Calumet "K"
by Samuel Merwin and Henry Kitchell Webster
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"This has gone too far," Bannon muttered. He turned and shouted to the men: "Clear up that track. Quick, now!"

Some of the men started, but stopped, and all looked at the delegate. He stepped to one side and coolly looked over the train; then he raised his hand.

"Don't touch the timbers," he said. "It ain't a mail train."

His voice was not loud, but those near at hand passed the word along, and the long line of men stood motionless. By that time the train had stopped, and three of the crew had come forward. They saw the timbers on the track and hurried toward them, but the delegate called out:—

"Watch those sticks, boys! Don't let a man touch them!"

There was no hesitation when the delegate spoke in that tone. A score of men blocked the way of the train crew.

Bannon was angry. He stood looking at Grady with snapping eyes, and his hands closed into knotted fists. But Bannon knew the power of the unions, and he knew that a rash step now might destroy all hope of completing the elevator in time. He crossed over to the delegate.

"What do you want?" he said gruffly.

"Nothing from you."

"What do you want?" Bannon repeated, and there was something in his voice that caused the delegate to check a second retort.

"You'll kill these men if you work them like this. They've been on the job all day."

Bannon was beginning to see that Grady was more eager to make trouble than to uphold the cause of the men he was supposed to represent. In his experience with walking delegates he had not met this type before. He was proud of the fact that he had never had any serious trouble in dealing with his workmen or their representatives. Mr. MacBride was fond of saying that Bannon's tact in handling men was unequalled; but Bannon himself did not think of it in this way—to him, trouble with the laborers or the carpenters or the millwrights meant loss of time and loss of money, the two things he was putting in his time to avoid; and until now he had found the maligned walking delegate a fair man when he was fairly dealt with. So he said:—

"Well, what are you asking?"

"These gangs ought to be relieved every two hours."

"I'll do it. Now clear up those timbers."

The delegate turned with a scowl, and waved the men back to their work. In a moment the track was clear, and the train was moving slowly onward between the long lines of men.

Bannon started the gangs at work. When the timbers were again coming across from the wharf in six slowly moving streams that converged at the end of the elevator, he stood looking after the triangle of red lights on the last car of the train until they had grown small and close together in the distance. Then he went over to the wharf to see how much timber remained, and to tell Peterson to hurry the work; for he did not look for any further accommodation on the part of the C. & S. C. railroad, now that a train had been stopped. The steamer lay quietly at the dock, the long pile of cribbing on her deck shadowed by the high bow deckhouse from the lights on the spouting house. Her crew were bustling about, rigging the two hoisting engines, and making all ready for unloading when the order should be given.

Peterson had been working through the timber pile from the shore side, so that now only a thin wall remained at the outer edge of the wharf. Bannon found him standing on the pile, rolling down the sticks with a peavey to where the carrying gangs could pick them up. "Better bring all your men up here, Pete, and clean it all away by the steamer. She may as well begin unloading now."

Bannon walked back to the tracks, in time to see a handcar and trailer, packed with men, come up the track and stop near at hand. The men at once scattered, and brushing aside Bannon's laborers, they began replacing the sections of fence. Bannon crossed to the section boss, who recognized him and without comment handed him a telegraphed order.

"There's no getting around that," he said, when Bannon had read it. "That's straight from the old man."

Bannon returned it, called Peterson, and hurried with him around the elevator to find Max, who was overseeing the piling.

"What'll we do?" Peterson asked, as they ran; but Bannon made no reply until the three were together. Then he said, speaking shortly:—

"Get the wire cable off one of your hoisting engines, Pete, and make one end fast as high as you can on the spouting house. We'll run it across the tracks, on a slope, down to this side. Max, you get a light rope and a running block, and hang a hook on it."

"I see," said Max, eagerly. "You're going to run it over on a trolley."

"Yes. The engineers have gone, haven't they?"

"Went at five," said Peterson.

"That's all right. We'll only need the hoist at the spouting house. The rest of it's just plain sliding down hill."

"But who'll run it?"

"I will. Pete, you get up on the spouting house and see that they're started down. Max will stay over here and watch the piling. Now rush it."

Half an hour had gone before the cable could be stretched from the spouting house, high over the tracks, down to the elevator structure, and before the hoisting engine could be got under steam. Meanwhile, for the third time since five o'clock, the laborers stood about, grumbling and growing more impatient. But at last it was all under way. The timbers were hoisted lightly up the side of the spouting house, hooked to the travelling block, and sent whirling down to Max's waiting hands, to be snatched away and piled by the men. But compared with the other method, it was slow work, and Bannon found that, for lack of employment, it was necessary to let half of the men go for the night.

Soon, to the rattle of blocks and the tramping of feet and the calling and shouting of men, was added the creak of the steamer's hoists, and the groan of her donkey engines as her crew began the work of dumping out the cribbing by hand and steam, on the cleared space on the wharf. And then, when the last big stick had gone over, Peterson began sending bundles of two-inch cribbing. Before the work was finished, and the last plank from the steamer's cargo had been tossed on the pile by the annex, the first faint color was spreading over the eastern sky, and the damp of a low-country morning was in the air.

Bannon stopped the engine and drew the fire; Peterson and his crew clambered to the ground, and Max put on his coat and waited for the two foremen to come across the tracks. When they joined him, Bannon looked sharply at him in the growing light.

"Hello, Max," he said; "where did you get that black eye?"

"That ain't much," Max replied. "You ought to see Briggs."


When Bannon came on the job on Friday morning at seven o'clock, a group of heavy-eyed men were falling into line at the timekeeper's window. Max was in the office, passing out the checks. His sister was continuing her work of the night before, going over what books and papers were to be found in the desk. Bannon hung up his overcoat and looked through the doorway at the square mass of the elevator that stood out against the sky like some gigantic, unroofed barn. The walls rose nearly eighty feet from the ground—though the length and breadth of the structure made them appear lower—so close to the tops of the posts that were to support the cupola frame that Bannon's eyes spoke of satisfaction. He meant to hide those posts behind the rising walls of cribbing before the day should be gone.

He glanced about at the piles of two-inch plank that hid the annex foundation work. There it lay, two hundred thousand feet of it—not very much, to be sure, but enough to keep the men busy for the present, and enough, too, to give a start to the annex bins and walls.

Peterson was approaching from the tool house, and Bannon called.

"How many laborers have you got, Pete?"

"Hardly any. Max, there, can tell." Max, who had just passed out his last check, now joined them at the doorstep.

"There's just sixty two that came for checks," he said, "not counting the carpenters."

"About what I expected," Bannon replied. "This night business lays them out." He put his head in at the door. "You'd better give checks to any new men that we send to the window, Miss Vogel; but keep the names of the old men, and if they show up in the morning, take them back on the job. Now, boys"—to Peterson and Max—"pick up the men you see hanging around and send them over. I'll be at the office for a while. We'll push the cribbing on the main house and start right in on the annex bins. There ain't much time to throw around if we're going to eat our Christmas dinner."

The two went at once. The hoisting engines were impatiently blowing off steam. New men were appearing every moment, delaying only to answer a few brisk questions and to give their names to Miss Vogel, and then hurrying away to the tool house, each with his brass check fastened to his coat. When Bannon was at last ready to enter the office, he paused again to look over the ground. The engines were now puffing steadily, and the rapping of many hammers came through the crisp air. Gangs of laborers were swarming over the lumber piles, pitching down the planks, and other gangs were carrying them away and piling them on "dollies," to be pushed along the plank runways to the hoist. There was a black fringe of heads between the posts on the top of the elevator, where the carpenters were spiking down the last planks of the walls and bins.

Miss Vogel was at work on the ledger when Bannon entered the office. He pushed his hat back on his head and came up beside her.

"How's it coming out?" he asked. "Do we know how much we're good for?"

She looked up, smiling.

"I think so. I'm nearly through. It's a little mixed in some places, but I think everything has been entered."

"Can you drop it long enough to take a letter or so?"

"Oh, yes." She reached for her notebook, saying, with a nod toward the table: "The mail is here."

Bannon went rapidly through the heap of letters and bills.

"There's nothing much," he said. "You needn't wait for me to open it after this. You'll want to read everything to keep posted. These bills for cribbing go to your brother, you know." There was one chair within the enclosure; he brought it forward and sat down, tipping back against the railing. "Well, I guess we may as well go ahead and tell the firm that we're still moving around and drawing our salaries. To MacBride & Company, Minneapolis, Gentlemen: Cribbing is now going up on elevator and annex. A little over two feet remains to be done on the elevator beneath the distributing floor. The timber is ready for framing the cupola. Two hundred thousand feet of the Ledyard cribbing reached here by steamer last night, and the balance will be down in a few days. Very truly yours, MacBride & Company. That will do for them. Now, we'll write to Mr. Brown— no, you needn't bother, though; I'll do that one myself. You might run off the other and I'll sign it." He got up and moved his chair to the table. "I don't generally seem able to say just what I want to Brown unless I write it out." His letter ran:—

DEAR MR. BROWN: We've finally got things going. Had to stir them up a little at Ledyard. Can you tell me who it is that's got hold of our coat tails on this job? There's somebody trying to hold us back, all right. Had a little fuss with a red-headed walking delegate last night, but fixed him. That hat hasn't come yet. Shall I call up the express company and see what's the matter? 7 1/4 is my size.

Yours, BANNON.

He had folded the letter and addressed the envelope, when he paused and looked around. The typewritten letter to MacBride & Company lay at his elbow. He signed it before he spoke.

"Miss Vogel, have you come across any letters or papers about an agreement with the C. & S. C?"

