The man put his head in the window. “A fellow down in Chicago told me if I’d come out here to Calumet K and ask Mr. Bannon for a job, he’d give me one.”
“Are you good up high?” Bannon asked.
The man smiled ruefully, and said he was afraid not.
“Well, then,” returned Bannon, “we’ll have to let you in on the ground floor. What’s your name?”
“Go over to the tool house and get a broom. Give him a check, Max.”
On the twenty-second of November Bannon received this telegram:—
Mr. Charles Bannon, care of MacBride & Company, South Chicago:
We send today complete drawings for marine tower which you will build in the middle of spouting house. Harahan Company are building the Leg.
MACBRIDE & Co.
Bannon read it carefully, folded it, opened it and read it again, then tossed it on the desk. “We’re off now, for sure,” he said to Miss Vogel. “I’ve known that was coming sure as Christmas.”
Hilda picked it up.
“Is there an answer, Mr. Bannon?”
“No, just file it. Do you make it out?”
She read it and shook her head. Bannon ignored her cool manner.
“It means that your friends on MacBride & Company’s Calumet house are going to have the time of their lives for the next few weeks. I’m going to carry compressed food in my pockets, and when meal time comes around, just take a capsule.”
“I think I know,” she said slowly; “a marine leg is the thing that takes grain up out of ships.”
“That’s right. You’d better move up head.”
“And we’ve been building a spouting house instead to load it into ships.”
“We’ll have to build both now. You see, it’s getting around to the time when the Pages’ll be having a fit every day until the machinery’s running, and every bin is full. And every time they have a fit, the people up at the office’ll have another, and they’ll pass it on to us.”
“But why do they want the marine leg?” she asked, “any more now than they did at first?”
“They’ve got to get the wheat down by boat instead of rail, that’s all. Or likely it’ll be coming both ways. There’s no telling now what’s behind it. Both sides have got big men fighting. You’ve seen it in the papers, haven’t you?”
“Of course, what the papers say isn’t all true, but it’s lively doings all right.”
The next morning’s mail brought the drawings and instructions; and with them came a letter from Brown to Bannon. “I suppose there’s not much good in telling you to hurry,” it ran; “but if there is another minute a day you can crowd in, I guess you know what to do with it. Page told me today that this elevator will make or break them. Mr. MacBride says that you can have all January for a vacation if you get it through. We owe you two weeks off, anyhow, that you didn’t take last summer. We’re running down that C. & S. C. business, though I don’t believe, myself, that they’ll give you any more trouble.”