“There is some mistake here,” Jasper remarked as he counted over the money. “I want fifty cents more.”
“That’s all you’re goin’ to get,” Simon replied. “I saw ye loafin’ this afternoon when ye should have been workin’, an’ ‘no work, no pay’ is my motto.”
“Loafing, do you say?” Jasper asked, thinking that he had not heard aright.
“Sure. Didn’t I see ye leanin’ on yer hoe watchin’ that car which went down the road? An’ ye stood there a long time, too.”
Into Jasper’s eyes leaped an angry fire. He understood now the man he had to deal with. So he had been watching him, and he had taken no account of the work he had done all day.
“You were spying upon me, eh?” he retorted. “Didn’t you see how I did the work of two men to-day?”
“All I know is that you were loafin’ when I saw ye, an’ that was enough.”
“Look here, Simon Squabbles,” and Jasper stepped close to his employer, “if you were not as old as you are, I’d tie you into a bowknot in the twinkling of an eye. You’re not fit to be called a man, and not another stroke of work do you get from me. Keep the fifty cents, if it will do you any good. I am trying to make an honest living, but creatures such as you are the ones who make it almost impossible.”
The blood surged through Jasper’s veins as he plodded along the muddy road towards his humble cabin. The rain beat upon him and soaked his clothes, but he did not seem to heed it, so filled was his mind with the contemptible meanness of old Squabbles. He was in no pleasant mood, and his hands often clenched hard together as he moved through the darkness. What he was to do in the future, he did not know. Neither did he much care. A reckless spirit was upon him. The whole world was seething with injustice, so he believed. He had tried to be honest, to make his way, but he had been foiled at every step. Why should he try any longer? Simon Squabbles prospered through injustice; Dick Sinclair could ride along in his car, dressed in the height of fashion, while he had to eke out a precarious living by hoeing potatoes. Dick’s father had made his money in an unscrupulous manner, and was held up as a shrewd business man. Would it not be as well for him to hurl himself into the game and win out, no matter how?
Thinking thus, he came near his cabin, when a light arrested his attention. He stopped short in his tracks and peered through the darkness. At first he believed that he must be mistaken. But no, it shone steadily before him, and he knew that some one was there. The thought made him angry, and he hurried forward, determined to make an example of the one who had dared to meddle with his property.