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424
THE ANCIENT GRUDGE

ference; the executive committee of the Affiliated should be kept on its guard.

He found Tustin, Caskey, Ryan, and McGraw in the room over a shoe-store which was the headquarters of the committee. They were all smoking pipes and sitting round a table on which were spread sheets of type-written names. They gave him a friendly welcome; Tustin reached out one foot and jerked a chair toward him as an invitation to sit down.

"I have a bit of news for you, which may or may not be of some account," said Stewart; and he told what he had seen.

Tustin exhibited his faint, confident smile.

"Can you guess what that visit might be about?" he asked, turning to the others; and they all laughed, to Stewart's bewilderment.

"We've been keeping tabs on Farrell," Tustin explained. "If you had n't told us this, we'd mighty soon have heard. Well, there will be something doing before long—when it comes to an employer picking out one of his men and putting up a plot on the rest of us." He paused for a moment, and then he asked, "Say, did it ever occur to you, Mr. Lee, to inquire into the cause of this special favoring of Farrell?"

"I suppose it's been because he has always tried to make trouble for the union," Stewart answered.

"No, it's more than that. Did it ever occur to you why Mr. Halket should once have interested himself to get you to build Farrell a house?"

"No. I never thought about it particularly."

"And then never lifted a finger to get you to do the same by me and half a dozen others? You never thought of that? Well, now, I'll tell you; it may amuse you to hear. It was because Mrs. Farrell before she was married—I will say I've heard nothing against her since—was Mr. Halket's girl."

"His girl!" Stewart exclaimed.