This brings three of the men to their feet.
Coleman, the delegate from California, is recognized.
“Mr. Chairman, I am opposed to allowing any man to take part in this work who is not in thorough sympathy with the rest of the committee. It would be a manifest impossibility for this very dangerous and unprecedented undertaking to be launched with the possible danger of there being a spy in our company.
“I am not prepared to say that there is such a spy here, yet until it is satisfactorily demonstrated that we are all of us true friends of the laboring men of the country, I shall be against proceeding to the further outlining of the plan.
“It is not enough that a man profess friendship. He must be able to show by his acts that he has done something for his fellow-men besides theorize.”
These views are quickly seconded. Then follows a talk among the men as to what each of them has done to establish a record as a friend of the masses. From the statements and the corroborating testimony of dissenters, all of the members, with the exception of Nevins, pass satisfactorily. He has no acts to his credit. No one admits knowing of him outside of his work as a committeeman. Not one of those in attendance at this special meeting will speak a word in his behalf.
At this juncture, when it looks as though he is to be ruled out of the committee and his plan repudiated, Hendrick Stahl asks to be heard.
As Stahl is a member of high standing and the leader of a strong labor party in Minnesota, he is permitted to speak. In a few forceful words he denounces the men for their ungenerous suspicion; he tells them that he has known Nevins as a friend and co-worker for years.
Not without a visible degree of dissatisfaction the objecting members accept the situation and agree to attend the meeting to hear the reading of the list of proscribed. The men present do not know that Nevins had planned the seeming rebellion to test the sincerity of the men whom he is to take into his full confidence; that he has Professor Talbot and Hendrick Stahl working as his lieutenants.
Nothing now standing in the way of the plan, the men await the hour for the night session. They are eager to hear the reading of the list.
THE LIST OF TRANSGRESSORS.
At length the hour arrives in which the men are to be given the names of the transgressors. It would be disastrous to have any knowledge of the affair fall into the possession of the sleuths of the Trusts; so every precaution for secrecy is observed. The loft of the deserted mill is again chosen as the place of meeting. A thorough search of the storehouse is made, and then the committee assembles in the narrow semi-circle.
After the meeting is called to order, there is an apparent apathy on the part of a number of the Eastern members. When questioned they freely admit that they do not believe their constituents would sanction the drastic measure.