"No," she replied, "there is nothing here about the railroad."

Bannon drummed on the table; then he went to the door and called to a laborer who was leaving the tool house:—

"Find Mr. Peterson and ask him if he will please come to the office for a moment."

He came slowly back and sat on the corner of the table, watching Miss Vogel as her pencil moved rapidly up column after column.

"Had quite a time up there in Michigan," he said. "Those G.&M. people were after us in earnest. If they'd had their way, we'd never have got the cribbing."

She looked up.

"You see, they had told Sloan—he's the man that owns the lumber company and the city of Ledyard and pretty much all of the Lower Peninsula—that they hadn't any cars; and he'd just swallowed it down and folded up his napkin. I hadn't got to Ledyard before I saw a string of empties on a siding that weren't doing a thing but waiting for our cribbing, so I caught a train to Blake City and gave the Division Superintendent some points on running railroads. He was a nice, friendly man."—Bannon clasped his hands about one knee and smiled reminiscently—"I had him pretty busy there for a while thinking up lies. He was wondering how he could get ready for the next caller, when I came at him and made him wire the General Manager of the line. The operator was sitting right outside the door, and when the answer came I just took it in—it gave the whole snap away, clear as you want."

Miss Vogel turned on her stool.

"You took his message?"

"I should say I did. It takes a pretty lively man to crowd me off the end of a wire. He told the superintendent not to give us cars. That was all I wanted to know. So I told him how sorry I was that I couldn't stay to lunch, caught the next train back to Ledyard, and built a fire under Sloan."

Miss Vogel was looking out of the window.

"He said he could not give us cars?" she repeated.

Bannon smiled.

"But we didn't need them," he said. "I got a barge to come over from Milwaukee, and we loaded her up and started her down."

"I don't understand, Mr. Bannon. Ledyard isn't on the lake—and you couldn't get cars."

"That wasn't very hard." He paused, for a step sounded outside the door and in a moment Peterson had come in.

"I guess you wanted to talk to me, didn't you, Charlie?"

"Yes, I'm writing to the office. It's about this C. & S. C. business. You said you'd had trouble with them before."

"Oh, no," said Peterson, sitting on the railing and removing his hat, with a side glance at Miss Vogel, "not to speak of. There wasn't nothing so bad as last night."

"What was it?"

"Why, just a little talk when we opened the fence first time. That section boss was around, but I told him how things was, and he didn't seem to have no kick coming as long as we was careful."

Bannon had taken up his letter to Brown, and was slowly unfolding it and looking it over. When Peterson got to his feet, he laid it on the table.

"Anything else, Charlie? I'm just getting things to going on the annex. We're going to make her jump, I tell you. I ain't allowing any loafing there."

"No," Bannon replied, "I guess not." He followed the foreman out of doors. "Do you remember having any letters, Pete, about our agreement with the C. & S. C. to build over the tracks—from the office or anybody?"

Peterson brought his brows together and tried to remember. After a moment he slowly shook his head.

"Nothing, eh?" said Bannon.

"Not that I can think of. Something may have come in while Max was here in the office—"

"I wish you'd ask him."

"All right. He'll be around my way before long, taking the time."

"And say," Bannon added, with one foot on the doorstep, "you haven't seen anything more of that man Briggs, have you?"

Peterson shook his head.

"If you see him hanging around, you may as well throw him right off the job."

Peterson grinned.

"I guess he won't show up very fast. Max did him up good last night, when he was blowing off about bringing the delegate around."

Bannon had drawn the door to after him when he came out. He was turning back, with a hand on the knob, when Peterson, who was lingering, said in a low voice, getting out the words awkwardly:—

"Say, Charlie, she's all right, ain't she."

Bannon did not reply, and Peterson jerked his thumb toward the office.

"Max's sister, there. I never saw any red hair before that was up to the mark. Ain't she a little uppish, though, don't you think?"

"I guess not."

"Red-haired girls generally is. They've got tempers, too, most of them. It's funny about her looks. She don't look any more like Max than anything." He grinned again. "Lord, Max is a peach, though, ain't he."

Bannon nodded and reentered the office. He sat down and added a postscript to his letter:

The C. & S. C. people are trying to make it warm for us about working across their tracks. Can't we have an understanding with them before we get ready to put up the belt gallery? If we don't, we'll have to build a suspension bridge. C. B.

He sealed the envelope and tossed it to one side.

"Miss Vogel," he said, pushing his chair back, "didn't you ask me something just now?"

"It was about getting the cribbing across the lake," she replied. "I don't see how you did it."

Her interest in the work pleased Bannon.

"It ain't a bad story. You see the farmers up in that country hate the railroads. It's the tariff rebate, you know. They have to pay more to ship their stuff to market than some places a thousand miles farther off. And I guess the service is pretty bad all around. I was figuring on something like that as soon as I had a look at things. So we got up a poster and had it printed, telling what they all think of the G.&M."—he paused, and his eyes twinkled—"I wouldn't mind handing one to that Superintendent just for the fun of seeing him when he read it. It told the farmers to come around to Sloan's lumber yard with their wagons."

"And you carried it across in the wagons?"

"I guess we did."

"Isn't it a good ways?"

"Eighteen to thirty miles, according to who you ask. As soon as things got to going we went after the General Manager and gave him a bad half hour; so I shouldn't be surprised to see the rest of the bill coming in by rail any time now."

Bannon got up and slowly buttoned his coat. He was looking about the office, at the mud-tracked floor and the coated windows, and at the hanging shreds of spider web in the corners and between the rafters overhead.

"It ain't a very cheerful house to live in all day, is it?" he said. "I don't know but what we'd better clean house a little. There's not much danger of putting a shine on things that'll hurt your eyes. We ought to be able to get hold of some one that could come in once in a while and stir up the dust. Do you know of any one?"

"There is a woman that comes to our boarding-house. I think they know about her at the hotel."

He went to the telephone and called up the hotel.

"She'll be here this afternoon," he said as he hung up the receiver. "Will she bring her own scrubbing things, or are we supposed to have them for her? This is some out of my line."

Miss Vogel was smiling.

"She'll have her own things, I guess. When she comes, would you like me to start her to work?"

"If you'd just as soon. And tell her to make a good job of it. I've got to go out now, but I'll be around off and on during the day."

When the noon whistle blew Bannon and Max were standing near the annex. Already the bins and walls had been raised more than a foot above the foundation, which gave it the appearance of a great checker-board.

"Looks like business, doesn't it," said Max. He was a little excited, for now there was to be no more delaying until the elevator should stand completed from the working floor to the top, one hundred and sixty feet above the ground; until engines, conveyors, and scales should be working smoothly and every bin filled with grain. Indeed, nearly everybody on the job had by this time caught the spirit of energy that Bannon had infused into the work.

"I'll be glad when it gets up far enough to look like something, so we can feel that things are really getting on."

"They're getting on all right," Bannon replied.

"How soon will we be working on the cupola?"


"Tomorrow!" Max stopped (they had started toward the office) and looked at Bannon in amazement. "Why, we can't do it, can we?"

"Why not?" Bannon pointed toward a cleared space behind the pile of cribbing, where the carpenters had been at work on the heavy timbers, "They're all ready for the framing."

Max made no reply, but he looked up as they passed the elevator and measured with his eyes the space remaining between the cribbing and the tops of the posts. He had yet to become accustomed to Bannon's methods; but he had seen enough of him to believe that it would be done if Bannon said so.

They were halfway to the office when Max said, with a touch of embarrassment:—

"How's Hilda going to take hold, Mr. Bannon?"


Max's eyes sparkled.

"She can do anything you give her. Her head's as clear as a bell."

For the moment Bannon made no reply, but as they paused outside the office door he said:

"We'd better make a point of dropping in at the office now and then during the day. Any time you know I'm out on the job and you're up this way, just look in."

Max nodded.

"And nights when we're working overtime, there won't be any trouble about your getting off long enough to see your sister home. She won't need to do any night work."

They entered the office. Miss Vogel was standing by the railing gate, buttoning her jacket and waiting for Max. Behind her, bending over the blue prints on the table, stood Peterson, apparently too absorbed to hear the two men come in. Bannon gave him a curious glance, for no blue prints were needed in working on the annex, which was simply a matter of building bins up from the foundation. When Max and his sister had gone the foreman looked around, and said, with a show of surprise:—

"Oh, hello, Charlie. Going up to the house?"


Peterson's manner was not wholly natural. As they walked across the flats his conversation was a little forced, and he laughed occasionally at certain occurrences in the morning's work that were not particularly amusing.

Bannon did not get back to the office until a half hour after work had commenced for the afternoon. He carried a large bundle under one arm and in his hand a wooden box with a slot cut in the cover. He found the scrubwoman hard at work on the office floor. The chair and the unused stool were on the table. He looked about with satisfaction.

"It begins to look better already," he said to Miss Vogel. "You know we're not going to be able to keep it all clean; there'll be too many coming in. But there's going to be a law passed about tracking mud inside the railing."

He opened his bundle and unrolled a door mat, which he laid in front of the gate.

Miss Vogel was smiling, but Bannon's face was serious. He cut a square piece from the wrapping paper, and sitting on the table, printed the placard: "Wipe your feet! Or put five cents in the box." Then he nailed both box and placard to the railing, and stood back to look at his work.

"That will do it," he said.

She nodded. "There's no danger that they won't see it."

"We had a box down on the New Orleans job," said Bannon, "only that was for swearing. Every time anybody swore he put in a nickel, and then when Saturday came around we'd have ten or fifteen dollars to spend."

"It didn't stop the swearing, then?"

