Bince was silent for a moment. He had walked to the window and was looking out on the street below, then he turned suddenly toward Compton.
“Mr. Compton,” he said, “you have made me assistant general manager here and now, just when I am reaching a point where I feel I can accomplish something, you are practically taking the authority out of my hands and putting it in that of a stranger. I feel not only that you are making a grave mistake, but that it is casting a reflection on my work. It is making a difference in the attitude of the men toward me that I am afraid can never be overcome, and consequently while lessening my authority it is also lessening my value to the plant. I am going to ask you to drop this whole idea. As assistant general manager, I feel that it is working injury to the organization, and I hope that before it is too late—that, in fact, immediately, you will discharge Torrance and drop this idea of getting outsiders to come in and install a new accounting system.”
“You’re altogether too sensitive, Harold,” replied Compton. “It is no reflection on you whatsoever. The system under which we have been working is, with very few exceptions, the very system that I evolved myself through years of experience in this business. If there is any reflection upon any one it is upon me and not you. You must learn to realize, if you do not already, what I realize—that no one is infallible. Just because the system is mine or yours we must not think that no better system can be devised. I am perfectly satisfied with what Mr. Torrance is doing, and I agree with his suggestion that we employ a firm of accountants, but I think no less of you or your ability on that account.”
Bince saw that it was futile to argue the matter further.
“Very well, sir,” he said. “I hope that I am mistaken and that no serious harm will result. When do you expect to start these accountants in?”
“Immediately,” replied Compton. “I shall get in touch with somebody today.”
Bince shook his head dubiously as he returned to his own office.
The following Monday Miss Edith Hudson went to work for the International Machine Company as Mr. Compton’s stenographer. Nor could the most fastidious have discovered aught to criticize in the appearance or deportment of Little Eva.
The same day the certified public accountants came. Mr. Harold Bince appeared nervous and irritable, and he would have been more nervous and more irritable had he known that Jimmy had just learned the amount of the pay-check from Everett and that he had discovered that, although five men had been laid off and no new ones employed since the previous week, the payroll check was practically the same as before— approximately one thousand dollars more than his note-book indicated it should be.