It's a rainy morning here, chilly and looking like later fall. Earlier this week most of the leaves were still on the trees in the area, but Monday night the temperatures dropped into the teens and a northern wind blew. The next day most of the leaves had fallen. Now the trees are bare and the ground has a lovely carpet of leaves. Since we have so many trees, my writing students (when they weren't in class) and younger siblings raked a huge pile of leaves in our yard in front of the huge swing and took turns jumping off the swing into the pile. That is always a highlight of fall at our house. And let me tell you, it's a whole lot of fun! :)
There hasn't been much of interest going on this week. I've been working pretty steadily on planning the next few states for Travels of Priscilla, so hopefully there will be new posts up in the next week or so. You've probably already noticed that you get another part of the Graham Quartet story. I've been working on that when I have time to write and am trying to get it finished. You won't be able to read the end until next year though, because there are more parts than just three. And in the month of December you'll get "Christmas Eve at the Back Door." :) Since I've been working hard on the one story, I haven't written any more of Dr. Morgan or of TCR-3.
Speaking of Triple Creek Ranch . . . The proof copy arrived Monday evening and it looks really neat! I can't wait to finish the last few things after it is proof read, and make it available to all you anxious readers who are longing to know what happens! :) If you want a book that is signed, let me know so that I make sure I order enough for each of you. Book 2 is also making good progress. The illustrations have been decided on and I can't wait to see them!
Last night Dad and I had fun at the Sheriff's Citizens' Academy, but I'll wait until Wednesday to tell you about it. :)
(I'm trying to get you in the habit of coming to my blog frequently because in December, I may be posting nearly every day. :) )
And now, without any more distracting information or needless tidbits, here is the next part that you have been waiting for!
Graham Quartet - Part 14
The following day Matt was the only one who heard anything to report and that was in social studies where Hong Kong was again mentioned, this time by one of the students when Mr. Tompkins asked someone to name some free trade harbors.
After talking it over, the Quartet decided to get up earlier the next morning and make their report to Guy before leaving for school.
The trip to the cabin took longer than the time they actually spent there, for Guy only asked a few brief questions and then sent them on their way.
“Do you think what you heard means anything, Matt?” Tim asked, as the siblings were plodding steadily towards home.
Matt shrugged. He had no more idea than his younger brother if the talk of Hong Kong in school was important or just school.
It wasn’t until they were driving to school, Elsa going along to spend the day shopping, that Selena spoke. “If we are wanting to hear about the furniture factory, why don’t we visit the places where those who work there might go.”
“Where would they go?” Tim asked.
“Wouldn’t they ship things out?” Matt asked.
“How about the post office,” offered Elsa.
“Perhaps they have to pick up supplies at the hardware or the lumber yard,” Selena put in.
“I know where they hang out,” Tim put in.
Matt and Selena turned to look at him and even Elsa glanced at him through the mirror. “Where?”
“At the furniture factory.”
Rolling his eyes, Matt sighed.
“But why not, Matt?” Selena urged. “Couldn’t we see if we could take a tour? You remember what that man told Elsa.”
“But he also said he never got an answer,” Elsa replied.
The occupants of the car fell silent as Elsa drove into town. “Let’s all think about it and I’ll see if I find out anything when I’m shopping,” Elsa suggested. “Then after school we can check out a few places and figure out what we should do next.”
To this they all agreed and, grabbing their books, Matt, Tim and Selena climbed out of the car as it stopped before the school.
Not one of them was particularly interested in attending that day and even Matt found it difficult to keep his mind on his work. There was no more mention of Hong Kong in social studies and Tim wasn’t the only one to give a sigh of relief when the last bell rang and they were dismissed.
Elsa was waiting for them and soon the Graham Quartet were holding a meeting in the car.
“I think we’ll have to split up,” Elsa remarked. “That way we can cover two separate places at once.”
Matt nodded. “I agree. But where should we go?”
“Look!” Tim pointed. “A truck from the furniture factory. It’s heading towards the depot. I think we should follow it and find out where it’s being shipped.”
“Maybe not exactly follow it,” Matt put in, “but it might not be a bad idea to see if you and Elsa can discover anything. Selena and I can stop at the hardware store since I remembered Dad needed something. We might also check the post office.”
“Then let’s get going.”
Quickly the Quartet scrambled from the car and hurried their separate ways. It wasn’t far to the train depot if you took the shortcut through the alley, and Elsa and Tim were soon there. No sooner had Tim caught sight of the truck pulling up to the dock than he dashed away from his sister and raced up to the men unfastening the back of the truck.
“Tim!” Elsa called after him. “Don’t get in the way!”
“Good afternoon, Miss Elsa,” a voice said. “What’s Tim up to now?”
Elsa turned to see the station master standing beside her. She shrugged. “You know Tim, Mr. Decktrah, he’s always looking for something interesting to watch.”
The station master laughed. “And no doubt he’ll pepper those poor guys with questions.” Mr. Decktrah shook his head. “By the way, where are Matt and Selena?” He glanced around. “Not sick or kept in at school, I hope.”
Elsa smiled. “No, Matt had to pick up a few things and Selena went with him. By the way, Mr. Decktrah,” she added, suddenly inspired. “Perhaps you can tell me something that Tim won’t find out talking with those men.”
“And what’s that?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Elsa tried hard to think of something that wouldn’t sound too suspicious. “Where do crates from the furniture factory get shipped? Are they to a store or to people who order them?”
“Do shipments leave from here regularly like the mail or is it just now and then?”
“Well,” the older man scratched his head. “It’s funny you should ask that. I’ve been sort of wondering what was going on. I reckon it isn’t anything, but for the past week or so there’s been a regular flurry of shipments every other day or so and before that it was twice a month, except maybe one or two other times.”
“When were those times?” Elsa asked casually, watching her brother assist in carrying a crate to the waiting boxcar.
“Oh, I think the last time it was like this was in the summer and then it only lasted for about a week. The first time I noticed so much shipping was last January. I remember because they told me some man named Martin Vanderbilt had just ordered furniture for his new house and wanted it shipped out as soon as the furniture for one room was finished. I wondered at the time if he was related to the Vanderbilts who had all that money some years back.”
“Martin Vanderbilt,” Elsa murmured thoughtfully. “I’ve heard about the family before, but I don’t know if anyone was named Martin. Where are these crates going?”
The station master shook his head. “Same man. Don’t know why he didn’t order everything at once. Well, I’d best be getting back to my work.”
What do you think is going on?
Is there something suspicious going on
or is this just a regular shipment?
What would you do if you heard this news?