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Chapter Three I CAMP IN THE DESERT
About an hour after a turbulent portion of my night's rest, later identified as something being done to the train in the yards at Buffalo, the porter aroused me, and I made such preparations as a Pullman makes possible to face the new day and a new world. We were rapidly drawing near Deep Harbor, and Knowlton's briskness at the imminent approach of business increased even beyond its normal. It was akin to the pawing of the mediaeval charger when he knew it near the time for the oriflamme to be advanced. The diner was not yet ready, so Knowlton sat beside me and pointed out the potential and actual resources of the country as we whizzed along. For me, my first sight of Lake Erie lying blue and serene in a hot early morning July sun was sufficient. I cared little for statistics in the face of that. In spite of the heat the vegetation was still vividly green and fresh, washed from the showers of the day before. At frequent intervals turbulent and muddy little brooks rushed lakewards through red shale gorges full of moss, ferns, and gorgeous old trees. From the railway tracks to the mile-or-so-distant lakeshore interminable vineyards stretched, interspersed with an occasional field of Indian corn. On our left, low-lying hills rolled backward to the horizon. The sunlight was vivid, almost painful, and the whole country seemed to glow and teem with life.

The villages were less encouraging. As a rule they were straggly and unkempt, with tumble-down wooden houses and barns, and showed no pride in neatness, apart from a well-kept school-house or other solitary public building. There were few if any flowers about the cottages, and what few there were were neglected. The gardens were composed of grass, which the more careful owners were already out sprinkling with garden hose. In fact the garden hose seemed almost the only sign of community pride. Even kitchen gardens were few and badly cultivated.

"What do they do with these millions of grapes?" I asked Knowlton.

"Make grape-juice of them," he answered. "See—there's a grape juice factory over there."

It seemed to me a strange way of repaying Heaven's bounty, as I felt quite certain these same grapes would make excellent claret, but I knew better than to say this to Knowlton.

"I suppose," I said at last, as the vineyards began to get a little on my nerves, "that, like everything else over here, these are the largest vineyards in the world?"

"No," he surprised me by replying, "the California vineyards are much more extensive." Knowlton had a weakness for words like "extensive." When he abandoned slang he used in its place, not always accurately, a language of almost eighteenth century formality.

"There's Deep Harbor," he suddenly exclaimed in much excitement; "you can see the towers of the Polish cathedral."

"Polish cathedral?" I asked in utter amazement, thinking perhaps this was one of Knowlton's jokes.

"Sure. All the unskilled labour in Deep Harbor is Polish—that's their church. Just beyond are the chimneys of the Lake Board Paper Company. These are the yards—get your suit-case."

"Polish!" I thought. "Here is an unexpected complication." There was no time to ask more about the "sledded Polacks," for at that moment the train stopped with a jerk and we got off.

"Right on time—5.30 to the second," said Knowlton, consulting his watch. "We'll just go down State Street to Schaefer's Hotel, leave our grips, and get breakfast. Then to work."

The train was already moving—evidently one had to be quick in order to disembark at Deep Harbor. I glanced about. The platform of the station was of rotten and irregularly laid planks. The station itself was a grey, forbidding-looking structure with a tower on which was the date 1864. A truck load of trunks charged us profanely, and we were just able to dodge aside. A youth offered to sell me some sandwiches wrapped in tissue paper. I was seized with an irresistible desire to test Knowlton at his own briskness.

"Why not breakfast here on sandwiches and then go straight out to the factory? We can save an hour."

Knowlton snorted. "Not much. Railroad sandwiches! I must have a cup of coffee; besides, we can't get in until quarter of seven."

"Oh," I said, "then these people do get some sleep." Knowlton ignored this. "Is Schaefer's far? My suit-case is heavy—let's take a cab."

Knowlton laughed. "I doubt if you can get a hack at this hour of the morning—and why waste two dollars? We can take the trolley."

