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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/478

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XXX

THE NIGHT ATTACK

There was a blockade of trolley cars in front of the Halket Company's works. Floyd stepped down from the rear platform on which he had been impatiently standing and hurried along the sidewalk. He had expected to find himself at once in the midst of a tumult; but although people were running through the streets and fire-engines and hook-and-ladder wagons were at the mill entrance obstructing all traffic, there was a singular absence of noise. Those whom he passed were mostly women, and they seemed to be scurrying along in a subdued, voiceless panic. From beyond the high board fence in the direction of the river there rose a few remote, unimpressive cries; Floyd was beginning to think that in spite of all the evidence of agitation given by the presence of women and children and fire-engines in the street, there was nothing serious taking place. Then he heard from the direction of the river the sound of shots—three, fired in rapid succession.

The fire-engines, the hook-and-ladder wagons, were deserted by all except their drivers, and were wedged together in possession of the street; a few firemen were dragging a length of hose out of the mill-yards across the bridge. Floyd passed between the wagons and ran up the steps of the company's offices. Gregg and three of his subordinates were standing at the windows of the general superintendent's room when Floyd entered.

"Well, Mr. Gregg?" he asked as he came across the room.

The superintendent turned with a start, as did the others.