Here the work of the telephone engineer has been so well done that although every room in these cliff-buildings has its telephone, there is not a pole in sight, not a cross-arm, not a wire. Nothing but the tip-ends of an immense system are visible.
And he gave such a jaunty sense of youth and easy strength! I watched him for some time, curiously interested, and thought I should like well to know him, but could not see just how to go about it. The man astride the cross-arm who was heaving the wire forward from the spool on the distant truck suddenly cried out: "Ease up there, Bill, she's caught."
Finally he cried: "Ready-O!" The wire tightened and the slack disappeared under Smaltz's steady pull. The carpenter and the crew watched the cross-arm anxiously as the strain came upon it under the taut wire. Their faces brightened as it held. Smaltz looked at Jennings quizzically. "More?" "You ain't heard me tell you yet to stop," was the snarling answer. "Here goes, then."
"One of the bullets struck a cross-arm; I heard it," suggested Johnny. "You can look at that if it'll be any comfort to you." The policeman grunted, then following Johnny's flashlight, examined the spot where the bullet had flaked the paint from the bridge iron. "Hurum!" he grumbled. "That's queer. Bullet slid straight up the iron when it struck.
The rest of the pole was vague and shadowy, like everything else in the immediate neighborhood. The bottom of the pole he could not see at all from where he stood, it was so dark alongside the building. But that second cross-arm was lighted as from a near-by window. Yet there was no lighted window anywhere in the place. Starr was puzzled.
In the act of mounting the steps the condemned craned his head sidewise, and at the sight of those coffins stretching along six in a row on the gravelled courtyard, he made a cheap and sorry gibe. But when he stood beneath the cross-arm to be pinioned, his legs played him traitor.
"But you haven't done it yet," said Jack grimly, turning to look about him. How could he overcome the break in the wire? As the cut had been made close to the glass insulator on the cross-arm, only one of the two ends hung to the ground, and he saw that he could not splice them. And in any case he could not climb the pole and take that heavy stretch of wire with him.
Those of bronze have, for the most part, the leaf shape of the bronze sword, but those of iron show many forms, the most remarkable being the chisel-headed, a type used in Persia. Spear-heads are not specially suggestive as to provenance, with the exception of a kind having a cross-arm like the halberd commonly used in China from the seventh century before Christ.
From the cross-arm, up among the hemlock tops, he called out to me: "Good-bye, pard." "Stop in, Bill, and see me when you come by my place," said I. "You bet," said he. And he did, the next day, and I showed him off to Harriet, who brought him a plate of her best doughnuts and asked him about his mother. Yesterday I saw him again careering by in the truck. The job was finished.
I thought for a while, and then I put the instrument in my pocket, and undertook to "shin up" the pole as I used to do when I was a schoolboy. After many efforts, in which I succeeded in tearing nearly all the clothes off of me, I finally reached the lowest cross-arm, and seated myself on it with my legs wrapped around the pole.