"Oh, yes. Everybody was broke a day or so after pay day, and for a few days every week it was the best crowd you ever saw. But we won't spend this money that way. I guess we'll let you decide what to do with it."

Hour by hour the piles of cribbing dwindled, and on the elevator the distance from bin walls to post-tops grew shorter. Before five o'clock the last planks were spiked home on the walls and bins in the northwest corner. A few hours' work in the morning would bring the rest of the house to the same level, and then work could commence on the distributing floor and on the frame of the cupola. Before the middle of the afternoon he had started two teams of horses dragging the cupola timbers, which had been cut ready for framing, to the foot of the hoist. By ten o'clock in the morning, Bannon figured, the engine would be lifting timbers instead of bundles of cribbing.

There was a chill wind, up there on the top of the elevator, coming across the flats out of the glowing sunset. But Bannon let his coat flap open, as he gave a hand now and then to help the men. He liked to feel the wind tugging at sleeves and cap, and he leaned against it, bare-throated and bare-handed—bareheaded, too, he would have been had not a carpenter, rods away on the cribbing, put out a hand to catch his cap as it tried to whirl past on a gust. The river wound away toward the lake, touched with the color of the sky, to lose itself half a mile away among the straggling rows of factories and rolling mills. From the splendid crimson of the western sky to the broken horizon line of South Chicago, whose buildings hid Lake Michigan, the air was crisp and clear; but on the north, over the dim shops and blocks of houses that grew closer together as the eye went on, until spires and towers and gray walls were massed in confusion, hung a veil of smoke, like a black cloud, spreading away farther than eye could see. This was Chicago.

Bannon climbed to the ground and took a last look about the work before going to the office. The annex was growing slowly but surely; and Peterson, coatless and hatless as usual, with sleeves rolled up, was at work with the men, swinging a hammer here, impatiently shouldering a bundle of planks there. And Bannon saw more clearly what he had known before, that Peterson was a good man when kept within his limitations. Certainly the annex could not have been better started.

When Bannon entered the office, Miss Vogel handed him a sheet of paper. He came in through the gate and stood at the desk beside her to have the light of the lamp. It was a balance sheet, giving the results of her examination of the books.

"All right, eh?" he said. A glance had been enough to show him that hereafter there would be no confusion in the books; the cashier of a metropolitan bank could not have issued a more businesslike statement. He tossed it on the desk, saying, "You might file it."

Then he took time to look about the office. It was as clean as blackened, splintered planks could be made; even the ceiling had been attacked and every trace of cobweb removed.

"Well," he said, "this is business. And we'll keep it this way, too."

She had faced about on the stool and was looking at him with a twinkle in her eye.

"Yes," she said, evidently trying not to laugh; "we'll try to."

He was not looking at her as she spoke, but when, a moment later, the laugh broke away from her, he turned. She was looking at his feet. He glanced down and saw a row of black footprints leading from the door to where he stood, one of them squarely in the centre of the new mat. He gazed ruefully, then he reached into his pocket and drew out a quarter, dropping it in the box.

"Well—" he said, wiping his feet; but the whistle just then gave a long blast, and he did not finish the sentence.

After supper Bannon and Peterson sat in the room they occupied together. In the walk home and during supper there had been the same sullen manner about the younger man that Bannon had observed at noon. Half a day was a long time for Peterson to keep to himself something that bothered him, and before the close of dinner he had begun working the talk around. Now, after a long silence, that Bannon filled with sharpening pencils, he said:

"Some people think a lot of themselves, don't they, Charlie?"

Bannon looked up from his pencils; he was sitting on the edge of the bed.

"She seems to think she's better'n Max and you and me, and everybody. I thought she looked pretty civil, and I didn't say a word she need to have got stuck-up about."

Bannon asked no questions. After waiting to give him an opportunity, Peterson went on:—

"There's going to be a picnic Sunday of the Iron Workers up at Sharpshooters' Park. I know a fellow that has tickets. It'd be just as quiet as anywhere—and speeches, you know. I don't see that she's any better than a lot of the girls that'll be there."

"Do you mean to say you asked her to go?" Bannon asked.

"Yes, and she—"

Bannon had turned away to strop his razor on his hand, and Peterson, after one or two attempts to begin the story, let the subject drop.


Bannon had the knack of commanding men. He knew the difference between an isolated—or better, perhaps, an insulated—man and the same man in a crowd. Without knowing how he did it, he could, nevertheless, distinguish between the signs of temporary ill feeling among the men and the perhaps less apparent danger signal that meant serious mischief.

Since his first day on the job the attitude of the men had worried him a little. There was something in the air he did not like. Peterson, accustomed to handling smaller bodies of men, had made the natural mistake of driving the very large force employed on the elevator with much too loose a rein. The men were still further demoralized by the episode with the walking delegate, Grady, on Thursday night. Bannon knew too much to attempt halfway measures, so he waited for a case of insubordination serious enough to call for severe treatment.

When he happened into the office about the middle of Saturday morning, Miss Vogel handed him two letters addressed to him personally. One was from Brown,—the last paragraph of it as follows:—

Young Page has told MacBride in so many words what we've all been guessing about, that is, that they are fighting to break the corner in December wheat. They have a tremendous short line on the Chicago Board, and they mean to deliver it. Twenty two hundred thousand has got to be in the bins there at Calumet before the first of January unless the Day of Judgment happens along before then. Never mind what it costs you. BROWN.

P.S. MacBride has got down an atlas and is trying to figure out how you got that cribbing to the lake. I told him you put the barge on rollers and towed it up to Ledyard with a traction engine.

The letter from Sloan was to the effect that twelve cars were at that moment on the yard siding, loading with cribbing, and that all of it, something more than eighteen hundred thousand feet, would probably be in Chicago within a week. A note was scribbled on the margin in Sloan's handwriting. "Those fool farmers are still coming in expecting a job. One is out in the yard now. Came clear from Victory. I've had to send out a man to take down the posters."

"That's just like a farmer," Bannon said to Miss Vogel. "Time don't count with him. Tomorrow morning or two weeks from next Tuesday—he can't see the difference. I suppose if one of those posters on an inconspicuous tree happens to be overlooked that some old fellow'll come driving in next Fourth of July."

He buttoned his coat as though going out, but stood looking at her thoughtfully awhile. "All the same," he said, "I'd like to be that way myself; never do anything till tomorrow. I'm going to turn farmer some day. Once I get this job done, I'd like to see the man who can hurry me. I'll say to MacBride: 'I'm willing to work on nice, quiet, easy little jobs that never have to be finished. I'll want to sit at the desk and whittle most of the time. But if you ever try to put me on a rush job I'll quit and buy a small farm.' I could make the laziest farmer in twelve states. Well, I've got to go out on the job."

An elevator is simply a big grain warehouse, and of course the bins where the grain is kept occupy most of the building. But for handling the grain more than bin room is necessary. Beneath the bins is what is called the working story, where is the machinery for unloading cars and for lifting the grain. The cupola, which Bannon was about to frame, is a five-story building perched atop the bins. It contains the appliances for weighing the grain and distributing it.

When Bannon climbed out on top of the bins, he found the carpenters partially flooring over the area, preparatory to putting in place the framework of the cupola. Below them in the bins, like bees in a honeycomb, laborers were taking down the scaffolding which had served in building their walls. At the south side of the building a group of laborers, under one of the foremen, was rigging what is known as a boom hoist, which was to lift the timbers for framing the cupola.

While Bannon stood watching the carpenters, one of them sawed off the end of a plank and dropped it down into the bin. There was a low laugh, and one or two of the men glanced uneasily at Bannon. He spoke to the offender.

"Don't do that again if you want to stay on this job. You know there are men at work down there." Then: "Look here," he called, getting the attention of all the carpenters, "every man that drops anything into the bins gets docked an hour's pay. If he does it twice he leaves the job just as quick as we can make out a time-check. I want you to be careful."

He was picking his way over to the group of men about the hoisting pole, when he heard another general laugh from the carpenters. Turning back he saw them all looking at a fellow named Reilly, who, trying to suppress a smile, was peering with mock concern down into the dark bin. "My hammer slipped," Bannon heard him say in a loud aside to the man nearest him. Then, with a laugh: "Accidents will happen."

Bannon almost smiled himself, for the man had played right into his hand. He had, in the four days since he took command, already become aware of Reilly and had put him down for the sort ambitious to rise rather in the organization of his union than in his trade.

"I guess we won't take the trouble to dock you," he said. "Go to the office and get your time. And be quick about it, too."

"Did ye mean me?" the man asked impudently, but Bannon, without heeding, went over to the hoist. Presently a rough hand fell on his shoulder. "Say," demanded Reilly again, "did ye mean me?"

"No doubt of that. Go and get your time."

"I guess not," said the man. "Not me. My hammer just slipped. How're you going to prove I meant to do it?"

"I'm not. I'm going to fire you. You ain't laid off, you understand; you're fired. If you ever come back, I'll have you kicked off the place."

"You don't dare fire me," the man said, coming nearer. "You'll have to take me back tomorrow."

"I'm through talking with you," said Bannon, still quietly. "The faster you can light out of here the better."

"We'll see about that. You can't come it on the union that way—"

Then, without any preparatory gesture whatever, Bannon knocked him down. The man seemed to fairly rebound from the floor. He rushed at the boss, but before he could come within striking distance, Bannon whipped out a revolver and dropped it level with Reilly's face.

"I've talked to you," he said slowly, his eye blazing along the barrel, "and I've knocked you down. But—"

The man staggered back, then walked away very pale, but muttering. Bannon shoved back the revolver into his hip pocket. "It's all right, boys," he said, "nothing to get excited about."

