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   Chapter 15 No.15

What Might Have Been Expected By Frank Richard Stockton Characters: 7677

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04

The Council.

When Harry's mother heard that he had gone off to try and meet the horse-hunters she was quite anxious about him.

But Mr. Loudon laughed at her fears.

"If there had been the slightest danger," he said, "of course I would not have allowed him to go. But I was glad he wanted to go. A youngster of his age ought to have a disposition to see what is going on and to take part, too, for that matter. I had much rather find it necessary to restrain Harry than to push him. You mustn't want to make a girl of him. You would only spoil the boy, and make a very poor girl."

Mrs. Loudon made no reply. She thought her husband was a very wise man; but she took up her key basket and went off to the pantry with an air that indicated that she had ideas of her own upon the subject in question.

Kate had no fears for Harry. She had unbounded faith in his good sense and his bravery, if he should happen to get into danger.

The fact is, she was quite a brave girl herself; and brave people are very apt to think their friends as courageous as themselves.

When Harry and Uncle Braddock reached the village they found several of the older inhabitants on the store porch, and they met with an enthusiastic reception.

And when, later in the afternoon, most of the men who had gone out after George Mason, returned from their unsuccessful expedition, the discussion in regard to Mason's strange proceeding grew very animated. Some thought he had only intended to play a trick; others that he had been unable to get away with the horses, as he had hoped to do when he had taken them.

But nobody knew anything about the matter excepting George Mason himself, and he was not there to give the village any information.

As for Harry, he did not stay long to hear the discussions at the store.

His mind was full of a much more important matter and he ran off to find Kate. He wanted to talk over his latest impressions with her.

When he reached the house, where his appearance greatly tranquillized his mother's mind, he found Kate in the yard under the big catalpa-trees, always a favorite place of resort in fine weather.

"Oh, Harry!" she cried, when she saw him, "did they find the horses?"

"No," said Harry; "they didn't find them."

"Oh, what a pity! And some of them were borrowed horses. Tony Kirk had Captain Caseby's mud-colored horse. I don't know what the captain will do without him."

"Oh, the captain will do very well," said Harry.

"But he can't do very well," persisted Kate. "It's the only horse he has in the world. One thing certain, they can't go to church."

Harry laughed at this, and then he told his sister all about his meeting with Uncle Braddock. But while she was wondering and surmising in regard to George Mason's strange conduct, Harry, who could not keep his thoughts from more important matters, broke in with:

"But, I say, Kate, I've made up my mind about the telegraph business. There must be a company, and we ought to plan it all out before we tell people and sell shares."

"That's right," cried Kate, who was always ready for a plan. "Let's do it now."

So, down she sat upon the ground, and Harry sat down in front of her.

Then they held a council.

"In the first place, we must have a President," said Harry.

"That ought to be you," said Kate.

"Yes," said Harry, "I suppose I ought to be President. And then we must have a Treasurer, and I think you should be Treasurer."

"Yes," said Kate, "that would do very well. But where could I keep the money?"

"Pshaw!" said Harry. "It's no use to bother ourselves about that. We'd better get the money first, and then see where we can put it. I reckon it'll be spent before anybody gets a chance to steal it. And now then, we must have a Secretary."

"How would Tom Selden do for Secretary?

" asked Kate.

"Oh, he isn't careful enough," answered Harry. "I think you ought to be Secretary. You can write well, and you'll keep everything in order."

"Very well," said Kate, "I'll be Secretary."

"I think," said Harry, "that we have now about all the officers we want, excepting, of course, an Engineer, and I shall be Engineer; for I have planned out the whole thing already."

"I didn't know there was to be an engine," said Kate.

"Engine!" exclaimed Harry, laughing. "That's a good one! I don't mean an engineer of a steam-engine. What we want is a Civil Engineer; a man who lays out railroad lines and all that kind of thing. I'm not right sure that a Civil Engineer does plan out telegraph lines; but it don't make any difference what we call the officer. He'll have to attend to putting up the line."

"And do you think you can do it?" said Kate, "I should suppose it would be a good deal harder to be Engineer than to be President."

"Yes, I suppose it will; but I've studied the matter. I've watched the men putting up new wires at Hetertown, and Mr. Lyons told me all he knew about it. It's easy enough. Very different from building a railroad."

"It must be a good deal safer to build a railroad, though," said Kate. "You don't have to go so high up in the air."

"You're a little goose," said Harry, laughing at her again.

"No, I'm not," said Kate. "I'm Treasurer and Secretary of the-What shall we call the company, Harry? It ought to have a name."

"Certainly it ought," said her brother. "How would 'The Mica Mine Telegraph Company'-No, that wouldn't do at all. It isn't theirs. It's ours."

"Call it 'The Loudon Telegraph Company,'" said Kate.

"That would be nearer the thing, but it wouldn't be very modest, though people often do call their companies after their own names. What do you think of 'The Akeville and Hetertown Company'?"

"But it won't go to either of those places," said Kate. "It will only cross the creek."

"All right!" exclaimed Harry. "Let's call it 'The Crooked Creek Telegraph Company.'"

"Good!" said Kate. "That's the very name."

So the company was named.

"Now," said Kate, "we've got all the head officers and the name; what do we want next?"

"We want a good many other things," said Harry. "I suppose we ought to have a Board of Directors."

"Shall we be in that?" asked Kate.

Harry considered this question before answering it. "I think the President ought to be in it," he said, "but I don't know about the Secretary and Treasurer. I think they are not generally Directors."

"Well," said Kate, with a little sigh, "I don't mind."

"You can be, if you want to," said Harry. "Wait until we get the Board organized, and I'll talk to the other fellows about it."

"Are they going to be all boys?" asked Kate, quickly.

"I reckon so," said Harry. "We don't want any men in our Board. They'd be ordering us about and doing everything themselves."

"I didn't mean that. Will there be any girls?"

"No," said Harry, a little contemptuously, it is to be feared. "There isn't a girl in the village who knows anything about telegraph lines, except you."

"Well, if it's to be all boys, I don't believe I would care to belong to the Board," said Kate. "But who are we going to have?"

This selection of the members of the Board of Directors seemed a little difficult at first, but as there were so few boys to choose from it was settled in quite a short time.

Tom Selden, Harvey Davis, George Purvis, Dr. Price's youngest son, Brandeth, and Wilson Ogden, were chosen, and these, with the addition of Harry, made up the Board of Directors of the Crooked Creek Telegraph Company.

"Well," said Kate, as the council arose and adjourned, "I hope we'll settle the rest of our business as easily as we have settled this part."

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