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THE ANCIENT GRUDGE

about it first and consider it as a committee. The men will wait. You said you could n't tell it by telephone; you can tell it now."

"There's no time to waste about it," Stewart replied decisively. "It's something for all the people to know and at once. I'll tell you when I tell them—right away. Come on, Mr. Tustin."

The union leader was not well pleased by this evasion of his authority.

"I've trusted you, Mr. Lee," he said. "If you've got nothing worth while to tell us—or if it should be something that turned out to be a fake, you'd better just let the committee have it; we've called a mass meeting on your say-so, but we don't want to go before it if it ain't worth while."

"You'll have to trust me as to that," Stewart replied haughtily. "I don't come out here at this time of night on errands that are not worth while."

Tustin opened the door. "Come along, then," he said bluntly.

The hall was the one where the Saturday night dances took place. Pulaski and another man stood at the bottom of the stairs to prevent the admittance of any one about whose loyalty there might be suspicion.

"All right," he said, when Stewart and the members of the executive committee entered. "It's pretty full now." He closed the street door and followed the others up the stairs into the crowded, clamorous hall. Men had climbed up on the few benches placed against the walls and stood lined there, shoulder to shoulder, shouting vociferously to friends whom they recognized in the dense mass oscillating below. On the platform a young man with his slouch hat pulled down over his eyes was playing the piano; the feeble notes of "Home, Sweet Home" were lost in the echoing din.

Tustin and Stewart elbowed their way through the crowd and mounted the platform; the musician descended