“To a whisper. Mac floored him, climbed him, and choked him until he beat the ground with his free hand in token of surrender; whereupon old Duncan let him up, and Rondeau went to his shanty and packed his turkey. The last I saw of him he was headed over the hill to Camp Two on Laguna Grande. He’ll probably chase that assistant woods-boss I hired after the consolidation, out of Shirley’s woods and help himself to the fellow’s job. I don’t care if he does. What interests me is the fact that the old Cardigan woods-boss is back on the job in Cardigan’s woods, and I’m mighty glad of it. The old horsethief has had his lesson and will remain sober hereafter. I think he’s cured.”
“The infamous old outlaw!”
“Mac knows the San Hedrin as I know my own pocket. He’ll be a tower of strength when we open up that tract after the railroad builds in. By the way, has my dad been down this morning?”
“Yes. Moira read the mail to him and then took him up to the Valley of the Giants. He said he wanted to do a little quiet figuring on that new steam schooner you’re thinking of building. He thinks she ought to be bigger—big enough to carry two million feet.”
Bryce glanced at his watch. “It’s half after eleven,” he said. “Guess I’ll run up to the Giants and bring him home to luncheon.”
He stepped into the Napier standing outside the office and drove away. Buck Ogilvy waited until Bryce was out of sight; then with sudden determination he entered the office.
“Moira,” he said abruptly, approaching the desk where she worked, “your dad is back, and what’s more, Bryce Cardigan has let him have his old job as woods-boss. And I’m here to announce that you’re not going back to the woods to keep house for him. Understand? Now, look here, Moira. I’ve shilly-shallied around you for months, protesting my love, and I haven’t gotten anywhere. To-day I’m going to ask you for the last time. Will you marry me? I need you worse than that rascal of a father of yours does, and I tell you I’ll not have you go back to the woods to take care of him. Come, now, Moira. Do give me a definite answer.”
“I’m afraid I don’t love you well enough to marry you, Mr. Ogilvy,” Moira pleaded. “I’m truly fond of you, but—”
“The last boat’s gone,” cried Mr. Ogilvy desperately. “I’m answered. Well, I’ll not stick around here much longer, Moira. I realize I must be a nuisance, but I can’t help being a nuisance when you’re near me. So I’ll quit my good job here and go back to my old game of railroading.”
“Oh, you wouldn’t quit a ten-thousand-dollar job,” Moira cried, aghast.
“I’d quit a million-dollar job. I’m desperate enough to go over to the mill and pick a fight with the big bandsaw. I’m going away where I can’t see you. Your eyes are driving me crazy.”
“But I don’t want you to go, Mr. Ogilvy.”
“Call me Buck,” he commanded sharply.