With that we dodged across a maze of terrifying tracks, between charging switch engines and lines of freight cars in the throes of some internal convulsion, to emerge safely at last on the opposite side, where a pale yellow trolley car was awaiting us. As I climbed aboard, the conductor spat with amazing, albeit disturbing, accuracy one inch to the right of my ear, but gave no other sign in answer to our mild query if he went by Schaefer's. Concluding that silence gave consent, we sat down. Schaefer's proved surprisingly near—so near that the trolley, which seemed to me to travel at a fearful speed, carried us one street too far before the non-committal conductor could be induced to pull the signal bell. As we left I felt certain that, for some unknown reason, we had earned his disapprobation.

Schaefer's was an old, dirty-looking building, with a large plateglass window giving on to the pavement. Behind the window was a row of large golden oak rocking chairs, and beside each chair a highly polished brass vessel of convenient height. We entered its portal to encounter a strange, musty odour composed in part of sawdust, warm rubber, and generations of bad cooking. Behind a desk, on which was spread open a large book, a young man with glazed hair and an unpleasant cravat was chewing a wooden toothpick. Without even glancing at us he removed a pen from a raw potato and silently handed it to Knowlton. I wanted to ask why pens were kept sticking in raw potatoes, but decided to wait for a more opportune time. Knowlton signed his name in a fine Spencerian flourish with beautifully shaded lettering, added "New York," and passed the pen to me. Underneath I wrote mine in a somewhat trembling hand, most self-conscious under the eyes of the young man with the toothpick, and placed "London" after my signature. The clerk suddenly revolved the book as if it were on a pivot and studied our handiwork attentively. When, in the course of a moment or two, he reached my signature he took a pen from behind his ear—the other equivalent of a raw potato, I thought—and gratuitously scratched "Canada" after the "London." I took the book, revolved it as I had seen him do it, silently crossed out the "Canada" and wrote in "England." Once more the book was revolved and this alteration examined. Satisfied that the word was no other than the one I had apparently written, he calmly looked me over from head to foot and again waited, silently as before.

"Two breakfasts," said Knowlton.

"Front!" the clerk ejaculated the length of his toothpick. "Show Mr. Knowlton and his friend to the dining room. Check the grips."

"Front" was another pale youth, of tender years, but with an evil leer in his face. He seized our hand luggage.

"This way, gents!"

We followed.

"Does the clerk know you?" I asked Knowlton. The latter shook his head. "But he called you by name," I protested.

"He read my name in the register."

I had not thought of that.

The odour of the dining room was different, but no better than that of the office. There was evidently a closer contact with the bad cooking and less of the warm rubber. There advanced to meet us across the black and white tile floor a tall and majestic young lady with pyramidal yellow hair and a black satin gown which fitted her most snugly. She billowed up to us, turned upon her high patent leather heels, and undulated over to a long table, her hips swinging like an Oriental water carrier's. Meekly we trailed after her and sat where she indicated. Just above our heads, a large wooden-propeller kept a swarm of flies pleasantly agitated. On the table in front of my seat were a coffee stain, a jar of wooden toothpicks, and a large wire fly-trap full of prisoners buzzing over their misfortune. The Hebe-like personage withdrew, to reappear with two very thick glasses filled to overflowing with pale yellow ice water. These she casually spilled at each of our places and added a dirty and grease-stained card containing an itemized list of all the things the mind of man had as yet been able to conceive as edible at breakfast. Seven varieties of tea alone were enumerated, including many that had a novel sound. The lady disappeared and left us to our emotions in tranquillity.

While I was still marvelling at the things the menu offered for breakfast, I was suddenly aware of another damsel's presence. As I looked up, I discovered her leaning pleasantly on her elbow, looking over my shoulder, above which I noted her jaws in rapid motion about a piece of chewing gum. When I finally reached her eyes, the mastication ceased, and she smiled a most open and friendly smile. I did all I could to return it as heartily. She put into its proper place an erring lock of brilliant auburn hair, and in a voice that hurt, it was so sharp and searching, she exclaimed:

"Well, gents—what'll it be? Baked apples, prunes, or oranges?" This was completely to ignore the menu, which ranged all the way from peaches to melon in its printed promises.

"What about cantaloupe?" I asked timidly.

"It's all out," she replied promptly; "nothin' in but baked apples, prunes, and oranges."

"Then why this elaborate list?" I enquired.

"Gee whizz! What do you expect for fifty cents? This ain't the Auditorium Hotel. Prunes is nice today." All this she spoke in one breath.

