As soon as Gadsby's inauguration had put him in a position to do things with authority, his first act was to start things moving on that big auditorium plan, for which many capitalists had bought bonds. Again public opinion had a lot to say as to how such a building should look, what it should contain; how long, how high, how costly; with a long string of ifs and buts.
Family upon family put forth claims for rooms for public forums in which various thoughts upon world affairs could find opportunity for discussion; Salvation Army officials thought that a big hall for a public Sunday School class would do a lot of good; and that, lastly, what I must, from this odd yarn's strict orthography, call a "film show," should, without doubt occupy a part of such a building. Anyway, talk or no talk, Gadsby said that it should stand as a building for man, woman and child; rich or poor; and, barring its "film show," without cost to anybody. Branton Hills' folks could thus swim, do gymnastics, talk on public affairs, or "just sit and gossip", at will. So it was finally built in a charming park amidst shrubs and blossoms; an additional honor for Gadsby.
But such buildings as Branton Hills now had could not fulfill all functions of so rapidly growing a city; for you find, occasionally, a class of folks who cannot afford a doctor, if ill. This was brought up by a girl of our Organization, Doris Johnson, who, on Christmas Day, in taking gifts to a poor family, had found a woman critically ill, and with no funds for aid or comforts; and instantly, in Doris' quick young mind a vision of a big city hospital took form; and, on a following day Gadsby had his Organization at City Hall, to "just talk," (and you know how that bunch can talk!) to a Councilman or two.
Now, if any kind of a building in all this big world costs good, hard cash to build, and furnish, it is a hospital; and it is also a building which a public knows nothing about. So Mayor Gadsby saw that if his Council would pass an appropriation for it, no such squabbling as had struck his Municipal Auditorium plan, would occur. But Gadsby forgot Branton Hills' landlords, all of whom had "a most glorious spot," just right for a hospital; until, finally, a group of physicians was told to look around. And did Branton Hills' landlords call upon Branton Hills' physicians? I'll say so!! Anybody visiting town, not knowing what was going on, would think that vacant land was as common as raindrops in a cloudburst. Small plots sprang into public light which couldn't hold a poultry barn, to say nothing of a big City Hospital. But no grasping landlord can fool physicians in talking up a hospital location, so it was finally built, on high land, with a charming vista across Branton Hills' suburbs and distant hills; amongst which Gadsby's charity auto and bus trips took so many happy invalids on past hot days.
Now it is only fair that our boys and girls of this famous Organization of Youth, should walk forward for an introduction to you. So I will bring forth such bright and loyal girls as Doris Johnson, Dorothy Fitts, Lucy Donaldson, Marian Hopkins, Priscilla Standish, Abigail Worthington, Sarah Young, and Virginia Adams. Amongstboys, cast a fond look upon Arthur Rankin, Frank Morgan, John Hamilton, Paul Johnson, Oscar Knott and William Snow; as smart a bunch of Youth as you could find in a month of Sundays.
As soon as our big hospital was built and functioning, Sarah Young and Priscilla Standish, in talking with groups of girls, had found a longing for a night-school, as so many folks had to work all day, so couldn't go to our Manual Training School. So Mayor Gadsby took it up with Branton Hills' School Board. Now school boards do not always think in harmony with Mayors and Councils; in fact, what with school boards, Councils, taxation boards, paving contractors, Sunday closing-hour agitations, railway rights of way, and all-round political "mud-slinging," a Mayor has a tough job.
Two of Gadsby's School Board said "NO!!" A right out-loud, slam-bang big "NO!!" Two thought that a night school was a good thing; but four, with a faint glow of financial wisdom, (a rarity in politics, today!) saw no cash in sight for such an institution.
But Gadsby's famous Organization won again! Branton Hills did not contain a family in which this Organization wasn't known; and many a sock was brought out from hiding, and many a sofa pillow cut into, to aid any plan in which this group had a part.
But, just as funds had grown to what Mayor Gadsby thought would fill all such wants, a row in Council as to this fund's application got so hot that "His Honor" got mad; mighty mad!! And said:—
"Why is it that any bill for appropriations coming up in this Council has to kick up such a rumpus? Why can't you look at such things with a public mind; for nothing can so aid toward passing bills as harmony. This city is not holding off an attacking army. Branton Hills is not a pack of wild animals, snapping and snarling by day; jumping, at a crackling twig, at night. It is a city of humans; animals, if you wish, but with a gift from On High of a brain, so far apart from all dumb animals as to allow us to talk about our public affairs calmly and thoughtfully. All this Night School rumpus is foolish. Naturally, what is taught in such a school is an important factor; so I want to find out from our Organization——"
At this point, old Bill Simpkins got up, with:
"This Organization of Youth stuff puts a kink in my spinal column! Almost all of it is through school. So how can you bring such a group forward as 'pupils?'"
"A child," said Gadsby, "who had such schooling as Branton Hills affords is, naturally, still a pupil; for many will follow up a study if an opportunity is at hand. Many adults also carry out a custom of brushing up on unfamiliar topics; thus, also, ranking as pupils. Possibly, Bill, if you would look up that word 'pupil,' you wouldn't find so much fault with insignificant data."
"All right!" was Simpkins' snap-back; "but what I want to know is, what our big Public Library is for. Your 'pupils' can find all sorts of information in that big building. So why build a night school? It's nothing but a duplication!"
"A library," said Gadsby, "is not a school. It has no instructors; you cannot talk in its rooms. You may find a book or two on your study, or you may not. You would find it a big handicap if you think that you can accomplish much with no aid but that of a Public Library. Young folks know what young folks want to study. It is foolish, say, to install a class in Astronomy, for although it is a Night School, its pupils' thoughts might not turn toward Mars, Saturn or shooting stars; but shorthand, including training for typists amongst adults who, naturally don't go to day schools, is most important, today; also History and Corporation Law; and I know that a study of Music would attract many. Any man or woman who works all day, but still wants to study at night, should find an opportunity for doing so."
This put a stop to Councilman Simpkins' criticisms, and approval was put upon Gadsby's plan; and it was but shortly that this school's popularity was shown in a most amusing way. Branton Hills folks, in passing it on going out for a show or social call, caught most savory whiffs, as its cooking class was producing doughnuts and biscuits; for a Miss Chapman, long famous as a cook for Branton Hills' Woman's Club, had about forty girls finding out about that magic art. So, too, occasionally a cranky old Councilman, who had fought against "this foolish night school proposition," would pass by; and, oh, hum!! A Councilman is only an animal, you know; and, on cooking class nights, such an animal, unavoidably drawn by that wafting aroma, would go in, just a bit humiliatingly, and, in praising Miss Chapman for doing "such important work for our young girls," would avidly munch a piping hot biscuit or a sizzling doughnut from a young girl's hand, who, a month ago, couldn't fry a slab of bacon without burning it.