was now fully convinced that she had made her peace with him and had been the recipient of his secret attentions right along. The Colonel was on the verge of calling his niece up to demand an explanation, but on second thought decided to wait a few days and see what his gum-shoe men might have to report further.
(2) The N. C. O. was still a mystery, but a mystery in which Bryce Cardigan was interested. Moreover, he was anxious to aid the N. C. O. in every way possible. However, the Colonel could understand this. Cardigan would aid anything that might possibly tend to lift the Cardigan lumber interests out from under the iron heel of Colonel Pennington and he was just young enough and unsophisticated enough to be fooled by that Trinidad Redwood Timber gang.
(3) The N. C. O. was going to make a mighty bluff, even to the extent of applying for a franchise to run over the city streets of Sequoia. Hence Ogilvy’s visit to Mayor Poundstone—doubtless on the advice of Bryce Cardigan. Hence, also, his visit to young Henry Poundstone, whom he had doubtless engaged as his legal representative in order to ingratiate himself with the young man’s father. Coarse work!
(4) Ogilvy had carried a small leather bag to and from Henry Poundstone’s office. That bag was readily explained. It had contained a bribe in gold coin and young Henry had been selected as the go-between. That meant that Mayor Poundstone had agreed to deliver the franchise—for a consideration; and like the smooth scoundrel he was, he wanted his bit in gold coin, which could not be marked without the marks being discovered! Ogilvy had called first on the Mayor to arrange the details; then he had called on the Mayor’s son to complete the transaction.
(5) If a franchise had been arranged for and the bribe already delivered, that meant the prompt and unadvertised commencement of operations. Where (the Colonel asked himself) would these operations begin? Why, close to the waterfront, where materials could be landed from the steamer that brought them to Sequoia. At whose mill-dock would those materials be discharged? Why, Cardigan’s dock, of course. Ogilvy had probably called first on Cardigan to arrange that detail. Yes, the N. C. O. was going to carry its monumental bluff to the point of building a mile of track through town. ... No—no, they wouldn’t spend that much money on a bluff; they wouldn’t bribe Poundstone unless the road was meant. And was it a common carrier, after all? Had Cardigan in some mysterious manner managed to borrow enough money to parallel the Laguna Grande Lumber Company’s logging-road, and was he disguising it as a common carrier?