"Bring me some prunes and milk," said Knowlton. I shuddered. I was determined not to be bullied into ordering something I didn't want.

"I'll take an orange, bacon and eggs, and coffee," I said firmly. Her jaws slowed down almost to a pause, as she looked me steadily in the eye, decided she would not fight it out just then, and departed, apparently much hurt. Knowlton rubbed his hands briskly, a sure sign he was preparing to utter some cheerful remark. I looked at him in a way which was an obvious defiance to any happy bon-mot he might conceive, so he thought better of it and returned to a contemplation of the menu. For some time the room was empty and silent, save for the buzzing of the captured flies and the hum of the overhead propeller. Then the auburn-haired maid returned, with a bowl of prunes and a generous pitcher of milk, upon whose bluish-ivory surface there struggled a solitary fly.

"Where is my orange?" I ventured.

"'Scuse me—did you say 'orange'?" she asked as sweetly as that acid voice would permit. "Thought you said 'ham an' eggs an' coffee'."

With a whish of her skirts she was gone once more, and I realized that the first step in her revenge for my ignoring prunes was accomplished. Knowlton deftly removed the fly from his milk with a teaspoon, flicked the creature carelessly on to the floor, and poured the whole contents remaining over the prunes. Next he seized a handful of crisp biscuits, crushed them in the palms of his hands, and added them to the mixture. The resultant compound seemed to me very nearly equivalent to half a bushel, dry measure. With a large sized spoon he attacked the mess vigorously. It was not wholly a silent operation. I pressed my lips firmly together and said nothing as the level in his bowl rapidly diminished.

Again the lady with sunset-glow hair came back. With a thump that startled me, she dropped in front of me a platter on which was a thick slice of ham ornamented by two highly glazed fried eggs. Beside it was deposited a plate containing a pale roll, a piece of yellow corn-bread, and a muffin made out of some strange refuse—all these warm and soggy. The cup of coffee followed, in a cup innocent of any handle. The coffee had already been diluted with milk and a spoon stuck in it.

"Sugar?" and she began to ladle heaping spoonfuls of granulated sugar rapidly from a glass dish. There was no trace of any orange.

"Stop!" I commanded so suddenly she spilt a spoonful of sugar over the table cloth. "Where is my orange?"

"Gee, did you want the orange first?" Her surprise sounded quite genuine. "I thought you ordered it last."

"Never mind the orange now"—after all, I did know when I was thoroughly beaten—"but I want black coffee, and I did say 'bacon,' not 'ham.' Also some toast. You may leave the ham, now it's here."

"Gee, you're an awfully fussy eater," was her comment. "You didn't order black coffee, did you?"

"No," I had to admit.

"Well, I'm only a waitress, not a mind reader," and with this unanswerable retort she scooped up my cup of coffee with a skilfully perilous gesture, and resumed her quest. Knowlton looked across at me and grinned.

"Having trouble with your breakfast? You can't expect breakfast at Schaefer's to be like dear old London," he went on, while something approaching a serious outburst was struggling in me. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do—that's the best plan."

"That's all very well," I said with extreme self-control, "but I am not going to eat prunes if the whole Holy Roman Empire ate them. I don't see why she can't bring me the breakfast I want when everything on God's earth is on that bill of fare."

"You'll shake down all right," he said in what was meant to be a soothing way. "Kicking about the grub won't do you any good. They don't know any better in a place like this. What's the use of getting in wrong with the waitress?"

It was hopeless to explain, so I snorted instead. Knowlton took a slice of bread and polished the inside of his now empty bowl until it glistened.

"Looks as though Fido had finished that off," he remarked, as he rolled and lit a cigarette; "I'll knock some ashes into it so they'll have to wash it."

The waitress appeared with a cup of coffee, a plate piled high with thick slices of toast on which chunks of butter were still melting, another plate with two oranges, and a third containing two rashers of coarse bacon. With the grieved air of a person determined to do her duty in the face of all rebuffs she silently grouped this food about me.

"What will you have, Mr. Knowlton?" There was just a faint emphasis upon the "you."

"Thanks, you can bring me a steak, some German fried potatoes, a couple of soft-boiled eggs, and some griddle cakes."

