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Philip Dru: Administrator

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<SPAN name="XVI"></SPAN> <h1 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">Chapter XVI</h1> <h2 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">The Exposure</h2> <p>Long after Thor had gone, long after the day had dwindled into twilight and the twilight had shaded into dusk, Thomas Spears, his secretary, sat and pondered. After Thor and Selwyn had left the office for luncheon he had gone to the dictagraph to see whether there was anything for him to take. He found the record, saw it had been used, removed it to his machine and got ready to transmit. He was surprised to find that it was Selwyn&#8217;s voice that came to him, then Thor&#8217;s, and again Selwyn&#8217;s. He knew then that it was not intended for dictation, that there was some mistake and yet he held it until he had gotten the whole of the mighty conspiracy. Pale and greatly agitated he remained motionless for a long time. Then he returned to Thor&#8217;s office, placed a new record in the machine and closed it.</p> <p>Spears came from sturdy New England stock and was at heart a patriot. He had come to New York largely by accident of circumstances.</p> <p>Spears had a friend named Harry Tracy, with whom he had grown up in the little Connecticut village they called home, and who was distantly related to Thor, whose forebears also came from that vicinity. They had gone to the same commercial school, and were trained particularly in stenography and typing. Tracy sought and obtained a place in Thor&#8217;s office. He was attentive to his duties, very accurate, and because of his kinship and trustworthiness, Thor made him his confidential secretary. The work became so heavy that Tracy got permission to employ an assistant. He had Spears in mind for the place, and, after conferring with Thor, offered it to him.</p> <p>Thor consented largely because he preferred some one who had not lived in New York, and was in no way entangled with the life and sentiment of the city. Being from New England himself, he trusted the people of that section as he did no others.</p> <p>So Thomas Spears was offered the place and gladly accepted it. He had not been there long before he found himself doing all the stenographic work and typing.</p> <p>Spears was a man of few words. He did his work promptly and well. Thor had him closely shadowed for a long while, and the report came that he had no bad habits and but few companions and those of the best. But Thor could get no confidential report upon the workings of his mind. He did not know that his conscience sickened at what he learned through the correspondence and from his fellow clerks. He did not know that his every heart beat was for the unfortunates that came within the reach of Thor&#8217;s avarice, and were left the merest derelicts upon the financial seas.</p> <p>All the clerks were gone, the lights were out and Spears sat by the window looking out over the great modern Babylon, still fighting with his conscience. His sense of loyalty to the man who gave him his livelihood rebelled at the thought of treachery. It was not unlike accepting food and shelter and murdering your benefactor, for Spears well knew that in the present state of the public mind if once the truth were known, it would mean death to such as Thor. For with a fatuous ignorance of public feeling the interests had gone blindly on, conceding nothing, stifling competition and absorbing the wealth and energies of the people.</p> <p>Spears knew that the whole social and industrial fabric of the nation was at high tension, and that it needed but a spark to explode. He held within his hand that spark. Should he plunge the country, his country, into a bloody internecine war, or should he let the Selwyns and the Thors trample the hopes, the fortunes and the lives of the people under foot for still another season. If he held his peace it did but postpone the conflict.</p> <p>The thought flashed through his mind of the bigness of the sum any one of the several great dailies would give to have the story. And then there followed a sense of shame that he could think of such a thing.</p> <p>He felt that he was God&#8217;s instrument for good and that he should act accordingly. He was aroused now, he would no longer parley with his conscience. What was best to do? That was the only question left to debate.</p> <p>He looked at an illuminated clock upon a large white shaft that lifted its marble shoulders towards the stars. It was nine o&#8217;clock. He turned on the lights, ran over the telephone book until he reached the name of what he considered the most important daily. He said: &#8220;Mr. John Thor&#8217;s office desires to speak with the Managing Editor.&#8221; This at once gave him the connection he desired.</p> <p>&#8220;This is Mr. John Thor&#8217;s secretary, and I would like to see you immediately upon a matter of enormous public importance. May I come to your office at once?&#8221;</p> <p>There was something in the voice that startled the newspaper man, and he wondered what Thor&#8217;s office could possibly want with him concerning any matter, public or private. However, he readily consented to an interview and waited with some impatience for the quarter of an hour to go by that was necessary to cover the distance. He gave orders to have Spears brought in as soon as he arrived.</p> <p>When Spears came he told the story with hesitation and embarrassment. The Managing Editor thought at first that he was in the presence of a lunatic, but after a few questions he began to believe. He had a dictagraph in his office and asked for the record. He was visibly agitated when the full import of the news became known to him. Spears insisted that the story be given to all the city papers and to the Associated Press, which the Managing Editor promised to do.</p> <p>When the story was read the next morning by America&#8217;s millions, it was clear to every far-sighted person that a crisis had come and that revolution was imminent. Men at once divided themselves into groups. Now, as it has ever been, the very poor largely went with the rich and powerful. The reason for this may be partly from fear and partly from habit. They had seen the struggle going on for centuries and with but one result.</p> <p>A mass meeting was called to take place the day following at New York&#8217;s largest public hall. The call was not inflammatory, but asked &#8220;all good citizens to lend their counsel and influence to the rectification of those abuses that had crept into the Government,&#8221; and it was signed by many of the best known men in the Nation.</p> <p>The hall was packed to its limits an hour before the time named. A distinguished college president from a nearby town was given the chair, and in a few words he voiced the indignation and the humiliation which they all felt. Then one speaker after another bitterly denounced the administration, and advocated the overthrow of the Government. One, more intemperate than the rest, urged an immediate attack on Thor and all his kind. This was met by a roar of approval.</p> <p>Philip had come early and was seated well in front. In the pandemonium that now prevailed no speaker could be heard. Finally Philip fought his way to the stage, gave his name to the chairman, and asked to be heard.</p> <p>When the white-haired college president arose there was a measure of quiet, and when he mentioned Philip&#8217;s name and they saw his splendid, homely face there was a curious hush. He waited for nearly a minute after perfect quiet prevailed, and then, in a voice like a deep-toned bell, he spoke with such fervor and eloquence that one who was present said afterwards that he knew the hour and the man had come. Philip explained that hasty and ill-considered action had ruined other causes as just as theirs, and advised moderation. He suggested that a committee be named by the chairman to draw up a plan of procedure, to be presented at another meeting to be held the following night. This was agreed to, and the chairman received tremendous applause when he named Philip first.</p> <p>This meeting had been called so quickly, and the names attached to the call were so favorably known, that the country at large seemed ready to wait upon its conclusions.</p> <p>It was apparent from the size and earnestness of the second gathering that the interest was growing rather than abating.</p> <p>Philip read the plan which his committee had formulated, and then explained more at length their reasons for offering it. Briefly, it advised no resort to violence, but urged immediate organization and cooperation with citizens throughout the United States who were in sympathy with the movement. He told them that the conscience of the people was now aroused, and that there would be no halting until the Government was again within their hands to be administered for the good of the many instead of for the good of a rapacious few.</p> <p>The resolutions were sustained, and once more Philip was placed at the head of a committee to perfect not only a state, but a national organization as well. Calls for funds to cover preliminary expenses brought immediate and generous response, and the contest was on.</p>
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