He walked to the edge and looked over. "We can't wait to pick it up a stick at a time," he said. "I'll tell 'em to load four or five on each larry. Then you can lift the whole bunch."

"We run some chances of a spill or a break that way," said the foreman.

"I know it," answered Bannon, dryly. "That's the kind of chances we'll have to run for the next two months."

Descending to the ground, he gave the same order to the men below; then he sent word to Peterson and Vogel that he wished to see them in the office. He wiped his feet on the mat, glancing at Hilda as he did so, but she was hard at work and did not look up. He took the one unoccupied chair and placed it where he could watch the burnished light in her red hair. Presently she turned toward him.

"Did you want something?" she asked.

"Excuse me. I guess—I—"

In the midst of his embarrassment, Max and Pete came in. "I've got a couple of letters I want to talk over with you boys," he said. "That's why I sent for you."

Pete laughed and vaulted to a seat on the draughting-table. "I was most afraid to come," he said. "I heard you drawed a gun on that fellow, Reilly. What was he doing to make you mad?"

"Nothing much."

"Well, I'm glad you fired him. He's made trouble right along. How'd it happen you had a gun with you? Do you always carry one?"

"Haven't been without one on a job since I've worked for the old man."

"Well," said Pete, straightening up, "I've never so much as owned one, and I never want to. I don't like 'em. If my fists ain't good enough to take care of me against any fellow that comes along, why, he's welcome to lick me, that's all."

Hilda glanced at him, and for a moment her eyes rested on his figure. There was not a line of it but showed grace and strength and a magnificent confidence. Then, as if for the contrast, she looked at Bannon. He had been watching her all the while, and he seemed to guess her thought.

"That's all right," he said in answer to Peterson, "when it's just you and him and a fellow to hold your coats. But it don't always begin that way. I've been in places where things got pretty miscellaneous sometimes, but I never had a man come up and say: 'Mr. Bannon, I'm going to lick you. Any time when you're ready.' There's generally from three to thirty, and they all try to get on your back."

Peterson laughed reminiscently. "I was an attendant in the insane ward of the Massachusetts General Hospital for a while, and one time when I wasn't looking for it, twenty four of those lunatics all jumped on me at once. They got me on the floor and 'most killed me." He paused, as though there was nothing more to tell.

"Don't stop there," said Max.

"Why," he went on, "I crawled along the floor till I got to a chair, and I just knocked 'em around with that till they was quiet."

Bannon looked at his watch; then he took Brown's letter from his pocket. "It's from the office," he said. "We've got to have the bins full before New Year's Day."

"Got to!" exclaimed Pete. "I don't see it that way. We can't do it."

"Can or can't, that don't interest MacBride a bit. He says it's got to be done and it has."

"Why, he can't expect us to do it. He didn't say anything about January first to me. I didn't know it was a rush job. And then we played in hard luck, too, before you came. That cribbing being tied up, for instance. He certainly can't blame us if—"

"That's got nothing to do with it," Bannon cut in shortly. "He don't pay us to make excuses; he pays us to do as we're told. When I have to begin explaining to MacBride why it can't be done, I'll send my resignation along in a separate envelope and go to peddling a cure for corns. What we want to talk about is how we're going to do it."

Peterson flushed, but said nothing, and Bannon went on: "Now, here's what we've got to do. We've got to frame the cupola and put on the roof and sheathe the entire house with galvanized iron; we've got to finish the spouting house and sheathe that; we've got to build the belt gallery—and we'll have no end of a time doing it if the C. & S. C. is still looking for trouble. Then there's all the machinery to erect and the millwright work to do. And we've got to build the annex."

"I thought you was going to forget that," said Pete. "That's the worst job of all."

"No, it ain't. It's the easiest. It'll build itself. It's just a case of two and two makes four. All you've got to do is spike down two-inch planks till it's done, and then clap on some sort of a roof. There's no machinery, no details, just straight work. It's just a question of having the lumber to do it with, and we've got it now. It's the little work that can raise Ned with you. There is more than a million little things that any man ought to do in half an hour, but if one of 'em goes wrong, it may hold you up for all day. Now, I figure the business this way."

He took a memorandum from his pocket and began reading. There was very little guesswork about it; he had set down as nearly as possible the amount of labor involved in each separate piece of construction, and the number of men who could work on it at once. Allowing for the different kinds of work that could be done simultaneously, he made out a total of one hundred and twenty days.

"Well, that's all right, I guess," said Pete, "but you see that takes us way along into next year sometime."

"About March first," said Max.

"You haven't divided by three yet," said Bannon. "We'll get three eight-hour days into every twenty-four hours, and twenty-one of 'em into every week."

"Why, that's better than we need to do," said Pete, after a moment. "That gets us about two weeks ahead of time."

"Did you ever get through when you thought you would?" Bannon demanded. "I never did. Don't you know that you always get hit by something you ain't looking for? I'm figuring in our hard-luck margin, that's all. There are some things I am looking for, too. We'll have a strike here before we get through."

"Oh, I guess not," said Pete, easily. "You're still thinking of Reilly, aren't you."

"And for another thing, Page & Company are likely to spring something on us at the last moment."

"What sort of thing?"

"If I knew I'd go ahead and build it now, but I don't."

"How are you going to work three gangs? Who'll look after'em?"

"One of us has got to stay up nights, I guess," said Bannon. "We'll have to get a couple of boys to help Max keep time. It may take us a day or two to get the good men divided up and the thing to running properly, but we ought to be going full blast by the first of the week."

He arose and buttoned his coat. "You two know the men better than I do. I wish you'd go through the pay roll and pick out the best men and find out, if you can, who'll work nights at regular night wages."

Peterson came out of the office with him.

"I suppose you'll put me in the night gang," he said.

"I haven't decided yet what I'll do."

"When I came by the main hoist," Pete went on, "they was picking up four and five sticks at once. I stopped 'em, and they said it was your orders. You'll come to smash that way, sure as a gun."

"Not if they don't take more than I told 'em to and if they're careful. They have to do it to keep up with the carpenters."

"Well, it's running a big risk, that's all. I don't like it."

"My God, don't I know it's a risk! Do you suppose I like it? We've got something to do, and we've got to do it somehow."

Pete laughed uneasily. "I—I told 'em not to pick up more than two sticks at a time till they heard from me."

"I think," said Bannon, with a look that was new to Pete, "I think you'd better go as fast as you can and tell them to go on as they were when you found them."

Late on Tuesday afternoon the hoist broke. It was not easy to get from the men a clear account of the accident. The boss of the gang denied that he had carried more of a load than Bannon had authorized, but some of the talk among the men indicated the contrary. Only one man was injured and he not fatally, a piece of almost miraculous good luck. Some scaffolding was torn down and a couple of timbers badly sprung, but the total damage was really slight.

Bannon in person superintended rigging the new hoist. It was ready for work within two hours after the accident. "She's guyed a little better than the other was, I think," said Bannon to the foreman. "You won't have any more trouble. Go ahead."

"How about the load?"

"Carry the same load as before. You weren't any more than keeping up."


Five minutes after the noon whistle blew, on Saturday, every carpenter and laborer knew that Bannon had "pulled a gun" on Reilly. Those who heard it last heard more than that, for when the story had passed through a few hands it was bigger and it took longer to tell. And every man, during the afternoon, kept his eyes more closely on his work. Some were angry, but these dropped from muttering into sullenness; the majority were relieved, for a good workman is surer of himself under a firm than under a slack hand; but all were cowed. And Bannon, when after dinner he looked over the work, knew more about all of them and their feelings, perhaps, than they knew themselves. He knew, too, that the incident might in the long run make trouble. But trouble was likely in any case, and it was better to meet it after he had established his authority than while discipline was at loose ends.

But Hilda and Max were disappointed. They were in the habit of talking over the incidents and problems of the day every night after supper. And while Hilda, as Max used to say, had a mind of her own, she had fallen into the habit of seeing things much as Max saw them. Max had from the start admired, in his boyish way, Peterson's big muscles and his easy good nature. He had been the first to catch the new spirit that Bannon had got into the work, but it was more the outward activity that he could understand and admire than Bannon's finer achievements in organization. Like Hilda, he did not see the difference between dropping a hammer down a bin and overloading a hoist. Bannon's distinction between running risks in order to push the work and using caution in minor matters was not recognized in their talks. And as Bannon was not in the habit of giving his reasons, the misunderstanding grew. But more than all Max felt, and in a way Hilda felt, too, that Peterson would never have found it necessary to use a revolver; his fists would have been enough for a dozen Reillys. Max did not tell Hilda about all the conversations he and Peterson had had during the last week, for they were confidential. Peterson had never been without a confidant, and though he still shared a room with Bannon, he could not talk his mind out with him. Max, who to Bannon was merely an unusually capable lumber-checker, was to Peterson a friend and adviser. And though Max tried to defend Bannon when Peterson fell into criticism of the way the work was going, he was influenced by it.

During the few days after the accident Hilda was so deeply distressed about the injured man that Max finally went to see him.

"He's pretty well taken care of," he said when he returned. "There's some ribs broken, he says, and a little fever, but it ain't serious. He's got a couple of sneaking little lawyers around trying to get him to sue for damages, but I don't think he'll do it. The Company's giving him full pay and all his doctor's bills."

Nearly every evening after that Max took him some little delicacy. Hilda made him promise that he would not tell who sent them.

Bannon had quickly caught the changed attitude toward him, and for several days kept his own counsel. But one morning, after dictating some letters to Hilda, he lingered.

"How's our fund getting on?" he said, smiling. "Have you looked lately?"

"No," she said, "I haven't."