"Do you want black coffee too?" she asked with meaning.

"No, make mine half milk, and bring along another plate of rolls."

"Sure!" remarked the waitress cheerfully and vanished.

"And how did she know your name?" I asked, realizing it was quite useless to question Knowlton about his theory of a hot weather diet.

"Oh, she asked the clerk, I guess. It's good business to always call customers by name. Makes 'em feel at home."

I looked around the room again and inwardly decided that something more than that simple and na?ve process would be needed in my case.

"They mean well," Knowlton went on, with his disconcerting habit of reading my thoughts, "but they don't always know how. Now, you're used to thinking of a girl like that as a servant. She isn't. She thinks she's as good as you are, and I guess there's something in that too. You treat her all right and she'll treat you the same. But don't pull any of that European stuff here. They don't know what it means."

Knowlton's breakfast arrived, and he fell upon it with gusto.

"You gents come from Pittsburgh?" the waitress enquired, evidently much mollified by Knowlton's treatment of his breakfast.

"Nope—New York," Knowlton answered.

"Gee, I'd like to go East," she said fervently. "It must be just grand. What line you gents travelling in?"

"We aren't travelling men," Knowlton replied. "I'm an engineer, and my friend here is just a plain business man."

"Oh," she said, somewhat disappointed, I thought. It was clear that she did not rank us as highly as she did travelling men. "Just passin' through the city, I suppose," she continued.

"It's hard to say," said Knowlton. "Maybe we'll be here sometime."

"Going to board here?"—her interest in us somewhat renewed, at this announcement.

"We haven't settled on our eating joint yet. Thought we'd look round first."

"This is as O. K. as any," she said. "The grub's nothing wonderful, but it's as good as you'll get. Lou Meyer's Rathskeller hasn't anything on us, and he charges a dollar a week more. 'Course, if your friend's particular, he might try the Otooska House down on the park. They put on a lot of airs and charge New York prices there, but it's the same old grub."

"Well," said Knowlton, "we'll see. We'll try 'em all out before we decide."

At this moment another customer entered, to be conducted by the head-waitress with like ceremony, as in our case, to his seat, and our blaze of glory departed to ascertain his wants. As Knowlton rose, seized a toothpick, and started for the door, followed by me, I heard our waitress beginning her searching personal questions all over again.

We paid for our breakfasts—fifty cents apiece—at the desk, where the clerk took the same lack of interest in the transaction as before. Knowlton asked him the way to the Deep Harbor Manufacturing Company, our destination.

"West Twelfth Street car to the end of the line," was the brief reply, and with that we set forth.

Although it was still very early in the morning, or seemed so to me, unaccustomed to begin a day's work at six thirty, it was rapidly growing hot with a peculiar dry, intense heat that made the sunlight painful. West Twelfth Street proved to be in the direction of the railway station, and, although it was only two blocks from Schaefer's, I was thoroughly moist with perspiration when we joined a throng of blue-overalled mechanics, waiting with shining tin dinner pails on the corner for the arrival of the car. There was no car in sight when we got there, and as we waited I listened to the peculiarly blasphemous conversation of the men about me. Their talk was intelligent, far more so than that of a corresponding class of English working-men, but it was interlarded with an original and soul-curdling profanity. Rates of pay, politics, baseball, their foremen, and women seemed to be the staples of conversation. Young men predominated. Their faces were sharp and eager, and they seemed tense and alive, although affecting and even boasting of their dislike for their "jobs" and their dissatisfaction with the management of their factories. But it was obvious at a glance that they were well fed and clothed, and were excellent workmen. They played incessant practical jokes on each other, rolled innumerable cigarettes, and cheered the electric car when it at last arrived. Long before it stopped they charged the car en masse, with rough good nature, greeting conductor and motorman by name, and filled every inch of it before Knowlton and I could fight our way to a bare foothold upon the rear platform.

