This was only the first of the clashes between these two positive minds. Ordinarily, perhaps, Burton would have preferred efficiency in the factory to the triumph of his own opinions and ideas, much as it hurt him to be found in error, But Nyall’s disposition to wring the last drop of personal triumph out of every victory was more than the good man could endure. With his highly-strung nature, and goaded as he was by intense irritation, the passion to prove Nyall in the wrong overrode all other considerations. Thus he began to “cut off his nose to spite his face,” as Nyall expressed it—to conspire against Nyall’s success.
If you have ever witnessed a fight for supremacy between two positive, powerful, high-strung natures, with unusual resources of intellect and capacity on both sides, we do not need to describe to you what happened in the White Rapids Motor Company during the months that followed. Nyall simply could not understand why Burton should jeopardize the success, and even the solvency, of his enterprise by plotting against his own works manager. To his friends he confided: “Honestly, I think the old man is going crazy. The things he says and the things he does are not the product of a sane, normal mind.” Similarly, Burton could not understand, to save his life, why Nyall should jeopardize the brilliant future which lay before him “by bucking his president and general manager,” as he put it. “It is rule or ruin with him,” he told his friends. “I never saw a more stubborn man in my life. He is crazy to have his own way. He wants to take the bit in his teeth, and if he were permitted to do it, he would run away and smash himself and everything else.”
Why did not Nyall resign or, in default of his resignation, why did not Burton discharge him? Such action was obvious for both men from a mere common sense point of view, under the circumstances. The answer is that both men were so obstinate and so set upon winning the fight upon which they had entered, that neither of them would give up. It all ended when the board of directors finally took a hand and removed Nyall in order to save the institution from shipwreck.
Naturally enough, the word went out that Nyall could not stand prosperity; that when placed in a position of authority and responsibility, he had lost his head and had nearly wrecked the concern for which he worked. He found that he could not go back to his old position with the Swift Motor Company and that his reputation had suffered so seriously that he had to be satisfied for a long time with a minor position in a rather obscure concern.