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.

“Exactly.  The Colonel took over my contract with Henderson’s company, along with the other assets, and it was incumbent upon him, as assignee, to fulfill the contract.  For the past two years the market for redwood has been most gratifying, and if I could only have gotten a maximum supply of logs over Pennington’s road, I’d have worked out of the hole, but—­”

“He manages to hold you to a minimum annual haul of twenty-five million feet, eh?”

John Cardigan nodded.  “He claims he’s short of rolling-stock—­that wrecks and fires have embarrassed the road.  He can always find excuses for failing to spot in logging-trucks for Cardigan’s logs.  Bill Henderson never played the game that way.  He gave me what I wanted and never held me to the minimum haulage when I was prepared to give him the maximum.”

“What does Colonel Pennington want, pard?”

“He wants,” said John Cardigan slowly, “my Valley of the Giants and a right of way through my land from the valley to a log-dump on deep water.”

“And you refused him?”

“Naturally.  You know my ideas on that big timber.”  His old head sank low on his breast.  “Folks call them Cardigan’s Redwoods now,” he murmured.  “Cardigan’s Redwoods—­and Pennington would cut them!  Oh, Bryce, the man hasn’t a soul!”

“But I fail to see what the loss of Cardigan’s Redwoods has to do with the impending ruin of the Cardigan Redwood Lumber Company,” his son reminded him.  “We have all the timber we want.”

“My ten-year contract has but one more year to run, and recently I tried to get Pennington to renew it.  He was very nice and sociable, but—­he named me a freight-rate, for a renewal of the contract for five years, of three dollars per thousand feet.  That rate is prohibitive and puts us out of business.”

“Not necessarily,” Bryce returned evenly.  “How about the State railroad commission?  Hasn’t it got something to say about rates?”

“Yes—­on common carriers.  But Pennington’s load is a private logging-road; my contract will expire next year, and it is not incumbent upon Pennington to renew it.  And one can’t operate a sawmill without logs, you know.”

“Then,” said Bryce calmly, “we’ll shut the mill down when the log-hauling contract expires, hold our timber as an investment, and live the simple life until we can sell it or a transcontinental road builds into Humboldt County and enables us to start up the mill again.”

John Cardigan shook his head.  “I’m mortgaged to the last penny,” he confessed, “and Pennington has been buying Cardigan Redwood Lumber Company first-mortgage bonds until he is in control of the issue.  He’ll buy in the San Hedrin timber at the foreclosure sale, and in order to get it back and save something for you out of the wreckage, I’ll have to make an unprofitable trade with him.  I’ll have to give him my timber adjoining his north of Sequoia, together with my Valley of the Giants, in return for the San Hedrin timber, to which he’ll have a sheriff’s deed.  But the mill, all my old employees, with their numerous dependents—­gone, with you left land-poor and without a dollar to pay your taxes.  Smashed—­like that!” And he drove his fist into the palm of his hand.

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