The car whizzed out a most dreary street—drearier even than the streets across the river in Bermondsey or over beyond the Elephant and Castle. It was six inches deep in a choking grey dust which the fast moving car stirred up into a remorseless searching cloud. Overhead in the hot blue sky hung masses of coal smoke, now beginning to pour from factory chimneys. Parallel to the car line ran a railway track, quite unguarded from the street proper, along which switch engines with freight cars smoked and clanged. On either side we passed an endless row of factory buildings, some of brick, but more of wood—even those which were several stories high. In spite of the streaming, intense sunlight and the final blue of the sky, the scene was one of desolation.

The car stopped with a jerk—we had reached the end, it seemed—and with great promptness we pushed one another off the rear platform. This crowd of workmen simply treated Knowlton and me as non-existent, and, if we happened to be in front of them, attempted the physical paradox of walking right through us. As I reached the pavement, I saw before me a long narrow two-storied brick building, surrounded by various lesser sheds and outhouses, the whole surmounted by a huge sign which read "Deep Harbor Manufacturing Company." This was the magic purse of Fortunatus which I had come so far to seek. It looked prosaic enough, but not so dismal as my ride out Twelfth Street had caused me to fear. It was the last of Twelfth Street, apparently, and the last of the factories at that end of town, for beyond I caught a glimpse of green cornfields, grey wooden fences, and, still further on, a blue sliver of the lake. "At least, there's air from the west," I thought, as I followed Knowlton, my heart thumping curiously now I was almost face to face with my ordeal.

We entered a door marked "Office—No Admittance Except on Business," and climbed a steep flight of stairs to pass into a railed-off outer room full of desks and typewriters. There was only one young man, slightly bald, with his coat off, adjusting black alpaca half-sleeves over his cuffs as we entered. From one lip hung the inevitable toothpick which seemed to be the totem pole of these regional tribes. He looked up at us and advanced to meet us, holding out one hand.

"Mr. Knowlton? I'm sure glad to meet you. Walk in. My name's Kane, Phil Kane, and I'm general sales manager for the D. H. M. Co."

He shook Knowlton's hand warmly.

"My friend and associate, Mr. Ted Jevons, of London, England," said Knowlton.

"Pleased to meet you, Mr. Jevons," said Kane, looking at me with the same curiosity I studied him with. "They tell me London is some town," he added with a forced laugh and an attempt at hearty conversation. "I expect we seem a little out of it here by the lake, after them big cities, but Deep Harbor's pretty up-to-date at that. We have more miles of paved streets in proportion to our population than any city between Buffalo and Toledo. Have you seen the view from the Soldiers' Home, Mr. Jevons?"

I informed him that we had only just arrived and had come directly to the factory, after a breakfast of sorts at Schaefer's.

"You'd ought to have taken Mr. Jevons to the Otooska House," said Kane, laughing. "They have music with meals there, just like a New York hotel. 'Course, it's only an electric organ, but it makes you feel cheerful. Come right in, won't you? Mr. Norwood won't be out to turn the factory over to you gentlemen until about eight, but if there's anything I can do to show you around first, just say the word."

As I passed through the little swinging gate that divided the inner from the outer office, Kane seized my hat with a murmured apology and hung it on a hook.

"This is the general manager's office, in there," he said, pointing through the door in a wooden partition into a cubby hole containing one roll-top desk, two chairs, and a large filing cabinet. "I suppose you'll use this, Mr. Knowlton. Question is, where'll we put Mr. Jevons' desk?"

"Oh," I replied, "mine will be in the testing laboratory."

"Laboratory?" he repeated. "I saw something about that in the correspondence over the sale of the plant, and I couldn't figure out what you were going to build a laboratory for."

"To test and improve our product—also to systematize its factory costs," I said.

"Well, maybe so," he remarked doubtfully, "but a laboratory seems to me like an awful addition to overhead expenses. However, I don't presume to know how to run your business, Mr. Jevons. I suppose you won't make any radical changes in the selling department, will you?" There was a note of genuine anxiety in his voice.

"Not for the present," Knowlton interjected crisply. "We shall continue the policy and staff of the old company until we get our bearings. Then there will be plenty of opportunity for good men to move up. Meanwhile, we'll size up the efficiency of everybody and see what we've got."

