“Is this a business rupture, too, Mr. Whitford?”
“Just as you say about that, Bromfield. As an investor in the Bird Cage you’re entitled to the same consideration that any other stockholder is. Since you’re the second largest owner you’ve a right to recognition on the board of directors. I’m not mixing my private affairs with business.”
“Good of you, Mr. Whitford.” The younger man spoke with a hint of gentle sarcasm. He flicked a speck of dirt from his coat-sleeve and returned to the order of the day. “I understand then that you’ll drop the case against Durand on condition that he’ll surrender anything he may have against me and agree to keep quiet.”
“Yes. I think I can speak for Lindsay. So far most of the evidence is in our hands. It is not yet enough to convict him. We can probably arrange it with the district attorney to have the thing dropped. You can make your own terms with Durand. I’d rather not have anything to do with it myself.”
Bromfield rose, pulled on the glove he had removed, nodded good-bye without offering to shake hands, and sauntered out of the office. There was a look on his face the mining man did not like. It occurred to Whitford that Clarendon, now stripped of self-respect by the knowledge of the regard in which they held him, was in a position to strike back hard if he cared to do so. The right to vote the proxies of the small stockholders of the Bird Cage Company had been made out in his name at the request of the president of the corporation.
A CONVERSATION ABOUT STOCK
The case against Durand was pigeon-holed by the district attorney without much regret. All through the underworld where his influence had been strong, it was known that Jerry had begged off. He was discredited among his following and was politically a down-and-outer. But he knew too much to permit him to be dragged into court safely. With his back to the wall he might tell of many shady transactions implicating prominent people. There were strong influences which did not want him pressed too hard. The charge remained on the docket, but it was set back from term to term and never brought to trial.
Colin Whitford found his attention pretty fully absorbed by his own affairs. Bromfield had opened a fight against him for control of the Bird Cage Company. The mine had been developed by the Coloradoan from an unlikely prospect into a well-paying concern. It was the big business venture of his life and he took a strong personal interest in running it. Now, because of Bromfield’s intention to use for his own advantage the proxies made out in his name, he was likely to lose control. With Bromfield in charge the property might be wrecked before he could be ousted.
“Dad’s worrying,” Beatrice told Lindsay. “He’s afraid he’ll lose control of the mine. There’s a fight on against him.”