He leaned over the railing and opened the box.

"It's coming slow," he said, shaking his head. "Are you sure nobody's been getting away from us?"

Hilda was seated before the typewriter. She turned partly around, without taking her ringers from the keys.

"I don't know," she said quietly. "I haven't been watching it."

"We'll have to be stricter about it," said Bannon. "These fellows have got to understand that rules are rules."

He spoke with a little laugh, but the remark was unfortunate. The only men who came within the railing were Max and Peterson.

"I may have forgotten it, myself," she said.

"That won't do, you know. I don't know but what I can let you off this time—I'll tell you what I'll do, Miss Vogel: I'll make a new rule that you can come in without wiping your feet if you'll hand in a written excuse. That's the way they did things when I went to school." He turned to go, then hesitated again. "You haven't been out on the job yet, have you?"

"No, I haven't."

"I rather think you'd like it. It's pretty work, now that we're framing the cupola. If you say so, I'll fix it for you to go up to the distributing floor this afternoon."

She looked back at the machine.

"The view ain't bad," he went on, "when you get up there. You can see down into Indiana, and all around. You could see all Chicago, too, if it wasn't for the smoke."

There was a moment's silence.

"Why, yes, Mr. Bannon," she said; "I'd like to go very much."

"All right," he replied, his smile returning. "I'll guarantee to get you up there somehow, if I have to build a stairway. Ninety feet's pretty high, you know."

When Bannon reached the elevator he stood for a moment in the well at the west end of the structure. This well, or "stairway bin," sixteen by thirty-two feet, and open from the ground to the distributing floor, occupied the space of two bins. It was here that the stairway would be, and the passenger elevator, and the rope-drive for the transmission of power from the working to the distributing floor. The stairway was barely indicated by rude landings. For the present a series of eight ladders zigzagged up from landing to landing. Bannon began climbing; halfway up he met Max, who was coming down, time book in hand.

"Look here, Max," he said, "we're going to have visitors this afternoon. If you've got a little extra time I'd like to have you help get things ready."

"All right," Max replied. "I'm not crowded very hard today."

"I've asked your sister to come up and see the framing."

Max glanced down between the loose boards on the landing.

"I don't know," he said slowly; "I don't believe she could climb up here very well."

"She won't have to. I'm going to put in a passenger elevator, and carry her up as grand as the Palmer House. You put in your odd minutes between now and three o'clock making a box that's big and strong enough."

Max grinned.

"Say, that's all right. She'll like that. I can do most of it at noon."

Bannon nodded and went on up the ladders. At the distributing floor he looked about for a long timber, and had the laborers lay it across the well opening. The ladders and landings occupied only about a third of the space; the rest was open, a clear drop of eighty feet.

At noon he found Max in an open space behind the office, screwing iron rings into the corners of a stout box. Max glanced up and laughed.

"I made Hilda promise not to come out here," he said. He waved his hand toward the back wall of the office. Bannon saw that he had nailed strips over the larger cracks and knot holes. "She was peeking, but I shut that off before I'd got very far along. I don't think she saw what it was. I only had part of the frame done."

"She'll be coming out in a minute," said Bannon.

"I know. I thought of that." Max threw an armful of burlap sacking over the box. "That'll cover it up enough. I guess it's time to quit, anyway, if I'm going to get any dinner. There's a little square of carpet up to the house that I'm going to get for the bottom, and we can run pieces of half-inch rope from the rings up to a hook, and sling it right on the hoist."

"It's not going on the hoist," said Bannon. "I wouldn't stop the timbers for Mr. MacBride himself. When you go back, you'll see a timber on the top of the well. I'd like you to sling a block under it and run an inch-and-a-quarter rope through. We'll haul it up from below."

"What power?"

"Man power."

"All right, Mr. Bannon. I'll see to it. There's Hilda now."

He called to her to wait while he got his coat, and then the two disappeared across the tracks. Hilda had bowed to Bannon, but without the smile and the nod that he liked. He looked after her as if he would follow; but he changed his mind, and waited a few minutes.

The "elevator" was ready soon after the afternoon's work had commenced. Bannon found time between two and three o'clock to inspect the tackle. He picked up an end of rope and lashed the cross timber down securely. Then he went down the ladders and found Max, who had brought the carpet for the box and was looking over his work. The rope led up to the top of the well through a pulley and then back to the working floor and through another pulley, so that the box could be hoisted from below.

"It's all ready," said Max. "It'll run up as smooth as you want."

"You'd better go for your sister, then," Bannon replied.

Max hesitated.

"You meant for me to bring her?"

"Yes, I guess you might as well."

Bannon stood looking after Max as he walked along the railroad track out into the open air. Then he glanced up between the smooth walls of cribbing that seemed to draw closer and closer together until they ended, far overhead, in a rectangle of blue sky. The beam across the top was a black line against the light. The rope, hanging from it, swayed lazily. He walked around the box, examining the rings and the four corner ropes, and testing them.

Hilda was laughing when she came with Max along the track. Bannon could not see her at first for the intervening rows of timbers that supported the bins. Then she came into view through an opening between two "bents" of timber, beyond a heap of rubbish that had been thrown at one side of the track. She was trying to walk on the rail, one arm thrown out to balance, the other resting across Max's shoulders. Her jacket was buttoned snugly up to the chin, and there was a fresh color in her face.

Bannon had called in three laborers to man the rope; they stood at one side, awaiting the order to haul away. He found a block of wood, and set it against the box for a step.

"This way, Miss Vogel," he called. "The elevator starts in a minute. You came pretty near being late."

"Am I going to get in that?" she asked; and she looked up, with a little gasp, along the dwindling rope.

"Here," said Max, "don't you say nothing against that elevator. I call it pretty grand."

She stood on the block, holding to one of the ropes, and looking alternately into the box and up to the narrow sky above them.

"It's awfully high," she said. "Is that little stick up there all that's going to hold me up?"

"That little stick is ten-by-twelve," Max replied. "It would hold more'n a dozen of you."

She laughed, but still hesitated. She lowered her eyes and looked about the great dim space of the working story with its long aisles and its solid masses of timber. Suddenly she turned to Bannon, who was standing at her side, waiting to give her a hand.

"Oh, Mr. Bannon," she said, "are you sure it's strong enough? It doesn't look safe."

"I think it's safe," he replied quietly. He vaulted into the box and signalled to the laborers. Hilda stepped back off the block as he went up perhaps a third of the way, and then came down. She said nothing, but stepped on the block.

"How shall I get in?" she asked, laughing a little, but not looking at Bannon.

"Here," said Bannon, "give us each a hand. A little jump'll do it. Max here'll go along the ladders and steady you if you swing too much. Wait a minute, though." He hurried out of doors, and returned with a light line, one end of which he made fast to the box, the other he gave to Max.

"Now," he said, "you can guide it as nice as walking upstairs."

They started up, Hilda sitting in the box and holding tightly to the sides, Max climbing the ladders with the end of the line about his wrist. Bannon joined the laborers, and kept a hand on the hoisting rope.

"You'd better not look down," he called after her.

She laughed and shook her head. Bannon waited until they had reached the top, and Max had lifted her out on the last landing; then, at Max's shout, he made the rope fast and followed up the ladders.

He found them waiting for him near the top of the well.

"We might as well sit down," he said. He led the way to a timber a few steps away. "Well, Miss Vogel, how do you like it?"

She was looking eagerly about; at the frame, a great skeleton of new timber, some of it still holding so much of the water of river and mill-yard that it glistened in the sunlight; at the moving groups of men, the figure of Peterson standing out above the others on a high girder, his arms knotted, and his neck bare, though the day was not warm; at the straining hoist, trembling with each new load that came swinging from somewhere below, to be hustled off to its place, stick by stick; and then out into the west, where the November sun was dropping, and around at the hazy flats and the strip of a river. She drew in her breath quickly, and looked up at Bannon with a nervous little gesture.

"I like it," she finally said, after a long silence, during which they had watched a big stick go up on one of the small hoists, to be swung into place and driven home on the dowel pins by Peterson's sledge.

"Isn't Pete a hummer?" said Max. "I never yet saw him take hold of a thing that was too much for him."

Neither Hilda nor Bannon replied to this, and there was another silence.

"Would you like to walk around and see things closer to?" Bannon asked, turning to Miss Vogel.

"I wouldn't mind. It's rather cold, sitting still."

He led the way along one side of the structure, guiding her carefully in places where the flooring was not yet secure.

"I'm glad you came up," he said. "A good many people think there's nothing in this kind of work but just sawing wood and making money for somebody up in Minneapolis. But it isn't that way. It's pretty, and sometimes it's exciting; and things happen every little while that are interesting enough to tell to anybody, if people only knew it. I'll have you come up a little later, when we get the house built and the machinery coming in. That's when we'll have things really moving. There'll be some fun putting up the belt gallery, too. That'll be over here on the other side."

He turned to lead the way across the floor to the north side of the building. They had stopped a little way from the boom hoist, and she was standing motionless, watching as the boom swung out and the rope rattled to the ground. There was the purring of the engine far below, the straining of the rope, and the creaking of the blocks as the heavy load came slowly up. Gangs of men were waiting to take the timbers the moment they reached the floor. The foreman of the hoist gang was leaning out over the edge, looking down and shouting orders.

Hilda turned with a little start and saw that Bannon was waiting for her. Following him, she picked her way between piles of planks and timber, and between groups of laborers and carpenters, to the other side. Now they could look down at the four tracks of the C. & S. C, the unfinished spouting house on the wharf, and the river.

"Here's where the belt gallery will go," he said, pointing downward: "right over the tracks to the spouting house. They carry the grain on endless belts, you know."

