Part 3 out of 3
During the pandemonium, the voice in the trumpet was proceeding quite
"Silence!" shouted Bill, looking severely in the direction of the "seat
of the scornful." "All please listen in on this. Mr. Meadowcroft is
speaking." The confusion subsided and they heard these words:
"--sometimes impossible to get Mr. Edison's attention for weeks at a
time. He has his meals brought in and sleeps in the laboratory--when he
sleeps at all--and so intense is his interest in his work that it is
useless to attempt to disturb him even for what seems to me to be
business of the highest importance.
"But he has permitted me to express his deep and sincere interest in all
you young people, and I am adding, on my own responsibility, three
expressions of his which now seem to have maximum force because he has
"'Never mind the milk that's spilt.'
"Genius is one per cent. _in_spiration, and ninety-nine per cent.
"'Don't watch--don't clock the watch--oh!--_don't_ watch the CLOCK!--'
Why, Mr. Edison, I thought you--I have just been explaining why you
couldn't come--and now (with a laugh) here you are!
"There was a hearty chuckle and another voice said:
"I know it's mean to make you a victim of misplaced confidence, but it
came across me like a flash that I couldn't do a better thing for the
Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts and all the 'good scouts,' old and young,
than to broadcast a good word for my friend Marconi. So I have run up
here to speak to the Radio Boys after all. I know it's a shame, but--"
"Nothing of the sort, Mr. Edison,--not on your life!" (It is the more
familiar voice of Mr. Meadowcroft now.)
"Wait, let me introduce you: Boys and girls, you are now 'listening in'
with Thomas Alva Edison, who said, like the young man in the parable, 'I
go not,' then he changed his mind and went. He is here--not to give you
any message for or about himself, but to express his regard for the man
to whom all Radio Boys and Girls owe so much. Mr. Edison has come on
purpose to say a word to you."
When the room was in a silence so solemn that those present could hear
their own hearts beat, the voice the company now recognized as Mr.
Edison's came through with trumpet clearness:
"I have great admiration and high regard for Marconi, the pioneer
inventor of wireless communication. I wish you all the happiness that
Comes through usefulness. Good night."
"Mr. Edison--one moment! In the name of the millions who are not
'listening in' on this, won't you please write this sentiment so that it
can be seen as well as heard?"
"All right"--came through in Edison's voice. A brief pause ensued
and--"Thank you, Mr. Edison," from Mr. Meadowcroft in a low tone, which
he immediately raised:
"Mr. Edison has just written the words you have heard him speak to be
broadcast, as it were, to the young eyes of America."[A]
Hearty cheers followed this closing announcement, but as the speakers
they had heard were not aware of this, the demonstration soon ceased.
Exuberant youth, however, must be heard, and so, led by the
irrepressible Ted, they immediately sought fresh inspiration and began
to cheer whomever and whatever came quickly into their minds; first Bill
and Gus, with demands for a speech from Bill; then in answer to the
school yell, they cheered the school and Professor Gray. Finally they
began to cheer the refreshments as these suddenly developed a full-form
materialization. But this was suddenly switched off into a sort of
doubtful hurrah as Mr. Hooper, with his wife trying to dissuade him by
his coat-tails, arose and cleared his throat.
"Lads and lasses: I sez to this 'ere lad, Bill Brown, sez I, some time
back; I sez: 'Bill, me lad, if you ever fix it so's I kin hear my old
friend Bill Medders talkin' out loud more'n a hunderd mile off,' I sez,
'then,' I sez, 'I'll give you a thousand dollers.' Well, this Bill,
he sez: 'No, sir, Mr. Hooper,' he sez: 'We won't accept of no sich,'
he sez, an' what he sez he sticks to, this 'ere lad Bill does, an' so
does his buddy, Gus, 'ere. So, young people, I'm goin' to tell you
what I'm a-goin' to do. I'm goin' to spend that thousand some way
to sort o' remember this occasion by, an' it'll be spent fer whatever
your teacher here an' Bill an' Gus an' any more that want to git into
it sez it shall be. An', b'jinks, if you spring anything extry fine
an' highfalutin I'll double it--make it two thousand; anything to
help 'em along, gettin' an eddication, which I ain't got, ner never
kin git, but my gal shall an' all her young friends. So, go to it,
folks, an' I'm thinkin' my friends, Bill an' Gus--"
Roaring cheers interrupted the earnest speaker. He smiled broadly and
sat down. Professor Gray got to his feet, but Bill, not seeing him, was
first to be heard when the crowd silenced; the boy had got to the
platform and then on a chair. Standing there balanced on his crutch, a
hand where his shoulder usually rested, he was a sight to stir the
pathos and inspire admiration in any crowd.
"I say, people, give three royal yells for Mr. Hooper! He's one of the
dearest old chaps that ever drew breath! Ready, now----"
The roof didn't quite raise, but the nails may have been loosened some
and the timbers strained. With the ceasing of the cheers, Bill shouted
"And now don't forget Professor Gray! He's going to be in on this deal,
big, as you know!"
Again the walls trembled. Once more Bill was heard:
"And I have this suggestion: We'll put up a radio broadcasting station
at the school. Get a government license, find means to make our service
worth while and talk to anyone we want to. How's that?"
The building didn't crumble, but it surely shook. And then Professor
Gray had the floor:
"Girls and boys, we mustn't forget William Brown and Augustus Grier. You
can hardly mention one without the other. I propose--"
Gus shamelessly interrupted his respected teacher and friend:
"Three yells for Bill Brown's radio! Let her go!"
It went; as did also the refreshments a little later.
How Bill's idea of building a radio broadcasting station was carried out
will be told in "Bill Brown Listens In."
[Footnote A: This message will be found in _facsimile_ in the foreword
of this book.]