“So we see the game, even if we don’t catch on to the meaning of it just now,” said the observant one.
Farr squared his shoulders. They stared at him with fresh interest and a bit of additional respect. They saw in him something more than a mere popular agitator—a disturber of a municipal hearing; he must be a trusted agent of the great political machine, executing a secret mission.
“You’re right—I have been working for the Consolidated,” he admitted in tones that all could hear.
“Move on! Get outdoors! Clear this corridor—all of you,” shouted a captain of police who had come hurrying up from down-stairs and had taken command of the situation.
The crowd began to surge on, following Farr.
“I went to work digging in their trenches because I struck this town on my uppers and needed the money—needed it quick. I was promoted to be a boss. But I want to tell you now, gentlemen, that I do not work for the Consolidated.”
“I reckon you’re right,” said somebody. “I just overheard a man telephoning to the superintendent about you—and if I’m any judge of a conversation you are not working for the Consolidated. Not any more!”
“I’m sorry you’re going to leave the city,” lamented the elderly man. “We need chaps like you.”
“I’m not going to leave the city.”
“You might just as well,” counseled one of the bystanders, “after what you said in that hearing. If you get a job in this city after this you’ll be a good one!”
When they were outside City Hall, Farr waited for a moment on the steps. Etienne, still trembling after that most terrible experience of his placid life, pressed close at the young man’s side.
“Will all you gentlemen please take a good look at me so that you’ll know me when you see me again?” invited the ex-boss for the Consolidated.
They stared at him. His face was well lighted by the arc-light under the arch of the door.
“I am not a labor-leader, nor a walking delegate, nor a politician, nor an anarchist. You men go home and unscrew the faucets in your kitchens, take a good sniff, and pull the slime out of the valve. Then remember that the mayor and aldermen of this city wouldn’t listen to me to-night in the Hall that the tax-payer’s money built. Also remember that a little later they will listen to me. Gentlemen, my name is Walker Farr. I’m going to stay here in this city. Good night.”
AT THE FOOT OF THE THRONE
As usual at nine-thirty in the afternoon, the big tower clock on the First National Bank building in the city of Marion pointed the finger of its minute-hand straight downward.
As usual, at this hour, as he had done for many years, Colonel Symonds Dodd eased himself down from the equipage that brought him to his office. This day the vehicle was his limousine car.