"Doesn't it ever fall off?"

"Not a kernel. It's pretty to watch. When she gets to running we'll come up some day and look at it."

They walked slowly back toward the well. Before they reached it Peterson and Max joined them. Peterson had rolled down his sleeves and put on his coat.

"You ain't going down now, are you?" he said. "We'll be starting in pretty soon on some of the heavy framing. This is just putting in girders."

He was speaking directly to Miss Vogel, but he made an effort to include Bannon in the conversation by an awkward movement of his head. This stiffness in Peterson's manner when Bannon was within hearing had been growing more noticeable during the past few days.

"Don't you think of going yet," he continued, with a nervous laugh, for Hilda was moving on. "She needn't be in such a rush to get to work, eh, Charlie?"

Hilda did not give Bannon a chance to reply.

"Thank you very much, Mr. Peterson," she said, smiling, "but I must go back, really. Maybe you'll tell me some day when you're going to do something special, so I can come up again."

Peterson's disappointment was so frankly shown in his face that she smiled again. "I've enjoyed it very much," she said. She was still looking at Peterson, but at the last word she turned to include Bannon, as if she had suddenly remembered that he was in the party. There was an uncomfortable feeling, shown by all in their silence and in their groping about for something to say.

"I'll go ahead and clear the track," said Bannon. "I'll holler up to you, Max, when we're ready down below."

"Here," said Max, "let me go down."

But Bannon had already started down the first ladder.

"The next time you come to visit us, Miss Vogel," he called back, "I guess we'll have our real elevator in, and we can run you up so fast it'll take your breath away. We'll be real swells here yet."

When he reached the working floor, he called in the laborers and shouted to Max. But when the box, slowly descending, appeared below the bin walls, it was Peterson who held the line and chatted with Hilda as he steadied her.

The next day a lot of cribbing came from Ledyard, and Bannon at once set about reorganizing his forces so that work could go on night and day. He and Peterson would divide the time equally into twelve-hour days; but three divisions were necessary for the men, the morning shift working from midnight until eight o'clock, the day shift from eight to four, and the night shift from four to midnight.

Finally, when the whistle blew, at noon, Bannon tipped back his chair and pushed his hat back on his head.

"Well," he said, "that's fixed."

"When will we begin on it?" Peterson asked.

"Today. Have the whistle blow at four. It'll make some of the men work overtime today, but we'll pay them for it."

Miss Vogel was putting on her jacket. Before joining Max, who was waiting at the door, she asked:—

"Do you want me to make any change in my work, Mr. Bannon?"

"No, you'd better go ahead just as you are. We won't try to cut you up into three shifts yet awhile. We can do what letters and accounts we have in the daytime."

She nodded and left the office.

All through the morning's work Peterson had worn a heavy, puzzled expression, and now that they had finished, he seemed unable to throw it off. Bannon, who had risen and was reaching for his ulster, which he had thrown over the railing, looked around at him.

"You and I'll have to make twelve-hour days of it, you know," he said. He knew, from his quick glance and the expression almost of relief that came over his face, that this was what Peterson had been waiting for. "You'd better come on in the evening, if it's all the same to you—at seven. I'll take it in the morning and keep an eye on it during the day."

Peterson's eyes had lowered at the first words. He swung one leg over the other and picked up the list of carpenters that Max had made out, pretending to examine it. Bannon was not watching him closely, but he could have read the thoughts behind that sullen face. If their misunderstanding had arisen from business conditions alone, Bannon would have talked out plainly. But now that Hilda had come between them, and particularly that it was all so vague—a matter of feeling, and not at all of reason—he had decided to say nothing. It was important that he should control the work during the day, and coming on at seven in the morning, he would have a hand on the work of all three shifts. He knew that Peterson would not see it reasonably; that he would think it was done to keep him away from Hilda. He stood leaning against the gate to keep it open, buttoning his ulster.

"Coming on up to the house, Pete?"

Peterson got down off the railing.

"So you're going to put me on the night shift," he said, almost as a child would have said it.

"I guess that's the way it's got to work out," Bannon replied. "Coming up?"

"No—not yet. I'll be along pretty soon."

Bannon started toward the door, but turned with a snap of his finger.

"Oh, while we're at it, Pete—you'd better tell Max to get those men to keep time for the night shifts."

"You mean you want him to go on with you in the daytime?"

"That's just as he likes. But I guess he'll want to be around while his sister is here. You see about that after lunch, will you?"

Peterson came in while Bannon was eating his dinner and stayed after he had gone. In the evening, when he returned to the house for his supper, after arranging with Peterson to share the first night's work, Bannon found that the foreman's clothes and grip had been taken from the room. On the stairs he met the landlady, and asked her if Mr. Peterson had moved.

"Yes," she replied; "he took his things away this noon. I'm sorry he's gone, for he was a good young man. He never give me any trouble like some of the men do that's been here. The trouble with most of them is that they get drunk on pay-days and come home simply disgusting."

Bannon passed on without comment. During the evening he saw Peterson on the distributing floor, helping the man from the electric light company rig up a new arc light. His expression when he caught sight of Bannon, sullen and defiant, yet showing a great effort to appear natural, was the only explanation needed of how matters stood between them.

It took a few days to get the new system to running smoothly—new carpenters and laborers had to be taken on, and new foremen worked into their duties—but it proved to be less difficult than Max and Hilda had supposed from what Peterson had to say about the conduct of the work. The men all worked better than before; each new move of Bannon's seemed to infuse more vigor and energy into the work; and the cupola and annex began rapidly, as Max said, "to look like something." Bannon was on hand all day, and frequently during a large part of the night. He had a way of appearing at any hour to look at the work and keep it moving. Max, after hearing the day men repeat what the night men had to tell of the boss and his work, said to his sister: "Honest, Hilda, I don't see how he does it. I don't believe he ever takes his clothes off."


The direct result of the episode with the carpenter Reilly was insignificant. He did not attempt to make good his boast that he would be back at work next day, and when he did appear, on Wednesday of the next week, his bleared eyes and dilapidated air made the reason plain enough. A business agent of his union was with him; Bannon found them in the office.

He nodded to the delegate. "Sit down," he said. Then he turned to Reilly. "I don't ask you to do the same. You're not wanted on the premises. I told you once before that I was through talking."

Reilly started to reply, but his companion checked him. "That's all right," he said. "I know your side of it. Wait for me up by the car line."

When Reilly had gone Bannon repeated his invitation to sit down.

"You probably know why I've come," the delegate began. "Mr. Reilly has charged you with treating him unjustly and with drawing a revolver on him. Of course, in a case like this, we try to get at both sides before we take any action. Would you give me your account of it?"

Bannon told in twenty words just how it had happened. The agent said cautiously: "Reilly told another story."

"I suppose so. Now, I don't ask you to take my word against his. If you'd like to investigate the business, I'll give you all the opportunity you want."

"If we find that he did drop the hammer by accident, would you be willing to take him back?"

Bannon smiled. "There's no use in my telling you what I'll do till you tell me what you want me to do, is there?"

Bannon held out his hand when the man rose to go.

"Any time you think there's something wrong out here, or anything you don't understand, come out and we'll talk it over. I treat a man as well as I can, if he's square with me."

He walked to the door with the agent and closed it after him. As he turned back to the draughting table, he found Hilda's eyes on him. "They're very clean chaps, mostly, those walking delegates," he said. "If you treat 'em half as well as you'd treat a yellow dog, they're likely to be very reasonable. If one of 'em does happen to be a rascal, though, he's meaner to handle than frozen dynamite. I expect to be white-headed before I'm through with that man Grady."

"Is he a rascal?" she asked.

"He's as bad as you find 'em. Even if he'd been handled right—"

Bannon broke off abruptly and began turning over the blue prints. "Suppose I'd better see how this next story looks," he said. Hilda had heard how Pete had dealt with Grady at their first meeting, and she could complete the broken sentence.

Bannon never heard whether the agent from the carpenters' union had looked further into Reilly's case, but he was not asked to take him back on the pay roll. But that was not the end of the incident. Coming out on the distributing floor just before noon on Thursday, he found Grady in the act of delivering an impassioned oration to the group of laborers about the hoist. Before Grady saw him, Bannon had come near enough to hear something about being "driven at the point of a pistol."

The speech came suddenly to an end when Grady, following the glances of his auditors, turned and saw who was coming. Bannon noted with satisfaction the scared look of appeal which he turned, for a second, toward the men. It was good to know that Grady was something of a coward.

Bannon nodded to him pleasantly enough. "How are you, Grady?" he said.

Seeing that he was in no danger, the delegate threw back his shoulders, held up his head, and, frowning in an important manner, he returned Bannon's greeting with the scantest civility.

Bannon walked up and stood beside him. "If you can spare the time," he said politely, "I'd like to see you at the office for a while."

Convinced now that Bannon was doing everything in his power to conciliate him, Grady grew more important. "Very well," he said; "when I've got through up here, ye can see me if ye like."

"All right," said Bannon, patiently; "no hurry."

During the full torrent of Grady's eloquence the work had not actually been interrupted. The big boom bearing its load of timber swept in over the distributing floor with unbroken regularity; but the men had worked with only half their minds and had given as close attention as they dared to the delegate's fervid utterances. But from the moment Bannon appeared there had been a marked change in the attitude of the little audience; they steered the hoist and canted the timbers about with a sudden enthusiasm which made Bannon smile a little as he stood watching them.

