Tom ran along, keeping his glance on the enraged men of the camp, many of whom followed on the outskirts of the crowd. Harry Hazelton occupied himself in similar fashion.
“Now, you get out of this—–and stay out!” ordered Foreman Dill, giving Evarts a shove that sent him spinning across the boundary line of the company’s property.
“You, too!” growled Foreman Johnson, giving the bootlegger a kick that sent him staggering along in his efforts to keep on his feet.
It was rough treatment, but Tom’s course, all through, had been of the only sort that could break down the threatened riot.
“Now, see if that Italian can be found who fired the shot in my face,” Tom called. “I’ll know him if I lay eyes on him.”
There was a prompt search, but the Italian could not be found.
“If he has left camp, and keeps away, perhaps he’ll be safe,” Tom announced. “But, if I run across him again I’ll seize him, hold him for the officers of the law, and see to it that he’s sent to prison for attempted murder.”
“Here are two men we want!” called Hazelton.
Tom ran to his chum, who was holding an American by the arm. Mr. Prenter had hold of another.
“Two more of Evarts’s bootleggers, eh?” muttered Reade. “Let me see.”
On one of the men he found a bottle of liquor. On the other no liquor was discovered.
“Did Evarts pay you fellows a salary, or commission?” Tom demanded.
“Commiss—–” began one of the bootleggers, then stopped himself with a vocal jerk. “Evarts? I don’t even know who he is.”
“Yes, you do,” chuckled Tom Reade. “You were on the point, too, of telling us that he paid you a commission on your sales, instead of a weekly wage. Now, my men, I’ve looked you well over and shall know you again. If I find you in camp, hereafter, you’ll be dealt with in a way that you don’t like. Savvy? Comprenay? Understand? Now—–git!”
“Now, men, get back to your camp,” shouted Tom. “To-morrow I’ll try to find time for a good and sociable talk with all of you. Try to enjoy your few leisure hours all you can, but remember that the men who can’t get along without liquor and gambling are the kind of men we don’t want here. Any man who is dissatisfied can get his pay from Mr. Renshaw tonight or to-morrow morning. For those who stood by us I have every feeling of respect and gratitude. Those who thought to fight us—–or some of them—–will have better sense by tomorrow. We don’t want to impose on any man here, but there are some things that we shall have to stop doing. Good night, men!”
Engineers, superintendent and foremen now left the men, going towards their barracks.
“I’ve a little job for you, Peters, if you don’t mind going back into the camp,” suggested Tom.
“It’s not to go back and fight, single-handed, is it?” Mr. Peters asked, with a smile.