"Does that mean, Mr. Bardon, that I am not to go back to work?"
"You can understand what you like," snapped the inspector, seemingly glad to show his authority to this disrespectful crowd, and appearing to bear some personal spite against Ralph in particular, "only you are suspended until this matter is looked into."
Bardon turned to resume his way with the depot master, who looked bored and uneasy.
"Hold on!" thundered a tremendous bass voice. "That don't work."
A greasy paw closed around the immaculate coat-sleeve of the inspector, who turned with a brow as dark as a thunder cloud.
"Drop my arm—what do you mean!" breathed Bardon, with a glance at the husky freight engineer as if he would annihilate him.
"Just this, Mr. Inspector Bardon," said the engineer, with a never-quailing eye and the zest of extreme satisfaction in words and bearing, "you can't lay anybody off."
"I represent the Great Northern Railway Company," announced Bardon grandiloquently.
"Read your rules, then," retorted the engineer, "and see how far it will sustain you in exceeding your duties. I tell you they won't uphold you, and I speak with the voice of eighty-