They were hissing and roaring at him this time. They had hitherto been silent, and he seemed to hear at first a low murmuring whisper, as if they consulted together as to the best way to attack him. Then the whisper grew to a louder swishing sound like the noise Mag had made as her body hurtled from side to side on falling down the shaft. It grew louder and louder, like the wind coming through far-off trees, gradually swelling to a roar. The eyes grew in numbers and got larger with the noise; and finally, with terror clutching at his heart and an oath upon his lips, he turned to run back, only to find that they had all merged into two wide, horribly glaring fiery eyes which were bearing down upon him with the speed and noise of an express train. They were on him before he could turn, as if they now realized that he was fully at their mercy, and with the courage of desperation he flung himself bodily upon them and went down crushed beneath the heavy mass of a motor driven with reckless speed by a young man rushing to catch a train.
Walker was down before the young man realized what had happened and the hoot of the horn had merely spurred Black Jock to the last desperate leap to death, the lights of the motor having taken on the shape of all the pursuing eyes that had followed him that night.
When he was taken from beneath the wheels, his neck broken and his body smashed, Black Jock had paid the last penalty, and the eyes which destroyed him flashed out accompaniment to his departing soul. And the winking skies, still merry with the stars of night, looked down unmoved, while the night-birds on the moor answered one another in their flight, and called a last farewell to the spirit of Black Jock.
The storm which had been brewing in the industrial firmament grew more threatening and the clouds grew blacker until it seemed as if nothing could prevent a commotion on a big scale.
The demand for a fuller life and more security was being made by the miners all over the country. Organization was proceeding apace, and a new idea was being glimpsed by the younger men especially, which filled their hearts and fired their imagination.
“Do you think the time has come now, Bob?” asked Robert Sinclair, speaking to Smillie one day, as they proceeded by rail to a conference together, “when the whole Federation can try its power in a demand for something real?”
“What do you mean by something real, Robert?” asked Smillie, with a keen look at the young, eager face turned towards him.
“Some guarantee of comfort in our lives,” was the reply. “You know that we have none now. You and others of us have been teaching the miners to work towards the day when a standard of ease and comfort will be assured to all. We have worked for it, and the miners now are looking for something tangible.”