Peterson came in while Bannon was eating his dinner and stayed after he had gone. In the evening, when he returned to the house for his supper, after arranging with Peterson to share the first night’s work, Bannon found that the foreman’s clothes and grip had been taken from the room. On the stairs he met the landlady, and asked her if Mr. Peterson had moved.
“Yes,” she replied; “he took his things away this noon. I’m sorry he’s gone, for he was a good young man. He never give me any trouble like some of the men do that’s been here. The trouble with most of them is that they get drunk on pay-days and come home simply disgusting.”
Bannon passed on without comment. During the evening he saw Peterson on the distributing floor, helping the man from the electric light company rig up a new arc light. His expression when he caught sight of Bannon, sullen and defiant, yet showing a great effort to appear natural, was the only explanation needed of how matters stood between them.
It took a few days to get the new system to running smoothly—new carpenters and laborers had to be taken on, and new foremen worked into their duties—but it proved to be less difficult than Max and Hilda had supposed from what Peterson had to say about the conduct of the work. The men all worked better than before; each new move of Bannon’s seemed to infuse more vigor and energy into the work; and the cupola and annex began rapidly, as Max said, “to look like something.” Bannon was on hand all day, and frequently during a large part of the night. He had a way of appearing at any hour to look at the work and keep it moving. Max, after hearing the day men repeat what the night men had to tell of the boss and his work, said to his sister: “Honest, Hilda, I don’t see how he does it. I don’t believe he ever takes his clothes off.”
The direct result of the episode with the carpenter Reilly was insignificant. He did not attempt to make good his boast that he would be back at work next day, and when he did appear, on Wednesday of the next week, his bleared eyes and dilapidated air made the reason plain enough. A business agent of his union was with him; Bannon found them in the office.
He nodded to the delegate. “Sit down,” he said. Then he turned to Reilly. “I don’t ask you to do the same. You’re not wanted on the premises. I told you once before that I was through talking.”
Reilly started to reply, but his companion checked him. “That’s all right,” he said. “I know your side of it. Wait for me up by the car line.”
When Reilly had gone Bannon repeated his invitation to sit down.
“You probably know why I’ve come,” the delegate began. “Mr. Reilly has charged you with treating him unjustly and with drawing a revolver on him. Of course, in a case like this, we try to get at both sides before we take any action. Would you give me your account of it?”