Grady could not pump up a word to say. He cleared his throat loudly once or twice, but the men ignored him utterly. He kept casting his shifty little sidewise glances at the boss, wondering why he didn't go away, but Bannon continued to stand there, giving an occasional direction, and watching the progress of the work with much satisfaction. The little delegate shifted his weight from one foot to the other and cleared his throat again. Then he saw that two or three of the men were grinning. That was too much.

"Well, I'll go with you," he snapped.

Bannon could not be sure how much of an impression Grady's big words and his ridiculous assumption of importance had made upon the men, but he determined to counteract it as thoroughly as possible, then and there. It was a sort of gallery play that he had decided on, but he felt sure it would prove effective.

Grady turned to go down as he had come up, by the ladders, but Bannon caught him by the shoulder, saying with a laugh: "Oh, don't waste your time walking. Take the elevator." His tone was friendly but his grip was like a man-trap, and he was propelling Grady straight toward the edge of the building. Four big timbers had just come up and Bannon caught the released rope as it came trailing by. "Here," he said; "put your foot in the hook and hang on, and you'll come down in no time."

Grady laughed nervously. "No you don't. I suppose you'd be glad to get rid of me that way. You don't come that on me."

The men were watching with interest; Bannon raised his voice a little. "All right," he said, thrusting his foot into the great hook, "if you feel that way about it. We'll have a regular passenger elevator in here by and by, with an electric bell and sliding door, for the capitalist crowd that are going to own the place. But we workingmen get along all right on this. Swing off, boys."

He waited for Grady down below. It mattered very little to him now whether the walking delegate chose to follow him down the hoist or to walk down on the ladders, for every one had seen that Grady was afraid. Bannon had seen all the men grinning broadly as he began his descent, and that was all he wanted.

Evidently Grady's fear of the rope was less than his dread of the ridicule of the men, for Bannon saw him preparing to come down after the next load. He took a long time getting ready, but at last they started him. He was the color of a handful of waste when he reached the ground, and he staggered as he walked with Bannon over to the office. He dropped into a chair and rubbed his forehead with his coat-sleeve.

"Well," said Bannon, "do you like the look of things? I hope you didn't find anything out of the way?"

"Do you dare ask me that?" Grady began. His voice was weak at first, but as his giddiness passed away it arose again to its own inimitable oratorical level. "Do you dare pretend that you are treating these men right? Who gave you the right to decide that this man shall live and this man shall die, and that this poor fellow who asks no more than to be allowed to earn his honest living with his honest sweat shall be stricken down with two broken ribs?"

"I don't know," said Bannon. "You're speaking of the hoist accident, I suppose. Well, go and ask that man if he has any complaint to make. If he has, come and let me know about it."

"They call this a free country, and yet you oppressors can compel men to risk their lives—"

"Have you any changes to suggest in the way that hoist is rigged?" Bannon cut in quietly. "You've been inspecting it. What did you think was unsafe about it?"

Grady was getting ready for his next outburst, but Bannon prevented him. "There ain't many jobs, if you leave out tacking down carpets, where a man don't risk his life more or less. MacBride don't compel men to risk their lives; he pays 'em for doing it, and you can bet he's done it himself. We don't like it, but it's necessary. Now, if you saw men out there taking risks that you think are unnecessary, why, say so, and we'll talk it over."

"There's another thing you've got to answer for, Mr. Bannon. These are free men that are devoting their honest labor to you. You may think you're a slave driver, but you aren't. You may flourish your revolver in the faces of slaves, but free American citizens will resent it—"

"Mr. Grady, the man I drew a gun on was a carpenter. His own union is looking after him. He had thrown a hammer down into a bin where some of your laborers were at work, so I acted in their defence."

Grady stood up. "I come here to give you warning today, Mr. Bannon. There is a watchful eye on you. The next time I come it will not be to warn, but to act. That's all I've got to say to you now."

Bannon, too, was on his feet. "Mr. Grady, we try to be fair to our men. It's your business to see that we are fair, so we ought to get on all right together. After this, if the men lodge any complaint with you, come to me; don't go out on the job and make speeches. If you're looking for fair play, you'll get it. If you're looking for trouble, you'll get it. Good-morning."

The new regime in operation at the elevator was more of a hardship to Peterson than to any one else, because it compelled him to be much alone. Not only was he quite cut off from the society of Max and Hilda, but it happened that the two or three under-foremen whom he liked best were on the day shift. The night's work with none of those pleasant little momentary interruptions that used to occur in the daytime was mere unrelieved drudgery, but the afternoons, when he had given up trying to sleep any longer, were tedious enough to make him long for six o'clock.

Naturally, his disposition was easy and generous, but he had never been in the habit of thinking much, and thinking, especially as it led to brooding, was not good for him. From the first, of course, he had been hurt that the office should have thought it necessary to send Bannon to supersede him, but so long as he had plenty to do and was in Bannon's company every hour of the day, he had not taken time to think about it much. But now he thought of little else, and as time went on he succeeded in twisting nearly everything the new boss had said or done to fit his theory that Bannon was jealous of him and was trying to take from him the credit which rightfully belonged to him. And Bannon had put him in charge of the night shift, so Peterson came to think, simply because he had seen that Hilda was beginning to like him.

About four o'clock one afternoon, not many days after Grady's talk with Bannon, Peterson sat on the steps of his boarding-house, trying to make up his mind what to do, and wishing it were six o'clock. He wanted to stroll down to the job to have a chat with his friends, but he had somewhat childishly decided he wasn't wanted there while Miss Vogel was in the office, so he sat still and whittled, and took another view of his grievances. Glancing up, he saw Grady, the walking delegate, coming along the sidewalk. Now that the responsibility of the elevator was off his shoulders he no longer cherished any particular animosity toward the little Irishman, but he remembered their last encounter and wondered whether he should speak to him or not.

But Grady solved his doubt by calling out cheerfully to know how he was and turning in toward the steps. "I suppose I ought to lick you after what's passed between us," he added with a broad smile, "but if you're willing we'll call it bygones."

"Sure," said Peterson.

"It's fine seasonable weather we're having, and just the thing for you on the elevator. It's coming right along."


"It's as interesting a bit of work as I ever saw. I was there the other day looking at it. And, by the way, I had a long talk with Mr. Bannon. He's a fine man."

Grady had seated himself on the step below Peterson. Now for the first time he looked at him.

"He's a good hustler," said Peterson.

"Well, that's what passes for a fine man, these days, though mistakes are sometimes made that way. But how does it happen that you're not down there superintending? I hope some carpenter hasn't taken it into his head to fire the boss."

"I'm not boss there any longer. The office sent Bannon down to take it over my head."

"You don't tell me that? It's a pity." Grady was shaking his head solemnly. "It's a pity. The men like you first-rate, Mr. Peterson. I'm not saying they don't like anybody else, but they like you. But people in an office a thousand miles away can't know everything, and that's a fact. And so he laid you off."

"Oh, no, I ain't quite laid off—yet. He's put me in charge of the night shift."

"So you're working nights, then? It seemed to me you was working fast enough in the daytime to satisfy anybody. But I suppose some rich man is in a hurry for it and you must do your best to accommodate him."

"You bet, he's in a hurry for it. He won't listen to reason at all. Says the bins have got to be chock full of grain before January first, no matter what happens to us. He don't care how much it costs, either."

"I must be going along," said Grady, getting to his feet. "That man must be in a hurry. January first! That's quick work, and he don't care how much it costs him. Oh, these rich devils! They're hustlers, too, Mr. Peterson. Well, good-night to you."

Peterson saw Bannon twice every day,—for a half hour at night when he took charge of the job, and for another half hour in the morning when he relinquished it. That was all except when they chanced to meet during Bannon's irregular nightly wanderings about the elevator. As the days had gone by these conversations had been confined more and more rigidly to necessary business, and though this result was Peterson's own fringing about, still he charged it up as another of his grievances against Bannon.

When, about an hour after his conversation with Grady, he started down to the elevator to take command, he knew he ought to tell Bannon of his conversation with Grady, and he fully intended doing so. But his determination oozed away as he neared the office, and when he finally saw Bannon he decided to say nothing about it whatever. He decided thus partly because he wished to make his conversation with Bannon as short as possible, partly because he had not made up his mind what significance, if any, the incident had, and (more than either of these reasons) because ever since Grady had repeated the phrase: "He don't care what it costs him," Peterson had been uneasily aware that he had talked too much.


Grady's affairs were prospering beyond his expectations, confident though he had been. Away back in the summer, when the work was in its early stages, his eye had been upon it; he had bided his time in the somewhat indefinite hope that something would turn up. But he went away jubilant from his conversation with Peterson, for it seemed that all the cards were in his hands.

Just as a man running for a car is the safest mark for a gamin's snowball, so Calumet K, through being a rush job as well as a rich one, offered a particularly advantageous field for Grady's endeavors. Men who were trying to accomplish the impossible feat of completing, at any cost, the great hulk on the river front before the first of January, would not be likely to stop to quibble at paying the five thousand dollars or so that Grady, who, as the business agent of his union was simply in masquerade, would like to extort.

He had heard that Peterson was somewhat disaffected to Bannon's authority, but had not expected him to make so frank an avowal of it. That was almost as much in his favor as the necessity for hurry. These, with the hoist accident to give a color of respectability to the operation, ought to make it simple enough. He had wit enough to see that Bannon was a much harder man to handle than Peterson, and that with Peterson restored to full authority, the only element of uncertainty would be removed. And he thought that if he could get Peterson to help him it might be possible to secure Bannon's recall. If the scheme failed, he had still another shot in his locker, but this one was worth a trial, anyway.

One afternoon in the next week he went around to Peterson's boarding-house and sent up his card with as much ceremony as though the night boss had been a railway president.

