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HOME > Short Stories > Ted and the Telephone > CHAPTER XV WHAT CAME OF THE PLOT
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 The Fernalds were as good as their word. All winter long father, son, and grandson worked at the scheme for the new cottages and by New Year, with the assistance of an architect, they had on paper plans for a model village to be built on the opposite side of the river as soon as the weather permitted. The houses were gems of careful thought, no two of them being alike. Nevertheless, although each tiny domain was individual in design, a general uniformity of construction existed between them which resulted in a delightfully harmonious ensemble. The entire Fernald family was enthusiastic over the project. It was the chief topic of conversation both at Aldercliffe and at Pine Lea. Rolls of blue prints littered office and library table and cluttered the bureaus, chairs, and even the pockets of the elder men of each household.  
"We are going to make a little Normandy on the other shore of the river before we have done with it," asserted Grandfather Fernald to Laurie. "It will be as pretty a settlement as one would wish to see. I mean, too, to build coöperative stores, a clubhouse, and a theater; perhaps I may even go farther and put up a chapel. I have gone clean daft over the notion of a model village and since I am started I may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb. I do not believe we shall be sinking our money, either, for in addition to bettering the living conditions of our men I feel we shall also draw to the locality a finer class of working people. This will boom our section of the country and should make property here more valuable. But even if it doesn't work out that way, I shall take pride in the proposed village. I have always insisted that our mills be spotless and up to date and the fact that they have been has been a source of great gratification. Now I shall carry that idea farther and see that the new settlement comes up to our standards. I have gone over and over the plans to see if in any way they can be bettered; suppose you and I look at them together once more. Some new inspiration may come to us—something that will be an improvement."
Patiently and for the twentieth time Laurie examined the blue prints while his grandfather volubly explained just where each building of the many was to stand.
"This little park, with a fountain in the middle and a bandstand near by, will slope down toward the river. As there are many fine trees along the shore it will be a cool and pleasant place to sit in summer. The stone bridge I am to put up will cross just above and serve as a sort of entrance to the park. We intend that everything shall be laid out with a view to making the river front attractive. As for the village itself—the streets are to be wide so that each dwelling shall have plenty of fresh air and sunshine. No more of those dingy flats such as the Turners live in! Each family is also to have land enough for a small garden, and each house will have a piazza and the best of plumbing; and because many of the women live in their kitchens more than in any other part of their abode, I am insisting that that room be as comfortable and airy as it can be made."
"It is all bully, Grandfather," Laurie answered. "But isn't it going to cost a fortune to do the thing as you want it done?"
"It is going to cost money," nodded the elder man. "I am not deceiving myself as to that. But I have the money and if I chose to spend it on this fad (as one of my friends called it) I don't see why I shouldn't do it. Since your grandmother died I have not felt the same interest in Aldercliffe that I used to. When she was alive that was my hobby. I shall simply be putting out the money in a different direction, that is all. Perhaps it will be a less selfish direction, too."
"It certainly is a bully fine fad, Grandfather," Laurie exclaimed.
"Somehow I believe it is, laddie," the old gentleman answered thoughtfully. "Your father thinks so. Time only can tell whether I have chucked my fortune in a hole or really invested it wisely. I have been doing a good deal of serious thinking lately, thanks to those chaps who tried to blow up the mills. As I have turned matters over in my mind since the trial, and struggled to get their point of view, I have about come to the conclusion that they had a fair measure of right on their side. Not that I approve of their methods," continued he hastily, raising a protesting hand, when Laurie offered an angry interruption. "Do not misunderstand me. The means they took was cowardly and criminal and I do not for a moment uphold it. But the thing that led them to act as they planned to act was that they honestly believed we had not given them and their comrades a square deal. As I have pondered over this conviction of theirs, I am not so sure but they were right in that belief."
He paused to light a fresh cigar which he silently puffed for a few moments.
"This village plan of mine has grown to some extent out of the thinking to which this tragedy has stimulated me. There can be no question that our fortunes have come to us as a result of the hard labor of our employees. I know that. And I also know that we have rolled up a far larger proportion of the profits than they have. In fact, I am not sure we have not accepted a larger slice than was our due; and I am not surprised that some of them are also of that opinion. I would not go so far as to say we have been actually dishonest but I am afraid we have not been generous. The matter never came to me before in precisely this light and I confess frankly I am sorry that I have blundered. Nevertheless, as I tell your father, it is never too late to mend. If we have made mistakes we at least do not need to continue to make them. So I have resolved to pay up some of my past obligations by building this village and afterward your dad and I plan to raise the wages of the workers—raise them voluntarily without their asking. I figure we shall have enough to keep the wolf from the door, even then," he added, smiling, "and if we should find we had not why we shou............
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