Kane scratched the back of one ear with a pencil and turned this statement over in his mind. I noticed that his eyes were pale and weak, and that his manner was plainly that of a man who had little faith in fortune's star. An efficiency test was clearly one he was not confident of facing, but neither was I, and my sympathy went out to him. I had never seen a man at close range before who actually feared for his bread and butter, and that was what Kane's face showed, as he tried to conciliate the two of us as representatives of the new owners. It was not a pleasant sight. I could tell by Knowlton's sharp glance at him that our engineer was remorselessly applying that uncanny faculty of his of reading men's thoughts, and I guessed Kane had sealed his own doom.

But Knowlton said never a word. Instead he pulled some papers from his pocket, checked his memoranda for the day, and read a few documents which Kane turned over to him. I took out my pipe and started to light it.

"No smoking in the factory!" exclaimed Knowlton sharply.

"Do you mean to say," I protested, "that I've got to be here from seven to six each day without even smoking?"

"Just that," replied Knowlton with a grin. "We lose our insurance if we allow smoking."

At that moment a steam whistle began an infernal din, apparently over my head—a din which was echoed from every point of the compass. Instantly an even worse clatter and roar of machinery began under our feet, and the flimsy wooden floor and partitions vibrated visibly.

"Seven o'clock!" said Knowlton, rising. "The day's work has begun. Come, Ted, we'll take a walk through the machine-shop and look things over. Never mind, Kane—we'll find our own way around. Don't lose time from your job on our account."

With this hint Kane went suddenly back to his desk, while Knowlton and I descended the stairs and entered the machine shop. As we passed through the narrow aisles between closely packed lathes and planers, Knowlton made a series of rapid notes on the back of an envelope. Nothing escaped his eye, from a machine working too slowly to a foreman with too many men to look after. At the time I had no way of judging whether his inspection revealed a satisfactory condition or the reverse. The factory had been bought, of course, after a preliminary inventory of contents and orders on hand, but Knowlton's task was to judge of its efficiency as an operating plant. For over an hour we went from one department to another, until Knowlton's notes had covered all the scraps of paper either of us had in our pockets.

"I guess we'll go upstairs now and talk to Norwood," said Knowlton. "By the way, what did you think of the plant, Ted?" I felt as my old friend Dr. Watson must have felt when Sherlock Holmes asked him one of those sudden posers whose explanation was really so simple.

"It seems very busy," I said with conscious feebleness.

"Yes," he remarked drily, "that busyness is also costing them a lot of money. I think we'll shake this old place up, Ted, before we're through."

As I followed him I covertly looked at my watch. A little after eight! Good heavens, how many hours to six o'clock! It seemed as if I had been up since day before yesterday.

The upper office was now full of clerks and clicking typewriters, presided over by some remarkably pretty girls. At least three of them looked me straight in the eye as I went past, and I made a mental note that they were a great improvement upon the waitresses at Schaefer's. But my thoughts were interrupted by Norwood's coming forward to greet us.

Norwood was one of the young millionaires of Deep Harbor—the son of a father who had helped to create the town and whose capital was the backbone of every enterprise of importance in the city. Young Norwood had recently inherited the overlordship of Deep Harbor, and one of his first acts had been to sell the Deep Harbor Manufacturing Company to the interests represented by my father.

Norwood himself was rather a disappointment. He was a tall, weak-faced, pale young man, whose clothes, neat and costly, were wrong in every particular. His seal ring was too large, his watch chain too heavy, his collar too high, and his cravat too loud. Even his shoes were ornamented with fancy leatherwork in scroll patterns. His manner was cordial to the point of oiliness, yet cold and insincere. In short, I took an instant dislike to him.

Obsequiously he placed chairs for us, closed the door, and produced fat black cigars, thus ignoring the office rule about smoking; and while he was ostensibly listening to Knowlton I had the uncomfortable feeling that he was studying me. As Knowlton ran over the items of his memoranda I kept catching Norwood looking me over out of the corners of his watery blue eyes. It was increasingly clearer that Knowlton's questions and enthusiastic exposition of plans were boring Norwood, for, after fidgeting more and more, he suddenly got up.

"Well, gentlemen," he said, "the business is yours now. I'm sorry I've an engagement down-town. If there's anything I can do, or any advice I can give you, just 'phone me and I'll look in, anytime. Glad to have met you," and with a vigorous, cold handshake he left. Knowlton and I faced each other. We were now in command of the ship. Knowlton carefully extinguished his cigar.

