Open main menu

Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/447

This page needs to be proofread.
436
THE ANCIENT GRUDGE

corroborative testimony; Tustin took Stewart out to introduce him to other men who might tell their unbiased stories. Most of them were vague as to just what had happened, but there was no doubt that they all considered Farrell and his "gang" the aggressors. Stewart felt that with the evidence so unanimous and so truthful it was unnecessary to prolong the investigation. The more that he learned, the more indignant did he begin to feel at Floyd's unworthy attempt to make use of a band of lawless, treacherous villains. It occurred to him that this conspiracy was characteristic of the scheming, devious mind which had pursued so crooked a course in the management of the hospital competition.

Wishing, however, to be absolutely impartial, Stewart called at the company's offices; there he was refused all information. The superintendents, acting under instructions from Floyd, were not talking for newspapers. The company was not prepared to rush into print about the affair. This unwillingness on the part of the officials to put in any defense established the conviction which Stewart had already formed; and he made effective use of it in the article which he composed on his return at noon to Avalon. His imagination helped him; he gave a graphic description of the embarrassment, the evasiveness, the evident consciousness of guilt with which the officials received his questions, and contrasted it with the candor of the workingmen. The proportion of two to one in injured, which the Affiliated had sustained as compared with the "strike-breakers," indicated clearly, as he pointed out, that the strike-breakers were the assailants. He made an eloquent plea, asking the public not to jump hastily to the conclusion that men who were sacrificing themselves for a principle and who had conducted themselves throughout with an extraordinary and heroic forbearance had at last resorted to violence;—though if this had been true, it would in the circumstances have been easily understandable. But to the everlasting glory of the men of