"I hope you can spare me half an hour, Mr. Peterson. There's a little matter of business I'd like to talk over with you."

The word affected Peterson unpleasantly. That was a little farther than he could go without a qualm. "Sure," he said uneasily, looking at his watch.

"I don't know as I should call it business, either," Grady went on. "When you come right down to it, it's a matter of friendship, for surely it's no business of mine. Maybe you think it's queer—I think it's queer myself, that I should be coming 'round tendering my friendly services to a man who's had his hands on my throat threatening my life. That ain't my way, but somehow I like you, Mr. Peterson, and there's an end of it. And when I like a man, I like him, too. How's the elevator? Everything going to please you?"

"I guess it's going all right. It ain't—" Pete hesitated, and then gave up the broken sentence. "It's all right," he repeated.

Grady smiled. "There's the good soldier. Won't talk against his general. But, Mr. Peterson, let me ask you a question; answer me as a man of sense. Which makes the best general—the man who leads the charge straight up to the intrenchments, yellin': 'Come on, boys!'—or the one who says, very likely shaking a revolver in their faces: 'Get in there, ye damn low-down privates, and take that fort, and report to me when I've finished my breakfast'? Which one of those two men will the soldiers do the most for? For the one they like best, Mr. Peterson, and don't forget it. And which one of these are they going to like best, do you suppose—the brave leader who scorns to ask his men to go where he wouldn't go himself, who isn't ashamed to do honest work with honest hands, whose fists are good enough to defend him against his enemies; or the man who is afraid to go out among the men without a revolver in his hip pocket? Answer me as a man of sense, Mr. Peterson."

Peterson was manifestly disturbed by the last part of the harangue. Now he said: "Oh, I guess Bannon wasn't scared when he drawed that gun on Reilly. He ain't that kind."

"Would you draw a gun on an unarmed, defenceless man?" Grady asked earnestly.

"No, I wouldn't. I don't like that way of doing."

"The men don't like it either, Mr. Peterson. No more than you do. They like you. They'll do anything you ask them to. They know that you can do anything that they can. But, Mr. Peterson, I'll be frank with you. They don't like the man who crowded you out. That's putting it mild. I won't say they hate him for an uncivil, hard-tongued, sneaking weasel of a spy—"

"I never knew Bannon to do anything like that," said Peterson, slowly.

"I did. Didn't he come sneaking up and hear what I was saying—up on top of the elevator the other day? I guess he won't try that again. I told him that when I was ready to talk to him, I'd come down to the office to do it."

Grady was going almost too far; Pete would not stand very much more; already he was trying to get on his feet to put an end to the conversation. "I ask your pardon, Mr. Peterson. I forgot he was a friend of yours. But the point is right here. The men don't like him. They've been wanting to strike these three days, just because they don't want to work for that ruffian. I soothed them all I can, but they won't hold in much longer. Mark my words, there'll be a strike on your hands before the week's out unless you do something pretty soon."

"What have they got to strike about? Don't we treat them all right? What do they kick about?"

"A good many things, big and little. But the real reason is the one I've been giving you—Bannon. Neither more nor less."

"Do you mean they'd be all right if another man was in charge?"

Grady could not be sure from Peterson's expression whether the ice were firm enough to step out boldly upon, or not. He tested it cautiously.

"Mr. Peterson, I know you're a good man. I know you're a generous man. I know you wouldn't want to crowd Bannon out of his shoes the way he crowded you out of yours; not even after the way he's treated you. But look here, Mr. Peterson. Who's your duty to? The men up in Minneapolis who pay your salary, or the man who has come down here and is giving orders over your head?

"—No, just let me finish, Mr. Peterson. I know what you're going to say. But do your employers want to get the job done by New Year's? They do. Do they pay you to help get it done? They do. Will it be done if that would-be murderer of a Bannon is allowed to stay here? It will not, you can bet on that. Then it's your duty to get him out of here, and I'm going to help you do it."

Grady was on his feet when he declaimed the last sentence. He flung out his hand toward Pete. "Shake on it!" he cried.

Peterson had also got to his feet, but more slowly. He did not take the hand. "I'm much obliged, Mr. Grady," he said. "It's very kind in you. If that's so as you say, I suppose he'll have to go. And he'll go all right without any shoving when he sees that it is so. You go and tell just what you've told me to Charlie Bannon. He's boss on this job."

Grady would have fared better with a man of quicker intelligence. Peterson was so slow at catching the blackmailer's drift that he spoke in perfectly good faith when he made the suggestion that he tell Bannon, and Grady went away a good deal perplexed as to the best course to pursue,—whether to go directly to Bannon, or to try the night boss again.

As for Peterson, four or five times during his half-hour talk with Bannon at the office that evening, he braced himself to tell the boss what Grady had said, but it was not till just as Bannon was going home that it finally came out. "Have you seen Grady lately?" Pete asked, as calmly as he could.

"He was around here something more than a week ago; gave me a little bombthrowers' anniversary oratory about oppressors and a watchful eye. There's no use paying any attention to him yet. He thinks he's got some trouble cooking for us on the stove, but we'll have to wait till he turns it into the dish. He ain't as dangerous as he thinks he is."

"He's been around to see me lately—twice."

"He has! What did he want with you? When was it he came?"

"The first time about a week ago. That was nothing but a little friendly talk, but—"

"Friendly! Him! What did he have to say?"

"Why, it was nothing. I don't remember. He wanted to know if I was laid off, and I told him I was on the night shift."

"Was that all?"

"Pretty near. He wanted to know what we was in such a hurry about, working nights, and I said we had to be through by January first. Then he said he supposed it must be for some rich man who didn't care how much it cost him; and I said yes, it was. That was all. He didn't mean nothing. We were just passing the time of day. I don't see any harm in that."

Bannon was leaning on the rail, his face away from Peterson. After a while he spoke thoughtfully. "Well, that cinches it. I guess he meant to hold us up, anyway, but now he knows we're a good thing."

"How's that? I don't see," said Peterson; but Bannon made no reply.

"What did he have to offer the next time he came around? More in the same friendly way? When was it?"

"Just this afternoon. Why, he said he was afraid we'd have a strike on our hands."

"He ought to know," said Bannon. "Did he give any reason?"

"Yes, he did. You won't mind my speaking it right out, I guess. He said the men didn't like you, and if you wasn't recalled they'd likely strike. He said they'd work under me if you was recalled, but he didn't think he could keep 'em from going out if you stayed. That ain't what I think, mind you; I'm just telling you what he said. Then he kind of insinuated that I ought to do something about it myself. That made me tired, and I told him to come to you about it. I said you was the boss here now, and I was only the foreman of the night shift."

Until that last sentence Bannon had been only half listening. He made no sign, indeed, of having heard anything, but stood hacking at the pine railing with his pocket-knife. He was silent so long that at last Peterson arose to go. Bannon shut his knife and wheeled around to face him.

"Hold on, Pete," he said. "We'd better talk this business out right here."

"Talk out what?"

"Oh, I guess you know. Why don't we pull together better? What is it you're sore about?"

"Nothing. You don't need to worry about it."

"Look here, Pete. You've known me a good many years. Do you think I'm square?"

"I never said you wasn't square."

"You might have given me the benefit of the doubt, anyway. I know you didn't like my coming down here to take charge. Do you suppose I did? You were unlucky, and a man working for MacBride can't afford to be unlucky; so he told me to come and finish the job. And once I was down here he held me responsible for getting it done. I've got to go ahead just the best I can. I thought you saw that at first, and that we'd get on all right together, but lately it's been different."

"I thought I'd been working hard enough to satisfy anybody."

"It ain't that, and you know it ain't. It's just the spirit of the thing. Now, I don't ask you to tell me why it is you feel this way. If you want to talk it out now, all right. If you don't, all right again. But if you ever think I'm not using you right, come to me and say so. Just look at what we've got to do here, Pete, before the first of January. Sometimes I think we can do it, and sometimes I think we can't, but we've got to anyway. If we don't, MacBride will just make up his mind we're no good. And unless we pull together, we're stuck for sure. It ain't a matter of work entirely. I want to feel that I've got you with me. Come around in the afternoon if you happen to be awake, and fuss around and tell me what I'm doing wrong. I want to consult you about a good many things in the course of a day."

Pete's face was simply a lens through which one could see the feelings at work beneath, and Bannon knew that he had struck the right chord at last. "How is it? Does that go?"

"Sure," said Pete. "I never knew you wanted to consult me about anything, or I'd have been around before."

Friday afternoon Bannon received a note from Grady saying that if he had any regard for his own interests or for those of his employers, he would do well to meet the writer at ten o'clock Sunday morning at a certain downtown hotel. It closed with a postscript containing the disinterested suggestion that delays were dangerous, and a hint that the writer's time was valuable and he wished to be informed whether the appointment would be kept or not.

Bannon ignored the note, and all day Monday expected Grady's appearance at the office. He did not come, but when Bannon reached his boarding-house about eight o'clock that evening, he found Grady in his room waiting for him.

"I can't talk on an empty stomach," said the boss, cheerfully, as he was washing up. "Just wait till I get some supper."

"I'll wait," said Grady, grimly.

When Bannon came back to talk, he took off his coat and sat down astride a chair. "Well, Mr. Grady, when you came here before you said it was to warn me, but the next time you came you were going to begin to act. I'm all ready."

"All right," said Grady, with a vicious grin. "Be as smart as you like. I'll be paid well for every word of it and for every minute you've kept me waiting yesterday and tonight. That was the most expensive supper you ever ate. I thought you had sense enough to come, Mr. Bannon. That's why I wasted a stamp on you. You made the biggest mistake of your life—"

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