“I’m going out for a look around,” said Bannon, abruptly.
He left Peterson still smiling good-humoredly over the incident.
It was not so much to look over the job as to get where he could work out his wrath that Bannon left the office. There was no use in trying to explain to Peterson what he had done, for even if he could be made to understand, he could undo nothing. Bannon had known a good many walking delegates, and he had found them, so far, square. But it would be a large-minded man who could overlook what Peterson had done. However, there was no help for it. All that remained was to wait till the business agent should make the next move.
So Bannon put the whole incident out of his mind, and until noon inspected the job in earnest. By the time the whistle blew, every one of the hundreds of men on the job, save Peterson himself, knew that there was a new boss. There was no formal assumption of authority; Bannon’s supremacy was established simply by the obvious fact that he was the man who knew how. Systematizing the confusion in one corner, showing another gang how to save handling a big stick twice, finally putting a runway across the drillage of the annex, and doing a hundred little things between times, he made himself master.
The afternoon he spent in the little office, and by four o’clock had seen everything there was in it, plans, specifications, building book, bill file, and even the pay roll, the cash account, and the correspondence. The clerk, who was also timekeeper, exhibited the latter rather grudgingly.
“What’s all this stuff?” Bannon asked, holding up a stack of unfiled letters.
“Letters we ain’t answered yet.”
“Well, we’ll answer them now,” and Bannon commenced dictating his reply to the one on top of the stack.
“Hold on,” said the clerk, “I ain’t a stenographer.”
“So?” said Bannon. He scribbled a brief memorandum on each sheet. “There’s enough to go by,” he said. “Answer ’em according to instructions.”
“I won’t have time to do it till tomorrow some time.”
“I’d do it tonight, if I were you,” said Bannon, significantly. Then he began writing letters himself.
Peterson and Vogel came into the office a few minutes later.
“Writing a letter to your girl?” said Peterson, jocularly.
“We ought to have a stenographer out here, Pete.”
“Stenographer! I didn’t know you was such a dude. You’ll be wanting a solid silver electric bell connecting with the sody fountain next.”
“That’s straight,” said Bannon. “We ought to have a stenographer for a fact.”
He said nothing until he had finished and sealed the two letters he was writing. They were as follows:—
Dear Mr. Brown: It’s a mess and no mistake. I’m glad Mr. MacBride didn’t come to see it. He’d have fits. The whole job is tied up in a hard knot. Peterson is wearing out chair bottoms waiting for the cribbing from Ledyard. I expect we will have a strike before long. I mean it.