"Ted," he said, "I don't trust this Norwood. He's sold this thing, and it looks all right, but I'm afraid there is a Senegambian concealed somewhere in the woodpile. You noticed how he dodged talking over the business?"

I nodded. Even I had noted that.

"Besides," I added, "he did not offer to put us up at his clubs or in any way behave like a gentleman."

Knowlton grinned his favourite grin.

"Ted, I hadn't thought of that as an index of Norwood's business ability, but damned if I don't think your reason as good as mine."

With that he pressed a button on his desk and a spotlessly clean young woman responded.

"Bring me the file of our customers," he said, and she withdrew.

"What shall I do?" I asked.

"You—oh, yes—you go out to the drafting room and design the testing laboratory. Come to me if you get stuck on any details. As for me," he added, "I'm going to start looking for that Senegambian this very minute."

My arrival in the drafting room caused a mild sensation among its occupants, but a drawing table, desk, instruments, and materials were speedily placed at my disposal, and as there was a rule against talking in this room, I was left in silence, but under close observation, to work out my problem. Furtively I produced from my pocket a useful manual containing practical tables and formulae for nearly everything under the sun, and with the help of this and my actual knowledge of what a chemical laboratory ought to contain, I had made considerable progress with my rough pencilled plan when the twelve-o'clock whistle blew. I had become so absorbed in my work that I had forgotten all about the noon hour.

I found Knowlton in the office where I had left him. He was surrounded by piles of papers and correspondence which he was reading, checking, and making notes about on separate slips of paper.

"Not found him yet, but I think I'm on his trail, Ted. Let's go to lunch."

There was no lunchroom in the neighborhood, so there was nothing for it but to go back to Schaefer's in the broiling heat of the packed trolley car, and again face the flies and perils of that dining room. As Knowlton insisted upon our being back at the factory before the one-o'clock whistle, there was no time to change one's clothes or to see about a place to sleep that night. Never had I felt so dirty as I did after a morning in the heat and soft coal smoke of Deep Harbor. Luncheon at Schaefer's proved to be "dinner," a noisy, crowded, hurried affair in which the waitress made no pretence of serving one's order, but brought what she considered a standard type of meal. There was no time to protest or change things. Knowlton, as usual, ate prodigiously, with the most annoying conceivable relish, of everything put before him, and gulped down in addition two large tumblers of watery milk.

We were back at ten minutes to one, and promptly, as the whistle blew, I stood once more before my drawing table and resumed the task. About three o'clock it seemed as if I could not stand another moment. My knees shook with fatigue and the unaccustomed strain of standing hour after hour, but there were no seats in the drafting room, and every one had to do his work standing up. At four I thought I should have to go to Knowlton's office and beg for mercy, but I didn't, because I knew he would think me unable to stick even a simple job through. At five the office staff left, including the drafting room, but there was still an hour for me. And this was to go on five and a half days a week, month after month, I thought! How did factory workers endure it without going mad?

When the six o'clock whistle blew, I could almost have cried with relief. I nearly staggered as I came into Knowlton's office, and sank into a chair mopping my face.

Knowlton grinned.

"Young gentleman from London, England, finds ten hours in an American factory on a nice warm July day something of a physical effort—shall I have that put in tomorrow's Social Notes?" he asked.

"You can't insult me, Knowlton," I said. "I am damned tired, and I have sense enough to admit it. So are you, I suspect, only you've been sitting down."

"Well," he conceded, "this elusive Senegambian I am after does make me tired—especially as friend Norwood is too sly a customer to be caught with the goods on him. If the Senegambian is there—and I've already found his footprints—we can trust Norwood to have made himself safe first. Let's go eat."

"Not at Schaefer's—God, not there!" I wailed. "I've had all I can stand of that hole."

"All right. We'll try the Rathskeller, but don't forget we haven't, as yet, any place to sleep."

I was too tired to eat when we reached the little musty hot German restaurant down under the sidewalk off State Street, but the waiter did produce a large foaming mug of German beer in which I blunted some of the acuteness of my physical aches and pains.


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